Showing posts with label femininization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label femininization. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2024

Finding your Happy Place

From the Jessie Hart Archives 

 As a transgender woman or trans man, it is often very difficult to find your happy place.

A happy place can often be called gender euphoria for all of us who suffer from gender dysphoria. If you don't know, dysphoria is the often evil process of hating the gender you were born in. After all these  years, I still dread the first look in the mirror every morning. Who will I see looking back? My same old masculine self, or a femininized version of him. Some mornings I land in my happy place and others I don't. I usually settle on a middle point until I am done with the mirror.  On occasion too, I suffer from having an impostor syndrome. When I think do I even belong here at all. Happily, the syndrome goes now away quickly because I know I have earned my place as a transgender woman.

Earning my place was never easy as I never inherited any feminine characteristics to start with. What I did have was a testosterone damaged body to work with. The only positives I had to work with were the compliments I received  on my freshly shaven legs at Halloween parties.  Then I had the tendency to overdue it when I explored feminine fashion. I thought I should emphasize my positives such as my legs and at the same time play down my body negatives such as a thick torso. All of it led to massive fashion mistakes before I learned to dress to blend in with the other women I encountered in public. I lived through all of those and found a happy place I could live with.

Around this time was when my happy place location started to change and move around. It shifted from appearance only into a personality based place. Mainly because, suddenly I was closely interacting with the public as a trans woman. It all meant so much more to me than my days as a casual cross dresser. All I know was I was up to the challenge and enjoyed my new happy place everytime it presented itself to me. Outside of a few instances of impostor syndrome, I was learning more and more I could indeed live my dream of being a transgender woman in the world. It turned out my happy place did exist in the feminine world and more and more I wanted out of my old boring male existence. 

Still I had a lot of climbing to do to rid myself of the old baggage I needed to lose to transition. I wondered at the time what I would do about everything I loved in life such as my daughter, (hobbies such as sports) and what was left of my business. It turned out destiny took it's own course with my baggage. My daughter supported me completely while my brother rejected me, so I was the recipient of the best part of the deal. As far as my business went, it mercifully closed due to a weakened economy and other factors, leaving me close to having an early retirement. As far as hobbies went, ironically I found a group of women who were as passionate as I was about sports, so I had friends to watch our favorite games with. So as you can tell, outside of the obvious gender issues, I was able to restart my happy place without a whole lot of extra effort. 

When I found my new happy place, it felt so natural I wondered why I did not pursue it earlier. I know early on I was into my appearance as a woman completely and often missed the basics of movement and communication to further my femininity. It turned out I did not have to worry because the deeper I delved into my new life, the more fluid and natural I became. Practice made perfect in so many ways along with the fact I became secure into who I was. When I did, I didn't care what others thought of me and my confidence as a trans woman increased.

It turned out, destiny took it's time but ultimately led me the right direction.    

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

There is Always a Transition

 

Archive
image
Jessie Hart

In an expansion of yesterday's post, today, I am beginning a post on the extra transitions we go through in life. Many are relatable to everyday life, some are not. Everyone goes through changes or transitions. For example when and if they ever become parents.

My biggest transition came when I crossed the gender frontier from viewing myself as a cross dresser I could possibly live without to a fulltime life as a transgender woman. My transition also came along when I was negotiating raising a daughter, building my career and attempting to outrun myself. Life became very busy as I struggled to find myself. I resorted to therapy to try to balance my mental health. Along the therapy path, I was diagnosed with a Bipolar depression disorder to add on to my gender dysphoria which was dominating my life. Through medication I take to this day, I am able to control my depression and my gender dysphoria became much better when I finally decided to fully leave my gender closet. 

As I lived on, maybe I should have taken up the motto, "Later is Greater" as I took my time exploring the possibilities of living a totally femininized life. My excuse is I wanted to make sure I had it all right before I risked it all and left my male self behind. Eventually, I learned from all the trips I was making out the door of our house, doing the best I could to blend into the world as a woman, transgender or not. Then, another transition was facing me head on. It was the great leap from being an experimenter to being a doer or practitioner of being feminine. I took years of watching and learning to understand what my second wife was telling me when she said I didn't know anything about being a woman. Not only was she right, she did did her best to hold me back from learning what she was talking about. There was no way she wanted to show me much about what truly being a woman was all about. Instead, she persisted in calling me the "Pretty, pretty princess."

Her failure to help me just pushed me farther and farther towards my next transition which was a huge one. The more I settled on a feminine look and style I liked, people I previously didn't know began to recognize me and I was forced to begin to build a whole new life as a trans woman. Primarily it meant I needed to communicate with the world with tools which were totally foreign to me. Trying my best to develop a softer feminine sounding tone was a real challenge along with adjusting to a society of women where passive aggressive behavior was the rule. There were too many times I suffered when I didn't perceive exactly where the attack on me was coming from. Instead of usual male frontal attack I was used to, I needed to start watching my back. Communication with the world was a huge part of my next gender transition. 

After I thought I had the communication and appearance transitions down, seemingly there was another challenge awaiting me at every turn. Who knew it could be so difficult to cross the gender divide? I was often frustrated when the smallest details would trip me up, not to mention the big ones such as the ill advised use of water balloons as breast forms. The balloons worked well enough until one exploded on me one night in a venue I often went to. Fortunately, I was on my way to the woman's rest room when it happened and it was empty. I was able to clean up,  quietly finish my drink and leave with no one noticing me, I was wearing a loose fitting top so no one saw or mentioned the one breasted wet woman on her way out of the venue. Needless to say, my next investment was silicone breast forms. 

As I near my seventy fifth birthday. transitions are harder to come by yet more meaningful These days, I mostly just present as old. Plus, my ultimate paranoia of having to go to assisted living and having my gender attacked looms large. As I always say, I need to do my best not to dwell on the future and live in the present. 

None of us control the final transition, no matter how much money or power we have. It is up to any higher power you believe in to make it happen..   

Monday, July 15, 2024

Going Through the Motions

Image from Dibakatur Roy 
on UnSplash.

Looking back at my fifty plus years of life as a cross dresser, I wonder when and how I crossed the gender barrier into being a transgender woman.

Also, how many years did I spend just going through the motion to arrive at my destination. I started with going through what I call now my mirror worship period. During this time, I couldn't wait for any opportunity I had to slip away from my boring, unwanted male life to slip into what feminine fashion and makeup I could find which fit me. Invariably, the mirror would give me positive feedback until I could come back for more. 

