Life In Transition
I remember envying my fellow high school seniors. They all knew what they wanted to do with their lives. Going on to college to become doctors and lawyers, engineers and businessmen, artists and mathematicians. Everything was so planned out. Decided upon. Ready to go.
And I felt so left behind, because I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do.
Was there something wrong with me? Something missing? Why couldn’t I figure out where my life was going? Why didn’t I just know what I wanted to study and pursue? Why did nothing grab me?
Where was the passion? Where was the excitement? Where the hells was my identity?
All around me, everyone seemed to have this thing called Life all figured out. They chose areas of study, got jobs, got married, got the house and the car and the 2.3 kids. And all the while, I slipped further and further behind.
Dropped out of college, bored out of my mind. Didn’t bother dating because I’m too much of an introvert to handle another person in my space. Took the offered job in the family business, and stayed—because it was safe and familiar. Sure, it was boring, frustrating, degrading (if I ever work in customer service again, someone slap me), but the comfort of routine and the security of a steady paycheck kept me there, not to mention family loyalty.
I did, in fact, get the house. Bought it all on my own, thanks to the gods-awful hours I worked. At 25, it was the one thing I’d achieved that lined up with the designated plan that all my classmates seemed to follow. As for the rest of it? I had no interest in a partner. Absolutely no desire whatsoever for kids. And passion…
It still eluded me.
Year after year, I found myself in the same job, the same routine, the same life, always wondering how everyone else did it. How did they just know? How did they decide that they wanted to be doctors and lawyers, businessmen and engineers? How did they get so lucky as to be caught up in the excitement of one subject and dive into it with everything they had?
Why couldn’t that happen for me?
Then, suddenly, everything changed.
April 2009. Typically home alone after a typical day of work, taking a typical shower to wash off the typical grime of the shop when, out of nowhere, a memory from my last relationship pops into my head.
A memory of being raped by my boyfriend. Just one of many memories I’d repressed. One of many things I’d denied had ever happened. And for the first time in years, I cried.
But that wasn’t all.
After the sobbing waned enough that I could actually breathe properly again, I ran to my computer, almost on autopilot, brought up a word processor, and started writing out a description of that memory of being raped. I don’t even remember consciously deciding to do so. I just did. It was all of two pages of text, an intangible black-and-white rendering of the most gods-awful thing that had ever happened to me, and by the time I stopped typing, I felt so free.
Three weeks later, I had a novel on my hands.
I still don’t know exactly how it happened. That one scene—those two measly pages of text of a bad memory—somehow morphed into a story. A novel. A whole bloody novel. Three hundred pages of a story that seemed to come out of nowhere. A few weeks after that, I had a six-hundred page sequel. And an idea for a third.
Now, here we are, eight years later, and I haven’t stopped. The story ideas just kept coming. One after the other. I can’t keep up. Finally, I’d discovered my passion, the thing I wanted—no, needed—to do with my life. The empty piece inside of me was finally filled. Thanks to a lot of encouragement from others, I’m about to self-publish my thirteenth novel, and I have at least twenty more planned.
This is insane. Considering I was always the math kid all through school, writing was never on my radar. What analytical person who isn’t happy unless arriving at precisely the right answer would ever do something as creative, as frustrating, as insane as making up people and stories and fictional worlds? Had you asked me, back at high school graduation, if I could ever picture myself as a novelist, I’d have laughed in your face.
Yet, here I am. Living my dream. Embracing something for which I’m truly passionate. Finally feeling that little void filled.
All thanks to a bad memory.
Oddly enough, it was that same bad memory that helped me fill another void in my life.
Lack of passion aside, I’ve always felt not quite right. Not quite complete. Not quite…myself. There was always something wrong, but I couldn’t name it. Couldn’t define it. Couldn’t even begin to conceive it beyond a general sense of dysphoria. Something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t even begin to guess what it might be.
Sure, there were signs. Signs that went ignored. Signs that got shoved into the heavy Denial folder in my brain and got avoided at all costs: being seven years old, holding a door open for an elderly lady who said, “Thanks, son,” only for my mother to screech, “She is a girl,” after which I embraced everything ladylike that I possibly could; being sixteen and watching a documentary about David Reimer and wondering if what happened to him was what happened to me, except I reasoned that such a situation couldn’t be the case; being an adult in a heterosexual relationship with a man and feeling so completely out of place that nothing ever worked out.
