Martha’s Purse

Many of you have heard the phrase “like a ton of rocks”.  Well, for my grandmother’s purse, this actually rang true.  I am pretty sure she carried rocks in her purse.

As a young child, few things brought the same amount of joy as heading over to my grandparents’ house.  I adored my grandfather and my grandmother was amazing, in a completely different way.

Standing at, maybe, five foot, she was the very picture of “old school” grandmothers.  Always cooking.  Always cleaning.  Always crocheting.  An almost perfectly round figure with an almost perfectly round face.  A face that almost always had a smile on it.  She was a true grandmother.  Norman Rockwell would have seen his paintings come to life in their house.  She was the epitome of what grandmothers used to be.  I think that she was among the last of that “breed”.  **to touch back on the “almost always had a smile”, she could get angry, and when she did, I swear she was over seven feet tall**

The purse in reference was usually a black, shiny vinyl bag that she would wear on her forearm.  Though she always had it, she also always managed to leave it in the “other room”.  I was generally called upon to bring it in to her.  This was the first purse I carried.

As a small child, I remember the weight of this purse.  A ton of rocks.  I swear!  A ton of rocks!  Many times I would go to pick it up and it would almost topple me over it, trying to pick it up off the floor or bed.  Being little, it was easier for me to carry it like a shoulder bag (and I was small enough that it worked as such).  I would carry her purse like this until I got close to the room where everyone was gathered.  At that point I would move it down, carry it with my hands and have a very disgusted look on my face that reflected a “how dare you ask ME to carry this” position.

For years I was the designated purse fetcher.  I guess I was good at it, or my brother refused to get it, or I was trusted to never go through it.  Anyway, I was always called upon to go fetch grandma’s pocketbook…..a phrase that always made me scratch my head in wonderment.

What was in this purse?  Well, I don’t truly know.  I really never did go through it.  But what I DO know about it was that it held just about anything someone could need.  It held her handkerchief.  It held gum, mints, change for the penny and dime machines in the drugstore lobby (you know, the ones with horribly stale knock-off versions of Chiklets gum).  Her wallet was stuffed to the point of almost never closing, yet she never had much cash.  It was, instead, full of receipts, notes, newspaper clippings and little tidbits of drawings that her grandchildren may have given to her.  That wallet, I believe, contained everything that she held dear.  The purse may also have held these same importances.

To this day, I do not know what was in that purse to make it so heavy.  I never peeked, even after her death.  It felt wrong.  I know that my mother and aunt went through her things, as all children must upon the passing of a parent, but I have never asked to know what was inside.  Suffice it to say, if it were possible to carry around a little piece of heaven, I’m sure she had it, nestled in the lower corner of her shiny, black vinyl purse.

As I look at my own choice of bag, they are almost always black.  They are usually small, with the exception of a large shoulder bag (which I love).  But no matter what purse I am carrying, I always seem to leave it in “the other room”.

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A strict upbringing

A little post to shed a little light on how I was brought up.

Some of it involved double standards.  We were taught to treat everyone with respect and kindness, though there were certain groups of people that were not seen favorably by my parents.  This still goes on today.  They are nice people, just a little wrong in their standards and convictions.

Growing up, Star Wars was NOT allowed in our house.  There had been some tape circulating around our church that told of the evils of Star Wars.  It told how this “Science Fiction” movie was going to destroy religion.

There was to be NO Dungeons & Dragons in our house since it was the tool of the devil.  Yes, our church taught that as well.  We were taught on a regular basis how evil it was.  We were told stories of the horrors that were associated with this game.  We were consistently told lies.

It is these two things, and believe me when I say there were MANY more than these two. that made me appreciate a couple things more than anything else.

