It seems recently I have been overwhelmed by the possible amount of material I have received for my Cyrsti’s Condo blog. Believe me though, I am not complaining. Often I go weeks on end trying to come up with something to write about. Over the years I have somehow come up with over six thousand posts. Thanks to all of you such as Connie, Paula and Mandy who help out with content too. Then there is everyday life.
For example, Thursday night Liz and I went to the Christmas party for transgender-cross dressers and their families. I had a very good time as most of the people around our table I had known for quite a while, Several were cross dressers from small towns in Indiana who were complaining how hard it was to remain in the closet where they live. On the other hand, we were able to sit close to the very accomplished 80 year old role model I have mentioned in the blog before. She has done an amazing job of being accepted in society as her true self.
Liz did manage to take one selfie to share. I know it’s not the best quality but it is all I have.
Also on the plus side, Liz managed to win the “split the pot” lottery which everyone could pay to take a chance at. So we were able to recoup the forty dollar per ticket amount.
This is just a small amount of items I want to share with you all and we will get to a couple new transgender women who are making a difference.
Plus, we have another couple of events coming up this weekend, one never knows what will happen to write about!
Every once in a while I giggle (to my self) when I notice one of the cross dressers I happen to be around becoming a little too “outgoing” with an outfit or actions. I add “to my self” because in the past I have gotten into trouble with my thoughts. Why?
Years ago, I was told by my deceased wife I didn’t have any real idea of what being a woman was all about. All I wanted to do was to be the “pretty, pretty princess.” You know what? She was right.
My disclaimer here is…it’s fine to be the pretty princess but don’t think it is representative of living in society full time as a transgender woman. It just isn’t.
Fortunately these days, there are many paths opening up which can aid your integration into mainstream society.
Both Paula and Connie have comments.
“I fear that all too many of us spend way too much time with other trans people. I didn’t go through all this so I could join an exclusive club! I want to enjoy my life as a woman out in general society; making music with my friends, watching some Rugby and just generally getting on with life.”
I agree, I know now I spend the majority of my “social” time with non trans people.
And now from Connie:
“I would encourage anyone who wants to put themselves in the mainstream to find a Meetup group in their area. Just about any subject or activity that may interest you has a group you can join. The first one I joined was a women’s dine-out group. I messaged the organizer, beforehand, just to let her know that I was trans. She thanked me and said that it was OK with her. I did then ask her to not tell the others, because I wanted to attend without any preconceived notions. I proceeded by joining other groups that were not gender-specific. There are lgbtq groups, as well, but I avoid them. I would rather come across another member of the lgbtq community among a mainstream group. Over the years, there has been only one woman who objected to my being a part of the group. She expressed this to the organizer, who told her not to attend if she didn’t like being in the same room with a trans woman. Her loss, not mine!
Volunteering is a great way to find acceptance within a group. Kandi tells of many experiences she has through volunteering in her Kandi’s Land blog. I’ve not done as much volunteering as I’d like, but it’s not because I’m worried about my trans status – maybe a little laziness, though.
Finding a job may be more difficult than working one, but I don’t think there has been anything more affirming than gaining the trust and appreciation of an employer, not to mention that I work totally integrated with the public.
The day I made the decision to live totally as my true-self, I did just that. Part of that decision was that I needed to stop doubting myself, if I were to expect anyone else to not doubt me. Of course, I was totally cognizant that some may doubt my womanhood, but the onerous is on them to either accept me or stay away; I exist, and I have the same right to be anywhere and do anything as do they.
There is a process involved in getting oneself to be confident enough to begin a transition, but I think that, unless one is willing to jump in all-the-way, the transition (at least, socially) may be unnecessarily fraught with pitfalls. I enjoy living in the mainstream now. All I can say is: Jump on in; the water’s fine! :-)”
“Meet Up” groups are a great way to go! Liz and I have been to many. I have only been refused once. To a lesbian only group. Like you said, their loss, not mine.
