I’ve just read Robyn’s story of her first time out. I think all of us remember our first time. The very first TS/TV/CD Support Group meeting I went to, I must admit to being petrified! I was so new at all of this that I didn’t even have a wig! I had purchased a nice 2 piece outfit and a pair of new heels to go with it.
Prior to leaving the house, I spent almost an hour doing my face and and another half hour doing my nails. It is a one and a half hour drive to the meeting site. The site is held in a Hotel/Motel usually quite busy with ‘regular’ patrons. The entire trip was nerve wracking to say the least. I was constantly on the lookout for any patrolman and monitored my speed.
Perspiring (or is it glowing!) I arrived early and sat in my car and waited. And waited. And waited. During this nail biting time, my heart was trying to pound it’s way out of my chest, my mouth was dry and I kept running all kinds of scenarios through my head. There were a constant stream of people walking by – some stared, some were too caught up in what they were doing to pay any attention.
Finally, after seeing one of my ‘sisters’ enter, I got out and with knees weak with apprehension, I clicked across the public parking lot sans wig, made it up the stairs without tripping and took a deep breath and knocked on the door. I didn’t know what to expect. Being as scared as I was, I ran hundreds of disastrous scenarios through my mind. They would laugh. I would be rejected. The list goes on and on. Then the door opened.
That moment changed my life.
With a great deal of cordiality, I was invited in. The lady that I had seen walk in told me to ‘come on in honey and relax as we are all human’ in here. I almost burst into tears. I was greeted by more warmth and friendship than I ever thought possible.
There were M2Fs, F2Ms, CDs, TVs, TS (pre & post op) and 2 Significant Others gathered in small groups. During the couple of hours of the meeting, every single person made it a point to come up to me and introduce themselves. They all welcomed me and not one person said anything about the nonexistent wig. I was euphoric. I felt that for the first time in my life that I was accepted. Accepted for who I was, not what I was.
These people have all tread the same path as I and the camaraderie was unbelievable. Having had no one to turn to for any kind of assistance, I suddenly found myself in a room full! One lady had a spare wig in her car and made the trip, through the public area to retrieve it. She gave it to me. She told me that I was welcome to join them after the meeting for some libations at a club that catered to the GLBT community.
Not wanting to be pulled over and have to explain my outfit to a patrolman, I went real easy on the sauce. But the sheer acceptance was more intoxicating than what I had to drink.
In the years since, I have made every meeting possible. But, I will never forget that day. It has turned my life around. Yes, problems still exist, but with friends like this, talking them out is easy and we all share each others ups and downs.
I hope that someone who is dithering about joining a support group would take the plunge. Yes, it may not be all goodness and light, but the chances are that you will find acceptance and friendship. Please, at least give it a thought.
Hugs and kisses,