Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday update ...


... Except it's not Wednesday.

I did not accomplish all that I set out to do this week while my wife and I were out of town, but I still had a nice time ... even at the boring training sessions I had to attend.

Starting with eh not so good ... I did not tell my wife the complete truth (although I'm sure she must realize it is not as simple as wearing clothes ... she ain't stupid).  I also did not ask if she was going to friend my Tiffanie account, or at least create an alter ego so I could say "Married to ..."  Until then I will respect her privacy and not use her name.  I wonder if she thinks I don't want her on my new account, but I won't know until I ask ... and I can't really ask until I tell her more of the truth ...

Endless downward loop :-(

We did, however, speak much more openly about things ... Not necessarily in this order, and not all on the same night she said she would help me with my makeup so I can take a pic that in not a virtual makeover ... it will be me.  She is going to measure me so I can buy a bra (as fat as I am I almost need a bra, but ...).  There is a cute leopard print bra that I would love to order.  What is it about leopard print that makes me go so nuts?

I bought a top that is much less unisex ... actually a little feminine ... and I can't wait to wear it.

At the company meetings, where nobody knows I am Tiffanie, I did a carefully planned not so subliminal change of appearance.  Keep in mind the last time most of these people saw me I had shorter hair, a mustache, no earrings and only wore dark colors.  Tuesday I wore a maroon polo shirt, matching stockings and gold hoop earrings and made sure I was very clean shaven (yes, I know ... not fem, but definitely not masculine).  I got a couple of glances ... and I felt a bit nervous.  I initially put up my "dude shield," but very quickly relaxed.  I did not act feminine, but I did not feel like I had to act masculine.  I engaged in some "girl talk" and kind of relaxed into myself.  I think it was the first time many of these people have seen my sense of humor ... and it flowed freely.  Wednesday I wore an azure shirt with braided hair (thank you sweetheart), matching stud earrings and some pretty floral stockings.  Today I was rather drab, but I needed to wear a lightweight shirt because we were out in the heat for half the day ... yuk!!

No ... this is nothing horribly exciting, but it is a tiny amount of progress.

The only downside (a microblip on the radar screen of my time) was during an old training video.  A former employee who was a MtF transgendered person was in a few scenes and a couple muttered something ... the rest will be explained in my flashback ...

*** *** ***

Date - 1994

A new driver began working for our company.  Out of respect I will not use her name, for sake of the story I will call her Sue.

The rumors, finger pointing, giggling and rude comments began very early ... Sue is a man.  I was excited, scared, curious, but did not want to seem over anxious to meet the new driver.  There were so many questions I had ... so much information I could gain ... If I could gain the courage to talk to her.

The problem, which I realized after I met her, Sue was very masculine ... and she had little, if any voice training.  She had several masculine mannerisms and wore clothing that seemed to minimize her feminine attributes.

In other words, she was everything I was afraid I would be ... what I am still afraid of.

Before I go any further ... She has my utmost admiration.  She had the courage to step forward and be true to herself.  If you think I am being disrespectful I apologize.  The truth is I actually defended Sue from many of the snide remarks people made behind her back.  I did my best to explain why a person would  transition from male to female ... at least what I could without outing myself.

Unfortunately Sue was also a bit intolerable.  She always wanted to be front and center ... and very vocal.  She was not She was not demanding equal rights or better treatment.  She wasn't saying accept me for who I am.  She was obsessively wanting to be in the middle of everything.  The problem was everything she did was done with the attitude that the veteran drivers did not know what we were doing, and we should stop doing things our way and listen to her with her 5 or 6 weeks of experience.

This same attitude brought some sharp sarcasm toward many a new driver, not just Sue.

I met up with Sue several years later while she was with a different company (the company I currently work for) ... she hadn't changed.  Well, she looked a bit more feminine and her voice was a little better, but the attitude remained the same.  She immediately started telling me how superior the new company was and how many things I and the old company could learn.  I was a trainer by this time and had matured a bit ... rather than pepper her with what would have been well earned sarcasm, I wished her well and drove off.

*** *** ***

So years later I am reviewing training videos for my new company.  Low and behold who do I see ... Sue.  I cannot help but wonder what has come of her.  Was she successful in her transition?  Is she still in the transportation industry??  Has her know it all attitude changed???

Sue ... if you're reading ... if you know who you are I wish you well.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's probably not ,,,

It's probably not a good time for me to be writing ... I'm not in a good mood ... That stupid out of sync, depression feeling is just gnawing at me.  Everything is annoying me.

Next week I have to go to a 3 day conference to cover new training material the company has developed ... whatever the polar opposite of a happy dance is, that's what I'm doing.  I figured if my wife went with me I'd at least be able to enjoy the evenings ... and maybe we'll have time to talk more ... and spend some quiet time ... some girl time.

The past few days have been rough for me mentally.  Yesterday I wanted to crawl inside a hole and disappear.  I did not want to be sociable, interact or even be near people ... of course yesterday my nephews and nieces decide to celebrate one of my niece's birthday at our house ... and of course we would fix dinner ... Typical.  My foot was killing me, I was on edge and everyone was going to hang around and want to rehash how my evil sister in law drove my brother to commit suicide.

It took a full xanax and a half a vicodin, but I decided the best thing to do was to control the conversation ... Brilliant!!  I did not dominate the conversation, just directed it.

Today I'm doing a little better, but I'm still irritable and a bit out of sync.  I am trying to get ready to go to my conference tomorrow afternoon (the conference is Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday).  I grab a load of laundry for both my wife and me ... but the washer is occupied by my nephew's clothes.  No problem, I'll just put it in the dryer ... but the dryer has the rest of my nephew's clothes ... ... ... my brain popped.

I go to my computer to relax, but the kids (son, nephew & nieces, all of whom are 21+ years old) are watching something in their room which is a bit loud and a tad bit annoying.

