Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Letting Go

One of the hardest things I have face during transition is letting go of things I enjoy doing.

Not because I could not do them or feel they would be something I shouldn't do. Usually these are social events.

No, mostly it is because that something was established as him. Which considering all the changes has become awkward when I have to make an appearance.

So generally I decline.

Yet when something that comes around like this weekend it is affecting me more then I can imagine.

For the last eight years have been attending a summer BBQ and cookout that was sponsored by a technology website I was an early member of. When a large group of us realized we were in the same state we decided to get together and meet face to face.

The interesting part was that this was a group of geeks and computer techs so that first year it became quite obvious rather quickly no one knew how to cook.

Well at least no one else.

I realized that if I was going to even attend this I was going to have to do the cooking.

Which didn't bother me actually as entertaining and cooking for others is something that I love to do. It just came natural.

The really fun part for me over the years was the increased challenges to what I was cooking. Early on since I had no idea how this was going to turn out, I kept it to hamburgers and hot dogs.

Granted I hand make and pre-season my hamburger patties. Plus I know some local meat shops that produce amazing sausages, brats and hot dogs.

We had twenty people show up that year and everyone enjoyed the food.

The following year we doubled our numbers.

Third year I brought something new to the table. Literally.

Baby back BBQ ribs. This is a family recipe that, up to that point few had ever tasted. Though that first years I could only prepare a limited number they were a huge hit. In fact they requested I make them from then on.

Not to toot my own horn but they are really good. People always want the recipe when they try them for the first time.

However we were growing in size. People were starting to come in from surrounding states and even as far away as Texas, California, and New York. The backyard that was hosting it was getting to small and I was going to have to make a lot more ribs.

One of the attendees stepped up to solve the hosting issues as his family had lake front property on the other side of the state we could use. Plus he came through for me renting a grill large enough for me to attempt eighteen slabs of ribs at once.

They do take six hours to cook so it is not like I can do them in multiple batches.

And I managed to do it then and for the next four years.

However things changed.

Last year was awkward for me. Since I only see these people once a year and I was changing rather dramatically at this point my appearance was confusing most of them.

As they were standing five feet from me asking were I was or should I say him. Even though I was right there. In front of them and they were looking right at me. I really kept to myself mostly and avoided the camera if at all possible.

This year seeing as how I can't even fool anyone I am could be a boy, but not feeling finished with my transition, I emailed the host and politely declined my invitation this year. Without the why.

Needless to say when the announcement was made the website message boards went crazy. Though nothing bad was said it was obvious I was going to be missed but people were nice in saying not to worry about it take care of me first and they would see me soon.

I have a lot to do still, I have bigger things happening right now as I expected. I was good with it. Plus it is a family event now and I simply didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable with my presence.

I was at peace with my decision and thought I would talk to the organizer and tell him what was up to see if I could attend next year. I would be understanding if I couldn't, but at least I would be living full time by then and either they could accept it or not. I wouldn't try to be there awkwardly in between.

For the last six months it hasn't bugged me one bit.

Until now.

The event is this Saturday. It is turning out to be bigger then ever as we have corporate reps coming out along with the site owners who's site we all discovered each other.

Up to this point I know I have had to let some things go from that previous life. Either I am physically unable to do them or it just isn't safe.

Yet now as I see this event rapidly approaching I am struggling with my non attendance.

I think I know why.

It might have been something I started off doing as him, but this type of event is me. I am giving up something I not only can do but I love to do. Something like this is who I am and very much a part of me. There might be things that I did as him because I could and was willing to try. Now that he is fading giving them up wasn't a huge issue since the weren't things that were really ever me.

This isn't one of them. This was something that was all me, deep down inside, cooking and entertaining is second nature to me. Even though I can still do this my presence as me is going to be tricky. I still will not be able to do it this year even if I wanted to but that doesn't mean I don't miss it.

I do.

A lot.

I just hope one day I can either return or that I can surround myself with other people that I can do this for. It was a unique bunch, but they were a good group. I was amazed from the first one until now just how well they always turned out. I just don't know how they will handle this news and now isn't the time to talk to them about it.

There is always next year.

For now I need to let it go.


Elizabeth said...

Kelli, I think you should go. You've already declined to go, but that's "boy", now it's time for you to actually start showing up, fully.

I doubt a bunch of tech geeks will really have a huge problem with it, first of all, and second, you have to realize that you can't go through life worried about the toes you're stepping on. No matter what, you're going to offend someone throughout the course of your day, sometimes you don't even realize it, but it happens. And take into account how long your toes have been stepped on, in order to accommodate others.

I'm actually sure your BBQ friends would like the chance to get to know the real you. Every one of my friends I still have, have all said how privileged they feel to know the real me, after so long only know a projection and only catching glimpses of the person inside... they were just waiting for me to let them in.

Besides, if all else fails and you're not invited next year, then you haven't lost anything (assuming you would stop going anyway) and you would know for sure that they aren't the kind of people you want in your life, anyway. Personally, I like your friend, B., he seems like a stand-up guy and the kind of friend that'll mean more than the friend you've had for 20 years that rejects a simple surface change of appearance.

Hope this makes sense.

Cynthia said...

Hi Kelli,

I don't think I can say anything more or better than what Elizabeth has already said. confident in who you know yourself to be. If you show these things to your 'geek' friends who already know and love you ( especially for your cooking ), It stands to reason they will embrace the real you. They have already told you how much they will miss you and look forward to seeing you again.

If you enjoy it...DO IT! It's YOUR life.

Prayers and Hugs Always,

Cynthia XX

Kelli Bennett said...

While I do agree with the two of you 100% it is unfortunately out of my hands in attending now. It is our maintenance period at work this weekend and since I already knew I wasn't going to the cookout I didn't ask to be excused from it.

Now it is too late.

I do hope I can attempt this next year. I have already talked to the host to let him know we need to discuss it.