Showing posts with label gender roles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gender roles. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Now What?

 


After writing my post yesterday trying to separate my Halloween experiences, I laid awake last night attempting to think of a follow up post. Naturally it was difficult to do. Then I started to think of one of the powerful responses I received to one of my "costumes". It happened during a party I went to with friends when a couple of the wives cornered me and said something to the affect if I ever decided to go that way (and be a woman) I wouldn't have to worry about how I looked. I was immediately at a loss for words and finally came up with "A lot of good it does me." At that point in time during my life, I saw very little hope I could ever live a life in a feminine existence. I don't remember for sure but all of this may have happened before the transgender term was ever used. 

So here I was feeling strangely vulnerable in my long hair, mini dress and heels wondering now what. Looking back it was the beginning of understanding I couldn't continue to cross dress as a woman and continue to reap the benefits of white male privilege. How times have changed. Today we seem to have so more how gender works and the attached benefits or restrictions each gender seemingly has to experience. 

Yesterday I was watching a talk show on television which featured a beautiful transgender woman and her supporting fiancĂ©. Sadly even though she had it all in the looks and voice departments, she said she still wanted facial femininization surgery because she couldn't feel at ease with herself.  She still saw the same old male face. Even though she benefitted from an early start on her transition and had an understanding family, which I didn't, I could still feel for her situation. In many ways she was still searching for her own now what. 

Unfortunately, as I approach my seventy third birthday, my now what turn to much more overall negative thoughts. Such as what is going to happen if I live into my later eighties and face the same fate as my father who passed away from dementia. Plus what is going to become of all the dire warnings about Social Security which is nearly my only source of income. And last but not least, what will happen if I have to go into an assisted living facility With all these negatives swirling around, often it is difficult to maintain positive thoughts and try to live my life to the fullest while I can.

As I have aged, I have tried harder to mold myself into a positive way of life. Along with it I try to look back at all of my now what's to see if I can still learn from what I messed up. Even still I will miss some of the early excitement I felt when I went to several Halloween parties, I still have to remember the aftermath when I was haunted by the memories and became  terrible to live with.

In the spirit of Halloween, I guess I can say, my now what's were haunting me. I so badly wanted to let my transgender woman out of the closet  I was miserable and mean to those around me. Naturally it took me years to get over the process. Once I did, my now what became clearer and life became easier.

Monday, October 3, 2022

It's October

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

October has arrived and it is time to celebrate my former favorite holiday Halloween. During the month, as promised (or threatened) I will spotlight several special evenings I spent on Halloween exploring if my feminine self could actually have a life in the public's eye.

Before I start the experiences, it is important to note several key feelings or happenings. As it turned out the yearly experiences started to vary with the number of times I tried getting out of my gender closet.

An example comes from my first big Halloween adventure, a party when I was in the Army in Germany. As the evening approached the mixture of trepidation along with elation was almost too much to bear. The closer Halloween got, it seemed it was difficult to keep my mind on anything else. 

The problem I had with Halloween was it only came once a year and I would have to wait another whole year to break out of my closet. The pressure affected how much fun I could have.  As I began to have more and more Halloweens under my panty hose, I began to be able to separate which party might be more fun and for what reason. Another example came the night I dressed very glitzy for a bunch of friends and ended up feeling very shunned by my male friends all night long. It turned out the whole process would be a look in how my future would turn out once I began to transition into a full time transgender woman.

It turned out, my favorite Halloween adventures occurred around and with people I didn't know. Probably because I went into the evening with radically different objectives. When I was with friends, primarily I was just fishing for compliments about how good I looked. When I was with strangers, it gave me a chance to see if I could truly present as a woman in public. Once I learned the lesson, I radically changed the way I chose what I was going to wear. I toned down the glitz and tried to turn up the reality and be mistaken for a cis woman, nicely dressed.

There were in between parties I became caught up in which I will explain along the way. One of which when I just happened to glitz my costume up and became part of group of tall women doing the same thing.

Of course October means so much more this year other than Halloween. I have my 73rd birthday coming up soon as well as my wedding, so there is plenty to look forward to. Regardless, even though I don't do any Halloween patties anymore, the holiday will always be special to me as the one day a year I could try life out of my gender closet.  

Monday, September 26, 2022

Girls Night Out



Girls Night Out #1 
I am on the left.

As I was first attempting to survive in the feminine world without the "Ha-Ha" moments Connie mentioned in a recent comment on my :Ah-Ha" post, I craved any opportunity I had to join a women's night out. In a relatively short period of time I was fortunate and was invited to four, One of which was even a bachelorette party which sadly was cancelled. Two of the remaining invites were with a group of cis women friends I became close to until similar to many women they got married and moved away from the group. Children were involved also.

Perhaps the most exciting was my first invite because I had no idea of what to expect seeing as how there were going to be a couple other women attending who I didn't know. How would they accept a transgender woman? The answer was one didn't seem to care and the other rejected me quickly.  

