Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Bi-Personality?



Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

Along the way, of course I have read extensively on being Bi-Polar which I am and Bi-Sexual which I am not. 

Looking back, yet another of the "Bi's" I considered I was that I was Bi-Personality. Finally I determined all of it was just another phase I was going through to justify my gender issues. Along the way I had gone through a number of other "phases" or so I thought. One of the main ones was I cross dressed in feminine clothes temporarily to relieve the pressures of life. As I grew older and faced such pressures as college and the military, I would grow out of my need to cross dress. Wow! Was I wrong. The older I got the more I grew into my feminine self. Even to the point of coming out as transgender.  

One of the more extreme "phases" I went through was thinking I simply had two personalities, one male and one female. The more I considered it, the less simple it all became. What I refused to do was listen to my authentic feminine self causing great stress. Finally I could take the stress no longer and decided to begin hormone replacement therapy to start gender transitioning seriously. 

At this point I was interested to learn if my transition would have any serious positive effect of my Bi-Polar status. The short story was it didn't. I still suffered the same anxiety and depression I did before. So I could take that "Bi" off my list. Or one didn't explain the other. As it turned out, transitioning was going to solve another "Bi" in my life. Was I indeed suddenly sexuality attracted to men? Fairly quickly I learned I wasn't into men except in the rarest cases. Even though I felt a man's attention validated me as a woman, the final sexual result was not worth it. 

With the other two "Bi's" out of the way, the final one to be determined was I truly "Bi-Personality" or was one of the binary genders (male or female) more dominate. I am sure it is no surprise to all of you what the final answer turned out to be. The feminine side of me finally earned her chance to take over and run my life and essentially restored it from a very dark place. I have forever wondered just what I could have made of myself if I had taken the steps much earlier to live as my authentic feminine self. 

Perhaps of all the "Bi's" the personality one has been the most important. Of course the "Bi-Polar" made me miserable until I came to a place where understanding and medication helped to control it. Finally "Bi" Sexual was the easiest to solve.

In other ways also, the "Bi's" fit together in my life similar to a puzzle. I needed a therapist (which I found) who was willing to accept my "Bi Polar and Gender Dysphoria" were two aspects of my personality which didn't necessarily effect the other. And, my sexuality was left to me to determine. 

To finish off this post, should I say "Bi-Bi"?  

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

It's Never Easy

Some days I think it is never easy being  transgender. Now I am involved in selling a property I have owned for years in my native town I grew up in. The problem being I will probably have to go through an attorney to do it. Most likely that means interacting with a whole new set of people who perhaps

have never seen another transgender person before. Fortunately I might be able to go back to the attorney I used years ago to probate the property into my name. This happened when I was first coming out and even then I didn't have any problems with the cis female attorney I went through. So, I guess it is just the point of having to do it again.

On the bright side, I am meeting my daughter for breakfast later this week. It's been awhile since we have been able to do our "parent/daughter"  meet up to just connect for a short time and enjoy each other's company. I have to keep reminding myself how fortunate I am to have such an accepting daughter and grand kids. It is so easy to take for granted. 

Going out with her and people such as my partner Liz helps me to regain any recent confidence I have lost, mainly since all of a sudden I am so vain about my appearance. It's ridiculous because it is now all age related . Since I am almost seventy three, there is little I can do now (except my regular skin routine) to randomly reverse the wrinkles I have earned.

All in all, it's just my internalized transphobia sneaking up on me. I had all those covid related years when I didn't have to worry about little if any interaction with the public. So now I have to hitch up my big girls panties and do it again, I have to regain my footing. 

Deep down I always knew my transgender journey wouldn't be easy. This should come as no surprise that you can run but you can't hide if you are transgender. As I am always fond of writing, crossing the gender binary is one of the most difficult tasks a human can undertake. In fact, from birth to the undertaker. our lives are so complex. 

So, as I read back over this post, I am just being a cry baby taking my frustrations out on all of you. As always, I appreciate all of you who read, subscribe and or comment on my posts!

Years ago, I knew what I signed up for and knew it wasn't going to be an easy path to take becoming a full time transgender woman. Every now and then I am human and it gets me down. But it's only temporary. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Therapy

 My experiences with therapy started years ago. So long ago I barely remember when. However I do remember I built up the courage to tell my first therapist (a man) that I liked to cross dress as a woman. I remember too he basically glossed over my admission and began to write me prescriptions for such mind altering medications of the day such as Prozac and Lithium.  I don't remember much about the

Jessie with Brutus Buckeye

side effects of Prozac but I know I didn't like or tolerate Lithium well at all. Through it all, the medications didn't have an affect one way or another on my cross dressing. Plus, I felt the doctor must have felt worse talking about it than I did, because he never brought it up again.

