Friday, April 26, 2013

Ch 3: My teenage Years

   Another beautiful day out today, hope everyone is doing well,

       Well, day 2 after my treatment, I look like my beard is growing faster than normal, I hope this is my skin pushing the dead hair out.  I have to say it feels quite strange, like I can tell the difference between my skin 'pushing' the hair out from when it's normally growing, I guess this makes sense as the body is sensing a foreign object and trying to reject or get rid of it.  Hopefully tomorrow morning I don't wake up with a pillow full of hair, lol, though if I do I guess it's not that big of a deal I'll just have to wash the sheets.

      Ok, back to our story, so we left off after I was 14 and my parents were divorced, now looking at the period from 14-18 I spent a lot of time worrying and doing things for other people.  I started working at 14 in the lumber yard as I said before, then moved on and got a job at the local grocery store when I was 16, started as a stock boy, eventually was the first 'guy' in the store to be trained on registers, and then when I turned 18 was trained in the 'office' or customer service desk where we sold tobacco and lottery tickets.  My senior year in high school I worked two jobs, my second job other than the grocery store I worked part time with a local lawyer to try to learn some things about law, he worked mostly in real estate and honestly I sat in the basement most of the time going through old files to pull out documents that could be purged.  Terribly boring job, but at least I saw what the legal documents looked like was able to identify which were important to keep and did get to go with the lawyer a couple times to do title searches.  All in all pretty accomplished for an 18 year old.  Have to say as well I was glad my mother made me save 50% of all my earnings towards college, because I was able to pay for my freshman year tuition, room and board and all with no student loans.  So what's all this have to do with transgender, well I was breaking gender roles, taking jobs that were typically dominated by females in a small town, and had very little time on my hands to look inward at myself.

     In addition to all the work my school had a sliding scale that went up to 5.0 GPA, so for an honors class A+ you could get 5.0, for a 'phase 4' class you could get a 4.0 for an A+, and for a 'phase 3' class you could get either a 3.0 or 3.5 for an A+.  I maintained a 4.2 GPA, ran cross country on the varsity team, and played on the basketball team.  All of the cross country guys I got along with pretty well, they tended to be the geekier guys who did well in school and wanted to stay active but weren't athletic enough to play the other sports.  Then on the basketball team is probably the place I faced the most bullying and name calling, because at this point I really didn't 'fit-in' with the 'cool' kids.  They were the same group of kids who didn't do very good in class, and played on the Basketball, Soccer and Baseball teams.  So they all hung out together, and would call me 'gay,' 'fag,' etc. hurtful words just to be jerks really and at this point in my life I was actually very homophobic so I tended to get riled up about these kinds of comments very easily.  Though looking back on it it probably said more about the other boys insecurities, and they probably kept doing it because they were trying to get me riled up.  I came close a few times to beating the best 3pt shooter on the team in practice in the 3pt shooting contests, but when it came to the games I sat on the bench most of the time and really was just there because I loved the game.  So I put up with there crap and sucked it up to be a part of the team and game I loved.  My senior year I was running sprints and on my last few 400 meters I was in excruciating pain, but at the time we as runners are taught to run through the cramps and the pain and it generally goes away.  Come to find out the next morning I had torn most of the muscles in my lower back and then had to come up and down stairs sideways and prefered to walk backwards when ever I could until it healed.  Needless to say I didn't play basketball my senior year.

      Now back to my family, all these events and things that were going on made my life very busy, I think both of my brothers looked up to me as a pillar of strength.  However I wasn't as strong inside as I pretended to be on the outside.  I was terribly disappointed in my father for his bad decisions surrounding his first girlfriend, the drugs, drinking and we had to see him once in the hospital with a tube coming out of his chest because he had a collapsed lung.  Of course this didn't stop him from smoking, and of course he never showed up to any of my games or cross country meets.  And after years of watching him slowly kill himself, today when you talk to him he says 'Honestly, I didn't expect to live this long.'  Great mentor? Not!  I guess he lived life like it was one long party, and probably hated himself so much that he would have rather drowned his sorrows in the numbness of the drugs and alcohol.  I guess that is his choice on how to live life, but unfortunate for him he is missing out on a lot of the important things.  I also get the feeling that he's a bit conceted as he never will call me or my brothers, and always has had an attitude of 'if they want to talk to me they will call me.'  Again, his loss, not mine.

      So, high school graduation came, and my father was moving to Wisconsin, so I decided to give him one last chance to connect with me on some level and went with him to stay for the summer before I started college.  We had quite the adventure driving half way across the country, we stopped in Michigan so I could go to a one day orientation before school started on our way out, so we spent the night there.  But we had left at 10pm at night and I remember driving on the New York freeway watching the sun come up, it was quite the sight.  We spent the night in a hotel in Michigan, I went to orientation and then we finished our trip to Wisconsin.  We got there and my father was unemployed so I did get to spend a decent amount of time with him, but he tended to talk about himself all the time and how he thought things should be.  Granted he had some good ideas, and was pretty smart, but if you look at the body of his life he wasted his opportunities and did not use his full potential.  So, that summer made my father a little more human, but at the same time I just felt sad for him.  My half-brother I spent a lot of time with, he looked up to me as well, though he was a brat for a while, mostly I think because his mother would cave and give him what he wanted.  But from what I see of his decisions now, he seems to be growing up alright, and seems like a decent human being, my half-brother that is.  Of course I haven't visited for a long time, and what I see of my half-brother is mostly through facebook.  My father proposed to his girlfriend that summer, she said yes, but honestly I don't know that they have ever actually gotten married.  They still live together, but I don't get the impression that it is a happy existance.  So once again I am left feeling sorry for my father, who can't find happiness, who regrets his mistakes, but in the end who is either so self-centered or depressed that he doesn't do anything to try to make things right.

to be continued ...
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