“thoughts on my 50th High School Reunion”

thoughts on my 50th High School Reunion

i really wasn’t sure why i was taking this journey, a journey back to a time and a place where i really didn’t have any good memories… my high school years were just that… empty and painful to remember… did i come back to salvage at least one happy memory of a high school event… that is what i thought, and that is originally why i decided to make this journey, but in the process i realized i was returning to find more about that quiet kid, jules… who was he? how did my classmates perceive him then and how would they embrace tess today…
i’ll admit that i was nervous and scared… what was i really going to accomplish or would this just be another brutal lesson that i shouldn’t try to relive a time that i can never have back…. being transgender i learned that rather quickly… i remember when i received my invitation to my reunion how i just tossed it aside, laughing and thinking why would i even consider doing this…
i’m just a few weeks from my 3rd anniversary of coming out, coming out after living with a secret for 66 years…. my transition has been a long hard process for me, one filled with more tears and depression then i ever had in the past but it was also filled with a happiness and a sense of peace that i never felt before… but deep in my heart i will always cry out, “why did i have to be transgender, why couldn’t i have been just like you”
when i “came out” to my classmates on the Reunion Facebook site i really didn’t know what to expect… but what i did find was a lot of love and acceptance… as the months passed by, i began to keep in touch with many of my old classmates…. they followed my Facebook posts and some even my blog, tessjulianna.blog….. and in the process i knew i had a group of people who would have my back throughout this journey…. to Kathi and Nancy i can never thank you enough….
as the wheels of my plane touched down in Philadelphia i was filled with a sense of excitement… tess had come a long way in the pass year… over 30 hours i laid in an operating room, i had my gender reassignment surgery, a surgery i waited a lifetime to have plus several other surgeries to feminize my appearance… i had just completed a beautiful summer with Princess Cruises in Alaska as tess, and all i received was love and acceptance… so i thought why should this be any different….

but i was running scared… i asked Nancy and Kathi if i could meet them for a breakfast on Friday morning… i didn’t want to walk into this whole weekend not physically knowing anybody…. well it was a beautiful time and as i sat there, in that restaurant booth, i kept seeing faces that i loved in the past but also faces of friends i had today and that was the important part…. we parted and i was excited for our evening get-together at the high school’s Homecoming football game…
before going to the game i drove silently around Stratford, “his” old neighborhood, places that had good memories and places where my dysphoria brought just empty and frustrating times…. i began to think that this all was going to be a big mistake….. i parked near the house i lived in, 16 Sleepy Hollow Rd….. i saw where my bedroom was, where every night, for a lifetime, i prayed that i would wake up no longer as “him” only to wake up with my tears…. why couldn’t i just been like you…. how many times did i scream those words… and as i drove up to the my old high school and parked my car i panicked…. i fought back tears as i looked at my old high school… so many memories were crashing down on me… the pain, the frustration….. what the hell was i doing here… it took me a lifetime to get the courage to open my car door and join my classmates that were arriving, but i did… it began with the typical awkward introductions but many recognized me from my Facebook post… there were hugs and beautiful words spoken, admiration for my courage… i began to feel everything would be alright…. but eventually i found myself alone, alone and looking out over the school’s athletic fields and thats when my tears began….
later that night i wrote these words about that moment:

From my journal…
laying in bed thinking about the past day… i came back for my 50th HS Reunion… i was standing alone with tears staining my face as i looked over the HS’s athletic fields…. the fields of my failed dreams…. yes i came back and i did find acceptance and love but what i realized i really came back to find was why “he” had to cry… everything that should of been, everything that never happened…. i would of given anything to be you….. i would love to have your thoughts… hell i would give you mine in a second… but i don’t see anybody standing in line wanting to be me… wanting to be trans
“fields of dreams”

tears stain my face
hell they rained down this face forever…
is it “she” or “him” standing there
standing there looking over this “field of dreams”
i wish i knew…..
i walked on those fields so long ago
to make dreams
but my dreams were not to be had
had on those field of green…
no he just locked the door a hundred times
always afraid that handle would turn,
turn and the door opens
and his field of dreams
dreams he could never share
would shatter your fields of dreams…..

she found her fields of dreams
dreams within the tears that had to be shed
shed because of what i am…
and i laid on that table
more than once i did,
and it was her gifted hands
gifted hands that gave me
gave me my field of dreams
and no i’m not like you
God i wish i could of been
wearing that smile
the look in your eyes….
but no i’m not like you
God i wish i could of been
wearing that smile
instead of what i am
instead of what i am
tess julianna 10/20/18

but from that night i will always treasure this photo… Joe, tess and Pat… three amigos

