It’s pretty rare for a transgender athlete to write about achieving her dreams. I did that this year and unsurprisingly, in hindsight, it’s exactly what the Texas GOP fears most about us.
Five years ago I made a commitment to live a healthier lifestyle. I needed to while transitioning on HRT especially given my age. So at 52 I began walking. My exercise an hour walk sometimes led me past a high school track field. Then one day out of the blue, I decided to try and run around it.
I only made it part way, panting and gasping for air, longingly gazing at the distance to the point where I had started. I knew I would run that too, one day. So I kept after it, eventually making it back to the start line. It was about that time that other good things began to happen. After years of joblessness post-transition followed by years of working part time, I finally landed a full-time job.
I mean it wasn’t a dream job and still isn’t but as an openly trans woman, it has kept me alive. Then apropos of nothing the company began to sponsor local 5k runs. So it began. I couldn’t resist the challenge and trained diligently. Yes, the distances were relatively short but I found great satisfaction in finishing in the top three.
But here’s the astounding part since I’ve always been essentially self-serving and narcissistic.
The actual act of crossing the line wasn’t what I craved, it was applauding those who crossed it afterward. I understood that if I crossed that line before most it was because of the training I had done. I wanted others to experience finishing to the degree and extent that I did.
And watching their faces light up in appreciation to my applause thrilled me. They knew I was trans and valued that I appreciated their personal effort.
So one day while waiting for the award ceremony after a 5k run I saw the first of the half marathon runners cross the line. It was obvious watching them stride, that they were of a different class of runner. These were some seriously fit individuals. Then there was that second place finisher who looked me in the eye as if to say, yeah you just caught the 13.1 bug.
Back then thirteen miles seemed inconceivably long ways, an impossible task because I hadn’t confronted the biggest obstacle in my way, what I call the ‘can’ts. But thankfully my love for the open road and running slowly but surely helped me identify the ‘can’ts’ as they crept up my back at the end of a run and learn how to defeat them.
That and my old microwave.
One day while battling with my social workplace induced gender dysphoria, I started absentmindedly peeling back the plastic on face of that ancient kitchen appliance.
I hadn’t planned on doing that. It was kinda gross. In fact, I was intending on trashing it and buying another. But peeling that back and exposing the new shiny surface underneath made me realize that the old me, the one I thought people saw, the one who was always angrily disappointed, was not who I had become. But more surprising, I began to understand that others already knew this.
So in December 2015 I committed myself to fitness and self-improvement. Not just on a casual basis but a rigorous schedule and I began to lose weight and gain endurance and confidence. Then this spring while regularly running 6 miles (10K) someone mentioned how the 9 mile point in a half marathon was so hard to get past. *the wall*
I needed to experience that 9-mile point myself and I did. Then came 10 miles and before I knew it I tried for the 13.1 but it wasn’t so. I only got as far as 12 miles but oh my mother earth, did THAT feel good.
Then this year as we all know the hateful Texas governor and Adjutant General began their crusade against trans people, in particular, transgender school children. It was awfully depressing as they filed one lawsuit after another, launching into one hateful lie filled televised tirade after another.
But one action stuck out the most.
They passed a rule over the summer requiring students who participate in Texas school sports do so only in the gender that is indicated by their birth certificates. So why would they do such a thing? Why would these old men be so afraid of transgender children achieving a measure of success that they would make it impossible for them to do so on the sports field?
In my humble opinion, there are a number of reasons, some due to their own personal ‘can’ts’.
I believe that the Texas Governor, LT Governor and Adjutant general are afraid. They are afraid to committing to achieve as there ‘can’ts’ rule them, which angers them.
I believe that the resultant internalized self-hated finds an outlet in what they consider an easy target, transgender children.
But most of all they are repulsed by the very idea that cisgender children might be in awe of and want to emulate transgender athletes success. And this my dear reader is where my story comes to full circle.
The cover photo which I shared is of me crossing the finish line in the last of Mellew promotions Hardest Half Marathon challenge called appropriately, “The Hottest Half”. Who’s the little girl? I have no idea who she is and didn’t know she was behind me until I ordered images from the photographer. But she was evidently thrilled, leaping in joy as she also won.
And this is what those pathetic hateful transphobic people fear the very most. Our success is the Texas Lt. Governor’s worst nightmare. But more than that, our being admired and emulated by others, especially impressionable children must wake him up nightly in cold sweats. Why else would a man attack children so? Not just here at this finish line but in our everyday lives.
They will do anything they can to stop us. So here’s where we winners come in, those of us who have visibility and a drive to succeed. Show the world who you truly are. Don’t let the frayed dirty microwave plastic hold you back like it did to me. Unwrap it, tear it off, thrown it out and let your true amazing self-shine through!
I have to thank event organizer Angela at Mellew productions for making this dream come true. I wanted to run my first Marathon before my 58th birthday and did so in June at the “Jalapeno half” in Fort Worth. But due to a chip snafu, my time wasn’t recorded. I was disappointed since the entrance fee really stretched my budget, the evident transphobic reaction of the timer, but mostly because it was my birthday present. So I posted this youtube on the Mellew facebook wall.
But once it was all said and done I couldn’t write a post bashing Mellew. Without exception, my name had been deleted in all of races that I had previously run with other promotions. The deleting of my name and gender, which I attributed to being trans, contributed to my sense of dysphoria more than I could ever say.
They started the 10K runners and the Hottest 1/2 marathon runners off together…..
But Angela at Mellew didn’t allow the timer to erase me to so when I received a discounted offer for the next race, “The Wildfire”, I jumped on it. It was a really tough race. Very, very hot but I managed to place third in it. And when I saw Angela there, bless her heart, she made it possible for this warehouse worker to run the last of the hardest halfs in Dallas the following month.
And this is where these images and revelations are from. Run proud transgender family. Do your very best and don’t even give the haters a chance to give you their ‘can’ts’.
And if you find yourself half crazy, and a novice too, here’s another good video for you 🙂