When Life Gives You Lipstick

When life gives you lipstick, wear it!

Anyway you cut it, life is never fair for everyone. I’m biased but I think transgender women are dealt the most difficult hands in life. First of all, we have to do the difficult work of  figuring out who we are. Looking back I have written numerous times about all the mornings I woke up and immediately tried to figure out if I was a boy or a girl. What made matters worse was the fact this all happened before the internet and social media eras. Loneliness was extreme. I wasn’t old enough to understand all that was happening to me and there was no one to explain the meaning of being gender fluid.

In the meantime I did the best I could to survive. I even tried to “come out” to a friend in high school (a guy) and was roundly rejected. Looking back, I had a total girl crush on another friend which I never let on to. It seemed life had dealt me a hand I couldn’t win. 

Once I turned driving age though, I did get a small break.  On a couple occasions I was able to cross dress and sneak out of the house when my parents were away. I remember the trepidation I felt when I saw my reflection for the first time in a store’s shopping center window. On the other hand, I felt a bigger sense of accomplishment. Other than those extremely rare occasions, high school wasa continuation of my gender frustration. The only relief I felt were a couple of school events I went to which featured a couple of very presentable boys in drag. Needless to say I was very jealous. 

The biggest setback I thought was coming was being drafted into the military. Along with the obvious reasons to dislike my upcoming service was the fact that women didn’t have to worry at all about the military. Ironically this all turned out to be the time when life gave me a potential set back and I was able to turn it all around for the better. First of all I was given very little chance of  continuing my career as a radio disc jockey in the Army and I did just that in the American Forces Radio and Television Service. Then perhaps more importantly, I was able to finally come out of the closet toa few of my closest friends as a transvestite. Finally, the gift which kept on giving was meeting the woman who would turn out to be my first wife and birthed my beloved accepting daughter. 

Even with all those successes, I was still missing a huge gap in my life. Something was still wrong. Around this time life gave me the transgender term and the internet to research it. .All of a sudden I knew who I was. All those times I went to the transvestite mixers and didn’t quite fit in made sense.

It all left me with the huge “what if” questions. Life had given me the answer to my gender issues but also left me the choices to settle my problems. Was I going to take the chances to give up all my male privileges and live full time as a transgender woman. After years of experimentation and soul searching the answer became clear and I took the gender plunge. 

At this point life gave me options. When my wife passed away, she was my biggest naysayer, so tragedy turned to a bittersweet triumph. Around this time also, the Veterans Administration began offering Hormone Replacement Therapy which I could take advantage of at a very low cost and I was old enough I could take advantage of early Social Security retirement and not have to worry about coming out at work.

It turned out life was repaying me for all the years of  turmoil and stress it put me through. 

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