Thus began a new journey of self discovery to self acceptance, I felt reborn, as a woman. A new name, reflecting my re-birth seemed appropriate and desired. It must be recognizably feminine, but not too girly or frivolous, it had to contain a hint of steel. I narrowed it down to four names; Catherine, Mary, Elizabeth, and Anne. It was the name “Mary” that I kept coming back too. I suddenly remembered a girl that I had met when I was in Truman Elementary School on the island of Key West, that left such an impression on me that I still remember her to this day.
It was the first day of school, students were still arriving to the classroom, so an atmosphere of general gregarious conviviality, typical with a room full of six and seven year olds prevailed. Then I saw this girl, as if she had suddenly appeared out of thin air. She was tall, taller then most of us there, wearing a beautiful dress with ruffles and frills, shiny black hair in spirals and ringlets and ribbons. I felt I was seeing a real Princess for the first time. She was just standing there, looking around at the rest of us with a bit of hauteur, which for her I found completely acceptable. Willing my feet and legs to act, I floated towards her, then dared speak, “Hello, my name is Billy, what's your name”, she turned and impaled me with the most remarkable deep brown eyes I had ever seen, regarding me, as I might regard a Palmetto bug crawling across a Terrazzo floor. Then her eyes became electric and she spoke, “My NAME is Muddy ELAINA!” Then lifting her chin, turned on her heel, and walked away.
A lifetime later, I finally realized. her name was Maria........Maria Elaina.