I had friends that played D&D.  Friends that went to our church.  Friends that attended the christian school (run by our church) that I attended.  My parents finally broke down one year and realized that this wasn’t really Satan’s tool.  I remember the Christmas I received a hand held LCD D&D game from my parents.  I think they tested the D&D waters with the electronic board game called THE DARK TOWER. It wasn’t D&D so they were ok with it.  Even though it was basically D&D, without the other people playing….you know, the ones who would turn me to their dark ways and possibly cause me to do drugs and turn to murder… Anyway, it was a simple maze game that had the player going from room to room, hoping to avoid such things as the pits, bats and, mainly, the Dragon.  Along the way you pick up a rope (to get out of the pit) and an arrow (to slay the dragon).  You would have to guess when you were close to the dragon and shoot your arrow into the unknown, hopefully finding him.  If not, you continue on your way, hoping to grab the arrow once again, before encountering the dragon……

I also remember the Christmas they got me my first Star Wars toy.  Now, I had saved up allowances and bought a figure here and there (or skipped lunch and saved that money), but my parents had never purchased me anything.  It was the SNOWSPEEDER from The Empire Strikes Back.  It was such a joyous occasion.  I carefully opened the box and made sure that everything remained intact.  It was great to be able to run around with my own ship and take on my own missions for the Rebellion (upon occasion it would be for the Empire, after they stole the one remaining Rebel ship).  No matter how the scenario played out, it was my own story.  My own three act play.

I remember these toys because they were a turning point in the way my parents began to view things.  The way they began to view me.  I had crossed over into the teenage years and they gave a little more clout to my feelings and interests. They came around to realize that I had these interests, whether they approved or not, and I wasn’t joining the occult, sacrificing animals (or children) and I wasn’t rebelling against the rules that had been set in place…..except, of course, for still enjoying the aforementioned novelties.  These two toys meant so much to me and I still have them both.  They will be items that I will never part with.

**I hope that over the past several years my parents vies on certain things have also changed, so they can accept who I am and the changes that are ahead**

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The Difference In How We Are Treated

This isn’t an entry on how differently Trans people are treated, but rather, how we are treated differently based on how we are perceived.

As soon as we’re born, we are labeled.  Boy or Girl.  As soon as we’re born, we are treated differently by almost everyone who will come in contact with us from that point forward.

We see this happen every day of our lives.  As soon as someone realizes they are looking at a baby boy, it becomes full of Tim Allen (Home Improvement) grunts and growls and “That’s the little man!”  If the baby has a strong grip (which they all do, have you EVER tried to get them to let go of your hair or earrings??) anyway, if the grip is strong, and it’s a boy, they person starts talking about how you’ve got a future quarterback on your hands or how they will be able to palm the ball and make some great basketball moves.

When a person realizes that the baby is a girl, even if they just did everything as mentioned above, the voice becomes immediately softer and the compliments are turned to beautiful features and soft skin (again, have you EVER met a baby that didn’t have soft skin???).  They immediately start talking about her future.  How she will melt the boys’ hearts and how she must be a daddy’s girl (which is a true stereotype—I don’t think a dad can help but just be taken with the joy that is a daughter….let’s hope mine feels this way).

Throughout the rest of our lives we are treated based on perception.  There have been several times when I will be treated one way, based on how I am perceived and then treated the polar opposite upon a second study.  I’m not even talking about someone realizing I am trans.  This confusion usually happens when I am in boy mode, which is pretty androgynous.  I am usually taken for a guy and then a girl and then either. (example: walking up the sidewalk as someone enters a store.  They begin to let the door close and then dive to hold it open and then follow that up with whatever reaction once I thank them—it is nice to see that chivalry is not dead, though)

As a woman, I am consistently being talked to with flirtatious inflections and sweet voices.  I’m not saying I am being flirted with, I am totally blind to that kind of thing (or deaf, as the case may be…always have been…if you don’t come right out and say I WANT TO GO OUT WITH YOU, I just don’t pick up on it).  Where I live, women are treated nicer than men.  They just are.  I don’t know if it is an “alpha dog” complex between the guys in a relatively small town, but it is noticeable.  Whenever I have gone to pay for a purchase, as a woman, 90% of the time, guys will offer to let me go ahead of them in line, even if we have the same number of items.  Sometimes they want to continue with small talk, but it’s usually just a nice gesture.

