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.

Who Are you Really?

As transgender women and men, who we really are at times causes us significant mental duress. 

Liz and I

I know with me, it took me nearly fifty years to finally come to the conclusion I was living life as a lie as I desperately tried to hang on to the remaining vestiges of my life as a guy. The problem I had was, every now and then I would have a pleasurable male experience or enjoyed a bit of the white male privilege I thought I had earned. During those moments, I would question why I would want to give it all up and enter the feminine world. Of course all of it caused me great stress which I ended up labeling gender dysphoria. 

As I have written in depth before here in Cyrsti’s Condo, all of my gender stress and tension led me to a very active suicide attempt. 

It’s no surprise too, so many transgender folk go back and forth wondering about their gender choices. After all, there

are too many instances of transitioning trans women or men losing family and/or jobs.  Too many become desperately lonely. 

It’s tough, we are stuck in one of the most difficult journeys a human being can make. It’s so difficult and complex, we have a very tough time even explaining to others we didn’t have a choice to journey down the gender path we are on. 

My answer to who I am in reality comes in a large part from my interaction with my partner Liz. When my gender dysphoria is getting me down, she reminds me in so many ways I am so much more of a girl than she is. 

I am also fortunate to have the effects of my hormone replacement therapy to fall back on. When I awake in the morning I have the immediate reality of my hair and breasts reminding me of who I have become. As shallow as at of that may seem, the bottom line is through all of this I am just me.

These days though it’s easier to express me in a truer form in the public’s eye. It’s who I really am.  

Battling Gender Dysphoria

 After  my shower yesterday, I wiped the fog off the mirror and had the courage to look at myself.  In the past even looking at myself has set off waves of worsening gender dysphoria which I will explain later. 

Pre Covid Summer Photo

As always, my mass of hair was it’s ultra wavy, curly post washed self. No surprise, I have never had a problem looking at my hair. Along the way too, I glanced at my face. I saw a curiously androgynous face staring back at me. No real surprise there either. I have decided it is mine for better or for worse to live with for the remainder of my life. 

For the first time yesterday, I was brave enough to look down from my face to my breasts. Since my maternal grandmother passed away from breast cancer years ago, I am considered to be at risk for the disease and have been told to self examine for any strange soreness or lumps. Which I have done. 

As I had the courage to do a chest scan of my own, it occurred to me how rare it has been for me to do one. In the past, the process has caused my gender dysphoria to flare up when I focused on a relatively small set of breasts overcome by a large set of shoulders. Finally yesterday, my slightly expansive breasts were able to hold their own with my undeveloped old male shoulders and torso. I even discovered one of my breasts was larger than the other which is common in many cis women. 

To make a long story short, my recent discovery process has led me to look ahead even more to when the weather warms up (and stays) and I can wear my summer fashions.  

Changes

 It took me a lifetime of living to partially understand what we all should know. Life is but a series of changes. Once we quit changing we die. 

Years ago, due to financial considerations and other excuses, I put off needed dental work. My excuse was I didn’t think I would outlive my teeth since everyone around me was passing away. Well, I proved myself wrong and now this week, I need to pay my dues and go to the dentist. I can’t even speculate what will happen.

Interestingly, I am filling out the information forms ahead of time on line and quickly I came to the gender portion. I was given the usual binary choices of male and female and a third choice of “unspecified”. I chuckled to myself thinking now I was unspecified? 

It’s a big week for changes. Today I have a virtual appointment with my endocrinologist which is all about changes to my body. Hopefully, the visit will be all positive because I am pleased with all the feminine changes going on in my body. Even my breasts seem to be fuller these days. As mentioned, my dental appointment for dentures is tomorrow and my therapist virtual visit is Wednesday.

I haven’t figured out yet if being older brings on a resentment towards change. Perhaps it’s the idea I have already been through that before, why should I have to do it again?

When you consider the pain, suffering and fear which comes with gender dysphoria and being transgender, how can anything in life compare. 

Changing your gender has to be the most difficult process a human can attempt besides being born and passing away.

Deception

Β Recently I have mentioned here in Cyrsti’s Condo several times about how most of us were forced into extreme measures to protect and hide our gender dysphoria, way before we had any idea what the term even meant. Along the way I mentioned to all of you the lengths I went to hide my feminine cross dressing “stash”. I wasn’t blessed to have supportive parents, so I had to become very creative.Β 

Speaking of non supporting parents, read on and learn of Connie’s problems:

Image from a mirror…2010

“My hiding place for my “stash” was inside the box springs of my mother’s bed. I had discovered a tear in the bottom cover, and thought it would be the safest place because she would never think to look there. One night, though, while she was watching TV in the family room, I had the urge to retrieve my feminine accouterments to play with later in the night. I was totally surprised when she came into her bedroom and onto her bed. It felt like hours to me, as I hid very quietly under her bed, waiting for a chance to make my escape. Finally, I heard her snore and snuck out of her room. I changed my hiding place right after that, behind a panel I made removable in a basement wall. She eventually discovered that place, though, and I’ve told you the nightmarish story of how she’d laid all my stuff on the kitchen table, for me to see when I came home from school – and then made me load it into the car to take directly to the county dump. :-(“

Wow! Connie’s experience makes me happy my “stash” was never really discovered, to my knowledge. My Dad was very shy in discussing anything which became even remotely sexual in nature, so I often wondered if he discovered my “collection” of hose, women’s undies and makeup in the garage. He may have thought it was a phase. 

