PT: Squealing Youth

Project Throwback: 1960

Mom and one of her uncles circa 1960 per the back of the picture. She didn’t have a real smile in a lot of her pictures, this is one of the few that it is a real squeal/laugh/smile I have seen her have.

PT: Porch Time

Project Throwback: 1955

My dad and his grandfather on his grandfather’s porch sometime summer 1955. The puppy is named “Mucho” and is the first Mucho. Makes sense now why the black dog I owned at age 16 in Bellingham in 1987 was named Mucho as well.

PT: Mom and me (somewhere in there)

Project Throwback: April 11, 1971

Another picture of my mom. This time near the Seattle apartment that she and my dad had. With this being April, that would make her pregnant with me. I am somewhere in there about 3 months along.

PT: Groovy 60s before she was mom

Project Throwback: April 10, 1966

I realize I am late, the weekend was dedicated to the hubby!

Here we have my mom on April 10, 1965, at the age of 16, according to the picture. Not sure who her friend or dog is, but I can tell you that is my mom because her hair would always do that if it was windy, at the age of 65 it would do that.

Love you mom.

PT: Sleeping Babies

Project Throwback: Late 1991/early 1992

These are two pictures from when I was about 20 years old. I was holding my ex-girlfriend’s daughter that she had with another friend (yes, there is drama there along with fatherhood questions, but that is its own sets of writings).

I think this was when I lived at 1900 Texas St (in Bellingham), During the time that the hubby and I had broken up after we initially got together, broke up then got back and married. I do remember Selena smelled good though, more than the normal baby smells I like. I suspect it was a reaction to the super stress this time period had. A little bit of peace and quiet (and also the closest I figured I would ever be to a mom…).

Selena’s mother would constantly put her in my arms and I liked it. It is also sometimes the only time I fell asleep. I had totally forgotten about it until Selena gave me the photos last night.

PT: A Nice Lunch

Project Throwback: April 7, 2013

Hubby in 2013 (pretransition) with his health finally recovering.

2013 was a pretty good year for us. On April 7th we were enjoying our lunch at Pho Mai Noodles in Everett. Wolsey’s health was improving (he was going into remission) and he was starting his year of testing being fully female before transitioning (I didn’t know that at the time).

PT: A Quick Stop

Project Throwback: April 6, 1986

Just a quick stop to take pictures on our way back into Lake Tahoe when I was 15… in 1986… damn too young and now too old.

We were homeless, you are looking at my home for 9 months before we downsized to a less fancy car.

PT: 30 Years Today

Just an FYI, Wolsey is ok that in my memories I refer to him as a girl before he transitioned. My writing is a lot more awkward when I tried to change pronouns he used back then. He knows this and is ok with it (like I am ok with him referring to me as a boy before I transitioned).

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the first day my hubby Wolsey and I got together as more than friends and started dating.

After my first major relationship breakup with another woman a couple months before, I had moved into a room at the same house I had met Wolsey years before. This time I was the one living there and not Wolsey. I hadn’t been around Wolsey for several months due to some shit pulled by my ex-girlfriend to Wolsey, indicating to her that I didn’t want to see her (that will be its own post in the future). During this time, I had jumped four or five jobs in the space of a few months and was working in the paint department of Kmart.

March 17th 1991 started out as a normal day for me as I went to work at Kmart. It had been a long day when I got an announcement over the intercom saying there was a phone call for me on line 3. I remember it with clarity.

I pick up the phone and it is Wolsey’s voice. She seemed excited and maybe a little out of breath. All she asked was what time I was off. I was confused and excited. I hadn’t seen Wolsey in months. I had missed her but I figured she was off dating someone and doing her own thing. Her words to me on the phone were, “Don’t go anywhere.” It was a pretty commanding tone and I agreed to wait.

Twenty minutes later I hear stomping boots coming down the aisle and there she was dressed in a leather jacket, facial piercings, a very tiny shirt that revealed her feminine body quite explicitly, a mohawk, makeup, and the cutest purple crinoline skirt. I was getting off work about this time and she came up and hustled me to her truck and took me home.

Picture of Wolsey on right, the prior fall 1990

We spent the next hour and a half talking where we reestablished contact and smoothed over our friendship. Over the next couple of weeks, we talked a lot and she kept showing up at my room. Wolsey was homeless at the time, but that didn’t bother me. I invited her in to my room and let her stay on my single-wide bed. I left out cans of ravioli, with a can opener and a spoon, for her to eat if she was hungry. Wolsey was always hungry and this was the one thing I knew she liked to eat.

