Circa 2010

Most assuredly a novice transgender person’s initial
 feminine steps into the world are terrifying. Changing genders is not for the faint of hearted. 

Recently I read a post on one of the social media outlets I follow from a new gender explorer desperate to live her life farther. She was tired of “walking” the malls (which are rapidly disappearing)  and wanted to try new and exciting venues. I recommended checking out any local LGBT groups to see if they had any social get togethers. 

The whole interaction brought back memories of my earliest days when I too was tired of the malls and wanted to try something different. I was fortunate and was able to establish a new life as a transgender woman without terrific setbacks. The fear of trying to live a feminine life was far worse than doing it. Plus the more I tried, the more natural my feminine side felt. Perhaps my first transgender girlfriend who used to meet up with me in straight  sports bars said it the best, I passed out of pure stubbornness.  A nice way of saying I wasn’t the best looking woman in the room but a woman none the less.

As I fast forward to today, I think back to the recent interaction I had with the restaurant hostess who was stressed out with her seating situation. When it was my turn to ask about the group, there was no recognition from either of us there was a transgender woman in the conversation. The whole interaction was simply person to person. 

Once she found out I was not upset, life went on and I found a spot at the bar. It felt good to be out and proud in public again.

Confidence is our best accessory!

More Inspiration

Perhaps you saw the post here in Cyrsti’s Condo about not practicing until you get it right but do it until you don’t get it wrong. 

Our resident musicians, Connie and Paula responded:

First, here is Connie:

“Yes, that is true. However, if you are practicing what is wrong, and hoping for it to suddenly come out right, your success will be less likely to come to fruition. Repetition is reinforcement – for right or wrong. We all have heard the quote, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” It’s not necessarily insanity, though, as it could be laziness or naivete that would keep one from even recognizing the wrong result.

 As a drummer and a singer, I normally have not had trouble doing both at the same time. I have had many people, including other musicians, ask me how I can do it. I can’t answer that, any more than I can answer why I’m a transgender woman. All I can say is that it comes naturally to me – for the most part, that is. There is one song, the Paul Butterfield version of “One More Heartache,” that has given me fits in the past, though. The syncopation of the drum beat against the bass line threw me off from the vocal entry almost every time. The more times I did it wrong, the fewer times I got it right. How I finally could consistently come in with the vocals at the correct spot was by concentrating on the guitar part, instead of being so locked in to what the drums and bass were doing. You see, I was so much into the syncopation that I wasn’t allowing myself to step away and see the whole picture.

 I think, in our trans lives, we are so emotionally vested in our thought and vision of being a woman (or a man, for ftm), we can fail to see how we fit into the larger picture. We all have our comfort zones, but living within them won’t always lead to a desired outcome. Walking around the house in stiletto heels does not totally prepare one for walking on uneven pavement, or even on ice (Where have I heard that before?:-) Still, I wouldn’t recommend stepping outside if you’re wobbly at the door. Of course, you can’t get anything right unless you’re willing to try it in the first place. As it’s been said, the only real failure is to not have tried at all.”

Paula had this take:

“In the music world this is often quoted as “An amateur will practice until they can play it right, a professional practices until they can’t play it wrong!”

Thanks to both of you for commenting.

Women in the Band…Part Two

Recently, I wrote a Cyrsti’s Condo post concerning a Connie comment about women in music and I asked about her perception of any kind of a future. In the live music industry that is. 

Here is her response:

“I feel for musicians who had been trying to make a living from their music before Covid. Typically, most musicians don’t even earn minimum wage for the set-up and tear-down of their equipment, let alone their performance (after countless hours of rehearsal). This being New Year’s Eve, when it may have been possible to play a gig for a decent paycheck, it’s even more depressing. I never have given up on my music, and I will always consider myself a musician, whether I ever perform on stage again or not.
As a nearly-seventy-year-old transgender woman, I see very few opportunities for me to perform after this pandemic is over. I will probably only ever be able to sit in with other musicians for a few numbers, sign up for “jam nights,” or (ugh) sing Karaoke. Those are what I had been doing for the last couple of years before everything shut down. I fear that even those opportunities will be limited after those venues who will have survived the long shutdown can begin to reopen and start recouping losses. If they had little money to pay musicians in the past, they will have much less of it in the near future.

