and I’m a real pain for my sham friends.
Let’s all stop and give thanks for our families and good friends that have gone above and beyond for us wretched people and yet we’re all wretched people when we stop and think about it, right?
I was talking on the phone with a friend a few nights ago…
Stop me if if you’ve heard that one before but I doubt you’ve heard this one, so here goes…
Let’s set the stage for a minute: I have a friend of whom I consider a good one because we’re not directly involved in each other’s lives. For a long time, he lived on the west coast and since neither he nor I had the time or money to meet up and hang out together, we’ve had to rely on the phone for our communications. I think it’s worked out better this way as there’s really something to once personally knowing someone but then having to work to keep up the friendship by hearing our separate disembodied voices periodically. Distance apart has only helped us to work to make us closer.
I don’t check in with Brook on a daily basis as there is no need for that. He’s got his life and I’ve got mine and we’re often to busy doing our own things to care but every now and then it’s good to catch up with him and talk about life in general. I think friendships like that are very important because while we don’t care about the daily life, we do care enough to make the effort to keep it going.
Brook and I first met about 12 years ago and we met through a then mutual friend named Chris who is no longer because we all make choices in our lives which also includes who we choose to remain friends with and those who we don’t and he happens to be one of the latter. Chris and I began our friendship in late 1980.
Funny how nothing but the memories remain sometimes, isn’t it? The dateline was December 1980; my family had just moved to a new place called Centerville, Ohio. My dad worked for TV Travel during those years. It was a corporate job and my dad was one of the rising stars of the company. While I didn’t make the connection at the time because I was only 5, apparently, dad worked for the travel division of Top Value Enterprises. Sounds kind of generic doesn’t it? Maybe that’s the way we like it…the company has such a common name that you can’t tie them to anything because it’s so ambiguous. If anyone out there actually worked for Top Value Enterprises, please feel free to write me here and tell your story.
This isn’t about corporate though; It’s about connections. My family had just moved to a new city and we’re looking to find friends. I have a memory of being told that someone at dad’s company was having a Christmas party and the host had a son that was my age and liked football cards too. There wasn’t any question about it. Chris’s parents and my parents had decided that we were going to be friends so that meant that they also decided that they we were going to be friends too and so it was.
Times were different back then but they eventually changed as does life. While there’s plenty to say about those times, I’ll hit the fast forward button about 10 years. Chris and I remained friends as did our families. TVE had just about run it’s course in business and times were changing. Years earlier Chris’ father took a better job with Western Airlines while my dad stayed with TV Travel which had a pretty good thing going on with Eastern Airlines. Western got eaten up by Delta and Eastern filed for bankruptcy and went out of business.
On a personal side note, I really miss Eastern Airlines because they always made the experience of flying with them feel special. When I was younger, they were my family’s preferred carrier. My dad always booked his clients on their airline because they provided great service and through that relationship, my family flew with them almost exclusively without charge and upgraded to First Class when possible which was most of the time. I maybe didn’t fully appreciate it back then because every time my family went on a trip, I had to get dressed up in a mini business suit which I hated. While I hated it and felt very uncomfortable, I did it because that was expected of me as I was a representative of a company that was flying non-revenue. I saw the people filing into coach wearing jeans and t-shirts and I longed to be as comfortable as them. How come they could do that but I couldn’t?
After many years, I’ve come to realize that your average airplane is nothing more than a bus with wings but back then, flying was still a privilege that was reserved for people who had done better in life. When I look back on those days, I can see how privileged I was. I sat in first class, they gave me a pillow, blanket, headphones, a deck of playing cards, and a pair of gold wings pinned on me by a beautiful woman in a navy blue uniform, stockings and high heels…and they were called stewardesses back then; whatever happened to those days? I guess that’s just a memory of days gone by and when I think about those days, I probably logged more air miles that really mattered than most of us will ever know. Has it been a privileged life? I’d say undoubtedly yes but please don’t hate me because of it. Either way, I’ve always had this feeling that my family played an instrumental role in bankrupting Eastern Airlines because we didn’t have to buy the cow; they gave us the milk for free.