Over the years though, like so many of us, I went through destructive purges when I decided to rid myself of all of my feminine items and thus live my life in the lie I desperately was trying to live. The process always seemed to work for a day or two before I was thinking about going back to my cross dressing ways. 

I wish I could reclaim a portion of the money I wasted on my purging efforts over the years and more importantly, the wasted time and energy I spent on the deception I tried to use to lead my life. 

A Dress for a Band Aid

 I follow a blog called “Jenny’s Journey” from down under in Australia. Her most recent post concerning her gender dysphoria brought back a distant unpleasant memory with me. 

In the post, Jenny (above) described how her gender dysphoria was bothering her and her wife noticed. From what I can figure out, the wife does not support Jenny’s gender issue totally but will let her pursue it behind closed doors.Β  To make a long story short, her wife told her to go into the bedroom and take care of the “problem”.Β 

My deceased wife was similar to Jenny’s in that she accepted me cross dressing but never the idea I was transgender. Over the years it was impossible for me to convince my spouse my gender dysphoria went deeper than just looking like a woman. Much of that was my fault because I was still learning what a transgender life would look like. In other words, so much more than just putting on a dress for an afternoon. I was trying to patch a huge problem with just a series of band aids.

Going back to Jenny’s post, she was able to overcome her dark moods due to gender dysphoria and assume her “duties” as the Easter patriarch in the family. For a while Jenny was able to restore the gender balance in her life.

Again, I went through many of the same feelings as I mentally purged my feminine thoughts.  But all too often the old feelings would sneak back in and I wondered again and again what my life would be like on the feminine side. 

I fought it to the point of suicide before I finally gave in to what my soul was trying to tell me all along and I started to live full time as a transgender woman. However, I still remember the heartache and duress which went into my transition. 

I wish Jenny and all  of you who might be involved in the same gender dysphoric bind, best wishes on your journey.  

So Close yet So Far

Every morning when I wake up, after I figure out which part of my old body hurts me the worst, I begin to think about what I will write about here in Cyrsti’s Condo, 

After more than six thousand posts over the years, often it’s not the easiest process. 

This morning, the idea didn’t come until I was talking to Liz about our past experience with Ohio University (not Ohio State) OU is a medium sized school in Southern Ohio which happens to have a well respected communication school. 

It was of interest to me because at the time, I had over five years experience in the radio business as an announcer (DJ), was just out of the Army and had a couple years of GI Bill money I could use on education. Since I already possessed a bachelors degree, the natural move would have been to work on my Masters in Communication. 

To make a long story short, I didn’t do it. I used all my usual excuses such as having a new daughter and not really wanting to uproot my little party world by moving to another. Looking back on it now, the real reason I was afraid of moving myself ahead was rooted in my gender dysphoria. When times became real tough mentally, I could always fall back on wearing a dress and makeup. I just bought into the fake reality that women somehow had an easier life.

The more accomplished I became with my feminine appearance, I became so close to actually finding out what women went through but remained so far away. Worse yet, I used the process to become very self destructive in my life. Too much angst led to too much alcohol as I tried to self medicate my bi polar tendencies away. All mixed in with a very strong gender dysphoria. 

The end result is I am surprised I happened along several women who loved me over the years and I was able to survive and actually thrive on occasion.

Until I was actually able to fully complete my Mtf gender transition though, I finally was able to put my so close yet so far reality in the rear view mirror. 

Living my authentic life still seems like a dream after all these years.

Trans Toxicity

Connie (below) responded to the Cyrsti’s Condo recent post concerning me connecting with one of my previous employees, or more precisely…she contacted me. 

Here is the comment:

“Even in this very left-leaning city of Seattle, there are pockets of toxicity. One needs only to drive a few miles out of town to find it, as well. I’ve had my share of “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and “Lola” experiences, myself. Nobody needed to tell me that my business would have suffered, had I come out, as I depended on the patronage of building contractors (not always the most liberal-thinking people). My own dysphoria ended up sabotaging my business, so that (I thought) I could move forward with my transition. Ironically, this caused a great hindrance for me to have the finances with which to do so.