My band mates were correct in claiming I was a “novelty.” I understand how I can be perceived that way, even though I try very hard to show I am not. I don’t do a drag act, but it can be difficult enough to change that perception from the get-go. I think the best I can hope for now is that I’m seen as a slightly washed-up lounge singer, using the piano as much to prop myself up as for musical accompaniment. Having given up on any notion of “making it,” I picture myself singing the last lines of the Billy Strayhorn song, “Lush Life.”:

Romance is mush,
Stifling those who strive.
I’ll live a lush life,
In some small dive.

And there I’ll be,
While I rot with the rest,
Of those whose lives are lonely, too.

On that note, have a Happy New Year! ;-0″

Happy New Years! Thanks for the comment. 

Cyrsti’s Christmas

Post Three:

 During the week approaching the actual day of Christmas, I have been sharing a few of my most memorable moments from the past.

One of the most notable was how I did the right thing for the wrong reason. My point is I was desperately searching for excuses to get out of the house and explore as a transgender woman. I needed to make up reasons for my wife so she wouldn’t suspect what I was doing when she was at work. I found the excuse by doing my gift shopping for her as a woman. 

Very quickly I found out how much fun it was and how natural it felt to be out in the world as my authentic self.

My late wife was totally a gardening and Christmas fan. She also loved vintage gifts. All of her likes made it very easy for me to haunt garden stores and antique malls to find her those special gifts. Ironically, all the spots I visited I had been there before with her as a guy. So I knew where I was going and how to get there.

For the most part, I was able to find that special gift and make it back home before she did or before I needed to be at work. The only drawback was I needed to be extra careful in removing any traces of makeup.

I found out too, shopping in the venues I frequented was no different than when I first went out shopping for clothes earlier in my cross dressing experiences. My money was welcomed far more than any ideas about my gender. 

Finally I learned how much more clerks seemed to be to assist me. Even to the point of having male helpers take my purchases to the car. I made the exciting journey from macho man to a woman who needed help with my heavier gifts.

As it turned out, Christmas was turning out to be a very rewarding experience.

Cyrsti’s Christmas Journey

Part One:

As I have written here in Cyrsti’s Condo in the past, slowly over the years I have been coming to the realization for me Christmas has nearly surpassed Halloween as the most important holiday for me as a transgender woman.

Years ago, as I started to live a life in the public’s eye as a feminine person, one night in particular stands out as terrifying and exciting.

Very close to where we lived in Ohio, there was a very small village with a working vintage mill which featured a huge Christmas display. As a guy with my wife, I had been there several times but something was always missing. By now, you can probably guess, I desperately wanted to be one of the women strolling around enjoying the crisp winter air and the festive scenery. As luck would have it, I finally made it to the place I always wanted to be.

First of all, I had to come up with a night off when my wife was working so I could sneak out of the house. Then I had to come up with something to wear. Following not much effort, I came up with a big warm, snuggly sweater, leggings and a pair of boots. I was set!

The village was only a short ten mile drive from our house but as I was getting ready, the anticipation of the upcoming evening was killing me. I spent what seemed hours getting dressed, applying makeup and wig. Finally, my idea of perfection was reached and out the door I went.

Since I had the protection of night, I didn’t have to worry so much about the neighbors for a change plus darkness always helped me to pass the public once I arrived. 

Once I did arrive, I found a parking space, gathered myself, took a deep breath and got out of the car. Into the world I went to experience what I was missing all those years. After my initial nerves calmed down I really enjoyed myself. I even gathered my courage to stop into a shop for a cup of hot chocolate. The best part was, no one seemed to pay me any attention at all. 

As I finished my beverage, it was time to make my way back to the car and head home. I had to be there in plenty of time to take off all my clothes and make up before my wife finished her work. 

As disappointed as I was that the evening was over, the fact I had actually been able to live an authentic life in a feminine world as a transgender woman was exciting.

Christmas turned out to be a bit more festive that year.

“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!

A Different Transition

Well, as expected, the weather around here in Southwestern Ohio is making a dramatic turn from fall to winter. 

Fall has always been my favorite season of the year and I am always sad to see it go. Why? Primarily I have always liked the fashions and maybe on a separate level, football has always been my favorite sport. Long ago I decided just becoming a woman should not stop me from enjoying part of my male life I so loved.  Also, fall has always meant a time of deep change to me. Somehow I always have equated fall with my gender transformation.  