At about this time my wife comes out and tells me my niece who is living with us is having some medical issues and might need to see a doctor.  She asked if it would be ok if I went down on Monday and came back Tuesday after the conference and picked her up and we could spend Tuesday and Wednesday night together.

A little bit of So Cal traffic math.  Conference ends at 5:00 pm ... I have to drive 75 miles in the worst of the LA rush hour.  The earliest I pick her up is 7:30 ... so even if we left literally the minute I got home the best we would do is get back to the hotel by 9:00 ... just in time for me to wind down and go to bed for the next day.

Now the big problem is if I say I don't like this idea it sounds like I don't care for my niece ... but if I say alright it totally screws up and already pretty screwed week.

I can't win.

*** *** ***

Date - August 1975

I was at camp.  I was excited because all my brothers and sisters loved camp.  I got assigned to cabin 15 (which actually was a dorm room, but ...).  Dave was my counselor and I had 7 other boys that would soon be my friends because we are all Christians and we all love each other.

Right!

I took me about 8.2 minutes to realize I didn't fit in ... again.  The other boys were such typical boys.  I was not.

I cried.  Everyone assumed I was homesick, but I could not tell my male Christian counselor that I should be with the girls.  I felt so out of place.

This process repeated itself pretty much every year, although I didn't cry every year.   Like with school I fended off the bullies with a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor.  And when the bullies turned their attention to others who were not as able to defend themselves I played peace maker ... better to take the heat myself than to watch someone else get tortured.

People often wonder why I am critical of Christians and their behaviors ... it's because I've seen the first hand how hurtful this condescending, hypocritical attitudes can be.

Yes ... we believe in tolerance.  As long as you believe exactly what we do and do exactly what we tell you to we'll tolerate you.

That's not what the Bible teaches, and it is not what Jesus teaches.

These religious bullies have obviously forgotten the quote, "Do unto others ..." and so forth.  Either that or they want to be outcast, excluded, picked on and bullied for no other reason than for trying to be themselves.

Sorry for the religion rant.

*** *** ***.

And just to update.  My wife understands my point of view regarding my niece and realizes she put me into a no win situation.  We are going to see if somebody else can take my niece to the doctor, and if not we'll schedule an appointment for Friday.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Girls' day out


I really felt a little blah when I woke up this morning.  A long shower helped some, but I was really looking for a reason to not go to work ... I had no clue I was going to be handed a reason on a grey & fluffy platter.


We have this feral cat that hangs around and she has a kitten or 2 right now. Last night I went out and gave them a little food and played with them a bit. This morning I heard a meowing from under my wife's car. I checked, but did not see anything. I opened the hood and the little guy was hiding up in the engine area.  I coaxed him into leaving my wife's car only to watch him run over and climb under my car ...


The entire process took 35 to 45 minutes before the cars were completely kitten free, but ... The truth of the matter is the running back and forth and a few other issues did aggravate my sinuses and my bronchitis.  But the truth of the matter is I could have gone to work and been functional ... like I said, I just didn't want to.


My wife was taking my niece to the mall ... Bingo!!  


I dressed in my favorite new leopard top.  I had my wife braid my hair, but I chickened out on the dangling girly earrings.  Still, we all headed out for a fun day.  We didn't really do a lot of shopping, but we had fun just hanging around.


I wish I would have had a camera with me.  There were many times people would refer to the group of us as ladies, then they would get a closer look at me and become a little confused.  You could see in their face they did not know if they should correct themselves or not.  Days like today make me wish my beard removal was complete ... the dark stubble (no matter how well I shave) make it so obvious that I am not female.


Of course I also wish I had been on hormones and felt more comfortable living full time as a female, but wish in one hand and do something else in the other.


My favorite moment of the day was when a man dropped his keys in a bookstore.  I tried to get his attention as my wife picked up the keys.  He disappeared around a corned so my wife and I tried to hunt him down.  I was about 10 feet away when my wife caught up with him, and I could hear her clearly say, "My husband found them, and we wanted to make sure you got them back."


The man too the keys and proceeded to wave at me and say, "Thank you miss."


I smiled and waved back at him.


All in all it was a pretty good day.  We finished the afternoon with smoothies and some Dippin' Dots.  I think the best thing for me was my wife and my niece didn't care how I was dressed ... and I felt very comfortable.  I know I got a few strange looks, but I get strange looks because I'm fat ... because I have long hair ... and I'm sure for a few other reasons.


I didn't care ... I was happy.  I have a long way to go before I will feel truly like Tiffanie, but today was a nice step in the right direction  




Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sometimes I wonder ...

Try as I might, I just cannot shake or alter this out of sync, up and down feeling I've had over the past few days.  It is eerily similar to the feelings I had a couple years ago before I fell off the edge and landed in a horribly depression ... the lack of sleep, the moodiness, the apathy.

Sometimes I wonder of these bouts of depression are exasperated by my trying to keep hide my gender issue, or denying that I am what I am ...  a transgendered woman.


I am a transgendered woman plain and simple ... but if it's a simple as that, then why are my depression symptoms seemingly getting worse when I'm finally deciding to deal with it?


Sometimes I wonder if I had not met my wife where I'd be today.  I was truly in crisis mode and did not want nor need a relationship.  I was young and hurting and wanted to disappear off the face of the earth.  Would I have run away and committed suicide?  Would I have disappeared and tried to find my way through my transgender issue at a time when information and resources were not easily available for transsexuals?


The past is the past and cannot be changed ... and I likely would not change anything I have done because it is the accumulations of my experiences that make me who I am today.


But if I am satisfied with my life as it has been, then why do I feel the urge to change now?  I am not less happy with my wife or son.  Sometimes I wonder if I am simply going insane and just don't realize it.


Yet despite all the reasons I can think of to not pursue my true self, despite the fact that I am certain that many of my family and friends will not accept me as a female, I feel the need to follow my dreams ... my desires ... my soul.


