Blog Entries Activity Stream
One my biggest struggle w this transition is care what other people think. This include my friend and family because i want something to look to for advice and there not there. So I try to be less caring what the other people think because im never going be like them. My own isolation prevent me for making any lasting connections so i watch the world go by. People say oh you can make things change, but i think there is more to fate. For first time in my life, i feel im on the right track.
My life on my own is following pretty much the same pattern as when my wife was alive. I normally am en homme during the day while I go about my daily work and chores and my ineractions with the outside world. At 5:00, evening begins with feeding my two poodles and having dinner myself followed by a walk with Henry, the older dog--Preston used to go, but he doesn't like to walk in the evening so he stays home. After the boys have had their "special treat," I plop in the recliner for a short nap--we both were famous for doing this and I have not changed my habit.
It's after nap time that thngs have changed. Now it's time to bathe and shave and get dressed for the evening. This can take up to an hour depending on what I decided to wear and how fancy I get. Tonight, I'm fairly simple in capris with a halter top, necklace and bracelet. I did take time tonight to paint my toenalls which have been bare for a week. That is a bit of a challenge for me to get them right without being too messy. I still have to do some clean-up where I brush over. I can see where it would be so nice to have nails done. Maybe one day.
Anyway, then I have been taking pictures of me in whatever I'm wearing so I have a record of my progress, ot lack thereof. This takes a little time, since I have to arrange the shots and get my camera and tripod set up right. I must say I am delighted with the tripod. It gives me so much more freedom to shoot the kind of pictures I'm looking for. After the shooting, I go to my computer to arrange them in an album by date. I am using an iphone 6 to take pictures and this page won't let me upload them. I'll keep trying.
Next, I log onto the forums page and write my little blog for the day. This will be a little different now that I am studying to take my insurance license exam. I did finish my lesson and got a 93.3% on the quiz. Darn! i am supposed to get 100%. I'll do better next time. And lastly, I log into the CD chatroom to visit with the girls. Hopefully, there will be someone to talk to tonight. Au revoir.
Last Friday I was having lunch with a friend from school - he and I were at the same field placement last year and got into the habit of going to Taco Bell for lunch every Wednesday, we've moved the day around but have continued the practice. I would say he's the best friend that I've made so far in school, we always have great conversations - if neither of us have anything else scheduled our lunches often turn into all afternoon things (we don't stay at Taco Bell the whole time, we walk around).
Anyway - last week we were talking about the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - a guidebook for mental health diagnoses) and Gender Dysphoria vs. Depression. We were in pretty complete agreement on the topic (see below), but I was still getting a bit energized by the topic. As I was talking at one point I noticed that he was smiling - when I finished my thought he said "I really like this side of you." The "side" he's talking about is basically the activist side (the thought I was on was something critical of the DSM). Later that evening I texted him to specifically thank him for that segment of our conversation - I like all of our conversations, but that one in particular helped me connect some dots that had been wandering around loose. Along with the general thank you and explanation I mentioned that it was an area that brought together my personal, professional, and activist life, which I really liked.
It then occurred to me that that happens a lot now. For example, when I was at the Trans Health Conference a few weeks ago, that whole few days were about all of those parts of my life. But in school, at my internship, and in other places I feel like my personal, professional and activist lives are all coming together. This is compared to say 5 years ago when my professional life was a job I hated, my personal life was virtually non-existent, and my activist life was completely non-existent.
The reason for bringing this up in a post is that all of this is a result of coming out and transitioning for me. We talk about being "authentic," which is what I think is one of the most important aspects of coming out (and transitioning if that's what you do), and this reflects on what being authentic has meant for me.
Side note about Gender Dysphoria and the DSM - Gender Dysphoria (GD) is a step in the right direction for the DSM, away from Gender Identity Disorder (GID). With GID they were basically pathologizing being transgender (the diagnosis just called for the person experiencing a dissonance between the gender they were identified with at birth and their experienced gender - it didn't matter if that dissonance had any negative effect on them). GD requires the presence of the dissonance, but is only diagnosed if it causes some problem in the person's overall functioning. So that's a good step, but my criticism of it is that it seemingly disregards the impact of bigotry on the person. There are passing references to this, but it doesn't seem that important that much of the dysfunction that can result from being transgender is in response to how it is perceived, and often stigmatized by others. So it's virtually (but not quite) pathologizing a perfectly reasonable response to bigotry. The question I've asked people is, if transphobia dissappeared tomorrow, would GD still be a problem? I think it would, but a much much more manageable problem - someone saying that they're transgender would be greeted with "ok, so what do you want to do?" That could still be a difficult question, but easier to deal with if you weren't also facing rejection from family, friends, and society as a whole.
