I made a friend

IMG_20180520_160255_877.jpgWent to the bar a couple of weeks ago with a friend. That in itself is not remarkable. Though we haven’t gone lately, we will occasionally go to get out, have a couple of drinks, and maybe play some pool. By the way, I totally kicked my friends butt that night. The last time we went, however, I was not as fortunate.

But this is not about our last outing, but the one before that, the night I came out the winner. Starting out, we were asked to show our ID’s even before we stepped into the bar. That usually doesn’t happen, so I was taken aback, more so because my ID does not match my gender. Reluctantly, I pulled my license out, waiting to be called out. All that the bouncer said was that I looked good for 42.

With that, we began the evening, getting a bucket of beers, and playing a few games. Across from out pool table sat a couple, a man and woman, who seemed to be enjoying the night out as well. They were talkative, and my friend Jessica was happily interacting with them, but I less so. I hate talking because more than anything, my voice outs me. I hate my voice!

We continued to play, and the couple across from us continued to visit with those around them, including us from time to time. The man was making me a little nervous, but I ignored him as much as I could, and concentrated on the game. Soon, we were out of quarters, and I was ready to finish that last of my beer, and head home. The couple across from us had other plans.

They invited us to join them, which Jessica was keen on accepting. I followed, afraid of being rejected, or worse attacked, as sat down at their table. With introductions out of the way, the man turned to me and asked if I was trans. Feeling as though the jig was up, I admitted I was. What came next nearly left me speechless. He confessed he was a trans man. I never could have guessed that in a million years!

After that revelation, I was a little more receptive to a conversation, he talking about his journey, and me sharing mine. For him, he feels as though he is obviously a woman living as a man, while I feel the opposite, a man trying to live as a woman. In his case, he feels obvious, though of course that’s his own insecurities manifesting. He is not obviously trans. He looks and acts like a cis male.

How much of the struggle to fit in, therefore, is an internal struggle? How much of it is our own insecurities? For me, I know getting on hormones would help, as much as being on hormones helps him, but a lot of passing is partly being confident in living our true gender.

For him, he’s living life as the man he is, with a woman he loves. I’m still living part time, whenever I can spare the time to be me. The thing is, the trans experience is valid for both of us. He transitioned, I have not. Some people go all the way, hormones, top and bottom surgery, or maybe just top surgery. Some never get on hormones, some never accept being trans.

Acceptance begins with yourself. For me it began when I accepted who I was. It was helped by the scores of friends who have accepted me, who have cared for me, who have loved me. It’s an ongoing journey, a journey of discovery and learning to live being true to myself.

I have had few negative experiences going out as Stefani, and so many positive experiences. That night at the 6th Street  Saloon was one of positive experiences, one where I met some new friends. I just have to remember to give others a chance.

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The difficulty of finding acceptance

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I took a few days off from work. The reason was so I could come down to DFW to see my friend so we could see Deadpool 2 together. It was a great movie. Glad we went! I’m not much of a superhero/comic book person, but I loved the first movie, and I loved the second one as well. Now I’m waiting for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. I can’t wait!

What I love about heading out of town is being able to exist in my own skin and be me. I don’t have to be drab and pretend anything. I can dress up and remember that I’m more than what my body tells me. I’m more than what my chromosomes made me out to be. I’m what my mind tells me I am.

The long weekend also allowed me to escape from home, to get away from what’s been stressing me out. Ever since my conversation with my parents, then the conversation with my sister, I confess that it got to me. I forget that this is a huge deal. Took me a lifetime to come to terms with it. It’s unfair of me to expect them to just happily accept this. I’m being selfish.

A lot of my friends have been great. They sympathize with me, but they also remind me that this isn’t a minor thing. It’s a monumental shift in my existence. To ask someone to be okay with someone deciding to be a different gender is a lot to ask. For some, it’s too much. That’s the sad reality of being trans.

But for me, though I identify myself under the trans umbrella, I exist as both male a female. I prefer to present myself as female as I feel better of myself as Stefani, but I’m equally secure as Joe. I can’t deny either aspect of my reality.

Which doesn’t mean I haven’t considered hormones. I have, I am, and I will continue to consider it. I would like to feminize myself more even if I don’t completely transition. Not everyone wants to have gender-reassessment surgery. I have thought about it, naturally, and one of my earliest dreams I remember about by identity involves me having a female anatomy.

The struggle for me is that I was born a certain sex. I was born, for better or worse, with a penis. I wish I was born with a vagina instead, or at the very least identifying with the gender I was assigned. That’s the struggle we face. Accepting our assigned gender or accepting that our gender runs counter to what our anatomy tells us.

There’s also a certain amount of God-fear as well. I was born Catholic, and though I’m not practicing, I haven’t abandoned my religion completely. I feel as though I’ve lost my faith at times, but to reject it completely is beyond me. I envy those born without this burden.

I can’t help but wonder why religion makes this so difficult. If someone is born with a defect and there’s a surgery or treatment available, most would agree that the sensible thing to do is to accept said treatment. Heart condition? Surgery. Tumor? Surgery. Transgender? No such thing. God made you that way. You were born female/male. Accept it!

But people are born with heart defects and no one tells them to accept it. “God made you that way.” We amputate limbs, fix other issues, but anything to do with sexuality is taboo. The religious mindset is infuriating!

Sexuality is a natural biological function. Why do we place so much importance on it? Penises are beautiful, so are vaginas. Men are beautiful and so are women. Why is sex considered vulgar? Why does engaging in sex make women whores? Why aren’t men held to that same standard?

