The Good Old Days

 I have touched on the subject of my ex wife (the first one who is still alive) bringing up the story from my past when I wrecked a car. The wreck could have easily killed both my brother and I. My problem with my first wife was when she referred to me as “he” could have seriously injured both of us. It was one of those moments I wish I was quick enough to say something like “Yes HE did it but now HE is gone.”

In the grand scheme of things, the most I would have gotten out of her was a weak apology. As I began to think of it, the entire wreck was systematic of my life back in “The good old days.” In other words, the good old days weren’t so good. In addition to my gender dysphoria issues, I had the military draft hanging over my head for most of my high school days into college. 

During this time I was very self destructive. As soon as I became old enough to drive, it seemed trying to kill myself behind the wheel was the way to go. In fact I began to think I had a guardian angel riding with me when I was going to try something stupid.

Another problem with the good old days was I hadn’t been diagnosed as bi-polar yet. Once I was years later when I was honorably discharged from the Army, suddenly many of my unexplained depressive episodes were explained. In fact, the first relevant gender therapist I visited told me there was nothing I could do about my desire to cross dress as a woman but there was help available for my destructive mood swings. Her advice went a long way into explaining why I struggled so hard with my life.

I wish I could say the overall self destructive experiences I had in the good old days were over. In fact, the more I tried to not risk going out in public as a woman, the more I did it. By this time I had divorced my first wife and married my second. Little did I know I would be setting off on a twenty five year odyssey  which would include many peaks and valleys. 

Through it all, I managed to go on a frenetic job journey which matched my urge to out run my demons. We managed to live in such diverse places as the NYC metro area all the way to an extremely rural area of Southeastern Ohio. My demons were relentless though and of course trying to outrun them was a waste of time and energy. 

The good old days had become a blur except for the strides I was making in my feminine presentation. Many of which put me in direct conflict with my wife. She knew of my cross dressing urges before we were married. She never agreed with any ideas of me being transgender and naturally was afraid of me being discovered going out. Nothing was good enough for me and I ended up going out as my authentic self as much as possible behind her back.

All the lying I did made the good old days less than pleasurable but still I had to do it. It’s a shame such a time of discovery and learning in my life had to have such a unfortunate ending.

So, I guess the good old days weren’t so good after all. I’m just lucky I lived through them to experience my life now as a transgender woman. 

Doors

Or, in the gender out door.  It seems all my life I have been trying to force my way in the out door when my gender has been involved. 

Of course, similar to many of you, my earliest explorations into a feminine life involved diving into my Mom’s clothing and makeup. The more I did, the more I felt the gender door I was trying to go through was closed to me. Still I persisted against all odds. The harder I pushed against the out door finally it seemed I could see just a little of what was beyond the door.  I guess you could say there was life outside of my gender closet.

The more I pushed, the harder the out door was to open. Looking back, I believe now the problem was I was still taking the whole process of transitioning into a feminine world too lightly. Even though I considered myself a student of watching the cis women in my life, my view was still clouded. I was so envious of their lives I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. The prime example is how I was so self centered on the appearance factor of being feminine, I missed the true layers of being a woman.

I then came to a point of no return. I was cross dressing as a man close to the amount of time I was spending as my authentic self. Most importantly I realized I was not challenging the out door enough and resolved to push through it and see if I could live my gender dream. I still remember the first night I resolved myself to seeing if I could blend in and present well in a venue I had frequented many times as my male self. 

To say I was terrified is an understatement. Literally, time stood still as I approached the door of the upscale restaurant/bar I chose for my personal coming out party. I am fond of writing an oxygen tank would have been my best accessory for the evening. Through it all, I was accepted and was able to find a seat at the crowded bar with several other women who were just getting off of work from their jobs at a nearby mall. Once I started to breathe normally I began to feel so normal. Once I had pushed the gender out door this far I felt I would never be able to return. 

I never did return. From that point on I set out to build a feminine life I thought  would never be possible. I made new friends who accepted me as my authentic self. My closest transgender friend even said I “passed” out of sheer will power. Which is the subject of another blog post. 

