And, as Madonna would say, I am a material girl. Then again, don’t all of us have to be one way or another? Unless you are living off the grid and probably aren’t reading this at all.
Picture after first hair appointment Credit: Cyrsti Hart
Actually, I am a very basic transgender woman. Give me a comfortable pair of jeans or leggings, add a tank top and tennis shoes and I am happy and secure as the transgender woman I am. Ironically as basic as I am, I still dress more femininely than my partner Liz who is a cis gender woman. Meaning she was assigned female at birth.
Backtracking a bit, when I first began to explore the feminine world in public, I was much more materialistic. All my accessories such as jewelry, purses, shoes etc. were so much more important to me. All my attention to detail worked too when I was complimented on my appearance by other women.
All went well until I really started to transition, aided by the effect of hormone replacement therapy. One of the first changes that happened was I was fortunate and my hair really started to grow. So much so that my daughter gifted me my first visit to her upscale hair salon as a birthday present after I had come out to her. The visit remains in my mind as one of the most exciting yet scary experiences of my life as I crossed the gender frontier. Having to walk the “gauntlet” of women who had nothing else to do but to watch and judge me was amazing pressure to say the least.
I learned too, it was a material world when all of the sudden I was paying to have someone else take care of my hair. My old twenty dollar haircuts at a barber shop were long gone. Also when I was going out, I had to learn there was a back to my head also. All those years of wearing a wig had spoiled me. Of course I could simply turn the wig around on it’s stand and brush it out.
Another of the main problems I faced as I MtF gender transitioned was the cost of trying to maintain two wardrobes. Along the way I was biased because shopping for the feminine side was so much more fun and satisfying. Once I settled into my feminine natural role and quit cross dressing as a guy, of course the costs went down.
I suppose it could be argued we all live in a material world. Transgender women may experience it all in such a unique way.
Often as we go through the stages of a transgender transition, our names go down a similar path.
It’s very interesting how we choose our feminine names. My example is my first name I used was Karen. She sat next to me in study hall in junior (middle) school. When I transferred to a much bigger school, I developed crushes on many more girls. Too many to “borrow” their names.
It’s likely the biggest mistake with feminine names I made was when I first started to seriously come out of my closet. I made a habit of naming myself after a persona I created. For example, Roxy was much more flamboyant than Darcy. I learned the hard way all I was doing was confusing the people I met along the way. They were trying to call me by one name when I was attempting to use another. Fortunately I learned to dress to blend and settled in on one name. For awhile. Actually for a long while.
Shortly before I began to write the blog (ten years ago) I changed my name to Cyrsti. It’s pronounced Cristy. I changed the spelling to reflect how a light is redirected when it goes through a crystal. I used the name for years and years until I came out as transgender to my daughter. She accepted me totally except for my name. She was concerned what the three grandkids would call me.
At that point in time, I went back to the name drawing board and came up with a solution. I would rename myself after family figures I looked up to and make it my legal name. I chose Jessie as my first name after my maternal grandfather and Jeanne as my middle name, from my Mom. The kids could just call me JJ.
Then I ran into problems with what I should do with the blog. By that time I already had millions of hits thanks to you all. So I decided to leave it alone and use Cyrsti as sort of a pen name.
It would be easy if the story ended there but it didn’t.
I write on several different platforms. Blogger, WordPress and Medium. I wish I could tell you all my posts are original to each platform but they are not. I just can’t generate that much content. So, Blogger and WordPress are under my Cyrsti pen name and Medium is under my legal name of JJ.
So if you see me on other platforms, that’s the reason for the name confusion!
Out of the many invisible Facebook friends I have, one of the ones who is not and I am absolutely fascinated with is Melonee Malone (no relation to Connie). In addition to being beautiful, she adds uplifting inspirational posts about surviving life as a transgender woman.
On this Labor Day weekend, here is Melonee: on a rainy morning in her native Wisconsin.
No matter where you find yourself in the coming out process, I am fairly sure along the way you may have encountered some resistance to changing genders. Mine came years ago when I was called a pervert in a women’s room I was using. Later on that same evening I was asked to leave the venue all together. From other happenings similar to that, I developed what I call “Transgender PTSD”.(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) On occasion, I still experience it today.
How did I survive? Basically, everytime I had to go through extremely negative experiences, I shed tears and went back to the drawing board and tried to improve my exterior self to match my feminine interior self. It was tough for me because I had very few feminine traits to build on after spending decades perfecting my macho act. Along the way, I still lived in fear of hearing the dreaded “Hey! That’s a man in a dress.”
Gradually I did improve my appearance as I learned to dress for other women and to blend into where ever I was going. An example? If I was going to one of the upscale pub/restaurants I went to socialize I would wear a fancier outfit which would indicate I was a professional woman of some sort. On the other hand, if I was going to meet my lesbian friends at a sports bar we normally went to, I would wear a nice pair of jeans and top. All of a sudden, my life in the cis-world became easier.
When my life really became easier was when I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT). All of a sudden I went to the tipping point of no return. My face and skin started to soften as my hair began to grow along with my breasts. Relatively quickly I reached a very androgynous spot in my life. Finally cross dressing as a guy felt very wrong.
I need to emphasize none of this was easy. I went through terrifying times all the way to feeling euphoric with my progress. Crossing the gender frontier could be a path I could follow after all.