 Securing any kind of employment as a woman became more difficult, not only because I was trans, but I couldn’t even provide references without outing myself to past, present and future business associates in the process. There exists a passive toxicity, in that most employers will consider the possibility of drama that could accompany the hiring of a trans woman – especially for a management position. Basically, I’ve only been able to find low-paying jobs with no opportunity for advancement. In fact, the only thing advanced about me is my age, and that just makes the whole thing worse.

 I changed my name and gender, legally, in 2015, when I was 63-years-old. I had thought about delaying the changes in order to secure employment, as my male self, with a company that I knew would have accommodated my transition later. I know people who have done this successfully, yet I just felt it to be wrong for me. It felt, to me, like going through the back door, rather than being the honest and straightforward person (woman) I wanted to be. After all, I had been living a lie for so many years, and I was just plain tired playing that game of deception. The game itself is toxic – and of my own creation. Just as transphobia can be internalized, so can the toxicity. Sometimes, I think, moving away from toxicity involves more than finding a new location. It can also mean that we have to let go of those internal demons that keep us from moving forward – not only with transitioning, but with life.”

Thanks for the comment! To be sure, you are right, the transgender journey we have pursued is by nature full of toxicity. 

I was fortunate in that when I decided to do my MTF gender transition, I had the resources (barely) to just retire and go on to change my life. Then again, along the way, I considered the feasibility of joining a new company and then transitioning. But at that time the restaurant business I was part of was a very conservative patriarchal industry. So, starting over in a new profession as I transitioned was even more daunting. 

The toxicity levels I was about to face were tremendous. I took the easy way out and didn’t face them at all.
 

Thanks Tonya

Perhaps you recall the Cyrsti’s Condo post I wrote not long ago about the former server/acquaintance I employed years ago before I transitioned.

When I responded to her Facebook friend request, I was almost certain from there she would try to get ahold of me. Early last night, she did. 

Very early in the Facebook Messenger conversation, she was very complimentary as far as my appearance is concerned.  For whatever reason of course, any compliment I receive does wonders for my gender dysphoria. 

Not long into the conversation I asked her if the tavern we used to go to in our hometown was still open. She said she was going to ask me the same question. It turns out she moved from our medium sized city at approximately the same time which was seven years for her and close to that for me. She said the town had become toxic to her.

Even though I had not thought about it, the amount of toxic feedback I received (real or imagined) made it easier for me to move too. Along the way, due to me finally giving up the ruse of leaving my house as my true self , the word finally escaped of my desire to transition to a woman. I faced passive and forced aggression from people I knew. An example was the 4th of July party I went to with my deceased wife when the DJ who used to work for me just “happened” to play “Dude looks Like a Lady” when we arrived. Worse yet was when a long time acquaintance told me my reputation would ruin my business. 

So, Tonya was right, the toxicity got to me too.

My partner Liz even noticed it from our earliest days together when she said I had “sad eyes”.

Hell, my very own brother wouldn’t even back me up. I was fortunate though when my daughter,  her in-laws, and of course Liz and her family accepted me as a transgender woman. 

In conclusion, here is a picture of me you probably have seen from the toxic days.  Circa 2014.

The “Big D”

 No, I am not writing about Dallas and all of it’s problems with winter time.

My “Big D” concerns my gender dysphoria. 

Yesterday I virtually attended a meeting for the upcoming Transgender Month of Visibility which is being produced as a month long celebration of everything transgender by the Trans Ohio organization. As I have previously written about, my small part of the presentation will be on March 26th. As it gets closer, I will have information for you on how to access it. As it stands now, it should be on Facebook Live. The topic will be my pet passion…care for elderly transgender persons. 

At any rate, yesterday, the Zoom meeting meant I had to put together some sort of a basic “look” for the hour. The whole process didn’t take long. A close shave, eye makeup, and lip gloss left me extra time to experiment with all the hair I am blessed to have.

When I was done, I was able to look in the mirror and see the me I was always destined to become. In other words, I was able to defeat the “Big D” temporarily at the best. 

I know deep down my gender dysphoria is a nasty beast which I know is difficult to defeat. Even more so since going out in public is so rare. In fact, so rare is I am basically looking forward to my appointment Tuesday with the vampires when they are going to take out a pint of my blood to control my iron.  

Fortunately I am looking forward to riding my temporary victory over the “Big D” and making my upcoming two public visits more comfortable.  Looking slightly ahead, I have my second Covid vaccine coming up on March 13th. 

My goal is to blend as an “more mature” old hippie woman! Now I need to find a pair of wire rimmed glasses. πŸ™‚ 

In the meantime, I will do what I always have done to defeat the “Big D.” I will have to keep exploring my options and working hard to be the best transgender woman I can be.