Ok, I'm done :-)
I have created this poll after hearing a discussion on another forum.
There are many considerations e.g. you are born male but identify as female and want surgery, you were born male but identify as female but don't want surgery. Reverse this for female to male.
Then of course there are binary and non-binary.
Consider you are male, get F on your state id and commit a crime, go to jail but since you have male genitals you are placed in a male prison and the inmates know about your gender issues. Consider you are female and for the same reasons are placed in a male prison. Both cases there are high probability of ongoing sexual abuse.
With that one simple case listed above, would you still change your gender marker?
I had hoped to be doing something work-related today, either working on my insurance license course or substitute teaching. Neither happened. Instead, I did more clean-up around the water feature in the backyard and got the fountain going again. I'm still getting things back together after Irma. Fortunately, it looks like Maria is going to miss us. Things were going well enough until I tried to get my generator started again. No go. So, I called neighbor Dave to see if he could help. He gave me some ideas over the phone. Eventually, going back and forth a few times, he decided to come down and have a look for himself. He's pretty good with this stuff, but he's also 82, and he had never worked on a machine like I have. So, it was a learning experience for both of us. After several attempts to get the carburetor float valve bowl to stop leaking gas, and turning the generator upside down everytime we tried to get it back together, Dave thought it would be a good idea to pull the carburetor off so he could work on it in his workshop. Now we were getting somewhere. Except we had to figure out how to get the careburetor off--not that easy. So, I looked on Youtube and found out I needed to take the two holding bolts off with a 5/32 wrench. Pretty small, and I didn't have one.
Fortunately, Dave did, and after more struggles, we got the darn thing off. I went and bought a new spark plug as well. It was prett fouled. And so at this point, the machine is still torn down. but I think we're making progress. We'll see if we can get it running tomorrow. I have a roofing guy coming at 9 to fix my leaking roof. I also have to go to the eye doctor tomorrow for my monthy eye injection. Sounds like a fun day.
so, here I am tonight in my new polka dot summer dress. I'm wearing pantyhose and a slip and have my heels on. Feeling very femme. I took a lot of pictures. Now that I have a tripod with a holder for my iphone, I can change my locales for picture taking. The tripod also came with a remote bluetooth shutter attachment which means I can just pose and snap away. Really neat. It's been very quiet in the CD chatroom that last two nights. I have waited for someone to join me, but no luck. I hope I didn't drive everyone away. I try to be a good guest. We'll see what happens tonight.
About the middle of June of this year, 2017, my boss came to my office to let me know that my position had been eliminated. She said something about restructuring and not having the money anymore for a Guidance Counselor position. My face didn't quite fall on the floor, but it could have. I was in shock. How can this be? I had worked hard at my job for over 10 years, was willing to take on whatever needed doing, and had fully expected to retire from PACE Center for Girls. Alas, it was not to be.
Not being in a position to retire, I began my job search immediately. I filled out the lengthy applications for the Broward School District and for Florida Virtual School. I sent out applications and resumes to the local universities and charter schools. I signed up for numerous online job search websites. I reached out to friends and former colleagues. My plan was to try to find work as an Exceptional Student Support person, a job I had been doing at PACE for the past 5 years. By mid-July, I was starting to get some response and did get an interview with a local charter school. Then my wife died. Everything on hold.
For the next several weeks, I dealt with grief and loss. I had a constant stream of houseguests and well-wishers. On August 12, we had a memorial gathering for Sue, and I was on my own again. I was not quite ready to start actively looking again. I have some savings so I wasn't critical financially yet. But, I did start getting more requests of interviews with the school district and other charter schools. I was not getting called back, however. Possibly because of my age, 74. No one will say that, but it's there. Anyway, to fill in while I was looking for full-time employment, I went through the process to become a substitute teacher, and after school started again, I began filling in at a boys treatment facility--thanks to a referral from my former ESE Specialist. There was also going to be an opening for an English Teacher in November as one of the staff was retiring. So, this was a possiblility.
In the meanwhile, I kept getting requests from the local AFLAC office to come in for an interview. My wife had cautioned me to avoid teaching and sales since I didn't have the talent for either. But I thought, what the heck. I've got nothing to lose, and maybe they'll stop sending me emails. It was a group interview, basically to present the AFLAC program for those who wished to go further. I was impressed, and a little spark in my enthusiasm which I thought had died, came back to life. I felt that this was something I could do, and make a decent living in the process. Here was a chance again to maybe make a little money. That would be nice. Michelle would certainly like that since she has many wants and needs. The district manager called me for a second interview jsut as Hurricane Irma was charging toward sothern Florida. I left voice mails but never got any response. Oh well, I thought. Another one of these. But I tried again this morning and call the peson who first interviewed me, and almost immediately the district manager called back. I was on for a 1:30 interview.