Joe Shoop tess Pat Minyon.png

Saturday Oct. 20th
today was the big day… a chaotic parade of thoughts kept me company throughout the day….. i was excited, i was scared, would i be able to mingle, laugh and socialize or would i find myself alone, alone and just watching… i brought three different outfits to wear that night and i couldn’t decide which would be the perfect look… i wanted all my classmates to see a beautiful woman, proud of who she was… proud of the journey she took to become that woman… and as i dressed i choose to wear the name tag that had my beautiful name, a name i choose to live the rest of my life with but i chose to use the name tag that had jules’s graduation photo on it, after all that was who all these people had memories of…

the evening was so funny in a way… here we were, 50 years later and all of us had aged… very few people i could easily recognize…. with most people we played the game of looking at the graduation photo on the name tag and their name… i will admit though, i was more anxious to see all those girls, girls that i never had the courage to talk to because i was a prisoner of my dysphoria… i wanted to finally talk to them, laugh with them and most importantly i wanted to hear about what they thought of that quiet kid named jules….. i heard a lot of “why didn’t you talk to me… you were so quiet”…. to many i confessed i wanted to talk to them, i wanted to ask them out, i even joked to some “why didn’t you ask me out”… it was all so beautiful… and all their words of that quiet kid just brought tears to my eyes… people did notice me… many spoke of my smile and even my humor…. so many things that i had forgotten… so many thing i never knew… so many things i will never forget

and as the evening was ending i found myself as i knew i would, sitting alone and just watching my classmates, wishing things would of been different, wishing that i didn’t have to be jules just to be tess… so many whys… and as i was leaving i talked briefly with two beautiful girls, Susan and Roberta (you know who you are)… i wanted to say so much more to you both… i didn’t want to have to walk away, no i wanted those minutes to last forever… your words to me, your words of jules were so beautiful, i wanted to hug you both forever but i was crashing rapidly and i was trying to fight back my depression and so i walked to my car with tears staining my face… that night i slept with tears once again
Monday Oct. 22
i was packing up…. so many feelings and thoughts i had to process… i needed time with my journal to write what i had to write… a phone call… Joe Shoop called to say goodbye to both tess and jules…. his words were so beautiful, i had tears running down my face as i listened and it was in those moments i realized that i got everything i wanted from this trip… i knew it was a beautiful journey i had taken, a journey i took both for tess and for jules… thank you joe and thank you so much my two new girlfriends, Kathi and Nancy
tess julianna 10/22/18

“who am i”

“who am i or what am i”

who am i, or what am i… questions that i simply asked all my life and yet i’m still not really sure of the answer….yes i know what my medical condition is according to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-V; Gender Dysphoria… Gender Dysphoria, is simply “a feeling or a state of being at unease as a result when a person’s sexual anatomy doesn’t match up with his or her inner sense of gender”…. okay what does this all really mean?
maybe you can just say i’m transgender…

most of my life, and i know this would date back definitely to my preteens, i simply wanted to be a girl….. this was the feeling i carried all through my life…. i really don’t think i ever verbalized my feelings that i was a girl simply in the body of a boy…. and it pains me today to understand or figure out why i didn’t rationalized my feelings like this, all i simply felt was i was unhappy being a boy and i wanted to be a girl….. i wonder, if i had known that i was transgender, how would of that affected my life and especially the pain i suffered…

i was born in 1949 and grew up in the 50’s so i guess i knew that these feelings weren’t natural so i never verbally expressed them, but i felt them constantly…. i wish i knew how old i was when my dysphoria became apparent to me… i rack my brain trying to remember a childhood that occurred so long ago… today i don’t even have my mother to talk to, to ask if i ever had behavior that didn’t fit the typical male role…. i was their first born son, a son they dearly wanted, because of that would they just ignore any atypical behavior… the scientific literature or Doctor Spock, the manual that every mother referred to, never talked about sexual or especially gender identity back in the 50’s…. if i had been born maybe 10 or 15 years later would the language even have been out there…. but does any of this really matter because i simply spent my whole life wanting something that i knew i never could have… i guess i learned early the disappointments that life can throw your way… yet every day, and especially after i reached puberty, i learned that every time i saw the reflection of a girl or anything that related to a girl my heart would cry, “i wish i was born a girl”………i really wonder if any “normal” person can really relate to the magnitude of this statement… that when it came down to my physical self, “every waking moment, every conscious breath came down to a denial of who i truly was”….

how does a child build a positive sense of self-esteem under these conditions… i never had any self esteem… i always felt inferior in just about every thing that i did… many times i had to prove myself and many times that ended with just more disappointment… i was never very athletic as a child and never excelled in any sport or academics… i will always remember how i was the oldest kid in our local minor league of little league and lived with my father’s video of me striking out and walking to the dugout with my head hung low in disappointment… and this drama was played all throughout my life….

