The story of Sanson Frendo as told to Mya Ray
I Would Never Be Like Him
I’ve always been a learner.
More than what I think others might be. I get that from my Dad; he’s a huge nerd, and always would tell me growing up how important ‘expanding your mind’ is, so I guess that might be why I want to go to med school after being here. I don’t know how long yet, maybe 4 or 8 more years? Hopefully not more than 12 but who knows? Anything could happen and change by that point. I’ll just go to school forever. My mom was a nurse and even though she struggled with a few mental issues, she has one of the most giving hearts I know, I think I get that part of who I am from her. From buying a friend books for college to letting them stay with us for months when they need a place to live, she did it all. She’s probably why I got started into the medical field and then also part of why I love going out to the Dominican to help people. It a big part of me.
When I say I’m a learner it’s not just like about schooling, it’s about really understanding the material and actually knowing how it all works and is related. A lot of people just learn what they need for an exam and then forget about it, and if it isn’t on an exam they’re like, “Why do you care?” I can’t even explain it to them because they just don’t get it. It isn’t just that though, either. My grades are the way they are because if they weren’t, I’d be incredibly upset, which isn’t really a good thing, but it works out okay.
I’m so ready to take on graduate school. I think people there will appreciate the material we learn more, and hopefully, they will want to have some more in-depth talks about things rather than just what is gonna be on the quiz. That is what I might be most excited for, just having deeper conversations with people. I hope I can do that a lot more in grad school, but who knows it might be the same as now just with some bigger words.
Finding people with similar interests as me is kinda hard around here. Don’t get me wrong. I love ONU. It’s just, you know, a small school, so to have groups or clubs for certain things just doesn’t happen. Like I love to hike, but there isn’t really a ton of places to really hike around here and that isn’t something on a ton of people’s mind. So that’s something I do on my own or with my girlfriend when she lets me. She doesn’t really enjoy it as much as I do, but she’ll go for a few days and have fun; where for me, I’d love going for like a whole month. Something I’ve wanted to do for a while now is hike the Appalachian Trail. Most people start around the same time of the year, so when you start, you are hiking and bonding with a ton of people who love hiking and nature, too. That’s something I think would just be amazing.
Even though there aren’t a lot of people just like me here, I still found a great community to involve myself in. My freshmen year I joined a sorority which isn’t something I ever planned I’d do (which is what just about every girl in a sorority will tell you), but I love Delta Zeta and all my sisters. Now I’m even the president. When I tell people that, they always get a little confused. I’m a guy. I look like one, talk like one. So how is this guy literally the president of a sorority? Eventually they figure out that I’m trans. Of course, I joined as a girl, at least outwardly, but soon my girlfriend and friends encouraged me to just be who I am on the inside, and so I took the steps I needed to take. It was never much of an issue with the girls in the sorority until I actually became president. Then it always started as, “Oh I love Frendo, but…”. But it’s whatever. I get it can be kinda confusing and different, but where else would I go? It would be weird and wrong if I left DZ and joined a frat. And why do all that just for maybe 3 out of 65 girls in DZ? So, I’m here to stay and I’m so happy about that. Some of my best college memories are because of DZ and just being with my sisters.
So now you know I’m trans. It doesn’t bother me at all really to talk about it. It’s a part of who I am, and most people here already know, so why not talk about it if someone wants to know? Now I’m at the point where I am legally a man, soon I’m gonna legally change my name and not many people say “she” to me anymore. My parents still call me by my old name, but I get it is a big adjustment. They accept me for who I am even, if they don’t really understand it. My mom thinks I knew I was a guy since I was just a baby or toddler, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I think it really hit me in high school.
One moment I always think back to was when I was in the gym parking lot one day. I saw this guy who was probably a senior in high school or something–I don’t know–walk out. This guy was huge, like just a total juicer, and not even attractive at that point. But I saw him, and I just broke down, crying uncontrollably in this parking lot. I realized then, that I would never look like him. Not that I wanted to look like that, but just that I couldn’t. My body and who I was weren’t the same. For a long time, I figured I could just be a more masculine girl, you know. But eventually that just didn’t work at all, and I had to really make some changes, for me. It wasn’t until after being in college for a while that I decided to really come out. My girlfriend Annie was like, “How didn’t I figure that out?!” She’s always supported me through it. It’s been a bit of a bumpy journey at times, but it’s made me who I am, and I don’t regret any of it.
In the future I don’t know what exactly I’ll be doing, or where I’ll live, or anything for sure really. And even though it kinda stresses me out sometimes, I’m still hopeful, and I know eventually I’ll find my way and discover just who I am. Right now, I think I know, but things change, and people change and so things might not be the same in 5 or 10 more years from now. Really, all I want most is to be comfortable and happy in the life I’m in and the way I live it. So, check back with me then and we’ll see I guess where I’m at. Heck, I might still be in school!
Honestly, I’m not that different than anyone else. My journey here has been different, yeah, but I think everyone here is a little lost and a little messy, too, and that’s okay.
This story originally appeared in Facing Our Futures Beyond High School, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.