What is love part 6: Learning to love yourself

I try to keep these short enough you can get through them pretty quick. I tried to space them out but when I wake up at 3 am with things to say I gotta get them off my chest, out of my mind Otherwise sleep will continue to elude me.

I sat out to write this series knowing it only had one conclusion. I didn’t intend to make anyone cry. I didn’t want to drudge up things I had left in the past. My goal was simply to answer the question, what does love mean to me. I think I answered that quite thoroughly in these reflections of the loves that left an imprint on my heart. Now, it’s time I put it all together to determine what I learned from this ordeal.

You will notice pattern. All of my stories ended in loss. Mostly time has separated us one from another, life has taken at least one of these lost loves and then there was Carmen, which I can let that one go now. You will also noticed they are all in the very distant past. I haven’t seen Hanna since 2005, Samantha since 2001, Carmen since 2003. Dom’s dead and Becky might as well be for all intents and purposes. The point is I haven’t had a person in my life I was that close to, in nearly 2 decades.

In a lot of ways Hanna was the last straw. Not because we were close and I left behind, but because we could have been closer and I couldn’t forgive myself for the way I treated her. But also, if you caught a piece of the story you might have noticed I was chasing a music career. That didn’t stop for a long time.

That’s where my life went. Starting in 2006 I became obsessed with launching my record studio. It took everything I had, drained me of all my resources, destroyed my friendships and left me jobless, penniless and homeless. I didn’t give up either. I turned right around with some friends and launched a new venture. I threw myself into m content at this time. I started making websites and internet videos. YouTube was the newest thing and I wanted to get in on that. I had started chasing the fame.

It was in 2011 I started to turn my life around. I had been in a slump living literally in my parents basement running a comic book shop and underground pirate DVD store. I did other things I regret doing. Mostly I became a recluse. I didn’t need friends, let alone girlfriends or boyfriends for that matter. I was better off alone. I had work to do. Too much work, not enough time.

I went to college. I studied communications. When I left college, against my will but that’ a story for another day, I got into the news media business. But not before I dabbled in wedding videos, DJing and other side projects. I became a video editor then assistant producer at a commercial broadcast TV station. From there I moved to Texas and became a professional journalist. A news reporter working as a staff writer for a local community newspaper. I found a new purpose in life. I didn’t need friends. I didn’t need romance. My work was my life. My life had changed. My new love was my passion for words. Passion for the truth that motivated me. That pushed me to the breaking point where I walked away from it all to live as a transgender woman.

I had quite a hazy but very wild career in the news business for those 6 years I was in it. I climbed the ladder so to speak. Moved up in the market from small town paper to a county-wide daily paper with a larger circulation. Eventually I made it all the way up to Television producer. I was, briefly, producer of the highest rated newscast at the top rated TV station in the market. I saw briefly because I only had the helm on weekends, the rest of the week I produced a newscast on a Fox affiliate nobody was watching. Still, it was a blast while it lasted.

In 2017 I started asking the question who am I? I knew I was a gamer. I knew I was a toy collector. I was also a nerd, a news reporter/writer by trade, and I was a closeted queer bisexual transwoman. But was that it? I had begun to question my religious practice. I never lost faith, I still identify as a Christian to this day. But I don’t do church the same as I did then. I’ve taken the last four or so years trying to figure out who I was. Learning, along the way, to love myself. That was a challenge. I hated the person I became. I hate how many people I had hurt over the years. I hated the things I did to stay hidden in the closet. I hated the ugly man face looking at me in the mirror every day.

I lost myself in my work, my side projects. I was making music, YouTube videos, podcasts, writing in my blog, writing short stories and poems on the side, writing novels I never finished, doing everything I could to stay busy. I didn’t do these things as me either. When I say I was lost in my work I meant it. I hid behind so many names, wore so many masks. I was The Rat, DJ Serial Killa, Sega Gamer 12, The Trans Formers Collector, The Retro Witch. I ran The Rat’s Collectibles, Mean Green Records, Bim Dizzle, Gamerz Jackpot, The Spiders Lair and co-hosted the Transposed Podcast. I did all these things, took on all these projects, because I was running from who I was. I was hiding from the world. From, the truth.

I finally realized I had enough. I needed to take time for myself. I didn’t do it alone. I met a woman who is my sister, my best friend, and my whole world at this time. She is the one person pushing me forward right now while others out there are trying to pull me backwards.

I am not doing anymore of these. I don’t need to write an essay on how much Robin means to me, she see’s every day. She knows. I decided to write a love letter to someone else. Me.

Dear Stephanie Bri,

From the moment I met you life has been complicated. You have fought through the hard times. You have run from the bad. You have pushed through the pain. You have learned from your heartaches. You have endured. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are an amazing gift to humanity who blesses people with your presence.

My life would never have been possible without you. You brighten my day. You spread joy to others around you. You bring clarity to the chaos of this life. Above all you are a very special person who’s life is going to be amazing. You are a fabulous woman with a big heart, a great smile and a zest for life. Don’t ever stop sharing your gifts with the world.

Truly Yours, with Love,

~Yourself

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos. If you like my writing please consider helping me survive. You can support me directly by giving money to my paypal: thetransformerscollector@yahoo.com. If you prefer CashApp my handle is @Stephaniebri22. Also feel free to donate to my Patreon. I know it's largely podcast-centric but every little bit helps. Find it by going to www.patreon.com/stephaniebri, Thank you.