To make a long story short, I was able to shatter my gender out door and eventually start hormone replacement therapy. 

It was a long and difficult struggle. It took me over a half a century to get through the gender door but I made it.

No Restrictions

Yesterday was one of our trips up north to Dayton, Ohio for what amounts to my daughter’s Thanksgiving get together. It actually is put together by her Mother in Law.  Since the family get together is not my first rodeo, I knew what to expect. Fortunately, I am nearly totally accepted by everyone. Including my first wife who I maintain a cordial relationship with. 

With the embarrassing spread of food and the holiday, both Liz and I called off the strict diet we have been strictly following. I called it short term pleasure because it will be so much harder to resume the diet which we have pledged to do after the left overs are gone. 

However, thanks to the diet I think I was able to present myself well in my boots, leggings and form fitting black blouse.  I was able to only be miss-gendered one and a half times during the long afternoon. The mother in law seems to always comes up with the infamous he…she comment. At least she corrects herself in mid sentence. Always. The other time came from my first wife when she was describing a wreck I had which nearly killed my brother and I. I just let that slide because she is a little ditzy. 

Then there were the grandkids who accept me totally. What a treasure! I have three. One of which is highly androgynous and is a sophomore at The Ohio State University who took an exceedingly rare football beating from rival Xichigan. 

On occasion there are pictures which surface later. If there are I will share them with you. 

Giving Thanks

For many in the United States Thanksgiving is a bittersweet holiday. Especially in the transgender community. I am an example.

Over the years my deceased wife hosted the family for a Thanksgiving feast. Our door was open also to my employees who may not have a family to celebrate with. To put it all in perspective, one big turkey was never enough. Through it all, after my parents passed away, my extended family was my brother, his two sons and the kids of theirs (and mine) who followed. We had a big house I was restoring so we had a large space to set up in and all were still welcome.

For the most part these were fond memories until I transitioned. By this time my wife had passed away and the dinner had moved to my brother’s house. Before I showed up as my authentic self for Thanksgiving, I called and talked to my brother. He said in essence he would always refer to me as my old self and he would get back with me concerning having an invitation at all. He never did and I never looked back. After all his in-laws were all right wing Southern Baptists. I guess he didn’t want to stand up for me.

As I said, I never looked back. I found myself firmly entrenched in my partner Liz’s family plus I was welcome in my accepting daughter’s extended family. 

I know so  many in the LGBTQ community aren’t so fortunate. Too  many are ostracized from their families and previous friends. Now it’s not uncommon to refer to other “non-blood” folks as new family.

Whatever it takes, I hope you all are able to take a moment and celebrate your blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by Cyrsti’s Condo! I truly appreciate it.

The “A” List

As I was writing this post I considered calling it the “Alpha Female” At any rate, the whole post goes back to my earliest remembrances of coming out and interacting with like minded cross dressers. Or at least I thought they were. 

What I naively thought was all sp called hetero cross dressers would be one big happy family, happy to mingle with others in their feminine finery. I was in for a rude awakening. 

First of all, there were what I call now the “deniers” . I saw guys in dresses and heels topped off with a cigar (before it was cool) and a cowboy hat. They were doing their best to dissuade anyone they were fond of their feminine selves. I learned quickly I didn’t fit in with their group. I was serious in putting my best foot forward. Normally in heels back in those days. More on that later.

In the meantime, I was fascinated with the other attendees to the “mixer”. The group ranged from the cowboy hats (not Urban Cowboy) types all the way to impossibly feminine types who I didn’t detect any masculinity in at all. Ironically, even though I am impossibly shy around people I don’t know, I didn’t feel I really fit in with any of the small groups I was observing. Except for possibly one.

The group I didn’t mention was who I call the “A Listers”. Or they considered themselves to be the best in looks and the best in social activities in the group. While the majority of the group stayed huddled in the hotel, the “A’s” went out to gay venues to entertain themselves. Even though I didn’t perceive myself to be their equal in appearance, I certainly wanted to tag along when they went out. I was determined even back in those days to allow my feminine self to sample the world whenever I could. So I did.