Having been on both sides of this treatment, I have to say that I rather enjoy the way I am treated as a woman.  Now, that might be because it is a feeling of affirmation for me, a feeling of knowing that I am within the boundaries of where I belong (not that there should be boundaries set for men and women, but you know what I mean).

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A brief entry

No, this isn’t about underwear!!!

I was thinking the other day.  I mean, I think all the time, or at least I try to.  This blog was originally developed for Sarah and I to get out our random thoughts on everything from, well, underwear to the pope (I just got a really disturbing image just then, hope you didn’t).  For me, it became my coming out journal.  I am hoping to get back to the random rantings and also continue my coming out journal.  But till then, all I have is this little entry that you just read.

Talk to you all soon.

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Different Stages

There are different stages that a person goes through during a lifelong decision to transition.  Each one is different, but some may be the same.  These were mine.

Break it down now.

CONFUSION:

At a very early age, three or four for my earliest memories, I knew something wasn’t right.  I just didn’t know what it was.  I knew when I saw girls playing, I wanted to be part of their group, not the stupid boys running around hitting each other.  Even in Kindergarten, we had a “dress up” house.  My best friend, a girl who died while in kindergarten, was always my playmate.  We would both be the mom, complete with whatever attire we could find to accomplish our look.  We were Kindergarten Lesbians!  Still, it felt right.  I felt like this was the key to unlock the door to a further mystery.

I should also add that during this period of my life, I was constantly being told by girls that they were SO jealous of my long lashes.  I would also overhear the occasional statement, “He should have been a girl.  He’s so pretty.”  I was never sure what to make of those comments, but I agreed with them.  Our babysitter had two daughters that were slightly older than me.  The day they said they wanted me to be their little sister for the day was the happiest day of my childhood, seriously.  Not sure why they had a wig around.  My memory could be slightly off, but it seemed something much nicer than you would find in a dress up set.  The entire day, I was a girl.  That is when it clicked.  That is when I knew for certain that THIS was how I should have been born.

I also remember going to work with my mom….at our church.  The pastor’s daughter had one of the Barbie heads with makeup (well, watercolor paints, but still).  I would practice making her up and then I would hold the head up above mine so the long hair would cascade over mine.  Sometimes I would hold it backwards so the long hair was in my face and I would practice brushing it out of the way.  Nobody ever caught me, and I made sure to stay IN the playroom and listen closely for foot steps.  At home, during bath time, I would lather my legs up and pretend to shave them with the washcloth (all arranged and folded to resemble a razor).  All I knew of the action was that women shaved their legs and men shaved their face.  I think I took the knowledge of watching dad shave and applied that to my mock shaving of the legs.

EXPLORATION:

Like the U.S.S. Enterprise, I set out to explore strange worlds and new civilizations.  Well, at least new worlds.  In my late grade school years I would find time to try on girls clothes.  A little rough at home since my mother was the only female around. I had a couple female friends and we’d dress up quite a bit.  I also found a dress up chest at my cousins’ house.  I remember one day getting dressed up and they wanted me to go downstairs and show everyone….was NOT going to happen.  I changed quickly back to drab.

My mom wasn’t the epitome of fashion, but hidden deep within the three closets of clothes she couldn’t throw out was an amazingly cute skirt and vest.  Now in junior high, I realized that I could come home from school, throw on some hose and the skirt and do my homework.  Take it all off, go outside and play and nobody was the wiser.  I also did WAY better on my homework while dressed….perhaps because I was totally and completely at ease and “right”.  The hose, being a pair I snagged out of the waste basket and washed before ever wearing, were there for a reason….they had a big run in them.  This had to be taken care of.  It also led to my first first act of thievery.  I had gone into a little five and dime place in town and managed to procure a pair of hose and a bra without being seen.  I did not make a practice out of doing this, and made sure that I went back and gave them a LOT of business because I felt so guilty for stealing what probably amounted to $5.

Mom was not so much an Avon shopper as she was an Avon freebie snagger.  She bought some stuff from Avon (I still have a Snoopy brush from way back when) but it was the little samples of lipstick, blush and eyeshadow that was stockpiled in the bathroom drawer that got my attention.  I grabbed a couple shades of each and moved them to the darkest corner of my toy box.  Always with just enough on top to hide them, but not enough that I couldn’t get to them when needed.