My first issue was what to wear of course. I wanted to appear as attractive as I could without over-dressing the other women. As you can see in the picture, I think I achieved the desired effect. My second issue was what would the conversation be when no men were present and again how would I fit in. The whole process (per norm) turned out to be just a whole lot of worry about nothing. Most of the conversation dealt with family and children so I just inserted my daughter's examples when I could. During the space of the evening I even forgot to worry about my voice. Everything must have worked out fine because shortly after the first night out, I was invited to another before I moved away with Liz to Cincinnati.

Perhaps the most surprising girl's night out occurred when I was invited by a group of servers from one of the venues I was going to on a regular basis to join them for a get together at another trendy venue. I was terrified when I said yes. How would I react to going with a group of younger, more attractive women to a venue I had only been to a couple of times. This time there wasn't much conversation because of the amount of guys the rest of the group attracted. It turned out to be like I was almost invisible as the night went on. Lesson learned.

As far as other lessons learned, I discovered no new earth shattering gender secrets when women gather.  Naturally, it was no big surprise when the younger women I was with got their flirt on with men and forgot about the group all together. Even though all of that happened I was pleased I survived the evening without doing anything gender ignorant.

Overall, all of the girls nights out I was invited to were fun and learning experiences. I was happy to accept the invitation. 

  

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Living the Dream

 



Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

For so many years I lived with what I thought was the impossible dream. That dream of course was wondering if I could ever live a life as a full time transgender woman. Although for the longest time I didn't see how I was ever going to make it to my goal, slowly but surely I kept moving towards it. 

I like to say I was a serious cross dresser for fifty years of my life. During the half century I made a few strides in makeup and fashion only to find myself headed back to the cross dressing drawing board time and time again. The only positive aspect of the experiences were I tried to learn from each one. What worked and what didn't. Every positive gave me hope for the future. 

Along the way I have written concerning the gender maze I found myself in. I felt everytime I achieved one goal and turned the corner, I found another corner to deal with. Almost all with no positive intervention from any other person. Even though my wives knew of my cross dressing activities, they were rarely participants. And, if the truth be known, many times I didn't want to follow the ideas of what a woman meant to them. Even to the point of trying my best to dress to blend when and if we ever went out together as girlfriends. Examples were when my second wife and I used to journey to Columbus, Ohio to eat at a LGBT friendly restaurant. It got the point of me wearing jeans and a sweater and she (my wife) still didn't like the way I looked. Deep down I knew I was struggling to find my feminine identity and I stayed on course with what I wanted to wear. 

Slowly but so uncertainly my small successes added up and my dream of living full time became more than a distant reality. After the fewer and fewer setbacks I had, I righted the gender ship and realized yet again how natural my feminine side felt. When I went out as a novice transgender woman I felt the world was in the right place and I even went as far as feeling out of place when I went out as a guy. 

Finally even I could not deny it any longer, I was meant to live as a transgender woman. I started hormone replacement therapy and started to transition my exterior as close as I could to match my feminine soul. It all worked so well and I was left no alternative to living my dream. The hormones fueled the fire which burnt my final bridge back to any male life I had left. 

After I made the commitment to giving away all of my male clothes, a new voice inside of me was asking what took so long. My only answer was I was stubborn and wanted to hang on to whatever white male privilege as long as I could. Most certainly giving it all up was one of the best decisions I ever made.

My biggest lesson from my lifetime of experience is, not trying at all is the biggest disaster.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

From the Gender Ledge

 

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

In many ways, this is an extension of yesterday's post. Along the way I mentioned and showed a photo of a guy looking over a steep ledge. My comment was I was at the ledge looking over the edge when I was considering moving away from my old cross dressing male life and moving to a full time existence as a transgender woman. 

Naturally, I was terrified of leaving behind a fairly successful life as a man with a good job, friends and family. I had to prepare myself to lose almost everything I had worked so long for. I had reached the magical moment when white males become privileged citizens by default. On the other hand, I was near retirement age so wouldn't have to worry about finding a new job as a transgender woman. On another hand, sadly, almost all of my close friends had passed away and my parents had long since passed on. All of a sudden the ledge didn't look so steep.

Still remaining were the normal everyday hurdles we face in life. I had to consider even the smallest details of life. For example, I would have to go into male dominated spaces as a transgender woman. Another aspect was how would I present myself to the world everyday. No longer would I have to stress compulsively on how I looked. Thanks to hormone replacement therapy, my whole make up routine was shortened to a point when I only needed a light application of eye make up and lipstick if and only if I was going out. I was always fortunate in that my hair grew on it's own to a point where I didn't have to wear wigs.