I am guessing now but I think approximately twenty years or so went by before I was brave enough to leave the mirror behind and see what if anything the world had to offer a novice cross dresser. On the other hand,  I know it took me longer than the two decades to figure out my truth. I was just going through the motions as a cross dresser and my gender issues ran much more deeper than just wanting to put on a dress and walk in front of the mirror. After years and years of doing the same thing, for some reason something clicked in me which made sense but at the same time was very scary.

It was the time I decided to find out if I could go co-exist with a group of women as a woman in their own territory. Previously, I had scouted out the venue I wanted to go to and when I wanted to try out my idea. It was the "Friday's" I write about often and yes I was petrified for several reasons. What if I did not make it and was ridiculed or maybe worse yet, what if I did and my life would change forever. If I did make it, I knew I could never go back to just going through the motions of being a part-time cross dresser. I was so much more. 

Finally, I got in so deep with me thinking I was transgender I reversed all of my gender thinking. Primarily I wasn't a man cross dressing as a woman at all I was a woman cross dressing as a man. Or, I was just going through the motions of being a male because I was born into it and was just attempting to get by until I could change my life for the better and live as a transgender woman. It represented a seismic change in my thinking on how I was going to live my life. 

By the time I was sixty, I could not take all the self destructive behavior I was experiencing any longer and decided to cross the gender frontier and live as a transgender woman. I embraced all my new gender thinking and set out to discover all I had missed by living my life as a man. Since my inner feminine soul had been observing my life and struggles the whole time, surprises were kept to a minimum. It turned out she was plotting all along how she would live once she got the chance. 

The last major step my male self gave her was going to the doctor and getting approved for gender affirming hormones. HRT just helped to further sync up what I thought I needed to be with what I actually was. Or, I thought I needed any help I could with femininizing my body to help me blend in with the world.

Of course, now I feel as if I was robbed of my life when I was going through the motions of being a man. On the other hand, I made the best of an unfortunate mistake. I gained a daughter, built a solid career and even survived my tour in the Army, so it all could have been so much worse as I battled my own gender dysphoria. It turned out, being transgender just led me into going through more motions than most people.   


Sunday, July 14, 2024

A Trans Woman's Intuition

Anniversary Image 
from the Jessie Hart Archives

The world makes a big deal about woman's intuition, as they should 

I feel women as a whole have a deeper understanding of the world than men do. I have always believed women live a more layered life than men which leads to a need for more intuition. Not to mention a less secure life than men when it comes to personal security. Simply put, women have to learn at an early age the problems they could face dealing with toxic males. 

Add to all of that and you can imagine (or have experienced) the problems a transgender woman can face. We have to experience the impact of toxic men and toxic women also.  Lately it seems the anti-transgender societal atmosphere has made it a necessity for trans people to develop their internal intuition more effectively just to survive.

Early on, I was just so starved for male attention, I put myself into dangerous situations. I equated a man's attention into a validation of me as a woman. Fortunately, I was able to live through that portion of my life without any serious harm coming to me. Even though I barely escaped on occasion. I can not claim all of the credit for my escapes as I had other cis-women around me who helped. I can remember one night in particular when a man approached me at the bar in one of the regular venues I was a guest. When the server at the bar saw me and the man approach she did not say anything. Instead she just gave me a look which in no uncertain terms said to be careful. I took her advice, paid my bill and took off before he came back around to me. 

Also, toxic men are attracted to transgender women because they somehow think we are desperate for male attention. Which is the reason so many lonely trans women react to scammers on social media sites. Conservatively, I think I receive two or three scam requests a week from generals and doctors who happen to be widowed. I laugh them off and quickly block them. It never takes much intuition to know where they are coming from.

It is a different story in the real world of course. When women as a whole are warned to be so careful just when they are out to socialize. These days, women have to protect their drinks and make sure they go out with friends. Just another example of how a woman's intuition comes in handy. 

I think when I transitioned into a woman's world, gender affirming hormones aided my progression. In fact, I just answered a question from my transgender grandchild about my favorite smells. During my answer, I made sure I brought up the influence of the femininizing hormones on my sense of smell. One of the first big inner changes I experienced on HRT was the better sense of smell I realized. I am interested to see what reaction (if any) I receive. 

Most certainly I learned a transgender woman's intuition was a priority in order to survive. My inner woman, who waited so long to live her life in the world, knew it also. I learned when she took control how easy it was to let her take the reigns of my life. Early on she proved she knew what to do when she had the chance. I also learned I needed to be better than the average cis-woman. I did not have any of the benefits of growing up as a young girl. Catching up on the fly was often very difficult to do. Little did I know I could benefit from my old male life and use the lessons to help me when I jumped into the girls' sandbox.

Knowing where guys were coming from helped me to get by in the dating world on the very few occasions when I decided to enter it. I found I needed any advantage I could hold to help my gender life along. Including a better knowledge of my transgender intuition. 

 

Friday, July 12, 2024

Trans Peaks and Valleys

Image from the
Jessie Hart Archives.

Lifetime as a whole presents us with many peaks and valleys to negotiate.

Since I am transgender and always wanted to be a woman, my peaks and valleys often revolved around times when I came out as my authentic self in the world. Very early on, sadly, there were more frequent valleys than peaks as I learned to survive in the public as a novice cross dresser or transgender woman. I vividly remember too many times when I came home sobbing when I was laughed at. I don't remember now how I survived the dark times and continued to move forward. 

As I did move forward, there were other peaks in my life such as when my only child was born. When she arrived, my existence changed forever. Plus, I wondered how having a new person in the world would effect my gender desires. In many ways, I thought it was poetic justice when I had a girl. For some reason, deep down, I thought I could understand a girl better than a boy.  Since my daughter turned out the way she did, maybe I was right.

A big problem I had with my peaks and valleys was staying in one place long enough to actually understand if I was doing anything right. As I constantly changed jobs and moved my small family, I gave my second wife a hard way to go when I tried to chase myself. I am amazed we made it through twenty five years. 

Another problem I had was when I needed to come down off the gender peaks when I encountered them. Gender euphoria was so rare, I wanted to hang on to it as long as I could. When I couldn't I would become frustrated and ultimately mean around my family and co-workers. 

The more I progressed in my gender transition the more extreme the effort to climb out of the valleys became. The major problem was I didn't feel increasingly secure in my old male role and at the same time, I was feeling more and more natural as my femininized self. Which again caused me great frustration when I fell deeper into my valley. At several points I was so deep, I needed therapy to help me restore my mental health. Therapy on occasion did help me climb up to an acceptable level of a peak. When I was smart enough to actually take the therapist's advice. 