See that? I just at checked my privilege. That, in theory, should make some of us happier while also making some more of us hate me even more. If you’re part of the second group then all I can say is FUCK YOU! You haven’t lived my life nor have I lived yours. These days it seems like far too many people feel like they deserve an apology for the way that the world has treated them because of the hand that was dealt to them. I’ve said it before and I’lI say it again: if life was supposed to be fair, then it would be called fair and we’d all be equal. Life doesn’t work that way and some of us are just born with a better hand. I will never apologize for something that that I never had any control over.
I’m not ashamed to admit that so far, my life has been great. It’s not my fault that I was born the way I am nor is it anyone else’s fault for their circumstances. When I take the time to reflect of this, while my life might sound pretty great…and it is, trust me, you wouldn’t want to spend a day in my shoes even if they were my comfortable black flats that I seem to wear almost exclusively. Sure I have many other pairs of shoes as most women do but for the day to day stuff, it’s black flats all the way but I digress.
My family worked hard, played by the rules and pursued their American Dream; but on the other hand, I wasn’t born to them. My parents just wanted to have children but couldn’t and my birth parents had me but either couldn’t or wouldn’t take on the responsibility of taking care of me. While that part of my story has caused me great stress and emotional pain, in the end, there’s nothing I can ever do to change that so a level of acceptance needed to be reached and I think it finally is starting to get there. It’s tragic that it only took me 40 years to get there.
Anyway, back to the story: Chris and I would see each other periodically through the years and we were always trying to stay out of trouble while doing things that we probably shouldn’t have been doing like making fake ID’s so we we could buy beer and cigarettes. Somehow as we got older, our friendship revolved around our ability and desire to try and get as messed up as we could through the use of chemistry. That behavior continued for many years. In hindsight, something like getting high on Scotchgard was a pretty dumb idea but we were were just kids back then. Eventually, we all grow up; ok, maybe not all of us but most of us or maybe just some of us, but then again maybe none of us do and it’s just our bodies that get older…I’m 100% certain that the answer just might lie somewhere in that statement, maybe, but who knows anything for sure, right?
When I take the time to deeply reflect on my life so far, there’s been a lot of memories, many good, but so many more bad that got me where I am today. Sometimes I think it’s just better to focus on the good ones and block out the bad ones. As I’m 40 years old, I’ve seen a lot as I think everyone who reaches this age has. As Brook and I continued or conversation long into the night, eventually we circled it back around and had the discussion about how it is he and I actually have come to know one another and why we’re opting to continue the friendship.
Throughout this particular talk, the theme of putting your friends in boxes seemed to keep coming up. Many of us will disagree and say that putting people in boxes is wrong but to them, I’ll say that sometimes is necessary.
It started as an inside joke but now it’s really true. This picture was taken months ago under different circumstances but as time has gone by, this person has since been put in a box.
Years ago when I was trying to be someone else, Chris and I were really good friends and without him, Brook and I never would have met. A little over 5 years ago, what I would categorize as the worst kind of depression reared its ugly head and hit me as hard as one could possibly be hit. In 2010, I reached a new low and I had to confront the fact that I basically had 2 options: start reconstruction and begin living authentically or figure out the most painless and effective way to stop living.
I don’t think there was really an option at all. I thought about the many ways I could have achieved one of the options and almost decided on running a garden hose from the tailpipe into the cabin and just letting the motor run but then again, that really didn’t sound that appealing. I guess the real reason I did not pursue that option was the fear of failing.
If anyone reading this finds it relevant to your situation, please find some help as suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. All hope may seem lost now but life can change in an instant so just don’t do it. There are people out there that will step up and help if you need it and if you can’t find them, give me a call and I’ll do my best to change your mind provided that you catch me on a good day.
I could make cheap jokes about suicide all day long if I wanted to, but it’s a serious topic that affects transsexual people in proportionately much higher numbers than those of the rest of the population. Perhaps the only reason that I never attempted it was the fear of failing, yet again, I suppose if I really tried to do it and didn’t succeed I’d have to live with the fact that I couldn’t even do that right.
I’ve never talked about this to anyone back then because I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. I also never talked to anyone back then about my gender dysphoria either. Either way, that’s my own problem and not yours. Throughout the years, I’ve tried to build relationships that could stand the test of time and yet they fail.
Why does this keep happening? I can’t answer that question…but I’ll give it a shot.
