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  1. Emma

    Hi Michelle,

    I'm glad you liked the list and will definitely look at your suggestions. My wife and I also read all three of the Girl with Dragon series and loved them! So sorry that the author is gone, now.

    I want to add "The Martian" to the list. It was a very good movie and an amazing book, especially for a first novel. That said, so is "The Kite Runner"! You must read them both if you haven't already. 

    I've read Michael Connelly's books and enjoyed them but these days I'm less satisfied with "genre fiction" or maybe I'm getting more into "chick lit" go figure. I have enjoyed John Grisham's books but here again they're getting long in the tooth. 

    I loved James Michener's books, especially "The Source" which is a classic as far as I'm concerned. 

    No, I haven't gone to the movies for maybe a year. No one to go with and kinda busy... 

    See you!


  2. MichelleLea

    Wow! Emma, you really delivered. I have read some on your list, but I am appreciative of your suggestions. Some I need to re-read: Man's Search for Meaning.  

    Did you ever get into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the two books that followed? My wife and I both plowed through them. I'm afraid I find Ayn Rand a little too preachy for me. I know where she's coming from, but I'm not a fan of her philosophy. I read  Grapes of Wrath in an American fiction course I took. A monumental work to be sure. If you haven't already, you should read Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God which I thought was a gem--also in the American fiction class.

    If your are into articles at all, I recommend the Flipboard app for your phone or tablet. You can select almost any topic under the sun, and it will bring you the current articles on that topic. Among other things, I have chosen news, politics, physics, LGBTQ issues, space, mindfullness,...I read a lot of really neat stuff this way. I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers too just for fun. Michael Connelly is good as is David Baldacci. A litle more off-beat is James Lee Burke with his flawed detective in Louisiana. I think I've read just about everything he has written. I started reading one of Eco's books, but never really got off the ground. I am halfway through War and Peace . I suppose I will finish it eventually.

    Anyway, great sharing. I want to see  Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Have you seen it yet? Talk again soon.

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  3. Emma

    Hi Michelle,

    Always happy to talk about books! Around my neighborhood are these little weather-proof glass-door kiosks where residents can leave books they're done with and pick up others that interest them. Yesterday I picked up "The September Society" by Charles Finch and I'm one chapter into it. It has many great blurbs on the front and back covers so I'm hopeful it will be a fun read.

    Some possible books that come to mind are:

    "House of Sand and Fog" It was turned into a movie that was excellent; the book is even better of course.

    "The Name of the Rose" Also a movie that wasn't so good but I've read it at least twice, I loved it so much. Unfortunately I've tried all of Umberto Eco's other books and was always disappointed. Some weeks ago I found a Seattle bookstore that's acclaimed for its mystery books. I went there to find "another" Name of the Rose. The owner told me that there is no other book as good as that one!

    "Girl With a Pearl Earring" Another movie! Excellent, excellent historical novel.

    "The Grapes of Wrath" and any other book by John Steinbeck.

    "Stranger in a Strange Land" is a very interesting sci-fi book and is where the word "grok" came from. "I Will Fear No Evil" - also by Heinlein has a trans character!

    "The Book Thief" was excellent.

    "The Eye of the Needle"... wow!

    "Flight of Passage" is a very fun autobiographical account of two NY boys who were the youngest to fly a plane from NY to California. Very fun read.

    "Rocket Boys" (aka "October Sky") is a wonderful autobiography about a high school boy who earns his way out of a dreary coal mining existence into a professional career.

    "Soul of a New Machine" and any other book by Tracy Kidder.

    Gosh, I'd better stop now. If you don't find what you're looking for here, please send genres or titles of books you've enjoyed that I can use to offer other ideas.

    Edit 1: Okay, here's some more:

    "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown. Really helped me, as all of her books have.

    "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. You don't have to be an artist (but we all are) to enjoy her taking you by the hand. Doing your Morning Pages can be very cathartic.

    "The Road" Cormac McCarthy: very spooky and surreal view of the future.

    "Wild" and "Tiny Beautiful Things" by Cheryl Strayed. I'm a huge fan of her, including her podcasts. She is so wise and inspirational!

    Edit 2: Still more!

    "Lonesome Dove" What an amazing adventure.