But I digress. Gender is more than what our physical bodies tell us. It’s independent of it. For most gender and sex aligns, but some of us it doesn’t. Why can’t I be a woman? Why can’t I change my body to align better with what my mind tells me?

In the end, it’s a battle too many of us have fought, and continue to fight, both with the world without, and with ourselves as well. I’ve come to accept who I am after many year of denial. I’ve come to the revelation after running from it for a lifetime. Now, I’m happier than I have ever been, though it’s not easy for me. I’m secure in my identity. I just hope my family comes around.

And I’m one of the lucky ones. Many are outright disowned. That, more than anything, is why being trans is so hard to our mental health.

Family drama

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I’ve been seriously stressed out lately. Since telling my parents, I thought things were going okay. I wasn’t making plans on showing up as Stef any time soon, but I thought there was some acceptance there. Even when my sister found out and turned on me, I thought maybe I wouldn’t be so alone. I was wrong.

About a month ago, my mother told me I needed to go home because they needed to talk to me. Nothing gets me more anxious than someone telling me that we need to talk, but I went, needing to get it over with. It was as bad as I feared.

My sister, it seems, has been crying about this to my parents. She claims she fears that I’m going to suddenly show up as Stefani to family events, and is saying she doesn’t think she’s going to a family reunion because of it. The more my parents spoke, the angrier I got.

In the end, my parents said that how I lived my life was my business, but they didn’t want to know. They don’t want me to come around as Stefani, nor do they want to see pictures. If, as they said, I decide to go the Caitlyn Jenner route, they couldn’t support me. They love me, they claimed, but they can’t go against their religious beliefs.

And people wonder why so many in the LGBT community turn our backs on the christian community!

They told me I needed to talk to my sister, and tell my last remaining brother. It took me a week, but I contacted my sister. All it was was an opportunity for my sister to attack me. “What, are you going to date guys now?” or “And you think you’re happy dressing up with dresses and fake boobs and makeup?” She was using her training in social work to put me in a defensive position. I never felt such venom!

It’s been almost two weeks since that conversation, and I’m still on edge. My stress has spiked, I feel as though my heart just wants to beat out of my chest. I go to sleep wondering if I’m going to have a heart attack and die alone in the middle of the night. Part of me welcomes death. I just don’t want to deal with this shit anymore.

But I’m still here, living my life. My sister is not really a part of my life, and never has. I never liked her. The judgment and the hypocrisy she espouses keeps me at bay. She presents herself like a typical Christian, posting religious nonsense, pretending to be holy, but seething with hate. I have enough to deal with.

Part of me wants to be done with my family. I have friends, very good friends, who love me for me. They don’t care if I’m Joe or Stefani. They don’t care if I’m gay or straight. They don’t care about nothing except that I’m being honest about who I am. My family, it seems, doesn’t love me as unconditional as they claim.

So I’m stressed out. I’m wondering about myself, who I am, and where I’m headed. Why does my future hold? Will I transition or not? Do I have the strength to live my life without my family? I put off telling them because I was afraid they would disown me. Turns out, I had every reason to be afraid.

This is what it is to live my life. I feel trapped in limbo, not able to breath, not able to live my life. I don’t have the energy to do anything at this point. Breathing feels like it takes too much out of me, but I have to go about my business, pretending to be okay.

Short Story: Burial

Just posted on my writers page. Please take a look.

Stefani Writes

The note took me by surprise.

“I never expected love to hurt so much.”

I read it and reread it over and over again, not quite making sense of the words so clearly written by her hand, the last words she would ever write. I found it beside her when I found her, dead, rigor mortis already setting in.

I didn’t even try to rouse her. It was obvious she had been dead for hours. I picked up the note, read it, and went back into the living room to call the police. I struggled to keep my emotions under control, more for the sake of our children than for anyone else. Inside I was falling apart.

The police came, and then the coroner. There were a few questions they had for me, but it was obvious there was no foul play involved. She had ended her life. The question…

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New site

Hi everyone! I’m working on moving all my writing related content to a new site. Seeing as how I’m living more as Stefani, I think it’s time to start writing as such. All my book reviews, short stories will be transferred soon, and all new content will be posted here. I’m super excited and can’t wait to get started!

The blog is Stefani Writes, so please check it out and follow me. I would love your support!

A tale of two wardrobes

I bought jeans this morning. I know that’s not the most exciting news I can come up with, but it is relevant. It’s the first time in over a year that I’ve bought men’s clothing. I had not choice, honestly, as all my jeans I use for work are wearing out. I ripped out the seat of my jeans at work yesterday! The horror!!!!

While I was at it, I threw out all my boxers and bought a couple of packs as well. I threw away all my old jeans as they are thread worn, or are stained with paint, or just plain look grubby. I needed to refresh my wardrobe regardless. It does not do to look that shabby.

What gets me is how expensive it is to maintain your wardrobe, and I’m having to maintain two. I’ve been expanding my feminine wardrobe on a regular basis. I love spending my free time as me, so it makes sense that I would expand my wardrobe. I need to buy a few more jeans and slacks. More skirts would be nice as well. Oh, and I would love a few more jackets, cardigans, shawls, and I could probably keep going.

But I’ve neglected my masculine side for far too long. While I keep living a dual life, I’ll have to make my peace with it. I guess I have, but damn it gets expensive. What’s more, I prefer to buy myself feminine attire. I care more about Stefani than Joe. Maybe I should take that into consideration as I try to decide whether or not to transition.