Showing posts with label elder care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elder care. Show all posts

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Finishing What you Started

Dinner with my wife Liz on Left

My parents always pushed me to finish what I started. 

Little did they know how their priorities for me  would influence me in my future years. As I began my early years as an innocent cross dresser just trying to justify my new gender feelings. The more I went in front of the mirror, the less I could un-see what I imagined myself to be if I was an actual girl. Seeing as how I was in a shared space with myself, my imagination was key to survival. Often I spent hours at school dreaming of rushing home ahead of my family and cross dressing with the feminine clothes I managed to accumulate. I made very little money with my allowance I earned along with what I earned on my newspaper neighborhood route I took on. I think my parents were surprised when I was so good with doing my job delivering papers, not knowing the real motivation I had. Which was, I needed the money to buy more make-up or clothes if I could find them.

I was well on the way towards finishing what I started the older I became. What happened was the mirror became reality when I started to leave my closet and journey into the world. Plus, for years, I wondered if I was ever able going to attempt to finish what I started. Was it even possible? To finish, I would have to completely overcome the challenges equated with changing out family, friends and even employment. The more I went forward in the world as a transgender woman, the more sense I felt in my life as I knew it. For a change, I actually thought I could make it towards my dream goal of being a woman, transgender or not. Mainly because of the times I was actually being accepted in the world as my authentic self. From shopping, to eating out to making special trips to Christmas activity, I was doing it all. 

The problem became I became too good in my new life. I can't say it enough how natural I felt when I was finishing what I started so I kept pushing myself to do more. That meant nothing feminine was off limits for me. Except for the occasional redneck sports bar I went into to enjoy a drink and an appetizer, I did not have any major problems at all. The exception was the one venue I went to when the police were called on me for using the restroom. I never finished what I started there and never went back as I had several other venues I was welcomed at. I realized I should spend my money where I was welcomed. 

Eventually, I knew to come closer to finishing what I started, I would need to research gender affirming hormones. If I was approved for HRT, I felt I could come closer than ever before to femininizing my exterior body to match my feminine inner gender. I was medically approved and before I knew it, the hormones had produced a very androgynous body for me. So much so, I needed to move up my timetable of when I planned on going fulltime as a transgender woman. My skin was softening so much, my breasts and hair were growing so fast, I could not turn back. Perhaps, most surprisingly to me were the internal changes which were taking place. My world was softening and for the first time in my life, I could have an emotional cry. 

Even though I have been successful in mostly finishing what I started on my gender journey, as I nearly reach the age seventy five. Three quarters of a century has taught me what Yogi Berra said is true. It's not over till it's over. I never make a secret of the paranoia I face over facing my final years fighting for my gender in an assisted  living facility. I have finally been able to tell myself I will face that hurdle when I come to it.

Fortunately, I have survivors such as my wife Liz and daughter who respect my gender wishes and won't have a huge family argument when I die. A problem  I see so much of in the transgender community when a family disapproves of a person living as their authentic self. Who would have ever thought finishing what you started would be such a time consuming and difficult process. I certainly didn't when I first got a glimpse of myself all those years ago.    

Friday, May 10, 2024

Transgender Closure?

Image from Nick Bolton
on UnSplash.




 Sometimes it seems as if closure to a transgender woman never comes.

In the very early days in the mirror as I cross dressed, I thought I had reached closure when gender euphoria kicked in when I admired myself. It did until the pressure built to cross dress again and again. Predictably what happened was, I became so frustrated with the process of moving back and forth between the male and female binary genders, I decided to purge (throw away) all of my feminine belongings and go back to a male life. The problem was, deep down I knew purging was not going to solve my transgender issues. Plus very certainly, I was getting no closure and I would always go back to the mirror.

Through it all, I was very na├»ve and thought closure was around every corner as I continued along my gender path. It turned out, all the small victories I celebrated had nothing to do with winning the war and having any closure at all. The prime example I can recall came when I decided to transition from a cross dresser to a transgender woman. When I was beginning to be successful, I thought I finally had it made when something came along and changed my mind. Foremost among life changing closure experiences occurred when I learned what my second wife warned me about. I really had no idea of what a woman went through in life and I had to learn before I could be accepted. 

I needed to lose my impostor feminine syndrome on several levels. Even though, I couldn't have things such as periods and pregnancies, I had other problems to deal with as a transgender woman to pay my dues. Primarily, losing all my male privileges was what I gave up first to join the world of women. I didn't expect any special privileges to be let in, I just wanted to be given the chance to let my feminine inner soul flourish in the world. She waited nearly a half a century to live and had learned a lot. Even still, I was viewed with a certain amount of mis-trust by several women who I think thought I could run home and go back to my old male life. There was no easy way to prove to them I had given all my male clothes away and there was no turning back for me. 

