Continuing the story of Heather and Alex, Dreamweaver and I finally got a hold of the DVD of "Everafter", the DVD of Heather's farewell concert before transitioning. It was simply, totally amazing!
First of all, none of her fans knew ahead of time that Heather was going to do this. Here is how she handled the concert. As a faerie tale teller, she laid out the story that she was going to the Fae, in fairyland, to be granted a wish...a wish she had held in her heart for many years, but had given up on ever coming true. The faeries would grant her this transforming wish, and in her absence, her heir, Alexander James Adams would return to take over the music and her legacy. Through out the concert, hints came - such as before her song "Stolen Child" (a musical setting of William Butler Yeats poem) she said she has often heard the faeries inviting her to have a "wee dram"...which she has always turned down before, but she now might go try it. Think about it...every time she did a song, that was the last time that she as Heather would ever do that song for her fans, ever have that connection with her fans. She was saying goodbye forever as Heather, and her fans didn't even know it! And she had no way of knowing if her singing voice would survive the transition, so it could very well be the LAST concert for her ever. How she got through it I will never know. We know now that Alex emerged victorious, and the music is more alive then ever before...but Heather could not have known that then. And I have no doubt that it had reached the point for her that it was change everything, go for that final hope and wish, or die, if not literally, then spiritually inside! For me it's one of the most awesome stories of human courage I have ever known! At the end of the concert, she stepped through the curtain, presumably into the land of fairy...and was never seen again as Heather by any of her fans, or anyone else.
The more mundane backstory - altho just as transformative and magical - was that on her 40th birthday, some years ago, her friends took her skydiving. The exhilaration of the jump and the power of the experience restarted her life again. She had a brilliant career - 12 albums, world traveled - but her cocky powerful stage persona was a cover for her deep depression. A depression that anyone struggling with GID knows from the inside out. That jump out into the air at 15,000 feet re=ignited her joy and passion in life and she realized that making your dreams come true was possible...for a price. In this case a HUGE price...and she paid it, without knowing what the ultimate cost would be. And Alex came forth to take on the music career that Heather had bequeathed to him. Can you imagine the gamble...would his singing voice survive the transition? Or would the vocal part of his career be forever over? And you have to understand how distinctively powerful, unique and beautiful Heather's voice was to understand the horror of that risk and fear! Would the fanatic band of Heathers fan club, affectionately known as Heather Heathens - and I am one of 'em - stand by him and accept this transformation, or would he lose his whole fan base? Heather was married...and that came apart in flames and ashes, never to recover. ( the break up song she wrote for her former husband on her last album as Heather will tear your heart out! ) Well...it worked.Alex's voice survived beautifully...he is a glorious baritone now, altho his early concerts were a little rough for him as his voice was still dropping. Heather's fans have embraced him completely and have cheered his journey on! There are many, many comments on the fan forum on his website that say in effect, "God, we always knew there was something deeply sad and wrong in Heather's life, but now we know what it was and Alex is whole and happy and it's like he was there all along, just under Heather's skin, actually doing the song writing." (http://faerietaleminstrel.com/) His career has taken off again, and has released at least three new albums, "The Cat and the Fiddle", "Balance of Nature" and "A Winter's Tale", I wish to draw your attention to the third CD mentioned there..."A Winters Tale". This may be a first in transgender history. Before Heather "left for the Fairy lands" she recorded a Christmas / Winter Solstice CD (it's a mix of Christmas and Pagan music - you Christian Pagan readers take note! ) and she recorded the female vocals, leads and harmonies. Then, when Alex got back, he recorded the male vocals, leads and harmonies. The result is UNBELIEVABLE! On the cover of the CD, is a photoshopped picture of Heather and Alex leaning on either side of a huge tree together - they look like brother and sister - and the by-line on the CD is "A Winter's Tale; Heather Alexander and Alexander James Adams." They sound like a perfectly balanced singing duo! And it is beautiful! One of the most beautiful Christmas carols I have ever heard, which she...he...they wrote, is on there called "Unto Us a Child is born". I sat with tears running down my face listening to it. If you have a transgender shopping list for Christmas, go order this CD!!! "Unto Us a Child is Born" was written by Heather specifically for both Pagans and Christians after years of looking out over the audiences at concerts and seeing her fan base wearing Pentacles and Crosses seated side by side.
By the way... a funny point... the title of Alex's website, Faery Tale Minstral is a sly inside joke... F aery T ale M instral - FTM. Female to Male (transgender). Head-desk-thud. Excellent! LOL! So ends part two...part three will continue and conclude with the specific impact that Heather and Alex's story has had on my life. Coming soon...