Let me back pedal a little here.  In third grade I was moved from the public school system to a private christian school that was part of our church.  The first play I was in, I was part of the chorus of singing lettuce in a Peter Rabbit play.  The lettuce were donned in, basically, a green smock/dress and green tights.  I had to go buy tights with my mom.  It was another one of those days that felt perfectly right.  I remember going to K-Mart (or possibly a store called Zayre that has long since vanished) and going through the girl’s section.  My mom would pick some tights, open them (oh yes she did), hold them up to me and then move to the next pair.  I suggested trying them on but she would have none of that.  She looked nervously around each time she would try to size them up to me.  People saw, but even then, they didn’t care.  I still think I gave off that vibe back then.  I recently looked at some old home movies and I was a VERY girlie little boy.  The way I walked and ran.  The only time I even slightly looked boyish in my activities were when I was copying whatever my brother was doing……even then, with a certain amount of flare and caution, just the right amount of both, I think.  I remember trying to get mom to then wander around the girl’s section a little longer, but she was done.  That was the first time I really wanted to say something to her.  I wanted to let her know that she DID have a little girl, but something went wrong when I was born.

Back to the subject at hand and on to the next phase (next stage, next grade, next wave)<- anyone get the reference?

CROSSDRESSING:

Around the time of late junior high and high school, I began to realize what I was.  I was a crossdresser.  That had to be it.  Oh, let me add in that my voice dropped about 12 octaves overnight in 6th grade.  I hated it.  No muscle.  No body hair.  No other changes, but my voice.  I cried when it happened.  Anyway…..  I had heard of crossdressing, through DONAHUE or something of the sort, so I looked it up.  The dictionary didn’t give too good of a description, but one that seemed to be pretty spot on, as far as I knew.  I dressed in the clothing of the opposite sex and I got a little satisfaction out of it.  In the mirror, I saw a girl.

It was also at this time that I devised the perfect plan to get girl’s clothes for Christmas.  We were always supposed to make a list of what we wanted and that would be a jumping off point for the budget mom had for presents.  My plan was to say, “Let me close my eyes, flip open the catalog and point.  Whatever I point to, just get me that.  I don’t care what it is.  I want to be surprised.”  Then I practiced opening and pointing throughout the Sears catalog.  I knew right where the dresses and shoes were. I knew where the toys were (I did want this to seem random and I still loved toys).  This would work out tremendously.  One small thing.  My lack of nerve to go through with it.  I just sat and looked at the catalog day after day, wishing I would turn into the models in the catalog.  Still wishing I would wake up and everything would have been a dream and I would be my parents’ daughter.

I also heard a lot about the power of prayer.  Pray long and hard (that sounds dirty) and your prayers will be answered.  So I did.  I would say prayers on such a regular basis that I probably made the most devout christian look like a backslider.  But nothing happened. I prayed for the courage to tell my parents.  Nothing.  I prayed for this to all be a dream.  Nothing.  I prayed for an accident to happen where they would have to perform some operation that would end up with the easiest solution being making me a girl.  Nothing. When I asked about the prayers not being answered (and I kept this very vague) I was told that the answer is sometimes no, so my prayers really were answered.  WHAT A CROCK!!!!!??  I felt ripped off.

About this time, television shows were getting a little more cutting edge.  Talk shows were having people on that were far beyond just dressing like the opposite sex, but rather really looking like females!  No surgeries or anything like that.  These were beautiful women with male voices.  The talk shows would try to shed light, but I would find the hatred coming out of some of the audience members quite disturbing.  not everyone, but some.  There were also shows like REAL PEOPLE who would show drag bars (my first glimpse of THE QUEEN MARY) and would do a serious story and then ruin it by sort of mocking the people on the in between chatter of the show.  The women at the Queen Mary were all boys and were all beautiful.  This led to another realization….