We hit it off. I had pretty much make up my mind that it would be a go on my end if it was a go on theirs. So, now I begin another career as an insurance salesman. I will start working on getting my insurance license from the state tomorrow, and start work after that. I must say that I am excited. I think I will be good at this. I think I made a good decision.
I slept in a little this morning--for me that is. 6:00 am is pretty early for a lot of folks. 4:30-5:00 is more my rising time. I had another full day ahead of me. what with power being out for a week, I had laundry piling up, and the house needed a thorough cleaning , and I had a lawn sprinkler that wasn't working, and so on. So, after taking the dogs out for their morning ritual and getting some coffee started, I stripped the bed and gathered my other wash and got it sorted. Had coffee and looked a bit at the morning paper and ate breakfast. Time to dig in.
Now here's the thing. I have kept my bedroom since my wife died, but it has meant increasingly that I am going back and forth into her old room for things to wear and make-up and perfume, etc. I am thinking now that I will take over her room which is something my neighbor, Jeanie, thought I would do anyway. It is the bigger room and has a walk-in closet and a vanity. I just didn't feel like making too many changes too fast, but now that Michelle has become a major part of my life, well, she needs her own space. I will make my room the guest room which does make more sense.
Anyway, in the meanwhile, I decided to move the plastic dresser dr awers from her room to mine to store bras and stockings and other female items. In the process, I found that I had missed out on quite a few items that I could wear. Like a lot of silky nighties that I can make work; and pretty shorts she made a while back that actually fit me; and more tops. Maybe I should feel bad about plundering my deceased wife's things, but I don't. I just think it's neat that I found them. I am getting to the point where the rest will have to go to Goodwill though. Maybe tomorrow, unless I get an emergency call to substitute teach. Broward Schools are starting again after Irma.
Later in the afternoon, I tackled the sprinkler system, which is almost a second career for me. I fixed the one sprinkler that got broken when all the storm debris was hauled to the street. That was easy. But then, when I started the system, several other sprinkler heads were faulty, so it turned out to be a bigger project than I had anticipated. While I was fussing wih the yard, I noticed the mail truck drive by, on a Sunday no less. So for shucks, I checked my box, and the dresses I ordered ages ago from Light-in-the-Box had arrived. They come from China and I would't be surprised if they are made to order, so it does take a while. I am wearing the polka dot dress now. It is a vintage 40's look and works really well. The other floral dress doesn't work quite as well, but I will keep it. I am still learning about what styles and sizes work best for me, especially with a dress which I am not used to wearing. It's easier with slacks or a skirt and a top. I'll get there. I'm looking better from the neck down. I still need to work on make-up. That also will come. Later.
In one of the local transgender/cross-dresser groups one of the new members, close to 80 years old brought his wife and two daughters to a club we frequent. I walked in an hour if they got there because of my day long drive with the local sports car club. Said Hi, sat down. the new member, let's call her Jane introduces me to her family and doesn't actually say I'm transgender or post-op I'm guessing that it's assumed since the table is full of cross dressers. When Jane was done talking they asked me some questions, one of them was, what brings you to this club and being with crossdressers? I said, they are friends. The one daugher said "it's wonderful that you can be friends with them", I said it's easy as I was in their shoes not so long ago and now post-op.
Her response was, really? I thought you were a female (meaning that I was born female) and would have never guessed otherwise, then the other daughter said pretty much the same thing.
So after chatting for several hours I can see Jane has a very supporting family, the two daughters have taken Jane out for makeovers, clothes shopping and even to selected a suitable wig for her. I could see that Jane is not going to have any issues with her family which is really nice.
When Jane first came to an outing with us several months ago she had never gone out dressed and was not dressed the first time. She has come a long way with the assistance of her family and our group.
The group is named Rose City Girls. This group, the majority are cross-dressers has at least two events every week, one for dinner and one for out to a bar. They have golfing events, travel to various events and even do cruises. If you are in Oregon or Washington consider joining. The only requirement is a to have a photo of yourself and a valid email.
Saturday in the past has been typically a day for grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and other general yard and garden chores. I have been trying to stick to this routine because I expect to be working full-time again in the near future. Today, we added the additional tasks of resetting the house after the return of power last night. For some reason, my generator stopped running in the middle of the night. I did get it going again, but it was running really rough. That was going to be a can kicked down the road, however. I didn't have time to fool with it, so I put it away as is. I also had to put my window ac unit away. I forgot how much water those things accumulate, so that was another mess. I cut my hand in the process of manhandling it back into its container--nothing life-threatening. I also broke one of the slats on my bedroom blind--the middle one no less. Nobody said it would be easy.