Around that time was when I picked up my small family and began to move to various places around the country trying desperately to out run my gender problems. Following a year and a half stay in the NYC Metro area, we bounced back to our native Ohio, to a largely rural area along the Ohio River.  Near that time was when I began to seriously explore the world as a cross dressing woman. My wife knew of my cross dressing desires but never approved of me going out from our house which happened to be in a very rural area. Of course, the more I snuck out the more I wanted to. Which led me to being on a collision course with being caught by her. Every time it happened a huge fight between us took place. One time after a particular nasty altercation, I volunteered to schedule an appointment with a therapist who specialized in gender difficulties or dysphoria, I believe I discovered her information in an issue of "Transvestia" magazine. To do it at all was quite a task because of where she was located an hours drive north of us in Columbus, Ohio. 

Ironically she was a successful trip for all the wrong reasons. Fairly early in our visits, she told me there was no way she could help me with being a cross dresser or transvestite as it was known back in those days but she could help me with the vicious mood swings I was going through. In other words, she was the first therapist to diagnose my Bi-Polar disorder. Through it all, every visit I managed to take, I was prolonging the inevitable next fight with my wife. So all in all, my experience with this therapist was a success. At least the next time I was caught out and about cross dressed by my wife I could say I was trying to do something about it.

My next experience with a therapist came years later when I began my care under the Veterans Administration health care system. One of the main reasons I sought out their help was because I was severely financially challenged and unable to purchase my Bi-Polar medications on my own. Of course in order to be prescribed through the VA I had to be seen by a therapist. This was near the same time my wife had passed away and I was considering starting hormone replacement therapy, so in essence invisible doors were beginning to open for me since this was all in the early days of the VA accepting HRT work also. 

I was really fortunate. The therapist I was assigned is still with me today. A near impossibility in the VA system as I know it. More importantly too, she was willing to listen to me and accept the fact my transgender issues were completely separate from my Bi-Polar issues. She kept me on the medications which had been a success for me in the past and approved me for HRT meds. Fairly quickly she became one of the most important people in my life.

I am aware I could be the exception to the rule when it comes to therapy and many transgender persons resent the idea they need therapy before they can start HRT.  I know also several trans persons who either had a difficult time finding a therapist who deals with gender issues or being able to feel comfortable doing it. 

Hopefully if you have sought out therapy you have been successful finding one who helps you with your gender dysphoria or any other issue you may have,   

Sunday, May 29, 2022

When Nature Calls

 This was actually written in the summer of 2021:

"Amanda not so long ago wrote into my email describing a few of her experiences using the women's room when nature calls and she has to simply go to the bathroom.

She also asked for some of my experiences. First of all, I haven't used a man's restroom for over a decade now but my introduction into using the women's room wasn't an easy one. I have written before when I had the police called on me several times when all I was trying to do was relieve myself of excess beer. 

Looking back, realistically, I brought on most of the problems I had upon myself.  As I explored the feminine world in the early days, primarily I fell victim to ill fitting wigs which were poor fashion choices. Until I was able to grow my own hair, was I able to present more effectively as a woman. Which in turn enabled me to have my own female rest room "pass". No pun intended.

Other factors which helped me immensely were how I viewed and adapted myself to the new rest room etiquette I was being exposed to. I made sure I was neat and tidy as I took care of essential business even to the point of trying to duplicate the sound of women peeing in the toilet bowl as close as I could. Plus, just to make sure I was prepared years ago, I always carried a feminine hygiene product in my purse in case anyone asked to try me. 

The rest was relatively easy.  I had to learn to adjust my urges to the normally longer lines to the women's restrooms. Plus I had to learn to make eye contact and not be afraid to converse with other women in line. 

Finally, I had to make sure I quickly checked my hair and makeup as I always washed my hands and quickly (or efficiently) left and returned to my seat. To this day though, I still retain the scars of my early experiences in the rest rooms. I always check to see if anyone is going out of their way to stare at me or even glare. 

I must say though, along the way, similar to the rest of the transgender journey I have chosen, I have been exposed to a number of humorous or even surprising rest room experiences. The most interesting one was at a Cincinnati Pride

Picture from Pride
Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart

event a couple summers ago when one of the few free standing restrooms available was half closed due to a hornet infestation.  All the men were forced to use the women's room and the response was comical and classic as toilet paper was passed along the line. The most surprising experience I ever had was when I was at a concert one night and was waiting in the woman's room line. Once I finally made it close enough to the room itself, I observed a woman swinging from one of the stalls trying to break the lock off the door. My ideas of women respecting their restroom more than men was forever shattered. 

Overall, I think attitudes over restroom usage have definitely lightened up. Plus the number of gender neutral restrooms have increased.

Thanks Amanda for the question. "


Nothing much has changed concerning my "TPTSD" (Transgender PTSD) as far as I am concerned. I still harbor the scars from early in my male to female gender transition. During the period of time I had the police called on me and was even referred to as a pervert. Perhaps I will always suffer from those restroom scars. After all I am only trying to answer nature's call.


