Over the years there have been hints. Allegations. Things better left unsaid. Negative comments about my appearance or my sensitivity. My penchant for female friends. My lack of a love life. My social awkwardness. The constant bullying. The subtle and not-so-subtle sense from most everyone around me that they considered me The Other. It didn’t matter which school I attended (I went more than a dozen different ones) or which town I lived in at the time.

There was just something about me that other kids found off-putting. Something odd about my energy that brought a lot of grief my way. That I was always the smallest and smartest kid in class didn’t help. That I gravitated toward “friends” who were delinquents and outcasts certainly didn’t help either. I didn’t fit in anywhere, no matter how hard I tried, until I shed my past and joined the Navy, where everyone is homogenized and normalized in uniform. A sage treatment for the soul in a lot of cases.

When I left the Navy in 2001, I didn’t go back to that broken-winged bird I had been, but I didn’t exactly start soaring again. I remained alone until meeting my kid’s mom in 2005, another misfit who nonetheless fit. Not entirely sure why that was the case, in hindsight, but clearly we needed things from each other that neither one of us had the emotional intelligence to understand let alone admit. It wasn’t until recently that I started to figure things out for myself, so little wonder we didn’t work out.

For the last two years, I’ve been conflicted. Introspective. Confused to a certain extent but not entirely. This journey has been about alleviating confusion. Erasing missteps. Finding all the signs that lead to my true self. All my friends agree that I have never looked more happy, more at peace. They aren’t wrong. I’m still figuring out what all this means for my future self, but I’ve never been more sure that this is the path I should be walking. The Red Road. I can’t thank my kid enough, but I’ll get to their bravery in a future post.

I was listening to Minnesota Public Radio in the car just after I came out as Two Spirit. They had a segment on neurodivergence and how people should look to their peer groups to discover their identity by way of affinity. I laughed out loud. Most of my friends are women, LGBTQ+ or veterans or all three in one person. Very few of my really close friends look anything like my previous CIS White Male persona. The humans I count on the most are the people society esteems the least. Not an ounce of irony there.

The signs can’t be denied. I’ve finally arrived. Right on time. Not exactly ending with a haiku, but I might drop some poetry moving forward. Writing a full-blown soliloquy each week when things are going amazing is a tall order. I am likely going to delve into other Masters and their tales. Some so tall you won’t want to believe them but each is entirely true in all its horror. I don’t look away. Not in this lifetime. Not ever. I’ve been sent here to recognize and realize before recording those epiphanies with words.

Rinse & Repeat.