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1995 was the Year of the Trip for me.  Spring Break required a round trip by car of 2500 miles for day surgery in the one of my most insane ventures ever.  Labioplasty was the most painful part of the whole process.

On the weekend following the week after Spring Break, I traveled to a conference in the Berkshires and exercised my voice.  In May I was in Nebraska to protest...and to begin to speak on a larger stage.  In the last half of the year I tried and failed to move to Seattle.

One could call this the year when the personal met the political...

Update:  I forgot one of my 1995 trips...the first one of the year.  In January Northwestern University's GLBT fac/staff club flew me in to Chicago to do Crossing the Gender Line in Evanston.  I wrote a poem for that occasion:

Art Link
The Questions

When people ask me
"Who are you?"
I answer honestly
"I am me."

When they ask
"What are you?"
I say "An individual, one,
And I am whole."

When I'm asked
"Which are you?"
I know that others decide
that for themselves.

When I hear
"Why are you?"
The why is not important
"Because I am."

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--February, 1995



I left Conway on the March 17 headed north to St. Louis.  I'm pretty much of a ditz sometimes, and after about 200 miles, I realized that I had forgotten to put one of the bags I had packed into the car.  That bag contained, among other things, some phone numbers of people I would have called along the way to visit, a video tape of the Picket Fences transsexual episode that was the main reason for a party I was attending in Minneapolis, my make-up (all you butches out their would have been proud of me, I suppose { grin }), and a few other things.  I rand-mcnallyed my way to St. Louis, where I stayed with a mathematician friend and his fiancee (who turned out to be a very interesting woman...genetically XY, like the eastern european women who are sometimes thrown out of the Olympics).


The next day I drove to Milwaukee, leaving my R-M atlas in St. Louis (I told you that I could be a ditz sometimes).  But I located Liz Hanson's house anyway and arrived there in the afternoon.  Liz is really nice, as is Renee, who arrived home several hours after I got there.  We mostly sat around and talked and listened to music until it was time to sleep.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Aw geez, now I suppose I have to say something, about Robyn.  OK, it was so ironic because not two weeks before I had expressed fears to Robyn and only Robyn about meeting TS dykes in person.  You know, as soon as I hear TS I say he even if she is a she, I'm not thrilled about TS, don't understand TS, don't know if I want to know, aw you know. And sure shit, not more than two weeks after expressing my fear.  Anyway, within 10 minutes of Robyn's visit, my fears were no longer.  At least when it came to Robyn.  We talked TS alot but she WAS going for her final surgery.  I learned a lot and you know I understand a lot despite myself. I have only met a couple TS's before and they were both needy and depleting and they were both attracted to me.  As in any bigotry mine is born out of ignorance.  Robyn is Robyn, an attractive woman, whom I too was honored to meet.  

-Liz (when the student is ready the teacher appears, eh Robyn?)


Sunday I drove over to Madison to visit a woman I have known from IRC since March of 1993.  Joanne is a student at UW and lives in a co-op there.  I found the co-op thing to be very interesting and took the opportunity to learn how it is supposed to work (I heard that the theory is often better than the practice).  I called Paulette Quick and Sandra Wald when I got into town...Sandra didn't call back, but Paulette did and we had an enjoyable chat for an hour or so when she dropped by.  Unfortunately, we were both rather tired at the time.

PQ meets Robyn in Madison

I just wanted to tell all of you owls how much I enjoyed visiting with Robyn Serven during her brief Madison, Wisconsin visit.

Robyn was as I expected from her posting:  thoughtful, highly intellegent, quite gracious and ever concerned for other people, even though she was the one with the grueling cross-state journey.

From the vindictive rancor of her former wife to the dismissive ignorance of her academic peers to the threatening behavior of her neighbors (slashed tires, etc.), Robyn patiently pays the cost of integrity and personal freedom.  When she tells her story, these unjust and painful incidents are recounted quietly and in a matter-a-fact style.  There is neither the rancor nor bitterness one would presume.

I expect that a college will realize what a find they could have in Robyn and hire her away from the bigoted cesspool she treads water in now.  Her emotional maturity and cordiality would enhance a school's academic department.

And finally, I hope it is appropriate to state that Robyn is also quite an attractive woman.  Long sandy colored hair, the expressive face of a poet, and a tall, strong body.  Definitely a femme with a deep inner strength.

Just wanted you to know Robyn is one fine owl and that it was an honor to meet her.

Paulette Quick


I was to get more tired later, as I had to leave Madison at 3am in order to check in at the outpatient surgery clinic at 6am in Neenah.  Joanne went with me to keep me from falling asleep and to drive me around after the surgery, since I didn't think I would be in shape to do that.  

The surgery itself took about 1.5 hours.  When I woke up from it, I experienced severe pain, so I screamed at them and they put me back to sleep for another 45 minutes to an hour.  When I awoke the second time, they gave me a 10mg vicodin immediately and moved me to the second stage recovery area.  I sat there with Joanne for about an hour before they released me.  We then went for some lunch and to the hotel, where we slept away the afternoon.  

I was supposed to call Dr. Schrang before 5pm, but didn't wake up until 5:15pm.  I had his home phone number though and left a message for him on his machine.  I then called Stephanie, a friend from Transgen who was in the same hotel...she was in Neenah for some plastic surgery (liposuction and some scar removal).  Schrang called me back a little while after I talked to Stephanie and he told me that my original surgery looked to be healed quite well and that he thought that this surgery would heal quite well also and gave me some instructions on how to tend to the surgery site.  Then Stephanie, Joanne and I went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and chatted for quite some time there and then back at the hotel (we did get stopped by a cop on the way back to the hotel because Joanne was driving with only the parking lights on, but he let us go with a warning).  I got to sleep about midnight.