Saturday, May 28, 2022

It's a Calling

 On Saturday mornings Liz and I normally watch the CBS morning news show. If you are not familiar, CBS wraps up the show with a musical act. This morning, I noticed the musician refer to her music as a calling of sorts. 

Of course very quickly my mind wondered to being transgender. When was I called to the transgender side of humanity.

My Gender was Calling
I wasn't Listening.
Photo Courtesy Jessie
Hart


Was it when I first heard the term in the late 1970's or early 80's, as I vaguely remember. Looking back I do know the terminology resonated with me. Maybe now I had found a label which described my gender dysphoria. I was discovering sadly once again I didn't fit once I began to explore the transvestite mixers I was beginning to attend. In other words, I knew I really didn't fit in with most of the cross dressers in the room and I wasn't ready to think of myself as a full fledged transsexual, as they were known in those days. These were the individuals who were prepared to change everything in their life to change their gender. It was recommended then people who went through a sex change undergo the surgery, then move away and start a completely new life. I was frustrated. I thought I was making huge strides towards understanding my 

gender issues but the end result was once again I was the round peg being pounded into a square hole. Ultimately, being transgender solved my label problem. 

Through all of the early years, the more I explored my gender roots, the more I knew I felt more natural in the feminine world as a transgender woman. More than ever I knew my gender calling was learning how to stop cross dressing as a man and live as my authentic self.

Of course if I was listening, there were plenty of other desperate calls from my authentic self. I can go all the way back when I was exploring my Mom's clothes and makeup as well as purchasing (then hiding) my own "collection." I did manage to learn my new, thrilling feminine image in the mirror was only a stop gap measure. My true calling was I was actually trying to be the girl. Not just wear the clothes which allowed me to look like one.

Over the many years, I tried to ignore my gender calling by pursuing  a frenetic life. Aided by moving all over, changing jobs and drinking way too much. Needless to say, none of my attempts worked. The more I tried to fight my urges to be a woman, the worse I felt. Even to the point of trying self harm several times.

These days I am selfish. I want all the time and energy returned to me that I wasted chasing a male existence which was foreign to me. 

Would of, should of, could of been listening to my true calling all those years. I was so stubborn, I just couldn't hear or face the truth of my true calling as a transgender woman. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

A Rare Event

 For me, gender euphoria is a very rare happening. Of course it is the opposite of the gender dysphoria I have lived with most if not all of my life. Just a guess but I think I can trace the beginnings of my gender issues to the days when as a youth, I made exploratory searches into my Mom's clothing and makeup. Somehow someway I realized just clothes didn't make the girl. The urge came from much deeper inside. So I pursued my urges. 

Jessie and Liz

Over the next half century I met with much more gender distress than euphoria. The days of being stared at, laughed at and made fun of felt as if it would never end. Following a steep learning curve of gender knowledge it finally did and I was able to assume a life as a full time transgender woman when I was in my sixties. Which gives you some sort of an idea how slow a gender learner I was. 

The amount of time and effort expended makes it all more worthwhile. Last night was an example.  

Liz and I attended the only transgender - cross dresser monthly social we ever go to anymore. It is fairly close and is held in a venue where we enjoy their food and service. Overall sound levels were low so we could easily hear each other speak. 

Perhaps the best part was the other attendees were respectful and entertaining. I was able to enjoy my time.

By enjoying my time, it was nice to be able to converse with other transgender woman (mostly, except for Liz) and to learn more about their lives. As the evening progressed I felt even more comfortable in my role as a transgender woman. Perhaps this rush of gender euphoria is just coming from being able to get out into the world as my authentic self. Being able to just walk in and out of the venue without being stared at was a gender victory of sorts. It was also vindication of all the years I worked to get to this point was worth it after all. 

Unfortunately, financial considerations tied in with the ever increasing effects of rising inflation are making our public trips less frequent. Actually one per month. 

Perhaps the rare occasions of being able to be out in the public's eye is one reason my gender euphoria is so powerful and wonderful. Also I suppose you can't have one end of the gender spectrum without the other. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Quiet Time

 This Monday morning Liz is off and since I am retired we took advantage of the cooler morning temperatures to take our walk. It was non eventful as always as we normally have to clean up after our dog who somehow needs to complete his morning "constitutional" in the neighbor's yard. The same neighbor who we saw this morning as she was leaving for work.

Photo by Hello Revival on Unsplash

We have lived beside her, her husband and daughter for years now and have never received a negative comment about a transgender neighbor. Whatever the occasion it is nice to be accepted. Following the walk, I returned to my morning coffee and to ponder what I could write about on such a quiet day.

