Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Is For All the Lonely People

Some of my friends have been feeling pretty lonely lately. So this is goes out to them.

We’ve all been there!

I heard that Dan Peek died the other day. Now, I have to be honest, I had no idea who Dan Peek was. But he was one of the members of the folk rock group, America. I liked their music, but I was never really a big fan. I don’t own any of their albums and I never saw them “live.” But if you grew up in the 70’s as I did, then the music of America was part of the AM radio soundtrack of your life.

I knew the songs, but I knew none of the players until Peek passed away. I probably wouldn’t have even finished reading his obit, until I came upon the fact that he had written the song, “Lonely People.” “Lonely People” was a hit song for America – but it doesn’t seem to have had the staying power of some of their other songs like “Ventura Highway” or “A Horse with No Name.”

But it sure meant a lot to me.

“Lonely People” did reach the Top Ten back in 1975. That was the year that I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school. Those were pretty interesting times for me. I’d always been a fairly popular kid in elementary school. But something went off track in junior high. All of a sudden all of the boys – who had previously hated girls – were now interested in them. Very interested. I was great at kickball and dodge ball and hide-and-go-seek. But when it came to girls, I was lost. The whole dating/flirting scene in junior high caught me completely off guard. And I was totally overwhelmed by it.

It seemed that everything I did was wrong. Or, at the very least, awkward. I was quiet when I should have spoken up. I spoke up when I should have held my tongue. I was bold when I should have hung back. And I hung back when I should have gone for it. I knew all the rules and strategies to kickball. But when it came to girls, it seemed like there were no rules. And I was completely oblivious to any strategy.

By the time I reached high school and my freshman year, I was paralyzed. Literally. I was so afraid that I might do or say the wrong thing, that I just didn’t do anything. I stopped trying. In kickball terms, I took myself out of the game and I sat myself on the bench.

Ironically, to most people, it probably seemed that I did okay in high school. I got good grades. I did well in sports. It was just in social situations that I froze up. On one occasion, I remember literally running away from a situation where I knew I was going to have to talk to a girl. All of that sports training came in handy. I ran really fast.
So while others may remember me as a pretty normal kid, I remember myself as a kid who was dying inside. A bundle of nerves. Petrified. I spent a lot of time surrounded by friends, and yet, I remember feeling very alone… and lonely.

And that’s where Dan Peek comes in. Or, at least, that’s where Dan Peek’s song comes in:

“This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by.
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup.
You never know until you try.”

Now if you’re expecting me to now write about how I heard that song and it changed my life and I began to exude a confidence and a charisma that transformed me into a regular high school Romeo, well that’s not my story. I didn’t transform. I pretty much left high school the same way I went in. Awkward. Shy. Confused. And Lonely.
But that doesn’t mean that the song didn’t help. It let me know that even though I was lonely, I wasn’t alone. That there were others like me. (And yes, even at age 14, I was already strangely feeling as though life had passed me by!)

Fortunately, I started to gain more confidence when I got to college. And when CiCi finally came around as I was turning 40 (talk about feeling as though life had passed me by!) -- my confidence really started to blossom. CiCi basically helped me to feel comfortable in my own skin – where I had once felt awkward. She helped me to speak my mind – where I once felt shy. And she somehow helped me to feel comfortable around both men and women – the same way I felt in the pre-adolescent days of my kickball youth.

So that has me wondering. Where CiCi was when I was in junior high? Or high school? Where was she hiding? Was she deep inside me? Repressed? Suppressed? And, if so, then what kind of effect did she have on me during those years? Did I already know on some level that I was gay? (I was a pretty naïve kid. I knew nothing about heterosexual sex back then. Forget about homosexual sex. I honestly don’t think I knew what “gay” really meant.)

And transgender feelings? I know I had them. Fleeting thoughts. Exciting visions. Like the other young boys I liked to look at the cute junior high school girls in their trendy fashions. It’s just that now, looking back, I realize that the other boys wanted to date those girls, while I wanted to be one of those girls. (A pretty big difference.)
Now, I have to be honest. I was talking with a few good friends of mine in the tgirl scene about our developing years. And one of my friends basically called me out. “Everyone felt awkward in junior high,” she said – maintaining that my problems weren’t caused by my transgendered nature – they were caused by my human nature. And that every kid goes through an awkward stage. Heck, many of them never grow out of them!