On April 6th she showed up in my window while my friend Bryon was visiting. She waited patiently around, but I could tell she was impatient on Bryon leaving. I think at some point Bryon got the clue and made himself scarce.

For the next two hours she told me about a guy that she was really attracted to and wanted to date. To be honest I was absolutely crushed. I had always been in love with her from the first time I met her. She is who I had originally wanted to date, but we could never get our timing right and I do admit I was terrified. I was a horrible person, before I had dated my ex-girlfriend, Wolsey would invite me out to meet her for coffee and I would chicken out and leave her at the Horseshoe Cafe by herself waiting.

I was such a dick.

But now we had started talking and I had started thinking maybe we could work out. I had gotten my first time sleeping with a woman out of the way with my ex-girlfriend and I wasn’t terrified of girls so now I had been hoping maybe things would work out.

I never mentioned how crushed I was. I just was super supportive of her interest in someone. After all she was my best friend, and I knew that more at the time then I had realized before. However she just kept looking at me weird when I was so supportive of it. She realized I didn’t think it was me and then it became a game.

For two hours she poked me and made me try to guess who she wanted to date. I was an idiot and didn’t realize what she meant and assumed it was another guy much cooler then me. Eventually she told me to shut up and said it was me. I was stunned and couldn’t say anything. I think my brain literally shut down for a moment. All I could hear was static and I was sure I had misheard her. There was no way she was interested in someone as uninteresting as me.

Then she kissed me.

We spent the night together, and honestly we have only slept apart since then we we broke up for a several month period after the following Thanksgiving, and after we got back together we have only ever been apart due to surgeries, or travel for work (which has only been in the last 7 years).

So basically I just need to tell my husband that I love him more than anything, and I am really glad he liked the ravioli I set out on the window sill enough to date me :). It has been an awesome 30 years, and I hope we get another 30 years at least.

I LOVE YOU WOLSEY, more than all of the rest of the universe combined.

Strange Meetings (dream)

Last night I had a weird, anxious and intense dream that lasted all night. Probably part of it is anxiety, finally system clear of narcs and any other aid to help sleep or maintain my mood.

Wolsey and I had moved to what looked like Seattle, a large city in a rainy area. We met up with some of the people that lived around there and it turned out a lot of them were people I knew as a teenager in Bellingham. Not any of my closest circle of friends, but all people I interacted with regularly.

Side note – when I was a teenager, I went to five high schools. There was a combination of homelessness, drunken Vietnam Vet/underworld shit along with our family having a contract on our head and the first year of repeated moving was literally due to avoiding having another attack on our family.

If I get brave I might go in-depth about it at some other time. If my childhood was a tv show, it would be a bad “gritty drama” because people would think no way all that shit happened, but it did and it shaped the core of who I am.

I finished off the last two years of high school at Bellingham High School (yes that means I went to four high schools in two years before). I had a couple of friends I considered really close, and it is also when I met hubby. I never fit in with the high school crowd though.

I suspect part of it was that I had grown up in a lot harder position than almost any of them. The other, and probably bigger part, was that I was new to Bellingham, I wasn’t a local and I hadn’t at least lived there in middle school or earlier. Bellingham and all of Whatcom County were extremely insular then. People had lived there for generations and the only real new people in town were usually just going to school at Western Washington University, then they would leave.

It meant the friend’s cliques were already established and I ended up on the outside of all of the established groups that were involved high school-wise. The one advantage though is that I interacted with almost all the groups because of it. I wasn’t considered “the enemy”, just someone that was around school.

I spent most of the night talking with people like Clark and Boris (last names withheld to protect the innocent). We got along in high school, and to be honest, Boris was always really nice to me. For whatever reason, though they had a weirdness about them towards me during our discussion over lunch that time and distance didn’t create.

I didn’t know that reason was at least until I realized that I looked like I do now while I was in the dream and all of these people I haven’t seen since long before I started transition.

The rest of the dream now has faded mostly. I talked with several others and left the area feeling uncomfortable and saddened for an unknown reason.

I was going to post more about the dream, there were some fine details, but I wanted to make sure I was right that it was Clark that was in the dream. So I went onto classmates.com and found I was right.

It is also when I remembered I don’t have a picture in the senior yearbook for 1989. At the time I was too poor to afford a color photographer and they weren’t offering the black and white packages to seniors so they told me I couldn’t get my picture in the yearbook. They also somehow left my name out of it, that is a negative side effect of not being in any group.

That is the end result of joining up in Bellingham High School as a junior and being poor. At the time I wasn’t angry about any of it. We had just avoided dying, being homeless and to be honest I think I was too much of an adult in too many ways (but not in all the ways that you need to be) that I just sort of pushed through it.