Once I broke down gender doors thanks to the help of certain close friends, I was able to enjoy more and more activities such girls nights out without impostor syndrome setting in. Finally, I was feeling more and more closure from my old male life. In many ways, I had insulated him from myself altogether. Even more so when I started gender affirming hormones and started to feel the full effects. I started to understand aspects of a woman's life such as emotions all the way to simple things such as the influences such as temperature changes on the body. Suddenly, I discovered women were not just being sissies when they said they were cold all the time except when they were having hot flashes which I went through also. 

As I was going through all the changes in life hormones sent me through, closure set in and I knew there was never going to be any going back. It took me awhile to realize the closure I was attempting represented the most intelligent decision I ever made with my life. I didn't have to worry about any more impostor syndrome because I knew I had paid my dues. 

Now the closure I need to look forward to is doing whatever I can to insure my final years are as smooth as possible. Much of it will be out of my control so I will just have to do the best I can try to pay it forward with organizations such as the "Alzheimer's Organization." My Dad passed from a very ugly case of Dementia years ago, so I hope I won't have to put my loved ones through the same thing. The rest, however is mainly out of my control with no chance at closure. 

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Opening Transgender Doors

Image from Nathan Wright 
on UnSplash


What is the old saying, "When one door closes, another one opens." I think the saying is especially appropriate for transgender women or trans men.

Along the way, I have documented several substantial times when I slammed doors during my past and opened new doors. 

Probably the first time I closed a door was when I was going out with a certain set of party friends who ranged from cross dressers to transsexuals who were planning their genital realignment surgeries. I wasn't very interested so much in the cross dressers but on the other hand, I was very interested in the women who were going "all the way." I wondered if I could ever slam the door on the male life I had fought to live and open a new door into a feminine world. 

Luckily I was able to see different sides of the gender coin so to speak. One friend in particular was a firefighter in Columbus, Ohio who was gorgeous and near retirement. So she had the financial risk of a gender transition covered as did the other main transsexual woman I knew at the time. She also was gorgeous and had a very secure job as an electrical engineer. She was so good at living a woman's life, she regularly went on snow skiing trips, spending whole weeks as her authentic self. So, as you can tell, I had lofty role models to try to live up to. I knew they would be difficult to match up to as far as appearance and income plus neither one had a spouse to deal with. I loved my spouse very much and wasn't sure I was able to close the door on my relationship with her. 

Even still, I continued to observe and learn as well as set out to open my own transgender doors. It just took me longer than others to find a path of my own. I know all too many of our gender journey's are similar yet so far apart. It is difficult to leave the first door in our closet and find the other doors in the darkness. Once I was able to find the light and it wasn't the train at the end of the tunnel, I was able to progress quite nicely but not without trepidations. Of course I still had to deal with the usual problems transgender women and men have to deal with when they transition and close the big door. Sometimes closing the door is the easy part compared to opening the doors to different living situations with family, friends and finances. 

I think too many potential transgender folk believe the transition itself will cause the life problems to go away and they haven't thought enough about the all the situations they would have to face now when spouses and/or families want to leave them behind. Not to mention the prospect of losing long term employment and friends. All of the process led to opening very heavy doors and not having much of an idea what the future held. 

I was fortunate when I finally had the courage to open my final transgender doors and face the world. As I did, I could look back at all the times I was petrified to try a new life as a transgender woman. Every time I was so scared it seemed I made it OK which felt so natural and gave me confidence to move forward and look for new challenges. I don't think I ever forgot the two early gender role models I had in Columbus, Ohio so many years before but similar to my male life, I was able to carve out my new life as a fulltime transgender woman so different from theirs.

Even still, I have my doors to open as I face a challenging future with end of life issues. I am still paranoid concerning facing the problems associated with nursing care or assisted living. It will be quite the journey as I face the final door we all have to open and see what is on the other side.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Writing Euphoria

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives

Every now and then I receive a comment which brings all the effort I put into writing a daily transgender blog into focus. 

When I started writing this blog over ten years ago, I set out to hopefully help anyone else with gender issues similar to mine. Back in those days, when I revisited my old blog posts, I mainly see an over riding interest with my feminine appearance and not much else. Of course when I transitioned into a fulltime life as a transgender woman, I discovered all the other challenges I was going to face. It was all much different than my life as a casual cross dresser. 

This is where the writer's euphoria comes in. I recently received this comment from Jennifer " Thank you for publishing your thoughts and experiences. I am an older, but not that wiser, transgender woman just starting out on the road to femininity. Your blog helps me much to understand the hurtles I am about to encounter. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and opening up to your experiences.