I won't sit here and try to tell you jumping off the ledge was easy. Often the landing was bumpy and uneven. The only words of wisdom I would have are to try to stay loose and flexible. Always assume new changes are right around the corner. Just when you thought you had everything figured out. Like when I went with Liz to get my ears pierced. She got her smile on when I protested slightly when the pain hit. For all of you considering piercing your ears don't think it is painful because it is not. I am just a huge baby when it comes to any kind of pain. 

I can't say enough how important it was to me to have formed a strong support group around me when I decided to jump off the ledge. I can't thank them enough. I was able to find them by taking the steps to put myself out in the public's eye. On the other hand, all of them were open minded enough to embrace me as a friend and as a transgender woman. They made my gender landing much softer. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Transgender Evolution

Photo courtesy
Jessie Hart

 I am biased but I continue to view the transgender experience as human evolution. I mean how else where you are forced to cross the binary gender divide to sample how the "other half" lives. Surely it is a difficult journey but at the end of it we all have a chance to build a new/different person. Often from scratch.

We have to go through many of the same issues cis women go through on their journey to become women. Keep in mind, being female does not guarantee you will ever achieve true womanhood. Similar to males becoming men. On our journey to finding our authentic gender selves we are capable of encountering as many toxic females as males. Sadly, we don't often possess the life tools to deal with them. In my own case, I tried my best to stay away from most all males. So I never had the chance to find out if they were toxic or not. It were the females who surprised me.

As life went by it seemed I attracted the attention of far more females than males. For the most part I was accepted into the feminine world without much of a problem. On the other hand, there were plenty of times I was made to jump out of the girls sandbox and regroup. For whatever reason I was rejected, especially in a few lesbian circles. Another example was when Liz and I were minding our own business at a lesbian Valentines party when a stray female forced her way into my world asking what my "real" name was. I don't know what problem she had with me me except she was a huge transphobe looking for trouble. After me basically ignoring her, she finally went away.

Even though I had my share of unpleasant encounters and I was sent home in tears, I knew deep down, it was all a learning experience.  No one ever said life was going to be easy and I found out the hard way how true it was when I made it out of my closet and into the world as a novice transgender woman. Seemingly, destiny was on my side when I had just enough pleasant or positive experiences to keep me moving forward. Such as the night at Fridays restaurant and bar when I made the conscious decision to try to go out and exist as a woman. Not just look like one. A huge mind shift for me as I was considering moving from being a cross dresser to seeing if I could exist in a feminine world. 

Naturally I evolved with my overall skills as I transitioned. Mainly I learned to blend in and communicate with other women successfully. 

Finally I arrived at a point where it didn't make any sense to continue in a male life I was miserable in and I made the final evolution into a full time transgender woman's life. My future wife Liz said it best to me. She pointed out how rare it was for a person to have a second chance at life so do it the best you can.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Between the Transgender Rock and the Hard Place

 

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

Sadly, many of us in the transgender community have experienced losing a spouse as we continue our journeys towards living as our authentic selves. 

Equally as sad is the fact for many the trip turns out to be a selfish and solitary experience. In addition, our spouses all too often have front row seats as we slowly slip away. First there are the clothes and the makeup, then comes the occasional trips to test the public's eye and those turn out to be the simplest part. 

In my case I have written often how my second wife (deceased) accepted me being a cross dresser but rejected any ideas of me transitioning into a transgender woman. It led me to sneak out behind her back as much as possible and into huge fights when she caught me. All of the hostility led her once telling me to be man enough to be a woman. 

She unfortunately was gone before I transitioned and I will be forever interested in what she would have thought about the new person I became. I loved her very much and held on to the bitter end. Looking back, had she lived I am sure we could not have survived as a couple. The draw to live a feminine life was just too strong and felt all too natural. I can't imagine her accepting me changing my name for example. 

Having said all of that, I have several transgender women friends who have managed to hold together a marriage through a transition. Slowly and often begrudgingly spouses have decided to stay with their trans mates for any number of reasons, including children. Another subject totally. Some kids just seem to accpet more than others. 

I can't imagine if my spouse decided to transition to being a trans man. Of course I am biased and think there would be no problems but deep down I'm not so sure. Even though on occasion Liz is more masculine than I ever was even when I was trying to hide any toxic masculinity I ever had. 

The whole process certainly puts us all between the rock and the hard place when it comes to our gender transitions. Deep down we know it's something we have to do regardless of the number of years we have put into a marriage. I was at twenty five years and counting when my spouse passed away. We faced problems in the relationship when I was the girly girl of both of us. So much so, she asked me to help with her makeup on special occasions. 

The whole process for me was similar to a slippery slope. The more I did as a novice transgender woman, the more I wanted to do. As I was finally syncing up my feminine soul with my exterior and exploring the world, the better I felt...for awhile until the pressure to explore again began to build on me. It was then I began to feel I was between the rock and the hard place. Having someone who love but not as my authentic self. 

The whole process eventually led me to a suicide attempt. The rock and the hard place was a brutal place to be. As I looked over my gender cliff, I didn't know where I would land and how soft the landing would be. New friends made it all a success. 