I think I am angry now. Not really any one thing that I can define at the moment. I do think it might have gone better if I was able to come out then. Actually it was the 1980s that shit wouldn’t fly so no it wouldn’t have changed anything, just gave it a different taste I suppose.

Oh, and I just found out that Boris is an author/artist and his stuff is still as different as it was in high school. Good for him!

As for anyone reading this, it sort of went tangential and then off the path completely. Sorry about that :).

CoaA: Wedding Day

So, you haven’t seen CoaA posts yet, have you? Well, that is because that stands for “Confessions of an Asshole” and this is my first post. Mostly it means that like other people I talk about here, I also will talk about my own failings, including when I am absolutely the asshole. Sadly that happens more often than I like to admit, especially when I was younger.

I felt the first thing I would talk about was my wedding day and the fact that my husband, who was my wife at the time, should have probably just dumped me there and then. Also, I will probably reference “my wife” because it is hard to separate who we were then. I find myself having a very hard time referencing him as him when I remember the small girl or shapely woman in the memories. He is ok that I reference him like this, just like I am ok that he references me as his husband whenever he talks about our past.

Our wedding was itself actually pretty great for what it was. The asshole part didn’t come until it was over, but it was still unacceptable, 100% unacceptable.

I had originally asked my husband to marry me when we first started dating in the summer of 1991. We lived on Alabama Street in the 1900 St apartments. I was working 2 shifts on, one shift off for weeks straight and when I asked her to marry me, she said no. I knew she wasn’t into marriage to begin with, and I suspect subconsciously I knew she was starting to pull away so I probably felt that would help things.

There is hubby (when he was my GF in summer 1991). I think just a couple weeks before he rightfully dumped me. There will be a post about the asshole I was then as well.

Fast forward two months and we had broken up, then got back together six months after that. By this time we ended up living on Kulshan Street I believe, and she surprised me by asking me to marry her. I agreed immediately.

This is when he asked me to marry him. This is not the first time he saved my life. About 10 months after that last picture above.

We decided we didn’t want a big marriage, we were just going to a judge with a few friends and family and get it done. Wolsey was an atheist (just coming out of new age stuff) while I was a weird mix of buddhist and catholic, but nether of us wanted a church wedding. We also didn’t want any sort of debt, we were poor and we both knew that her father and mother weren’t going to pay for it (and even if they did we wouldn’t accept the strings with it).

So fast forward to the day of our ceremony. We celebrate (and have since renewed our vows) our wedding day on Halloween. In 1992 unfortunately Halloween fell on a Saturday (much like this year), meaning we had to have a judge marry us on a very dark, wet, and stormy Friday. I was freaking out in my head. Not because I thought marrying that beautiful girl was bad, but I thought I was bad for her, and that honestly, I didn’t deserve any of it. She calmed me down and we proceeded.

Here, right before the wedding the asshole waits on the right …

We showed up with Wolsey’s family, my mother, siblings, our friend Aaron who was the best man. We showed up at the courtroom of Judge Ross, a man with a huge handlebar mustache. He quickly and dryly started going through the ceremony, it was probably the most anticlimatic ceremony you would ever see. That is until Judge Ross stared at the papers in front of him, stopped talking as he looked up at me and looked around the room.

We all sort of looked around confused when he asked me… IN MID CEREMONY… “Are you related to John Bradley?”

Dad and Mom a year or two earlier.

My mom froze, I froze, Wolsey froze and everyone else just looked confused. This is where the judge started talking about how he had issued a warrant for my father John Bradley’s arrest. I think this time it was about my dad beating the shit out of a couple officers when he was drunk, and not paying the fines. The bailiff looked around and I know they checked outside the door as well. This took a few minutes until it was clear my dad wasn’t here. He asked a couple of times if my dad was here or if we knew where he was.

Of course we said we didn’t know where he was, but the truth was my dad was waiting downstairs in the car. We all knew he had a warrant, but none of us imagined that Judge Ross would interrupt our marriage ceremony for that, especially if my dad wasn’t there.

After some more awkwardness, he continued the ceremony and we finished it off. It was both anti-climatic and very awkward. However to me, it didn’t matter, I was married to the most beautiful person in the world, and I was happy, but also freaked out even more than my wife was now stuck with me.

