Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Transgender PTSD

Sunday, when we went to pick out Liz a new outfit for her Christmas parties, I experienced a feeling I hadn't went through for awhile...Trans-PTSD.

If you don't know what PTSD means, here is a short definition from the "National Institute of Mental Health" :

"PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.
It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems can be diagnosed with PTSD."
It's been awhile since I have experienced a short time like I did Sunday. To start with, Liz picked out five dresses to try on. As she was going back to the women's dressing room, I was prepared to stay out side in the store until she (Liz) said, get back there with her to tell her how she looked.

Without hesitation I followed her back without even a look from the girl monitoring the rooms. I felt OK until I heard heavy footsteps coming into the stall beside us and all of the sudden, I was expecting a knock on our door asking what we were doing in there. For an instance all the ancient memories of rest rooms past came flooding in on me. To the point I could barely take a breath! After a moment though, my panic subsided and I felt so relieved (as well as a little silly). 

I just don't know after all these years without a problem, I would still feel this way. Perhaps I always will.

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Mo" Privilege

Gender "privilege " is a difficult subject to write about.

First of all, I am going to get to Connie's comment:

Well, had you had male privilege, I imagine your haircut would have cost at least half of what it did!

Trans privilege? That may be an oxymoron. However, hard work and effort, along with some smarts, can get one more advantages than can any privilege alone. For those of us who are mtf, at least we have the advantage of knowing what male privilege can really offer (and it's not necessarily all that women might imagine it to be)."

You are right about the price! And, speaking of price, the State of Ohio just repealed it's very discriminatory "Pink Tax", which added tax on feminine hygiene items as well as other items used almost exclusively by women.  
I have always used an over simplification of male privilege. To me, privilege among men exists mainly from strength, looks, material possessions and/or athletic prowess. Possess one of the tour and you have a better chance of an easier life among your peers.
As easy as that sounds (or doesn't), all is not what it seems. Until you walk the proverbial mile in one gender or the other's shoes, you don't know how many football players would rather wear a cheerleader's uniform or how many powerful men would rather be a soft woman. 
Knowing "Mo" Privilege is often not as easy as it seems.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Male Privilege

During the last hair stylist appointment, I told Teresa (my stylist) about the Cyrsti's Condo blog and she suggested a post about male privilege.

Of course I told her we have discussed it many times but it seems to always be a current topic. An excellent example was how the transgender - cross dresser social Friday night quickly turned from being a girls night out for some of us, to a man dressed as a woman social. I suppose it is a natural reaction from those of us who try to cross the gender frontier (and return) frequently.

I always try not to be too flippant when writing about privilege though.

Mainly, it is a very serious topic when it comes to male privilege and potential violence. Men just don't grow up with the same problems with potential personal violence threats as women do. I learned very quickly the gender differences when I began to journey out of the closet and into a feminine existence. I was lucky, I escaped a couple potentially dangerous situations by simply not paying attention to my surroundings. 

Other privilege situations of course happened when I discovered I had become a second class citizen when conversing with men and had lost much of my perceived intelligence.   

I am proud to say, now, with much prodding from my partner Liz, I have been encouraged to regain a good part of my social interaction with the public.

I guess you could call it "trans privilege".

Thanks Teresa! 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Friday Night Lights

I did remember to get Liz to swap pictures last night with me after our latest adventure out to the cross dressers - transgender karaoke party. Once again I was dazzled about how so many of the attendees have not lost any of their male privilege. for the most part, I have always thought if you go to the time and effort to look like a woman, you should try to act like one too.

But, I can contradict myself too.  As most of you know, I am as current on most of sporting happenings but am careful to let it not dominate my conversation. My example was last night, two of the cross dressers carried on a very boring two way conversation about coaching little league teams and jobs. I had to keep reminding myself, they were cross dressers and less involved in the total
feminine experience.

I also found it interesting only one of the gender fluid folks even commented on my hair...pro or con. While three of the cis-women mentioned it.

Liz also got her hair styled and she deservedly stole the show. I was so happy for her. The new "style" really suits her continued weight loss of over 110 pounds.