Sometimes, people come into our lives for a reason and then something happens and they’re gone. How many true friends would you say that you have? Personally, I don’t have many and that is by choice. So many times (this year alone has been a banner year) I’ve met someone, we get really close but inevitably it’s time to part ways. Why does this happen? I really can’t answer that. Perhaps it’s a clash of our personalities or maybe it’s their politics or their lack of personal policies, or maybe it’s simply something else entirely. I really have no answer to why this keeps happening.
As Brook and I continued to talk, the subject of Chris came up as although I haven’t talked to him in many years, he still harbors great resentment towards me. Last month I was on my way down south, made a stop in Atlanta and we got together. As I have no reason to hide any communication that I have with him, I told my parents that we were getting together. Since my parents still maintain a friendship with Chris’s parents, news of our meeting got back to him.
A few days later, Chris called up Brook and the conversation went something like this from what I’ve heard:
Chris: Brook, is there something that I need to know?
B: Chris, what are you talking about?
C: Is there something that you need to tell me?
B: I have no idea what you’re talking about. What’s this all about?
C: well, my mom said that she heard you just met up with Cyndi and…
Now, I’m not sure what reaction I’d have if someone called me up and immediately started interrogating me but if it did happen, I doubt I’d have been as diplomatic as Brook. After he told me this, I’m not exactly sure of how their conversation went exactly verbatim afterwards but the major issue that Chris had was that Brook and I have continued to talk over the years and apparently we were doing this behind his back. Chris continued to lay into Brook for about 10 minutes of nothing but stating how much of an asshole I am, how I am beyond the lowest life form on the planet, how much I apparently screwed him and his family over and if that’s not enough, how the manner in which I pursue happiness is completely, totally and utterly wrong. I listened to Brook recount this for about an hour. I have to say that after you listen to something like that for that long, it really makes you feel good about yourself.
Chris and I had been friends for almost 30 years but I guess that that’s not enough time to really get to know someone sometimes. It was never a perfect friendship as we had some serious disagreements over the years, but we did our best to make up and keep the peace.
I’ll never forget the exact time when My wife Kristi and I got together and fell in love. Kristi was his aunt and one time when we all got together, Chris passed out and left Kristi and I to our own devices. All it took was the exact right time, the exact right place and a kiss and it was game over for her and yours truly…well, that is to say me in my former incarnation.
It was December 27, 1997 that Kristi and I first began our relationship. In the beginning, it was clandestine as neither she nor I wanted to let this news out for fear of reprisal from our families even though we were already one in a roundabout kind of way. She and I knew where we were heading. All of the boxes were checked:
future goals: check
…and the list could go on and on.
There was an enormous amount of energy to that day. It was a chemical reaction of the highest order. She and I could have powered a large city with that amount of voltage and amperage because something just shy of nuclear fusion took place that day…she and I became one and whenever two particles collide and become one, energy is created. Despite that, Kristi and I felt hat we needed to keep this a secret for a little while as not to disturb the environment. I’d like to say that we had a full environmental impact report prepared but we did not. Our plan was simply to build on our own thing and when we felt comfortable, tell the rest of our families how it was going to be. The thought of sending this to committee never once crossed our minds.
Hey, look! A cooling tower!
After a few months, I told my Mom and Dad that Kristi and I were “dating” which was putting it lightly. Kristi’s mother had died a few years earlier but she told her father that her new boyfriend was coming over and that we had previously met. Al was surprisingly cool with this. He knew that he was powerless to stop this so he accepted it and welcomed me into his family…although I kind of was already in a sense.
While Kristi and I had to play the proverbial game for a while, there was one person who felt most slighted and that was Chris. Kristi was his aunt and although she was 15 years older than both him and me, Chris seemed to think he had some moral obligation of being the first son of the first son of the first son to keep the family name pure.
I’m sure that in Germany many people carry the surname of Klattenhofer which means; you know, I don’t really know what it means either and it really doesn’t matter now, does it? Truth is, when his ancestors moved to America, they shortened the name as not to be so ethnic. I’m pretty sure the Prybers did as well and I know for sure that the Will family did because my mother (of whom I’m the first born of the first born of the first born daughter) told me so in one of the very few communications that I’ve had with that woman who’s name is Marian Anita Will of Oak Park, Illinois, born 1954 Lawton, Oklahoma, daughter of David and Margaret Will in case you wanted to know. The Illinois Department of Vital Records refuses to confirm or deny this fact but that’s where I came from and this fact is undisputed.