TRANSVESTITE:

I was finding myself more than a little turned on by the act of dressing now.  I was a little older.  Puberty had fully taken over.  I realized that this was more than just wanting to wear the clothes, but didn’t fully understand the concept beyond the dressing and feeling rather euphoric.  This phase lasted the longest, really.  It would grow in intensity as I got older and had more freedom.

When I got my first car, the world opened up.  The car led to a job and a job meant money.  I remember my first makeup purchase.  I worked at a grocery store and one day I went in on my day off to buy some foundation.  I bought CoverGirl and picked a shade that was WAY too dark for my skin, but I wanted to make sure it covered everything.  By this point I had the unwelcome addition of facial and body hair.  Stupid puberty!  I remember getting a little poked fun at in the checkout lane, but assured them it was for my mom.

This is where it got a little expensive.  I would go out and buy clothes to keep hidden in the back of my closet.  I bought hose, bras, shoes, and anything else I needed for the process.  Don’t think for a minute this was easy.  I was always shaking SO badly when paying for the stuff it was ridiculous.  I would also go to the next town over to make sure I wasn’t spotted.  This would work for a while and then I would purge everything I had.  Purging is actually another phase, but I will just keep it here as a side mention.  this went on over and over and over.  Cheap wigs from K-Mart, bargain priced shoes and clothing, makeup.  The guilt would move in and I would throw it all out, vowing never to buy it again, or to even think about it.  Yeah, that didn’t work.  It would last about two or three months and then I was back at it.  Buying everything I just pitched. Then the cycle would repeat itself.

Finally, I realized it was getting so expensive, I should just hang on to the stuff, because I was going to go broke if not.  This is also when I decided to take those first fateful steps out into the world, during the day.  I had gone out at night, to the end of the driveway, in the dark, while mom and dad were away.  I would run to the mailbox and run back.  Heart racing.  Not from the running, but because I made it into the world.  I had gone outside the walls of the house.  Back to the point.  I would go out during the day, bad wigs and all, and try to filter in with everyone else.  I know I didn’t.  I’ve seen pictures I took from back then.  I looked horrid, but I didn’t care.  I was a girl and I was shopping.  Or maybe just driving.  Above all else, I was OUT!  This is when the tide began to turn.

It was also during this time when I had the darkest time in my life.  I blogged about it here, so I won’t re-hash it.  Suffice it to say, I still get emotional when telling this story or even thinking about it, really.  However, if every cloud truly has a silver lining, the lining of this was coming to terms with who I was.  It was the last of the purging and the beginning of a long journey.. Was it a horrid event?  Yes.  Did it help make me stronger?  Yes.  Do I wish it had happened differently?  Of course.  Am I sorry it happened?  Not really.  It helped me move forward.

ACCEPTANCE AND DENIAL (rinse and repeat):

Although I had now truly discovered that it was BEING a woman that had always been eluding me, I still did not want to fully accept it.  I was only truly happy when dressed and presenting as a female.  This is not to say that I was a miserable soul the rest of the time, but the truest part of feeling happy and whole only came during these very small moments of being ME.

Even though I knew that I was transgendered, I didn’t fully comprehend where it would lead.  There are, after all, several layers of the trans umbrella.  I thought, maybe, I could just exist, dress whenever I could and that would be enough.  It was for a while.

During this time I met my lovely wife and we had an amazing daughter.  There was NO way I could even think about being as selfish as to rip a family apart for my own selfish goal.  I hadn’t truly thought about full on transitioning, too much, but knew enough that I wouldn’t follow that path now.

As our daughter grew, we struggled with telling her.  When to tell her.  How….  The normal stuff, you know?  Well, we raised her to be an awesome young woman and the time came to tell her.  Tell her as much as we knew at the time.

Again, as I have blogged before, my wife and I came to the understanding that things were changing.  Not between us, but within me.  Since my wife and I are best friends, we were both willing to sacrifice our ultimate joy to put the other first.  I was willing to go no further with my goals of transitioning.  She was willing to have me go ahead with transitioning, even at the possible end of our marriage.  She had told me that she would be my best friend, forever, and be my strongest supporter, but no longer be married to me.  Two sacrifices.  One journey.  We knew where this was headed.  We accepted it.