i wore a lot of costumes throughout my life…. each one was an attempt to find the “me” that i could feel good about… i was always more worried over what someone would think of the reflection that i painted than how i felt in that reflection….. always comparing myself to somebody else’s standards, to what i thought would bring acceptance or was it love… no, i really don’t think love was the issue then, it was simply feeling good about myself…. all my life i would secretly look at other males, painfully seeing how i was inferior to their reflection…. my arms were never big enough, i had peach fuzz instead of a manly beard, and the list goes on and on…

i spent my whole life trying to ease my dysphoria, make the pain just a little less so that life would be tolerable…. i could never be a girl… little boys can’t be little girls… who wrote that stupid law, it just didn’t make any sense to me…. but what would it feel like to be a girl… i had to rely on my imagination all my life and fantasize that life i wanted… did it help or just cause my heart to be broken more, i’ll never know…. i really don’t know how old i was when i secretly, and behind a locked door put on a piece of my mother’s clothing…. it felt right, it felt so good, and at that moment i guess i began a lifetime of secretly cross-dressing… that was a strategy i used for over 55 years and also during 44 years of my marriage…. a strategy just to ease my pain and to live in my dream world of being a girl… during my adult years i wonder did this ease my dysphoria or just cause me more pain… but always it was behind locked doors and fearing someone would enter that room…… i would sit in my mother’s little chair at her vanity all throughout my life, even as an adult when i would visit her…. and looking into the mirror that she saw her beautiful reflection all i saw every time i looked in that mirror was the truth, “you can never and will never be or look like a beautiful girl”… disappointment, pain, tears, yea even suicidal thoughts was all i ever saw in that mirror… and all throughout my life, looking at his image in all of the mirrors always brought a sense of confusion, of regret, of pain…. how many times did i stand in the shower and hide my genitals so that i would see the image of a girl rather than a man… how many times did i grabbed that mistake and wish i could just cut it off….

but it’s today and today i am almost 3 years from that day that i “came out”….. for 33 months now i have been on HRT and i swear i will go to my grave still being on my HRT…. and only about 6 months ago i had a surgery i waited a lifetime for… every night, during my life, i prayed for that day and yes it did finally come…. i will always believe the morning of my sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) will be the happiest minutes of my life…. i love the photo that i took of myself that morning, my smile said it all….. i knew that in just hours, that yes i would really be a girl…. wheeling me into surgery that morning i i could of died and i would have had no regrets because my greatest wish was really happening….. no this would not be just another one of my broken dreams it was really happening…

so “who am i” and “where am i today”
here are the facts:
i am now legally considered a female
my birth certificate and every other document concerning me states that i am female
my 23rd chromosome still reads XY
i am not nor ever will be a cis-gender female
my body had testosterone as its main hormone for 66 years, that’s 66 years of developing as a male and surgery can only do so much to soften that fact
i still have “his” voice
i will probably ALWAYS be mis-gendered in one way or another
I HATE THE FACT THAT I AM TRANSGENDER.. being transgender has raped me of my childhood and the memories i would of had and never allowed jules to live his life without tears
all summer long i stood in front of thousands, on a cruise ship in Alaska, weaving tales of Alaska’s beauty… and even though i presented myself so beautifully as a woman as soon as i opened my mouth and started talking, questions were being thought… “was she once a male”, or “that’s really a man”

but those thoughts never were really a major concern to those people, for from that first day they began falling in love with their naturalist, tess julianna….. tess was knitting her way into their hearts and nothing else really mattered… how many times did i hear my beautiful name, always with praise and love, and in those moments it really didn’t matter “what i was” but i knew all summer long that my secret really wasn’t a secret….. and to help maybe some of these people to understand i did something i thought i never would once i began my journey…. after reading my poetry, in my last Alaskan Naturalist presentation, i publicly “came out” to everyone sitting in that audience… i said the words i never thought i would say in public, for everyone to hear “I AM TRANSGENDER”…..finally i told them that at 2PM that afternoon i would give a private talk “on being transgender”… to help them understand i would read from my journal and poetry and answer any questions they would have…. and in return i got the most beautiful hugs and words of love and praise just for being who and what i was….

and all summer long, every evening at 6PM, i went to Princess’s LGBT meeting…. i went for two reasons, one to socialize with “my new family” the family i now belonged within….. but i think the main reason i attended was to learn about “their journeys”…. were their journeys the same as mine, did we share the same feelings in life, how much difference is there between having a mis-orientation with your sexual identity than with your gender identity… and also are my feelings and emotions today the same as any other lesbian….