    "Atlas Shrugged" 

    "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience"

    "Man's Search for Meaning" Viktor Frankl: a must-read

    "The Hunt for Red October"

    "Red Storm Rising"


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  4. Emma

    Chat has never really appealed to me, I must say. I like these “conversations” more. In the chat rooms I feel compelled to rapidly respond. Here, though, I can be a bit more thoughtful and long winded! So yes, let’s dive into deeper subjects!

    As for AFLAC, hey, you won your first deal! Good for you. The next will have challenges, sure, but you’re learning and making real progress, loading your funnel, and moving them toward closure.

    You go, girl!


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  5. Emma

    my current shame in this is having to go thru this process. having to give up one gender for another. its much to process. its much to relearn. ...

    ​I don't find it so much as shameful but transition is a lot of work that can be daunting at times. Like in a half hour I'm headed to the electrologist to start removing the hair above my upper lip. I'm told that hurts a lot so first I will see a dentist (next door) who's going to inject novocaine into the area. I have also been told that this will all take many visits. 

    But the effort seems reduced sometimes, like these days I don't experience much reluctance to just go out and about presenting as my authentic self. Psychologists once ran an experiment where they had people look up from the base of a hill to guess how hard it would be to hike up it. For one group they had them wear a 40-pound load on their back, and the other had no extra load. The 40-pounders assumed that the hill would be much harder to climb than those without the weight. I think I am finding that the load of my transition is lightening with each step I take. 


    i have continue see my therapist since the beginning of this. ive been lucky for that. maybe talking about this more help me in some way. its help me to unerstand a lot about myself and where im wanting to be and what i want to expect but theres so much i didnt expect before i started.

    ​I'm very glad to hear that you have a therapist. You are lucky to have one. And indeed, there is always so much that we don't expect. That's why they call life a journey and not a destination! We learn as we go... :-)

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  6. Kitrah

    Looking back i still rememer looking in the mirror in my early 20s. I knew it then. I chose to deny it because of all the stress i was under and conditioning. so sometime u cant just seem to take that step. and then a lot of time passes and in my case tramatic events happen that force this all to surface to deal with. early in my therapy i just rememer saying a lot, if i dont do this now, its going end up being another 10 year before i have curage to try again. i rememer looking back and wishing it was then and not now. how different thing would be but then i remmer what would it be like to wait another 10. the time for this all was worst time for me. no friends no support no family no job. o need to do this for myself or is was going be the next step in self destruction. am i going make it another 10 years or 5 years? 

    i had tests done and they were showing no tetosterone and high levels of estrogen and progesteron. so i just got tired of keeping deny what evidence was showing me and what others were perceiving as being a lie. but i real tried with tetosterone, i did for 3 mo. and i knew it wasnt going complete me but take me further into downard spiral of depression and self hate. it strange how much this ideas and programing had just been conditioned in me to avoid and continue lying to fit into this male mold. 

    i can feel this surface cracking and this force within me continue to grow. i started look back through my timeline, how is this possible for me to block out and deny reality to point where i was going to bankrupt myself to cover up a truth. how long was i going to pay this emotional self blackmail? why was i going to do it for. i couldnt. when i committed to hormones i knew i was commiting to future girl. that who i was then was not going to be who i would become. thing will continue to change until this essence or spirit i am was allow to mirror in body. i think because my belief set, it allow me to accept some things as means to move beyond.

    with my own meta morposis i can see the link to butterfly. it leave one stage of life and enter another. it never thinking as butterfly as was caterpillar, only it maybe rememer srange tie when it move into darkness and all this changes happen as is body rewrite then it come out different creature entire. it is so profound this that looking at it no longer can see was before. only those then know what it was. so nature do have this ability and much magics.

    my current shame in this is having to go thru this process. having to give up one gender for another. its much to process. its much to relearn. and some people will say they will offer support to the trangender community at a distance because it make them feel special to help the less fortunate when i think what we really want is just equality and fair tratement. Is easy when u have this things given to u to supress certain groups because u cannot unerstand them. i am so often classified into category that arent even who i am. like i have to be this freak when i have done what i can over years to blend into society. im not going continue punish myself for who i am. its gone on for to long and that one of the rason why im so distance from people. im scare of people really. 

    i have continue see my therapist since the beginning of this. ive been lucky for that. maybe talking about this more help me in some way. its help me to unerstand a lot about myself and where im wanting to be and what i want to expect but theres so much i didnt expect before i started.