On some level, I suppose she was right. There aren’t too many adults running around wishing that they were 13 or 14 again. Sixteen maybe. Eighteen definitely. But not thirteen. Thirteen was tough for everyone. Transgendered or not.

So I guess I could be wrong. But I still think there was something more going on with me. More than just typical adolescent angst. It could have been a lot of things. But in my heart of hearts, I think that the prospect of facing romantic or even sexual encounters just felt wrong to me. Not because I was too young. Or too naïve. (And I was both of those.) It was like I was playing kickball again, but I didn’t know which team I was supposed to be playing for. I didn’t know who I was supposed to be rooting for.

As I write this, 36 years after “Lonely People” hit the Top Ten, I find myself in touch with tgirls all over the world. Thanks to the internet, we have an online community that would have been impossible in the 1970’s. And yet, as I chat with many of the girls, I can see that one thing from those days hasn’t changed – despite worldwide connectivity – a lot of us are still lonely.

It’s kind of ironic. A few years ago I wrote a blog called “High School 2.0.” In that blog I wrote about the parallels I saw between tgirl life and high school life. The cliques. The focus on fashion. The excitement of flirting and new romance. But when I wrote that, I don’t think I mentioned the loneliness (one of the most prevailing themes of high school life). And I must say, if you thought loneliness was bad at age 13 or 14, let me warn you. It isn’t any easier at 46. Or 53. Or 62.

Many of the girls that I have befriended – both in person and online – are older entries into the tgirl life. In other words, like me, they didn’t accept or embrace their feminine side until later in life – their late 30’s or early 40’s. Or for some, even later. And while that acceptance has been, for the most part, a positive step. It’s not without its dilemmas and difficulties. Wives or families who don’t understand. Confused sexual feelings. Mind-blowing shake-ups in our personal sense of self.

And loneliness. Once again feeling as though no one understands. Or cares. Or wants to get close to us crossdressers. And btw… just because you’re having a lot of sex, and touching a lot of people, that doesn’t mean you’re actually getting close to them. Or allowing them to get close to you. (Just ask any teenager.)

So what are we all to do, all of us lonely people? And what if there is no cure? What if loneliness is as much a part of middle age as it was a part of adolescence? There’s a scary thought for you.

When I was a kid I used to ponder that one line: “Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup.” And I always wondered what that meant. I always wondered what was in the cup.

For Dan, the songwriter, I get the feeling it was his faith. Dan Peek left America at the height of their fame in the late 1970’s. He was apparently having trouble justifying the rock-and-roll lifestyle with his developing faith. And he went on to become one of the leaders of the Christian music scene. As I understand it, he even recorded a Christian version of “Lonely People.”

Now I’m not a religious person but I have to hand it to Dan. He found something that would sustain him – even in the darkest of days. And he had the courage to claim it. To own it. And he gave up a lot of fame and money in order to fully embrace it.

Dan Peek’s silver cup was full of faith. I wonder what mine is full of? And I wonder what’s in yours.

Please don’t give up until you find out.

Take care out there.
Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy.



Kaye Whye said...

I would just like to say, I enjoy your blogs immensely. I also wanted to add, that I realized early in my teens that I was transgendered. Although I did not know what it was called, I knew what the situation was. It caused me great grief throughout my adult life, until, at around 40, I said to hell with it, and let the real me shine. I am happier now than I have ever been, even though I have not had the funds to make the necessary changes, in order to recognize my own reflection in the mirror.

Keep up the good work, and I will continue to read your blogs, when I have the chance.

Much love,
Kaye Whye

Robyn said...

My silver cup is filled with fight - the fight for t-girls’ rights to be who we freaking are! When I was a teenager, I knew who I was. Hell, I knew who I was when I was a little kid. But I was shy. I was always sitting quietly in the closet, waiting for someone else to pave the way for me, and others like me. Now, I have the courage to be who I am, despite the risks, despite who I’ve lost and who I won’t gain in the future. Now, I do what I can to fight for other t-girls, to pave the way for those who are now how I once was.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Reading your blog made me feel like it was written about me. During my Junior High School, and High School years I had extreme feelings for the girls, but I couldn't make sense of them because they weren't sexual in any way. The last thing I wanted to do was abuse the beauty of women by having sex with them. I cherished them. At the same time I found myself highly aroused by thoughts of sex with men. Needless to say I was very confused. In my 20s I had a strong urge to express myself in a female way. I started buying clothing, but felt deeply ashamed of myself. I felt embarrasment while standing at a female clothing store or department checkout counter to pay for them. I soon gave it up. Then in my late 40s the urge came even stronger. Fortunately for me the internet was of age. Now it is my career that holds me back. I'm at a point now, though, that I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks for the blog. I have come to learn that there are people who understand, maybe even better than I, about the internal conflict within us.

