Safe to say I've cried more in the last 5 years than the whole rest of my life before that. Maybe I cried twice after the age of 12 prior to visiting Maine and becoming Lauren. Then it was a while before it happened, and I don't even remember what was the last straw, just an accumulation of things. Hormones played a part, for sure, but overall just not seeing any point in fighting it and bowing to reality - that for whatever reason I wanted to cry, and it felt good to do so. Then once it happened it happened with some regularity as my body took that as an acceptable response to a tough situation. Bad day at school? Guys being pricks? Seeing Meghan/Tasha with Wade? Just flat out feeling small and weak? Waterworks. I learned to embrace it. Occasionally I even cried for joy but not often.
I cried as Alan, too. When Meg and I fought, when we broke up. It feels different as a man. A form of shame that I had moved past as a woman, as if that body was rejecting what my mind was trying to tell me an understandable response to a hard situation. It felt physically worse to cry as Alan than as Lauren. It was pain.
I didn't cry when my father died, but I did feel bad, in my gut, mostly for Carrie, who loved him more than I ever could have, and knew a different version of him.
I cried some as Judith, out of frustration with Kit or raising Dylan/Olivia, or feeling like I was doing a bad job, but things were more stable and that helped. For all Kitty's faults in how we did not work together, she-he understood my situation and was there for me.
It's become something I understand about myself, how I'm different than the man I used to be. I didn't cry, wouldn't have liked crying and, for all my hardships I never felt I had much to cry about.
Since being Valerie I have been through the wringer, but even notwithstanding that it's been a lot of tears. I cried when Josh treated me good, because I didn't deserve it. I cried when he treated me bad. I cried after oursupposed wedding, and for weeks afterward when I wanted to just stop being Valerie already. I've cried when I was lonely. I've cried when I was tired. I've cried after sex - Rafe caught me only once and to say he did not know what to say would be an understatement.
When I determined I would be Valerie forever, I cried, and again when the original Valerie officially became Cynthia. It was like finishing a decathlon. My body felt too exhausted to do anything but sob.
Since then who knows what might trigger me. I get daily reminders that I am living a life permanently and it's not always good. I am stuck like this. Most people don't even know there's an option to go change into someone else. I do and I have vowed, essentially, to never do it again. So the world throws it in my face that I am a 5'0 single young woman with 32G breasts who works in a coffee shop. That it may not be possible to find and fall in love with someone who sees me for who I am. That my back is so sore from just existing I can hardly sleep, and when I do I can barely let myself move. MY shoulders hurt too, my neck, legs, feet, ankles.
That I was on a nearly year long cold streak of dating and sex, not always by choice. That I have an opportunity to do anything with life and I'm not. That I can hardly do anything with my hair. (Okay, that's a joke.)
I don't even have to be having a bad day. I had a really good conversation with a guy earlier and when it was over I was surprised find myself blinking out some teardrops. It was like my body knew something I didn't. Sometimes if I cry for no reason, a few days later my period will arrive and it will all make sense. I invent reasons to have cried after that - not knowing my body perfectly even after two years. Anything. Whatever. I'm crying writing all this!
I cry because I can cry.
It's not like I'm constantly crying all the time, some kinda broken woman. I'm just surprised sometimes at how much I do, and what makes me do it, and that it usually feels right.
When I say I've changed, I don't just mean because I know what it's like to have a period or actively pursue dating men. I have seen things that Tyler Blake, as I knew him once, could not have processed. I react to situations differently. I'm stronger and better and more caring. I know more about the world and people and a myself I have a better experience of life, even if I'm just a coffee girl for now. What I had to give up to learn all that, and to meet myself as I currently am, all seems minuscule even if it's not. Going back to the Inn, somehow becoming male again... I'd like to think that wouldn't have erased all of that, but I could never have taken that chance. I have to be this.
It makes me stressed, especially at this part of the year, when the opportunity is present. I weep over all the other lives I will never live. Ain't that crazy?
And I cry because for better or worse, deep down, I'm still me. Now those are happy tears. I cry because despite all my stresses and frustrations I like my life, my body, my friends. I'm a lucky, and happy, woman! Go figure.
-Valerie, aka Tyler