“JEFF, WE WANT YOU BACK”

So there I was, minding my own business browsing through my e-mail, guard down and this pops up:

“Jeff, we want you back.”

I don’t know why this affected me like it did…but it went through me like a bolt of lightning. It made me sad for a moment.

It has been nearly 2 months since my name was legally changed to Leslie and much longer since I’ve used Jeff on any but the most formal of legal documents, so I have grown accustomed to seeing Leslie on pretty much everything. All of my friends call me Leslie, even my ex-wife does. So it was a bit of a surprise to see this pop up in my e-mail box.

The message was from Sports Illustrated. They want me to subscribe again.

I had been a subscriber for about 20 years or so. I like the magazine and used to read it religiously. I don’t any more. I still like it, but the one magazine I pay to receive is Glamour. I guess a few things have changed.

Back to the message though – although it was an outdated, automated effort at building subscriptions for a corporate giant, it seemed to me like a quiet plea from those people in my life that I have hurt by my decision to transition.

“Jeff, we want you back.”

To those who miss Jeff, I understand your sense of loss. Jeff was a good friend & loyal co-worker. Jeff was a good guy, but Jeff isn’t coming back. Jeff has left the building. He gave it his best shot for as long as he could…but in the end the gender disphoria claimed him.  He truly loved his family and truth be told, he never stopped loving his wife. He just couldn’t be the man she wanted him to be. Needed him to be.

Leslie has claimed Jeff’s body and has done extensive renovations. The upstairs are pretty far along while the downstairs needs a makeover, especially the tool department. The torment Jeff experienced for so many years is gone now. Those of you who loved and cared for him should take comfort in that. Leslie is so very happy to be free – to just BE. She loves being a woman and treasures every single moment.

Every day brings something new to explore or experience. Yes, there are occasional winks of time where a wave of “what have I done?” will wash over me – but those are momentary. Countered by objective questions like: “Well, would you go back?” The answer is always the same. “Impossible.” There is no turning back. These moments aren’t doubt – just echoes. I wore Jeff’s clothes a long time. Just suddenly swapping out Jockey shorts for Maidenform Panties one day doesn’t a transition make. It’s been a process – sometimes slowly but always forward.

“Jeff, we want you back.”

I’m sorry S.I. – friends and loved ones, but that ship has sailed. Jeff has lived his life and stepped aside to permit Leslie’s light to shine and she is going to dance in that light for as long as she can. With love and compassion and pure unfiltered joy. Leslie is so grateful for every single day. She’s waited a lifetime for this.

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