  

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Weekend

Photo Courtesy
Jessie Hart

 It's Saturday which means college football and tomorrow is pro football day. Sandwiched in between is the paranoia I feel about going to a long put off eye appointment Monday afternoon. It's been since 2016 since I have had an eye check up so I am primarily worried about having the beginning stages of cataracts at my age.  I guess I will find out soon enough.

Also my paranoid noggin is suggesting to me I will have some sort of a hassle of getting my female glasses, not male. I didn't have any problems before so I shouldn't  have any problems. As you can probably tell, I am good  at making my own problems up. 

The last two days of the week I virtually visited my two therapists. Both went predictably smooth. I have seen both for years and they know me well. Out of the two, my actual therapist tries to find things I should do and pressure me to do them. None of which have anything to do with me being transgender. The latest example is my CPAP machine. For those of you who don't know, a CPAP machine helps you to have a better nights sleep by basically adjusting your air pressure. By wearing a decidedly unsexy mask. I received one years ago from the Veterans Administration and found out several months ago mine was on a recall list to be replaced by the company. I sent in a replacement request in February and haven't heard anything back yet. However the company said at the time it could take a year to replace. 

So much for the boring things, the wedding still beckons and of course I still haven't figured out exactly what I am going to wear. I have a whole month to decide so why hurry, right? Plus I am not a fan of fancy wedding gowns so the extra expense is out. None of my previous wives (2) bought fancy gowns and did just fine, so I should also. It is nothing to me. Out of all my dreams as a young feminine wannabe, being a bride wasn't one I admired and wanted to do. 

Another major decision I want to make before the October 16th wedding is if I am going to have my long hair trimmed. Liz has volunteered to do it. No pressure! 

Other than that, my my home state of Ohio (typically) is trying to pass a measure to force the state school board to discriminate against LGBTQ students in the state. The local television station here in Cincinnati ran an interview with the legislator pushing the bill. Typically he looked as if he was in the closet of his own but was masking it all with religion. Tragically for transgender youth in the state, it will probably pass. Groups such as Trans Ohio are organizing a protest but sadly we live too far away to attend.     

    

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Thank You! And More

 

Photo by Howie R on
Unsplash


Thanks to all of you who took the time to congratulate Liz and I on our upcoming marriage vows. The response was overwhelming to both of us.  As I have written several times, the actual ceremony will be October 16th. 

In the meantime, it is therapy week for me on Thursday and Friday. Since I am bi-polar, I have a separate nurse practitioner to monitor my medications from the Veterans Administration doctors. It is a very in depth process since along the way, years ago, I admitted to the depression which led to to a very serious suicide attempt. So, just to be safe, I have to check in every three months. 

Friday is a different story. Every two weeks or so I have my regular appointment with my psychologist/therapist.  She is the one who over the years has helped me with securing hormone replacement therapy, legal name change documents and gender change documents within the VA. As you can tell, we have been together a long time. 

She has been with me from my time as a nervous cross dresser exploring HRT all the way to the present as I have lived as a full time transgender woman. I have shared all my insecurities with her. Especially the one of how it would be to throw out all my male clothes and take on the world. Important also was the fact my therapist is LGBTQ educated and could make the separation between my bi-polar moods and my transgender adjustment. I can not stress it enough, there is a HUGE difference between dressing up as a woman for special occasions to spending your life in a feminine world. I still have my problems with going into male dominated settings such as mechanics shops and even one trip to a junk yard. 

By now, I am sure you are thinking, what does this all with wishing you all a big thank you. I really appreciate too all of you who have taken the time and money to subscribe to Medium and those who comment on Google.

As far as my repeated warnings on the difference between being a cross dresser versus a transgender woman, I realize many of you can't make the jump if you wanted to. Been there, done that also. Be ready though life can change in a moment.  

Saturday, September 10, 2022

More Planning

 

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

This comment comes from Connie concerning a recent post I wrote about actually planning your gender transition:

"I dare say that the attempted balance of a male/female existence requires much more planning than does the actual transitioning process. Of course, by planning, I mean the controlling, conniving and deceptive behavior necessary to make time for expressing one's desired gender.


For a while, before I made the move to transition, I wondered if my gender dysphoria might only be an addiction, not unlike other addictions such as alcohol, drugs, or gambling. My behavior certainly matched, point by point, the lists that describe an addict, with planning my life choices around the perceived addiction, itself, being the overwhelming destructive force.

Compartmentalization of the two binary gender expressions seems to be attainable by some, but not by me. I really did try to make it work, though, for many years. It requires much control to do so (or so I thought for myself), and I eventually gave way to the weakness (my perceived addiction) that took things out of control. This is why I say that although I will never apologize to anyone for being a transgender woman, I must beg for forgiveness for the things I did and didn't do in order to feed the perceived addiction.