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  7. Lori

    I recall that during transition, when I needed new friends, I had a theory that worked out pretty well. If I met just one new friend, they would usually lead me to additional friends.  There were plenty of people I didn't feel I had anything in common with or just didn't care to have as friends, so I was still pretty selective about friends. But every now and then I'd make a new friend and that usually opened to door to additional social experiences and friendships with their circle of friends. By the time I had completed transition I had a circle of trusted friends. 

    Another random memory just popped in my mind. I didn't come out to everyone. I more or less just moved on, but I did tell a few closest friends and family of my transition. One thing that stood out was that it was often very surprising who would drift away after I told them and who would emerge as a new solid friend. Sometimes the closest friends from before transition couldn't handle it so they drifted away. Other, more casual friends, would sometimes step up to become a strong part of the support network. 

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  8. Emma

    Thanks for writing this Kitrah. Sadness and depression often lead to withdrawal since it feels like we are taking care of ourselves, licking our wounds so to speak or, as you said, we are unhappy and being alone feels like it’s a protection against further hurt. What do you feel is driving you to withdrawing from others?

    Self shame is another reason, and I know this one very well. Shame derives from feeling “I am bad” and I felt that way because of my gender dysphoria. 

    But withdrawal doesn’t really help, does it. As Brene Brown says, shame loves the darkness and can’t live in the light of awareness and exposure. It’s scary but it truly helps to allow other people into our lives. 

    Do you have the resources to see a therapist? I highly recommend doing that if you can.

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  9. Kitrah

    Hi girls thank for the support i love you all. i did go to a group in my area but i felt out of place. much this ppl were younger than me, just different life experence and no hangups about who they area. i still feel like i fighting w myself over all this years and try be ok w myself. in some ways i coming out i just feel like it need be faster. this whole idenity thing a lot me deal with. its hard try to keep up with two idenities. i think when it finally start break to surface everthing start going wrong for me in life and i wasnt able just run away. so i will try find some sort support im just have difficulty connect w people. 

    In term of support network i pretty much just loner for 10 year. Everyone change now so there not real support network for me. Im open for new friendships but i dont feel i have much to offer. it just a lot of pressure on top of trying transition. I thought put off for few years but i feel that if i did it wasn't going happen. The timing felt like now or never. so i just do it. i waited long enough time already. but yes, swim in the ocean alone is dangerous and sometime i just want some girlfriend to talk to. so for the internet, its given that. eventually u get tired of swimming and want to lay on beach.

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  10. Chrissy


    I'm so sorry that you have to be going through this without a social support network - it is certainly still very possible, but I understand how much more difficult it can be. And being on a job search at the same time just makes it that much more difficult.

    Perhaps you already have, but have you looked around for any support groups in your area?  They can be hard to find, even in NYC they are few and far between, but a good support group can be really helpful. In the meantime I hope you find some support on this site!

    I'm also totally with you on the idea of being "gender fluid" - I fully identify, and am, female, nothing fluid about it :-)



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  11. Lori

    That is a good physician who takes the time to ensure you have an adequate support network. My physician did the same. 

    Each situation is a little different. When I began to transition in the late 80s there weren't a lot of readily available resources so I really felt alone. I browsed personal ads in the newspapers, and later on dating sites -- for friends, not lovers. That may sound odd but it worked. I located a nearby transgender suppport group and made new friends there. I came out to a few cisgender people who became supportive allies. Due to the support group and new friends, I was able to locate qualified professionals including an endocrinologist, general physician, mental health therapist and an electrologist. It all took quite a bit of time but it was worth going through the steps. Those personal connections can help make a difference. 

    Speaking of employment: I was educated and highly qualified, but in a field that wasn't very accepting of LGBT people. I left an established career to transition privately and re-emerge in stealth mode. Things got really tough but it was through my personal contacts that I located a great job that lasted about seven years, through and beyond my transition. 

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  12. Emma

    Kitrah, I feel for you. I'm very fortunate to have a good support network and I agree completely with Lori: it's so important. In fact, when I started HRT in early September my doctor asked me to describe my support network. Its existence wasn't going to prevent her prescribing the hormones but she wanted assurance that I have people around for help.