Finally I decided to write about the rare pleasure (on my part) of having a quiet day. Given my mental makeup, I don't have many moments when I am able to set all my demons aside and just relax. I was fortunate when I found I was able to discuss my Bi-Polar anxieties with my therapist and not have them complicate further my life on the transgender interstate highway. I learned long ago my gender journey was far more than a path...it was more like an interstate. Always busy and rarely quiet. Much like I am. If I am relaxed I am sleeping. 

Throughout my life it has been difficult to separate my anxieties from my gender dysphoria. In fact for years I thought they were intertwined. I have read and/or heard from others when they completed their gender transition, they were able to discontinue using their anti depressant medications all together. No such luck with me. Even though I was able to begin a full time transgender experience in a feminine world, my depressions and anxiety stuck around with me.  Again I am fortunate in that I have been able tolerate my medications for years. Giving me a chance to appreciate the rare quiet morning.

It does give me the chance to thank all of you readers on my long time Google blog and my relatively much newer Medium writers format which is growing dramatically. I completely appreciate all of you who read all my experiences and especially those who take the time to comment. Your input makes my whole effort so worthwhile. 

Thanks to all of you again and I hope you can have your own "quiet" time away from all the pressures the world tries to burden us with. Adding gender to those pressures is similar to adding cruel and unusual punishment to your world.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Transgender Desperation

 I believe during our gender journeys we have all experienced a form of desperation. The forms can take many different directions. From how we look as our authentic selves all the way to jobs and family acceptance.

A good example comes from a comment from Emma through "Medium" :

"I described how I felt shopping in my first year on HRT as like being a 14 year old girl with a credit card at her first shopping mall. Thank God I have tempered over time. I still have money left in my pension plan."

So true! Thanks!! I remember the often frenetic shopping trips I took when I first became very serious about living in a feminine world. Often it was the only time I could receive positive feedback on my appearance. Although, deep down I guessed the friendly store clerks were mainly interested in my money. Through it all I was desperate for next outfit which would be the one of my dreams. It was hit or miss until I finally was brave enough to try outfits on in the store  and have an understanding of the sizes which worked with my male figure I was trying to work with. 

Photo from Yasin Yusef on UnSplash

During most of this time I dealt with what seemed like an insurmountable amount of desperation and gender dysphoria. All I really knew was I was dealing with a male body while I was attempting to appear feminine. It took awhile but finally I got it through my thick noggin that sooner more than later I was going to have to take the steps other cis women were taking to improve their appearance. Two examples were diet and skin care. Relatively quickly I was able to shed twenty five pounds and began a daily cleansing/moisturizing routine I use to this day. None of it was easy but so worth it in the long run. 

Ironically, the more success I had with my outward feminine appearance the more desperate I was to leave the mirror behind and explore a feminine world outside of my closet. At times the pressure was intense as I was sure any discovery of my dark secret would lead to the collapse of my male house of cards. Built so carefully to maintain an image that wasn't the true me. 

The more success I found, the more humor I felt when I heard someone call being transgender a choice, a phase or a fetish. Here I was just wanting to live my authentic life as a transgender woman in my own feminine world. It was about this time extreme desperation set in and I attempted extreme self harm. Luckily I failed and went on to begin hormone replacement therapy and add another layer of satisfaction to my life. It felt so good when I began to sync up my feminine internal self with how the world really saw me. 

It was only then when it seemed like a huge weight was taken off my shoulders. My transgender desperation was on the decline and life was good again

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Transgender Tetherball

 Do you know what the game "Tetherball" is? Basically it is a ball secured by a rope to a pole. When the ball is hit by a hand it comes back round to you. Of course it can be played by more than one person.


When I heard the game discussed briefly this morning on a PBS television show I was watching, I thought of what it meant in relation to a transgender woman or trans man.  

I was intrigued and thought of gender replacing the ball in our game of life. For awhile we can be fortunate and the gender ball smoothly comes right back to us. During it's circle there was no one to stop it by saying the wrong thing and ruining your day. The problem is it can be so much more than just an outsider who can destroy the smooth rotation of the gender tetherball as it swings back to us.

Take for example, the gender dysphoria many of us suffer from. Through no fault of anyone other than ourselves, we can have our lives turned upside down when we have to live through the gender hell of not having our feminine souls sync with who the world sees us on a daily basis. Recently my gender game has been relatively smooth because I think my inner gender has been syncing up with who the world has been seeing. However, those feelings can be destroyed in an instant by ill advised side look in a mirror. It's similar to the gender ball hitting me in the face. 

Seemingly the only way I can correct the problem is by going out in the world and proving to myself I can present myself as a feminine person. Once it happens (or if it does) I can get back in the game until it happens again. My gender dysphoria has proven to me time and time again it will. 

