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Dylan: Dalana

Birthday Gifts Come In All Shapes & Sizes                                                 March 10, 2014

Today is my birthday; Dylan is fifty-five years old. As I sit and reminisce it seems almost impossible not to reflect over the course of my life, which seemed at times to be filled with more darkness and despair then I care to remember.  I find myself drifting into that pit of darkness, which seems interminable, slowly sinking faster than I ever have before. It’s not like I’ve never had a birthday ruined on account of sickness. My fiftieth birthday demolished by cancer, my fortieth a complete nervous breakdown with a brief stay at The Nutsy Hilton, and now it continues with an onset of influenza accompanied by 103 temperature.  Some would think my birthdays are jinxed. Others would say I’m being foolish, while most would echo surviving cancer and being alive is your true gift five years later. Many would be right if it wasn’t for the dark cloud that is always there, with the bottomless abyss waiting to soak me up making it so hard to ignore. The medication (cocktail for depression) helps, by no means is it a panacea.  Many struggle with depression as we wrestle to find our true identity. Each of us cross the gender barrier, some have it easier while many face the impossible, daunting task of just trying to survive.

As the clock ticked closer to midnight toward my birthday, my 103 fever started to fall as my anxiety level continued to rise. I looked into the mirror not sure of what I would find and saw a broken, disheveled man who felt lost, empty and hopeless. Reaching out to anyone at a time like this is imperative, whoever it may be, because being here is always better than being there. As my struggle to hold on continued there was only one person to call, Dalana.  She had given me a new life almost three years ago and she wasn’t going to let me take it away now.  In my darkest hour she became my brightest light.

I shaved my face and removed a four day growth, prepared a hot bubble bath and gave her the rest of the cleansing she so deserved. Within each stroke of the razor removing every bit of hair form my neck to my toes I began to feel a resurgence of life. It was an amazing transformation to see a recrudescence right before my eyes.  I couldn’t wait to dry off and slip into my favorite leopard bra and panties. I once again looked into my make-up mirror that sat on my dining room table and knew it was time to say thanks to Dalana. As I applied each step of make-up with careful precision, something astonishing happened. I started to smile for what seemed like the first time in years. The smile brought tears to my eyes, which smeared her makeup, and then she laughed looking at herself in the mirror.  Dylan laughed. The clock struck midnight. Another day had come and gone, but today was going to be celebrated, as Dalana would have it no other way. In that very thought I knew that everything would be all right.

 Thank you God for all your blessings: my great mother, friends, family, and special thanks for Dalana. The extraordinary gift you magnanimously provided, who not only gives me life, but saved my life. Just one more thing I might add, happy birthday Dylan.

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