Perhaps it had to do with Halloween’s effects on the season too.  Long suppressed gender feelings of being a girl were reawakened.  Plus, the successes of going out on Halloween in a feminine costume just urged me on to go farther. 

One thing led to another and all of a sudden I was at the tipping point of living full time as a transgender woman. 

It seemed too, fall was a great fashion time to present as a woman. As I did, I learned the basics of shopping for myself, experimenting with makeup and adding the proper accessories. In doing so, I found I needed to communicate with the public, which in turn taught me the very different basics of gender communication. 

I know I am giving too much credit to the season because the gender learning curve for me lasted for years, not months. But I vividly remember the joy when the weather cooled off and my makeup didn’t melt off. 

In the meantime, as Mother Nature transitions into winter around here, there is plenty of time to enjoy boots, warm fuzzy sweaters and soft leggings!


Transgender actress, Trace Lysette:

Trace Lysette posted nude for Women’s Health Naked Strength issue, which she described as an incredibly empowering experience given the pressures she faces as a transgender woman, according to an article dictated by the actress for Women’s Health.

In the photo, the Transparent actress posed nude against a tree with her side turned toward the camera. With one hand, she supported herself against the tree while the other rested on the knee of her bent leg, strategically covering her side breast. With the other leg stretched out behind her, the 31-year-old showed off her flawless figure and ample backside while gazing unsmiling at the camera. She wore her long, brown, curly hair loose and flowing down her back while her face was made up with subtle eye makeup and pink lips.

In the article, Trace also opened up about being trans. The Ohio native went on to say:

“As women, we are told not to show our bodies, and as trans people, we’ve been told not to exist. There is something so liberating and beautiful about being naked on your own terms.”

We all should be able to transition as well!!! 

Busy Day!

Yesterday turned out to be a much busier day than I expected. In fact, it turned out to one of those “Army” style days when you hurry up and wait much of the day.

The morning started with an always exciting trip to the DMV to get new tags for our new car. Well, it’s new to us! I didn’t think I would be needed, so I grabbed a seat to wait for Liz to wind her way through an insanely long line to get to a clerk. It turned out since my name was on the title too, I had to step up and be part of the process. All went well until the clerk asked how we described our relationship for the record. I said “Partner.” She glared at me and said “How long?” I glared back and said eight years and she seemed satisfied and went on to the next question. After an eternity, the whole fun filled process was over.

Next was Liz’s eye appointment. The only thing I can say, the place was air conditioned and had comfortable chairs. Soon we left and headed to one of the close neighborhood specialty food stores to look for produce. After squeezing the mango’s it was past time to head to the pharmacy because they close every day for a lunch break between 1:30 and two. Liz was offered some sort of a discount card for her prescription. That was the good news, the bad news was she had to call a number to get it. Of course by that time, the lunch break was upon us and we ended waiting the extra half hour to try to get the prescription filled. It all turned out to be for naught because the phone lines were closed till Monday.

All of the fooling around made us late for our next appointment.  We were supposed to pick up a friend and be at a restored Cincinnati church which has been made into a craft brewery and event center. We were checking it out for perhaps holding a future Witches Ball there. Also we were supposed to meet the disc jockey we were thinking of using this year. By the time we got there, we were a half hour late. Personally, I loved the place. It brought back fond memories of escaping a hot humid day in a cold bar drinking cold beer and relaxing. Although the meeting itself made it hard to relax, I was treated like any other person in the place.

The disc jockey was a trip. We as a group got some push back for using him because supposedly he was a neo nazi in his past. So, we wanted to meet him naturally, to hear his side of the story. Interestingly, Liz said if he avoids me, maybe he is a Nazi. Because they would be more apt to steer clear of a transgender person.

To make a long story short, I don’t think he is or was a Nazi and someone is just out to get to us through him. It’s sad because all the money raised goes to charity (homeless shelter) and we don’t make anything for what essentially is huge pain in the rear. I keep thinking this will be the last year.

After taking our friend home, we finally were able to stop at an Aldi Food Store and do some light shopping for a late dinner.

After all of that, we ran out of time and the day came to an end. Thank goodness.

Lesson learned? If and when you get a chance to live a full life as a transgender woman…never look back!