If you are considering following the same path, don’t go it alone. Find a therapist or a gender professional to monitor your bloodwork and hormones. Estrogen can be a good thing until it goes too high and can become toxic.
In the meantime, try to relax and enjoy the ride. Very few humans have the opportunity to experience both of the binary genders up close and personal.
When it happens for you, you too will be a true survivor.
Connie commented on my diet post yesterday which joked about having to run around in the shower just to get wet:
” Maybe you should run yourself a bath, instead? 🙂 Keep it up, girl! I’ve gotten down to just 5 pounds over my high school football weight of 167 (I drank so many milk shakes with raw eggs just to maintain that back then). I weigh myself once a week, mostly out of curiosity, but I’ve learned, as have you, that the scale is not the best way to keep track. I’m hoping to drop that 5 pounds in the next two weeks, as I am living the bachelorette life until my wife returns from her Mexican vacation (I like Mexico, but I’m not sure it would like me anymore).”
I agree about taking a Mexican vacation! My goal is to get down to my Basic Training (Army) weight of 180. But overall, I just want to try to have more energy and feel better.
Speaking or writing of a vacation, Facebook did me a favor (?) and sent me a photo of our summer trip out west to Colorado a couple years ago. On the way we stopped at an ancient train depot in Abilene, Kansas. It was 99 degrees that day. FYI, I am a huge rail buff.
As I mentioned, today is my youngest grandson’s birthday (13th). Also, due to our new diet, we will be packing our own sugar and flour free lunch. Obviously too, we will not be partaking in any of the birthday cake or ice cream. Sooner more than later I will have to run around in the shower to get wet.
As I try in this post to try to tie up some loose ends, here is a comment/question from Connie:
” There’s no doubt that trans people can be as rude as anyone else. Was the quote said directly from the DJ, or was the T word just added by the accuser to up the ante? Not only can anyone be rude, anyone, including trans people, can be too easily offended, sometimes. I probably would never return to a place where I was called the T word, but I would apologize if what I had done was thought to be rude. I hope that there isn’t a blow-up over it all.”
To clarify, the guy has never come close enough to me to use the “T” word. So, I took for granted what I heard was second hand and by an individual who over the years (literally) has seemingly done her best to snub the group,
After all, transgender people are no different than the rest of the population, Some are good folk, some not so much.
The person involved in the whole event supposedly, has never gotten back with me. For all I know, the DJ denied ever saying it or even apologized.
Yesterday was therapy day. I have mentioned many times here in Cyrsti’s Condo how long I have been with my VA therapist. She is my original therapist with the VA who helped me with my hormone replacement therapy program as well as the paper work to get my legal name change rolling. In other words, a long time.
During most sessions she asks me about the blog and this session our discussion here on “Confidence” caught her attention. Yesterday, it really did when I quoted the conversation here by saying “Confidence is our one greatest accessory.” She was so impressed, she wrote it down.
Most of the time I forget I have to backtrack with her and explain what I am saying. An example would be the process we transgender women and men go through to live a new life as our authentic selves. According to Connie, it’s a wall:
” I remember much discussion, here on CC, about sitting on the wall (straddling the fence). That may be one degree past being up against the wall, but it’s where many of us end up for far too long. Once I had built up enough nerve to make the jump to the other side, I found it to be a soft landing – and I have walked confidently on this side of the wall ever since.”
I always referred to my “wall” as a slippery slope. The more I experimented living in a feminine world, sure it was scary but it felt so natural. Finally I made the decision to permanently put my male persona in the closet and live 24/7 as a transgender woman.
Perhaps the teacher will learn just a little more to help the next novice trans person she encounters. I keep telling my therapist to consider just the smallest gender aspect of her life she takes for granted and reverse it. Another example would be when she wakes up in the morning. She has the gender privilege of knowing she is a woman. Most of us knew it too but had to really work to express it.
It’s really wonderful when the teacher learns too.
Finally an old picture. This picture taken after my first trip to a real woman’s hair solon. A birthday gift from my daughter. from 2015.
As you can see by the selfie, Liz and I did make it out last night to enjoy eating at one of our favorite restaurants.
The food was good and I was able to show off my quite expensive dental work.
Aside from the woman who sat us, our server was adequate but friendly and referred to us as “ladies.”
Also from yesterday, I commented on the heat wave going on out West. I mentioned Connie who lives in Seattle. Since Seattle isn’t used to such intense heat, a large percentage of the population doesn’t have air conditioning.
Does Connie? Let’s find out:
“Well, the thermometer on our deck is reading 110, and it’s only 3:00 pm! The composite decking may be influencing the thermometer to read higher than the actual temp, but it showed 98 when it was in the shade earlier. Anyway, I’m glad I’m not working outside today, although we’re one of the 67% of residences that does not have AC here in Seattle, so being inside is not so great, either. I discovered that I’ve collected seven electric fans over the years, though. I wish I had that many fans left for my musical career, and I know what may still remain is not very electric anymore. 🙂
The worst part of this heat is that I have to wear a wig! Of course, I could go without it, but I don’t think the skin on top of my head is my (as you put it) most valuable beauty commodity.”
Stay cool all. As you can see I have my mane of hair pulled back to stay cool.
I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.