After lunch, I had just settled in for a little nappy-poo, when the doorbell rang. I hurriedly put my shorts back on, but it was just the UPS guy who left a couple of packages for me. Yeah! I had ordered a tripod, so that I could take pictures in different settings. I had also ordered a skirt and top outfit and more panthose. Unfortunately,the skirt and top are way too small; they will have to go back. Can't win them all. Skirt was cute too.
Well, I did get my other chores done, and now it's evening. I had my first hot bath in a week, and did that feel good. I am getting accomplished in putting on my bra now, and was anxious to try the pantyhose. I bought good and was it worth it. They look great and feel even better. I put on my blue floral romper which seems to require some figuring each time I wear it, and set out to take some pictures. With the tripod, i can shoot anywhere, and the living room seemed like a good place to start. I have an old little Olympus digital which also takes some figuring, but I did get it to work. I took a lot of nice pictures of the sofa until I got the timer under control. This is also a work in progress--learning how to be both photgrapher and model. I'm working on it.
Pre-surgery for as many years back as I can remember my clothing style was pretty much short skirts or dresses until the age of 50 then I slowly transitioned to jeans where there was something inside of me that provoked the change.
Beginning with the year prior to physical transitioning I might have worn a skirt once or twice and stayed steadfast to jeans then to leggings which for whatever reason were my staple lower body garment of choice. I was wearing leggings with tops appropriate for various occasions, meaning my butt was not exposed.
Heck if I can rational why two weeks ago I got a impulse to toss leggings, jeans and skirts and now totally into wearing dresses.
I first visited Macy's in Portland Oregon as in Salem (my home town) Macy's I didn't care for the dress selections. Ended up with three dresses perfect for the workplace and two pairs of heels (I'm guessing 3.5 inches). To be totally engulfed with dresses, three was not enough, thinking it would be nice to have a variety, boat neck, scoop neck, below the knees, above the knees etc.
Next stop was Amazon where another five dresses were added to my wardrobe. When to conclude (for now) things I hit a store in the local mall to purchase two evening dresses and another pair of heels.
I'm going to do one last thing, winter is arriving shortly and once here will look for deals on dresses for next spring and summer, not a person that does "what's in style" either so I'm not going to worry about that too much.
My only explanation for the change is hormones. For those who have been on hormones for several years I'm sure have seen gradual changes in both physical and mental areas and think this is part of my change in clothing style.
Today, we are going on a week without power since Hurricane Irma. It wouldn't be quite so frustrating if everybody around us was also without power. But no, just our side of the street. Chris, my neighbor, was over last night as my generator was sputtering out of gas. Chris means well, and he is pretty smart. On the other hand, he does always have to get the last word in, and whatever I am doing is not quite good enough. I mean, I've been filling my generator with gas for a week, and now he is giving me a lecture on how I should be doing it. He did put the fear of god in me about changing the oil, though, which I had completely forgotten about.
I dragged out the owner's manual this morning, and it said to change the oil after the first five hours and then after every 50 hours. I was long overdue. So, on the way back from taking my dogs to the groomer, I stopped at Advance Auto for a quart of oil--Chris insisted on non-detergent 30W. He also insisted that he help me change the oil.I couldn't wait a few weeks for him to fit me in though. So I opted for a synthetic blend which was recommended by the manual and the guy in the store. It was pretty easy in the end, and the machine is running smoothly.
I got the boys from the groomer. They look so much better as they were beginning to look pretty shaggy. When I got home, I got the notion to clean up the foilage from the downed tree in my backyard. I am probably going to have to get my tree guy to take the whole thing down, but the palm fronds from the top were covering my grass and I have to mow tomorrow. Also, I was hoping to save a couple of bucks for doing the tree. So, I started with a saw and a pruning sheers, and after lunch went with an ax and a hatchet. It made quick work of it. The hardest part was hauling everything from the back out to the street for bulk pick-up. Another day of hard labor. Usual.
Then, I had to wait for the insurance adjuster to come and look at my roof leak. It turns out I'm not covered for it, and I'll end up withdrawing the claim. But the adjuster did point out what needs fixing, and recommended that I hire a pro to do the job. This I have now done. It has actually been a problem for some time, and I need to get it fixed. The joys of home ownership.
I took the dogs out for their afternoon stroll, and my other neighbor, Peter, tells me that the power is back on. Yeah! i unhook my power cord from my generator to my house, and go to my main switch and turn it on again. I then turn all my circuits on and hit the lights--nothing! I check to make sure I am doing it right, but Peter comes back to tell me that the power is out again. I do not believe it! I wait a little while in the vain hope that it will come back soon. Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chips for supper. Wait a little more, and then hook up the generator again.