It turned out my fear of heights carried over to my transgender issues. The better I became at existing as a woman in public, I was scared. Primarily because for the first time in my life it seemed to be a real possibility I could reach my dream of actually living as a transgender woman. As I looked down on my previous male life, leaving it scared me. What would I do about  losing all of my white male privileges and then having to start all over again. At the time, the only female privilege I could see was a man opening a door for me. Which I later found to be false as there were other feminine benefits I had yet to experience as I climbed my gender peak. 

Finally, at the age of sixty, I could take the pressure of the climb no longer and I decided to stop all aspects of my old male life. I was taking gender affirming hormones to take me to the next step, my mental health was improving and for once I could see my life clearly as a transgender woman. So even though I needed to take a leap of faith off a cliff and transition, I found I had others around me who provided a soft landing. It turned out, I hadn't lost anything at all. 

My up and down life of trying to live as both binary genders was difficult at times to say the least. Near the end I found I made the correct decision on which peak to climb and it was not the male one.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Transgender Control

Image from Charles 
Deluvio on UnSplash

Many times, resistance to transgender  women  or trans men comes from people who just want to control us.

Since so many people don't understand trans people, control for them seems to be the easiest way out to deal with us. On the other hand, I dealt with being ignored by men when I first came out in the public's eye. Most of it probably came from the presentation issues I dealt with. Examples included the times I started to talk to men concerning topics I knew quite a bit about and was roundly ignored. However there was the occasional man who tried to dominate the conversation with me. 

Seeing as how I had lived in the male world all those years, I should have known it was coming. Even other men tried their best to control me over the years. With a few of them, like drill sergeants when I was in the Army. What I did was internalize my thoughts and outwardly listened to them. So I learned to get by in the world. Even when I was wondering how I would exist in the world as a transgender woman.

I was lucky I had good role models around me from the women I knew. My Mom started it all off because she existed quite well in the male dominated world she existed in. Then, much later in life, I worked in a profession where again I saw how the strong women around me survived well in life. Very few people controlled them. As their boss, I learned to work with them, not control them. In my dealings with men as a trans woman, all I wanted was the same. A man who would work with me not cut me off in mid sentence when we talked. In all fairness to the men I met before I began to be involved with my group of lesbians, I did meet a couple guys I felt I could be interested in.

My problem was I refused to be treated as a fetish item and required a man to meet me in a public place before we did anything else. Which stopped all of the crazies I met on line. For just a moment at least, I wanted my own transgender control. As my transition progressed, I found control was harder and harder to maintain, especially when I became quite fond of several women around me who accepted me for who I was. Control from a feminine viewpoint was quite different from all I had learned as a guy growing up. Primarily because there was more give and take.

Of course I embraced all the changes and willingly gave up several keys to my life. The biggest one came when I packed up my belongings, along with my cat and dog and moved in with my current wife (and longtime companion) Liz. Now it has been over twelve years ago and after quite a bit of give and take, our relationship thrives. 

All in all, learning control as a transgender woman  is a difficult process. Primarily because of the major differences in the binary genders. In order to survive in our male life, many of us had to learn to control the situation when it came to dealing with spouses, family and employment. While I can safely say I never really controlled my second wife who was a very strong woman, on occasion I tried because I was the man and it was what men do. Above all it taught me, it was NOT what men should do. Especially when I faced it as a trans woman. 

Again, thanks to the feminine role models I grew up with, I blossomed into a proud out transgender woman I am today. They all showed me the way and my inner female finished the deal. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Transgender Shape-Shifting

 

Image from the Jessie Hart Archives

Changing your unwanted testosterone damaged male body into anything which remotely resembles a female is very challenging. 

In order to be a gender shape-shifter you need to become a perfectionist down to the smallest detail. Plus, seeing as how most of us transgender women got a late start in our transitions, we spent quite a bit of time playing catch up to other genetic women our age. We did not have the peer pressure or Mom's influence to steer our way into the public's eye.

Some would argue also, we trans women had to be better than the average woman to survive. We had to be on point with our makeup, fashion and accessories to look good and in addition were able to still able to blend in with a society of women who increasingly did not seem to care how they looked.

Finding the middle point of presenting well in your cross dressing shape-shifting experience was difficult to say the least. Even so, some of us would consider the process of presenting as a woman as a labor of love. In my case, I was fond of haunting all my local deep discount clothing stores until I located just the right fashion item or accessory. I remember the thrill I felt when I finally summoned the courage I needed to use the changing rooms to see in fact if I had found a "treasure" to add to my wardrobe. 

Then there was the problem of learning how to put my shape-shifted self into motion. No matter how I looked was any good if I still walked like a linebacker and communicated as a man. I remembering working long and hard on discarding my male walk the best I could and picking up the unique movement of a woman. It was difficult for me because I was still working and living a portion of my life as a man and needed to be careful not to cross over the gender line at the wrong time. Even though I secretly loved to be called "ma'am" when I was working as a guy, I still needed to be very careful to maintain my carefully crafted male image. 

I came to the point where shape-shifting became too much for me to handle and I finally tried to be approved for gender affirming hormones to aid the process. I was helped along by the knowledge I had taken my femininization process along as far as I could without the aid of medical help. Since I never was the beneficiary of any natural help with my feminine appearance, I needed all the assistance  I could find. I discovered help when I started HRT under a doctor's supervision. My skin almost immediately began to soften which helped my facial angles soften which also allowed me to use less makeup and look more natural. In addition, my hair growing to the point of not needing to wear a wig anymore, along with growing my own breasts were just the beginning of my advanced search into being a gender shape-shifting human. 

Of course my final test, was how the public was responding to the new transgender woman me. For the most part I received positive feedback by getting no feedback at all. I was able to blend in with the world as my preferred authentic self and take a major step towards being happy in life. All along I was stuck in my dream of wanting to be a woman, or come as close as I could. It was all because I finally discovered my gender was coming from between my ears and not my legs.

Looking back on a shape-shifting life was certainly easier than living it on occasion when I think back on all the failures I went through to arrive where I am today. Supposedly learning from failure is the best way to progress in life and I believe it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Having it All as a Trans Girl

Archived image
after Beauty Salon. 


As we negotiate difficult gender journeys on the way to becoming our authentic selves as transgender women or trans men, we find it is tough to have it all in our lives.

Many times, as we give up much of the baggage we have accumulated in our old lives, we have to give up spouses, families and even employment. On the plus side, if we have the chance, we can build back better in our new lives. In fact, I was told once by a woman I knew, I had an unique situation. I was starting all over in life where as most other humans never have the chance to do. Before I could get there, I needed to do quite a bit of work.

