This whole duality has been confusing. I’ve been, for most if my life, content to remain hidden. It’s only within the past year that I’ve come out into the open, embracing this other side of me, the true side. I know that the time will come that I’ll.have to choose who is real and who […]
If you haven’t been following my videos, which I don’t blame you if you haven’t, I have started a couple of different things recently. Last month, I started seeing a spiritual advisor so as to get my spiritual life in order. Also, I started attending a transgender support group. This week, I will start volunteering with a homeless organization which seeks to place the homeless into housing.
The spiritual advisor came about after a talk with an old college friend who is now a priest. I told him about my struggles with being transgender, which came as a bit of a shock. Instead of condemning me, he accepted it and suggested I start talking with someone, which I have.
We’ve met twice now, and I feel a lot of it on my part has been expressing what it means to be trans, and the trouble it has cause me with my faith. Linda, my advisor, has been steering me towards a deeper understanding of my faith, of the fact that I should not view myself as damaged, that I should see who I am as a gift.
Meeting with Linda led me to the support group. I’ve only attending the group twice, but it has been illuminating. It has made me consider whether I may not actually be transgender as much as genderfluid. I’m equally comfortable as Joe as I am as Stefani. I have my male traits as well as some female traits. It’s helped me understand my hesitation with coming out and going forward with transitioning. It hasn’t completely eliminated the possibility that I may go forward with the transition.
I will say that I’m torn about that. All my life I’ve felt as though Stefani was a larger part of who I am, even when I was keeping that aspect of myself under wraps. Now that I’ve come to terms with it, it’s less of an weight that I carry but just another part of the totality of who I am. I am Joe and Stefani, or as one of my best friend calls me, Stefani Jo. It fits like a glove. Still, part of me wants to transition completely into a woman. We will see where this journey goes.
As for volunteering, it’s one of my best friends who led me to it. She started volunteering recently, and I wanted to take a look at the organization, Amarillo Housing First. I actually went dressed as Stefani to check it out, being told as I was getting close, that Chris, the founder and CEO of the organization wanted to meet with me. That led to an invitation to volunteer, they wanting someone within the LGBTQ community to help with that part of the homeless. So that’ll be my advocacy within AHF.
I’m not sure what all that will entail, but I’m excited to lend my time to the group. I’m hoping that I can make a positive impact for the organization and the homeless community at large. I’m also nervous about it. I’ve never done anything like this. Whatever the outcome, it will be an eye-opening experience.
I will confess that I feel good about where my life is headed. I never once considered that I would ever come out to anyone, or that I would ever have a place as Stefani in the world. It isn’t always a happy experience, but it is authentic to who I am, to who I am becoming. I’m learning to love who I am, though I do experience setbacks. I suppose that’s just a part of life.
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New video is up. I talk a little about my vacation and what I learned about myself.
Posted my fourth video the other day. I discuss meeting a spiritual advisor and experience theirin. It was a great hour spent. Check it out!
Yesterday took me and my friend into downtown Dallas, specifically the Dallas Museum of Art. Amy has been wanting to take me to the museum for years, and I’ve wanted to go, but it’s never happened. I wanted to go as Stefani, and I hadn’t developed the nerve to go out until now.
We had planned on maybe going to Lake Texoma, but we got up late, and honestly I didn’t have anything to wear to the lake or to go hiking. We sat around, I played on the computer, and we had a late breakfast a little before noon. That’s when I decided that we should see the museum. She heartily agreed.
We got ready as quickly as we could. I chose a skirt and blouse to wear for the day. I wanted a chance to dress up, not in my usual jeans. I thought it would be a nice change from my usual attire. Amy dressed up as well, and we set off on our day’s adventure.
A little about why we hadn’t gone before today. Like I said, I wanted to go as Stefani, but I was afraid to dress up here. Amy’s husband didn’t know about me at the time, and even after he did, I wasn’t comfortable with him knowing, In addition, I wasn’t entirely ready to go out in public. When I did go out, I was self-conscious, and convinced everyone was looking at me, judging me for being some weirdo in a dress.
Even during my trip to OKC last year, I was nervous and afraid. People were paying attention to me, not because I was a guy in gal’s clothing, but because I was nervous. I don’t know about you, but I’d pay attention to someone who was anxious because who knows what they would go.
I’ve grown to relax now. It’s amazing how easily I walked into the museum. So far this vacation I’ve gone into crowded stores, restaurants, and parks. Even if I’m not entirely convincing, I’m not attracting stares or awkward glances. I’m at ease and I’ve become more or less invisible, another member of the crowd. I keep repeating this only because I want to stress this point to others who are on the same journey I am. The more you relax, the more at ease everyone around you is.
We should have gotten to the museum sooner. There was too much to see. We left only because they were about to close. We walked across the street to a park built over a freeway, which was kind of neat. We then headed to the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of of Guadalupe. I wanted to see if I would burst into flames if I cross into the church, but they are doing renovations and the doors were locked. I didn’t know how to get in, so we left.
We made our way to the Galleria mall. Amy had worked in the Galleria Towers for several years, and I used to go have lunch with her occasionally. We hadn’t been there in years, so we went. I had to use the restroom. I know that’s not usually newsworthy, but considering the noise Gov. Greg Abbott has been making about the transgender community and which bathroom they use, it has been stressful. I try to use the family bathroom, unisex bathrooms, or just hold it. I had no choice but to use the women’s room. It was fine. No drama. It was a quick pee and go.
Other than that, and a quick stop at Starbucks, we didn’t stay long. We had no intention of shopping. We walked around, reminisced a bit about her time there back in 2000 through 2006, and we left, taking the long way home, stopping only for gas and a couple of pizza to eat once we got home.
Today’s my last day here. Tomorrow I drive home, and Friday I go back to work. It’s depressing. I don’t want to go back, and I don’t want to have to return to being Joe, even if Stefani is a lot of work. It’s amazing how necessary time away is for the soul, how time to one’s self is a tonic that washes away exhaustion and the bitter taste of life.
I have another vacation set for October, a little over six weeks away. I have a wedding to go to, and planning on following a band for a couple of days, seeing them in OKC before following them to Albuquerque the next. Then a few days to myself to recover from such an insane attempt. This is the kind of crap I should have been doing twenty years ago!
But I guess the old saying is true, it’s better late than never. I’m enjoying my life more. I’m not as sad and depressed as I was before. There’s some direction in my life now, even if that direction terrifies me. At least it’s not a scary as living a stagnant life.