I have another cold shower, so at least I'm clean and get a lttle girlied up for the evening. While I'm working on the computer, there is a pounding on the door. It's Chris again telling me that the power is back on. I tell him that I can't come to the door--well, I have the girls on over a tight t-shirt, and I don't know how he would take it. I tell him that I am going to let things be for the night and change back in the morning. Jeanie, another neighbor down the street, (I have a lot of neighbors checking on me) called to tell me power was on and that it was on to stay. I also told her that I don't trust the power company, and am going to leave my generator run tonight. I am done playing with the power company, and the neighbors for that matter, for the evening. So, there. Time to chat with the girls.
Last night I met a male friend for dinner whom I've known since first grade - quite a long while. I'd told him via email that I'm trans a couple of months ago and he was supportive, so he wasn't particularly surprised when I appeared in skinny jeans, athletic pumps, and with studs in my earlobes. He's a successful corporate attorney and is friendly, very articulate, and handsome with designer glasses, died hair, and clothing that while very casual were color- and style-perfect for the occasion. But as an attorney, and a man, he consistently talked over me, peppering me with questions and thoughts while I tried to hold up my side of the conversation. Things like:
"You're not going undergo genital mutilation, are you?" I was able to tell him that for me that's a bit over the horizon but also possible. I wasn't able to educate him on the fact that this surgery is in no way any kind of 'mutilation' with what that implies. I will be sending an email to him on that subject.
"You're not interested in men?" I tried to tell him that sexuality and gender are orthogonal and unrelated but here again all I could tell him is that I'm only interested in women; I'm a lesbian.
None of his comments or body language were delivered in any kind of negative way or overtone. He's told his parents who said that they wish me the best too, and his father (whom I haven't seen in over 40 years) said that he thought I'd make an attractive woman. I was just kind of taken aback at his assumptions and ignorance. As I said I'll send a follow up email to clear this up but imagine how hard it is to effectively us to people whom we've never met?
Moment 1 Just went to an appointment for some skin care treatment at a spa. As they are going through my medical history they ask, are you on birth control (I give a ever so slight smile), I said no, then ask (and I would thought this question would be first) have you been through menopause? I said no (big smile inside). At the end of the consultation we shared war stories of breast augmentation, she with breast reduction, me, well yeah no it was the opposite. During the consultation she asked what are you doing this weekend? Well of course my sports car driving came up and afterwards she said, such a bad girl and we went out to see my car.
Moment 2 I'm at a club with a group of cross-dressers, most are long timers with no intent for the majority to transition. I'm sitting at a table watching two of them play billiards when one of the newer members comes to sit with me from across the room. She says, I wanted you to know that if I didn't know you were once a male would never guess it and since I know the truth have to say you look so content with mannerisms of a female and even better your voice is nice in regards to female sounding.
ANyways thought I'd share them.
Yesterday, I made a good start on rearranging the house since my wife died. I am keeping her old room as a guest room for the rare times that I do have guests. Maybe that will change. Anyway, I had my desk in my b bedroom along with everything else a nd it was a bit cramped to say the least. As I wrote previously, my motivation for changing everything now was so that I could put a small window unit ac in my room so that the dogs and I wiould be cool for sleeping. We are not due to have power on until the end of the weekend, and I have been getting tired of being hot and sticky when I'm trying to sleep. Ugh! I am spoiled. In order to do that, I had to move the desk and a side table which entailed taking apart the bed so that I could get it out. Nothing is easy, especially for me who only has the vaguest notion of what I am doing.
So now the house is coolish again, and I plan on spending the day going through files and closets and just sorting out. I have had offers of help from family and friends to help me go through my wife's things which is a sad experience. But, I have been through this before with my second wife, and I am going to claim the things that work for Michelle before someone else does or throws them away. As it turns out, I can wear all of her panties--many of which are still in the wrapper--and her bras work too. A lot of her pants fit as d o her swim suit bottoms, some tops work as well. I fugure this will help since it will be less for me to buy right now. Eventually, I will want to get new things just for Michelle, but I'm trying--well, sort of trying--to watch my budget while still part-time employed. Irma has made a dent in my income as schools are still closed until Monday at the earliest.
So, that's where I am now. I made it through the storm in good shape. The house does not have any damage. I will have to pay my tree guy to remove one big tree that came down--that will cost me. I do have to get a roofer to fix a leaky attic air vent--another pretty good expense. Oh yeah, then I have to keep buying gas for the generator which soaks it up like a sponge, another $30 today just to get me through until tomorrow. Hurricanes are expensive as is home ownership. There, I'm complaining again. My bad. I did pick up a soft ladies T-shirt at Walmart today this morning while buying milk and fruit, so I'm not hurting that bad. I'm going to read the paper and get to work. Later.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
After starting out the day in a not very ambitious mood, I ended up accomplishing quite a bit. I did it in my usual fashion as I shall relate.