Early on, I obsessed on my feminine appearance, wrongly thinking it was all I needed to do to make it in the world as a cross dresser or transgender woman. Seeing as how my wife was fond of calling me the pretty princess all the time and I knew nothing about being a woman. Now, I wish I would have listened closer to her. As it was, I did listen to the point where I really began to work overtime observing women to see what she meant and it was not enough. I still didn't understand and my male ego continued to get in my way when I happened to have a successful night out cross dressing. Like the evening I went to a transvestite mixer and was carded at the door to prove I was a guy and not a cis-woman. My defense was I had to know what a woman was if I had been mistaken for one the night before. Plus, somehow I held my gender dilemma against my wife because she would not help me,  As  I always mention, it seemed my wife and my male self ganged up on me to slow down my transition. Both had a losing stake in the process if I made it.

At any rate, I said to hell with them and set out to look behind the sacred feminine curtain to see if I could survive. Quickly, I learned not only could I survive but just possibly I could thrive as a transgender woman. In order to make my way behind the gender curtain, I needed to really learn the basics of communicating as a woman, mainly with other women. I found I had a curious audience of women wondering at the least what I was doing in their world and at the most, learning I was not any sort of a threat. For awhile, my life was moving fast and I was close to seeing what having it all might mean for this trans girl. It all became tantalizingly close. 

So close, I kept moving forward as fast as I could, especially when the forces which were holding me back began to weaken and disappear.  It became easier and easier to toss my old male baggage in the trash and acquire new feminine luggage, The turmoil I experienced at once was the toughest, saddest moment of my life coupled in with a few of the most exciting times I had ever experienced. 

Even with all of my changes I was going through as a transgender woman, I still didn't think I was ever on the edge of having it all. Life is just not built that way. Primarily with the help of a small group of very accepting women friends, I was able to come close and open gender doors which were previously closed to me. I was able to never look back at a male life I never really wanted.


Sunday, July 7, 2024

Trans Girl in the Big Easy

 

Mardi Gras woman by 
Jeremy Brady on UnSplash. 

For those of you who may not know the "Big Easy" is a nickname for the city of New Orleans. 

Since I live in far away Ohio, a trip to the Big Easy was and is a special undertaking. During my long life I have been fortunate enough to have been there two times. Once as a cross dresser and once as a transgender woman. Naturally, my visit as a cross dresser came way before my arrival there as a trans woman. 

To go as a cross dresser in many ways required much more work than my second trip. One of the big reasons was I needed to hide the fact I was taking a very small stash of feminine clothes, a wig and makeup from my second wife and I was flying down there. Which meant I had limited space to plan for as far as my luggage was concerned. I am amazed now how I was able to pack and hide my essentials from the prying eyes of my wife but I did.

I was going to New Orleans for a AFTN Network reunion. AFTN stands for the American Forces Thailand Network which I was a broadcaster for when I was in the Army back in 1972. The reunion itself was well attended and once I was there I needed to figure out how I was going to escape my friends, apply my makeup, put on my clothes and discover a venue to go to. I was lucky when my friends decided to call it a night not long after dinner and I was on my own. So shortly, I made my way out of the hotel into the hot and humid Big Easy night. Melting down and saving all my makeup was not making my night life any easier. 

I finally found my salvation in the form of an air conditioned gay venue. In the venue I was able to see several impossibly feminine and beautiful transgender women. So much so, I did not think they were drag queens. As I enjoyed myself immensely and all too soon my time was up, I needed to find my way back through the night to my hotel room where the air conditioner struggled to keep up with the summer temperatures of New Orleans. From there, the next day was made up of memories made in Thailand and it was off to the airport for the return trip to Ohio. 

Similar to the trip down, I was able to hide my extra cross dressing wardrobe from my wife when I unpacked when she was not around. I had a great time at the reunion and even discovered another transgender participant at the festivities. She was very shy and I did my best to open lines of communication with her which naturally I wished I could have as there would be no more reunions.

My second trip to New Orleans was on a bus tour to "Mardi Gras" many years later with my current wife Liz. The extended time we spent on the bus which seemed as if it would go on forever was more than made up for with the party excitement. Our hotel turned out to be a classic restored property within walking distance of the famous Bourbon Street district. Looking back, I would not do it again but on the other hand, since I did it, I would have not to do it again. 

Highlights of the evening we spent at the huge party was when we discovered a food venue we could get into just a block away from the main event and enjoyed a light dinner of appetizers and sandwiches. More importantly, by this time in the evening, we had access to a single stall women's bathroom on the venue patio we were sitting at. Still being restroom shy at the time, I waited for the line to disappear before I went in the tiny space to take care of business. The problem was, I had been in better "Porta Potties" than this restroom. It reeked of sewer gas and I quickly finished, washed up and left. When I opened the door, a line of women had formed and the first woman was glaring at me. I simply smiled and said good luck to her and returned to our nearby table. The only other stop of note we made was to the supposed oldest gay venue in New Orleans. On that night at least, the place was full of male gay "bears" along with a few scattered cross dressers in their mini skirts and heels. 

As the evening wound down, it was time for us to return to our hotel and rest for the evening, knowing it was a great time but not one we would likely be making again. 

Now we are looking at the possibility of going back to the Big Easy during hopefully not during the summer months on our own so we are free to go to the spots we want to go. Finances and health permitting we hope to do it again.

Trans Acceptance

 

Liz on Left, Daughter on Right.

Today, my wife Liz and I are heading north to Dayton, Ohio for a family birthday party. The party is for my youngest grandson and my daughter's father in law. 

The get together of my daughter's extended family has always been a different experience for me, as a man or a woman. Per norm, my visits as a man were ego driven with battles with my son in law in particular. They were nothing as compared with any other macho activities I faced with the family.

When I completed my male to female gender transition, I wondered how I would be accepted. If at all. It turned out as my daughter led the way, the rest of the family followed. As most of you regular readers know, my kid was wonderfully supportive from the very beginning. However, as her family expanded to three grandkids for me, what would they think of my gender issues. Spoiler alert, all three took my transition in stride and my oldest grandkid even came out as transgender before "they" left high school. They (chosen pronouns) were always leaning that way, so I was not really surprised.    

As time and events went by, my feminine self was still chosen to stand up in front of a temple and actively participate in one of the bar mitzfah ceremonies since my daughter converted over to the Jewish faith. Her decision led me to a whole other level of acceptance I never knew existed. From the Rabbi, to cousins I never knew before, I was accepted as an equal person. No one cared.

