Merry Thanksgiving

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! 

Going Out…to Be Alone

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. 

Cyrsti’s Condo Thought of the Day

“As I so often say, we are just like everybody else, some of us have faith, some don’t some of us are musicians some aren’t, some are tall some are short, we are everywhere and we are everybody. I recently looked at an old post of mine about yeast ~ I wrote about how yeast permeate every part of what ever it is added to, whether it’s beer or bread. In a way Trans people are like yeast, we permeate all of society ~ maybe it’s time society realized that we add something special, just like yeast, and celebrate us instead of trying to get rid of us ~ who wants an unleavened society?”

Paula Goodwin

“Hair” and Gone

My final visit to my “magician” has come and gone. As I previously wrote about here in Cyrsti’s Condo, I am going to have to find another hair dresser to go to. Sadly my regular stylist retired. I found out during my final appointment she is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Which causes pain in the hands. 

As we said our goodbyes, I almost teared up (damn hormones). As you may recall, she, my stylist, is the one with a transgender son. As always, she worked her magic with my hair and I went upon my way.

My hair grows relatively fast, so I will be on the outlook for another stylist. 

Now, onto another topic. fellow Blogger Mandy Sherman  wrote in with a comment about my trip to the auto repair shop: 

“Good for you about going to the shop en femme. My mechanics know me, so doing that wouldn’t work well…although I go in capris, a blouse, and flats when the weather is warm. Such fun!” 

Thanks Mandy! I thought it was a good time to explain a couple things about me for any of you new comers to the blog. First and foremost, I am a full time transgender woman. Using hormone replacement therapy very much blocked any return to being a male I ever had. These days, I would have to find a way to bind my breasts and tie my hair back to minimally even look male at all. The best I can hope for is to be androgynous…if I ever tried. 

I am fortunate though, because I never run into anyone I knew before my Mtf gender transition. They have to accept me for what I am. 

I like to say, I am a little slow…but not stupid. I knew totally when I entered into the feminine world, all of it wouldn’t be a great time. That is why I heard so many times from my cis women friends when I transitioned, welcome to our world. 

As I sum this up, I need to say, I would never give up anything I have earned crossing the gender divide. 

To quote another familiar phrase, “What a long, strange trip it has been.” And let me add, a wonderful one too!

Too Much Wasted Stress

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.    

Trans of a Certain Age

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.Β 

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!

Veterans Day

Most certainly, being a transgender veteran means I pay closer attention to Veteran’s Day. And, I appreciate the thanks I get for my service. Vietnam Vets like me didn’t get many when we were discharged from the military.Β 

It’s ironic though, the person who may have benefited the most from my service in the Army, never thanked me for my service. That would be my daughter. You could connect the dots and determine she may not be around at all if it wasn’t for the connection between her mother and I (she was also in the Army) when we were in Germany. For what ever reason she can’t seem to remember. 

Thanks to Connie, Liz and others for their thanks!

This is always the time I thank all you other veterans. I know many of you were not forced to serve (the Vietnam draft) but went on your own accord. The ironic part of all of this is, the percentages of transgender military members is probably much higher than anyone has thought. Think of all who paid the ultimate sacrifice and were in the deep closet. 

Also I consider too the tragic transgender military ban orchestrated by our “cadet draft dodger” in chief. It shows again how far we haven’t come. 

On a positive note, thanks to all who took the time and effort to serve!

What’s in a Name?

Connie brought up an interesting point about responding, or not, to one’s old “dead name.” 

“Your slight digression made me want to know more. At that time, you had two names. Today, you have a different one. How, then, do you respond, should someone call you by any one of them? I imagine that you would react differently, depending on which one was used. My dead name has become almost incognizant to me after adopting my new name many years ago.

If I hear someone in a crowded place say, “Connie,” I will likely turn my head in recognition these days, but I no longer do that when my dead name is heard. Well, not until just a couple weeks ago, anyway. I was grocery shopping, and I heard a woman say, in a stern voice, “(Dead name), stop doing that!” I turned around to see a small boy holding a can of something from the bottom shelf, and Mom was standing right over him with a waving finger. It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell me why I reacted to the sound of an irritated mother shouting (Dead name), but I can only laugh now about such a thing. 

Among many other things I did, as a kid, that would irritate my mother was my natural walk; placing most of my weight on the balls of my feet, rather than using a firm step on my heels. I did learn to affect a more-masculine walk, but my mother would always let me know when I had “regressed” to my natural one. Later, as an adult, I started shaping my eyebrows as much as I thought I could get away with, and every time mother saw me, she would say the same thing she said to me regarding my walk: (Dead name), stop doing that! Hmm, maybe I have Cowboy Nightmares and Cowgirl Dreams. :-)”

Sometimes I think I more than burnt out the name situation. Like so many other cross dressers and early transgender women, I chose the name of the cis women of the period I was in whom I admired the most. For example, my earliest feminine name was Karen. Because I used to sit close to a cis girl named Karen in middle school. Back in those days, I didn’t understand why my crushes weren’t really sexual ones but more out of admiration. I wanted so bad to be them.

Over the years, I have been a Darcy, a Roxy a Cyrsti (of course) and finally a Jessie which is my legal name now. Ironically, Cyrsti’s Condo was so established by the time I chose my legal name, I decided to leave it alone. Jessie is actually a family name. 

As far as responding to my dead (male) name, I still catch myself turning around on the very rare occasions I hear it. I am more likely to fight responding when someone uses the “Sir” word when a stranger is using it with another person. Fortunately. more times than not they are directly not referring to me anyhow. 

Now on to my Mom:

My mother and I were much alike and thus never agreed on anything.  I was so focused on living a lie as a guy, I don’t think walking was ever an issue. On the other hand, I con’t imagine she never noticed my forays into her clothes and makeup. Either I covered it up better than I thought, or she ignored my cross dressing urges thinking it was a faze. 

When I came out to her when I was discharged from the Army as a transvestite, she offered to send me to electrode shock therapy. I told her she wasn’t going to plug me into a wall socket and the subject was never brought up again. 

I guess I got the final revenge because I chose her name as my middle name.

Looking back on it now, I hope she would have considered it a honor of sorts. You see, it’s all in a name.