TRANSITION:

Following a couple amazing conversations with my wife, we realized this was going to happen.  There really wasn’t anything that could be done to change that.  My body was changing on its own.  My mind.  My actions and mannerisms.  Everything about me was changing.  Changing into something amazing and just a little bit frightening.  I had fought this as long as I could.  Forty-Two years in the making.  Forty-Two years of burying the real me.  Forty-Two years of trying to suppress what was really happening.  There are those of you out there that say this is a choice.  You are dead wrong.  The amount of energy it takes to cover up something that “normal” society deems deviant and immoral, is draining.  It attacks the very heart of you.  Imagine living a full blown lie, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 42 years of our life.  Sure there were the times when I would present of Jenn.  Sure there were times as a child, where being a bit feminine was acceptable.  None of those moments can begin to match the amount of strength and will, though misguided through guilt that was taught by the church and its school, needed to squash a true identity.

So here we are.  I am Forty-Five years old and just now taking my first steps on the road that will change my life forever.  I have been met with complete acceptance from friends, thus far.  It is a road full of twists, turns and fog, clouding and obstructing the view ahead.  With each turn and valley, I have no idea what lies ahead.  I have no clue how each friend will react.  I do not know if each encounter with a stranger will turn ugly.  If each outing could end in a fight.  So far, we have been met with total acceptance, as I stated above.  This speaks volumes for the friends I have.  I will admit, the deck has been stacked a bit in my favor up to this point.  I told those who I knew were open minded.  I do have some friends who may not be.  My parents are not.  At least my mother isn’t.  That will be the biggest hurdle in this all.  The possible loss of family.  I can deal with the aunts and uncles that I know will fall away, but the loss of parents to anything other than (and including) death is a weight that grows with each step I take.  I have decided to tell them only when it comes to that point.  It could be as soon as they return from Florida in May.  It could be a year from now. Possibly when the effect of hormones makes it impossible to hide.  It may end up that they only find out as I sit by their grave, telling them everything as tears flow like waterfalls from my eyes.  I do not think it will end as this last example.  I feel that they need to know their true child.  They need to know that Forty-Five years ago, the doctor was right.  It just took a little while for his predictions of a daughter to come true.

Even though the pain of this life has made me wish I were dead, there were never any thoughts of suicide.  I like myself WAY too much for that.  It was more thoughts of wishing I hadn’t been born.  At least not born this way.  But I was.  It’s part of who I am and it will be a huge part of who I am to become.  These are MY steps along MY pathway.  Others may share similar paths and similar stories, but no two journeys are alike.  It is a lonely road, but one that need not be traveled alone.

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A Matter Of Public Record

I am out.  I’m not far out, or way out, but I’m out.  I’m not out to everyone, but can be seen by anyone.  This can create a fine line separating me form the destructive fall to the rocks below.

This past Friday, while I was working my first ever Black Friday (no I wasn’t “working it”, just working), my wife went out with her 2nd in command of their department.  They had a great time together and, while getting their nails done (a first for my wife) it seemed like the right time to include yet another into our world.  The reaction is and isn’t what I expected to hear.  The co-worker is from a small town south of Muncie.  So small, they come here for fun (which is ridiculous).  I expect most people to be ok with where I am headed, at least those who know me, but when are from such a small town it can be hard to be open minded.  Not impossible, but difficult.  She had absolutely no issue at all with me and my journey to womanhood.  Again, I was not surprised, but I was.  Then I learned she wanted to meet ME.

I had gone to a friend’s calling hours, so I was dressed a bit differently than most on this horrid day after Thanksgiving.  As soon as I pulled up to her car, I was met with a huge smile and a “Get over here and let me see all of you!!”  As soon as I walked around the car I received, “God I hate you!!!”.  Then my wife and her began to talk about how they hate my thinness and it’s not fair, etc….  All with smiles and laughter.