I am not one to get things right the first or even the second time, but eventually, I get it together. Such is the case with the storm called Irma that roared through here over the weekend. I did get the generator out on Saturday and ran it for a while using the cable provided to at least keep my refrigerator going. I then put it back in the garage to wait until the major part of the storm had passed. When it had on Monday, I dragged it out again, and ran the cable through my kitchen window to power the fridge and make a cup of coffee. Big deal. I didn’t have a lot of gas, so, I conserved fuel by running the generator intermittently. The house has become quite warm by this time. Still, people did live here in south Florida before air conditioning, so, I thought I would tough it out. I left the house wide open to get whatever breeze there may be—there was virtually none. It was not a restful night.
Preston barked at every noise, especially if another dog was barking in the neighborhood. In the middle of the night, the living room windows closed with a loud crash. The night finally ended.
On Tuesday, after visiting my friend Dave’s house, I felt I should hook up the generator to my electric panel like we had prepared it to do. With the help of another neighbor, Chris, who worked intermittently as well, I did get that much working. Still no ac. Another, hot, sticky, restless night.
So now it’s Wednesday, the third day after the storm, and I figure I have the portable ac—why am I not hooking it up so we can all get a night’s rest? Why not, indeed? This is easier said than done. It required a major rearranging of my bedroom and the den to do it. (It needed doing anyway.) I had to take apart my bed, move the desk out, reassemble my room, drag the ac out and install it in the window, and get the computer to work in the den. So now it’s done. I must say that I am happy with the result. We’ll see what kind of trouble I can get into tomorrow.
So I anticipated being more detailed, but that wasn't really very practical in this setting :-) Suffice to say I really enjoyed the conference and got a lot out of it. In some cases it was learning that I already a fair amount of what they were talking about, which is always nice, but I definitely learned a few new things.
The only downside was one of the last panels I attended - "White Supremacy in Trans Relationships." The title probably should have been a warning - the fact that they used "white supremacy" instead of "white privilege" definitely reflected the views of the moderators, there was a good amount of hate going on and attempts at shaming. I plan to write to the conference organizers about it - I have no issue with being made uncomfortable about my white identity, but I don't think it should have happened at this conference and certainly not in the way it happened. This conference is about community in our gender identity, it's not right to shame people about other parts of their identity - not here.
Otherwise everything was great! I had dinner with a couple of friends from NYC on Friday night - they had gone down on Friday, but I had just finished 2 full days. I commented at one point that "I had never had to be transgender for so long before" - I meant it to be humorous by with a point too. I was feel good about the conference but also pretty exhausted, and I think part of that is that I really don't activate that part of my identity for such long periods at a time on a regular basis. It's fine, I survived, but it was an interesting learning experience.
Maybe the biggest thing I discovered - about myself that is - compared to when I attended last year is that I'm so much more comfortable about who I am now than I was back then.
so they increase my estrogen dose. im a lot happy now and feel more secure and confident
So day 1 is done - such a long day! I volunteered to help with set up, so I was there starting at 6 a.m. But all totally worth it :-)
On a matter of personal achievement first - during one of the panels I actually spoke during the Q&A. Perhaps seems small, but 3 or 4 years ago there's no way I would have done that - it was a fairly large room with about 50-60 people. No way. So that's a nice sign of what transitioning has done for me :-)
The most interesting/controversial part was a lecture on "The Biology of Gender." It was a single presenter discussing the science and theories behind gender identity and gender variation. During the Q&A several people criticized it from the perspective that it was very binary - and he generally agreed (that the research itself tends to be biased in favor of the binary). Fair enough. However, I think this is an area where science and culture get conflated sometimes. Leaving aside the terms "sex" and "gender" for a moment - in my view there are 2 things going on: (1) there is what we are born, physiologically, biologically, neurologically, etc., and (2) there is the social construct that got built on top of that - sometimes with some basis, usually not.
Regarding #1, I think we all exist on a spectrum from male to female - some in between, some "mixed" at birth (at least I think that's the prevalent theory about being transgender - genitalia developed one way, the brain the other). I also think that most reputable scientists - although they shorthand it as "male or female" - acknowledge that it's a spectrum and not a binary (they don't, for example, deny the existence of intersex individuals).
