I've been exploring my past. In this third and final chapter, I look back and wrap up the long melodrama that was my first love.
Chapter 2 left off with my senior year ending and the world was full of possibilities. But, let me jump back real quick. In the previous posts I mentioned the various fun things Adam and I would do, mostly involving tv and video games. Or shopping. Those kinds of things. I'd also watch him work on cars in his garage. Sometimes we'd be with our friend group heading to a diner to see some band play. Or have bonfires out in his backyard. One thing we'd do every year was attend this street festival in the city, and it would be this amazing event where so many different communities would come together and sell art and play live music. They'd block a big section of the road and we'd all just walk around taking everything in.
One particular year there was a live performance on top of this leather bar. And blaring from the speakers was the 4 Non Blondes, "What's Going On." I love that song, so I wanted to watch and see what was about to happen. Well, this statuesque trans woman dressed in a glittery one piece in red, white, and blue was up there dancing and waving the American flag in one hand and a Pride flag in the other. She looked like a super hero, and the crowd was cheering and yelling.
There was a group of dancers with her on the roof of this leather bar, and they were tossing items out into the crowd, like beaded necklaces. I looked at her, and I thought to myself, "I want to be on a stage like that." Maybe not the roof of a bar, but certainly under some kind of spotlight that wasn't the hot sun, dressed in some kind of finery commanding the attention of everyone. Like, the good kind of attention.
I could command attention, but it was usually negative in nature. I just really wanted to be fabulous. I'd joke with Adam that I wanted to grow up and be the kind of woman that men put posters of on their walls. I wanted to be Tawny Kitaen, hopping over the hoods of cars. On a side note, when I was little I'd watch that Whitesnake music video and I'd jump on my parent's coffee table pretending it was the hood of a car, and I'd just dance and spin, shake and rattle my head all over the place. Do pretend cartwheels. You know the kind, where you lift your arms up and pretend you are cartwheeling when in reality you are just making wind noises. I was a mess as a kid. Like, a damn mess.
Anyways, after high school I went to a community college. Most of my friends went to larger universities, and in some ways judged me for going to a community college. This was a bit of a shock to me, and one that would be a sign of many changes with my friends. I was put off by larger universities, partly due to the size of people attending but mostly the price. However my dad and I worked together to make my college experience happen. I was the first one in my family to attend college. It was a big deal.
That summer before college started I found myself losing the closeness I had with my friends. Adam and I were constantly getting involved in some argument and not speaking to one another for a few days. I'd become incredibly petty and not answer his calls or I'd ignore him at group events. I was becoming tired of the back and forth between us. One minute he'd tell me I was his soulmate and the next he'd say that the only things in life he truly cared about were girls and cars. He'd come over and want to wrestle with me and it would soon become a one sided sexual moment. Sometimes there would be no sexual moment and I'd try to throw myself at him, which was always horribly desperate. He'd leave and I'd just kick myself.
But then there were those moments that would confuse me. He'd always think of me on Valentine's Day with a sweet flower or other thoughtful gift. He'd come up to work with a Christmas present to surprise me. I'd mentioned before, but on my birthdays he was always trying to make it memorable. Adam and I had been on the phone one night during a thunderstorm, and we both heard the loudest crack of thunder ever, and he said to me, "That was our thunder. From now on, whenever we hear thunder it's ours." There was this romantic and poetic side of him that I just could not make sense of. We also agreed on the really big things, like squeezing toothpaste from the bottom to the top.
I became deeply insecure that summer and slowly grew into my anger. Like, seething star eating Dark Phoenix level anger. I hated the mixed messages from Adam. The way he'd dangle a carrot over my head frustrated me beyond belief. Meanwhile my group of friends were changing. We were all changing. They were getting together for parties and hanging out. I wasn't always invited or made aware of what was going on, whereas before they'd let me know to come along. I don't know exactly what it was, but it played on my mind and I just began to simmer more and more.
I also noticed that while my high school friends supported who I was, their support seemed off. Originally how I dressed and looked was ok, something cool and fun, but as we entered into the college years, there were more opinions about how I looked. Like I was making a mockery of women. Like I was some joke and the joke had gone on long enough. There would be comments questioning when I would possibly move past this "phase" of being girly and wearing clothes from the juniors department. "You're not a real woman M. What kind of real job are you going to get looking like this? Why can't you just be happy being a guy? If you worked out more and built some muscle, I think guys would want you." I was either not man enough or not woman enough, I was never just enough. For anyone. I don't think it was ever from a place of hatred, but it hurt. Some of my girlfriends also started dating guys that were not cool with me being around. I was certainly viewed as the other.