and after all was said and done, and i walked off the Grand Princess for the final time this summer i believe i now really understand and know who and what i am…. yes i am transgender….. and as much as i would love to go through my life in stealth, i know it just won’t happen, especially publicly interacting with the number of people that i do…. so maybe my role or purpose in life now is simply to be a “trans-girl” living the life she always wanted in the eyes of the public…. yes there will be people i meet everyday that will always look at me with disgust but they are in the minority…. my summer on the Grand Princess is proof of that…. no, maybe to all the other people that tess julianna walks into their life, be it for a moment or longer, they may or will know her secret and they will never understand the “why’s” but at that moment they will have been converted and yet another disciples will go spread the word “hey transgenders are beautiful people too, remember tess and how we loved her”

and probably the most important fact is that everyday for the rest of my life i will wake up as the woman i always dreamed of being
tess julianna 9/29/2018

“ebbing of my summer winds”

this summer i read to many a suite of poems that dealt with me dealing with my mortality… i called this piece of writing “dreams”… “ebbing of my summer winds” belongs in this suite… enjoy!

“ebbing of my summer winds”

my days are slipping by
and with that so does time,
time that i can never have back
instead i just have my pocketfuls of memories….
and in this moment my thoughts are a chaotic collection
a collection of regrets, smiles, tears of joy,
of celebration
and memories
memories that i want to relive
memories that i cannot let go of
for i never want to be without them

where are my dancers
will we ever share those moments again
will i ever see your smiles as you dance…
why can’t these moments stand frozen in time
then i can have your smiles forever
forever instead of this summer of goodbyes
goodbyes that my shoulders had to carry
and i regret the miles i didn’t walk this summer
once again Deer Mountain was too much for my fragile feet
feet that once took me on endless hikes
always my boots awaited those trails
trails that seem never to end until now…..

but i’m so glad i took that hike with you though,
photos of a time i will hold on to
hold on to,
and searching for mushrooms
a dinner we shared with friends i hold dear
but now distance
a distance that won’t let me see your beautiful smiles

and of my Ketchikan days
that last beer tasted so good
we sat there
always i will remember the music from that day
we sat in conversation
enjoying the moment
enjoying each other’s presence
but now all those moments are gone

and where is my circle of friends
we sat in that circle every afternoon
you all helped me smile and laugh
you held my hand
for this journey is so new
but now i can’t see your smiles
for between us lies far too many miles

and i cry
i cry is this all i have from my alaskan summer
fragments of thoughts
of memories
i curse this passage of time
time that i will never have again
but it’s early in the morning
and i’m on a southbound run
a run that i know will take me home
to a time in which i can forge new memories
but still
i hate this passage of time
tess julianna 9/21/18

the beginning of a dream… from the Log of Tranquility

May 31, 2004
it’s dark outside and i’m safely tucked down in the cabin of Tranquility, a dream come true… the past few days has been an adventure in boat ownership and maintenance… Jeffrey (my brother) where are you when i need you.. slowly, and with a hundred questions i’m learning…. and with an endless list of should do, must do, would be nice to do and someday i’ll do jobs i have more than enough to do and keep me busy…
but for now i sit in quiet and listen to the sounds of the night… there’s the smell of salt in the air and the dampness that comes from being on the water…. i look around at my beautiful new world…. one of the first things i had to do was to put my books, the books that would be Tranquility’s library on their shelf… and with my mug of tea i sit in this beautiful dream…
i started the engine for the first time today and journeyed nowhere… it was my first step and a big step for me… always i think of my brother and of my grandfather, what would they do, what would they say…. i have their presence always with me as i putter around… i’m learning my way around Tranquility and i made the promise i will always treat her as a lady for many a dreams she will take me to… David Crosby wrote a song, “The Lee Shore” about a love affair with his schooner called “Mayan”… i haven’t written my song yet but i am falling in love with Tranquility…
always i will look southward towards Pt. Loma and the ocean… i must be patience, my time will come and when i unfurl my sails and feel the wind upon my face and i’ll let Tranquility carry my heart away
to you Joanne i owe this dream, not only of Tranquility but of this life i have shared with you… “and i love you… till forever comes and gone… till the day i die… till the sun’s gone”

June 2, 2004
for the first time i left the safety of the dock with two friends and ventured towards San Diego Bay… standing behind the wheel she gently carried me away… my heart and spirit were soaring… i didn’t need to go far this first time, the important thing was i went… this small journey was more important than any destination… my destinations will all come later but today i will cherish this beginning

June 6, 2004
today i let the wind fill the sails for the first time and we sailed away… i only took a few tacks around the bay but this felt so good… at times i never thought i would of ever been doing this but yes, dreams do come true… this was the first time i sailed a boat this size, basically by myself, so Tranquility felt like a lot of boat to handle but she was very forgiving… she too must have patience with these hands that will now care for her… i felt the wind in my face and with the heeling of the hull, the straining in the rigging, my hands on her wheel, yes i was in heaven… and this was only my first of an endless lifetime of sails