For the most part, excuse the term, they were bitches and didn’t accept me much but I didn’t care. I was there for me, not them.

Ironically all of my tagging along worked one night. Earlier in the evening the main group brought in makeup experts for advice to anyone who wanted it. I through my makeup to the wind, pulled up my big girl panties and volunteered. The guy who worked on my looks performed wonders! Easily he did much better than I could have ever imagined. I thought now, bring on the “A’s”.

It turned out I tagged along per norm to the first gay venue we always went to then, even went to a second. The second place was more subdued and was more like the neighborhood taverns I was used to. As the “A’s” positioned themselves at the bar, I headed for the pinball machines. As luck would have it, It was time for Cinderella to turn in her heels and head back to the hotel. 

Before we left though, a guy approached me at the pin ball game and asked if he could buy me a drink. I ended up telling him no but the “A’s” noticed and that was important too. I was accepted by at least one of them for the very few times I could attend another mixer in the future. I ended up attending several parties at her house in Columbus, Ohio. Most of which with my wife so she kept track of me. All material for another blog post.

It is important to say I never felt a part of the “A’s” and as time progressed I learned why. The so called LGBTQ community doesn’t have much to do with the transgender part of group. In fact I learned the hard way how many of the trans group have a hard time dealing with each other.  Indeed we are a multi faceted group.

One thing is for sure all these years later, I just couldn’t fit in with the “A’s” and it’s one of the reasons I try to be accepting of both cross dressers as well as trans women.

Tennis Anyone?

This is another of my continuing series of posts revolving around chances I took cross dressing my way into becoming a transgender woman and living fulltime in a feminine world. 

In the restaurant/bar I used to manage, two cis women who I presumed were in their fifties, came in several days a week to enjoy a cocktail or two. During the warmer months they used to stop by after their tennis matches in their tennis outfits. Of course I was jealous of the fact I didn’t have an outfit to match theirs.

Around the point in time I am writing about, the stores I loved to shop in started to carry short thin ribbed flared dresses in larger sizes. Perfect to put together a tennis outfit. All I needed to do was find a white one. As luck would have it, I found one in my size. I then set out to complete my “outfit”. The problem I had was finding items and then hiding them from my wife. As luck would have it, we had a rarely visited other closet where I could hide an item. Often in plain sight. 

Now, back to the outfit. Finding a pair of white tennis shoes in my size actually proved to be fairly easy too. Now I had to figure out what to do about my legs. Even though I was able to shave my legs back then I added a pair of Leggs pantyhose and even added a pair of white thigh highs which didn’t exactly fit the idea of what a cis woman would wear with a tennis outfit but still added some pizzaz to the whole image. After all, I was reliving my non existent teen girl years I missed. 

I finished off the whole tennis image with my long straight blonde wig.

Let me add in here, I had rarely even touched a tennis racket in my life so I would be without one when I went out.  Once I was secure (the best I could) in my tennis woman outfit, I headed out to one of my favorite up scale malls. My wife was working that day so I had free time on my hands. Once I arrived at the mall, I was able to semi relax and feel the air on my legs and I found also I attracted quite a bit of attention from the older men who seemingly were there to supposedly walk but probably to look at women too. 

The whole situation was I equated being stared at as validation as a woman. I was  to learn later in life it was so wrong. There is a thin line between being classy and trashy when you are first cross dressing in public. I’m afraid I crossed the line into trashy in my early days of journeying into a feminine world. If my tennis outfit crossed into trashy I can’t tell you. It was so long ago.

My story is I was doing nothing different  than other cis women I had mentioned above. It was only another attempt to be just like them. 

Tennis was just an excuse.

