Twelve years ago, on November 22nd, my life in the city officially started. It was the day I bought my very first snowboard and I swore to myself I would use it as often as possible. That’s when I found out about the snowboard club where I met Tony. I spent several years with them, I actually got pretty good. I basically stopped when I moved to the Campus. It was the closest I had ever lived to the club, but I used to go to bed at 2.00 am every night, waking up at 4.00 am to drive to the mountains was out of the question.

Campus was a strange place. It was a non-place in a different dimension, rules of the outer world didn’t apply, the outer world didn’t even enter the doors there. We were all living in a bubble, untouched by time and reality. It was the first place where I had to put myself out there and be someone, become a character and impose my ways. It was hard. At that age, I wasn’t able to present myself to a society. The snowboard club had helped me some, but I kept to myself a lot, tended to be with that one girlfriend I knew a little more and watch in silence what the others did. I was quiet. At Campus, I had to be bold. First of all, I had to prove I was worth it. Everybody can join a snowboard club, when when you are chosen to enter the Campus, you just have to prove you defeated competition. Also, there was no girlfriend-shield there. A lot of people knew each other already, others didn’t but looked perfectly at ease in a new environment. I was left alone struggling to be accepted by the pack, so all I could do was roar. I guess that partly had something to do with my balls growing even bigger and scarier. The fact that all in all I never had any close female friend while I was living there probably didn’t help.

When I think about my famous and loud walk down Elm Grove, what comes to mind is my friend Lucy in a clothes shop urging me to try those wonderful sandals on. She pushed me towards femininity every day. She was just so much wiser than me in that, she was already a woman, even though we were the same age, she knew the secrets and tried to teach me. I am so thankful for that, I’m just sorry it didn’t last. So I guess that’s what I missed most, some sort of guide to chaperon me to womanness.

That’s where the whole engineer syndrome started. I did spend most of my time around engineers and I guess I just wanted to conform to their standard. I know it’s stupid, but hey I did what I could, I felt more like a man than a woman back then. Being with my husband didn’t help much either in this sense.

Now I am out of my chrysalis and I have this insane idea that the sport helped me out of it. No one can deny that it’s a very feminine sport in itself and probably my need to explore it again as an adult did have something to do with my eagerness to become a woman. Whether I like it or not, I will always remember this time and place, this arena and coach as the environment for my transformation. I have no idea how long I’ll keep practicing or if I’ll make new friends there who I’ll keep seeing for years or if I’ll drop out and move to the other side of the world in 6 months, but this will stay with me. My first competition will be proof of the woman I’ve become.

What do these three places have in common? Location, location, location. It’s the south.
Three of the fundamental milestones in my 12 year old residence in this town are clustered within a scarce 3 miles radius over more than 70 square miles of surface. There must be something in the air around here. Funny how in the past 4 years I’ve been living and working in the Northern part of town only…

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