June 8, 2004
this was my very first time leaving the dock alone… a thousands questions with only myself to answer them… i felt my brother’s spirit encouraging me as i left the dock… i could imagine his smile and how proud he would be… as i left the dock my first task was simply backing out of the slip…. i went over the routine a thousand times in my head…. and before i knew it i was heading out of the marina towards the bay… it was early in the morning and all was still on the water as i motored over to the marina on Shelter Island to have electrical work done… i kept worrying how i would dock…. would i have to parallel park with a boat, a thousand questions, but Tranquility held my hand and made me proud… slowly i’m learning and patiently she encourages me… it’s these small fragments of minutes that are starting to form memories… thank you Jeffrey for your encouraging spirit…
some day we will sail away, my brothers, the 3 of us with our laughter echoing in the wind
to Tranquility

and i hear your silent whispers
calling to my soul…
your lingering scent stirs these restless blues
m’lady, sail me away

hold my hand and journey we will
take me away to hear the mermaids sing
the blowing of the whales
the crying of the gulls..
just hold this drifting soul
m’lady, sail me away

take to the horizons
where the sun always sets
far, far away
where the scent of this troubled land is no more
let me see your sun rise
a new day dawning with prayers for fair winds
and the soaring of an albatross
m’lady, sail me away

take me away
let me feel your gentle rhythms
lose my soul where time doesn’t matter
and where the flooding of the tides can’t be felt
i scream to the gods
i scream let your winds fill these sails
and with these worn and soiled charts
a compass to guide
m’lady sail me away
m’lady, sail me away
jtalarico 6/9/2004

how do you say goodbye to a dream

life is full of many journeys… some you really never want to end, but like all journeys they have an ending… my journey with Tranquility will always be cherished… these words are taken from her Ship’s Log… after i sold Tranquility i kept her Log and her Ensign, and today i still hold these so dear…..

November 11, 2014
Call it what you want… a new chapter… a beginning.. the end of a beautiful relationship… moving on… it really doesn’t matter what i call this but i must walk this troubled path… and i will walk it alone, with much thought… turmoil… and definitely regret and pain…
i finally made the decision to put Tranquility, a dream come true, up for sale….. was it time… i really think it is, but i would be lying if i said i didn’t have second thoughts… i can read through the pages that make up this journal, the ship’s log, a log and journal that i kept from the first day i boarded her… God how i wish i had that day back again… the excitement…. and i am blessed, for by reading these pages i can relive a dream i thought i would never have possessed… this has been a beautiful journey and i thank God everyday for it…
slowly over the course of 2 days i started to filled boxes with what made Tranquility special to me, what made Tranquility “Tranquility”… it was the little things that brought the tears, for with each item i remembered the occasion when i found the item… the port of call i was in, and the decision that this would be the perfect gift for my lady, Tranquility…. hurrying back to Tranquility to give her, her gifts… gifts that were to be found throughout my Tranquility… my “Captain” name plate that was mounted over my berth…. the oil lantern that gave me a warm glow during all those lonely evenings in which we shared that treasured solitude… boxes were filled with memories that can never and will never be taken from me… i still took the time to carefully wash her down, i always wanted my lady to look beautiful… oh how i’ll miss all the hours of tinkering, of caring, of caressing and always admiring with pride…
as the boxes were filled her spirit was slowly ebbing away… what made her mine was slipping away in boxes… i know the hardest part was yet to come… my final journey and then just walking away…
i was frustrated with the constant pain in my elbow… i could hardly raise the main sail to check the sail’s condition after the long summer of not being used… that was the first summer that passed without beautiful summer days spent sailing or just being with “my lady”… my body is now plagued with pain and frustration with everything i try to do… pulling out her batteries and checking them was almost too much for me…

i left Tranquilty that weekend knowing that different hands would be looking after her in the future… would they ever be able to see or even feel the love and joy she gave back to me…

some roads are hard to walk… i know this road will be one… ah my little lady, my Tranquility…. oh God how i love you so