Anyway - I'm not sure why I just started that, but curious if others have thoughts :-)
So I need to start going through my house every coupla years and just looking at the stuff that is lying around/saved somewhere. I have saved some really useless junk over the years. Anyone remember the Isle of Lost Toys from the old Christmas specials? Apparently we are running the Sanctuary of Lost Cords. Which of course Nikki won't let me throw any of those out because we might need them some amorpheous day in the future. Fine, he let me throw most of the rest of the junk out, and we can do a great device to cord matchup event when we settle to be sure what is junk beyond doubt I guess.
It really is amazing the accumulation of things in an average life. We're not shoppers, we go outta her way to not do that. We're not garage sale hounds, or antique hunters, or any sort of real collectors of anything. I can only imagine how much more stuff people who enjoy those things either have to dispose of often or build up.
Well, back to work. At least until the Cheeto declares everything in the country as his. I'm surprised that man hasn't tried to pass an act yet that he owns everything and we have to pay rental on our things. After the pay to have them in the first place, of course.
So I just saw photos of St. Maarten after Irma passed through. On top of the horror for those people, there is this creepy feeling. I was there, in March, with Ashe. We lounged on a beautiful beach, we had lunch at this awesome open air restaurant right on the beech and iguanas joined us for the lunch, there was a drive through the beautiful now underwater streets. It just feels weird when it's somewhere you have been. Like when I see flood photos from the one we had here. It's not a feeling of extra bad, it's just oddly disorienting to me and I have no idea what my brain's issue with it is.
I looked at the livestreams on Key West, another place I've been and enjoy watching on cam when I'm far away, and it's just so eerie to see how deserted it was. Also reassuring that the people have gone to safer ground on the mainland. The storm has not yet hit key west, but the winds are already amazingly and unusually loud on the cams that have sound. I can only imagine what it will be like when the actual storm hits.
There was a collection truck near the Kroger's by us collecting for Harvey, and I found myself wondering how long til it's for both. And then I further wondered how bad it's going to be. I remember how bad Katrina was, with the Fema director really nepotism-based friend of bush's and no clue how to actually handle a disaster, and Harvey is in two separate states, with Irma barreling up to take on a third state. I'm not really confident our current dysfunctional government is going to handle this well. And I'm not sure what is going to happen to the insurance companies. They function based on the idea that these massive disasters are few and far between, and it hasn't really been all that long since Katrina. I also worry what else the Caribbean is going to shoot up our way before the end of storm season.
And Houston/Harvey is also a glaring warning of another issue that I fear people will ignore. A group of scientists warned them they were paving over too much grassland several years back, explaining that it was going to magnify flood issues in the city. They were ignored, the grassland was paved over because "what do you science guys know" and now they are paying for it. New Orleans kept trying to get federal aid to fix the aging levees prior to Katrina, and were ignored. Safety and infrastructure have fallen by the wayside in favor of legislating morality and corporate profits in my opinion, and it's only going to get more dangerous as time goes on. I really worry for the future generations. Heck, I worry what is going to happen in the next forty or so years while I'm still here.
Lately, I have been having some difficulty loading the transgender guide. It has been very intermittent, and I don’t know why. Last night, I could get on, but no one was in the CD chat room. I was all gussied up with my new four-inch pumps and my thigh high stockings. At first, I put on my floral romper, but then changed into my leopard print dress—much sexier. But I had no one to visit with, so I ended up going to bed. Just as well.
Tonight, I am wearing my new clam diggers with a yellow Walmart t-shirt and my new gold belt. Simple, but sexy too. I do think I am kind of cute.Maybe a little vain as well. I have fallen in love with being Michelle Lea.
I must put her on hold for most of the day now, however. A major hurricane is approaching, and the neighborhood is getting ready. This means much more interaction with my neighbors than I usually have. So, this morning, I bid adieu to my painted toenails so as not to cause confusion with my neighbors. What could I say? I was bored, and it was something to do? I don’t think they would understand. Net ready yet. It is the reality of things.
I’m about as ready as I am going to be. I have been in Florida long enough to have been through multiple hurricane threats that didn’t materialize, and one that did. I don’t think we’re going to avoid this one and it is a monster. I think we’ll make it through, but I don’t know for sure. If the house blows away, all bets are off. I’ll find our old wills tomorrow and send them to the girls. Better than nothing. At least, I was able to dress for a little while. We’ll see.
