Earlier this week, I was at a PR event in Toronto with about 450 people in attendance. It was an exhausting evening as we “worked the room” but enjoyable non-the-less. But I was fortunate enough to have an added bonus. I reconnected with someone that I missed very much.

As the old cliche goes, “there she was, across the crowded floor on the other side of the room when I spotted her…” And that is exactly what happened. A former student, but someone that I really connected with, including her family. I couldn’t run over to see her fast enough. She was in a conversation with a small group of her former classmates. As I approached her group, I caught her eye. OMG. It was a moment.

She immediately stopped talking to her friends, ran over, with tears in her eyes and gave me the biggest, longest hug ever. It was….the best! She just kept whispering in my ear “OMG I can’t believe it, I am so happy I found you again! I really missed you and need  you in my life!” My heart melted. You see, she was more than a student, she is someone very special to me. I call her my third daughter.

She has always known that I am transgender. She initially was looking for some guidance with one of her projects, and we became instant friends. We spent a lot of time together, including spending time with her mother as well, who is an amazing woman. They are very much a second family for me.

When she finally let go of me, she told me that the best thing that ever happened to her during her time at university was meeting me. Flattering to say the least, heart warming at best. I hadn’t heard anything from her for six months, which was very odd even though she moved away just before that. We would talk all the time. It turns out, however, that she had some serious unexpected health issues and went off the grid, so to speak. I figured that she was busy with her career and when she came up for air, she would contact me. But this turned out to be even better.

We chatted for several minutes and after a million more hugs, I was pulled away to meet more people. We quickly set up a time to reconnect. I recall walking away and just having such a light feeling in my heart that was comforting and warm. She is such an amazing young woman, strong, smart, determined, and drop dead gorgeous! I am so thankful she is in my life.

All this to say is that you just don’t know the lasting impression that we leave behind. And for someone to say that about me, knowing that I am trans, knowing what I have gone through and what baggage I carry, well, that’s just something very, very special. Sometimes we don’t think that we make a difference or have an impact. For me, she reminds me that yes, I do. So on days when I feel like I am getting nothing accomplished, that I am not making a difference, I think of her. And that’s enough to remind me why I do what I do. You don’t have to be some big ginormous asteroid to make an impact. I guess I do.

Just little ol’ 5’9″ me.

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