Claiming Center Stage


Claiming Center Stage

From Symposium Storytelling Evening 2019

May/June 2019


He walked into my office in a dress and high heels. He was six-foot-five and towered over me. He wore yellow plastic earrings and a bad wig. On the phone, he’d asked if he could change in the bathroom before we met, explaining that he wanted to talk about his interest in dressing like a woman and needed a safe place to test the waters.

I’m a sex therapist. I see people every day who have what others would consider “edgy” issues: crossdressers, people with fetishes, couples in open relationships, people who engage in polyamory, S&M, kink. I see them all, and I’m okay with all of it. I don’t judge. After all, I grew up with people who most of the world would deem freaks. The “freaks” were my friends. They were my family.

I grew up in the circus. Not a metaphorical circus, a real one. My father worked for Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers. He was the barker and a pitchman and an emcee and a ringmaster. We lived like gypsies for most of my childhood, traveling with the circus to follow him around. I’d lived in 12 different houses by the time I was 10. The bearded lady lived in our driveway in a trailer. The clowns babysat me. As a child, it all seemed fun and exciting. And I adored my father. The problem was he never paid any attention to me—at all.

What he did do was make promises: the biggest, the most important of which was that one day, out of all the little girls in the audience, he’d choose me—me!—to be the special one who got to step into the center ring and…

Already have an account linked to your magazine subscription? Log in now to continue reading this article.

(Need help? Click here or contact us to ask a question.)

Not currently a subscriber? Subscribe Today to read the rest of this article!




Read 523 times
Comments - (existing users please login first)
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
*
2 Comments

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 1:47:37 PM | posted by Tammy Nelson
Thank you for watching. This Networker talk was very risky for me. It was my Brene Brown moment of vulnerability. Here is the link to the TEDx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JMioYaBJDc

Saturday, May 11, 2019 6:31:34 AM | posted by Beverly Dale
Driving home a very important lesson wirh lovely stories. Thank you for your vulnerability in the sharing!