In the midst of getting ready for the onslaught of Hurricane Irma and getting used to working again, lo and behold, my four inch pumps arrived. I had ordered them ages ago, and it seemed as if they would never arrive, but they did, and I'm thrilled. The size 13 fits perfectly, and they look gorgeous--white patent leather. I am getting used to walking in them, but I have to laugh. I look like the teenage girls I used to teach when they were wearing heels for their first times--a little teeter-tottery. But with practice, I should be fine. Well, you can't have new shoes without stockings, and my thigh high black sheers arrived today--Amazon is much faster. They are so sexy, and the two together are a knockout. I have bought thight highs before, but have never been able to wear them as freely as now. I am loving it. Now I need a black, sexy bra. That will be next on the list. So the transformation continues. A little effort and expense, but so worth it.
So I'm going at this with no prior thought other than I need to write about two woman I know.
Three weeks ago a good friend of mine was sitting in her living room and one of her dogs kept sniffing and licking her one breast. She ignored it until the dog kept doing it for two days. Had a mammogram done and sure enough cancer and to note, it runs in her family. Several days ago had surgery and being the brave person she is posted photos so that people think more of what can happen rather than simply thinking of a pink ribbon. She had ups and downs after surgery but seems to be doing okay now.
Then today, another friend (and in the same circle of friends) was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mammogram done shortly after the woman above.
Statistically speaking a woman passes every three to five minutes in the world from breast cancer.
We are not immuned from breast cancer so if you have breast that were induced by hormones get them boobies checked out and have it done regularly.
Above I indicated they are in the same circle, the three of us are defensive tactics instructors were an outstanding master (he has way too many things to list here) and we are all family from Oregon, Florida and Atlanta.
I arrived in Philadelphia today - the conference starts early tomorrow so I decided to get down here a day early. I got a hotel at a decent rate and it's about 1/2 block from the Convention Center!
Anyway - last year I did the free version of the conference, this year I paid for the professional track (for a student it was $85). The tough part is deciding what to go to! Initially I went through the schedule and just put everything I was interested in on my calendar. Then earlier this week I went through to pick which ones to actually attend - that was the hard part! I gave 1st priority to Behavioral Health panels, since that is the professional track I'm on. Then I leaned towards panels covering topics around F2M and gender non-confirming individuals, since I have decidedly less experience there. Of course this is a mixed things for me - personal and professional, so I don't want to forget the personal side :-)
I'm volunteering in the morning - helping with set up, so it will be a long day, but worthwhile! I'll post more tomorrow after Day 1.
So things are starting to happen faster now. We have moved in with my mom as planned, and I am alternating between helping Nikki move things and cleaning mom's house. (Seriously, it took three hours to go through the pantry and get out all the expired food from years 03 to 16). And the rest of the house is insane, but I'm slowly taming it. Mom is getting the better end of this deal, really. Free cleaning and repairs and cooking until we sell and buy a new house. Old house is nearly empty, just a bit more to pull out and then it's painting time. We're still waffling on whether or not to fix the damaged laminate. New car is working out great, old main car is doing great, old secondary car is going to the scrapyard, the costs to fix the brake issue and make it sellable are higher than we could sell it for. Bummer, some extra money would have been nice.
It's kinda weird being here again. I lived here with Grandma, my mom, and my son when I met Nikki. I had the downstairs basement finished room, although ever since the big flood it's impractical to use as a bedroom anymore. Which is a same, as it's HUGE and was lovely with lots of space. Only ever had to come upstairs to use the bathroom. I was the hermit Bree in the basement!
Nikki's girl mode items are all packed away with a decoy tag, he's still very much closeted as far as our families go. Since he realized transition is not a path for him, dealing with our awkward families is a door he doesn't want to go through. As in most things (other than anything food related, do NOT EVER trust Nikki's judgement with food, trust me) I trust his judgement and respect his choices. And he pointed out I won't be at risk for giving myself a black eye again slapping myself with the breast form. (Didn't quiet get a black eye, but I did have a nice red mark from that oops. Why do they put it in such clingy plastic?) Nikki does have a nasty set of scratches across his back, so I've been teasing him he made a ghost angry that we're leaving. It sounds more fun than I think the cat did it while we were sleeping.
I haven't had any really awful burning for a week, had one bad night last weekend, but it's been good since. Nikki's physical health is solidly great, and his dysthymia has been very much under control. He continues on his medication, but the improvements in our life have done wonders also. Once his job is less demanding (they're in the middle of some big changes that take a lot of hours from him) he's going to see about finding a new therapist in our target town and he can just go after work and then come home until we move. He has to start over anyway since his passed and then we went on insurance hiatus. He'd rather do it just once instead of twice.
It's sorta amazing how far we've come since last years confusion and upheaval. I'm proud of us. Now I have to go continue trying to convince my elderly cat that moving was a good thing and that he should eat some of his food. Dog is loving the adventure of a new house (wish she would stop running full speed into doors though, she's traumatizing ME with her poor banged head) lizard doesn't care. Our lizard is too cool to care.