An example happened to me this morning when I went to visit the vampires at the Veterans Administration clinic to have my blood labs taken. During the brief time I was there, I happened to look up in the waiting room and see a man waving at me. Also the tech who drew my blood took the extra time to "mansplain" to me all the tests he was doing. A sure sign they were booth reading feminine when they interacted with me.

All it really matters is the realization I am tethered to being transgender the rest of my life. Of course it is not a blinding sense of reality to figure out something I should have known years ago. 

Oh well, living in the past is just another case of getting hit in the face by the ball. One thing for certain is "Transgender Tetherball" is not a fun game.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Transgender Writers Block

 You regulars know I have very few days when I don't have a post to share with concerning the transgender world at large. Every once in a while I need a day off from my writing to step back and consider where I am with my writing. 

First of all, the one thing I don't do nearly enough is thank all of you who read my work here or on the several other social media platforms I write for. An extra thanks goes out to all of you who participate on my posts by commenting. It all means the world to me. 

Photo Jessie Hart Collection

My last "day off" from writing a post came after my latest therapy session. Since I have to complete my session in private on my lap-top, the battery is nearly drained following every session. So, I have to wait until I can recharge the lap-top before I can write again. 

While it is true I could write ahead and schedule posts to be active, lately I haven't thought I had enough material to bother trying. 

Sometimes I wonder also how much material is there to write about at all?  If the truth be known, there should be plenty to write about. In many states including my native Ohio, politicians are trying to potentially erase our very existence. Since so many of us face the problems of coming out at all, I am hesitant to keep mentioning the obvious. 

The obvious should be, a sizeable amount of transgender women and men are out and finding ways to carve out a new life.

So, when I am suffering from a transgender writers block I try to remember all of you who have been kind enough to comment on my previous posts, Hopefully my mistakes will help you  not make as many. I  highly regret the days when I was a thirty something cross dresser trying to pass myself off by dressing as a teen aged girl  My excuse is it took me awhile to learn true public validation as a feminine transgender woman came from other women. Not men. 

Through it all I became a "gender sponge". Everything, no matter how small became important to me. Finally, my :studies" led me to am impossible situation. I was trying to live with one foot in my pretend male life and the other in my more increasingly more natural life in an expanding women's world.

By now you may be thinking where was the transgender writers block? It actually occurred a couple days ago. All it took was a day away from writing to cure it.   

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Were you Bullied?

 So many gender dysphoric individuals sadly have to put up with the effects of bullying when they grow up. The process is capable of scarring them throughout their lives. 

Ironically, effeminate boys and men on occasion transition into the most natural women so it's the age old "give and take" story. 

As we all know, there are as many forms of bullying as there are different forms of human beings. Children can be emotionally abused all the way to being verbally abused. Even resulting in physical trauma. Plus there is religious bullying which I don't even want to discuss. 

Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

I escaped being bullied by escaping into the ultra masculine world of sports. Back then, very few girls attempted to play any sports at all in the Midwestern rural area where I grew up. So by participating in football, baseball and basketball, I could at least for a time escape my desperate desire to be a cheerleader rather than a player. 

Once I hit the high school years, I transferred to a new much bigger school and was faced with making new friends. Again back where I lived in the early 1960's, schools were still years away from having any sort of LGBTQ clubs or organizations. No where to meet like mined individuals, even if I would have been brave enough to do it. What happened was I did meet a few others I as able to form friendships with. Although none I knew of who shared my gender dysphoria. Of course I didn't have a name for it. All I knew was somedays I woke up desperately wanting to be a girl and it was slowing dawning on me I didn't want a girl sexually...I wanted to be her physically.  

Through it all, I was able to escape the bullies and essentially disappear into the overall mass of students. Plus I did over compensate and played on the high school football team until I broke an ankle. Not the fashion accessory I was looking for. 

The problem was I didn't really know what I was looking for. I was too shy to even ask a girl for a date but then would go home and if I was alone dress up like her, But I thought I needed to try to date a girl to once again prove to my family and friends I was a masculine person. I solved the problem by letting some of the girls in high school I barely knew set me up with a date to the schools' junior prom. I thought the whole process would once again solidify my maleness and set me up for success as a male. The whole process once again would keep the bullies away and even help me if one of my two stashes of feminine clothes and makeup was discovered. 

It breaks my heart to read about transgender or gay youth who are not supported by their families. There is so much more information available today to aid in their lives. 

As far as bullies are concerned, I fear they are as human as the species goes. After all, human beings are an Apex predator and like sharks, smell blood in the water. The real parenting challenge comes in not raising a child to be a bully.

However you survived bullies in your life, I hope you were finally able to escape all the negative problems which may still plaque you. I know I still have the resulting fear of being laughed at when I am out and about. It's frustrating because one way or another I was able to escape the problems of being bullied.

Friday, March 4, 2022

More Transgender Survivor

As I promised, here is the second part of my "Survivor" post in which I went into detail how I survived growing up trans into my college years.

