Out of the shadows
Hello fellow customizers, skinners, graphics gurus and appreciators alike.
Though I don't anticipate many (any? hehe) will remember me, some might. I've gone by a few names, on this forum and others, over the years. From causticFX to sbgFX, nauticalpixel, among others and now, my most current (and final, I promise) incarnation: Matchbook.
So long ago now I joined this site and experienced, right out of the gates, a feeling of community, of belonging, of solidarity - even when I perhaps wasn't always deserving of it. This isn't to suggest I was terrible, but we've all had our run-ins with others and I'm no exception.
Anyhow. This isn't the point of this thread. In fact, this thread didn't have to happen and, in some ways, shouldn't be here, but it's been something I've wanted to post for years now, going back at least as far as 2006 or so. I wanted to share something with the people here, because you were all my beginning, my middle, my constant, the people I looked up to for inspiration, for guidance, for a smack, when I needed one (Thanks. Jafo)
I want to share this not to make some big public spectacle of it - for I feel under the microscope enough in my day-to-day routine, even if only grocery shopping, but because I like, respect and, for many of you, flat-out miss many of you. From MikeB314, RPGFX, Tiggz to Jafo to Jairo to Kenwas, Bones2112, and so (so) many over the years I've met, grown to admire and feel at home around.
WinCustomize, at least online, is my home, and I say that with more than a generous smattering of sappy sentimentality attached. In short, I love you all. I really do. For providing an online gypsy with a home, I am filled with gratitude.
Which brings me to something I wanted to say (I know, I keep saying this, my apologies). It's not easy for me, as I've lost most in my life because of this, but I respect you all too much to keep living in the shadows, as if keeping some terrible secret from you all.
Many years ago, now, I began hormone treatment - and am soon having GRS (Gender Reassignment Surgery) as early as this summer. I am transgender. It's been a very slow, very deliberate, albeit totally hidden transition for me and it's only of-late that I've been more vocal about it -- again, not to push it in anyone's face, but because I feel inauthentic, cowering in the shadows, wanting so much to tell those I care about (you guys) but neglecting to do so. So there's my 'confession'. My cross to bear. My hardship. Though it's a very difficult journey (comes even with the occasional death threat at the grocery store), I do my best to push through it with love in my heart. It's been too long I've lived in hiding, in shame, afraid to speak or allow others to know me: For this, I apologize. I hope I didn't underestimate anyone's ability to understand this stuff.
Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read this -- it really does mean the world to me, and I won't be hurt or offended if you don't know how to reply. I made this thread simply because I miss you all. I respect you all. You're my home. Thanks for providing it - From Brad, to every Admin and Mod, Journeyman, Master Skinner, user and everyone in between who makes this site happen, so tirelessly for so long.
I love you all.
With sincerity and gratitude,