So it’s now many days after Thanksgiving and the kickoff to the holiday season formerly known as Christmas time but these days we’re not supposed to mention Christmas because it might offend a lot of people who don’t celebrate has passed. I suppose I’ll touch on that soon enough but it’s not time for that right now because we’re about midway (MDW) through the season and the Monsters of the Midway otherwise known as Da Bears began preparing for hibernation way back in September and should just give up and go into full hibernation as we don’t want Derrick Rose err, I mean Jay Cutler to get hurt again. and I’m still trying to figure out what exactly that I’m thankful for.
So here we are and the official kickoff to the winter season festivities have only just begun and winter doesn’t even begin for another 22 days or so. Kind of funny how this is all based on the Christian Calendar of which many Americans follow but feel like they’re under attack because we feel the need to perpetuate the story that the Romans hold the key to the faith because we all know they were so great and that’s why their great civilization lasted about 250 years before it’s decline. Wait a minute…America has been a country now for about 230 years; the signs are out there and we’re due for a collapse. I’ve got a rudimentary understanding of history, how about you?
This car just pulled up a few minutes ago but this car represents the opposition. While a few years old and the GOP has rendered him a heretic, Congressman Ron Paul never really was because he represented the extreme right of the party which is the Libertarians but we all know there’s no place for a third party just like there’s no place for a third sex, of which many of the third sexed are ultra liberal, which has absolutely nothing to do with libertarianism, and of which I abhor because I judge people on an asshole by asshole basis as I think we all should!
Editors Note: while I believe in many of the ideas of the father (Ron Paul) I cannot endorse those of the son (Rand Paul) as he is currently, although a longshot, an opponent of mine. As we should know by know, I am competing for the same job as are about a dozen others who call themselves Republican Candidates therefore I cannot say anything that would push your support towards any of them. I am not a Republican Candidate, I am Independent and I am committed to this endeavor and I am in this to win this and I appreciate your support.
If I had to venture a guess I’d say that I’m most thankful that my family and the few friends that I work to maintain a relationship with are all healthy and relatively happy in life. Maybe that’s all we can really hope for? I don’t know…I’m making this up as I go along. There’s a lot to be said for faking it until you make it.
If you don’t like your station in life it’s your job to change it because no matter how many friends you think you may have, truth is, you never really know until the chips are down who your real friends are. I seem to think about this a lot and exclusive of family which are supposed to be there for you no matter what but sometimes even they piss you off, friends are held to a different standard because they are people whom you have made a choice to be involved in one another’s lives.
That said, sometimes you’ve got to compartmentalize them for your own sanity and well being. True friends are supposed to be able to disagree but those disagreements should never be so heated that you begin to question the friendship. Trust me when I say this: loosing a good friend is a lot harder than loosing a lover. I know this all to well.
Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree, take a step back and let things cool down. After a period of time, learn to forgive but don’t forget and then have that talk with your friend…you’ll be glad you did. Times like that only serve to strengthen the bond you’ve created with that person.
At current, I’ve got 3 people whom I consider to be good friends. There may be a fourth but that still remains to be seen as we try and work together on a commercial venture, knowing that you can’t mix business and pleasure or to phrase it better: don’t dip your pen in the company ink. There may even be a fifth but she’s an ex from long ago and although I know that there’s absolutely no chance at rekindling that romance, I’m not so sure about her because I suspect that she still has feelings for the person I used to be.
In classic philosophy, there is either one, two or many. I think that might make sense because today it seems like when we get to three or more, everything seems to get really hazy. Perhaps we can’t comprehend numbers greater than two and for that I blame the United States Department of Education. (I’ll defund that in a heartbeat, by the way)
Maybe three really is the magic number?
I have 3 friends that I count on to be there when I need them and they know I’m available when they need me..everyone else been put in their appropriate box.
Editors Note: this entry into the life and times of Reverend Doctor CyndiLou was originally written about a month ago and not published because we needed some time to process the facts and turn a negative into a positive, which is, at its core, all we ever hope to accomplish. I hope I’ve given you something to ponder and thank you for your consideration.