Photo by Denny Ryanto on
Unsplash

Since I have written in depth concerning my three years in the military, I am mostly going to go past the time in my life except to write how much I missed cross dressing during those days. I believe I spent the greatest majority of my free time day dreaming of being feminine again.

When I was discharged I made arrangements to meet my first wife after she was discharged approximately six months after I was. She knew I was a cross dresser and/or a transvestite so that part of my life was temporarily not a problem.  Little did I know, big changes were on their way which had nothing to do with my gender dysphoria. In a relatively short period of time, my daughter was on her way and my life would change for the better, forever. To this day she accepts me completely and has led the way to me being accepted by my three grandkids plus her in laws. Along the way she more than has made up for the lack of support I received from the last remaining member of my family, my brother.

During the earliest years of her life, my gender activities were largely restricted to Halloween adventures which were highly satisfying but all too short. Nearly all the activities proved were yes I could be seen in public and it felt so natural. I just had to figure out how to expand my time as a feminine person. Around this time also, I was stepping up my activities with friends in nearby Columbus, Ohio. One of which in particular gave me all of their feminine supplies when they "retired" and purged themselves from the group. Except for a love/hate relationship with one of the organizers who went on to have genital realignment surgery. Overall, I learned quite a bit from this diverse group who included everyone from the occasional lesbian all the way to several impossibly feminine people who were still deciding on their own gender paths. 

In many ways I was in the same situation. By this time my first wife and I dissolved our marriage and I moved on to my second wife. Before we became serious though, I let her know too I was a cross dresser. As the years progressed she remained fine with that but she never accepted me being transgender. This set in motion an on again, off again battle between us for twenty five years. Over time I have written about some of the battles when she told me to be "Man enough to be a woman."

Through it all, I was working on doing just that. Of course I loved her completely and did my best to firmly keep a camp in both binary genders. By doing so it tore me up. So much so after breaking yet another promise not to leave the house as my authentic self, she caught me and the fight was on. This time though, I couldn't take it anymore and washed down a whole bottle of anti depressants with Jägermeister.  As my therapist later told me all it would do to me was make me lethargic not kill me.

As you regulars mostly know, she got the last laugh on me by passing away at the age of fifty from a massive heart attack. Naturally, I was devastated but all of a sudden I was free to pursue my ultimate dream of crossing the gender border and living fulltime as a transgender woman.  By doing so proved to me once again how much I still had to learn.

All of this brings me to a group of women I write about consistently who took me in when I was lost and desperately lonely. Plus the all important support from my daughter. Between all of them and my partner of ten years Liz, I was able to learn the basics of creating a new person in a gender I always could just dream of becoming.

Thanks to all of them I survived and the wait was worth it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Three Month Check Up

 Yesterday was my twice a month therapist virtual visit and today was my virtual check up with the VA nurse practitioner who monitors my moods and medications. Both of which of course are very important to me. As you regulars probably know, I am a Vietnam era transgender veteran receiving Veterans Administration health care. 

Way back in the day the whole process was even more important to me. The problem I thought I was going to have was persuading a psychologist my gender dysphoria was a completely different issue than the bi-polar problems I was having. One did not cause the other with me. To be fair, I have heard from other transgender acquaintances who have said once they started to transition and began hormone replacement therapy, they were able to stop taking their anti depressants all together. Good for them! But my anxiety with life's other issues as well as my mood swings were continuing. 

I was fortunate in a couple ways as I look back on my mental health care. First of all, my therapist (or psychologist)  had no problem at all separating my gender issues with my over all mental health. She followed through with setting me up with another person to monitor my meds. 

The second thing which happened was I am still with the same two people almost a decade later, which has been exceedingly rare for me when it comes to my other providers in the Veteran's Administration health care system. At least around here. I know also, care standards vary completely between different VA hospitals and/or clinics.

Being with at least two of the same providers for all those years has helped me in that I have not had to educate a new person into what a transgender patient was all about. In fact, as I remember back to the days when I was first being treated, times have really changed for the better for me. At the beginning, I was fairly certain I was the first transgender patient most of the providers had ever seen.

With the help of the two persons I have mentioned, I have been able to stabilize my moods which has helped my anxiety and moods. By helping my moods, I have been able to do away with the great majority of my thoughts of self harm.

My next round of check ups comes in April when I visit my endocrinologist. She of course prescribes the all important Estradiol and Spiro prescriptions which have gone so far into making me the outwardly feminine person which allows me to sync up with my inner female. That visit too includes stopping at the vampires for blood tests/labs. 