In retrospect, I can say that my addiction was not to my gender identity or dysphoria, but it was to the destructive behavior, itself. My plans were obviously misdirected. As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.”

Is that like saying "No matter where you go, there you are?"

Thanks for the comment!


Sunday, September 4, 2022

Mentors

Myself on left with Nikki and Kim

As I was looking back through a few of my numerous older posts, I found this one which was originally was posted near my birthday in October of last year. The topic was transgender mentors:

" Referring back to a Cyrsti's Condo post concerning several cis women friends I had when I first was learning to play in the women's sandbox, the term "mentors" came up. 

As I thought about it, I became aware mentors could be a very vague term. For example, many could consider a mentor who aides you with your appearance, make up and clothes. 

As you can tell by the photo , my friends did not emphasize much make up at all. I was the only one who did and I did it all myself.

Of course by that time, I had years of practice. 

What my cis friends did teach me was how to value my self as a transgender woman.  Since they both were lesbians, I learned  I did not need a man to validate me as a woman. 

This picture pre dates my relationship with my current partner Liz, so by the time I met her I had a clearer idea of who I was and how I fit in in a feminine world. 

My advice is to be your own mentor. Practice makes perfect as far as your appearance goes. Plus, once you make your way past the appearance phase, the real work begins. Learning to rebuild your personality away from when you tried and failed to live as a guy is a major task. One example is communicating  woman  to woman and dressing to blend. I learned the hard way not totally accept the compliment of looking great. Great for what? A man cross dressed as a woman? 

Granted, finding a mentor of any form is rough. I was just fortunate when I threw caution to the wind and put myself out in the world.  When you find a mentor of any sort, put your old male ego aside and learn all you can."

I met Kim through her daughter who was a bartender at one of the big sports bars I was going to. It was her suggestion her Mom and I got together for a drink. Nikki was much different in that one night in the same sports bar, she came in for a pick up order and ended up sending me a message down the bar. The whole process just proved to me how successful I had a chance ot being in public if I made the effort to put myself out in the feminine public, no matter how scary it was. I do know perhaps especially in todays world caution is to be used when escaping your gender closet. This is one time your presentation needs to be on point to prevent problems. 

Once I had my mentors and became a part of a small group, life as a transgender woman became so much easier and most of all...fun.  


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

You Said What?

 

Image from Unsplash

More than a few novice transgender women and trans men think their gender presentation is the major path to being able to survive as their authentic selves in the world. Following my nearly fifty years as a cross dresser and novice transgender woman I was locked in totally on my appearance. In other words, I had made all the stupid mistakes I could as far as my appearance was concerned. I was also becoming fairly proficient in going out as a woman. Somehow I knew something new was going to happen on my transgender path. No matter how hard I fought saving my male self the more I failed and the more frustrated I became. 

What happened was I was suddenly beginning to meet the same people as my feminine self. All of a sudden I was expected to come up with a name, wear the same wig to look similar and use it all to try to communicate with new people. By this time you may be asking how did I handle the voice situation. Early, what I did was try to mimic the women I was talking to and attempted to not talk to men at all. Yes, that worked for awhile. As I progressed in my gender transition, the more I learned I had so much farther to go.

It was around this period of my life I learned the true secret of of blending in with and being able to play in the girl's sandbox had to to with how well I communicated with other women.  Dressing similar to them was not a problem, understanding what they were saying was a whole other issue. As a guy, I worked primarily with women and prided myself on understanding what they were saying. When I transitioned to being a full time transgender woman, all of it changed. 

First of all I learned the feminine equivalent of silent communication. I learned to watch (no really watch) other women's eyes when they were talking to me. On several occasions other women helped me to stay clear of interactions with other toxic men, On other occasions I learned to take what I heard from other women very lightly because often they were carrying a knife behind their back. I was clawed several times before I learned. A prime example would come when a woman, normally at Halloween, would say I "made" a good looking woman. What they didn't say was for a man, 

Gone were the good old days of straight forward communications. As I always thought women operate on a much more layered existence then men. I had to learn a whole new communication system. Of course all the effort was worth it as I assumed my feminine place in the world. Ironically the whole experience taught me women are the stronger gender. Even though I would never go back to being a guy, my time served as a woman would make it so much easier. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Results are In.

 

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

After a reasonably short wait, my mammogram doctor contacted me and said everything turned out fine and they would see me next year. I take nothing for granted, especially with my health so I was naturally pleased. 

Others are not so fortunate I realize but I didn't remember Connie's wife had the different response from her doctor that no one wants to hear. Here  is Connie's comment:

It's good to hear that your mammogram went OK.

I will always remember the day, many years ago, when my wife's doctor called the afternoon after her mammogram of earlier that morning. I was at home, all dressed up in my closeted feminine glory, to answer the phone, as my wife was at work. The doctor told me nothing, except that she needed to talk to my wife ASAP, so I was almost certain that she had cancer. I called her work to leave the message that she needed to call the doctor, and then proceeded to withdraw to my locked room and further depression. When she got home early, I was still hiding myself, and I could hear her crying in another room.

