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About Emma

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    Senior Moderator
  • Birthday May 12

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    Bicycling, learning new things, reading, hiking, backpacking, camping, cooking, Petite Syrah, sharing experiences with friends.

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  1. Emma

    Baby Steps

    Congratulations are in order. I know well the feelings you’re expressing, of secretly cross dressing. I bristle a bit at your calling yourself a sissy. That’s such a slur, that is demeaning and doesn’t apply to you. Good on you for coming out to your PACE friends. It feels good to be authentic, doesn’t it? Slow steps, no rush. But continue to push against your boundaries. Regardless of where you need to be (e.g., transitioning) we owe it to ourselves to come into our own and be ourselves. We only have this one life to live.
  2. Emma

    Am I a Woman?

    @Christy, Thanks very much for your comments. I think you're hitting on several important things: There is a lot of euphoria during transition. It's so empowering to be authentic! But once we've settled into ourselves we still carry our existential anxieties (curiosity?) even as the gender dysphoria feels greatly reduced. I've also had interactions with transitioned trans women like you did, where they carry enormous chips on their shoulders, angry and defiant and wishing that the world would change around them. Like you, I don't feel comfortable around them. Where's the fun in bonding over grief and anger? Brene also writes about that in her book, that relationships constructed on the foundations of mutual dislikes and gossip really have no foundation at all. And yet people often do this, cis, trans, whatever. Think Trump and his "base." I'm aiming to be what Brene wrote about in the quote I posted. I just am what I am. My ex-wife sent this to me along with a birthday email in May 2017 about a month after our divorce and my final departure from our home in California: "Remember that I will aIways love you. You are the finest person I have ever known and I thank God that you are in my life." I try to tuck that into my consciousness as I go through my days even though we're no longer talking to allow us both breathing and grieving space. @Monica, I'm so sorry to read about your pain. Perhaps you can write more about how you're feeling, what you're facing? Maybe it will help to get it out and have us add our support and acknowledgements that you're loved by all of us. Best wishes, Emma
  3. Emma

    Am I a Woman?

    Yesterday I exchanged emails with a good friend of mine, who's a cis woman, about how before/during/after transition I fretted about my gender. Although I feel very binary, a woman, I tell people that I'm a "woman of transgender experience" which, I hope conveys an understanding that I'm a woman first, but am also transgender, always and forever. Well, I tell myself that, but I still struggle. My friend wrote: "The ways we try as women to fit a standard, and inevitably fail, because it's an unattainable standard." That triggered me. I was delighted that she sees me as another woman, at least mentally. But it's habitual that I wonder how does she know? Is she saying that just to be kind? And more importantly, what am I, really? I think we all wish that we can be "fixed" of our anxieties, to be rid of them. I'm learning that this just doesn't happen. We need to learn to live with them. Maybe this quote from Brene Brown's recent "Braving the Wilderness" will help: "Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are."
  4. My dear Emma....I wanted to tell you before too much time passed that I loved your profile photo update.  A very, very classy, smart lady and I can see some of that little girl in your eyes, your smile and your cheeks!  Beautiful.  Jess👍

    1. Christy


      I agree  

  5. Emma

    Ain't gonna purge NO MORE, NO MORE!

    Good for you, Jessica! many (most? all?) have have gone through so many purge cycles particularly, as you said, when life events happen and we hope "this is finally IT," that we can finally shed what we thought of as unwelcome and shameful baggage. Now, we know differently, that our femininity has always been baked into us since birth and it's perfectly okay and glorious to be ourselves. I guess we're about the same age (I'm 62) and so we might wish we'd taken this bull by the horns many decades ago. I feel that way, sure, about many things. Thankfully we have our lives to lead as we move foreword. Live gloriously, as yourself.
  6. Emma

    Blind sided again.

    Ahhh, Christy, such a nice story. You go, girl!
  7. Emma


    I fully understand! I hope you’ll determine a way to dress and go out more often. Perhaps there’s a crossdressers group in your area?
  8. Emma


