Thursday, September 22, 2022

Count Your Change

Photo by The DK Photography 
on Unsplash 

 I vaguely remember the days when I used cash to purchase my needs. Those were the days I used to accumulate quite a bit of change. On the other hand, my wife was a bookkeeper and kept track of all of our finances. 

About that time was when I started to explore the world as a novice transgender or an experienced cross dresser and needed feminine clothes. Which was easier said than done. First I had to decide where to go for the best deals and better yet to try to figure out which size would fit me and flatter my masculine figure. 

Money was hard to come by as I attempted to put together a feminine wardrobe. Not only did I have to sneak out, I had to slowly accumulate the money to shop without my wife wondering where the cash was going. 

About that time is when I really discovered thrift stores. In the stores, I had the freedom to shop to my heart's content without anyone to bother me. I could also purchase clothes at bargain basement prices which I could experiment with. Fashion attempts could be kept at more of a minimum thanks to thrift store shopping. Also, once I learned what I could wear I could go to a more upscale clothing store and buy a similar fashion item. 

It was about this time when I learned the etiquette of using the changing rooms. Of course at the beginning I was very paranoid about even asking to try clothes on. As time went on, I hitched up my big girl panties and asked for access to the changing rooms. I am happy to say I never received any negative feedback about using the women's changing rooms. Nothing from the clerks I encountered and nothing from other women. I don't know what would happen today with the advent of "Karen's" or self entitled people who take it upon themselves to police others. Plus, today I always have Liz with me to "clear the way" for any potential negative circumstances.

My fashion life has become so much easier now that my male past is behind me and I don't have to worry about maintaining two wardrobes. I have only my full time feminine clothes to worry about. And currently my biggest problem is rediscovering all my fall clothes. Most of which still fit since my size hasn't changed that much. Along with my eyes which I had recently checked. I still have the beginnings of a cataract in one eye which doesn't require surgery yet. So new glasses will soon be my new fashion update. 

Even though I use my bank card for almost everything I buy, I don't have to count my change anymore to buy my clothes. Plus one thing I forgot to mention was on line shopping . Liz is a huge fan but I am not so much. Having to return something because it is the wrong size is such a hassle. I still appreciate going to a store and shopping. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Time in a Bottle

 

Photo Courtesy Nickolas Horn
on UnSplash

With all due respects to Jim Croce who wrote the song "Time in a Bottle", I decided to title this post by the same name.

The bottle I am referring to is the alcoholic one. I grew up in a home where my Dad used alcohol regularly so it wasn't much of a surprise when I became of age I started to drink alcohol also. Along the way, I developed the habit of being able to hold my liquor well. If my friends and I could somehow get around the age limits to buy it. As with any other potential vices, we found ways to do it. 

By the time I got to college I was well versed in drinking with everyone else. Even if I was still underage due to Ohio's liquor laws. I guess you could say I was ahead of the curve when it came to alcohol.

Then came the military. Of course my time in basic training took me away from any drinking activities as did my time in Thailand. Due to the lack of drinkable beer. But then came the exact opposite when I was sent to Germany who really take pride in their quality beer and wines. Very quickly I acquired a taste for our locally produced beer and a few wines.

Fast forward to what any of this had to do with being transgender. As most of you probably know, alcohol often brings out the best or the worst in a person. People often become braver in many areas of their lives. Ultimately liquor enabled me the courage to first come out as a transvestite to my friends after a Halloween party. Which could have gotten me into any number of problems in the pre "Don't ask-Don't tell" era of the military. Here I was coming out in plain view to a few of my friends and risking a less than honorable discharge. All because of alcoholic infused bravery.

All of this turned out to be just the beginning. I tried to come out to my Mom after a night of drinking and was soundly rejected. But I kept trying. 

When I first started to try out the world as a feminine person, the bottle proved to play a major role in the process. When I gathered the courage to stop for lunch, I would always order a beer to steady my nerves and later give me the courage to try out new and exciting venues. Of course the further I went, the further I wanted to go. 

As I went further and further into the feminine world, I chose large sports venues and small lesbian bars as my favorite places to go. It was very difficult for me to conquer the fear of rejection I was feeling and my use of alcohol helped me. Even though it was only beer I was drinking, I was emboldened to continue. After a period of time, it was difficult for me to separate my desire to become a transgender woman with my desire to drink.

Finally I came to the point I didn't need it. About that time I had a scare concerning my liver so anymore recreational drinking was over. Without hesitation, my time in a bottle was over. Plus, I didn't need to find the courage to live the way I had always dreamed of, as a woman. I had arrived and now my alcoholic consumption is approximately two beers a month.  

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.