I feel as though I'm crawling across the hot, brutal desert toward the closest water hole.  I know the water is there ... I can smell it ... I can almost see it, but I feel as if  I will never get there.  If I give up or just don't get there I will die an agonizing death never know what it feels like to truly be feminine ... to be a woman.


But I am cautious ... I am always cautious and analyze everything.


Sometimes I wonder if I am being too cautious .. But then again I wonder if I am charging ahead too quickly.  Am I expecting to much too soon?  Am I grasping for a brass ring ring that is clearly out of reach?  Would I be better off if I just came out and let everyone know where my life is heading?


Slow and steady wins the race ... but the early bird gets the worm.


Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today ... Patience is a virtue ... He who hesitates is lost ... A fool  always rushes to the fore ...



My feelings and thoughts remain so conflicted in many ways. 

This is one of my precious kitties.  Her name is Little One.  She is 10 years old this year


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making the call

It's been a week of ups and downs ... emotionally, spiritually, physically.  I think the reality of my brother has finally caught up with.  Walt was the first member of the family I introduced my wife to, and very likely he would have been the first sibling I would come out to ... But it's not eh reality of the loss that is draining me.  It's the reality that some of my other siblings are so set in their ways, and their ways are the only right way, and they (as well as some of my in-laws) are truly intolerant when it comes to people (especially their baby sister) having a different perspective than they do.

My right foot is hurting more and more every day, and now my right knee is starting to hurt like it was a year ago when I first irritated it.  My insurance will not pay for orthotics to help my foot pain ... they would pay for orthotics if I were diabetic, but that's a lot like paying to have my teeth cleaned to help my hemorrhoids.

The usual stressful grind at work just seems to be unusually stressful, and is getting unbearable at times.  I'm just stuck in that downward spiral of one issue compounds on another which makes the next seem worse ... I don't know if dealing with my gender issues are making things worse or giving me some relief in at least one area of my life.

I don't want to focus on the negative and frustrations ... Even in the toughest of situations good moments can be found.  I can't claim to always look for the silver lining around every cloud, but if I can get myself laughing (one advantage to having a quirky sense of humor) then things don't seem so bad.

As much as my work is really stressful, I just love my manager ... and I am so happy I've told her what I am going through.  If I can have 20 minutes to talk to her every day we can manage to cover most work issues, a few personal issues and generally get ourselves laughing so hard it brightens the rest of the day.

Monday I started a new training class for a group of potential drivers ... 6 women and no men.  I think this is the first all female class I've ever conducted.  This is entirely coincidental, but it is very fun.  I have a chance to interact with women in a controlled environment ... allowing myself to show Tiffanie in certain circumstances is fun ... it's enticing, engaging and very easy to let my brain and actions move in that direction.

I think probably the biggest news over the past couple days was the phone call I made yesterday.  I called a local electrologist to set up a consultation.  I'n very nervous ... I'm not really nervous about having my beard removed ... I am a bit nervous about the potential cost ... mostly I'm nervous about the pain.

Well ... my Ambien is starting to kick in, and I really didn't have a lot to say in the first place, so I'm going to sign off for now.  I'll check back in when I have more exciting things to say.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

OK ... Out of the closet!

So another father's day has rolled around ... honestly, it's just another day for me.  My son and I spent a lot of quality time together.  Father's day was just another day to hang out together.  Even as a child it did not have the emotional attachment that a birthday or mother's day did ... but my father was an emotionally detached man ... although I'm sure there was some appreciation for the gifts, or dinner or whatever was given, there was no expression of appreciation.

I am in a bit of a mental conundrum right now.  As my transition proceeds, whether quickly or slowly, and I become Tiffanie, what happens to father's day?  It is never really celebrated in our house, but will it become a reminder of who I used to be? ... Who I never really was?  Will it become a celebration of me finding myself and living life to the fullest?  The reality is I will always be my son's father even if I do not physically resemble a male anymore.  My brain just cannot seem to grasp this yet,

About the title ... don't get too excited for me.  I just spent about 5 minutes clearing out clothes that either do not fit me, or that are far to dude-like for me to wear anymore.  I held on to my Steelers jerseys, my Mountain Dew, UFC and a couple other shirts, but the rest of his shirts are gone along with the last of his pants ... donated to a local charity for the homeless.

*** *** ***

Date:  1965 to 199? ... whatever year I finally stopped caring what my father's opinion of me was.

So I'm not going to go into a long drawn out "I hated my father" tirade ... I loved my father,  I didn't always understand him, and he definitely did not understand me, but there was no hate nor animosity,

I knew very early that I would never be the man that my father wanted or expected me to be.  I knew very early that my father would never accept me as a girl or anything that he perceived to be unmanly.  I was 8 or 9 years old when I realized that he would call me a daft lass if I didn't agree with him or that I didn't understand what hew was trying to explain to me.  I was a little older when he called me an effeminate queer for the first time ... I honestly don't know why he would say that, but it made my mom angry when he did.

He did try to teach me ... he tried to teach me about cars and engines, but I wasn't very interested.  He tried to teach me about electronics, electricity, making a circuit and other things, but it wasn't the stuff I wanted to learn.  He was not a patient teacher, but I still remember what he taught me.  If I didn't catch on right away he would repeat the same sentence even louder until I said I understood.

He was trying to show me how to adjust the timing on the car.  He pointed the timing strobe at the engine and said, "See that white dot?"

I didn't.

"Why not?  Are you daft?  It's right there/."  He gestured toward 1 of 100 things I was not familiar with.

I still didn't see it.  He got angry and said something I'm sure was hurtful, but I didn't hear him.  "Oh, OK," I said.  I stared intently at the engine.  It turns out I wasn't even looking in the right spot, but I didn't discover this until I took auto shop in college.

I appreciate the many things he showed me, and they have helped me throughout my life, but the truth of the matter is I wanted to go inside and learn how to sew, or crochet, or do needlepoint or other girly things.

