Another year

I’m not getting any younger. Come Wednesday, I’ll be another year older, and I can feel the years creeping up on me. It’s not entirely unpleasant, except I’m not as limber and agile as I once was. Also my sight isn’t what it used to be. Also I ache more. I don’t seem to bounce back as quickly as used to.

And I’m getting fatter. Damn this belly fat! Why does everything good and delicious have to be bad and fattening?

I guess I’m starting to feel my age, more so than at any other point in my life. I remember feeling in my twenties, how I felt permanently stuck in my teens. It felt weird to me, to be on my own. I never felt as though I had permission to live. It’s hard for me to explain, but I never did anything. Not really. I pretty much worked and went home.

Married at thirty, divorced at thirty-five. I went through it, and though it was a horrible and painful experience, I still felt as though I didn’t have permission to live and breath. I never did anything, went anywhere. And then my life came undone.

It’s only now in my forties that I have learned that no one gives me permission to live. I give myself that permission. I either allow myself to do what I want, or I look through the window of my life, envious of what others are doing. It’s taken me until my late thirties to start to understand that. I’m nearing my mid forties and I regret the lost years of my life.

I could have accepted myself sooner than I did. I could have explored more. I’m only now going to rock concerts, traveling, exploring my small corner of the world. If I’m going to live, I have to embrace the reality that life is fleeting.

It doesn’t feel so long ago that I was just a kid. Now most of my peers are parents, and some are becoming grandparents. I’m a middle aged divorcee, with no children of my own, and the opportunity to do so is slipping out of my grasp. The question now is, is it worth even trying? Can anyone love me in the gender limbo I seem to dwell in?

I know many will say that it is worth it, but those who say it will not have to be the one to deal with the shit that comes with loving someone like me. I’m exist between two identities, somehow neither and both at once. I’m indistinguishable from either one, but removed from them as well.

Honestly, it rarely bothers me anymore. I’ve come to accept the reality of my life. We all have our crosses to bear, and I suppose this is mine. I don’t claim to have it all too difficult, as compared to others. I have a decent job, a place to live, and friends who care for me.

But, you know, it small hours of the night, when I’m alone, staring at the ceiling and taking stock of my life, I can’t help but feel morose. So many what ifs that will remain unknown, too many paths unexplored. At times I feel alone in this world, but who can join me on my life’s journey? Rarely do I find someone I’m willing to connect with, someone who doesn’t drain my social battery.

Maybe I should just stop dwelling on it, but I can’t help myself. though I pray I have decades yet to experience life, I’m becoming aware of my mortality, and the fragility of the human experience.

In other words, I’m getting old, but I’m not there yet.

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Questions about my sexuality.

Sexuality is a perplexing thing, at least for me. It’s probably why I’m bad at it, or at least finding partners. The root lies partly within the question of my gender. While sexuality and gender may be different things, they are, in my own personal opinion, inexorably linked. It’s inescapable.

The question I’m always asked is what am I? Am I straight? Am I gay? Am I a lesbian? The answer depends on my gender. Am I a man or am I a woman? The reality is convoluted in that I identify both ways. I’m both male and female, and somehow neither. That ambiguity is something I’ve been struggling with my whole life. Does that mean I’m non-binary, as one person told me, or am I bigender?

I will confess that I really don’t care to define myself so narrowly. Other people seem to be the ones interested in placing me neatly in a column. It’s what we do, we categorize each other by several different criteria. Height, weight, hair color, race, ethnicity, nationality, body type, intelligence, education. I could probably keep coming up with other criteria, and so can you. It’s human nature.

So when it comes to my sexuality, narrowly defining myself has seemed to me to be an exercise in futility. I’ve always been attracted to women. Simple, right? But does that make me a straight male or a lesbian female? Also, I’ve been attracted to men. Not often, but it has happened. I’ve probably been with as many men as I have women, especially lately. Men are easier to bed.

I don’t claim to know the answer, and frankly I don’t care. I’ve always been drawn to the female form, but a nice penis is nice, too. I can’t help my feelings.

The easy answer, therefore, is to say I’m bi.

The trouble is that, be virtue of my own gender, and the fact that I live my life in both worlds, many find me undateable. I know there are those who aren’t put off by it, but I haven’t found anyone, and most men just want to satisfy some fetishtic curiosity.

So, for the most part, I have learned to be comfortable with my own company. I don’t date. I don’t seek to date, and I rarely, if ever, try to find a sexual partner. Why should I?

Short Story: Perfidy

Stefani Writes

The lights flickered as the sound of thunder rattled the windows before going out, casting Edmund into darkness. The sound of wind and torrential rain lashed against the window as he fumbled for a lighter. He cursed the decision to quit smoking, a decision forced on him by his wife. He cursed his inability to stand up to his wife. He cursed his own weakness.

He was momentarily illuminated by a bolt of lightning. He needed to get moving. He made his way blindly to the kitchen, fumbled through the drawers, knowing that Kit kept a book of matches. It wasn’t much, but at least he could light a candle and finish his task by candlelight. He wanted to see the terror in their faces.

He found the matches and tore one out before closing the book. He struck the match and it caught fire. He had picked up a…

View original post 1,552 more words

Looking up in 2019

Taking it easy at home.

It’s already February of 2019. I haven’t made a post since November. Almost three months have passed, and though there has been a few times I wanted to write something, I just haven’t done so. I completed and won Nanowrimo for the eighth time. That no longer means so much to me.

She has made plans for me to go with her and her mother to go to Taos New Mexico. I will probably not go as Stef, but who knows. That won’t be until the end of March. I can’t wait though. I’ve never been to Taos.