As a gift to us after the wedding, Wolsey’s parents took us to dinner at the Top of the Tower in Bellingham. For Bellingham it is considered one of the nicest restaurants in the county. My stress level was incredibly high at the moment, and when we stepped into the building that the restaurant was in, caught the elevator to the top of the building, and got out, I was fairly overwhelmed. I had never been to the dining side of a four-star restaurant. Not as a customer (I had worked as a dishwasher/prep cook at the Marina restaurant a couple years before, but never sat in a booth). Below are Wolsey’s parents Clark and Debbie.

To be honest, as someone who had been homeless with his family for years, and for many years before and after that we were evicted constantly, with our food mostly provided by food stamps, the whole aura of the restaurant was too much. I don’t think I talked too much as we sat down to have dinner.

To be honest I had fully disassociated at this point. At the time I never knew that people didn’t get out of body feelings when they were stressed, my life had been full of violence, alcoholism, homelessness and poverty. I thought it was normal. That happened here.

I don’t recall most of what we talked about over that dinner. I do however remember getting a check from Wolsey’s parents for $500. It was far more money than we had at the $4.25 an hour or so we made, also something we immediately used to pay bills.

We were sitting there and I do remember one clear thing. I got a black coffee placed in front of me, a small container of sugar, and a small ramekin filled with what I thought was whipped cream. I hesitated and was confused about why we got whipped cream with our coffee. At home we had milk and instant coffee, I had never heard of this… maybe it was a dessert coffee you get at the beginning of a meal?

Wolsey noticed my hesitation and squeezed my leg under the table. I don’t know if it was purely for reassurance of if she was trying to indicate what the whipped cream was for. That is when I saw her father watching me intently, he then reached over to his coffee, took a spoonful of what I thought was whipped cream, and put it in his coffee, thereby lightening it.

I noticed that Wolsey’s mother Debbie hesitated and looked confused when she saw Clark put what turned out to be creamer in his coffee. She asked him why did he use creamer, he NEVER uses creamer, he just sort of waved her off and said he wanted some tonight. She looked pretty confused.

I immediately followed suit and noticed he gave me the slightest nod of the head and a subtle smile as I used it. I was a little astonished that it was cream. I had never seen cream for coffee like this. I later found out that Wolsey’s dad doesn’t use creamer (and I remember something about it sometimes gives him migraines even). That is when we both realized Wolsey’s dad did that just to show me what it was, without embarressing me. There are a lot of issues (a whole lot) I have with that man, but I have to say I really appreciated that.

The meal itself I assume was good, but like most times when I am disassociated I don’t remember the exact details. Wolsey’s mom didn’t notice at all, but I think Clark did.

To be honest, the rest of this story is embarrassing for me, but I deserve to be embarrassed by it. I don’t remember 100% of the details as I don’t think I ever really came back to myself that night. That disassociation or weird emotional space however IS NOT AN EXCUSE, it is just so you can understand me a little better.

We eventually got back to our new apartment on Bennett street. By this time Wolsey was feeling sick, her nose had started running and she was feeling ill. I think for the first couple of minutes I tried reassuring her a little, but it was too little for what I should have done, and far too short of a time I gave her my attention.

Instead of being fully supportive like any real human would have done, I was frustrated and vented about our wedding night being destroyed because she got sick. I was one hundred percent inappropriate, and while the details are scattered for me, I know I yelled at her and became even more frustrated that we couldn’t be intimate on our wedding night. Yes, I had fully become that privileged guy with “expectations”.

I was an absolute shithead about it. I do remember bits of her crying, and of me just getting angrier. I had a lot of rage, most of it I suspect was from other things that I constantly buried. None of it was because of anything she had done. For whatever asshole and monstrous reason inside me though, I let that rage and anger out and I know I yelled at her, made her cry, I was unreasonable on every level (I have never hit my spouse, but I pretty much was abusive in every other way that night). Most of the detail of this part of the night is gone for me, I don’t think I ever remembered specifically my lashing out, but I do remember bits as if I was in a detached dream.

It was a strange detachment though. I was so angry, but it was an anger that seemed like it was outside of me. One that I knew I should bury, put out or hide it away, but I just shrugged and I didn’t do anything to really control it except I eventually told her off, slammed the door, and left the apartment. I ended up going to Bear’s, the local arcade with my friends. I don’t really know if they ever knew what happened, all I did was tell them she was sick.

Yep, that is the asshole in me, out at an arcade playing video games with my friends while my sick wife cried to herself in our bedroom on my wedding night. I feel vaguely guilty that I can’t remember more details to show truly what kind of asshole I was, but this is the best I can give you.

I am eternally shamed by that night. There are no excuses for it. I just wanted to talk about my wedding night, and I don’t feel I should ever leave out negative things about myself. I definitely won’t ever forgive myself for how I behaved on my wedding night.