Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A day, a meal, four years in the making.

Back in June of '04 HRT was really starting to take hold of me and my views on food and life changed somewhat dramatically. Radically even, to the point that things "He" would never have eaten, I love.

Growing up in farm country, and living on a farm for a good portion of my life, food was a different experience. There were always plenty of fresh grown vegetables of all kinds, and salads were plentiful. So much so that they just kinda got taken for granted, and worse, because "He" was so different in so many ways, there were only certain things "He" would and would not eat. For years the only Chinese food he'd eat was the white sticky rice. The only part of the pizza he'd eat was the crust, and the list of weirdness could go on and on...

Salads however were something I've always loved. They bring back good memories, are healthy (when done right) and can be amazingly tasty.

Four years ago I'd gotten quickly in the habit of having a handmade salad every night for dinner after a day of walking to lose weight. That was in a brief blissful period when it was okay to eat whatever I want, and go walking in the woods when I wanted. Earl was at his parents house, and I'd only just filed for divorce, so the excrement hadn't fully hit the occilator yet. I was still in the townhouse we'd been living in, and was under the mistaken belief that the law was on my side and I was safe. So, I'd started taking much better care of myself, and eating lots of salads.

Salad was, is, fun food for me, all different ways of making it, all different healthy things that could go in it. Never the same way if I didn't want it to be, and pretty much always super good for me. Then the legal system failed me in a complete and utter way, and Earl and his parents, finding out I'd filed on grounds of cruel and abusive treatment decided it was time to really start playing dirty. They flagrantly violated the restraining orders and did everything they could to make me suffer and surrender. I was forced to flee New England in fear for my life, and because they took EVERYTHING from me.

I wound up at my brother's house in Jersey. He'd died the November before, and I wasn't able to include him when I came out to everyone in my family. His widow, my sister-in-law, was actually the first human being since my parents that I actually came out to when I started my journey. I sought refuge there, and she took me in. We'd become pretty good friends since he and my brother married in 2000. In fact the photo of me in the before and after a few posts back was taken at their wedding. I was grateful for the shelter, but by then after having been utterly betrayed by so many people I had no strength and in fact was just fighting not to give into the pain and die. Then again, that's what Earl folks wanted, was for me to be dead.

Because things at Jon's house were less than optimal, I'd been forced to give up salads for dinner, and because I was actively being stalked I didn't feel safe anywhere. So the walking pretty much stopped too. That was November of '04.

My journey was vital to helping me save my own life, and the next more important thing I needed but couldn't have was a place I felt safe in, and that was clean enough to prepare and eat my own meals. Let's just say that my sister-in-law makes Oscar Madison look like Felix Unger and I didn't feel safe making much food in her house, let alone eating it. Salads were out.

I'm moved several times and taken other frankly amazing steps to protect myself between then and now. Steps most transitioning women never need to do, I was forced to. Ever see the movie "Eraser" with the Govenator? You know where he works for witness protection and finds out witsec has been compromised? When he then has to Erase a witsec witness to protect her? That was my life for a while. Running, frightened, terrified and wanting to die.

Today, oh today was simply wonderful. I'm living somewhere my in-laws would never think to look with a totally new identity down to the last detail. Everything signed, sealed and protected by court orders and steps that don't normally happen to people unless of course they were targeted by really amazingly bad people. Today, wow, I walked a little bit, and then made myself a salad in my own home.

Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Red Pepper, Hot chopped up chicken, some sharp Cheddar cheese and a new Tuscan style Italian dressing. Oh dear, a girl could get used to this! Put in a movie, poured myself a glass of wine, and sat down with my salad! Woot!!!

It's only taken me four years to get here, and for at least two of them I was quite certain death would have been easier.

For a good portion, well really the entire portion of that time my journey was keeping me alive. Finally, FINALLY able to live as me? It was for a time the only thing in my life that was actually working. One step, then another, and so forth, determined and controlled by me and me alone.

Now, well I'm finally, after a lifetime of waiting, working hard, and fighting to stay alive able to eat a salad, drink a glass of wine in the comfort and safety of my own home. May sound strange to most people, but it is in ways almost as heady an experience as finally being ME.

Yeah, pathetic, salad, wine and walking. It's all very Maslow in nature, and means I'm finally building a foundation onto which I can build a new life. It's been hard won. I didn't lose everything because I transitioned... ...instead I transitioned because I had at that point NOTHING left to lose. Earl and his folks had taken everything from me, or was well on their way. That's why I'd filed for divorce despite having sworn I'd never, ever do that. Broke my heart, threatened to destroy my soul.

So what I did today may not seem like much, but for me it was a real milestone, and a huge step toward life. So I thought I'd share...


~K~ said...

Ah yes how nice it must feel to have your independence back, your space to do whatever your heart teases you into ...

Congrat's Sam, I'm glad to see you're there safe, sound and mostly happy!!

Samantha said...

Yeah, it does feel great! Independence for want of a love that lasts, is a beautiful thing!

Yes, I'm here, safe, sound and getting happier by the day. The happiness is growing as the awareness that this place isn't going to get yanked out from under me is setting in. Whole new experience for me!

Thanks for the vote of confidence ~K~ it really appreciate it!