    Losing weight is hard, and it takes more than eating fewer calories than what you burn. To burn it off more quickly I suggest the Atkins approach: - carefully record each day what you’re eating and the number of calories and net carbs. To get net carbs, take the total and subtract “Dietary Fiber”. - aim for total net carbs of 25 grams or fewer per day. Exercise helps a lot too, especially with feelings of depression. For me, getting outside is wonderful. Practice gratitude for everything that you see. It’s tempting to get things like hip and butt pads but in the end they’re just uncomfortable and don’t accomplish much. I was always worried too that they’d shift or be in the “wrong” place and I’d look odd or silly. I suggest spending your money on clothing. Look around at women who’re about your size and shape and find ideas for what you’d like. Then go get them! You might find women’s clothing consignment shops for larger women. Excellent way to find clothes that fit and much lower cost than retail. They may also have shoes. It’s hard to find shoes that fit too. Welcome to TG Guide!
  9. Hi Christy, I know what you mean about my statement about doing what you need to do without consideration of others. I wrote that quickly and although I wasn’t satisfied with it I let it stand. I’m not sure what I meant to say exactly. Perhaps this is another discussion topic for your group or another thread here in TGG, or both? Overall the point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t do us good to ruminate so much, building up and reinforcing our fears and shame. There’s so much to “worry” about as we all well know. With that context I’m saying that we need to practice getting into a mindful headspace where we develop an understanding of what’s in our hearts, irrespective of external considerations. And with that we’re better prepared to consider our responsibilities, loves, families, and all that, to plot a truthful course through the rocks and shoals. And yet, with all that, and returning back to the topic of this thread, everyone transitions with us. It’s quite upsetting to some and does take some blind faith and courage on our part. On a happier note, about your experiences in the grocery store and elsewhere: I’m having the same kinds of interactions! I have friends who give me hugs and fist bumps at the grocery stores, hardware store, lumber store... all over. My joy, I think, radiates. Last night I was added into our local HRC chapter’s Steering Committee, which I think reflects on this too. Being trans and transitioning is darned challenging to say the least. These days I’m finding that it’s very personally rewarding!
  10. I'd just like to politely (I hope) point out that predicting the future is impossible. Worse, many people ruminate about it, endlessly wrestling with different scenarios in a desperate effort to choose "the right one" which is, again, impossible. Yes, one must be responsible for themselves, and do their best to be prepared financially and/or job- or career-wise. I'm not encouraging anyone to take the leap into transition. Just saying that it's so easy to allow fears and uncertainties to cloud our judgment. I completely agree with this regardless of whether one transitions or not. Wanting to withdraw is a reaction to fear and establishing control over ones life because we'd be alone. Like Jessica says, it's a recipe for disaster. The key is to figure out how you need to live your life without much consideration for others. The only ones that should be considered are close family members. But even with them we only have our single life to live. I came "that close" to ending mine several years ago and would have missed so much. Returning to the original theme of Monica's post here it's well known that when we transition everyone does it with us. That can be said about any transitions: career, work, home,... even if one inherits a bunch of money or earns a lot and takes enviable vacations. Yes, gender transition is big. On reflection I don't really see why but I know it's been for some in my life. The reason I don't see why it's such a big deal is that at our core we are the same people we've always been, only happier, more grounded. Isn't that what our friends and loved ones should hope for everyone they love? For whatever reason(s) some people refuse to accept our reality. We can't control anyone including them. Convincing someone that we are valid and real can be like a religious debate, or trying to convince someone to vote Democrat instead of Republican. I think there are two important rules to live by: 1. Recognize that it's not selfish and it is our God-given right to live our lives. 2. Set an example for others of our love, respect, and support for everyone, including ourselves.
  11. Emma

    My wife brought this up to me. I said “What?”

    I may very well have screwed up throwing Anne Vitale under the bus. I’m sorry that I may have confused her with another. No harm intended!
  12. Emma

    My wife brought this up to me. I said “What?”

    Christy, I was once a fan of Anne Vitale and I considered visiting her in her practice since she was within reach of me, just north of San Francisco. But I got turned off as I picked up on her philosophy or belief that trans women are satisfying some sort of innate sexual urge rather than just discovering and aligning themselves to their gender identity. I am, regardless, glad that you found her and her book to be helpful. I’ve been on HRT for just over a year and fully presenting as Emma in public for that time as well. I have and do experience a lot of joy and excitement but for me it doesn’t feel like an adolescence. But what I thought I’d add to your post is that when I dress in the morning, apply my minimal makeup, arrange my hair, I do it all as I think about my day, meetings, etc. My goal is to be as appropriately attractive (to women) as I can be. I take pride in assembling an outfit, some jewelry, that I believe looks nice on me and projects the image I want to convey. Maybe that’s adolescence in a nutshell? I don’t know. It is so interesting to me that I seem to be so drawn to be attractive, and I enjoy it. It’s not a burden at all, and it’s not derived from a sexual proclivity, but the goal is to attract a woman who will wish to date me and sure, maybe something more.
  13. Emma

    Coming out day

    That’s why calling coming out, transitioning, being authentic, is termed the “Hero’s Journey” by Dara Hoffman-Fox. It truly is. We are all on our own journey, pursuing our lives in a much more determined and challenging way than most other people.
  14. Emma

    "Inner Circle"