...and Back


Tuesday morning I drove Joanne back to Madison, depositing her on campus so she could attend one of her classes.  I then headed towards Minneapolis.  I had to stop in Menomonie, about an hour short of Minneapolis, to take a pain pill and wait 3 hours before I could drive again.  I tried calling a friend from #sappho who lives there,
but I only had her home phone number and she had to work late at UW-Stout (as I found out later).  So I drove on to Minneapolis (well, actually, Lakeville, MN) where a friend had invited me to stay.  This friend is pre-everything transgendered, but is still married and has two teenaged children...hir wife and children did not seem to be pleased with my presence.

Jenny and I went to the party that had been scheduled to view the tape (oops!).  There were two other women there (one of whom I knew) who had had identical surgeries to mine on the previous Friday.  The one I didn't know was rather famous in Minnesota, since it was her challenge of Minnesota laws that resulted in the state paying for her surgery, as well as that of others.  She is also a performance artist and performed one of her pieces for us, after which she and I took turns reading our poetry.  Eventually, the three of us who had had surgery got tired, so the party broke up and Jenny and I drove to her house.  I went to sleep rather rapidly, but did hear some arguing coming from another part of the house.


In the morning, I left for breakfast and then to Augsburg College in Minneapolis, where I took a tour of the facilities and had lunch with the chairman.  I really think I would have enjoyed it there, even if it is a church-related school, but my math specialty is the same as two other members of the department, so it was not to be.  After lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, I got back on the road, heading for Lincoln.  It's a long drive, but it was nice because I could pick up NPR on my radio for the entire trip.  I had to stop often (like every rest area) to use the facilities, but I arrived in Lincoln near the time I was supposed to (in fact, about 15 minutes early).

For the next two days, I stayed with my daughter, Jen, and her partner, Julie Cox.  They had a brand new computer, which I got to take turns playing with. :-)  It was really nice to be with family for a change.  Jen and I talked about a lot of stuff and she and Julie offered me a place to live if I don't get a job soon, but I think I
would prefer moving to a bigger metropolitan region like Seattle.  


The second night I was there, we went out to dinner with Patty L.  I was popping a lot of painkillers through these days, so some of what happened is a little hazy, but I do remember that there was a disaster when we got back with Jen and Julie's hamster making an escape...I think it was Friday morning.  Friday was Julie's bday, so I treated Jen and Julie to lunch at a nice Mexican restaurant.  Afterwards, it was off to Kansas City.


This was the shortest leg of my journey, which was good since I was having some difficulty with pain.  I stayed with  Linda and Kathryn Huxtable in Overland Park and we stayed up quite a bit too late for any of us, I think, talking about just about everything.


Saturday, I drove to Tulsa to visit my friend, Samantha (for those of you who have been following everything:  yes, the same Samantha I had my first post-surgery sexual experience with).  Sammi had friends over for a small party Saturday night, which broke up a little after I started succumbing to exhaustion.  I wasn't in shape for another sexual experience, of course, but it was nice to have someone to cuddle with that night.


After Sammi cooked me a nice breakfast on Sunday, I drove home, and here I am.  The entire trip was more than 2500 miles.


The unfortunate part of the trip was the return...yesterday, I discovered some hate mail in my departmental mailbox (anonymous, of course), and last night I received a harassing phone call at 2am.  So I'm not in the best of moods, right now.  One would think that people would get over it after 2.5 years, but apparently that is not the case.  I really need to get out of here.




Full Circle of Women

The next weekend I flew to Boston for the Full Circle of Women Conference.  I probably wrote something about it someplace, but rather than search all my old disks, I can just connect to another recounting of it by Janis Walworth:  Full Circle of Women: Impressions of the 1995 Conference.  I'm the long-haired lesbian mentioned.

I wrote this poem for the event:

Art Link
Bleeding the Colors

I have bled blood red
Three decades later than
I would have liked,
aided by a surgeon's knife,
but I have bled blood red.

I've bled before,
just not that color.
It's the shade
I was missing
in my world.

I've bled the sickly yellow of fear
and the desolate blue of sadness,
the empty grey of loneliness
and the worn out brown of long years
of waiting.

I've bled the bluish purple of pain
and the emerald green of envy,
the dark scarlet of anger
and the all-consuming black
of depression.

I've bled the purplegreengold
sparkles in my vision
as I fell asleep
to dream of a life that
I couldn't live.

I've bled the tarnished silverpink
of a love that I thought
was real but was
an illusion/delusion
and abusive and wrong.

I've bled the dusky rainbows
of confusion and turmoil
and the toxic hues
of insanity and dis-ease
and death.

I've bled the colors
until they ceased existing
and I would have joined them,
but I finally bled
the blood red of life.

I've bled red twice now
and the colors are back,
sharp and crisp
and bright and airy
and joyful.

I've bled red twice now
and the colors are real,
and they don't need me
to bleed them,
for I have bled blood red.

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--March, 1995


Stuff happens.  In May I was an observer/protester outside the trial of John Lotter for the murder of Brandon Teena, another road trip which I recounted in Vigil.

The story of Seattle is not written yet.  I'm not sure it ever will be.  But I know what it is about since it has a title:  In Search of Filisa.


Originally posted to Robyn's Perch on Sun Aug 12, 2007 at 04:17 PM PDT.

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