Thank you, Jennifer" You are welcome Jennifer and thanks for sharing such a wonderful comment. 

Somehow, along the way, the blog made it's own transition into looking at my life as a senior transgender woman. I found, being "more mature" in many ways had it's advantages. Primarily when it came to beginning gender affirming hormones. Because at my age, my testosterone level was already in a decline, the rush of new estrogen in my system seemed to be more natural. On the other hand of course, I needed to go through the medical screening process to determine if I was healthy enough to proceed on the program I was prescribed

As far as being "older but not wiser", I think I faced that aspect of my life also more than I could ever write about. For better or for worse, I had already went past and missed my formative feminine years and needed to master the mysteries of makeup and fashion on my own. There were no teen girls to critique my look and for me to return the favor. Plus, I spent way to much time alone with no girlfriends to shop at the mall with. 

I discovered too, there was a small niche of older transgender women who had lived through the dark and lonely pre-internet years. I am amazed how many readers still remember fondly the "Transvestia" publication along with Virginia Prince. But then again, it was all we had to provide any sort of light in our gender closets. 

These days, I am still committed to attempting to provide any guidance I can to anyone like Jennifer who needs it. After all, our gender journeys through life on one hand are so similar but on the other not so much. Each of us needs to navigate how we are going to shed a life of living male and begin all over again. And just when we think we have it made, we need to face the reality of being trans in retirement communities and/or assisted living. Regardless of all the negative publicity we receive from politicians, I still believe more people such as the "Alzheimer's Association" are researching ways to be more inclusive to the LGBTQ community. So, there is hope. 

Thanks again Jennifer, Jen (another reader) and all the others of you who join in with me here on the blog. You give me writers euphoria and improve my mental health.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

A Free Spirit

 

Image from Ivana Cajina 
on UnSplash

As I was making my gender journey to living as a full time transgender woman, I often tried to pass myself off as being a free spirited person. 

Often that carried a maybe I would go even as far as dressing up as a woman on occasion. Especially during all of my Halloween adventures, this came in handy. It also was successful when I tried all the drinking that I did. Being free spirited just led to being the instigator when it came to inviting a group of friends together for a good time. It basically all started because of my family used to get together for big parties which of course included quantities of alcohol. So the entire process seemed to be natural to me since I was raised with it. 

Another factor to consider was being a free spirit and being able to drink more than the next guy somehow made me more of a man than he was. This worked because I couldn't out compete most other guys in athletics of other competitive activities. If all else failed I could try to out drink them. Deep down inside I hope I would try to outrun all my gender issues and live what I considered at the time a more "normal" life. Needless to say the process didn't work except serving to keep me deeper in my gender closet.

Being a free spirit with the cis-women friends I had was a whole different process. In my endless search to discover what a cis-woman's life was really all about, I think I became more friends than lovers with most of the women I became serious with which were very few since I always had in the back of my mind someday I would have to sell out all my male past and leave everyone I had ever known behind. During that time, anyone who attempted the complete gender change process was expected to leave totally the life they had lived behind, move and start all over. Somehow, I never wanted to do all of that as I had established a male life which I actually liked part of.

Of course, being a free spirit caused other issues also. As I mentioned, never being able to become close to many other human beings (male or female) was on occasion frustrating and disappointing.  All in all, I can count the number of true male friends I had on one hand when they tragically all started to pass away in a two year span of my life. I have had people question me how easy or difficult my gender transition was when I finally decided to do it. It wasn't difficult at all because most of my family(parents) and close friends had passed on. I guess you could say I waited them all out and I was the last person standing. So I was able to move on.

My feminine inner self who waited all those years for her chance to live did maintain a portion of my overall free spirit. Sadly now, my body is paying the price for all those years of attempting to be the best at everything I did. My back betrays me everytime I move too much or change directions too quickly. Maybe since I have passed my seventy fourth birthday, I am asking too much but I am trying to walk more to stay active. In my own way, I want to maintain being a free spirit for as long as I live.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Gender Walls

 

Image from Marcus Loke
on UnSplash


One of the reasons I waited so long to transition into a fulltime feminine world was when I tried to escape the walls which were forever threatening to close in around me.

Little did I know, each successful move I made came back to haunt me. Ironically, success just showed me perhaps I could live my dream as a transgender woman. Before I arrived at my final conclusion, I needed to seemingly transition more and more on my gender journey. My prime example has always been the time I decided I needed to change my mind set when I went out into the world cross dressed as a woman. Somehow it occurred to me I needed to reverse my thinking and decide I was going out as my authentic self  and all this time in my life I had been crossdressing not as a woman but as a man. When I realized my gender truth, I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable in the male world I worked my entire life to be successful in.