My understanding of who I was also lacked a lot of terminology. I wasn't sure where I fit. Was I just a very feminine gay guy? Was I a transsexual? Was I something that transcended anything that this planet had ever seen before? I had no idea, because nothing truly felt like the glass slipper. I could see the gay slipper fitting, because I was attracted to men and had been born male. I could also see how the transsexual slipper was great and even perfect, but I looked nothing like the trans women I was becoming friends with online in chat rooms and such. I felt like I was fully out of my league. So, I just began to see myself as me, and that at some point the pieces would fit.
But yeah, lots of anger at this time. I felt so incredibly alone. For some insane reason I believed that if I could find the love of a good man everything would fall into place and be perfect. I wanted that man to be Adam, but I was 18 and finally had access to a computer so I was buzzing in and out of transgender chat rooms flirting and making plans to meet all these men who were desperate to explore their own sexual thrills and chills with a girl like me.
This section could totally be it's own post, so I won't go into details, but I will say that I dated, met up, hooked up, whatever you want to call it, I dazzled my way across the city with so many men. And some men from other cities and states that really wanted to meet me. I just knew one would see how special I was and never let me go. There was a seductive quality in thinking that there would be some knight in shining armor ready to swoop in and love me, helping to heal all my hurt.
At this time I was also growing antsy about my body and the way it was developing. I knew time was not on my side. I was not a biological female so estrogen was not in some natural abundance in my body. While I was not destined to have some hulked out ripped physique, I knew I wanted more curves. Some hips. I wanted breasts. I wanted to have my insides match my outsides as much as possible. I know that must sound silly, like the plot of some sci-fi show, but I don't know any other way to explain it. I was super skinny with no shape and my dysphoria was at an all time high.
Unsure where to even begin with hormone replacement therapy, I decided that buying Estroven, an over the counter plant based estrogen supplement for menopausal women would maybe do the trick. I was taking those Estroven pills and thinking they were just gonna transform my body and all would be well with the world. Lord, I was so damn clueless. Those pills did nothing, but when I tell you I kept looking for breast growth like you would not believe. I just knew at some point I was going to develop and feel that anxiety about my body lift away.
I'd remark to Adam, "I think I am an A-Cup right now. What do you think?" He'd look at me and just sigh, "M, I don't see anything." I was the epitome of a hot damn mess.
During those beginning years in college, Adam began to talk to this girl. Her name was Ella and she was so sweet. They liked each other and she was ready to be his girlfriend. Adam on the other hand was a little unsure. I hated her, and I hated myself for feeling that way. She was incredibly sweet. When we would hang out together I was always nice. She never, to my knowledge, knew about the complicated connection between Adam and me, but it was certainly something that hung in the air.
One night Adam and I were on the phone. We got on the subject of our song, The Beach Boys "God Only Knows" and I explained that it could no longer be our song. It was a song meant for me and my soulmate. I was trying to create a conversation that would lead to us breaking away from the dynamic we had created between each other. It was unhealthy for me to be so in love with a man that had a very complicated view of who I was in his life. Adam was surprised and admitted that he thought I was his soulmate. That he and I connected in a way unlike any other person he had met.
I broke down. The direction of the conversation shifted. I soon found myself pouring my heart out to him. Detailing how I believed he was my soulmate as well, how he was the only man that had made me feel truly happy. "Adam, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Our lives are like a movie, the audience would be rooting for us to be together! We both agree that we are soulmates!"
"M, does our movie end in tragedy or with a happy ending?"
I had to fight back tears, because no matter how I felt in that moment and how honest we were being, I knew a terrible truth, "Our movie wouldn't end with us running off into the sunset or me sitting on a boat with an umbrella while you paddle us across a lake. You'll meet a woman who will meet your requirements, because I know I do not. You'll get married, have kids. I'll work hard and find some job that will suit me while trying to find someone. I'll eventually grow old and cake my makeup on too much and scare people in the neighborhood while dancing to soulmate songs." I was obsessed with Ms. Havisham from Great Expectations, and I just knew some variation of a Havisham live was in store for me. You couldn't tell me any different.
He asked me to hold on for a moment, "Ella is here. She just got here. We can continue to talk though."
I could only sigh. We hung up, and again, I was questioning just what the hell I was doing with my life. I felt so out of control with everything. I just needed my anger to go away. I was tired of being so hateful and having such an attitude with everyone. I wanted to be in a different place in my life. College would help with that.
I loved my college experience. It was like a fresh new start. No one knew who I was. I was beginning to look more and more cis assuming. I was able to just blend in and have a normal experience as a college student.