Then, the lightbulb moment: I discovered that transsexuals were a thing.
Just like the glorious moment when my world opened up as writing fell into my lap, my life got a shocking jump-start when it occurred to me that there was a name for what was wrong with me, that the name resonated with something deep inside of me, and that there was something I could do about it.
Transition wasn’t easy. Just as leaving my steady, reliable day job to pursue a chance at a writing career was a rollercoaster of emotions and worries, changing my sexual identity was hardly a walk in the park. It took a few years before I allowed myself to be myself. I had to get my mind to catch up with the idea that I could actually live life as Gabriel instead of Gabriela. But those confirming moments—those times so reminiscent of the days when I discovered writing and therefore discovered a part of myself—were so gloriously incandescent as to prove, over and over, that I was finally finding me.
Waking up from female-to-male chest surgery, I cried tears of utter joy. No longer would I have to hide in three layers of clothes just to have the courage to step outside my front door. No longer would I need anti-anxiety medication just to make it through the day. And after hormone treatments started? Dear gods, the sheer joy.
There are no words for being able to look into the mirror and, for the first time in your life, see the person you expect to see; no words for being able to walk down the street without having to first go through the mental gyrations required to build up the courage and put on the armor just to step outside your door; no words for being able to stick out your hand and introduce yourself, knowing you’re introducing a real person and not the mask you wore every day.
For the first time in my life, I know who I am and what I want to do. After living so many years without direction or identity, to finally have purpose, passion, and a sense of self, what more could a guy ask for?
Nineteen-year-old porn star Remy Dawes loves his job at Matchmakers, a gay nightclub, but the fantasy he portrays every night doesn’t leave room for what he really wants: companionship, love, someone to come home to, someone just for him. Who would ever take seriously a kid who practically sells his body for others’ pleasure?
Thirty-five-year-old Chance Whitaker has sworn off dating younger men after having been cheated on one too many times, until the owner of Matchmakers convinces him to take a chance on Remy Dawes, a gorgeous kid who surprises Chance at every turn.
As things fall apart through meddling, death, and betrayal, will there be a second chance for two people to find love?
Novelist Shain Ahren is committed to only one thing: himself. Living alone and having an endless string of one-night stands, Shain’s carefully crafted routine ensures no one will ever control him again. But one trick he met at Matchmakers, years ago, he can’t get out of his head.
Painter Elliden Crawford yearns to be controlled. Born with an extreme chemical imbalance, Elliden struggles to keep the fits at bay so he won’t be a danger to others. Only once in his life did Elliden ever truly feel safe, just one night when he met a stranger at Matchmakers.
When Matchmakers brings them together again, Elliden finally gets what he needs, while Shain’s world is thrown into complete disarray. Will Shain ever relinquish control, or will they be fated to remain a discarded first draft?
Danny Berringer lives up to the name of his nightclub. Ever since he cheated on Bryan, the love of his life, he’s been making up for it by helping others find love. He even matched up Bryan with Eric Grant, except Bryan’s perfect marriage seems to have fallen apart, and Danny is dying to know why. He doesn’t get couples wrong. Ever.
Bryan Landry had his heart broken by Danny, then had it put back together by Eric, but he can’t have Eric anymore, and it’s all his fault. He spends his nights at Matchmakers having random tricks and trying to avoid Danny, but the meddlesome matchmaker won’t leave him be.
Thrown together through guilt, death, and temptation, Bryan denies his feelings while Danny clings to dreams of Bryan’s forgiveness. Will Danny always lose, or can he win second place in Bryan’s heart?
(Note: These stories take place in a fictional world, the same as the Shifting Isles series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included with the story for those interested in the little worldbuilding details.)
While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile.
Anarcho-capitalist, quietly ‘out’ trans guy, former belly dancer, coffee guzzler, highly-sensitive introvert, CrossFit enthusiast, and lover of m/m romantic fiction.