Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Where there is light...shadow is close at hand

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001. I'd also like to add that although it could have been as bad as i'm making it out be... I doubt it. It's funny how we look back and go, "sheese... you were ridiculous."

I have recently experienced the creepiest moment of my life. It has affected me on several levels. First, I'll describe what happened, then I will elaborate on my feelings.

At 7:30 p.m., the local TS support group that I attend had their semi-monthly meeting. It's always good to go and share experiences and stories with others who are going through similar circumstances. After the meeting, it's typical for some of the group members to go out to the local IHOP and enjoy each others' company over dinner. Tonight was no exception.

I was looking forward to it. This is one of the highpoints of my life. It's so good to be with others that know and understand the daily grind of life for someone who is going through such a major life change. These girls (and boys) are my kindred and I would do anything for them within my power.

We got to the restaurant and started to have dinner and began chatting about this, that and the other thing. All the while I am noticing this greasy, unkempt, beer-belly toting man watching me. He was one of the hired staff at IHOP and was there to clean the tables.

As the night progressed, we continued to chat and I did my best to ignore him... but I could still feel his eyes on me. Finally, he came up to the table and began to clear the dishes away. He also handed me a note. It was folded in quarters and read as follows:

First Fold: Hello Sexy, smile at me if you like it!
Second Fold: I'll be online tomorrow about 10 pm
Inside Note: Hi I'm ******. I would like to get to know you better. I work here at IHOP [time-frame deleted]. My e-mail address are [e-mail addresses deleted] You got any candy I can try?

As you can imagine... I was shocked, revolted and "weirded out" all at once. My friends are giving me looks like "what is THAT all about?" I kept it to myself. I felt that this man, however incredibly frightening he may be, he probably didn't have much means of supporting himself and I did not want to be the "cause," in his eyes, of him losing his job. Basically, I was scared out of my mind that he might become enraged. So, instead, I wrote him a note as such:

"Although I am quite flattered by your attentions, I am also quite devoted to my fiancé. Understand that it has nothing to do with you... and everything to do with him. Good luck and God Bless."

To me, that was the end of it. Situation handled, have a nice day. However this man took it one step further. I left with the others and, of course, spilled the beans and showed the note around. After the wave of creepiness had died down, we all hugged and said goodbye. I got in my car and left. My cell phone rang shortly after that. One of the girls called me and asked if I had noticed that the guy was standing behind the dumpsters watching me as I left. I said that I had not, in fact, noticed this... and instantly, my heart skipped a beat.

In my mind, I have officially been stalked. It's a queasy feeling and one that does not go away easily. It pervades your thoughts making it difficult to concentrate on anything else. I immediately called Rob and told him about the situation. He, of course, was (and is) very concerned for me and gave me instructions (again) about what to do if I think I'm being followed. Fortunately, this was not necessary. But it still has changed my outlook on my surroundings.

It's difficult to express how overly repulsed I am and how frightened I am. I've experienced situations where I've been observed by others due to my transition... but this is the first time that I have experienced a genuinely female fear. I was fearful not for being TS... but for being female. A new understanding of female issues and daily life has come to realization and I am awestruck at it's power over the person.

I have not yet decided whether or not I will contact IHOP representatives or management about this. I've often followed a live-and-let-live philosophy, yet there are cases such as these that may require a more definitive course of action. But regardless of the outcome, I am actually somewhat thankful for the experience. This revelation about what some females experience is another step in my transition. It's a scary one... but sometimes we need to be reminded that the world is not always a safe place. I was caught off-guard and unable to process this new situation. But I guarantee one thing... I'll not be so unfavorably positioned again. Take note ladies... be aware of all that is around you and how it all interacts with you. Be aware yet inconspicuous of the situations... and remain in control.

Will I go back to IHOP? I don't know yet. One voice inside me says, "be strong and confident. if the situation worsens deal with it through the system." Another voice says, "stay the hell away from there. don't put yourself in harm's way." Rob feels that I should not avoid it. I'm leaning to agree with him. But I know one thing for sure. I am going to learn how to defend myself... with lethal force if necessary. I've asked Rob to teach me how to fire a gun and the rules of gun safety. I've never been fond of guns in any sense of the word. But now more than ever I realize that the last thing I want to deal with is to feel helpless again. This experience comes on the heels of a nightmare wherein I was totally helpless and at the mercy of an attacker. Maybe somebody is trying to tell me something.