Now when we make the hour trip to the birthday party, I have nothing but good feelings. At the least, transgender acceptance as a person helps my gender euphoria, at it's best I get to see my trans grandchild again. Plus, I get to moderately dress up for my first wife who usually attends as she is the mother of my daughter. Recently she gave me a complement which literally left me speechless. She mentioned how good I looked and how far I had come along. Now I feel bad, I couldn't come back with anything else than a mumbled thank you. She went way back with me to the Army and she knew I was a cross dresser before we got married.

Since now I am close to the oldest person in the room, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would ever become a matriarch.   

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Is Being Trans all About You?

Image from Caroline Hernandez on UnSplash

 As I was embarking on a struggle with my second wife concerning me coming out as a transgender woman, we encountered plenty of problems. It was  during this time, she was fond of telling me my gender issues were not all about me.

Ironically, for the most part she was right. As I ventured more and more into the public's eye, all I thought about was the next opportunity I would have to go out as a woman. Then, when I had to go out as my boring, unwanted male self, I would become upset and get mad when I tried to internalize my thoughts. I have written before about the vacations I ruined when all I thought about was how I would spend them as a woman. 

Worst yet, I was jealous of the fact she had the body and life I wanted to have. I wanted her curves and soft skin and wanted her to make love to me as another woman. Which for the most part never happened. The whole process carried over into my life as a cross dresser or novice transgender woman. When ever I went out into the public, I felt as if every eye was on me. Which for the most part, was not the case. I found most of the public was just going about their everyday lives and could not care less about me and my issues. It took me years to learn I could just blend in for the most part into a feminine based society and basically just disappear

First, I had to work my way around the fact my male ego still controlled the way he wanted me to look. He wanted me to dress to thrill, which just turned out trashy and attracted unwanted attention. It was quite the learning experience and took awhile to accomplish because of one big reason. I wanted so badly to be a pretty woman but just couldn't accomplish it primarily because of my testosterone poisoned body. As far as anyone had ever told me, my legs were the only feminine part of my body I had to work with and my wife was no help because she never helped or complimented me on anything I did. Once again saying my attempts to be pretty were all about me.

When I could not disagree, I just became more frustrated and the pressure was on to do better as a femininized person...with or without her. It was at that point, I did my best to escape the house without her knowing and see the world through the eyes of a transgender woman. I was modestly successful and when, on the other hand, when she discovered what I was doing, huge fights happened. Fights, I never won, because I knew she was right. I was risking everything we had built to experience a new exciting but scary world. After I figured for sure I was indeed transgender, the pressure on me really began to build. On one hand, I suddenly could see a dream I wanted my entire life may be accessible but on the other, I would have to lose everything I had worked so hard for to grab it. It seemed life was so unfair but I could hear my parents telling me, no one ever said life had to be fair and I moved on.

Sadly, my wife passed away before I faced my truth with her and she knew it more than I did. On more than one occasion following a big fight she told me why did not I do us both a big favor and transition. For some reason, I followed the male way out and tried again and again to internalize my feelings until I was intensely unhappy. It seemed being trans was all about me until I finally came out and accepted myself.

When I did accept myself as transgender, I was able to see the world from a different viewpoint and learned to love the world and others more deeply than I ever had before.

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.    

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Transgender Truth

Image from Ava Sol
on UnSplash

Often as a transgender woman or trans man, we have a hard time find finding out our personal truths. 

Our truths can be hidden behind a maze of society issues which we have to work our way through. In other words, is what we are thinking a real truth or something acting like one. Did I really want to be a girl or just temporally look like one? I struggled to figure it all out. 

Worse yet, was the fact I needed to hide my emerging truth from the world. How was I ever going to discover if my gender life as a guy was indeed a lie unless I was able to take on the world as my own sense of femininity. Was it all an act or was it real, who knew? Little did I know, I was embarking on a lifetime trip to determine how true my gender issues were. As I went along, hiding became less and less of an alternative because I was finding out how natural I felt when I was playing in the girl's sandbox. All the bastions of sacred femininity were suddenly opening to me in the forms of being invited to girl's night's out and earning my way into having women's rest room privileges. 

When I did, the pressure started to mount to live my life more and more as a transgender woman. Every time I had to interact with the world as a man, I felt as if I was somehow an impostor and I was just going through the motions. Plus, my obligations to spouse, family, friends and work started to weigh heavily on my mental health. I did my best to enlist the aid of a qualified gender therapist to help me. There were very few of the therapists in those days who knew anything at all about gender issues, so mine was hard to find. Looking back, I think I saw her advertisement in an issue of "Transvestia" Magazine. When she saw me after a couple of appointments, she told me her truth which I did not listen to. She said, there was nothing she could do with me wanting to be a woman and somehow I would have to learn to live with it or accept it. Like I said, I ignored her advice and continued to ignore my basic truth.

Speaking of truth, currently, I am writing a book gift which was given to me on Mother's Day this year by my daughter. It is a year long project designed to answer questions from my family. The book will be given  to me after I am done and then passed on so others can understand my life and truths after I am gone. One of the questions from my trans grandchild is what has been the most ill-advised thing you (me) has ever done and I think ignoring my therapist's advice may have to be up around the top. Had I listened to her and told my second wife the truth, I would have saved myself so much turmoil over the years and I would have faced my truth. How bad could have it have been. I would have had to find other employment and new friends but rebuilding my life then could have been easier. 

I was stubborn and held on to my idea I ever was male for way too long and it cost me years of alcohol abuse and mental health problems. I was so fortunate I found and was accepted by women who I admired so much who embraced my idea of what an ideal woman would act like. Ironically, the evil TERF's were few and far between. I was allowed to flourish as I learned so much from the women around me who accepted me for what I was for the first time in my life. 

My truth was finally evident to me. I had never been meant to live a male existence and I just wish I had faced my transgender truth earlier than the age of sixty. Sixty is when I gave in and gave up any hope of ever living as a male again. In addition, I am so proud of my college aged transgender grand child for coming out so early in her life. Hopefully, my existence helped hers.

Monday, July 1, 2024

A Transgender Marathon

Archive Image

 I'm sure you have heard the saying it's a marathon, not a sprint. This is especially true for transgender women and trans men.

Yesterday, I read a social media post from a first time transgender woman going out in public for the first time. In the post, she was bemoaning the fact after applying her makeup and seeing pictures, she did not look as good as she thought she did. My heart went out to her and I mentioned I went down the same path. Learning the art of makeup is just the first part of a transgender marathon into understanding yourself. 