Very quickly when I went down this new path, deep down I knew I could never go back. I was suddenly sliding down a very slippery slope to a new life. A life I felt very natural and excited to be a part of. I had no idea if the outside world perceived me as being any different and I may have just been playing with semantics but as I said, the feelings were much different for me. I had crossed the line in my mind from being a cross dresser all the way to being a transgender woman. The first night I tried to change and was successful was when I went all out to dress to blend in with a group of professional women who always gathered after work at a nearby "Fridays" venue for an after work drink. Even though I was scared to death, I was able to relax and enjoy myself to the best of my ability. The best part was, no one gave me a second look. The bartenders were nice to me and I knew I was changing forever. 

Following all of the excitement and gender euphoria, ironically the walls began to close in on me again. What would I do with all my new found freedom to cross the gender border. I still had a wife I loved of twenty-five years, friends and family plus a very good job to consider losing. The pressure was intense. With the pressure I began to do all the wrong things. Primarily when I began to emotionally cheat on my wife by going out as my feminine self as much as I could. Of course, I was caught on numerous occasions which led us into massive relationship straining fights. While I never cheated on her physically, the emotional cheating was bad enough to put extra strain on me which I didn't need. All the pressure eventually led me to another self harm (suicide) attempt and my wife finally telling me why I wasn't man enough to be a woman. She passed away before she was able to see how prophetic her words finally became.

The end result of all her criticism became, I re-committed myself  to learning more and more what my life would mean to me if I took the final steps to living as a fulltime transgender woman. My steps included being cleared by doctors to begin HRT or hormone replacement therapy. At that point I knew there could never be any turning back as eventually I changed my legal name and settled into a new life with my wife Liz. 

Of course my final wall to overcome will be if and when I need to face what will happen to me when I have to go into assisted living or face being mis-gendered by part of my family when I die. It seems there are always walls to face when you are transgender. 


Friday, September 29, 2023

Transgender Qualified

Image from Andrea Buccelli 
on UnSplash...

 How does one finally get to the point where they can move around in society as their authentic selves. Obviously it takes a lot of work before you can graduate.

In addition to becoming proficient in the feminine arts such as makeup and wardrobe, we trans women or men have to play gender catch up because we did not have the chance to experience growing up as a girl or a boy. There was no one to interact with on life issues such as how we look or how we deal with the opposite sex. Not to mention how our parents treated us. I am sure my Mom would have put so much more pressure on me if she had a generic daughter rather than a transgender child she never had the chance to accept. 

I only tried to come out to Mom once when I was in my early twenties and out of the Army and was roundly rejected. So I never tried again. To be fair, her generational bias was strong and information on gender issues was difficult to come by. Mom was firmly entrenched as a "greatest generation" person with an upbringing during the great depression and WWII. I am fond of saying they were long on providing and short on emotional support. Very certainly, dealing with gender issues was an emotional subject and I never received any.

As far as being qualified to feel as if I was transgender, I needed to transition again in my life. As I always say I considered myself a very serious cross dresser or transvestite but became very intrigued about the idea of being trans when the word began to be used. I started to seriously begin to watch the people around me who identified as transsexual to see if I fit in and more importantly follow the same path. During my search I was very shallow in my approach. The individuals I was beginning to interact with were very attractive and I was intensely insecure about my feminine appearance. In those days, I only thought appearance qualified me to be transgender or however I identified. Little did I know, there was so much more.

It turned out my destiny did not lead me to any extreme gender realignment surgeries. I finally became secure in the knowledge gender was between the ears and sex was between the legs. Plus with the help of an entirely new set of cis-women friends, I was able to come out of my gender shell and flourish as my new transgender self.

I think any "qualification" to be trans is a totally mental process which involves complete confidence in yourself. The process can take many years or then again, less time, depending upon the individual. I am always very pleased to meet a younger LGBT or transgender person who has set out to make a life for themselves. They won't have to wait through a lifetime of struggle to live as their authentic selves. Plus the younger ones seem to be more politically active which is something we all desperately need. 

Sadly, as I always bring up, the fight to maintain our authentic gender selves continues right up to our death. Recently I had a reader mention they needed to put in their will how they wanted to be referred to at death. Hopefully, it will be enough to stop the gender bigots in the family from taking away hard fought gender rights when it matters most. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Letting the World In

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives



Today I have two meetings I need to attend to. 