This may sound selfish of me, but I had never felt the urge to fully come out to her more than I did at that moment. She knew that I was "cross dressing" and hiding myself, but I had reached the point where my gender identity had far surpassed the activity of cross dressing. Of course, I wanted to be there for her, but, because of my ever-increasing withdrawal, I had become unable to be fully there for her as the husband she so much wanted me to be. That doesn't mean I didn't do my best to try, however, so I quickly de-feminized myself and went out to be with her. That dichotomy of love and guilt/shame has never been so intense for me.

Throughout my wife's radiation treatments, surgery, and chemo, I suppressed my femininity as much as I could. I tried the beard growing technique and began lifting weights. My wife was suffering from her perceived loss of femininity after her surgery (I never thought that she was any less feminine, myself), while I was trying to overwhelm my femininity by letting my testosterone aid in my physical masculinization.

My wife has been cancer-free for many years now and, thanks to reconstructive surgery, still has amazingly perky breasts for a woman in her 70's. I'm so jealous of them, of course, but I'm also happy to have shed the beard and musclebound body that I'd developed. Her attitude toward life changed after realizing that it could be cut short at any time, and I'm sure that is the biggest reason for her acceptance of me being the woman I am today. I don't recommend this method for coming out and transitioning, at all, but I think this proves that happy endings can come from tragedy."

Happy to hear your wife has been cancer free for all those years and thanks for the deeply personal comment. In many ways I consider my transgender transition came from a tragedy also. I'm sure most of you know my story. My un-approving wife passed away quite unexpectedly from a massive heart attack. All of a sudden I was free to pursue being my authentic feminine self. Not the ideal way I wanted to change my life. 

Now, down with the negative, the results are in...on with the positive!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Lets Get Comfortable?

 

Photo credit Jessie Hart

Yesterday was mammogram day. The price I pay for being on hormone replacement therapy. The actual treatment is very minimally painful. Getting there was the problem. I don't walk long distances well and had to park quite away from the hospital where my appointment was scheduled. Since I had been there before I knew exactly what to expect and knew there was a big ledge I could sit down on and rest before I actually went into the hospital to register. Once I made it there I figured I had it made. 

Registration was a little more complex than I bargained for as the hospital had to figure out how my Veterans Administration coverage worked into my procedure. Once that was figured out it was clear sailing to the location of the actual mammogram.

If you have never been, they ask you to strip to the waist and give you one of those stylish hospital gowns to put on. Open in front of course. From there they take you to the room where the big mammogram machine is located. I always find it humorous they are in such a hurry. Once I got undressed I was hurried  into a hallway which luckily was deserted. 

The procedure itself as I wrote is basically just a pinching of the breasts so somehow they can get a good X-ray. The unpleasantness to me came when I had to stand that long and contort my body to get a good "picture" Finally two nurses had to come in and assist in the procedure. To add insult to injury, I had to totally take off my hospital gown. Naturally I was more embarrassed than anyone else because I am sure they had seen it all before. 

Finally the procedure was over. They had gotten two X-rays on each breast and I was set free to put my clothes back on and leave. This was actually was my fifth mammogram, so I know what to expect. I am directed to have one every year because my maternal grandmother passed away from breast cancer way back in the 1950's. So I am always extremely concerned about the results of the mammogram tests. 

So far, I haven't yet received any news about the latest tests. As directed I do self examinations and have felt no lumps so I hope everything is all right. 

Now my week continues tomorrow with my latest virtual appointment with my therapist. Among other things I can explain how stressful a week it has been since also, my credit card was hacked and blocked before any significant damage was done. I had to go to my bank branch yesterday to get it settled and had to sit through a sales pitch for another credit card which I was ultimately turned down for because of my credit. Which I knew was going to happen since I am on Social Security and don't make much money. 

On the positive side, I needed the extra exercise and feel much better today because of it. I even went out early this morning to the huge grocery store we have nearby and found a few necessities we needed for the refrigerator. Plus, the rumor has it I stopped at Connie's favorite coffee chain for a couple of nitro/coffees for Liz and I.   It felt good to do it!     

Monday, August 22, 2022

Always on Stage

 

Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

This morning I had the radical idea I would go out to the curb and bring in the two large trash cans we have. Of course I didn't put much effort into the process. Didn't shave and wore no makeup. Who would I see of importance anyhow? I knew from experience the two neighbors I do know I almost never see them at the time I was out anyhow. As luck would have it, this morning the neighborhood was positively completely packed with strangers walking their dogs, just walking or heading to the school bus stop on the corner, Without any fanfare I timed my trip to the curb and brought the two cans back up to the house. 