My father did not have a close relationship with many of his children.  I think maybe it was because he wanted to hide the fact that somewhere inside he was truly a caring man with deep emotions.

Date - February 1989

I was numb and don't have many clear memories from this time period.  My wife and I had suffered the loss of our first son, Rusty and the world as we knew it was over.

It was the day of the funeral.  My wife and I, her family and my parents sat in the family section away from the rest of the guests.  I don't remember what the pastors said ... some biblical quotes about comfort and other bs that's meant to make the grieving people feel better about things.  As the service ended I turned and saw my mom and dad.  My dad, in his typical military macho way started to say "Be strong" or some other stupid phrase.

I cried.  It was the first real cry I had since my baby's death.  I cried and clung onto my mother.  Through my blurred vision I could see my dad dab a tear from his eyes.  But we didn't have time for all this emotion ... we had to move on to the graveside.

The weather all week had been worsening.  On the day of the funeral it was barely in the 40s, a seriously driving rain and a 30 mph wind with gusts up to 50 ... By Southern California standards this was horrible.  The graveside part of the service was very short, and most scurried to their cars before the last words were uttered.

My wife and I stood there and hugged ... more afraid to let go than trying to support each other.  We didn't want to leave.

In the distance we saw my father, his trench coat pulled tight and holding his hat in place.  He paced back and forth across the graves at the front of the baby area.  He looked somber and intent ... back and forth ... searching.  He had an expression on his face I had never seen before ... despair.  Despair and longing, as if a deep pain needed to be healed.

I would find out later that he was looking for the sister I never knew.  A sister born in 1957 who never made it home from the hospital.  I would learn more about my sister Debbie in the weeks to come when my parents finally decided to share their pain.

I would never look at my dad the same after that.  I saw the human side, and no matter how hard he tried to hide it, I knew it was there.

Dad,

Happy father's day.  I'm sorry I never became the man you expected me to be ... I never had it in me, but I think you knew that all along.  You just did not know how to deal with it.

I always found it a bit strange that you called my other brothers, "Son." bit you always called me, "Little one."  Somehow, some way you knew I was different.  I don't think it's too much of a shock to find out how different.

I hope you choose to be happy for me as I am finally learning to be true to myself, and therefore happy with myself.  The path I have chosen does not mean you failed as a father ... To the contrary, the lessons you taught me to evaluate a situation, analyze all sides of the issue and choose what is best is how I finally reached this point.

I am sure you would not openly accept my life were you still here on this Earth, but I believe you would realize it is what is best for me when all the facts were laid in front of you.

Love,
Your little daughter, Tiffanie.





Friday, June 15, 2012

Really, I wasn't ...

Really, I wasn't going to write anything today and probably tomorrow.  This has been such a hectic week with such elevated stress at home and at work ... all I wanted to do was to survive.

I went to another appointment with my counselor yesterday ... I talked ... I talked and talked and talked.  I was very open, very candid.  I felt good ... a catharsis of sorts.  I joked around, but was able to stay on a serious on the important issues.

About 40 minutes into the appointment my therapist said, "It sounds like you're really ready to move forward.  It sounds like your ready for hormones ..."

I'm sure she said something after that, but my brain went numb at that point.  This is real ... I'm actually doing this.  I started rambling off some of the procedures and protocol for HRT.  It was like a trivial knowledge floodgate opened and I couldn't stop it.  I know I won't get approved for HRT this quickly ... I wondering if she threw that out to see what my reaction would be ...but it was an unexpected, yet very exciting twist to our conversation.

And if I were approved for hormone therapy today I would jump at the opportunity.

Wednesday evening I was wearing a leopard print top and leggings.  My sister and brother-in-law came over.  I'm sure my brother-in-law is a bit of a homophobe ... he stared at me.  He didn't comment, but he stared and stared ... I was laughing on the inside.

Sooooo ... last night I was wearing a nice purple top.  When they came to visit again he sat with his back to me and wouldn't look at me ... sad thing is he didn't see the pretty earrings I was wearing to my therapist appointment ... he likely would have come unglued.  I am not going to wear stuff to intentionally antagonize him, but if he is coming to my house and doesn't like how I look then he doesn't have to stay.

Tonight when they came over again my wife and I decided to go shopping and get a little dinner.  We parked in front of a plus size clothing store next to the restaurant.  "look dear," she said.  "They're having a bra sale."

I just smiled.

"You said you wanted to be feminine.  That would be the way to go.  You can have boobs."

I didn't know what to say, but I figured out that I don't think I would be comfortable bra shopping yet.  I can buy my own panties, stockings, leggings and tops but I cringed at the thought of bra shopping ... Oh well.

I am looking forward with a strange mix of excitement and trepidation to the weeks ahead.  Will I be approved for hormones quicker than I thought?  Will I continue to feel more comfortable discussing and becoming me?  I feel better about things today than I did just a few days ago.




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A letter to Walt

Everyone deals with things differently ... I withdraw,  I tuck myself into that dark little cell in the depth of my soul where nobody can reach me or see me.

I'm there again.

My brother Walt committed suicide this past weekend, and we all found out today.  I am very sad because I love him so dearly ... I am relieved to know he is no longer suffering the debilitating pain which haunted him the last 15 or more years of hos life.

Walt was the first member of the family, other than my parents, who I introduced my wife to.  He and his wife Evy welcomed us in, took us to lunch ... it was fun.  It was truly the first time one of my siblings treated me as an adult ... I was 21 and finally did not feel like someone's baby brother.

I could fill a dozen blog entries with the crazy, fun loving things he did for me and my brothers and sisters as we grew up ... The time we went speeding around a rock quarry in his VW Thing, the time he brought a box of reject silicone breast implants and gave them as gifts to all of us, the time we sped around the farm roads in the hay fields in a 1963  Datsun ... too many times and too much fun and joy to fit in one story.

