Road to Transition: Bree Record
Everyone has their own personal identity, which he/she develops about themselves over the course of their lives. Some aspects of identity can be controlled or changed where others cannot. Where you grow up, the color of your skin or the choices you make in life often out of our control. How you spend you time and what you believe may vary from time to time. Your personal identity can be seen by what you wear, how you carry yourself and how you deal with others. Bree Record poses a question with her true story one that many others might have asked themselves and others too afraid: Who am I? Where do I see myself in the future? These questions have been asked by many who have buried themselves in the search for knowledge and the nature of being who you are or human. “ What is the definition of being a person? Do I count? These and many other questions come to light as you the reader along with this reviewer will take the journey from the beginning and learn just how Bree dealt with her Road to Transition.
The story is told from the end to the beginning going backwards each day as the author’s transformation takes place and we hear not only her voice but also that of Sarah, Steven and finally Bree. This is a story that is compelling, heartbreaking at times and takes place over a period of 40 days. Steven takes up a good part of the separate stories telling how he felt different, what the turmoil inside of him was like and the fact that he was overweight, out of shape and had to find his way through college and hopefully to a job of some type. When do you know your true self? Mia was her partner that she connected with and she had someone named Pearl to do the electrolysis, and another person named Paige to talk with and discuss problems. The voice of one person comes through as her feelings are vividly depicted as Sarah and Steven and the surrounds they are both enclosed in quite different. Steven feels alone most of the time in his body and his mind as he struggles to cope with strangers, new environments and realizes that the time has come for a drastic change. Intertwined are the story of how this change comes about, the treatments, the surgeries and the procedures but the hope of having a relationship her partner. Her children and family support her way of life and understand her thinking and rationale. To each one she expresses her own thoughts and emotions to as each person in her family provides a different kind of support.
Steven suffered at the hand of others and himself as he started out as Sarah, then Steven and realized neither person was him. How do you cope with such turmoil? What about the surgery that placed him in deep pain and sent him back to the ranch and the basement there to cope with his anxiety attacks and fears. College was a start for Steven yet at times he felt like an interloper in crowds with other students and even within himself. The story is told from the 40th day and recedes back to the first day in a reverse timeline with different stories involving Steven in different settings until the real transformation takes place. The voice of the author is heard as she refers to Mila and how their relationship along that of Steven progressed, changed, fell apart and then reunited. How do you create your own gender confirmation? Surgery, appearance and much more.
At times her dysphoria took over and raged for days but was never in complete control. Each day was different and her relationships changed as she went from Sarah to Steven before finding her true self. Sarah, the first person we met, laid down her existence she related for her grandparents who looked at her with loving eyes, yet she states that they never really saw her. She cam along much later and never met them. However, Steven’s grandparents live in her memories like apparitions. She can hear them and feel their presence but to her they are transparent. The chapter titled the Land of the lost envisions Steven as he watched the last college in his series parade at 32. He grew hard and heavy and looking in the mirror he felt defeat. Weight was an obstacle throughout his hope for transition. He had many surgeries, and in a three –year period, he had to undergo ten trips to the operating theater. The count was so long he felt like he lost his way. But, Steven made a promise to God and even though he suffered fevers, lived in the confines of a basement he decided that he would go willingly without protest of second thought except if the morning sun greeted him that he would find the way to move forward and he did. Steven controlled had control and now it was time for him to give it up. “I am almost me. I feel lighter in different ways. I am starting to see the beauty that surrounds me again.” Just the beginning of a new her new transition as the realizations of what she wanted to accomplish had now taken hold. Steve was different from Sarah who had a pure heart and whose strife and transformation we read as we hear her voice at the start of this book. Steven was forced to do many things. He began to strike cruelly against her core and the author relates how she stopped caring. Realizing that she would always be the child of Sarah and Steven. Everyone as we know is the sum of his or her pasts. Time to find true and inner peace.
There is so much more that can be related as the dysphoria raged at times for days and then disappeared. Some days were harder than others. Steven’s life where he followed her star and he would wake up to find himself still in the vestiges of her life as the recuperation from surgery was flanked with healing bandages that protect some of the twisted trauma. The chapter titled Clarity sums it up as the author related that once she was able to see herself, for whom she was and is, light was shed on her past. Pain was there but she now with the surgery shining like some no-so-distance lighthouse on a dark stormy night, she says she wakes up to herself and now the voyage begins.
How do you prepare yourself for a transformation that will change your life, your perspective and possibly that of those closest to you. How do you describe your fears? When the author goes to Philadelphia and the time has come to see the surgeon she now had to come face to face with her own fears, demons and her stomach clinched in a violent way. As we go to Day 16 in the calendar or journal she related that she lived a false life for so long and she explains throughout the book her relationship with the ranch, why she wanted to escape and hoped life would change for her. The most poignant chapter is the one titled Falling Apart Together which explains her relationship with her partner Mila and her remorse and one statement that you the reader will have to read and translate for yourself: I AM SORRY I AM NOT A BOY! The final chapters explain the change, her excitement, her ups and downs and work. The fears that sometimes her anguish and anger that overcome her at times. Read The Final Week which is also Steven’s final week and the clock is ticking and his final hours a dwindling down and the copies of this amazing and well written book are given to various family members to decide on their how they would view the events through their own mirrors or eyes. Two voices within her that reigned and now they were silent. The operation completed and the world is moving around her but where will she go? Where does she belong and who is she now? The follow-up with the doctor was enlightening letter her know there is more to come and her journey has just begun. The good is told and the bad you have to learn for yourself as she does. But, the Road to Transition is told in one voice that of the author who relates how she finally realizes who she is, that she treasures each day and that she can live in that light. Remembering her last days as Sarah, the memories that have come back rehashing her childhood and the visions that are still buried in her heart and mind. The future still has many unknowns. There are things that she still finds hard to do and the ending of the story is just her beginning. This is a story that everyone needs to read and embrace to understand the torment that some people go through when they cannot decide who they are, where they belong, what their personal identity is and who they see in the glass in that mirror.
To teach understanding, tolerance, hope, family love, loyalties and faith within you this is a great book for everyone to understand that a Transgender is a real person and in this case her name is BREE!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine