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The people who really count will be OK with this. Valerie was even more fiercely protective. Once, she and Amy went to lunch with a male colleague of Amy's who didn't know she was transitioning. She was still binding her chest at the architecture firm where she worked and was presenting herself as Brendan. A transgender woman walked into the restaurant, clearly disconcerting their male friend. Looking back, Amy says, "I was wowed by Valerie, but it actually scared me that she had to do that.

I was like, What's he going to say when I come out at work? Two months later, despite her anxiety, Amy did come out as transgender at work. Everyone, even the guy Valerie chewed out, was respectful. Amy picked her twenty-fifth birthday, October 6, , as the day she'd let go of Brendan forever. On October 5, Amy went to a stylist and got her uneven chin-length hair highlighted and cut in a soft bob.

The next morning, on her birthday, she performed what was by now a fairly normal weekend routine: She shaved her underarms, legs and face hormones had lessened but not eliminated her facial hair , applied light makeup and ran a flatiron an essential gift from Valerie through her bangs. The outfit she'd picked out for that day—slacks, an oxford over a tank, and pumps—was "basically the female version of what I'd worn every single day as a guy," she says. By the time I got to the office I could barely walk.

All I could focus on was getting to my desk and sitting down. So, in a way, maybe those shoes were a blessing. Within a month, in spite of her friends' entreaties not to rush herself, Amy felt anxious to embark on her next rite of passage: dating as a woman. She started on a dating site that matches men with transgender women. Amy's first real date went well—so well that she went out several more times with the guy, but when things started to get more serious, he disappeared.

It was awful! As always, Valerie and Allison were there to commiserate. Remembers Allison: "At first Amy was like, I'm female now! I'm going to get a boyfriend and go ride off in my pumpkin! Right is out there somewhere but we can't find him! True to Allison's prediction, Amy is still looking for a man to fall in love with, but she's had some promising short relationships. Ultimately Amy was the one who ended their relationship.

I was like, Hey, I have as much power as he does. For all the little victories in Amy's new life, one thing haunted her: It had been months since she had talked to her parents, and with each passing day, Amy fell deeper into depression. But when I was home alone, I'd crash. I didn't want to lean on my friends more than I already had, so I told them I was just grumpy from work stress or the hormones. The reprieve was enough to make it all seem bearable again. After a very difficult year, one phone call from the hospital brought Amy's parents to her side.

It was their first time meeting her as a woman, and, says Amy, "we were all in tears. My mom didn't take her eyes off me. I could tell she was trying to understand, Who is this person? There was so much pain in the room that I wondered if our family could ever be repaired. Then, last fall, Amy's dad called her and asked if she'd like to take a wine tasting trip with him and her mom. And that is all that matters. The Amy of today is more optimistic than ever.

She is strengthening her connection to her parents and sister, and is overwhelmingly grateful to the friends who insisted on helping her find her true self. Never again will I tease Valerie for complaining about how hard it is to be a curvy-bodied woman in L. A friend does not say, My issues are bigger than yours. Topics womens rights happiness finding happiness true happiness in pursuit of happiness love and happiness my happiness personal happiness women health women health concerns friendship family relationships family stress true friends.

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By Anna Moeslein. Now I open the door a few inches. They're in their midthirties. About the right age to be my dad. A bubble expands in my chest. Nothing about him is familiar. And this is Chaplain Farben. We're with the Portland police, but we're here on behalf of the Medford police. It's where I was born. The kaleidoscope shifts. Should I be disappointed — or relieved? I step back, feeling embarrassed by the open box of Lucky Charms on the scarred coffee table.

They take the blue futon couch. I sit on the green striped chair I found on the side of the road two months ago. Since they're cops, I know what they must be here to tell me. And it's not that one of them is my father. All these years, I've imagined where he might have run to. Some place where he could forget what he did.

But the law must have finally caught up with him. I've made sure no one knows the truth about who I am. Who I come from. He has a round, pale face, like the moon. I wish they would just cut to the chase. According to the law, I am an adult, even though I only just turned seventeen.

The detective pulls out a notebook and flips to the top page.

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In the woods about a mile from where your mother's body was found. At first, I imagine my dad as some crazy, long-haired guy living off the grid, but then I realize they're not talking about him living in a cabin. The pieces shift and fall again. I press my hand to my mouth, lifting it long enough to say, "Can you start from the beginning, please?

It's simpler just to agree. Olivia Reinhart. I left Ariel Benson behind. And your father was Terry Weeks. My dad killed her and then drove up here. Along the way, he dropped me off at the Salem Walmart. He parked at the airport and then took off. This was before September 11, when it was a lot easier to just fly away without leaving a record of where you went. Leaving behind your murdered girlfriend and your three-year-old daughter. How could his body be in the forest? It was found about a month ago, but there weren't enough teeth left to match dental records. They just got the DNA results back.

The chaplain leans forward. But the discovery of your father's remains changes that. They now think he was murdered, probably at the same time as your mother, and by the same person. I try to take it in. My father's not a killer.

Just Another Girl (Who Used to Be a Boy)

He's not in some foreign country. He's not going to show up at my door to see how I turned out. I snatch at one of the dozens of thoughts whirling through my brain. Why weren't they found together? The detective shrugs. Your mother's body wasn't found for, what" — he looks down at his notebook and back up at me — "three weeks? Animal predation could have disturbed the remains. The killer could have moved one of the bodies.

Maybe one of your parents tried to run. The Medford police don't even know how your father was killed, because they only have the jawbone. All my life, I've known what I am. The daughter of a victim and a killer. When I looked in the mirror, sometimes I thought I could see them both — the cowering and the rage. Part of my dad was in me, and that meant I could grow up to be like him.

Every time I lost my temper, I felt it pulse deep inside. The knowledge that I could do something as crazy as he did, stab someone I was supposed to love and leave them with only the cold stars as witnesses. If my dad didn't kill my mom, if his body has always been in the forest — then who drove me to the Walmart three hours away? I imagine the three-year-old me. I've thought about that girl so much, what she might have seen, what she knew, what it was like being in that truck with her dad after he killed her mother.

I don't remember ever being that girl.

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Not what happened that day or before. Is not remembering a gift or a curse? His own are a washed blue.

The Girl I Used to Be: New Excerpt and Video - Criminal Element

Because the Medford police believe it must have been your parents' killer who took you to the Walmart. The room is spinning. I close my eyes. When everyone thought my dad had killed my mom, it made sense that he hadn't killed me. I was his daughter, his own blood. The police down in Medford want to know if you have any memories of what happened. Especially in light of this new evidence. It just seems likely it was a man, that's all.

What woman would stab another woman nineteen times?

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In biology class last year, we had to cut an earthworm in half and then sew it back together. I'll never forget the way the worm's skin resisted and finally gave way with a pop. Detective Campbell shrugs. It could have been a woman. Maybe not a stranger, not that many times, but a woman who knew your mom and hated her. Or who panicked and felt like she had to make sure your mom was dead. In cases like this, it's more than likely a male perpetrator. As to why he — or maybe she — didn't kill you, he probably figured you were too young to say what you had seen. Or he knew you, and that held him back.

Or he felt wrong killing a child. Some killers target specific victims but would never hurt someone who doesn't meet that profile. Even murder. I can't imagine being that cold. What would they have stolen? And the killer didn't do it for your dad's truck, because it was left at the airport.

And they didn't do it for you, because they left you at the Walmart. So stealing as a motive doesn't seem likely. And in those cases, the murder isn't something that just happens. It's what you want in the first place.

It's what you live for. The way he says you creeps me out, as if he thinks any of us could be a person with twisted desires. She could have been dead for some of it.