I'd meet one of my life long best friends. Glo. She and I just hit it off perfectly. We had a few classes together and we admired each other's fashion sense, but we also enjoyed the same soap operas and we both had a longing to meet the perfect guy. She and I had similar goals in life, to work hard, settle down with a dreamy guy, have kids. All of that. She also instantly accepted and understood who I was. There was never a pause, it was just easy. She'd use she/her pronouns. "M, I don't care what body you were born with, I just can't imagine referring to you as a guy. Anyone who doesn't get it just needs to spend a moment with you and it all makes sense. We're sisters, and I'll fight anyone who tries to say otherwise." Below are some photos of Glo and me, spanning our wonderful 20 year friendship.
There were other friends I met along the way, especially friends who belonged to the queer community and they had a better understanding of who I was and the process I was going through. I have so many wonderful stories about this time in my life. It wasn't all me being a hateful grody bitch. I was going out and having fun too!
Ella and Adam would not come to be. There was another woman, Samantha, in his life who was waiting in the wings. If Ella had been sweet and kind like a Disney Princess, Samantha was the exact opposite. She was worn leather and spiked studs and life was nothing but a bar fight to her. Bad ass was too weak of a word to describe her. She also hated me. She knew about the connection between Adam and me and the sexual nature of our relationship. I was public enemy number one. While it would be awhile before they became a true blue couple, Adam and I continued our up, down, and all around dance we did.
Then there was the night that changed everything. Glo and I had stopped by Adam's. He had invited us because he wanted to see me and I was already hanging out with Glo looking for something to do and I was not about to ditch her for him. Once we got there I immediately could tell something was off. He kept hugging me and telling Glo how great I was. He had a bit to drink, and while he was not drunk, he had a buzz going on and was more open about his feelings.
It got late. Glo and I needed to leave, her car was at my house. "Girl, what's up with your friend? He was all over you." I could only shrug, "He and I have a complicated thing. I don't even know what you would call it. It's been this way for five years." Glo shook her head, "Well, he needs to figure his shit out." That was the damn truth.
After Glo left, I walked into my house ready to go to bed. I sent a text to Adam, making sure he was ok. He had been weird. I had been around him plenty of times when he had been drinking, he had never been like this. He quickly called me, "What are you doing?"
I sighed, "Getting ready for bed." Adam groaned, "No. You need to come back over here."
"Adam! It's 1:30am! I need to be in bed." Adam groaned again, "Come on. Please. We don't see each other that much anymore and I want you here. You can stay the night if it is too late." I wasn't sure about staying the night, but I decided to head back to his place. Now dear reader, this is the part of the story where I should have stayed home. In my bed, falling into dream land. Instead I went to his place.
We sat on his couch, talking and laughing. He wanted to know about my new friends. What my life was like since we did not see each other that much. Then, without warning, he leaned over and kissed me. Like, a real kiss. Where his lips pressed against mine and our mouths opened. It was passionate. I felt my body become fuzzy. I had dreamt about this moment for five years. Longing to feel his lips against mine. And it was finally happening. I wanted to melt in his arms. He smelled so good. He loved to wear sandalwood, and it just smelled so good on him. The stubble on his face gave me shivers.
"Adam, what are you doing?" We looked at each other on the couch. The lights in the living room were very dim. The moon was bright that night and cast a night hue through the windows. "I'm kissing you. Don't you want to kiss me?" I nodded, "Yes, but you've never been like this. Are you sure you want to do this?" He nodded and leaned in to kiss me again. I couldn't resist. I should have. But feeling him kiss me and having our bodies so close in such a way, it was everything I had ever hoped for.
We went to his room. There was more kissing. By this point the kissing was becoming more intense, like neither of us had been able to breathe air for the longest time and suddenly our lungs were receiving much needed oxygen. It felt so good. He started to remove my clothes. I couldn't believe this was happening. There was something hanging in the air though, "Adam, are you sure? I don't think we need to be doing this. We've never been like this before."
"M, you please me all the time, I want to please you." I wouldn't say we made love that night. There was a lot we did not do, but there was so much that we did. It was the most intimate we had been with each other. We were both so incredibly vulnerable and I wasn't thinking about what would happen next. I wasn't worried about tomorrow or the day after.
Afterwards, we were quiet in his bed. I knew I had to leave. It was so late. "You can stay the night." I had never slept over at his place. Plus I had not brought a change of clothes or my contact solution, it was all just a bit too much. I've always been particular about staying the night with a man, everything must be in place. He walked me to my car and he said he'd call me later on in the day.
He didn't call me back. Feeling like something was wrong, I called him. He couldn't talk, Samantha was there with him. They were spending the day together. "I'll call you later M."
Days went by. I began to panic. I felt like a terrible person. Like I'd taken advantage of him. I feared everything was over, that I'd never talk to him again. My mind went to some pretty dark places. In terms of who I was and if I was a monster. Had this been consensual? While Adam was not black out drunk, he had been tipsy. Had he been sober, would we have even done that? I don't know. Maybe? Maybe not? I felt awful.