Plus, while I am on the subject of you (Connie), here is your picture from a decade ago! (above)
Liz and I went back to Roh’s Opera House in Cynthiana, Kentucky Saturday night for another ghost hunting adventure. If you are a fan, you may know Cynthiana is the home of the “Walking Dead” television show writers.
The Opera House itself is an interesting blend of spirits, for the most part positive which is why I like to go there. Staying up all night is another story. It normally takes me a couple days to regain my equilibrium. In fact, I ended up missing one of the cross dresser-transgender support group meetings I go to.
I will be making up for that by going to the Christmas party with Liz this year. It is the only evening I really concentrate on getting all dressed up for.
Of course, Saturday night was all casual, with jeans and tennis shoes. I also like to go because I automatically get addressed by all the right pronouns. During four trips with the group, I have only had to correct one guy…once.
For all of you who want to become more accomplished in the world as a transgender woman (or cross dresser) you may want to consider joining a group of civilians and establishing yourself. By civilians I mean a group that has other interests in mainstream society.
The best example I can think of is a cross dresser in the group I am part of. I have never heard her refer to herself as transgender and is close to 80 years old. As a woman she is a deacon of her church and serves on the board of directors of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team women’s auxiliary. She is simply amazing.
Others I could mention are Connie who works as her true self, Paula the musician and Mandy the traveler. I am sure they would all agree, it is a process and something normally doesn’t happen over night.
As far as my overnight experience went, I wasn’t miss-gendered by a spirit. So I guess it was a success.
I received two great comments about the Cyrsti’s Condo post yesterday which primarily revolved around accepting compliments and hair. The first came from Paula across the pond in the UK:
“I found that it was only when I abandoned the wigs that I began to truly be me, before that I was always playing a part, maybe it was two different parts, but still playing acting. When I could start wearing my own hair it became real!
I think the thing about compliments of common to a lot of Trans women; we were programmed like men, we were expected to give compliments not to receive them, it goes against all our conditioning to simply accept the compliment and say “Thank you”.
Excellent points Paula! As I wrote before, I was exceedingly bad at attempting to buy the right wigs. For the most part, I was either trying to go more blond or with more hair than I could pull off.
Now, let’s check in with Connie:
“I was once told by another trans woman that I would never be able to transition successfully because I wear wigs – no better than a “professional cross dresser,” she said. Having a good head of hair is definitely a luxury for a trans woman, but it’s certainly not a necessity. I know that I am, at least, more of a lady than she is, and some people may be no better than a “professional bitch,” I suppose. I receive compliments on my hair from time to time. Some may not know that I’m wearing a wig at all. A friend I’ve known for five years did not realize that I wore wigs until just a few weeks ago. She had invited me to spend a girls’ weekend with her at a nearby casino, and I must admit that I accepted the invitation with some trepidation. I was flattered that she felt accepting enough to be sharing a hotel room with me, a trans woman, not to mention that she also felt safe enough to be doing so. I wasn’t sure how I was going to conceal all of the causes of my dysphoria, including my bald head, and her touting the wonderful pool and spa that we could use did not help. I finally told her that I don’t swim because of my wig, and I don’t think she thought any less of me for wearing one.
It’s been years since anyone has seen my bald head. Even I will spend as little time as possible looking at it. If it’s not a wig on my head, there’s almost always something covering it – whether it’s a turbine or just a towel wrapped around it. I will sleep in a wig if there is a chance that someone may see me. I did it with my friend in the room, and I even left my eye makeup on for good measure. Everything else was covered up, too. ;-)” Thanks Connie! I think Stana ofFemulate blogging fame is another transgender woman who does an excellent job with her hair and shows having your own hair is not a necessity for a successful Mtf transition. In fact it sounds like one of those “I’m more trans than you” statements.
I’m sure too, since I have opted not to have any genital surgery some would think I am no better than a professional cross dresser too. Regardless, I have decided to do the very best I can! The picture above is one of me in one of the few wigs I bought I really liked.
One of the very few times of the year when I have to deal with people who knew the old me, is when my daughter has get togethers for the family.