Lidiya A said...

Your comments are so wonderful. I felt the same ackwardness in high school and I took found myself looking at the girls but with more emotions that I never understood. It wasn't until I was in the 30's that I finally understood that I was transgendered. I still to this day wish I could have figured it out sooner because, I feel it would have made my life a little easier. I struggled through life like a cat chasing it's tail, nothing seeming to make me happy. once I found out that I was trans it's as if everything fell into place. Many changes have come, lose of family, friends, and I'm very lonely but I look forward to this new path that I have chosen. I'm happy for the most part and I know as I transition I'm only going to be happier.

Lonzo said...

CICI, I write this to say that I am a bi-sexual male. But also love to dress in womens clothing.I have been this way since as far back as I can remember.dressing in womens clothing makes me feel so warm,real,and sexy! I am still afraid of coming all the way out...Many of my friends and family are homophobes,who think to be near someone like myself would kill them. I do not have many friends of this other lifestyle,no one to talk with or hang out with...Can you help me? Your advice and help would be appreciated greatly....Lonzo

mike said...

Thank you so much for your blog!!! it really hit home for me and in a small way made me feel better about myself. im 43 and just starting my transition into becoming a beautiful girl.... its over whelming and a crazy time as you know. i like you remember playing football in highschool and while i seemed so normal, i really wished i could have been a cheerleader. its taken many years to be brave enough to start down this path and i have only just started!!! thanks for the encouragment, i still feel lonely and confused but knowing there are others who felt or feel this way makes it a little easier.

Leslie said...

I would definitely love to go back to age 12....

CiCi said...

All I can say to all of you is that I really hope the other readers take the time to read these comments. To me, any time anyone ever leaves a comment, it adds to a more complete picture of tv/cd life. and i am so touched by all of these comments. i'm going to try to respond individually when i have more time. but thank you all so much for taking the time to share your heartfelt thoughts. when other girls see these comments, it just reinforces that feeling of community and of shared life experiences.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I too related in a huge way to this writ! I was painfully shy with girls well into my thirties and my gender dysphoria caused me more than a fair share of grief and confusion. I never had a girlfriend, never went to any dances and only dated once in my life, one girl, one time and that was freshman year of high school. I was very non-athletic and quite frankly hated all sports. From about age 10 onward, EVERY opportunity I had to crossdress was always embraced by my enthusiastic indulgence and even though I generally felt some degree of desire to get involved with girls, I never let myself go there because I always feared that doing so would get in the way of my crossdressing. By the start of high school my hair was just past my shoulders and since I had, since an even earlier age, staunchly avoided any activity that could potentially build arm and upper body muscles (desire to look as feminine as possible as a girl!) I had the build of a ballerina. People were not without their suspicions about me since I looked like a girl and I clearly was not bothered by that fact. One of the football jocks always called me a 'pussy' and before one year's homecoming activity, the head cheerleader in my class year desperately tried to get me to agree to dress as her for the rally (it was a set-up to try to embarrass me no doubt). From age ten or so on through my thirties I had decided that I was 'just' an intensely indulgent transvestite and by age thirty I was very secure, comfortable and self-assured about that but since about age forty I have developed a desire to spend more and more time as a woman. So now, at 50, I signed on for estrogen and anti-androgen therapy and as it stands now I intend to feminize right up to bottom surgery. Until medical science can tell me why there is such an abnormally high rate of suicide among post operative MtF TSs, I will likely stop short of that but I want FFS and my driver's license to say: "Female".

Anonymous said...

Wow ! After reading all the replies to this blog, I am almost speechless.
Clearly, a Tgirl is never lost for words though ...
I echo so many of the experiences and emotions expressed here and I remember the pain and feelings of isolation. I remember cringing at the misogynist, testosterone fuelled boastings of my fellow male students and just feeling that I didn't belong? I was truly, lost for words.

Anyway, I was quite into "America" too, and another of their songs that I liked was "I Need You", ... like the flower needs the rain, you know I need you...

Love, in whatever way you can find it, is the key.

Nicky XXX love to you all !

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