Moved in!

20170314_150227[1]I’ve moved in! Well, actually, I’m in the process of moving in, but I have the apartment, and I moved the first of my things in this afternoon after work. It’s a little difficult seeing as how I’m trying to do this alone, with only a car to haul everything. Everyone who can help is out of town for spring break. So I’m doing this solo.

It’s not too bad, I suppose. I’m just happy that I have someplace to call my own. It’s really a process now, slowly rebuilding my independence. It’s scary that I’ll be on my own, but exciting that I’m leaving my safety net behind. Besides, I’ll have a place where I can be free to express myself!

What I’m looking forward to the most is my privacy, a place where I can read and write to my heart’s content. I haven’t allowed myself the opportunities to just sit down to read, or to write, like I want. There’s always something to distract me at the moment. Plus, I’ll be saving about an hour and a half on my commute to work!

I’ll probably wait a bit to move all of Stefani’s things into the apartment. I’m sure my parents will want to come by and nose around the place, open all the closets and cabinets to satisfy their curiosity. Once they leave, I’ll drive down the street to my friend’s place, pack all my things there, and haul them to my place.

It’ll be a nice assimilation of both of my genders, the male and the female. I won’t have to go anywhere to be either. I can express myself as I choose, whenever I choose. I can’t wait for that.

For now I need to get off. I have some more packing to do. Maybe my family will be back soon, and they can help me move my things over, especially the larger things that won’t fit into my car. For now, goodnight!

 

Step two – Lease is signed!

20160723_220725I signed my lease! For the first time in ages, I will have a place all to myself. There are a few things I need to do in the coming days, get renter’s insurance, put the utilities in my name, but the biggest hurdle has been crossed. I have an apartment, and I will be living alone!

I will move in on Tuesday, after I get off of work. I’ll hand over my deposit and pro rated rent for March, they’ll hand me the keys, and I’ll start the laborious process of moving my belongings from the house where I’m currently living, up an hour to Amarillo, then trudging up the flight of stairs to the apartment.

The good thing is that I don’t really have to move everything all at once. I’ll start with my necessities first. I’m already buying things that I need, towels, cleaning supplies, that sort of things. I’m also buying a few kitchen things that I can use until I have time to drive to my friend’s house to get the bulk of my belongings, namely my bed, dishes, and the rest of my books.

I’m going to clue you in on something; I’m terrified. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to pay rent of utilities. I’ve done it before, so I know I’ll get it again, but in the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to budget for it. I know I’m stressing out over nothing, but it’s still a big step, especially since the last time I was on my own was before I got married over ten years ago!

That’s okay. I’m about to look into buying furniture. I want to buy new things, especially my sofa and love seat. I found a set that’s reasonably priced. I’ll probably see about buying a dresser on the cheap, at least for the time being. I’m also going to see about building a few things, too. I need shelves to put my books in, and I suppose I need a desk to write at. I’ll just have to buy a dining set. I wonder where I can get one at a reasonable price. Hmm….

There’s a lot to do, and it’s getting expensive quickly! I need to take a deep breath, relax, and accept that I can’t just do it all at once. I’ll be fine. I can do this. I just need money. Lots of it!

Of course, things opens things up for me. Like I’ve stated before, this gives me the freedom to explore the identity, away from prying, judgmental eyes. I’ll be able to go out whenever I please. I’ll also have my clothes and make up with me at all times. So, I can do this. This is what I wanted, after all. Only three more days until move in day.

Step one

20160916_194724.jpgTomorrow I have an appointment with two different apartment complexes, both in Amarillo. I’m super stoked about it. I’m also a little anxious, nervous, and terrified. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve lived by myself. Getting set up again is a little overwhelming. I have to completely rebuild.

Saying all of that, I’m ready to rebuild. I’m ready to get my life situated so that I can be independent again. I’ve relied on family longer than I had intended. I have a natural resistance to change. Complacency is one of my characteristics that I generally despise in myself. I settle for the status quo until something forces me to change.