What makes me cry is that he lost himself just as I am finding myself, and he'll never know he had a baby sister.  I have recently been thinking of how I will tell my family members of my life ... about me.  Walt has always been a bit reclusive, and although I would have liked to talk to him in person, I likely would have written him a letter:

Dear Walt,

How I wish I could be talking to you in person ... face to face.  I would love to see the sparkle in your eye and hear your laugh one more time.

I don't know exactly what words I would use if I were talking to you in person, but there is something you need to know about me.  You've probably known for a long time that I'm not like your other brothers, this is a lot more true than you would probably ever guess.  For my entire life I've felt like I've been out of sync ... like my body and brain are at odds with each other.

I've tried many ways to deal with this internal stress, but every attempt was futile.  I cannot change the issues, I must learn to deal with them, and now is the time I must come to terms with myself.

The fact of the matter is that I have never felt right being a boy ... being a man.  I've always known I am female in spirit and mind, and I am in the process to help my body align with my thoughts and actions.

I hope and pray that I will have your support during this time.  I expect many will not endorse or condone my choices, but you have always been a free spirit with an open mind.  I wish I could be there as you read this.  I can just see your eyes bulging a bit and that familiar smirk crossing your face as you chuckle and make some tongue in cheek comment about not wanting to see me in a bikini as your walking the beach.  Then we would laugh.

In the end the decision is yours.  I will be traveling this path regardless of how others perceive me.  I wish to have my big brother to support me along the way.

I pray I see you soon

Your baby sister,
Tiffanie




Monday, June 11, 2012

Only 3 inches!

OK everyone, get your mind out of the gutter ... let's not get personal here.

Today was a pretty good day ... to a point.

First off I decided to take a stress day.  A vacation day from work for no particular reason other than to not go to work, to not stay home and to spend as much time with my beautiful wife as I possibly can.  We decided to go to breakfast at a popular little local restaurant ... it was sooo yummy, and there was just way too much to eat ... but we tried.  At this rate I'll never fit inot that dress I wore to the senior prom.

Oh wait ... I didn't go to the prom.  And I didn't wear a dress in high school ... but I really wanted to.  But I digress.

After breakfast we did a little shopping at Target.  Nothing exciting ... in fact pretty boring, but it was time with my wife and that's all that matters.

We decided to get our hair trimmed.  I am a little apprehensive about anyone touching my hair, but it has been over one year since I had a trim and it was looking a bit frizzy, so ...  There was no wait at the Super Cuts we stopped at, two ladies working so we were both helped very quickly.

As the lady loosened my pony tail and my hair draped down my back she said, "Oh my, you have such beautiful hair."

"Thank you."  I smiled and blushed a bit.  Just for a moment I almost broke into girl talk mode ... but I don't talk much.  I'm pretty much antisocial and don't engage in random conversation.

Next thing I know my wife and the two ladies are discussing how long and beautiful my hair was.  It was a strange combination of feeling delighted and being entirely uncomfortable.  I decided I only wanted about 2 inches cut off ... out came the scissors.  I sat rigid as she sprayed my hair with water and clipped up a portion of my hair.  The first couple of snips and cuts.

"Hey, your not getting anything cut off."  My wife was making eye contact in the wall of mirrors.  "You need to get 4 or more inches cut."

"I'll get 3 ... Only 3 inches.  That's a fair compromise."  I smiled.

Strange thing was, as we checked out the lady who cut my hair referred to me as "she" a couple times and told my wife the product we purchased "will be good for her hair."  I'm thinking it may be a language thing, English was obviously not her primary language, but it still made me smile.

We went to pick up x-rays of my foot for the podiatrist appointment today.  I popped into the records office and the man asked for my ID to ensure I was me.  He stared at my driver's license (a picture taken 7 years ago when I had short hair and a mustache), he stared at me ... he repeated this process a few times ... "What's your birthday?"

I grinned and answered his security question ... I guess he thought I wasn't me after all.

The podiatrist appointment went well.  I found out I don't have falling arches ... they fell.  I also found out I have arthritis in my foot and bone spurs ... and I broke 2 bones in my foot a long time ago ... and there is an unusual shadow on the x-ray that the doctor cannot account for.  Pretty good news considering I was expecting something out of the ordinary or complex.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It gets more complicated

This all might be a blessing in the long run ...

My niece (my oldest sister's oldest daughter) will be going to college locally starting in the fall semester.  Due to a shortage of funds she will be living with my wife, my mother and me.

My niece is a beautiful young lady who is trying desperately to spread her wings.  She is and has been very openly supportive of the LBGT community.  I have little doubt when I come out to the family she will be there for me.

This all comes with mixed emotions.  It is difficult enough for my wife and I to spend time alone together, but having the additional person to talk to and to help out around the house will be great.  Part of me enjoys the thought of more people in the house and wouldn't mind my oldest nephew moving in (his job is relatively close to us), and par of me wants to pack up and move to Bethel, Alaska ... or Trinidad, Colorado ... or some other part of the country that is not over populated and not near anyone I know.

*** *** ***

Date - Spring 1981

My brother had moved away to college and I was the last child in the house.  I had my choice of bedrooms, the television to myself and several other perks.  I also had uninterrupted access to my sister's clothes which were stored in the house ... I was elated ... A bit lonely, but elated.

I was a sophomore in high school.  One of the units in the spring P.E. curriculum was first aid.  I did not understand how learning first was considered physical, but it meant that I would not have to go into that God awful locker room and undress in front of all the boys who I never could relate to.

I loved P.E.  I love playing softball, football, volleyball and other competitive games.  I just could not, and still cannot tolerate the gym rats, bullies, jocks and other imbeciles with over elevated testosterone levels.  Of course the glam girls and princesses on the female aspect of the spectrum leave a lot to be desired as well ...