As I came back into the house I wondered why it is I feel as if I am always on stage when I am out doing even menial tasks that very few cis women would give a second thought to. Unless they were on their way to work, I see very few neighborhood women bringing in their trash cans in heels and hose. In fact, I can;t tell you the last time I have seen a ultra well dressed woman in this neighborhood at all. Perhaps the closest comes to me when I do my version of dressing up to go ot with Liz to dinner. 

I suppose the whole "on a stage" aspect of life extends to all women if they like it or not and especially transgender women. We are under increased pressure to appear feminine while at the same time blend in with the other women around us. Plus as we begin our gender journeys, we are playing catch up to the cis women who had the benefit of mother and peer input on necessary items such as clothing and makeup. 

Many of us also who didn't have the benefit of an easier gender transition due to feminine looks. We had to suffer (or are suffering) from the ravages of testosterone poisoning. It made or makes for too many stares or even rude comments from uncaring, nosey civilians It's no wonder we transgender folks are always looking over our shoulders. 

Then there is the other side. My deceased wife used to tell me it was not all about me when the tables were turned and I thought I was being unfairly singled out as a novice transgender woman. Often she (my wife) would go on to call me the "Pretty, pretty princess" when it all happened and said all the uproar may have not had anything thing to do with me at all. My feminine ego which was still deeply intertwined with my male ego made the whole process so confusing. 

It became ingrained it was all about me. Until I could free my strong inner feminine self, it turned out I had to be selfish to do it. Once I was able to discover who my authentic self really was, then I could set out to love others. Suddenly my selfish side was gone and I could see the world in it's truer form...good or bad, 

Regardless, as an full time transgender woman, I am certainly not the "Pretty, pretty Princess" anymore following my decidedly unfeminine trips to male dominated areas such as junk yards. As with any woman, part of our existence in being on stage. One way or another. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Comfortable in your Own Skin


As transgender women and trans men transition into our authentic selves often we take longer to feel comfortable in our own skins. As with many others, it took me  many years to catch up and feel much better on the direction life was taking me. 

The first thing I had to do was to grow up and out of my teenaged girl years which of course weren't happening until I was in my thirties. I have documented many times how I went through a period of dressing more trashy than classy as I was trying to validate myself as a woman. Another way of saying I was desperate to feel comfortable in my own skin but was failing completely. Fortunately even I got it through my thick noggin what I was doing wrong. By this time I was learning to dress to blend and interact with other women. 

As I did, I began to seriously realize I could be successful in my new gender skin. Every now and then I am asked how I made it to this point. My answer was and is two fold. The first answer is to practice, practice and more practice. My second advice is don't become discouraged no matter how tough life becomes. Specifically when it comes time to attempt a few or all of the same things cis-women have to do to better their appearance. Examples include working to lose weight and taking better care of your skin. Remember, women, similar to Rome, weren't built overnight. If you are having problems with your makeup, don't hesitate to hitch up your big girl panties and go to a makeup store for help or keep practicing until you become better. 

At times you may feel the road you are on may never end. After all, women lead such layered and complex lives and once you escape your gender closet and see the light of day, it's natural to be terrified to the point of wondering if you will ever be able to live the life you dreamed of forever. Plus you never know how your future life may change and allow you  to better live as a transgender woman. It happened with me. I went from a bearded two hundred seventy pound life long cross dresser in a little over a six month period to a full time transgender woman. When my wife passed away totally unexpectedly. Although I don't  recommend what happened to me, the fact still remains it could happen.

Being comfortable in your own gender skin is a lot of work but completely worth it in the long or even short term. Much of the process involves having the confidence to do something about it, which we will discuss in an upcoming post.  

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, August 18, 2022

How the Transgender Tree Grows

 

Image from Unplash

Most days I sit and ponder what I am going to write about today, I notice the same huge tree growing in the neighbor's back yard. Today for some reason I made a connection with growing up transgender with that tree. 

All of us at some point lay down our gender roots, transgender or not. Waking up in the morning more times than not I would wonder what gender I would be that day. Non of it included the pain when I had a very vivid dream of being a girl. Of course dreams like that made the whole situation worse and made the roots grow deeper. The problem also was I was trying my best to up-root my feminine leanings. Please keep in mind I grew up in the pre-internet era when there was very little information on gender dysphoria. 

As I grew past that time in my life, my feminine roots really took over. Especially when I began to discover others with similar outlooks plus information how to deal with it. No matter how much root killer I tried to use to kill my feminine instincts, nothing worked. In fact, as my gender tree grew the stronger it became. 

Then came the big growth spurts caused partially by me going to Halloween parties. It doesn't seem possible but the time of year for Halloween is rapidly approaching and it will time for me to once again do my Halloween "Greatest Hits" posts here in the blog. In the meantime I will say the entire experience did more to send my feminine roots deeper than anything else in my life, up to that point.In short I learned there was a possibility I could present well enough as a woman to survive in society. My roots had branched into a tree which started to bear seeds. 

