Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Begnining of my Life in the Spotlight

I went with a little bit different tone with this installment; I wanted it to feel more conversational.  I'm not sure if it works or not (you'll all be the judge of that), but I enjoyed writing it.  I think this has turned out to have a bit of a memoir feel to it, which is really cool.  However, it doesn't have as much sex in it as I originally intended, so it might not appeal to everyone who reads this blog (I know why you all come here!).  But for those of you who like to see the growth of a different sort of character, enjoy.  I also apologize for any typos or grammatically incorrect sentences.  Sometimes I start typing a sentence and realize it doesn't work, so I start to replace it and miss a word here or there.  Please try to ignore those.

The Beginning of my Life in the Spotlight

Fame is a tricky thing, especially when it's sudden.  One second, you're anonymous; people don't notice you.  You fade into the background.  And then, like a switch has been flipped, everywhere you go, people recognize you.  Every sideways look, each glance in your direction, you think they're gawking.  Maybe they do know who you are.  Or maybe it's all in your head.  But the fact remains that you just can't hide anymore, no matter how much you want to.

When I agreed to do the reality show, I never thought in a million years that I'd actually get famous.  Sure, I thought that I might get recognized by a select group of people, but nothing like what actually happened.

I think it was about eight months after the show began filming (and about 2 months after it started airing online) when I first realized that life as I knew it was over.  I was actually in a really good place, physically and mentally.  My body's changes had sort of plateaued, and I had begun to accept the new me as, well, just me. 

According to the doctor, I had reacted to the hormones in a very interesting way -- the changes had occurred at an accelerated pace.  What normally takes 12-18 months took my body around 6-8 months.  He couldn't really explain it, either.  All he could do was guess that it had something to do with the way my body processed hormones.

But I'm not a doctor.  I don't really care why things happened the way they did.  My breasts had grown to almost a C cup, and my body had rounded out to a more feminine shape.  It's hard to explain; it's just my body, you know?  Anyway, I don't have to describe it -- my body isn't a mystery to many people in this country these days.

So -- fame.  It's so weird getting recognized in public by perfect strangers.  Most are nice about it, offering words of encouragement, but some are just downright nasty about it.  And for me, being who and what I am, the nasty ones...but that's not what I wanted to talk about.  I'm not going to complain about bigots.  That's not my style.

Anyway, I had long since moved on from doubts about my decision to start taking hormones, so it was kind of disconcerting for strangers to tell me that it would be okay, and that they thought I had made the right decision.  It was just after the episode in which I cried had aired, and apparently, it had gone viral.  I don't know if A.V.A. was behind it, but it propelled the show from a niche semi-porn gimmick to something else.  The world hadn't ever seen anything like our show; we blended so many genres.  And all the while, we were unapologetically sexual. 

I read once that the show wouldn't have worked with anyone else.  They said that I had the perfect combination of innocence, sexuality, and vulnerability that made it easy for audiences to connect with me.  I don't know about all of that.

What I do know is that my show became something of a cultural phenomenon.  What does that say about our culture?  Does it mean that our society is progressive enough to lay aside the fact that I'm so very different?  Or am I akin to a circus freak to them?  I don't know.  I want to believe the former.  I really do.   But I can't escape the feeling that it's the latter.  It might be completely untrue, and I'm still just that insecure boy I've always been (despite my very feminine and admittedly sexy body).   I want to escape that insecurity; that's why I'm writing all of this down.  That's why I've been in therapy for close to four years now. 

So, there I was - a veritable pop culture icon.  I'm thankful that the opportunity presented itself, and I certainly don't regret agreeing to do it.  But I'm so, so glad that it only lasted for one season.  They offered me so much money to come back (way more than I made elsewhere), but I just couldn't handle it anymore.  The cameras following my every move made personal relationships all but impossible (though I did try).  Sometimes, I would manage to forget they were there, but most of the time, I was painfully aware of their presence.  It affected my every decision, my every move.  And that kind of thing can wear on a person, you know?

But it opened a lot of doors for me.  I did talk shows and news programs; they didn't look at me as a porn star.  They talked to me like I was a I was respected.  They accepted me.  They had to, I guess.  Their audience demanded it. 

I don't know.  I guess I'm rambling a little with this one.  That time in my life was so hectic that I scarcely remember the details. 

I recently read an article in Newsweek about me (I didn't contribute to it at all) which claimed that I kick-started a revolution in the entertainment industry, and in more way than one.  It even went on to say that my popularity helped pioneer our country's increased acceptance of transgendered people.  I actually blushed while reading it. 

I won't argue that it didn't help our society progress, but it's not like we did anything special, you know?  We didn't go out and protest.  We didn't get any laws passed.  We just let the audience see what it was like for a person going through a monumental change.  And they kept their eyes open.  People, I think, were just looking for something like our show.  Maybe not specifically, but they wanted to see us as people just like anyone else.  They wanted to see our problems.  They wanted to see us laugh.  And they wanted to see us cry.

And they saw me cry. 

But that was only the beginning of my life in the spotlight.

1 comment:

  1. An excellent chapter to bring that period of life to a close. Really enjoying this story and can hardly wait to see where it goes next. Great work