As My Blog Gently Weeps…Again

Sadly, it’s time for remembering all our transgender sisters and brothers who have perished. For those of you who don’t know:

 Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.”Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”- Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith46 trans & gender non-conforming have been killed this year making it the deadliest since this started being tracked back in 2013. These are their names…Tyianna Alexander, Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, Dominique Jackson, Fifty Bandz, Alexus Braxton, Chyna Carrillo, Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, Jasmine Cannady, Jenna Franks, Diamond Kyree Sanders, Rayanna Pardo, Jaida Peterson, Dominique Lucious, Remy Fennell, Tiara Banks, Natalia Smut, Iris Santos, Tiffany Thomas, Keri Washington, Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, Sophie Vásquez, Danika “Danny” Henson, Serenity Hollis, Oliver “Ollie” Taylor, Thomas Hardin, Poe Black, EJ Boykin, Aidelen Evans, Taya Ashton, Shai Vanderpump, Tierramarie Lewis, Miss CoCo, Pooh Johnson, Disaya Monaee, Brianna Hamilton, Kiér Laprí Kartier, Mel Groves, Royal Poetical Starz, Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez, Jo Acker, Jessi Hart, Rikkey Outumuro, Marquiisha Lawrence, Jenny De Leon, Jahaira DeAlto.Each and every name read and recognized on the Trans Day of Remembrance represented a full, rich life that did not deserve to be cut short. The rhetoric and stigma aimed by anti-equality political leaders and public figures at transgender and non-binary people have led to an unprecedented level of horrific violence against our transgender community. We must fight for change. We must dismantle this stigma. We must bring this epidemic of violence to an end.#TransDayofRemembrance🏳️‍⚧

When Life Gives You Lipstick

When life gives you lipstick, wear it!

Anyway you cut it, life is never fair for everyone. I’m biased but I think transgender women are dealt the most difficult hands in life. First of all, we have to do the difficult work of  figuring out who we are. Looking back I have written numerous times about all the mornings I woke up and immediately tried to figure out if I was a boy or a girl. What made matters worse was the fact this all happened before the internet and social media eras. Loneliness was extreme. I wasn’t old enough to understand all that was happening to me and there was no one to explain the meaning of being gender fluid.

In the meantime I did the best I could to survive. I even tried to “come out” to a friend in high school (a guy) and was roundly rejected. Looking back, I had a total girl crush on another friend which I never let on to. It seemed life had dealt me a hand I couldn’t win. 

Once I turned driving age though, I did get a small break.  On a couple occasions I was able to cross dress and sneak out of the house when my parents were away. I remember the trepidation I felt when I saw my reflection for the first time in a store’s shopping center window. On the other hand, I felt a bigger sense of accomplishment. Other than those extremely rare occasions, high school wasa continuation of my gender frustration. The only relief I felt were a couple of school events I went to which featured a couple of very presentable boys in drag. Needless to say I was very jealous. 

The biggest setback I thought was coming was being drafted into the military. Along with the obvious reasons to dislike my upcoming service was the fact that women didn’t have to worry at all about the military. Ironically this all turned out to be the time when life gave me a potential set back and I was able to turn it all around for the better. First of all I was given very little chance of  continuing my career as a radio disc jockey in the Army and I did just that in the American Forces Radio and Television Service. Then perhaps more importantly, I was able to finally come out of the closet toa few of my closest friends as a transvestite. Finally, the gift which kept on giving was meeting the woman who would turn out to be my first wife and birthed my beloved accepting daughter. 

Even with all those successes, I was still missing a huge gap in my life. Something was still wrong. Around this time life gave me the transgender term and the internet to research it. .All of a sudden I knew who I was. All those times I went to the transvestite mixers and didn’t quite fit in made sense.

It all left me with the huge “what if” questions. Life had given me the answer to my gender issues but also left me the choices to settle my problems. Was I going to take the chances to give up all my male privileges and live full time as a transgender woman. After years of experimentation and soul searching the answer became clear and I took the gender plunge. 

At this point life gave me options. When my wife passed away, she was my biggest naysayer, so tragedy turned to a bittersweet triumph. Around this time also, the Veterans Administration began offering Hormone Replacement Therapy which I could take advantage of at a very low cost and I was old enough I could take advantage of early Social Security retirement and not have to worry about coming out at work.

It turned out life was repaying me for all the years of  turmoil and stress it put me through.