That’s not entirely true in this case. For the most part, I enjoy the company of my family. It’s familiar, it’s cozy, and there’s a sense of family that I lacked for years, even during my marriage. All the same, there’s a sense of freedom that I’m lacking. That’s my primary motivation. The commute to and from work is secondary.

I’m looking forward to having my own sanctuary. I’m looking forward to having a place where I can be Stef whenever I want. I really want a place where I can have my things with me. At the moment, Stefani’s things are at a friend’s apartment, and I have to limit what I have. Living alone, I’ll be free to buy clothes, makeup, shoes, and other things to my heart’s content.

This is going a little faster than I had intended, but I’m fine with it. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a place by the end of the week. I’m not holding my breath, but I am hopeful. The the process of furnishing my own place will begin. That’ll be fun.

Moving out and moving on

img_20161129_182453Since my divorce, I’ve been living with family. At first, it was a necessity since I lost my job soon after the divorce was finalized, and living with friends was becoming a drain on the friendship. It also afforded me time to heal, in the company of those who would allow me to grieve. It was truly a blessing.

In that time, I went back to college and earned my degree, found a job, but I’ve remained here, unwilling to strike out on my own. Now, I’m starting to feel a little antsy, as though I’m ready for a change.

Well, I’ve been ready for some time. Change is long overdue. While living here has been a luxury, for some time it has been holding me back. I don’t have the freedoms I need in order to move on with my life. It’s hard to look for romantic attachments living with family. I need to support myself. It’s important for my own self-esteem.

What’s more, I would like a my own place where I can store my own things. All of Stefani’s clothes and make-up are at a friend’s place. It’s not very convenient for me. It doesn’t afford me many opportunities to be myself. It kind of sucks.

So I’m about to look for an apartment, in Amarillo, for now. Part of the hesitation to this point has been that I didn’t want to move to Amarillo. I wanted to find a place outside of Dallas. For now, however, I will settle on a place closer to home, as it were, in order to get used to being on my own again. It’s been over ten years since I’ve lived by myself, what with being married, then losing everything. It’s kind of a big, scary step.

But I think I’m ready. I’m trying to psyche myself up. I can do this. I’m ready to do this. It’s time to move on.

From Georgia with love

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Ruby Falls, Chattanooga TN

I’m winding down the remaining hours of my vacation, laying in bed as my laundry is getting done, grateful that I got home safe, and a little annoyed that it didn’t go as I had hoped. My trip to Georgia began wonderfully, as I detailed in my last post, but that’s where it goes awry.

What happened is that I got sick. I’m talking about coughing until my lungs hurt, unable to breath, and spent three days stuck in my room trying to avoid getting others sick, and hoping not to get worse sick. It really, really sucked.

My first three days in Georgia were fun. On Saturday, we – and by that I mean me and Amy, the friend I rode with to Georgia, and the friends in whose home we were staying – went hiking at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. It’s a Civil War battlefield outside of Atlanta. We quickly toured the museum, where I could easily have spent all looking at the artifacts and reading up on the battle, before walking up the mountain. There’s no off trail hiking allowed, which is a shame, but they want to preserve the area for historical and archaeological reasons.

Sunday we went to an escape room. Not much to say about that except that we had an hour to try and escape, and we did so in thirty-one minutes. It was challenging, but I think we should have picked a harder room to escape from. It was fun.

Monday, we drove to Chattanooga and did three attractions, all on Lookout Mountain. We rode up the Incline Railway, did Rock Garden, and then saw Ruby Falls, which is a waterfall deep underground, in the heart of Lookout Mountain. We did a lot of walking on Monday, and by then, I was well on my way to being sick. I was hacking and coughing, and though I didn’t feel sick, I knew it was coming.

From Tuesday on, I sequestered myself in the room. I felt horrible. I did agree to go downstairs and watch Westworld, and I think I played a tabletop game called Munchkin on Thursday. It was a lot of fun, but I just wasn’t into it. I felt like death.

