Back to Bedford Falls?

| Dec 25, 2017

It’s a Wonderful Life is probably my all-time favorite movie. Yes, there are the Star Wars and Forrest Gump, but no other movie has affected, and reflected my life like IAWL. I love watching it every year at this time. Lately, I feel like “Ole’ Mossback” George Bailey. In the movie, George, of course, yearns to finally leave Bedford Falls, his “crummy little town” and see the world. He wants to build things and see and do things he had never done before.

When I transitioned in 2011, I felt like I had really never gotten to see and do things I had dreamed of. Sure, I went on vacations, and even to Hawaii, but I longed to actually live in different areas other than the Pittsburgh area, which I knew so well. I remember my ex-wife talking about it when we would go somewhere. She would ask, “Why don’t we move somewhere else and start over?” Of course, Ole’ Mossback Me would start asking about how we would be able to do it. How would we coordinate jobs and the sale of the house and finding a new place? It all seemed so exhaustively complex.

In late 2010, however, things changed dramatically for me. My wife became my soon-to-be-ex-wife. I found my self suddenly leaving the home which I put my blood, sweat and tears into, as well as my father’s life insurance money after he suddenly passed away. I had built quite a custom castle. But, since I was the “man,” and I was the one who “fucked things up,” I was the one who had to leave.

All of a sudden, I had to scramble to find housing. I moved in with my Aunt and Uncle for a number of months until I met my soon-to-be partner. Jess lived in Baltimore at the time. I really didn’t have any place to go. I was right on the cusp of full time. I am not sure what would have happened had I stayed in Pittsburgh. I wonder sometimes. I would venture a guess that I would have not transitioned. I know I would have chickened out and just stayed closeted.

I always had the dream to get my own place and to be able to come home, close the door, and immediately get into my girl clothes.  I wondered how often I would do it. Would I be a woman at home and a man at work, or just The Occasional Woman? (Nod to our TGF contributor here ;)) I got my answer on that question in the Summer of 2011.

I think a big key to my transition was getting laid off in May 2011. That turned out to be a huge event. It released me from the bonds of work life. It also coincided with my Aunt & Uncle leaving for Maine. They asked me to watch the house while they were gone all summer. That’s when my answer came to the question of how often I would be a girl. The answer came back…as much as fucking possible.

That’s when the adventure really began. Ole’ Mossback Me decided to travel to the DC area, Rehoboth Beach, Ocean City, Richmond and other areas to explore. I was free to move about the country. I had no house, no job, $460 per week unemployment, and was free as a bird. I felt that if I found a new area in which no one knew me, maybe I could be a girl more often.

On one of those adventures, I met my (now ex-partner) Jess. That was a very critical event in my transition. I was finally meeting people like me. The thing that separated Jess from the other TG’s that I had met was that she had transitioned, and was about a year and a half into it. She was the real deal, and I was fascinated. I could tell she was different. She was a transsexual. I wanted to ask her so many questions, and we did discuss hormones the first time we met at a TG event. I was enthralled and wanted to know more.

I met my soon-to-be mentor in Baltimore as well. Jess introduced me to many folks like myself. I was energized. I wanted to transition. I really didn’t hesitate. It seemed like a natural progression. I didn’t want to hide it anymore. I had nothing holding me back. I would never even have to transition on the job, since I had none. So I did it.

As quickly as the Baltimore adventure began, it ended. Jess was losing her house and had to move. I really enjoyed that house up in the woods. I actually liked the Baltimore area and was loving my new friends. I fell in love with Gil’s Pizza too. I can taste it right now with its succulent cheese and greasy greatness. But, a new adventure was about to begin.

I was leery of South Carolina. I had no idea what was there. Jess and I ended up living there for three years. I met even more friends. I now had friends all up and down the eastern seaboard, from Buffalo, New York to North Carolina, all the way to Tampa and Melbourne, Florida. I cherish all of the Sisters and allies I met in my travels. In 2014, those travels took me far away from home. I had shaken the moss off of my back and was heading to California.

Clarence the angel and George.

Well…we all know how that turned out. I was just thinking about it tonight. I feel like I am in some sort of bizzaro land.  In It’s a Wonderful Life, Clarence takes George into an alternate universe where strange things happen. I feel like I am in some sort of alternate universe living here in Cali. Things happen that I have never seen before. People are crazy, strange and foreign to me. Everything is faster and more hyped. My familiar suburbs have turned into Pottersville, with its flashy neon signs and nightclubs, instead of my laid back, country suburbs of Western Pennsylvania.

Like George, I am disoriented by this bizzaro land and can’t believe my eyes or ears. I seem lost and sometimes frightened by the fast pace and strange, unfamiliar things. George, thankfully, only had to spend a few hours in the alternate universe. But, I have spent three years in mine. I may have strayed too far and stayed too long in my exploratory adventures.

The real kicker that made George beg Clarence to take him back to Bedford Falls was the loss of his wife and kids. That was the last straw. He broke. Clarence took him back and George found out how good he really had it in “crummy” Bedford Falls. He found how much he affected people and how he made their lives better just by knowing him.

Sometimes, when the tears come, like today, I want Clarence to take me back to Bedford Falls. I’m not exactly sure where my Bedford Falls is, whether it’s Pittsburgh, Philadelphia or just somewhere on the East Coast, but I do feel a calling back to where I know best, where I am comfortable, and where I have so many friends.

At the end of the movie, George is awed by how many friends and loved ones come to his aid when he needs it most. He realizes how valuable friends and love is. Adventures don’t always give you what you need. Sometimes they just end up being as empty as a beautiful, but lonely desert plain. 

As Clarence wrote to George at the end of the movie:

“No Man is a failure who has friends.”

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd…dance by the light of the moon.

Goodbye 2017. Merry Christmas everyone!

Here’s to better times ahead. Cheers!

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Category: Body & Soul

About the Author ()

I am a transwoman originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I have been living full time for 4 years. I work in retail but am an artist/Graphic Designer and aspiring writer. I tend to address the controversial in my writing. I would love to change the world one article at a time. I moved here to The San Francisco Bay Area to start over, again. The adventure continues...

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