December 17, 2014
a phone call….words were spoken…and with those words my dream will come to an end….. yes… Tranquility was sold. Should i be happy… no instead i shed a silent tear as i felt my heart breaking as my dream really started coming to its end….. dreams are beautiful things in life… they can keep your spirit alive… they are a form of hope for the future…. yet dreams have to end

its hard to imagine my life without Tranquility… she was a life’s dream….. part of my daily thoughts…. something to always look forward to… those quiet moments we shared…. i hate to think that i will not hear the wind fill her sails… feel her hull heeled over with the ocean racing by…. the salt air in my face….. beautiful moments…. that became memories that i will always cherish

i still have yet one more trip to take….
more boxes will be filled as i remove what made Tranquility so special to me….. and then i must take my final sail….. i’ll fly her ensign as always but i must accept that other hands will replace the movements that were always mine…. i will have to step away from the helm… so many hours my hands held onto it…. always guiding her along….the compass…how many times did i check my course…. my eyes never grew tired from her reflection…
i will shed a light on her personality….. how she liked her sails to be trimmed….. reveal her soul and spirit….. i must let her go… but i will with a prayer of thanks

its night now… the marina is quiet….the air outside is cool and soon i will have to turn on my little space heater…. like so many other evenings i sit in my spot… music fills the cabin…. yet as i look around i see only empty shadows of what once was my dream…. all that made Tranquility mine….. my books ….. my memories….. they all have been taken off…. i sit alone without even Joshua to keep my tears company…. he should be here with me…. his blue pillow that spent many a days on my berth has been packed away…. his reflection is gone…… there will be no more long walks along the bay with him by my side… those lazy mornings with the two of us in the cockpit…reading… just enjoying the moment….. as i look through my tears i see so many beautiful memories that were made….. this boat was a treasure chest filled with memories that are only mine…its sad but n0body knows of my time with Tranquility…. all those memories will be lost with me…..

tomorrow i’ll do the “sea trial”…. meet those who’s hands will caress my lady….. i can only pray that she is treated as i did….

i feel so empty tonight….i want to just curl up in my berth and cry to sleep…. but my time is so limited….. in a way i want the night to last forever…. she is still mine…. she is still mine….. and i can’t think of leaving her

December 27, 2014 Day of Tranquility’s Sea Trial

this will most likely be my last sail on Tranquility…. a thought that i have a hard time really grasping….. my feelings are numb… my emotions are drained…. my tears are dry…. i can’t even think about what my emotions, my thoughts will be when her sails are raised….. no longer raised by my hands with my eyes reaching upward… watching that beautiful white sail reach for the heavens…. and then when the wind fills her sails and the engine goes silent….. i know there will be many a secret tears being shed

but for now i sit alone…. alone with a million memories in a spot i sat so many times before…… and this morning i sit here and have what will probably be my last mug of tea aboard Tranquility….. as i sat there i only wish i could grab ahold and relive each and every one of those golden and salty memories… and Joshua…. i miss my faithful mate…. always wanting and hoping to jump up on my lap and share the minutes resting in my legs while i would give him his loving pets…..

its a beautiful day today… blue skies with the promise of wind… i sit with tears as my company and a million thoughts… waiting for my heart to be broken

December 27, 2014 Tranquility’s Sea Trial

i left the dock for the last time…… i was glad i was alone with my tears…. i would meet the hands that would care for Tranquility over in Shelter Island…. so this last journey i took slowly as my tears would not let the minutes rush by…. how many times i traveled these waters only to wait for the wind… a day on the water… what could possibly be better… but today was so different……

i wait on a foreign dock….. numb…. i can’t even relax and enjoy these last moments on Tranquility…. i hate these minutes

finally…. and for my very last time i guide Tranquilty from its berth… and then i hand her helm to those hands… God i pray they will cherish this dream that i’m letting go…. we sail the bay… words are being said but am i really listening… i’m lost in sadness… so many times i want my hands to take the helm…… i curse my decision to let her go…… must this beautiful dream end….. finally knowing my last minutes are racing by i take the helm….. i feel her ways… is she also shedding tears as we part our ways…. slowly i take her to the dock

many words are said and broken promises are made… her name will no longer grace her sides…. in a way i’m happy because Tranquility was me…. we were one for all those years… soulmates…..

and now i’m alone…. i pack my bags and load the dock cart…. the minutes race by slowly… i hesitate a million times…. i look time and time again with my hungry eyes wanting to capture every image and thought for eternity….. i leave her cabin only to return again…… my tears are my only companion along with my broken heart….. i lock her companionway… and then i walk away… i looked back countless times as my dream came crashing to a close….. a final photo… my final steps as i walk out of a beautiful dream


January 9, 2015
papers were signed… there was no excitement like the last time… no anxious dreams of the days ahead…. i moved reluctantly through the motions knowing it was all but gone… are these my betrayal papers… and my bag of silver…. they are just coins…. coins that anyone can gather….. and with these papers her named will be gone….. erased…. no longer spoken …. no longer will i hear your name….. i’m so sorry, my lady…. the tears i shed are real…. they represent our love…. all those magical days we shared…. God what have i done…… i walk away now…. but before i leave know that i loved you so very much… and always… always i know i have our memories that i will cherish….. Tranquility…. you always will be a beautiful dream that i loved so very much
thank you…. and to you, Joanne… my eternal thanks for giving me a dream