When I was younger, there was no way I could have predicted any of this would happen. In fact I was in many ways forced into the VA health care system when I lost nearly everything I owned. Now it seems
it was the best move I could make. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Living in the Moment

 How many times have you heard the advice "Live life in the moment?" I know my Mom always said it. She probably meant it but forgot to add, do it only if it didn't reflect badly on the family or her. After all, how would her friends and fellow teachers react if they discovered her oldest son wanted to be a girl, I actually came out to her once after I was discharged from the Army after serving my three years. She offered psychiatric care which was a normal response back in those days (1970's).

Photo Courtesy
J,J. Hart 

Regardless, I think transgender people have added pressure to try to live it the moment. Our problem is tomorrow looks so inviting. Not unlike the grass is always greener on the other side of the gender border. 

Take hormone replacement therapy for example. Just a couple more months and my breasts will be bigger and my overall feminine appearance will improve and free me from the guy staring at me in the morning every day.

With so many gender trigger objects in the world, it is no wonder living in the moment is so difficult. In addition to our own gender issues we have chosen to take on the specific issues of the gender we are seeking to live as our authentic selves. A prime example is involving ourselves as transgender women in the beauty industry. We have directly chosen to join  the overwhelmingly obsessive drive to find the newest  beauty trend guaranteed to help us achieve impossible levels of beauty.

I know all of this is true for me at least as I use a moisturizer every night after cleansing my skin to ward off the inevitable wrinkles which I know will happen at my age of 72. Then, let us not forget the all important eyeshadow and special new mascara . Guaranteed to send my eye lashes to new sexy lengths. 

Tomorrow, it's always been tomorrow for me. You would think all my experience with death in my life, I would have learned to take my time to enjoy life in the moment. Now the inevitable is happening, I am running out of time. 

Living in the moment is becoming so rare. Then again just realizing it is a step in the right direction.

Friday, February 18, 2022

My Moral Compass

 As probably with  many transgender women and/or men of any age, our moral compasses have been tested. Of course I am no different. As I look back, there were so many chances I had to ignore my personal compass and set a vastly different course in my life. 

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash


I learned the hard way my compass had several different settings other than the North, South, East and West. I found I could easily add an N" for no and a "M" for maybe. Very early in my feminine development I learned also how many others were crossing the line as far as their compasses were concerned. My first example was from the so called hetero cross dresser mixers. It seemed odd to me the number of attendees would pair off in couples and disappear to one of their rooms. My evil mind considered the "hetero" part of attendance was  not mandatory after all.

As it happened, I had a chance at my own encounter with a guy after one of the mixers when I had begged my way along with the group I called the "A" listers.  To make a long story short, we all ended up in this local neighborhood tavern  and I was the only one who was approached by a stranger and asked tf he could buy me a drink. My moral compass wavered quickly in the second I had to react and said no thank you. Of course I was married at the time and as my compass wavered to "M" for maybe.

Over all years it turned out I had plenty of chances to use my compass. Most of them turned out positive. You notice I said most. 

My biggest problem came when I really started to explore my possible life in a feminine world when I was still married to my second wife who passed away. Very quickly  I started to break the agreements we had concerning ne going out in the world as a woman. She always knew I was a cross dresser but was completely against any suggestion of being transgender. So, I used any time that I could to get out of the house and learn if I could indeed cross the gender border. Fairly quickly I learned I could and the whole process felt so natural. 

The problem became my moral compass told me I was cheating on her with myself and I felt terrible. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt her and ruin our relationship but I had gone too far to turn back.

This was also the time I could have changed what the "S meant on my compass from South to Self Harm. The guilt I felt was so intense I felt the only way out was suicide. 

These days of course I have had plenty of time to reset my internal compass and live my authentic life as a transgender woman. It certainly wasn't easy.  

Monday, February 14, 2022

Therapy Day

 As luck would have it, today was another of my twice a month therapy sessions at the Dayton, Ohio Veterans Administration. 

I put it that way because in some ways I needed therapy after last night's Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl defeat. Oddly, outside of Connie and Paula here on the blog, the only long time acquaintances I heard from were Pittsburgh Steelers fans. One almost wished me good luck and the other was rooting for the Los Angeles Rams. Which I found odd after all those years of beatings the Steelers had laid on the Bengals. 

As far therapy went, I think my therapist "studies" up on certain sporting events because we will undoubtedly be discussing them. 

All went as expected as we talked about the usual suspects...mood swings etc. Today though was different in that I had time to take the usual infamous test/survey they give about your mental health. Questions include how is your concentration, how much sleep are you getting all the way to have you thought about self harm to yourself or others.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

For once, the question concerning self harm became specific. She asked if I ever tried to commit suicide. When I said yes, the overall tone of the session became much more serious. I told her the experience I had with a bottle of Jägermeister I used to wash down a whole months supply of anti depressants. Needless to say I am happy it didn't work. 

Sometimes I think self harm is just something which comes hand in hand with extreme gender dysphoria. When I think of all the crazy self destructive actions I did behind a wheel of a car, I feel I must have had some sort of guardian angel riding with me. I call those incidents passive attempts at self harm.

