Now, I truly AM going home.

Here I sit… in an old, familiar room — 8 years I’ve lived in this very room now, and many, many more before that in other rooms in this same house over the last twenty years or more.  I’ve lived with my family — my mother, the kind soul who labored long and hard to raise me right, to do all she could to see me happy.

My dad, who has given so much more than I think I’ll ever know for me, worked countless hours at dozens of jobs to provide for my needs — and just as often for my selfish wants and whims.

My eldest brother — though I may have been the target on occasion of his wit and mischief, he has a kind and loving heart, and I miss not seeing him much anymore.

My next-older brother — musically gifted, and how I looked up to him as we grew up together… “My brother is in a band!  They’re awesome, they sound just like Depeche Mode, except BETTER!” — and how I wanted to hang out with all his friends, because they were just soooo cool!

My next-younger sister —  At times shy, but never afraid to speak what you truly feel, and your smile brought joy to my life so very many times.  That petite body hides a heart bigger than it seems there could be room for.  I know you will be a light for good wherever you go, and your love will touch the life of your child from the day he is born.

My youngest sister — We have certainly had difficult times between us, and I know I far too often maliciously manipulated you to anger, to sadness, and started many fights with you… It hurts to think that for so many years I missed out on a great friendship because I was too busy making both of us cry.  But I will never forget the countless times that we sat and talked for hours, about anything, everything, and nothing — I have learned more from you in five minutes of discussion than I frequently did in an entire year of classes at school… and I learned much more than facts and figures.  I learned about life, friendship, family, love, and how to express an opinion or thought from my heart, even if it wasn’t the same thing everyone else agreed with.  You are a hero to me, a role model and a person that I very much admire.

My family.  They truly are, and always will be mine — no matter where I go, who I know myself to be, throughout the years to come and perhaps forever, however long forever may be — and I will be theirs.  I know they love me, whether those words are spoken or not, and wish me only happiness in life.  I hope someday they can understand that my choices have indeed brought me happiness — that despite the teachings of their faith, it is possible to be truly happy without following every commandment handed down from God, that my acceptance of the woman I am will not bring me suffering and sorrow simply because God has said that my spirit was a boy before I chose to come to this earth, that I was born to this body exactly as I should have been, and that I am just a lost and confused son who would be welcome to return home to Him at any time — all I need to do is forsake my sins, deny the urges of the flesh, and accept that I am a loved child of God.

So, with all that said — on to the big news, for those who have not yet heard: I’m moving out.  I found a place to rent in Vallejo for $500 a month, including utilities, and I move in literally as soon as I can pack everything up and get it down the road.  The lady of the house is an adorable Philipino woman named [note: name redacted] — but she goes by [note: name redacted]  I have my own room, bed provided even, and space for most of the things I might wish to keep in there, including my computer desk… and there’s connections for that along with internet right in the room.  The other members of the household are an older gentleman whom I have not yet met; he’s a war veteran, but much more than that I don’t yet know… also [note: name redacted]‘s 13-year-old son, and from what I gather, one of her daughters stays there from time to time as well.  I have full kitchen access, use of the enormous living room, and the bus stop is literally just two houses down to the end of the block, or going the other way, is across the street in the same direction.

It was a truly beautiful thing to spend most of the day out and around Fairfield and Vallejo as Sophia on the outside… and felt delightful, in a kind of odd way, when I had to work to convince [note: name redacted] that my California ID with a picture of [note: old full legal name] really was my identification card — “Wait, is that your dad?”  Then again later, going out to lunch with RPJ and [note: name redacted], the charming sound of “And for you, Miss?” from our server… though I know I must have looked awkward, with my rice-stuffed breasts out of place, my only halfway-decent feminine outfit with a stretched and sagging collar, and of course, my quite masculine haircut — even so, [note: name redacted] addressed me directly as “Miss” easily 3 or 4 times over the course of our meal, with one exception where she said “Sir” — and I thank and applaud her for being so kind.  She made a difference to an already joyous day, and I hope that in making another person happy, she found happiness herself.

Still, with as happy as I am to be walking on my own, I think any child feels a sense of loss and sadness when leaving the nest for the first time; I only hope that when I walk away, it will be a parting with love and not a severing of ties that ought never to be broken.

Wow.  I’ll certainly have a LOT to tell my doctor when I see her this Thursday, though!  I’ve gone from being okay with the guy I was, living with my folks, complaining about how I felt I’d never move on, never accomplish anything… gone from that to a confident young woman, moving out, working towards truly standing on my own.

“All it takes is finding the right motivation, finding it for yourself — because nothing anyone else can do will make YOU want to do something.  Once you find that drive within yourself, once you desire that change, you can do anything you need to do.”  I’ve given words of advice quite similar to those to many people before, and I know them to be true… and I am so very glad that I found my motivation.

I am happy.  I am fearless.  I am strong…..

And I am Sophia.  Every day, from this day forward, I am Sophia.

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