The phone rang one day. A week or so after that night. It was him. "Adam, I'm really sorry about the other night. I feel like what happened should not have happened."
"No. Do not feel bad. What happened was not a bad thing. I think we both liked it. It's just different. You know who you are and what you like. I'm not at that same place as you. I don't know what any of this means for me."
I wanted to make it all ok, "You don't need to know what it means. It can just be what it is."
"I know. I also know that I can't give you what you want. I like the way things are, but you want a relationship with me. And I am not there. It would take time for me to be comfortable being in a relationship with you and that's not fair to you."
What did that mean? It meant that life was complicated. Very complicated. We still stayed friends. I'd continue to sexually please him. Hoping that something would shift. That he'd change and realize he could open up to me and we could truly fall in love. I just wasn't right for him. In some ways I was, but in others, I just was never going to be enough. Soon things began to grow between Samantha and him.
They entered into a full fledged committed relationship and everything between us was forever changed. It was devastating, but I also knew I never stood a chance. And that was ok. Time would march on, like it normally does. I'd become a showgirl at a night club. I got my chance to command the attention of an audience, and they loved me. That whole moment in my life totally needs its very own post, but below are some pictures of some of my performances.
Adam went to one of my shows. I was so surprised he actually came. After the show he followed me to my dressing room. He had this intensity in his eyes, and I could tell he wanted to say something to me. The moment was cut short because another showgirl sauntered into the dressing room. She was also trans and way further along in her transition than mine. I thought I was a Jessica Rabbit, but she was the real Jessica Rabbit. She also wanted to flirt with Adam, which became a distracting thing. Especially when she slipped her dress off and was standing there, fully naked with the perfect boobs, and the moment between he and I was just over. I never found out what he wanted to say that night.
Shortly after that was my 21st birthday. He was there, with Samantha. She was nicer to me, mostly because she got him and she knew whatever we had was no longer a "now" issue and was fully left in the past. Adam knew I was obsessed with the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, so he got me all four turtles. It was the sweetest gift I received that night. Below is a picture of us from that night, it would be the last picture we ever took together.
Our friendship faded away. He'd eventually move to another state to help his mom with taking care of his ailing grandparents. I wasn't sure I could have imagined a life where he was not in it, but there I was. Living a life without him. It was so weird.
While I would never physically see him again, Adam and I would reconnect many years later. I was in my late twenties. I was married to my then husband. A great deal of my time was spent on the MattyCollector forums, I was writing this She-Ra fan fiction that people really responded to. I know fan fiction gets a bad rap, but people liked reading mine. I feel like everyone says that about their fan fiction, but whatever.
Anyways, Adam and I reconnected through social media. We started following each other. Soon we were catching up on the phone. He was absolutely delighted that I was writing. I shared the She-Ra stories with him and he was so in love with them. He wanted me to create stop motion cartoons for the stories with voices and everything. It felt like old times. We were both having fun and sharing creative ideas for these She-Ra stories. It made me realize how much I missed his friendship.
And just like that the phone calls stopped. He unfriended me on social media. I still don't know what exactly happened, but I felt thankful enough that we were able to connect once again. Looking back on my feelings for him and the story we shared, it was at times tumultuous and at other times very sweet and beautiful. I regret my impatience and my anger towards him. Looking back, I know he was struggling with what it meant having me in his life. Sometimes I wonder if he was just using me, or was I using him? I don't think so. I hope not. He was my first love. I experienced so much about what love could feel like but I also learned about who I was and what I was deserving of. To be honest, at the ending of my thirties, I am still trying to figure that out. I hope he is doing well though, and that he might think about me every now and then. Maybe when it thunders or if he hears those opening notes to "God Only Knows" though it's ok if he doesn't think of me at all. That's just how life is, right?
I still am not sure why I wanted to share this story. I think I needed to revisit it for myself. But I also think stories like this need to be shared. The world needs to know more about the experiences that women and men of trans experience go through. While it may appear that there is not much common to be had with a story like this, I like to think that at its core, it is a relatable experience that can hopefully show how similar we all are in our loves and heartaches.
Before I wrap this saga of my first love up, I failed to mention one last song that was incredibly important to me during this time. Adam and I may have shared a song, but Fiona Apple's "Love Ridden" was my own personal song that really captured our story from beginning to end. From the piece about wishing for that special someone over birthday candles to finally having enough of the drama and eventually seeing that closeness fade away into just a wave. It really sums that time up perfectly. If you get a chance to listen to it, I highly suggest checking it out.
Well, that's it dear reader! Thank you for taking the time to read this. It's a lot, but I appreciate you for reading it all. I'll be sharing more stories soon, so never go too far! Hugs to you all!