    "... a common theme in self acceptance therapies seems to be to allow people into your inner circle to achieve happiness and piece of mind." This struck me as so true and honestly, I'm a believer. Another way of saying it is that being vulnerable - which means allowing people to see our selves in a less-guarded way - spawns happiness and peace of mind. If you're interested in learning more I recommend Brene Brown's books - pretty much any of them. You see, I believe that being true to ourselves means that we're being true to those outside of ourselves. For trans and others in the LGBTQ space, this can be tough. We've learned that it's risky (emotionally at least) to allow others to have an awareness of our authentic selves. For me this led to decades of hiding, shame, and fear, ultimately leading to serious depression and suicide attempts. Why? Because when we're in hiding it's as if we are living a lie, always aware of what others might think or know about our secret. Alternatively we can come out to successive layers of people (spouse/partner, family, etc.) ultimately leading to colleagues and the public. Is it risky? Yes. Is it scary? Definitely. I lost several friends, and that still hurts. But there is a relief I feel that I know well that I could never have achieved. I am still open to hurt but we all know that's life. And it's not all bad. It's good to have feelings, it makes us real people too, perhaps closer in alignment with our true gender. I don't mean to turn this discussion to me but I must add that yesterday I was a guest speaker at a local elementary school. I talked to nine different classes of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Exhausting! In the last class a 5th grade girl blurted out: "Do you wear dresses?" I was wearing aubergine cords and a flowery top. I was startled by her question. I didn't mind talking about my being trans - that happened a little bit in other classes. But her question sounded a bit mocking, judgmental. I answered, "Yes, occasionally. I wear whatever any woman wears." I said it calmly without any attitude or tone. She seemed satisfied, perhaps because her comment didn't seem to ruffle my feathers. Later, I thought I could have said, "Do you?" to her question about wearing dresses. But that would have been more confrontational and, perhaps, played into her behavior of picking verbal combats. So I'm glad I didn't. This morning I still remember what she said. It's as if she, in that little exchange, cut me to the core. Am I valid? Am I weird? I don't like those feelings as I'm sure you understand. But, you know, I am using my feelings as an opportunity to take an inventory of me as a woman of transgender experience. It's who I am regardless of whatever anyone says, does, or thinks. Sometimes it feels like a big burden and it is. We all have our burdens, cis, trans, blacks, left-handers,... We're no different, better, or worse than anyone else.
  15. Emma

    Hair Removal

    Hope this will help: Laser hair removal: Only works on dark hair such as brown or black. It doesn't work on blond or gray hair. It doesn't provide permanent hair removal. It's not recommended to combine laser with electrolysis. I don't know exactly why but I think it's because the hair that's been removed with laser takes time to return thus the electrologist can't see it, thus forcing further electrolysis appointments. Electrolysis: Electrolysis does support permanent hair removal. However, "killing" the follicle sometimes takes 2-3 treatments. I was initially surprised to learn from my electrologist that weekly treatments might take 5 years to completely clear my face and neck, and I didn't have a very dense beard. Now, I believe it. It's very important to be well hydrated with water. This requires drinking a lot of water each day, up to a gallon if possible. The water hydrates the skin which surrounds the follicles and thus provides better heat conduction to the follicle, thus improving its effectiveness. I find electrolysis very very painful... more than I can bear. I'm told that for some people it's less so, but not for me. Although I wanted to have two hour sessions to clear my face that much faster there were times when I could only take it for 1/2 hour. There are several different types of electrolysis machines and treatments. Many use a technique known as "blend" that combines both galvanic and thermology at the probe. It takes 7-9 seconds per hair. A newer (and faster) one is described here, which I have experienced: http://precisionhairremoval.com/electrolysis-permanent-hair-removal/electrolysis-technology/ Pain management: With my first electrologist I was lucky that her office is adjacent to a friendly dentist who, for $50, would inject novocaine into the inside of my mouth and lips to deaden the electrolysis pain. This worked perfectly! But it only works in those areas around the mouth that he could treat. I have now gone twice to Precision Hair Removal just outside of Chicago because they offer an IV-delivered "twilight sleep" that is administered while lidocaine injections are made all over my face and neck. Those lidocaine injections are very painful so the twilight sleep is critical. After the injections one is fully awake but do not feel any pain from electrolysis by two technicians working simultaneously on each side of the face. Each treatment is expensive especially when you include the travel, hotel, and eating costs. Overall I feel it's about the same as the total costs one would incur over five years and it's relatively pain-free and much much faster! I'm not advertising for Precision Hair Removal but it might be of interest. Surprisingly as far as I know (and I did a lot of investigation) it's the only such service in the US: http://precisionhairremoval.com