When did the lunacy begin? When did the class president of his high school junior class, a student who came within a few votes of being President of the Rosaila High School ASB, someone who represented his school at Boy’s State and was one of the scholastic leaders of his class lose direction in his life? Or is the correct question, lose direction in her life? Was alcohol to blame? Or did it begin standing at the altar on June 15, 1974 as an alcolohic crossdresser making a commitment that could never be kept? It may have begun on a bus ride home from Phoenix, Arizona as I came to realize every dream I had ever had of life as an adult had vanished. Simply would never be. But this brings us full circle as if I had not struggled with gender issues possibly I would never have taken that first drink in Yellowstone. If I had not had gender issues I might have gone into to teaching and had a happy marriage. If I had had a happy marriage, I would not have been on the bus from Phoenix.
There is no way to no for certain when the lunacy began in my life so let’s begin with the day Ann moved out of our apartment and into her own place. Without question, both alcohol and crossdressing had already played a huge role in disrupting my life. However until the day Ann moved out at the very least I always had a home, a home I could call my own. Thirty nine years have passed since then and for the most part those thirty nine years have been homeless years.
Now admittedly I never knew life living on the street without a place to sleep. I did however live in a homeless sheler in Dallas for over two years, Now one may say, ‘Well two years is by no means thrity nine years.” And that is true. But is it really a home when one is living in a motel and paying rent by the week. I lived in Minneapolis for two years and lived in a weekly rate motel the whole time. I have called about a dozen other motels home at different times in my life in Spokane, Charlotte, Denver, Dallas and Nashville. It is really a home when you are crashing with family. I have stayed with Bruce three times, Cheri twice, Mike twice and Keith twice. I have crashed in the homes of four different friends. On three occasions I had my own place but needed a roommate to help cover the rent and expenses. Finally there are all the seedy little apartments I rented that no one would ever want to call ‘home.’ If I were to tally up the months I ever stayed in some place that I truly felt of as being my home, I would be surprised if it added up to even two years. And I have not yet mentioned the half dozen or so times I say at Onion Creek with Mom between jobs and relocations.
Here is a video of where I stayed as a homeless person in Dallas. You will see lines. Essentially for two years of my life, every day at four I was standing in a line with my fingers crossedd that there would be at least one cot left when I got to the door.
In fairness to Bruce and Debbie who gave me a home five years ago, where I am now is great. I have never felt unwelcomed. It has become a home for me. However, at the same time, it is not really my home.
I am not equating homelessness with lunacy. However, the day I decided to jump on a bus out of Spokane and get as far away from Spokane as I could get was the beginning of about thirty years of crisscrossing this country trying to find something I could hold onto. To a certain extent I never found a real home because I was always just a few months from my last move and knowing it was only a short time until my next. Not only did I relocate about twenty times in thirty but I held about twenty different jobs. [Ballpark numbers but close to the actual numbers.]
I chose to address my homelessness as a key element of the lunacy of my life because for thrity years of my life it was the element of my life that was most noticeable by my family and friends and the one that caused them the most duress. Unquestionably they all saw alcohol as the cause of my frequent relocations and inability to settle down and work a steady job. However in my gut, when I am really digging deep, I know that everything that has gone wrong in my life can be traced back to decisions I made as a ten year old boy who had suddenly come to realize that he wanted to be a she. I am not saying that different choices then would have saved me from making some of the same wrong choices or new wrong choices.
Should I have reached out to my parents and seek their help? I truly feel that in the mid 1960s, they would have been as lost as I was as how to address my desires. I suspect they would have responded by getting me counseling and keeping me on a tight rope. Whatever steps they might have taken would have been ineffective. They may have delayed the fated outcome for me, but I would have found a way someday to explore my desires.
My life is what it is, it was what it was. My past cannot be changed. Hopefully however we now live in a more enlightened time and sons who begin to feel as I felt at the age of ten can find the courage to approach his/her parents who will have more extensive resources at their disposal than my parents would have had fifty years ago.