Anyway ... The first week I did not have to dress out for P.E. I was so relieved and relaxed.  It didn't dawn on me until later that my gender issues made getting undressed on a daily basis was making me neurotic.  The second week I wore my sister's underwear,  It fit a lot better since I had grown some between my freshman and sophomore years ... Nobody knew.  The third week I wore her jeans and underwear.  I was so nervous, but at the same time intensely excited ... it was the closest to being a girl I had ever been.

I really wanted to tell my parents.  I wanted to ask them if I could dress like a girl ... if I could be a girl.  I was too scared.  My father had already called me an effeminate queer because my hair was too long ... I could not chance being tossed out because I wasn't man enough for his WWII military taste,

At the end of the third week I sat in my room and cried.  The next week it would be over.  I would be back in all boy clothes and heading back to the den of testosterone and sweat.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Waxing philosophical

So I've been thinking a lot over the past two or three decades ...

Humans by nature, for whatever reason, categorize virtually everything:

Right - Wrong
Normal - Abnormal
Thin - Fat
Conservative - Liberal
Boy - Girl
Black - White
Religious - Heathen
Smart - Stupid
Friend - Enemy
??? - ???
... ... - ... ...

The list could go on until the internet explodes.

To some degree I believe society got it right; there are stereotypes for a reason.  I mean, there are certain actions, ideals, rituals or other behaviors we expect to see from certain groups.  The problem lies where a person doesn't fit within these neatly pressed molds as everyone expects they should.

***

Conservative view - Uphold the constitution to ensure the rights of every United States citizen:

Problem - If you truly want to uphold the rights of the citizens, then you will stop trying to pass laws that infringe on those rights.  You will voluntarily withdraw any and all laws passed over the past 70+ years where the federal government has taken individual state;s rights or infringed on individual personal freedoms.

Abortion, individual's lifestyle, how a state chooses to spend it's own money or what a state would like to deem as legal is not the business of the federal government.

Holy cow!!  The grief I catch when I say that near these pseudo conservatives is incredible.  I do not insist they agree with me.  In fact, I appreciate their insight and respect their opinion.  I accept our differences and I move on ... I only ask that they do the same.

***

Christian view - This is my commandment that ye love on another ... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you  ... And so on

Problem - If you truly believe that you are supposed to treat others the way you want to be treated, and you truly believe that you are supposed to love everybody, then you would not exclude people who fall outside your belief system.  This just does not make sense at any level anyway, "I believe in God's eternal love, but I'm not going to share it with you because you're ... (fill in the blank with your favorite unrepentant sin)."

If God's love is eternal and all encompassing, then he loves even those who do not believe in him.  He accepts the differences in behavior and lifestyle because He made us the way we are.  And if you as a Christian believe that my interpretation of God's word is too liberal, then you need to look into other Christian basic religions such as Catholic, Amish, Seventh Day Adventist and so on.  If you do not abide by their more strict beliefs does that mean that you are truly not a Christian?

And isn't it a tad bit arrogant on your part to tell me that because God has sent you down a different path than me that I must not be following His directions?  How do you know that my life isn't simply a test to see how far or truly I will follow Him?  Perhaps He intends to see if I will trust Him through the toughest of times despite the fact that many of my fellow Christians will not support or condone what I am doing.

I've taken an insane volume of verbal thrashing over my beliefs in who and what God is.  People who are so stubborn to listen ... or people who cannot rebut my views tend to try and settle the debate by becoming argumentative and yelling.  It works ... I walk away.  It's a shame, really.  If I am wrong, and they were went to straighten me out, they missed their opportunity.  I enjoy hearing what others believe and weighing it against what I believe ... I wonder why others are incapable of this.

***

Smart - A highly educated person having great intelligence or mental status.

Problem - If you truly believe that the diploma in your hand, the degree or the doctorate on your wall makes you smarten than somebody else then you are proving just how little you understand about life.

I have a high school diploma and about three years at a community college under my belt.  I also have a very inquisitive mind and fell in love with the internet very early on ... I could find practically anything and learn.  I have studied pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, computer programming, emergency medicine, laws and regulations, and ... and ... and it doesn't matter.  What matters is if I can perform my job and live my life in an adequate manner.

I understand that a degree can help you advance your career or earn more money, but that does not actually make you better or smarter than the 75 year old man who has been a janitor at the local school since he was 19.  It definitely doesn't make you happier.

And really ... why is the piece of paper or the title so important to a person?  The people who do not respect you now are not suddenly going to respect you because you can call yourself "doctor."  The reality is the if you have worked your way up to CEO you are still no more important than the workers.  If you are the cafeteria worker who serves the food to the customers you are no less important than the head chef.

Everyone has their own capabilities and capacity to excel at something ... or many things.  The people who treat me like they are better than me are annoying at best.  I enjoy learning ... I love hearing new points of view or strategies to perform a job.  The problem with thinking that you know more than another person is you tend to close your ears and mind.  If you close your ears and mind you are robbing yourself of opportunities to learn.


I could ramble on and on ... well, actually I already have.  I have learned to dislike the divisive conduct and comments that have become so prevalent in our society.  Just because you believe on thing does not automatically mean that a different ideal, though process or procedure is wrong.

There was no particular reason for this rant ... just a build up of frustrations over the years.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm not changing!!

Ever have one of those epiphany moments?  It took a while for it to sink in, but I actually had one yesterday.

I'm not changing ...

I'm transitioning to a different gender, but the person under the skin isn't changing.  I said that yesterday while I was talking to my manager.  Today I found a little peace of mind in those words.

My quirky, off beat sense of humor will remain.  The off the cuff comments will still fly out of my mouth before my brain filter can stop them (even though they will be in a different voice).  I will still be somewhat unpredictable while at the same time being consistent, level headed, compassionate supervisor that I've always been.  I will expect the same level of excellence while striving to lead by example.

I'm not changing ...

I do not realistically expect everyone will immediately or openly accept what I am doing, but I hope that once they see my personality is not changing that they will be more tolerant.

