(This is one of the blog entries I had to get out and post. As promised, there are earlier stories over the last two months that needs to be posted.)
Back in the summer of 2009, there was a young man (the term “young” being a figurative one – Though he continued to age with each passing year, he never really completely grew up.), who, in spite of having a job where he was making enough to just barely pay the bills, provide for his mainstream hobbies, and of course, have friends who shared that common interest, there was a secret he kept hidden from just about everyone who knew him.
As you may have figured out, that young man was me, in the last vestiges of what is rapidly becoming a “past life.”
The young man, in doing some searches via Google, came across a series of photos of a young lady in a schoolgirl outfit. Upon closer inspection of her Flickr photostream, that look was only one of about a hundred different looks, and she had thousands of followers and admirers.
She was quite talented – She was a DJ, she created mixes based on her favorite music, she made artwork with pain, ink, and pencil, she collected all sorts of figures (anime, anything beautiful, cute, somewhat odd, Star Wars), sports cards, signed and first edition books, all sorts of ambient, trance, alternative music albums, and on occasion, she wrote about what was on her mind.
However, she had a secret as well – Outside of how she presented herself to the world via Flickr and the internet, she too, started out in life as a boy, but years of practice, study, and experimentation allowed her to create an illusion that caught many off guard, and most didn’t really care about her not being a real girl.
The young man saw all of that, and for a brief moment, he saw a glimpse into a life he could have chosen to take, though many years had gone by. Still, he saw where she proceeded with exploring a side of herself that this young man chose (Being forced to choose because he was shamed into thinking doing so was a bad thing.) to repress – And he had a realization:
“If she could do it, why can’t I?”
But, all was not as it seemed… The girl was struggling with issues she kept, for the most part, hidden from everyone else, except for what she chose to share with others, and she had shared so much of her world with others out there. As time moved on, she was running out of inspiration, and just maintaining contact with so many people, plus being compelled to put up something new ever so often got to the point where it was taking time away from other issues she needs to take care of, the books she enjoyed reading, and other adventures she could go on.
And so, she made plans to leave, but not right away – She stayed for a little while longer.
During that time, the young man exchanged comments on her photos, and she did likewise. Over time, there was the beginnings of what could almost be termed a friendship. They would exchange compliments, words of inspiration and hope…
There were chances to meet, perhaps to browse the music stores in San Jose, such as Streetlight and Rasputin, bookstores, and perhaps, meet up. But, it wasn’t meant to be, as circumstances always seemed to come up.
But the young man was inspired, and when it seemed the young lady was going away, he was still inspired to see what he could achieve, if he shared his secret with others out there… And so, Julie Anne came into being. At first, her photos were private, but then, Julie Anne started interacting with the young lady from time to time…
A set of circumstances in mid-April 2010 brought about something unexpected… The young lady’s photos were all flagged restricted for a while. She wasn’t happy, she didn’t understand, and she appealed, as she didn’t do anything wrong, but she took care to make sure she was playing by the guidelines for Flickr. The restrictions were lifted, and another secret was revealed…
The young man answered the question the young lady had about who Julie Anne was.
By the way, I’ve answered the question on who Julie is…. (taking a deep breath, collecting myself…) … She is me…. or at least a part of me.
There were plans to meet up at FanimeCon 2010 – Messages were exchanged via Flickr and text messaging, but they never came to be, for one reason or another… But, there was a side benefit, though – The young man came out to four of his closest friends, and just about all of them took it rather well, and it wasn’t as hard as he thought it would be to admit it.
But time moved on, and things changed for the young lady, and for Julie Anne as well.
Julie Anne started reaching out to others, on Flickr, and elsewhere. She joined a support group for transgendered girls (whether crossdressers, or girls who intended to fully transition.), and she also joined the PINKessence transgender social network site, and also made connections with others via Facebook.
The other young lady decided, at the end of 2010, to finally say goodbye. She took down her photos and closed out her Flickr account, and her other online points of presence, most of which had been vanishing for a while, were finally dimmed one by one. But, there was another space out on the web, where she blogged as her male self, wanting to let those who knew her as the man she had grown up as, to know everything about her, even that she created her identity as herself.
There was another opportunity to meet up, but Julie Anne was cautious, so she returned to being a young man for that day….
Early March 2011… A chance encounter… The young lady’s alter ego was there, selling off a lot of her anime collectible figures. He was there with his son. Julie Anne, in boy-mode, went there, even though a wave of apprehension passed through her. Seeing the young lady out of makeup, wigs, and outfits was startling, but only served as proof of how good she was at creating her other self.
There was a meeting, Julie Anne didn’t let on that she knew who the young lady was, and she didn’t reveal that she was Julie Anne. There was some brief talk, about the figures she chose to buy, about the Monster High Draculara figure she picked up. It was a brief moment, but in a way, it was a good meeting, though it wasn’t really a meeting, but in a way, closure of a sort…
Julie Anne bought the following figures…
And that was it… It was like a hole in Julie Anne’s heart was starting to heal… A realization that the young lady was a real person, and not a figment of Julie Anne’s imagination. Life moves on, people come and people go, but sometimes… hopefully, people return…
That hope is what is keeping me going – Hope that, in time (No matter how long it takes, or what circumstances happen), things will come full circle….
But, I want to say this to her…. Thank you…. Thank you, even in a small way, for indirectly showing me that a door that I thought was closed to me forever, wasn’t closed.
Thank you, Bridget.