Others who read the post chimed in with similar thoughts and even expanded it into impostor syndrome as a future possible reaction the person might have to face. 

Looking back, I could remember vividly how badly I felt when I first started my visits out of the house and into the public's eye. Back then, pictures were difficult to come by and were mainly only accessible by the old "photo kiosks" and drug stores. Only one time get I get brave enough to take a roll of film to one of the kiosks to see how I looked on film. I was shocked, and not in a good way, I obviously looked like a cross dresser and a bad one at that. The worst part was, the person who developed and gave me my pictures knew me and even worse yet, his Dad worked with my Dad. My marathon was almost over before it started. If I liked it or not. 

As it turned out, I moved back into the mirror and did my best to remove the negative self image I still had from the ill advised pictures. It actually took me years to try to attempt more pictures as my marathon moved on. As with anything else, the more you work on something, the better you become. Also technology was on my side with better cameras, which offered more than the very expensive Polaroids giving instant pictorial feedback. I was fascinated with my first cell phone which took pictures and better yet I had my first computer that I used to upload cross dressed pictures of myself. By doing so, I attracted attention, flattering to begin with in chatrooms until my wife caught on. She learned the computer skills faster than I did, so I needed to try to catch up as fast as possible. 

My marathon marched on, I gained more and more confidence until I reached increasing problems with my gender dysphoria. It seemed, no matter how much effort I put into my feminine appearance and deportment, the more I felt like a guy in a dress. To survive, I finally had to come to a basic conclusion. I was not as good looking as a woman I thought I was, or as bad. There was always the middle point I needed to shoot for. Finally, I knew who I was and I had the confidence to move on from new problems such as impostor syndrome. 

Again, I needed to come to a middle point where I could survive as a person. While I could never reclaim a girl's childhood experiences, or the problems associated with having periods or pregnancies, I had to go through my own set of experiences which presented their own problems. For example, I needed to try to escape my own gender demons which everyone in life seems to have, male or female, trans or not. I finally had to end the part of my marathon I agonized over for so long and claim my own brand of womanhood. Somehow I always found a way to survive and found a path. I was able to chase it and find success...in my own way. Which turned out was all I could do.

Going all the way back to the person who was just starting their public journey as a transgender person, try to make your marathon as easy as you can, Roll with the punches and move along as quickly as you can but always remembering the entire process is a marathon, not a sprint and sometimes, you are your own worst enemy. 

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Trans Night at a Drag Show

 

The "Rubi Girls", Dayton, Ohio

After I came out of my closet to reveal my authentic feminine self to my daughter, she took me at face value and kicked me firmly out of what was left of my old male life. 

For my birthday, my kid took me to her upscale beauty salon for a color and cut then pulled the biggest surprise of all, an invitation to join her woman friends to a night out at a drag show. This was no usual drag show, this was an annual show put on by a drag troupe called the "Rubi Girls" in Dayton, Ohio. The group is so successful in the area, they have raised literally millions of dollars for AIDS research

For the evening, my daughter had invited approximately five or six of her Mom friends to go along to the show so essentially going with them was my official first girl's night out. Needless to say I was petrified of going but accepted my invitation. As I was going, I was determined to do my best to stay in the background and only interact when I was spoken to. My daughter warned me ahead of time who the potential problem people were so I could be forewarned who not to interact with. On the other hand, there were a couple other women who previously knew me as my male self and they turned out to be very approachable

The show itself was a riot and the drag queens lived up to their billing as being the best in the area. Even better was the fact one of the stars was my oldest grandson's fourth grade teacher. When we arrived and found our seats, for some reason, my daughter left me on my own and I finally needed to reach out and interact with another woman or two we went with. It could have been the two drinks I had to relax me or not but I didn't have any problems with either woman. I even warned them the show would certainly be "X" rated. The venue was packed and everyone seemed to have a great time and most importantly, I survived going out with a group of my daughters women friends. In addition, I learned being with women was everything I hoped it would be and since I was a novice, it was even better no one wanted to question me concerning my gender or relationship to my off spring. 

After the show was over, we all piled into my daughter's van for the short trip home and I enjoyed listening to all the comments about the drag show. Better yet, I had the chance to stop at one of my favorite venues to wind down and think about what I had achieved. For one thing, being forced out of my closet totally was wonderful, once I recovered from all my fear. I was able to do what women do to loosen the conversation such as compliment each other on articles of clothing. In fact, I still remember complimenting Sandra on her boots. She was one of two other women who knew me as my kid's parent. I can't say the process was easy but very soon, it all became so natural I knew I never wanted to go back into my male closet.

Transgender night at a drag show may have been just me as the very few transgender women in the audience. It was difficult for me to judge but I think the venue held around one hundred fifty people and naturally I did not go around asking if anyone else was trans. It was no big deal for me anyhow since normally I was alone in the venues I went in unless my transgender friend Racquel was there with me. Plus, all of this happened way before I met and was accepted by my own small group of lesbian friends. 

I look at it all now as a big learning process which helped me to come out to my grandkids. When my eldest grandson learned I was crossing the gender border to play in the girls sandbox, he equated me with being the same as his teacher. Then his mother had to go back and explain the difference in gay and transgender to a fourth grader. Which she did. 

As far as I am concerned being forcibly kicked out of my closet and made to walk and talk my transgender self was one of the best things which could have happened to me. Being with other women and surviving or even thriving just reinforced my thoughts I was doing the right things and was on the right path. From there I researched gender affirming hormones and never looked back.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Instilling Transgender Confidence

Image from Wesley Tingey
on UnSplash.
 
More than likely, many of you have suffered through a lack of confidence in your transgender lives.

We suffer fashion mistakes as well as learning the art of make-up and hair before we can even attempt to enter out into the public eye. The biggest problem we faced was catching up to the other women around us who had the benefit of growing up as young girls who had the chance to experiment with their friends and Mom's on applying make-up and trying on clothes. We had very little chance to improve our confidence.

Gender dysphoria destroyed for years any hope I had of establishing any confidence about ever being able to present well as a transgender woman. It was a rare day which I didn't see a guy wearing make-up staring back at me from the mirror. For some reason, I put all my misgivings behind me and still went out to see what the world was going to be like as the person I always dreamed of being. 

Any way I look at it, I took a long, long time to work my way through rejection and begin the basics of building confidence as a novice trans woman. I began by taking small steps. I took into consideration where I was going until I found certain venues to be untenable. For example the male gay venues which made me feel uncomfortable. When I left them to find a better more accepting world I did in straight venues I was used to going to as a guy as well as a lesbian bar I frequented. As I became a regular in my new homes, I was able to increase my transgender confidence. I did not expect to be mistaken for a cis-woman but I did expect to be treated with respect anyway since I was treating everyone else with respect. 