My partner Liz

Friday, December 7, 2018

It's a Wonderful Life?

Last night, Liz and I watched the 1946 Jimmy Stewart/Donna Reed Christmas movie classic "It's a Wonderful Life"

The movie was also a holiday feature for my deceased wife, so it brings back many memories. To make matters worse the deal to rid myself of the property we owned was finalized yesterday.

Moving on often is such a bittersweet deal.

On one hand I can remember the good times but then again I remember the tragedy of having terrible gender dysphoria.  As I often written, I wouldn't wish the experience on my worst enemy.

One of the lessons learned in the movie is how your life effects so many others and once again I flashed back to my own life. One of the treasures I would have missed out on would have been my accepting daughter and her family (including three grand kids). 

So once again, I realized last night how life is but a circle. If you are fortunate to live long enough. Here I am, living my dream as a full time transgender woman. Often, the script isn't what I wanted it to be but that is life as we all know.

All in all though, I'm loved, well fed and warm. It is a wonderful life!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Fun Weekend?

It should be a very nice weekend coming up.

First of all. Liz took Friday off so we could both go to my hairdresser. As you may remember, my hairdresser is the one with the teen aged transgender son, so it's always good to get caught up with his news. I'm sure with the holidays approaching and a un-approving father, there will be something to say.

Probably after getting our hair done, we will have to have a girls lunch somewhere close to the salon.

Friday night (already) is another monthly karaoke night out. I plan on wearing my new patterned leggings with one of my long sweaters whose colors match the leggings. I will also plan on wearing my black flats.

It's hard to believe but the Christmas party my transgender-cross dresser support group hosts is coming up in less than two weeks. I have several ideas on what I am going to wear, but have not decided yet.

I am fortunate to only have such earth shattering decisions to make! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Visit With the Vampires and Beyond

Yesterday was my three month hematology appointment. You may remember several years back, I had a problem with too much iron in my blood.  To keep it under control, every so often I have to have a pint of blood drawn. Yesterday I was fortunate and my iron level was low enough, the only blood I had to give up was the minimal amount for lab work.

So, the toughest part of the whole experience was fasting for the labs or not eating for twelve hours.

The nicest part was being able to wear my new black cable knit sweater. It has a cute cut out around the neck area as well as other openings down the sleeves. I paired it up with my tight black jeans and dark gray boots.

So the whole experience was very uneventful!

Changing gears now, I can imagine though what would be less than uneventful would be working in a construction atmosphere with a bunch of men. However, I do have an acquaintance who transitioned as a union carpenter to a woman on the job here in Cincinnati and by her own admission has experienced very few problems.

But, not all contractor or construction transgender transitions are that smooth according to  Connie:

"When I had my business, I spent most of my time dealing with contractors, either selling my services or actually working along side them on the job site. Yes, you probably wouldn't want to have heard what they might have said afterward. While they may have toned down the misogyny and dirty jokes a bit when there was a woman working on a job site, a woman still had to put up with a lot of crap from some of the guys. This may have changed somewhat over the past twelve years, but I would bet that their talk is still quite egregious when it's just guys only.

I used to wear knee pads while I worked (I didn't want rough and calloused knees when I went home and slipped into a dress), and I got so tired of hearing the "down on your knees" jokes. I knew that I would never be able to continue my business if I had transitioned, because the tension would have been unbearable for me. I also would not have been able to make enough sales to stay in business, anyway. A severely torn rotator cuff led to my demise before I had to make that decision, and I used the downtime to begin the early stages of my transition. Although I am still hampered, physically, I have retained all of the skills to do my old work. Aside from the trivial worries of something like breaking a nail, though, I just wouldn't want to have to put up with the jokers.

Wishing it was summer pix!
When I walk into a building store these days, I am usually offered help without solicitation. I often already know as much, if not more, than the employee does. I have learned to play a little dumb; not like I used to do, trying to impress the employee with my knowledge and expertise. There are still a lot of guys who don't appreciate it when a woman upstages them, even if it's a trans woman (or maybe, especially if it's a trans woman). There's more to being a "big girl" than our size, after all. ;-) "

Thanks for the reference to my "The Big Girl" post.

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