Last year I celebrated Thanksgiving in San Diego, California with a family who took me in for a week so that I wouldn't be without family and so that I wouldn't be homeless.
But last year, even though I laughed and smiled and ate so much that I'm STILL trying to lose all the weight that I gained I was still miserable. I was still depressed and I was still considering suicide.
Because I was living my life as a woman, even though I wore a strap on everywhere I went. It was also because that Saturday I was heading back to Florida to be with my biological family again and the prospect of that was beyond horrific to me.
Three years before that in 2007, I was the guardian of a young girl, whom I affectionately called "Chipmunk" and was thankful for her. But still, something was missing.
The year before that I was barely conscious, barely sober, because I'd lost my fiance' and our unborn child within months of each other. One to brain cancer and the other to a miscarriage. Thanksgiving 2006 is not one that I remember.
But this year, even though there's a perpetual lump in my throat because this is the first year that I'm celebrating Thanksgiving as Vicktor Aleksandr B. (Thought you were going to get the full name didn't you? LOL)
This is the first year when I have an actual family.
This is the first year that I have a father who is proud of me and who supports me. Someone who was actually honored that I asked him to be my dad and someone who told me that he was determined to be a real father to me (and people think he can be "skeery" so I wouldn't dare tell him that his son is an abomination-it's only in your best interest).
This is the first year that I have not one, but THREE mothers who support me and encourage me and give me hugs (even if they are virtual) and who are fiercely protective and loving of me (try saying something bad about me to them-I dare you).
This is the first year that I have an awesome older brother who cares about me and worries about me and who can totally teach me about how to be an awesome gay man, but more than that he can totally teach me about how to be an awesome human being (but he can be very blunt and fierce too, so I could totally see myself saying: "I'm going to tell my big brother on you!").
This is the first year that I have EIGHT older sisters, all of whom are awesome and beautiful and talented and strong and future world changers (and would totally rip you a new one if you hurt or talked bad about their baby brother-I actually like being referred to as their baby brother and have no problem with hiding behind them and pointing people out to them and saying: "It was them Big Sister!"). They not only help me to be a better writer, but they are determined to see me be me, be who I really am and are determined to not see me hurt.
This is the first year that I have a younger sister and THREE younger brothers who all make me smile and who love me and who amazingly think I'm cool (and don't you dare tell them differently-I like them thinking that I'm awesome) and who make sure that they tell me all the time how much they love me and how honored they are to be a part of my family.
This is the first year that I have two of the coolest aunts ever born on Earth who make me laugh, threaten to turn me over to a Star Wars "mob" because I've never seen the movies, and who have no qualms about talking to me about sex while simultaneously watching over me to make sure that I'm taking care of myself and writing blogs about me to tell others how much they support me.
This is the first year that I have a host of friends who are supportive and encouraging of me, not the image that I'm forced to project.
This is the first year that I have a Nieceling and Nephrews who all think I'm cool and brave and awesome and who will even go to bat for their "Uncle Vic" because "he's the bravest man that I know and that's what he is, he's a man and yeah he's a man that likes men, and you may not see the man he is just yet, but he's still a man" (the Nieceling).
This is the first year that I have someone who knows who I am and still finds me sexy and doesn't see anyone other than Vic.
This is the first year that I'm a published writer.
This is the first year that I go to sleep and wake up in a house full of love and support.
This is the first year that I am on the right track to becoming on the outside the way I've always been on the inside.
This is the first year that I can say that I'm truly thankful for my life and my family and know that it's not just lip service, but that I really and truly mean it.
I am so thankful. So completely and unbelievably thankful for so much that's it's clogging my throat and filling my eyes with some sort of strange moisture.
I will not think about all the things in my life that could be better, because that would be so easy and honestly, a total waste of time, but, I will focus on the things that are so amazing in my life, the things that make me smile throughout the day, the people who enrich my life and make stand up taller, square back my shoulders and let people know who I am and that I'm not ashamed of that.
This is, for me, truly, my first and so far, my best, Thanksgiving ever.
Have a Great and Happy Thanksgiving Day All!!!
-V. A. B.