Over the years, I have two ex wives (one is deceased) one ex fiance, long gone since before I joined the Army and a partner (Liz) who I have been around for over eight years now. One thing I need to say is all of the women I mentioned knew in some way of my gender struggles. However, only one…Liz has been able to nurture my transgender nature.
My surviving wife remains a solid acquaintance and she is the mother of my only daughter. So, I normally see her a couple times a year during one of my daughter’s meet ups.
I did see her a couple days ago on Thanksgiving. As we were getting ready to leave, she turned to me and said how good I looked. I was stunned and (even I) was temporarily without words. Finally I recovered and deflected the compliment to my VA health care for some unknown reason.
I can only imagine what she really thought since she has been around me since the mid 1970’s and quite a few years of my earliest cross dressing adventures. After all, she witnessed more than her share of my earliest mistakes as a feminine person.
Hopefully, one of these days I can figure out how to properly thank her for the compliment.
Every once in while, or especially after the transgender – cross dresser support group meetings I go to, I like to reflect back to the early days when I was exploring the feminine world. Overall I was trying to figure out when and if I could live full time as a transgender woman.
Back in those days, for the most part I was having fun. These days I receive satisfaction from the rare days when I think I look my best. I know years ago when I went out, I liked to think I was going out to be alone.
Let me explain. First of all, I was still grieving the passing of my wife and close friends. I was intensely lonely but was aware any or all of my forthcoming friendships would have to revolve around me as a different gender. Not an easy thing to do.
Liz and I’s vacation picture from the “Royal Gorge” train in Colorado.
So I cross dressed all up and went to several of the sports bars I used to go to before as a guy. For the most part I was successful. For awhile I was able to spend an evening in my own little world, thinking no one would notice my secret. It worked when I let nobody in.
As it turned out though, that didn’t work very long. I found several people who were attracted to me as a friend regardless of my secret. Essentially, they found a way into my solitary world. Ironically, the people most interested in me were all women and I quickly bonded with them. I did have a couple dates with guys which never seemed to work.
Then I even went on several on line dating sites and found the person (Liz) I was destined to move in with and start a relationship which now is going strong at eight years.
Even at that point, I was still clutching at what remained of my guy self. He just didn’t want to let go. It took my partner Liz to kick me totally out of the closet.
So now, I don’t have to worry about going out to be alone anymore. I am so fortunate.
Well. my trip to the auto store to get the oil changed turned out to be very uneventful. In fact the guy at the counter barely looked at me as he made small chat about the vastly newer car I brought in to replace one of our ancient ones. I thought at the time he was somehow afraid to look at me but as the afternoon progressed, no one else paid me much attention either. It was highly satisfying just to blend into society and not be outwardly read as a transgender woman.
Last night I continued my string of good luck by going to one of the socials put on by my cross dresser – transgender support group. Anymore it is fun for me to just sit back and watch some of the more flamboyant cross dressers out themselves. However, it’s a very inclusive group anymore since sitting close to me were two acquaintances who are scheduled to go under the surgeons knife in the upcoming month by undergoing genital realignment surgery. Both have a lot more courage than I have! Not so long ago, we had a person close to the group pass away from complications after her surgery.
Onto another topic. This afternoon is the final appointment with my hair dresser I love so much. It seems her husband is getting another job and they are moving out of town.
I have found the older I get, change is harder to accept. Now, in the not so distant future, I will have to find another hair dresser.
All in all, if that is all I have to whine about, life is good.
If you have been following my three part series about my life lived mostly in the gender closet, perhaps you saw a glimpse of your life too.
Connie did, and here is her comment. *Please note we share several similar experiences because of our age.
“For those of us trans women of a certain age, there was no way to know anything, other than some confused notion that being a boy for us seemed to be different than it was for the other boys. Whatever might have been drawing us toward being the other gender (there were only two back then, you know), did not seem to be enough for us to be like the girls, either. Not only was the knowledge and language yet to be formulated by the professionals, let alone society in general, our young minds had no means with which to express ourselves, either.