The ironic part of all this is, I grew up around suicide. My one uncle, my father in law and a couple other acquaintances committed suicide. You would think I would realize the loss to all of the others left behind. These days I do. On the brighter side also, years ago I tried to call the Veterans Suicide Hotline and got essentially nowhere. I hope today that is not the case and I don't think it is. Plus, my therapist and I have been together so long, I can quickly get ahold of her and use her as a resource.

Looking back at how this post started, I didn't mean to connect the dots between a football game and self harm but here we are. 

I am aware also of the exorbitant number of transgender women and men who try self harm as a coping mechanism. Back in my dark days before I developed a new group of supporting friends it seemed my only real friend was my dog. During my dark periods she would sense a problem and come up to me. 

I don't know if therapy helps to dredge up all of these dark moments but it does help me to see again life is but a circle. If you can live long enough to see it. 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Lull Before the Storm

 I have mentioned before here in Cyrsti's Condo, I have two very feminine related medical appointments coming up next week. Now, as it turns out, I have other appointments scheduled also. 

The two feminine appointments are a mammogram and a bone density scan. The mammogram will be interesting if I am examined by the same person who did it the past two years. Two years ago during the first appointment with her, she asked me the requited questions like had I felt any lumps or had any implants. But she didn't stop there and asked a highly personal question concerning any other major surgeries below the waist. I ignored her and never really directly answered the question. Obviously, it was none of her business to ask. 

At that point my self awareness kicked in an I realized she was in a position to put me in a potentially uncomfortable spot. If you have ever gone through a mammogram, the procedure is not painful but can be uncomfortable as your breasts are squeezed for X rays by a big humming machine. So I guess I thought about not poking the bear when she asked the question. Ironically her curiosity must have been satisfied because the next year she asked only the required  questions. 

I also have a bone density scan next week two days after the mammogram. I have been through one before but it was so long ago I don't remember much about it. The good thing is Liz took the day off to go with me. It is at the Cincinnati Veterans Hospital which is in a highly congested area and she will be able to drop me off at the door as she finds a parking place. 

Wedged in between  the two appointments is a virtual therapy appointment. I am sure we will commensurate about how fun a mammogram can be. Hopefully too, I hope nothing crazy shows up in the breast scans. I try to save my crazy for my therapist. 

Just for good measure next week I have two dental appointments. One is a fitting check up for my dentures which I can and will cancel if I am not having any problems and the other is a cleaning of my complete set of original lower teeth. Since I have been to the office so many times, my gender dysphoria doesn't have a chance to set in.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

More Comments

Old Trans Ohio Symposium Picture
 Connie sent me an email at Cyrstih@yahoo.com saying her comments to the blog were being rejected by Google. Since then, seemingly the problem has been corrected because her new comment came through just fine. 

Also I received another comment through WordPress  from Mark Earnest Johnson: "It is so much easier to open up anonymously, when the people reading your blog aren't looking at you as you find the words and try to force them out, when you can't see their expressions.

Introverts. We are the root of our problem. We want to be helped, loved even. But, we don't want to be bothered with people, and there are times when we don't even care if we are really understood and known.

Paying a therapist is like paying a plumber or painter, however. You are plunking down something for a particular service - to be listened to, heard, and counselled (given psychological treatment). When you don't disclose fully, it's like giving you doctor only part of the symptoms that forced you to make the medical appointment in the first place. If you feel you need to talk to a therapist for a particular reason, or reasons, the therapist should know exactly what those reasons are and what you really want to talk about. They need all the information they can get - and so do you.

As always, though, thank you for the insight and honesty."

Thank you Mark. I always have thought personally I communicate more effectively with the written word than the spoken one. 

And here is the new comment from Connie which just happened today: "I think, as with most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Part of a therapist's training is in getting reluctant people to open up. Some are better at it than others. The rest of their job, with the goal of helping people deal with the core problem, cannot be effective without the initial "coming out" stage. All I ever needed was to realize that being trans was never my problem; other challenges were only exasperated by my trans status. Once I took the "fuck 'em if they can't take a joke" attitude about being a transgender woman (not that it's a joke to be trans, but it is full of many twists and irony), I was able to relax enough to work on the rest. I was diagnosed bipolar by one psychologist many years ago, but he was approaching it with the gender issue being the main problem. Well, being trans is NOT a problem that needs fixing. I do know, now, that the woman I am handles the ups and downs of my bipolar conditions much better than the man I tried to be was."

Thanks Connie. My bi polar diagnosis was always treated as a separate entity, fortunately. I always thought it wouldn't be but my current therapist has always treated me being transgender as a separate but equal issue. 

As you can tell, comments make the blogging world easier to navigate when you attempt to write a daily blog. I really appreciate it!