I am a very analytical  person.  Pretty much everything I do receives a high level of scrutiny and research before I ever begin to consider trying it.  When I attempted to run a marathon I did a lot of research ... I went to runner's boards, triathlete sites, read books, studied anatomy and physiology as it pertains to exercise ... I developed a plan, followed a specific routine and ... and ... Well, unfortunately I injured both knees during training, so I did a half marathon with chondromalacia in both knees and torn cartilage in my left knee.

No, I'm not trying to prove I'm tough ... If anything I proved I'm stupid.  The right knee was injured first and was diagnosed as chondromalasia, so when I hurt my left knee I figured it was the same, but it never got better.  That's when I found out I had a cartilage tear.

Anyway ...

In my mind I already have a road map of many things I will need to do during my transition ... Talk to my company's HR department, legal name change, all the proper medical procedures (hormones, blood tests and so forth), permanent hair removal, and the list goes on.

I'm not changing ... at least not the important part.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Babbling like a hyperactive teenage girl ...

First off let me say if I repeat myself I apologize.  I don't go back and review prior posts ... each post is generally an individual story, issue or thought ... although I may refer to previous posts from time to time.

Secondly, let me say if I repeat myself I apologize.  I don't go back and review prior posts ... each post is generally an individual story, issue or thought ... although I may refer to previous posts from time to time.

I had a chance to talk to my manager today.  I covered the work related issues with the usual confidence, precision, sarcasm and wisecracks.  I didn't want to keep her because it was technically her day off, she had just popped by to take care of something quick.  I said, "I'm deciding if I want to tell you the non-work related thing or not."

She leaned back in her chair.  "Go ahead."

"Just in case you see me acting a little more psychotic than usual."  I stared at the ceiling ... something I do when I'm entirely uncomfortable.  "I'm seeing a counselor again ... for ... for things that are likely to be more life altering."

She and I have had this close work, therapist, friendship thing since she first transferred to our facility.  We have joked around about anything and everything ... nothing is sacred.  She has known from early on that there is something different about me and has told me to be true to myself many times.  I always assumed she knew, or at least suspected that my issues were gender related and not sexual orientation related.  She asked me, "Why now?"

"It's just everything ... I don't know."  I exhaled.  "Tell me what you suspect and we can go from there."

"Well, I would think it has something to do with sexual orientation."  She looked straight into my eyes.  "Or you no longer want to be married."

"I want to stay married ... that's a big part of the issue."  My brain started spinning, I couldn't think of the words I wanted to say.  "My issue is more gender related."

The conversation was very positive and we got into a little more detail.  The best part is she assured me that she would be there in whatever way I needed during this time.  At some point, and for some reason I said, "It's not going to change me.  I'll still have the same sense of humor and tell the same stupid jokes."

We laughed for a bit.  I'm glad we talked.

*** *** ***

Date:  Fall 1976

My brother and I had finally gotten our own rooms.  There had only been 3 kids in the house with very few returning or visiting siblings for a few years.  The siblings clothing still needed to be stored, so they got stored in my room mostly ... there was still girls clothing in my room.

Now I am not saying that if the clothing had been somewhere else that these events would not have happened.  I'm sure I would have found girls clothing somewhere in the house to dress in.  Having the clothing in my room only made it easier.

Although I can't give specifics (dates, reasons or whatever) I know several times after we changer rooms I wore my sister's underwear to school.  I was scared someone would find out, but I was so happy because they were fitting a little better than just a couple years before.  I was getting confident and a little bold.  I wore some of the undergarments around the house ... but of course nobody saw them.

One night before bed I put on a night gown I was planning on sleeping in.  My brother called me to his room for something, so I put on my boy pajamas over the nightgown ... he saw it.  He wrestles me to the ground and pulled it out from under my pjs.  "Go take that off now, before you get in trouble."

I was embarrassed, hurt and angry.  Why would he care what I am wearing?  Why would I get in trouble?  Why wouldn't he try to understand my feelings?  It was devastating.  I made sure to keep my clothing choices better hidden from that day forward ... I never stopped wearing them, I just made sure I was much more careful.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sometimes it's the little things ...

Just a quick note.

I know I am at the beginning of a journey that will last the rest of my life.  I know I have not done anything of significance regarding my transformation.  I do not expect to wake up tomorrow and magically be, look like or even be accepted as a female ... this will all take time and patience.

My brain continues to drive me nuts with conflicted thoughts ... Go, stop ... relief, anxiety ... excitement, fear and so on and so on.

The past 2 weeks I've driving a bus route.  The children on the bus are high functioning special needs students in post secondary school.  I've had a great time driving them.  Today one of the girls was asking me questions about random stuff.  Out of the blue she asks, "why do you wear earrings?"

I said, "Because I like them."

She said, "Would it bother you if I said you look like a girl with your long hair and earrings."

"Why would it bother me?  I think it's a compliment."  Inside I'm jumping up and down, very excited and wanting to hug her.  She just made my day.

"That doesn't upset you ... offend you."  She seemed a bit confused.

"Not in the least," I said.  "I thinks it's a nice thing."  I was not about to get into the subjest of transsexuals, transition or other topics along those lines.

I know I still look much more dude-like and not very ladylike ... and I also realize that one statement from one person does not mean a lot in the big scheme of things, but sometimes it's the little things that make the difference between a good day and a bad day ... that give that tiny affirmation that you are heading in the right direction.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Going down the checklist ...

Today has been busy, hectic, sweaty, funny and irritating ... I did say in my last post that I was psychotic or something. Anyway ...

When I got out of bed this morning I put on the same clothes I wore on Saturday - Leopard print capri leggings and a solid ecru tank top.  I knew I was going to get all sweaty and dirty and didn't want to wear a clean outfit for such dirty work.  My wife and I are reorganizing our patio, and this includes tearing down some old, build it yourself type cabinets and putting up shelving units.

