14 Miles

So I mentioned in my recent post about the Human Rights Campaign Dinner something awesome occurring. Let’s dive into that!

As you have read, the day prior I had to work (4:30AM alarm), hustle home and get myself ready and then attend a kickoff event (cocktails involved). Back home to get cleaned up and catch a few hours sleep.

So on August 20, 2022 the alarm went off at 5:00AM. I spent an hour getting ready to run with my friend Jim at 6:30, with a half hour commute in there. We were going to run 14 miles. I am training for a marathon in early October, with the goal of qualifying for Boston in 2024 to right the wrong that was my awful performance there this past April.

Jim and I met a few years back. He works for a home builder and needed an easement from me to begin a new development right behind our house. I trust no one anymore. He calls, I am somewhat of an a-hole, but long story short, I requested a fence (which I got) and he got the required easement. During that process, we of course met, and chatted (I was no longer an a-hole). He is a life long runner. A friendship was struck.

He had run Boston some years ago. I was aspiring to do so. We started running together every Saturday. During runs, we talked, at least for the first half of our runs until we simply ran in silence, trying to grind out the end of that run. Jim always brings his dog, Harley, along. We have run hundreds of miles run together. Runs have ranged from a paltry 13 miles to as long as 20 miles. We have run in temperatures below freezing. Nothing better than a 20 mile run with temps in the teens (not!). It was often hours before I could feel my hands (literally). We have raced against each other (I kinda won those); he has fallen and injured himself; we have supported each other; we have really become close. For someone with quite a few lifelong friends, to make a friend with whom I feel so close in a relatively short amount of time has been wonderful.

During these runs, we talk. We have shared more about each other than I have with most other male friends. Jim shared his battle with alcoholism (you would think I would heed his warnings) and I have shared my time in prison. We have referred to our family members, but have not gone into much detail in that regard. Men generally don’t share in that fashion.

So fast forward to my volunteering for the HRC, greeting every person attending the event. I am standing in my lovely Michael Kors dress, smiling from ear to ear, chatting people up. Then up the escalator comes Jim and his wife. I don’t really notice them until I am greeting them. Jim had no clue, despite the fact that only a few hours before, we talked while we ran (remember, Kandi and I speak in the same voice). No clue. Instantly, I say to myself, WTF. This is an LGBT event, so all inhibitions are gone.

There was an immediate connection! Now the interesting part, which I did not know. Jim and his wife’s son is gay (never came up, but then again, I didn’t completely open up either). Now the good part, his wife is in charge of diversity for a local college. And we have a few mutual friends, including Kim, whom I just met the day before.

Letting the genie out of the bottle was amazing! Now there is no chance in hell I can do this with all of my friends without losing many. But Jim, unbeknownst to me, was the perfect friend to open up to. I wasn’t looking to do so and made a split second decision, but am glad I did.

So here we are (with Jim’s permission) at the dinner. Jim, his lovely wife Magda and Godzilla in the middle. A photo I am extremely proud of!!

How can he wear a suit! Yuk!

Seriously, Jim I thank you and Magda is amazing! Our runs may be a little different from now on….

18 thoughts on “14 Miles”

  1. Kandi, that’s just amazing and so many positives to savour.

    I’m sure a proportion of your readers are terrified at the prospect of being recognised by someone they know but you’ve once again proved that, as with many other things in life, it’s what’s under the surface that most people care about, not the thin veneer of how they externally present themselves.

    Thanks for sharing a truly inspirational story.

  2. A beautiful story with an unexpected connection, leading to an even more solid friendship. This is the kind of experience that makes us all realize how important these connections are. Brava, Kandi, for taking that leap of faith in your friend!

  3. Kandi,
    I fully understand the dilemma when not everyone knows about the different sides of us . The saying is , ” we win some and lose some ” I gues I’m lucky I’ve gained more than i’ve lost , form reading your posts I know you have won more than lost . It’s great now Jim is on board , when I’m in that situation I lkeave the ball in their court , if they want to talk about the subject that’s fine by me .

  4. Great story.

    I wrote recently about my encounter that a friend of my friend Michelle, who I met in Dee mode, is the dad of a student that I coach. The dad had no idea that the guy coach was Michelle’s friend Dee.

    Guy me once walked into a store where I had previously met the SA at the desk the week before in Dee mode. She had no clue even though I had spent at least an hour with her the week before.

    Other GG friends say they wouldn’t make the connection. Nor did a woman I met at a thrift store in guy mode a week after she talked to me in Dee mode.

    People don’t make the connection. We spend our lives worrying about things that don’t happen.

    And the thing is, it feels GOOD to tell someone. I have told one person that knows the boy me, and that person told me how much they appreciate that I felt confident enough to tell them (and I had specific reasons for the disclosure).

    Well done, Kandi.

  5. Very cool Kandi, I really think the lesson here is despite how we dress and present ourselves, we are who we are.
    The same on the inside no matter what the outside looks like
    You know God looks at us that way He looks into our heart and if the outside is messy or different He loves us just the same
    Thanks for sharing such an awesome encounter, warms my heart
    Rach

  6. Kandi,
    You’re right, that is an awesome story. You never know exactly how people will react but more often than not it is much better than you anticipate. My own example:

    Last June I went en femme to an art gallery where the artist on exhibit came over to me to discuss her methodology. After talking for 20 minutes I asked her if if it bothered her how I was dressed. Her exact answer “No, not at all, why should it?” We then talked about cross dressing in general and me in particular along with other subjects for another hour. We became instant friends and I visited her in the gallery the following week in drab where we talked for another 90 minutes. She is a lovely woman and we’re meeting for lunch in a few weeks to catch up with each other.
    Fiona

    1. Fiona, that is a wonderful story and very much representative of what many who I ma talked with have experienced. I am so happy you shared that. Favor? Let us know how lunch goes!

  7. Such a cool story, Kandi. I have told two friends about Donna but both are female. I have also gained 2 friends as Donna—both who have done my makeup. However, I have not told any guy friends. I guess I prefer to keep that part of my life separate and not “burden” them with knowing. Maybe I would lose the escape that dressing up provides. I feel I’m rambling so I’ll stop there. Thanks for your insights and inspiration. Also thanks to all your commenters, for their added insights.
    Donna

    1. I guess you never know until you know, meaning who knows how someone will react and how that reaction will change us and our view of “this” world. Happy to have seen Donna getting her day in the sun recently!!

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