January 14, 2015
I hold a check in my hand….. but in my heart i hold memories of a dream that lasted for 11 years…. to me they are worth more than this bag of tarnished silver

…and i cry
i cry for those tranquility days are gone
dam-it, why did i let them slip away in the night…
do we ever know our blessings until they are stolen from our grasp…
you tell me there are others to be had
the hell with you
for i will never be able to replace perfection
she was mine
and she’s gone
god i love….no i hate these memories…
does the pain of loss feel good
does it bronze those lost memories forever

Essay on transitioning “fighting my demons (part II)

Essay on transitioning “fighting my demons/Part II”


i walk the ship amongst the echoes of praise that the passengers sing…. i love the sound of my name and oh how glad i am that i chose that simply but beautiful sound to be the music of my name….. how can i help but to feel beautifully accepted… the hugs and smiles are endless… never have i ever known or felt happiness like this before… i feel i am so blessed and i deeply appreciate this blessing i have been given and never will i stop saying my prayers of thanks….. and often i catch the reflection i cast in a mirror, i’ll stop, but for a moment and smile, at times i could almost cry i am so happy…. the blessing that Dr. Ley bestowed upon me with her gifted hands i could never thank her enough…. it’s funny but now in this life i am always seeking out a mirror to witness this reflection that i love so dearly….. yes dreams do happen… so how can i not be happy….

in a “visual sense” i have transitioned into the woman of my dreams and i wish this happiness and inner peace that i feel for every girl like me… on my handbag i always carry a small pennant with the gender symbol that i carried within me all my life, and next to that is a small disc that simply states, “i was born like this”… and today i carry no shame for what i am… for i have to believe i was created like this for a reason…. i will not question His divine plan but just maybe my purpose in this life is simply to help others to understand, we too are beautiful, and really no different than you….

and even if i look into the eyes of these passengers, for i have learned the eyes can reveal what the heart feels, and looking in their eyes today i just feel happiness because at that moment they just see my image as one of many in a crowd… i stop and chat often with many, just a typical conversation, a conversation that they might have with anyone they were fond of…..
but then i scream at my demons…. please leave me alone, i cried enough for a lifetime because of your haunting cries…. and in that moment i am not that beautiful woman but just a fragile soul trying not to be “read”…. i hate it, will this ever end….. and in my heart i cry because i know this is my fate…. but i ask, “does this have to be my curse in life?”
and if i think about this, what is really tearing me into pieces…. it’s the simple question, “have they “read” that i am transgender?…. and to them at that moment in time, being transgender really doesn’t matter for they have been captured in the essence of my soul…. and for me, i will probably never see these people again after this cruise… have i given them a positive outlook “on being transgender’ ….. that yes i am transgender but in reality am i not really any different than you……

and now i think…. all of my friends i have, really good friends, they all know my secret…. they know my secret and still love and accept me… with these friends i don’t have to worry about being “read”, they all know….. but with the friends i am making now this summer on the ship, we get along and enjoy each other’s company, it’s that simple,… that in itself should be the bottom line, we are friends… and now i cry, “why do i need to know if they have “read” me”….. at that moment in our relationship it really doesn’t affect our friendship, yet i have this burning need to know, to know, have they “read” me…. is my desire to be cis-gender that strong that it’s still tearing my heart apart…. and i think, strip me down naked and am i not just like you… yes i am but in my heart i know i am not… XY can never be XX, that is my genetic curse to always carry,
and i cry… why are my demons stealing my happiness, why am i letting this happen… is it the self esteem that i battled with all my life, my insecurity of who i am… i know not why am i more comfortable once a person knows my secret…..
and in this moment in time i feel simply very fragile
tess julianna 5/24/18

“winter thoughts heading north to Ketchikan”

Winter thoughts heading north to Ketchikan
Feb 11 2016
i am once again at sea….. we left in the darkness of night as the tide started to flood…… a journey i talked about all last summer…. a journey that tess always wanted to take…. i’m aboard the Aleutian Ballad, the famous king crab boat from the Deadly Catch, and we are heading to Alaska…. outside the rain is falling and i’m in the darkness of an early dawn…. the sea seems to be alive although the swells are small, yet the swells are pushing us around quite a bit…. the wind is blowing at 20 kts yet i’m protected as i sit in the pilot house both safe and warm…. i’m sitting in the helm chair on the port side of the boat and in the background is the steady hum of the engines…. slowly pushing us northward… we’re only still off the coast of Washington on a course that will take us north of Vancouver Island…. and the rain continues to fall

thoughts wander back to my time with Tranquility… i truly miss my little lady….. an unbroken dream that lived for 11 beautiful years until i walked away from her that evening in January…. my heart crying as real tears were felt…. a goodbye that was the hardest i ever had to do…. i often wonder where my lady is….. are hands like mine tenderly caressing her everyday…… i miss her scent….. i miss her touch…. i miss her being
i sit and watch the constant rain and the flight of the gulls….. carefree, just drifting with the winds…