Because we thought there was going to be much more heavy lifting and physical labor involved we asked our nephew if he could help.  In return we do his laundry and feed him.  So my nephew wakes up and comes out of the bedroom (he got here after we went to bed) and sees me with no mustache and wearing my outfit … He did do a double take, but did not comment, snicker or ask anything.

A little later my mom gets home from a trip.  The shuttle van is dropping her and our neighbor from across the street.  My wife and I went to help her with her 2 items of luggage.  I got about three steps out of the house and thought, “Oh my God.  I’m going out where everyone can see me.”  I stopped dead in my tracks for a second, then went out into the street.  I can’t say I was confident, or even horribly comfortable, but I decided I didn’t care what anybody thought or said (or at least I convinced myself of that for a few moments).

OK … So what is this checklist I mentioned in the title?  I tend to berate myself for not doing enough or not accomplishing things in a timely manner.  When it comes to my eventual transition I began thinking about this yesterday:

10+ year ago my wife started shaving my back
8 years ago I started shaving my arms and legs
6 years ago I started shaving by entire torso
*** Side note: I change razorblades more often than some people change underwear.
5 years ago I started wearing women’s panties and nylons or trouser socks every day
4 years ago I started wearing women’s pants every day (although they are unisex)
3 years ago I got both ears pierced
3 years ago I started growing my hair long
2 years ago I got a second piercing in both ears
1 year ago I started wearing hoops on a regular basis instead of just studs.
1 year ago I started being very conscious of color coordinating my outfits with my earrings and hair ties.
1 month ago I created a new Facebook account to seek out other transgender people for advice
1 month ago I started this blog to sort out my own thoughts and try to make sense of things
2 weeks ago I started seeking a therapist
1 week ago I made my first appointment
3 days ago I said out loud I am a transsexual for the first time to anybody
3 days ago I told my wife more information about why I am in counseling (still not 100% honest)
2 days ago I shaved off my mustache

What’s my point?  I am transitioning.  I’ve been transitioning for a very long time … I just hit the point where I cannot do things by myself or in secret any more.  This may be the slowest male to female transition in history. 

The pic is of me without my mustache.  I did a virtual makeover to help me see myself as a little more feminine.



What's the rest of my checklist?  This list in not complete, nor is it any specific order.

Continue counseling and learn to be comfortable with myself
Lose weight and take care of other health concerns
Discuss with my doc and get on a HRT program
Allow my feminine side to be more prevalent at work, in public and at home
Start living as a female part time
Legally change my name to Tiffanie
Research facial feminization surgery
Work on my female voice
Live full time as a female
Possibly follow this all the way to surgery

Friday, June 1, 2012

24+ hours later

I think I am truly psychotic or bipolar or something.  I am so relieved that I am finally seeking help for my issues, but that is accompanied by the fear ... the realization that it is now official.  It is written in my records that I suffer from gender identity disorder ... that I am transsexual.  There is no more denying it, or hiding it.

I spent half the morning today thinking, "Oh my God, what have I done?"  I flooded my mind with dozens of "What if ..." questions.  At the same time I can't wait for my next appointment ... I can't wait to dive deeper into the issues which have haunted me for decades.

I am desperately afraid that somebody will discover I am in therapy ... and worse yet, that I am in therapy for gender issues.  At the same time I can hardly wait to tell my manager ... She is a lesbian and is very comfortable with herself.  She is my boss, my friend and my part-time therapist.  From very early on after she transferred to our facility she has told me that I need to be true to myself.  I've made some generalized comments and not so subtle hints, so I suspect that she knows about me but respects me enough not to pursue the subject.

In short ... I feel like I'm going nuts.  I feel more emotionally unbalanced than I did yesterday before my appointment.

*** *** ***

Date - August 1974

My brother and sister were away at camp.  I was the only kid in the house for the first time ever.

I am the youngest of eight children, and I grew up in a five bedroom house.  By the time I was 8 or 9 most of my older siblings had moved out ... to college ... joined the military or whatever.

My parents grew up in the depression, they did not throw many things away ... they stored them.  Books, shoes, clothes and pretty much everything else.  They stored these things in the remaining kids' rooms.

There were girls clothes in my brother's and my room ... I wanted to wear them.  I needed to wear them.  It felt so right, so natural.  I did not leave my bedroom (let's not get stupid here ... my dad was a WWII vet and would have killed me) ... the clothes did not fit right ... but I did wear them ... even the shoes.  I was happy and scared to death that somebody would know.

Date - September 1975

I was home after school.  The usual boring afternoon programs were on.  I was generally not allowed to change channels.  I generally went outside and played until ... well, until being outside bored me even more than the television.

It was a Monday (I wasn't positive it was a Monday until I Googled the 1975 calendar, but I did know it was early in the school week) ... Anyway, the show Medical Center with Chad Everett started ... I groaned.  I don't know why I didn't just get up and leave, but I watched.  Maybe it was because Robert Reed (Mr. Brady from the Brady Bunch) was a guest star.  Maybe it was just a twist of destiny.

Early in the show they divulged the big secret ... Mr Brady (Dr. Caddison on the show) wanted to be a woman and he had been taking hormones to become feminine.

My 10 year old brain heard, "A boy took some special medicine and became a girl."  Really?!?!  How can I get these medicines?

Unfortunately I did not get to see the end of the story because it was a 2 part episode.  I ran home from school the next day to see the end of the story.  "What channel does Medical center come on?"

"I thought you didn't like that show."  I believe it was my sister, but it may have been my mother who said this.

"Ummmm ..."  I didn't know what to say.  I was not going to say, "I want to see the story about the boy who becomes a girl."

"It comes on once a week, not every day."

I think I almost cried.  I couldn't wait a week to see how the story ended.  I was going crazy waiting, but eventually the second part aired.  I was engrossed, amazed and hopeful that someday Dr. Gannon (Chad Everett's character) would help me become a girl.