    I imagine you've looked for LGBT community centers and other resources in your area? There is no replacement for face-to-face human contact but indeed, web resources like TGGuide can help too.

    I wish you the very best Kitrah, I really do.

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  13. Lori

    Your description of going through female puberty is quite accurate. It is an exciting but awkward stage where you go through changes you can't quite understand, much like a teenage girl. Online support is great and can be very helpful, but you need people in real life too. I don't know where you're located, but I recommend you establish a support network as soon as you can. People to include in that network are supporting family members, friends and caring professionals. If you're near a city this should be easier than if you're in a rural area. You may have to travel. A few options for meeting people come to mind: transgender friendly nightclubs, social groups, LGBT community centers and support groups. If religious faith is a priority, there are supportive environments in some churches such as Unitarian Universalist and many others of various faiths. A quick Google search should reveal some options. Whatever you do, try not to go through this alone. The support of just a few good friends will make all the difference. Hugs to you and wishing the best for you on your journey. 

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  14. bluemoon

    Love the name, kimberlyann. Please embrace your own advice and that best part of you. You seem very loving and she needs you. Being intersex rather than transgender, I believe in different shades of femaleness and maleness, a continuum or spectrum rather than identity or even physicality always being binary. Your inner femaleness sounds particularly strong, heartfelt, and precious, always there as you or a big part of you. It's not too late, but whether a full transition or not, she seems thirsty for others to know and love her for who she is.

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  15. MichelleLea

    Thanks, Emma. It seems that the people who buy our products are especially nice themselves and care about their employees.I will be happy to have them as clients. It looks like Thursday is the big day as we are lined up to open four accounts. So far, so good.

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  16. Emma

    Me too, MichelleLea, happy birthday. 

    So, you were born in ‘42? What a time to grow up. I suppose you don’t have any memories of WW2 people coming home and resettling. But then there was the Korean War, and Vietnam, of course. That’s a lot of wars, too many. 

    I was born in ‘56 and I well remember Vietnam, with Walter Cronkite reporting each night. I just missed being drafted which was quite fortunate of course. 

    So much has changed mostly for the better since then, especially as regards being transgender. I surreptitiously read everything I happened across, mostly about Christine Jorgensen. But also about transvestites, which always sounded like some kind of nasty thing, like a parasite. 

    Ah well, better late than never. I’m glad you found us, and enjoy yourself in the chat room. It does feel so great to just be yourself, doesn’t it. 

    Good luck this week. Yours is an especially tough sales job. Not only cold calling and all that but also selling a solution to a need that most would prefer to ignore or procrastinate. So much of the job is about selling yourself, bonding and connecting with people so they trust and want to do business with you. It takes a special talent and kind of person and I feel you’re going to do very well.


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  17. MichelleLea

    Hi Kimmi, 

    I don't know that it's ever too late. It's a tragedy that we live in a society that condemns people for being who they are. I'm CD myself and only now at age 75 and widowed am I able to dress freely--in the house anyway. ​Maybe you will still have the chance to be the woman you are. You still sound like a lovely person no matter what.

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  18. MichelleLea

    I think that it is good that you are examining the word "Transition" and any other terms in use in the trans community. Language is so important in that it defines who we are and how we and the world see ourselves. I believe that language will evolve as the trans community receives greater acceptance. People in general still have a hard time differentiating between gender and sex .

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  19. Emma

    Interesting, Chrissy, thanks. For me, I’m less concerned with defining where I’m transitioning “from” and more interested in the “to.” Also, in my mind I’m not even 100% sure of what I’m going to be when I get there. A transgender woman, yes, but I think I’m already there now as I’m always presenting as female now although have only been on HRT for two months.

    In general use by cis people I believe that they also have varying opinions of the from and to. But all understand that it is a transition, and it’s a big thing.

    All that said, I agree with your concerns about “CGHT.” That does feel loaded and potentially stigmatizing. 

    My own issue with “transition” is that it seems to imply something that is over and done at some point, like I should aim for something. I’m not, though. I’m simply taking steps, pretty much one at a time, like stepping stones across a river.

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  20. Emma

    I find your attitude so refreshing and remarkable. You’re a great example to all of us. I’ll bet your managers love you!

    And, like Lori, I continue to learn, always. I’m 61 and taught myself how to create and publish iOS apps a couple of years ago. Too bad I missed the Gold Rush!

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