As luck would have it, I started to build my small circle of friends who helped me build my confidence in a big way. The women I met were mostly all lesbians, so I was not under any huge pressure to be more exacting with my make-up and my fashion. It needed to be just good enough to blend in with the group. The times I was not with women were rare and I needed to step up my feminine game to look the best I could. I wanted to look nice without appearing as if I was trying too hard. I knew I was succeeding when my wife even asked me to help her with her make-up. 

The problem I still had was how I moved and communicated as a woman, trans or not. I did not factor in the huge jump I would have to take in order to keep building my confidence. What good did I have applying a wonderful make-up job,  if I walked and talked as a linebacker, I found I needed to be present in the moment. For example, when I needed to walk a fairly long distance to my seat in a venue. Instead of worrying about getting there without attracting attention, I needed to worry about how I was getting there. Then, in most cases, I just had to rely on one of my friendly servers to help me out with the rest of my visit. As I mentioned in a recent post on the Vocal Trans Girl, communication basics were such a huge part of my past transition, they needed their separate post. 

Once I became more comfortable talking to the public as a transgender woman, I was able to do more and more to increase my confidence. I felt as if I was doing nothing wrong and if the other person did not like me, it was on them to fix the problem. I was being the authentic me as my shyness went away. 

If you are just starting, or in the middle of your gender journey, confidence is often one of the more difficult stages you will go through. Once you think you have it, it can slip away with just an ill fated encounter with a transphobic person. The only words of advice I can offer is believe in yourself and eventually you will win the battle to live as you please. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Transgender Whirlwind

 

Early Archive 
Image. Jessie Hart

Looking back, there were certain decades of my life which seemed to shoot by faster than others.

When we hit the new century, my life seemed destined to speed up without me even knowing it. First, my Mom passed away, leaving my elderly Dad by himself and before he was diagnosed with dementia. Fortunately, my suddenly smaller family bonded together to take care of Dad. My brother and sister in law took care of all his meds and my wife and I fed him. The situation worked well until the very sad day when he needed to go into assisted living. If you are not familiar with Dementia, it is a very sad and ugly disease which towards the end robs the patient with all of their integrity, making them a child again or worse.

Then I used my inheritance to buy a restaurant which after a good start hit the skids when the town I was in was deeply affected by a severe economic downturn. My whole move was similar to pushing all my chips to the center of the table in a poker game and hoping I would win. Which I didn't. Regardless of all of that, life was dealing me death cards right and left. To begin with, I lost nearly all of my few close friends to cancer then in 2007 I lost my wife of twenty five years to a massive unexpected heart attack. I was in shock and ended up taking the only sure route I could to saving myself, falling back on my feminine self. In her, I took solace and knew I could make it through my dark times. 

The problem I had was, I needed to catch up with my fashion, makeup and everything else it would take me to present in the world as a transgender woman. The best part was I was all by myself and could basically do whatever I needed to achieve my goal. Which was seeing if I could indeed jump the binary gender frontier and see if the grass was greener for me. The more I explored the world, the more I discovered I could indeed carve out a new life, if I wanted to bad enough. 

During this time, which would have been around the year 2010, my life was moving towards being a whirlwind of transgender experiences. I equated it to sliding down a wet hill towards a steep cliff which I had no idea of steep and long it was. What I did not realize at the time, I was losing all of my male privileges and starting to panic. Still I persisted until I learned what female privilege meant to me. Finally I learned being a trans woman meant so much more to me than having doors opened by men. It meant freedom of expression for me. My inner female finally had her chance to live and was taking full advantage of her opportunities. Even still, it seemed every day, I was facing the differences in life I had only dreamed of. All the way to going to male dominated spaces and seeking service which was something I had to do to live the existence I wanted.

Even though life finally did begin to slow down and I became more and more comfortable with my life as a transgender woman, there were still surprises. Since I had survived the gender transition whirlwind, the surprises were easier to overcome. Plus, seeing as how I had survived all the dark years of death I went through in my life, I became more appreciative of the life I was still living. Especially since I was able to transition at the same time.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

A Breath of Fresh Air

Out to eat with my wife Liz on the left.

Even though we are among the millions of other Americans stuck under the infamous "Heat Dome" and temperatures near one hundred, last night I was able to take a breath of wonderful fresh air.

To do it, I needed to get out of the air conditioned house long enough so Liz and I could make the short trip to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Fortunately, the venue's air conditioning was working fairly well and we were seated under a ceiling fan. So we were comfortable even though the place was very busy. 

For the evening out, I chose a lacy pink and black top I have not worn in ages. Along with my dark blue leggings with tennis shoes so I was very much at ease. It was also fun to shave very close and apply a light foundation coat of makeup before I did my eyes and contouring finally finishing up with lipstick before I brushed back my hair. My goal, which I think I achieved, was a soft feminine look. I helped myself by clipping my hair loosely in the back, allowing long straight strands to fall on both sides on my face. The whole effect, served to lengthen and femininize my face.  

At any rate, the most important part was how the public perceived me. Even though I wasn't dressed in the shorts and light dresses the other women were wearing around me, I thought my flowing outfit fit in well. It helped too I was with my wife Liz and her son who has accepted me since he was a teenager. I was set up for success. 

The best part was, no one gave me a second look and I was able to feel as if I was the "normal" woman out into the world. Even little kids ignored me. Along the way, I did have the opportunity to pause in my mind and think back to all the work it took to come to this point of gender acceptance in my life. All the times I was stared at or worse as I tried to make my way in a new uncertain world out of the mirror. In many ways my dreams were answered. All it took were years of struggle to finally achieve the success I found last night. 

After we finished our drinks and dinner, the three of us decided to try a different venue the next time we go out. Which presents another challenge when I present to the world. Plus, I know both my wife Liz and I need to get out of this house and everytime we do, it seems to improve our mental health for any number of reasons. Every time I am "ma'amed" at the table automatically adds to the tip and sends my brain soaring.  I was last night and the tip reflected it without the server (a man) even knowing why.

Perhaps the best point is the resultant gender euphoria I felt after we arrived back home and into the next day. Today I still feel the pleasure of finally arriving more or less where I wanted to be years ago when I was a confused kid. Of course I know there will still be many challenges ahead in my gender journey, I feel satisfied so far with my long term progress. I even call the transgender process, working at my craft. It is the only way I can look at all the gender changes I needed to make to jump across the gender border to see if the grass was indeed greener. For me it was and I decided to never turn back into an unwanted male life. 