I also met my daughter’s oldest girl friend.  They have been close, even through up, downs and “I hate you”.  We needed to grab some things, and since we were at Target, decided to shop there.  My daughter and her friend were shopping as well, so she decided she would tell her friend AND meet up with us at the same time.  OK, meet up with us just after telling her friend of my plans.  We met, talked as always and then went our separate ways.  My wife got a text from our daughter informing her that her friend thought I was beautiful and was jealous of me.  Not sure why, but whatever.  You know, if people keep telling me I’m pretty, I might end up believing it one day.

Being out in public all the time is going to end up with me encountering people who know the old me, but have yet to be introduced to Jenn.  For the most part, I pass as someone that you “might” know, but can’t place.  At the calling hours of a good friend, I was behind a girl I went to school with, and worked with, and she had no idea who I was.  While saying my goodbyes in the lobby, I encountered another person whom I have known for quite a while.  I would get the glance now and again, but nothing more.  I wasn’t completely recognizable.  Even when picking up my paycheck at Target, the woman who had the checks had no idea it was me, and she has worked with me multiple times.

With my being out, and the ability to be seen, my wife, today, decided to tell her HR person.  Completely un-phased and completely accepting, she and my wife decided that they needed to tell their CEO before someone might see me out and try to use it as a tool of shame and judgment.  Although I am out, this causes a bit of apprehension and nervousness.  She works for a very conservative employer in a very liberal field, which is a bizarre mix, but still good.  The company has some good people but it also has those few that are two faced and judgmental.  These are the ones who we are beating to the punch.

Saturday evening was spent with friends.  Despite having to be at work at 6 a.m. on Sunday, I decided I needed to have an outing with good friends.  As it turned out, only 4 could make it, but we had a great time.  Early clock in be damned!  I was going to enjoy my friends and the conversations we were sharing.  I even stayed about an hour past my plan.  It was such a great night out.  I must point out, that even a year ago, I would not have gone into a “straight” bar. Not only do I, but I was the first one there.  Once upon a time, I would have waited in the car until I saw one of my friends go in first, and even then, I might back out.  Now, I was on my own and I proudly walked in and sat down.

This is my journey, but sometimes the vehicle can move in its own direction and at whichever speed it so chooses.  Please keep all hands inside the vehicle at all times.  THis could get tricky.

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Ketchup Part Two

With the Wonder Woman costume and Halloween behind me, it was time to move forward.

I have blogged and posted multiple times about finding the right time to tell me best male friend about my life.  He has known me for over 10 years, but has never really known me.  I knew, deep inside, that he would be ok with this, but what if he were not to be?  Some say, “If they cease to be your friend, then they never really were.” I didn’t see it that way.  If I were to lose him as my friend, it would be devastating.

NOVEMBER 5, 2011:

I almost told my friend about my life this past Thursday, but he had to work late, so no dice.  I had enjoyed the First Thursday Arts Walk and wanted to go for a drink.  Since he was unavailable, I went home.

I had plans to attend the final performance of RENT at the Muncie Civic Theater on the 5th.  I was to go alone, which was to be a first for me.  One, seeing a play at Civic and, two, going to such a prolonged and confined area alone.  Knowing nobody.  What does one wear to a play??

I chose simple over glamorous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As it turned out, simple was fine, but glamorous was very prevalent as well.  I got my ticket (front row, center balcony) and headed up to sit down.  The balcony was full but my seat was perfect!  I was in the midst of a group of people who were friends, so they busily chatted with each other while leaving me alone.

The play was amazing!  I only discovered RENT because it was part of a group of PSP movies that the other author of this blog gave me.  From my first viewing, I was hooked and have since watched it a ridiculous amount of times, crying through each sitting.  Civic and it’s actors nailed it!!  They sounded as amazing as the Broadway and Film casts sounded.  They had me to the point of tears right when they should, but I didn’t cry. I couldn’t….it would ruin my makeup.

Angel is my favorite character and the actor that portrayed her, did so beyond perfection.

The play started late and ran till 11:00.  I knew that my friend was working till 11:30 but thought I would text and see what was up.  Work had just gotten out.  It was time.

