In the United States at least it’s time to formally begin the holiday season and celebrate Thanksgiving. In the pre-covid days it was a day to get together with family, over eat and watch sports.
In my pre-transition days, my deceased wife took great pride in inviting the whole family over and doing most of the cooking. Which meant to me a marathon cleaning effort to prepare for the big event. Even though I didn’t really want to be too involved with the cooking, my experience in the restaurant business led me to being the one who carved the turkeys. Because we needed more than one. So secretly I felt closer to the women who were clustered in the kitchen. Plus I admired what they were wearing of course.
In my post transition, covid bubble days, my Thanksgiving family has shrunk to only three people in our bubble. In the past we have been able to spend the holiday with my daughter’s in laws and my grand-kids but not this year. It’s too risky.
Every year at this time too, I think of all of those in the LGBTQ community whose families have deserted them. In fact, the “Gen Silent” documentary I just watched reminded me of the stark reality faced by many who grow old and alone. From out and proud to back in the closet. On the bright side (and there is one) more and more communities are organizing LGBTQ groups who are reaching out to those in need of attention.
I myself am blessed with many things to be thankful for. Of course number one is the support group I have been able to build around me. The group includes my partner Liz, my daughter Andrea, my three grand kids and basically her entire family of in laws. Ironically, I am one of two transgender individuals in their extended family.
And, in a totally different direction, I am thankful for all of you who stop and visit Cyrsti’s Condo. It means a lot…thank you!
Where ever you may be this year, have a safe Thanksgiving!
I am not one to remember dates well. For some reason, I remembered this one.
In 2010, on the Fourth of July weekend, I officially closed what was left of my restaurant and prepared for an uncertain future. Former President Bush’s recession had gutted and ravaged the small to medium sized Rust Belt town I lived in. Through the haze and uncertainty of losing my wife and three close friends to death a couple years before, I was lost.
Ironically (or not so ironically) the only part of my life which was not a mess was the feminine portion. It wasn’t so far before all of this I had made a decision to pursue hormone replacement therapy through the Veterans Administration. I was already under their healthcare and for the VA to provide me HRT would be a relatively simple process.
The only part of my future I knew for sure was I wanted to be a transgender woman. I knew too, I only had a fairly short couple of years to work before I could take my early Social Security and retire without coming out on a job.
So, the 4th of July ten years ago was truly the beginning of a new Independence Day for me!
As you Cyrsti Condo regulars know, Memorial Day is special to me for a number of reasons including the fact I am a transgender veteran of the Vietnam War era. In itself none of my service entitles me to be any more patriotic. But then I was forced into service and honorably served my time…the best I was able. Unfortunately, many of you too know someone who served and paid the ultimate price. It should be for them we celebrate the holiday.
I celebrate my service too because of what I gained. Most importantly I gained a relationship which actually thrives to this day and provided me with a daughter I cherish. I found the hard way that life is but a circle, the least of which is proven by me finally getting to live as my chosen gender. Other ways though include the Veteran’s Administration health care I take advantage of, all the way to my nine year relationship I currently enjoy with my partner Liz.
Perhaps now, more than ever before our country faces more challenges. On Memorial Day it’s time to pause and examine how we got here and how to improve where we are going.
I still can’t get enough of the decade just past. The more I think of it, the more I remember doing crazy things. A few I remember vividly.
When I first started seriously down the feminine road, very early I decided I really didn’t like the gay bars I was going into. It was about that time I discovered two small lesbian bars I began to frequent. One of which was the equivalent of a dyke biker bar. To say the least, they hated me there. The other was a different story and was the venue where I was strongly encouraged to sing karaoke by a super butch lesbian in a cowboy hat. I was also told one night by another lesbian I was pretty cute and maybe I should go home with her. The major problem was I had a spouse to go home to!
Them again, there was the one evening I will always regret not being able to experience. That night a group of stripper were supposed to entertain at the bar one night. Unfortunately, my wife was due home and I had to get back and change back into my male self.
Along the way, a few guys (including one trans guy) did enter my life. It was quite the adjustment and one it turns out I didn’t have to accept. Every time I turned around, it seemed my life pushed me towards lesbians. One of the highlights was acting as a “wing person” for one of my lesbian friends.
About this time too, as I have written about before, is when I met Liz. I was coming out of an intensely sad period of my life. I had just lost my wife of twenty five years and three out of five of my closest male friends to heart disease and cancer. I met Liz on an on-line dating site eight years ago and we have been together ever since.
Here is a New Years Eve picture of Liz and I.
The final point I need to make was, how difficult the decade really was. As with anything else in life you remember the upside and have a tendency to downplay the downside. Like the time I went to a downtown urban summer festival one night in Dayton and another time I went to a Christmas festival in my favorite boots, leggings and sweater. I remember the excitement and satisfaction of living the feminine experience but not the loneliness of doing it alone.
The only words of wisdom I can offer are, no matter how lonely and lost you are, if you don’t keep putting yourself out there, nothing will change!
Hello again! I hope you still have a family of sorts you can enjoy Thanksgiving with. I am acutely aware of those who don’t. In fact I sacrificed seeing my only brother and his extended family again after I came out as transgender to him.
I seemingly have an embarrassment of riches now. Starting with my partner Liz, my daughter, my grand kids and an ever widening group of accepting friends.
In the midst of all of this though, I still wonder why I still have a difficult time on occasion accepting what I have.
Last night was a good example. Approximately two thirty in the morning, I found myself wide awake and thinking about Thanksgiving. In addition, I have a tendency to sleep with the Hallmark cable television channel on. Somehow, I am ashamed to say a few of the movies have driven me to tears. It happened last night.
As I internally churned, I finally came to the conclusion I should do more embracing of who I am. Being weepy on occasion is just fine. Especially after the life I led before when I never cried.
Finally, I ended up going full circle back to Thanksgiving and who I have become.
Before I go though, I need to thank to Mickie, Trish and Zena who commented on the blog through Facebook! Zena brought back a few ancient memories of me showing up to a dinner at her house in heels, hose and a short skirt. Needless to say, it was many years ago! Better yet, I still was allowed to eat :).
Again, I can’t say enough how much how much I appreciate all of you!