Nights such as last night are always a re-enforcement of all the work and effort I put into my transition.  I need all I can get. 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Trans Girl Vacations

Archive Vacation Image from Kansas.





Since it is summer time, it is vacation time around here. Spoiler alert, this post is not about flying these days as a transgender woman or making it through airport check points unscathed. It is about ground based transportation. I did all the flying I wanted to do at an earlier period in my life when the military flew me all over the world.

My problems with going on any sort of vacation at all began when I was cross dressing as a man on a vacation to Michigan one year with my second wife. Very early on, I began to feel the pressure coming on when I couldn't go out in the world as a novice transgender woman. Then, I began to resent the fact I needed to be a guy at all and I wanted to be a woman with all my being. By doing so, I started to grow quiet and introverted which alerted my wife that something was wrong with me and she started to pry. After all, we were on vacation from two successful jobs we liked, were blessed with my daughter we both loved and a 1860's restored house we lived in. Ideally, we shouldn't have any problems but I did. 

As I internalized my gender issue, I never answered her questions as to what was wrong. There was no way I was going to tell her I would rather be spending my vacation time as a woman rather than my male self. So I shut up and did my best to change or hide my feelings. By doing so, I was able to salvage what was left of my vacation. 

When I met my wife Liz, she had a passion for travel and we decided on several rather lengthy bus tours to places such as the Southwest, Maine and even Mardi Gras. The major problem I had except for the often brutal bus rides to my back was the fact the bus's restroom was off limits except for major emergencies. Which meant I needed to stand in line with a group of other women at mostly road side rest stops along the highway. Since there was no way I could hold my business an entire day, I needed to quickly learn what it was like to stand in line to use the rest room. Seemingly, either I became used to it in a hurry or the other women on the bus became used to me being there because they didn't seem to care I was there. 

Even with all of my acceptance, I still felt potential issues coming up when we traveled through deeply conservative states such as in the deep south. In fact, I received a real fright during a rest stop on the Alabama-Mississippi state line. To start with, in addition to the long line waiting to use the facilities, there was the faint smell of sewer gas and all I wanted was to do my business, wash up and get out. On this trip however, there were two women glaring at me when I left the stall, so I immediately thought the worst was going to happen and they were going to attack me. Thankfully, they didn't scream out there was a man in the woman's room so I did get out and hurried my way with Liz to the bus. Once we were safely back on the bus, my paranoia set in and I kept looking for a southern cop trying to pull the bus over. It never happened either and the next stop was a huge truck stop just outside of New Orleans where the bus needed to refill. This time, I didn't have to go and just had to wait for Liz in the so called souvenir shop. The only challenge I received on the trip was when we stopped to eat in a big venue just outside of the "Big Easy."

In the restaurant, I waited as long as I could for the restroom to be empty and took my chances. When I did, one of the women on the trip entered the room with me. She was very civilized and I didn't expect any problems and didn't when she look surprised and just said Oh! you use our restroom. She ended up sitting right across the big table from us and didn't say anything else. 

Our trip to West Virginia to check out local short line railroads we could ride proved to be fun and easy and proved to be a great beginners trip since it was relatively short distance from our native Ohio. Our trip to Maine was a fun trip also since for the most part we were passing through transgender friendly states, so I did not have to worry about harassment. Plus the Maine lobster (or Lobsta) did not disappoint. Finally the trip out west to Colorado was just too long although I did really enjoy the train rides we took out there, especially in Durango. 

Recently, we have not been able to find or afford any more tours so Liz and I have had more "stay-cations." Plus I don't have to worry about my gender when we go or what to do about restrooms. As the years have gone by, I have grown so much more confident about my presentation as  a transgender woman.

Can't wait for our next adventure.


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Why Me?

Image from Emily Morter on UnSplash.





I can't remember how many times in my life I have thought of the idea of why me? Why did I have to have all these gender issues.

It wasn't until much later in life did I learn it was OK to be different and in fact sometimes I preferred not being part of what was called "normal." Then I learned nearly everyone had their skeletons in the closet and many people just were able to make the skeletons dance better and faster. These days, we often see many public figures whose skeletons ran out of gas and are exposed. For some reason, I even feel sorry for some of them because they needed to hide their so called problems for so long. Mainly because I suffered so many years in my own gender closet.

Plus, as I negotiated the complex path I followed to living my ultimate dream of living life as a woman, there were still many times I questioned all I was doing. On one hand, my job choice was proving to be successful while on the other hand, my self destructive self was trying to destroy it all. I was having huge why me moments. In other words, I was being a complete victim. Over the span of my life, I ran and hid behind my skirts and dresses anytime I encountered any rough patches in my male life. I always figured I never wanted to be a part of the male world anyhow, so it worked well for me to hide. 

In time, the pressures in my life increased and finally I needed to stop thinking why me and face them head on. The major issue I needed to face (and did not) was rather or not I was much more than a causal weekend cross dresser and in fact a novice transgender woman. At that point, I decided to find out if I was indeed a trans woman. It was then, I began to explore the world in any way I could to see if my gender skeletons could still dance with the best of them. At the same time I was dancing, my why me began to fade away. I had no more time to wonder why I had gender issues when so many seemingly did not. I found their closets were just deeper and different from mine. 

Then, I started to embrace my transgender status as a positive. Very few humans ever have the opportunity to explore and live in both binary genders, male and female. All of a sudden, when I was out in the world, I could see and understand all the games the genders played around me. I even knew I was succeeding when virtual strangers I met would ask me questions concerning their spouses or boy friends as if I would know. Which often I did. I just hope they took my advice as free advice and took it with a grain of salt. 

As you can tell, probably being a victim was a bigger issue for me earlier in my life versus the why me question I was always falling back on. The process took all the courage I could muster to overcome my problems. Ironically, hiding behind my skirts and dresses became the focal point of my new found confidence in the world. When I was able to dress to blend in the world as any other woman, my skeletons cheered me on. Since I had always been a terrible dancer, I never danced in the world but just kept it in mentally. 

One way or another, why me was becoming why not? It was time for me to take the gender issues I was born with and run with them. No more wondering what my life would have been like if I was born into a world the men around me faced. I was similar to a big piece of clay which was just waiting to be worked into a new unique human. Why not?

Finding your Happy Place

From the Jessie Hart Archives   As a transgender woman or trans man, it is often very difficult to find your happy place. A happy place can ...