Multiple seeds sprouted into more transgender trees and I reached several points of no return in my growth into living as a full time transgender woman. So much so, that finally the female seeds choked out the male seeds completely. 

Which brings me full circle to the place I am today. From my initial explorations in my Mom's clothing what seems like it was a hundred years ago to going to my next Mammogram on Wednesday my roots have grown a strong transgender tree. Even with me trying my best to destroy them by destroying myself. I just hope my roots can remain as strong through an upcoming marriage and my later years in life. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

You Did What????



When I look back at all the crazy things I attempted when I first started to explore the world as a novice transgender woman, I wonder how I survived at all. One of the first things I remember was having the lack of a quality reliable vehicle. This led to several impromptu tow's and my first one on one involvement with tow truck drivers. Most were barely respectful when I needed to ride back with them with one bordering on being downright hostile. I experienced everything from flat tires to complete failure to start from a few of my cars. Often the problem I ran into was I was on a sort of a curfew and had to be home before my wife arrived from her job. To make a long story short, I needed to get out so badly and explore the world, I would risk having a major fight or worse. 

As my finances improved, I was able to afford better vehicles and my focus shifted to which venues I tried to frequent. Very early in the process I learned I wasn't really welcomed or satisfied with going to the male gay venues. The venues didn't come close to satisfying any of my needs when I went there. For the most part I didn't prefer the music and especially hated the idea everyone would refer to me as a drag queen which of course was the farthest thing from the truth. Finally I took my business to venues where I at least more comfortable. Places I often wondered how it would be to patronize as a transgender woman. Surprisingly I was accepted better than the gay venues I went to. It took awhile but it was in those venues I met several dear friends I have to this day.

Then, there were the lesbian venues. Back in the day, several small lesbian venues sprung up in the Dayton, Ohio areas. They provided me with a whole other world of possible experiences. Primarily, since I failed in experiencing any pleasurable time in male gay bars, I thought I would try women and see what happened. In one of the lesbian bars they were very radical and hated me but in the other it was much more mellow and I even discovered I knew one of the bartenders from my male life. This was the establishment where life became a little too exciting on a couple of occasions. 

One evening in particular times became a little more intense when just before I had to leave in order to beat my wife home, I had a lesbian come up to me and buy me a beer. When she did so, she also said maybe she should take me home with her. I briefly thought Oh No! How would I tell my wife I was abducted by an alien lesbian in a space ship. No story would have worked. Then, there was the well documented time (here) when I was basically strongly coerced into singing karaoke with a very big and masculine lesbian. Somehow I was able to "sing" with her and slip away when she moved on to another conquest. 

Through it all, at times I was terrified, excited and downright relieved when I pulled off whatever I was attempting. I look back and wonder how I summoned the courage to do it at all.   

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

A Closer Look at HRT

 

Photo Courtesy Connie Malone

Several days ago I wrote a post called "Comments" which ultimately came from a post which dealt with hormone replacement therapy. The post turned out to be one of the most commented posts I have written in a while. Mainly because to some HRT is the main gateway when you transition from cross dresser to transgender woman or trans man. As I wrote there are more dangers from the extra hormones to many people than are known. I also wrote about Connie being one of those individuals. She faces dire medical circumstances if she would attempt HRT. Here is the comment in reply to Jas:

"As you stated, in answering to Jas's comment, I have not been able to enjoy the mental, emotional, or physical effects that HRT may have had on me. Actually, though, at my age, my hormone balance is not so different than most 71-year-old cis women. That many people have expressed their assumption (of my consumption:-) of HRT for me is both gratifying and frustrating. I can, at the same time, think well of myself for "pulling it off" and also be offended that someone could say such an inappropriate thing to me. I suppose, then, that the next assumption would be that I have had all the surgeries necessary to "womanize" myself (and some have expressed that, as well).

One saying they are dying to be a woman is fine, but not very many would mean that literally - myself included. I also reject the statement made to me years ago that, because I suffered from male pattern baldness and could not (I think they said would not) take hormones or have surgeries, I could never be more than a "professional cross dresser."

Even though I have been on hormone replacement therapy for going on eight plus years now and live fulltime as a transgender woman, I have not undergone any surgeries. I suppose in more than a few critical transgender circles I too would be considered a "professional cross dresser." Then again, like Connie, I didn't begin this life long gender journey if I cared what most others cared about me. In fact it was years ago when I met Connie we found we thought alike when we harassed so called transgender nazi's who made a big deal out of how many surgeries they had under gone. 

These days, for the most part, I think the barriers within the transgender community are coming down. I am seeing more and more younger people identifying as non binary. Even still, I see the "I am transer than thou" raise it's ugly head entirely too often. 

As I have written many times, I am so fortunate to be able to begin and tolerate a hormonal replacement therapy at my advanced age. Anymore it is such a part of me I would hate to see it go. So far, so good but I am always prepared for the worst but HRT no longer defines me as a transgender woman.