I must have been about three when I felt the need to express my feminine side. While my mother was busy doing something in the living room, I went into her bedroom and climbed onto the bench in front of her Art Deco vanity. The low counter top and mirror were easily accessible for even a child of my size, and, after clipping on a pair of shiny earrings and applying a not-inside-the-lines coat of lipstick, I remember admiring myself in the mirror. I was so happy with myself that I just had to share it with my mom. I can still taste the soap and feel the harshness of the washcloth on my face as she admonished me for doing something boys just are not to do.
Knowing there is something different about oneself certainly is not a choice. Being ashamed of being different could be a choice, but, like with many things in childhood, the choice is often made by adults who place it upon the child. For decades thereafter, any conscious effort I made to express my feminine-self was a choice to do the wrong thing – or so I was made to think of it. It was also a choice I made to suppress my feminine-self for many years, and another choice to finally”give in” to it again. It wasn’t until I had the revelation that my choices were all about what I was doing, and not who I was, that I found a peace within myself. I then made one more choice, that being to transition, because I really had no choice at that point.
I now turn around that question of when I knew, when asked by a cis person. Their answer is always that they always did, or that they never even had to think about it. Then I tell them that I was always who I was, as well, but I was so painfully aware and have had to think about it almost every day of my life. I’m still waiting for that day when I don’t think about my gender identity, but it’s so much easier to think about it, even dismiss it most times when I do, because I made that choice to accept myself as the woman I was born to be (and to live it, as well).”
Thanks Connie for yet another thoughtful heart-felt comment!
Part three of my transgender coming of age post revolves around the toughest part of my life.
Backtracking just a bit, to the point when I discovered there were more than just one type of cross dresser. It was the most enlightening point when I went to my first “mixers.” As I wrote before there were everybody from macho crossdressers to wonderfully feminine creatures. Of course, cliques were formed in the overall group. Basically, the more feminine group went out and partied after the meeting while the others stayed in the hotel.
Very quickly I determined I was going to tag along with the group which went out and partied. Ironically I didn’t quite fit in with most of them either. They were basically the “mean girls” of the group. So I did my best to look like them without acting like them. My biggest moment came the night about four of us went to a late night tavern and to the surprise of everyone a guy tried to pick me up and not them.
While all of this was exciting, it tended to make my life so much worse on a day to day basis. It was difficult to wait until the next experience. I began to wonder if I could exist full time as a transgender woman. Plus, what really happened was I took all of my frustrations out on my wife.
She was supportive of me being a cross dresser to a point. But drew the line when I went too far. Tremendous battles followed. Both of us valued the relationship too much to give it up without a fight.
One of the biggest fights came after the time I was mistaken for a cis woman when I went to a mixer in New York. After the fight, my wife came up with one of the most profound statements of my life:
“Why don’t you be man enough to be a woman.” Naturally, I was floored. She had built up to the moment by telling me several times I would “make” a terrible woman. It took me years to understand she was right. On some occasions I could approximate what a woman looked like but was far removed from understanding what being feminine was all about.
After all, females are born but women are a learned societal deal.
What happened next was the gender dysphoria pressure was increasing so much I started to go out beyond the agreed to parameters of our relationship. I was allowed three days a week to go out as a girl. When my wife got a job which included working some nights…I was out the door close to the time that she was. So, on certain weeks (depending on my schedule) I could be out five days out of seven for a few hours a day.
Again, all this did was increase the internal pressure on me. Finally to the point when I took a whole bottle of pills one night. Obviously, they didn’t kill me, so I decided on taking a different approach. I grew a beard.
Included is the hated “before” transition picture.
I was very unhappy and it was about this time several personal disasters occurred for me. I lost three very close personal friends in a two year period before the biggest shock of all. My wife died unexpectedly from a sudden heart attack.
I was lost. But from all the turmoil gradually came the idea I was free to be the real me. I was under Veteran’s Administration health care and it was about that time the VA announced it would cover hormone replacement therapy. Unbelievably, all the doors seemed to open for me. I was even old enough to semi retire and not have to find a job I had to transition on.
My moral to the story is a life can change in an instant. I am a prime example.