The first is a LGBTQ Veteran's support group session I haven't been in awhile. The reason I haven't is because I have been going to (virtually) the special ten week group meetings which concentrated on the overall impact the VA (Veteran's Administration) has had on my life during the span of my dealings with them. I make no secret of the fact I have been satisfied with my experiences. In fact, I consider my VA therapist to be one of the top influences in my life as I attempted to transition fully to a transgender woman. 

She, my therapist, was front and center for me when I needed help with starting my hormone replacement therapy all the way to when I needed help changing my legal gender markers in the VA system. This goes back over a decade ago when transgender veterans were not so well known in the system and many were not respected. So, I will be interested how many of the "regular" attendee's will continue to come to the meeting which as I said, restarts this afternoon, 

Also today and much more challenging will be the monthly meeting of the Alzheimer's group of Greater Cincinnati's diversity council. I will be challenged this time because the meeting is across town and is an in person event. Mainly because one person wants to look everyone "in the eye" as she talks to them. As we all know, looking someone in the eye is a major priority anyhow for any trans woman or man who is trying to make their way in the world. Shying away from making eye contact is one sure fire way to quickly lose respect. I don't really think the "eye contact" woman had me in mind but we shall see.

The whole meeting also has brought up two other other concerns. The first of course is appearance and I have been obsessing for quite some time on what I am going to wear. I decided on going casual with a light sweater and my new jeans which will pair up nicely with my canvas "camo" bag. Of course I will need to spend time on my makeup and make sure my long hair is properly pulled up and back. I keep reminding myself, I am a volunteer and a very rare one at that. There are very few LGBT persons willing (or able) to step forward and help and even fewer transgender ones. 

The other challenge for me will be the drive across town in the infamous Cincinnati rush hour traffic. I still don't know my way around yet and will have to rely heavily on my "Google Maps" app to get me there on time. Fortunately,  I can leave early enough to give myself plenty of time to arrive. 

Letting the world in sometimes is not potentially the easiest way to live  But it is the best way to explore being trans in the world while being around new people. Plus it is certainly one of the most beneficial ways to show others we are just similar to so many others. It is the true transgender day of visibility. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

You Know Your Old When...

 


When I wake up in the morning I look ahead to just exactly what my schedule looks like. This morning I realized the great majority of my appointments coming up next week or so are all medically related. For the sake of clarity, I include my mental heath appointments as medical visits. 

Here is an example. On Tuesday next week I have a LGBTQ group meeting scheduled virtually if the Veteran's Administration is able to finally get all their necessary ducks in a row so it all comes off correctly. Wednesday is my Mammogram at one of the University of Cincinnati hospital branches. I don't mind the process as a necessary inconvenience to make sure I don't develop breast cancer as it runs in the family. Friday I have my regularly scheduled visit with my long time therapist which is also a virtual affair which normally comes off without a hitch. Then a week from Wednesday I have my Covid booster scheduled again close by me in suburban Cincinnati. Since I am scheduled for every other week therapy visits, it won't be too soon until the cycle repeats. 

Perhaps you, like me have noticed a definite lack of "fun" time mixed in with any of this. To add insult to injury Liz couldn't make it to the monthly transgender - cross dresser group socials which was last night. Perhaps I can convince her to go out with just me one of the upcoming weekend nights. 

In the meantime I need to totally appreciate the fact that as I rapidly approach my 73rd birthday I seem to be in pretty good health. I am again walking everyday along with my writing. My Dad passed on from Dementia when he was 86 and he sadly faded away watching hours of the Animal Planet on television so I try to keep my mind active with my writings. I still hope I can assemble my work for another book in the future. My Mom, who passed away when was 77 from a bad heart. Since I resemble her side of the family I hope to stay active and keep my heart healthier. 

By now you may be asking what does any of this had to do with being transgender. The truth of the matter is not much but then again everything. My posts represent my life as a transgender woman which means we face the same trials and tribulations than any other cis woman. We have health or family issues the same as anyone else. We are no difference than anyone else except we decided to cross the gender frontier and live as our authentic selves. 

Certainly there is nothing I can do about the point in life I am in except to make the best life I can.      

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Transgender Elder Care

 As promised, I wrote  I would send along further details of my Webinar on transgender elder care. Brighter minds than mine have set the event to be seen on Zoom as well as Facebook.

Here is the link to find it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/270094498066096/

I will cover the lack of in-depth knowledgeable  health care available to elders in the transgender community.

If you have time, stop by!

FRIDAY AT 6 PM EDT – 7 PM EDT

Transgender Elder Care

Free  Online Event
And, here is the Zoom link : us02web.zoom.us

Sink or Swim

Image from Trans Wellness Event.  Jessie Hart Archives.  Many times when I first entered the world as a new cross dresser or femininized mal...