After a lengthy text-a-palooza, I told him I need to tell/show him something.  I wondered if it was best all at once or to be told then shown.  He didn’t care.  My hands were shaking so much that I nearly dropped my phone several times.  With some more banter out of the way, I told him how important this was that he knew and how scared I was of his reaction.  We agreed to meet for a drink.

Without saying where, we ended up at the same spot (THAT’S how good of friends we were).  As soon as he pulled up beside me, he got a HUGE smile on his face that made me feel that everything would be just fine.  I got out of the car and there I stood, confronting him with everything.  My skinny jeans and heeled boots finishing up the look of the simple sweater and tank.  “This is me.”  His first comment was, “I thought something was up for a while.”  I don’t think he was prepared for my next comment.  “This is going to become permanent.  I am going to transition from male to female.”

His jaw dropped and his eyes widened.  “Really?  The whole way?”  “Yes, the entire way.”  “Wow……”  His ‘wow’ was followed up by a huge smile and a sincere, “This is ok.”

He asked if I wanted to go in for a drink, so we did.  I wasn’t 100% passable at that point in the evening, I don’t think.  My makeup had been on since 5:00 and my skin is an oil field after about 3 hours… but I didn’t care.  We sat down, my customary seat across from his, when he told me I could sit in the next seat over, if I wanted.  That was cool, so I moved over.  The next question out of his mouth was hilarious.  “So, you still like RUSH?”  “Of course I do!”  The things I like and enjoy now will remain, but some new pleasures are sure to creep in.  “So…..you’ll be……a lesbian?”  “Well, yeah.  I still find women to be the attraction, but I will have at least one encounter after transitioning, because I will want to know.  THAT could change a lot, or not at all.”

For two and a half hours we sat and talked about everything, as if nothing were different, which was nice.  Nothing should be different, I will just look different from how I was.  Otherwise, it’s all the same.

 

I held off crying until I was driving home.  Then the floodgates opened and I had Niagra Falls flowing from my eyes.  Tears of joy.  Tears of regret, for not saying anything before now.

 

 

 

 

 

This led to a week of coming out to a bunch of friends, all who have been fantastic.  Nothing negative yet, though I know there will be a point where negativity is what I will get.  I’m ready for that.

 

The following Wednesday, I met up with my friend Chris’ wife for breakfast at Panera. Pumpkin Spice Chai and a Cinnamon Crunch Bagel.  Mmmmmmm.  After sitting down, we immediately began talking about me, the transformation and then everything else we could think of.  About 3 hours later, we had to break it up and go our separate ways.

 

 

 

 

This past Friday, I met up with Jeff and Chris (the next friend I told) to have lunch.  I met them at work to give them both a ride.  As soon as Chris got in the car, he gave me a big hug.  That was such an important action, he has no clue.  We had a great lunch and enjoyed conversations as we always have, with a little twist here and there as to my current situation.  Couldn’t have been better.

During lunch I had received a call from Target (whom I now work for, seasonally, as a boy).  I had accidentally hung up on them so decided to trek out there after I dropped the fellas back off at work.

I was dressed casually nice.  Knee length plaid skirt, black hose, heels, and a sweater.  I entered the store to buy some things we needed and decided I should go check the schedule for the next week.  I had to walk past the HR office, so I peeked in to see if she was working….she was.  I knocked and entered and had a brief discussion with her about my plans, should this turn into a permanent position.  She looked at me, smiled, and said, “It won’t affect us at all.”  I told her why I decided to be up front now rather than wait. in case I am offered a position, I thought they should know.  She thanked me and again assured me it was not anything to be concerned about.  They welcome the diversity of their employees.  Seems they had wanted me to come in for a cashier shift, but since I hadn’t answered, they went down the list.  I also told them that I live my life outside the store as Jenn, now, and getting called in, depending on how quickly they needed me, would result as Jenn working….Again, they didn’t care.  I was amazed!!

I continue to come out to friends and am just so thankful that I chose some really amazing people to be friends with.  I also has a great trek to IKEA in the mix here.  My first time.  AMAZING!!

So we are pretty much up to speed now.  Life is good.  Friends are great.  I’m still here.  I love you all!!!!!

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