Feb 12
and the rain continues to fall…. thinking back through yesterday i wonder did the rain ever stop….. once again it’s the quiet hours of predawn…. the world is dark and silent for i can’t feel the wind or hear the sea…. slowly this island that i float upon moves ever northward…. slowly and silently the wind and currents push us towards Alaska…. i am at peace in this moment, for the sea has always brought me peace… the steady rhythm of the swells…. the rain against the glass that i stare out through, to this cold distant world…. the marine radio breaks the silence with an advisory of a waiting storm in the distant…. but our journey will have taken us safely to the north of this storm…… looking to the east awaiting the dawn of this new day…. and the rain falls

Feb 13
the rain continues to fall…. i sit once again and look out at a world of wind, rain and swells….. it seems we left Astoria at the right time as we are staying ahead of the worst of the weather….. yesterday afternoon there were small windows of sunshine but mostly we been accompanied by gray skies and rain….. i can feel a drop in the chill in the air as we head further north….. north once again to my beloved town of Ketchikan….. but for the rest of today the swells and wind will continue to push us northward while this rain continues to wash our pallet….

being on this journey upon the sea one finds there are many idle moments that allows ones mind to drift like the currents….. at times i think of my past…. my many journeys that this soul of mine has experienced….. and as i think back to each of those journeys i wonder did i really know my course i was taking through life….. i feel most of the time i was just caught in the flood or ebb of the tides of my life…. did i really know my true destination……. with each summit that i reached there was always a moment of idle satisfaction…. i could reflect over what was accomplished and also stare hard into the unknown future…. yes there were always the deep valleys that i descended into….. and at times it grew dark and i felt lost…… my course felt uncertain…….. so was there always a careful laid out plan…. i think not, but a course i set, and always i seemed to move ahead

Feb 14
it was late last night with a gentle rain still falling that i saw the lights of Ketchikan once again…… a thousand memories does this small town hold…. rainy walks amongst rainy days with a thousand puddles that my boots did play within…. it feels good to be back to my alaskan home…. only the noise from the bars could be heard from the docks that were empty of the thousands of tourist who wander about in search for their alaskan memories…. this gentle winter rain is washing away, for yet another day, the stains left from those crowds…… for tonight the streets belong to those whose songs are heard from the many bars…… and the docks are empty and stand silent and so beautiful without the ships that will come once again with the summer rains…. yes its good to be home once again

Feb 16
the sky is gray and the mountains are blanketed in clouds as the rain continues to fall….. i always wanted to spend a rainy winter day in my Ketchikan and today my dream comes true…… its cold, its damp, untold puddles cover the sidewalks as small playgrounds for the boots of those who wander aimlessly without destination other than a walk in the silent rain…… it’s a day that i find myself sitting in the wheelhouse of the Ballad in my chair just reading and napping as ones sees fit… my morning did have a beautiful walk in this rain as it felt good to be cleansed by this winter rain…… the boats sit idle in the harbors enjoying a winter’s sleep until the rains of spring…. as i let my eyes wander to the many windows overlooking the waterfront, i wonder how many chairs are placed by these windows with hungry eyes that soak in these rainy days….. with a pile of books by my side, a mug of hot tea and wrapped in my blanket i would spend my Ketchikan days throughout the winter…… and today is a beautiful day to let the mind travel through memories and dreams…..

my friends have all left….. the crab pots are soaking in the cold tidal current awaiting the crabs… there is noting to do but wait… to watch the days slip slowly by…. the afternoon rains quietly fall while i sit in warmth by a window, my mug of tea and my sleeping bag as my blanket……. finally my dream of spending a winter in Ketchikan has happened…. my book is closed now as i spent the afternoon hours reading and dreaming…… when my eyes grew weary of words i took to my raincoat and walked the rainy streets of this quiet town….. the sidewalks are empty of the summer crowds as i can freely wander at will….. the puddles were all mine to splash through as i walked with no destination in mind…. i treasure the thought of another full day alone in my rainy paradise, with nothing other than reading and walking in the rain before i must head for home…..

Feb 21
with my dream and memories packed in my bags i took my final walk in the rain… a taxi and then a ferry and the rain continued to fall…. i took my wool cap off so i could feel the rain for one last time…. i feel cleansed by this rain… now in a broken silence i awaited my flight but in a way i hope it would never arrive…
and as that jet lifted into the clouds, i looked for one last time at my beloved town of Ketchikan….. and i thought… journeys must all end if only for another dream, for another journey to begin