By Thursday, me and Amy decided to cancel the New Orleans portion of the trip. I didn’t have it in me to try and wander around New Orleans and try to join in the festivities of Mardi Gras. It bummed me out because I had planned on being Stef for those two days. As it turned out, I only got to dress up for my ride down to Georgia. It was a complete let down.

There’s  chance that we may decide to go to New Orleans some other time in a few months, but we have no imminent plans. I know I would love to go, but right now I’m trying to psych myself up to go back to work tomorrow morning. I really don’t want to go, but I need to. Eleven days is not enough down time, especially since I spent the last six of them coughing phlegm up. It’s been swell!

Martin from Garland Texas from The Straight Up Gay Podcast


Episode 8 of the Straight Up Gay Podcast is up. If you haven’t checked it out, please do so. It is an informative podcast, dealing with issues surrounding the LGBT community. Hosted by Major, the father of a gay teen, he seeks to raise awareness.

Driving Miss Stefani

20170217_1236551I’m on vacation! It’s nice to get away from the hassle of everyday life. No work responsibilities, no familial ties to bind me into societal norms. I’m free to be me, to explore, to live. It’s an awesome experience.

I left work on Wednesday and drove to my friends house outside of the Dallas Metroplex, getting there around eleven at night. I didn’t change into Stef. I was more concerned about getting out of Dodge than anything else. Thursday was a no go as well. There were too many things to do. My friend, who runs a dog sitting business, had to travel to McKinney to pick up a dog, her cousin’s, and then I went to Commerce to visit my step-daughter.

Friday, however, was my day. I woke up at four in the morning to get ready. Once, done, I finished whatever last minute packing we needed to do, then we headed out at six, down U.S. Highway 69 to Tyler, where we jumped on I-20, and eventually Georgia. It was a looong drive!

The trip itself was uneventful. I sat in the passenger seat most of the way, relaxing and enjoying the scenery. I had never been in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia, so it really was a new experience. We stopped at all the rest areas to take pictures, except in Georgia. By then, it was dark and we were tired of being cooped up in the car.

The only stressful part of the drive was going to the bathroom. Damn conservatives! I myself consider myself right from center, but damn! The evangelicals in the right wing of the party are a bunch of busy body, judgmental assholes. So much for being for smaller government. It puts a great deal of pressure on us to conform into a mold in which we feel uncomfortable.

For the most part, I tried to find places I knew would have family or unisex bathrooms. Where I didn’t, I hurried into the women’s room, did my business, and left. I didn’t linger. I felt pressured and uncomfortable. I feel judged as it is, and I’m self-conscious about taking a pee. I never had any trouble, however I did get some jackass glaring at be as we gassed up in Mississippi. I wanted to beat up the old codger, but I refrained. I’m a very nice person.

I didn’t let that dampen the enthusiasm for the trip. I took over the drive in Alabama, stressing out over how busy the traffic was. My friend fell asleep, and I drove in silence, enjoying the beauty of the scenery. Wishing we had the time to stop more often to explore places I had never seen before.

I gave up the driver seat right before we entered Georgia. We stopped for gas, and once we left, I had to change back into Joe. I was bummed out, but a little relieved. My jeans were a little tight around the waist, and my men’s wear is a little looser. Taking off my makeup and fingernail polish was tricky in the dark, but I got it done.

The people we are staying with don’t know about Stef. I haven’t decided whether or not to tell them. They have a daughter who is a lesbian, so I don’t fear judgement. It’s more that it takes it out of me to revel myself. Opening myself up isn’t easy. We’ll see how it goes.

We plan to leave here Thursday, bound for New Orleans and Mardi Gras! I will spend those few days as Stef, once again stressing about restrooms and the like. I used to worry about it years ago when I took my first steps out as Stefani, but now there’s an increased focus on that, which I absolutely loath. I may end up having to become more political, but not just yet. I’m on vacation. I’m not ready for reality to ruin my fun.

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