Basically, life happened. Nothing too monumental, nothing to extreme.

Last month I did make a huge decision. It’s something that has been on my mind for a while. I have had three store managers try to convince me to consider moving up to management. I have thus far rejected their attempts. My last foray into management ended disastrously for me. I never wanted to feel so inept ever again.

When I started to work for my employer, I had no expectation that I would stay. I did not want to work retail. It’s a horrible industry, mainly due to a relative few people who want nothing more than to attack those who, wanting to keep their job, are not able to defend themselves. The believe the phase the customer is always right entitles them to impugn and attack hourly workers.

But here I am, almost six years later, still working for my company. I make just enough to get by, but not to get ahead. I have no plans to switch companies. I have no desire to start all over again. I know what I’m doing. I’m confident that I can do what I need to do.

With that in mind, I sat down with my store manager and told her that I am ready to consider advancing my career. She seemed excited that I had come to her. In addition to being a supervisor, I am entrusted with keys and can act as the Manager on Duty when the need arises. She said that when I’m left in charge, she never has to worry about the store. That’s a huge deal.

What that means now is greater scrutiny. I will have to up my performance. I will be expected to act the part of a manger. Later this month I will have to conduct part of a business walk for my district team, along with another one of my fellow supervisors. No pressure, right?

This doesn’t mean I’ll be promoted, I know. There are several supervisors, both in my store and in my district, and across the company, that are vying for management openings. Many are more able than I am. Others are better communicators. Some are more comfortable with bossing people around.

But what I have to offer is experience, and the ability to teach what I know. Teaching has always been an opportunity for improvement, but many workers come to me when they encounter a problem. I hope I’ve been able to give them the right answers, and better yet, the ability to solve the problems.

So I began the new year with the decision to move up in my company. I’ve also begun to run and try to get back in shape. This will probably be a bigger challenge in that I will have to hold myself accountable, but the few times I have gone out, I feel better about myself.

I plan to join a gym as well, but only after I gain some endurance. Looking at myself in the mirror, I look every bit of my 42 years. I want to lose weight, firm up, and gain a little muscle mass. I want to look and feel better. I want to improve my quality of life.

So 2019 will be the year I work on me. I have a lot to work on, but I don’t feel stressed about it. I’m excited and hopeful for what this year will bring. This will be the year of Stefani.

Giving thanks

Goofing around with Snapchat ~ Stefani Lara 2018

Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Are you ready? For me, working in retail, it’s all about getting ready for the next big event. Right now I’m focused on getting ready for Black Friday, the greatest of American retail holidays. The public will descend en masse to take advantage of the great values retailers are giving the public. Line the pockets of the money man. Cha-ching! $$$

But I would like to take a moment, before the my hectic week begins to look back and see where I am. I have a place to live, and the opportunity to help out a friend in need. I’m making progress paying off my debts. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be taking a quick roadtrip with friends to see a concert.

Speaking of friends, I made peace with one of them.  Almost took a whole year to get to this point, but I’m glad whatever happened is behind us. I took my best friend with me to a family reunion in Corpus Christi. Twenty years of friendship, and we both go to Corpus, but that was the first time we went together.

On the same trip, after c oming back to the DFW area, I finally met someone I’ve been talking to on Twitter, whose child is also transgender. We had a great time over burgers and drinks, with her husband and my best friend. 

And talking about trips, we’re planning on going to Florida next year. Maybe I should be thankful next year after we go, but I’m positive about our chances of actually going. We’ve gone to Georgia together twice. Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando will totally be worth it

I’m definitely thankful for friends, both old and new, but what else?

I’m thankful for having come out to my family. They have taken it better than I had imagined. Even so, they are not thrilled about it. They don’t want to see me dressing as me, but I will take what I can get. Hope they will come around, but I’m grateful for this small miracle.

When I first came around to accepting my own truth, I never thought I would get to this point. I never imagined that I would come out to my family. Now they know, as do my coworkers and my friends. I have not experienced the hate I expected to see. I found only love and understanding.

It’s not a perfect situation, but it never it is. It’s at best a compromise, but life is made of compromises, of giving and taking, of making peace out of situations that may otherwise create conflict.

I have created enough conflict, both to the world and within myself. In the past year, I have discovered a measure of peace. I have learned to be happy with who I am and where I am. I still have dreams and goals, but it’s no longer a flight from where I am, but rather desire to better myself. 

I’m thankful for my life. Maybe it’s not the life I would otherwise have chosen, but it’s the life I have. I will make the best of it. I’m thankful for everything that has come my way. 

Some thoughts over coffee

20181031_174426.jpgI’m sitting in a coffee shop, getting ready for another NaNoWriMo. I posted a blog on my writer’s page, but I though I’d write a few things here as well. The competition won’t begin for another six and half hours, and I’m not one to cheat and start early, but I will start blogging about it, and I have.

As I sit here and look out the window, it’s a cold, gray Halloween. The weeks leading up to today have been exhausting. At work we’ve been scurrying around to get ready for a visit from our Regional Vice President. It has been physically and mentally exhausting. I’ve had very little time to just relax and be me!

But that’s over now, and it seems to have gone well. Of course since I work retail, it only gets a little more hectic. Black Friday is only a little more than three weeks away. I work at a home improvement store, so we are entering our slow period, but for me, as the supervisor over hardware, it’s going to pick up considerably. My footprint in the store has grown to include the section in front of my department, as well as most of the racetrack that leads around the store. I will have a lot to take care of.

That, of course, is par for the course. We all have trying and stressful times. At least I’m healthy, as are my loved ones. I’m thankful for that. Everyday is a gift, and I’m blessed to be living my life. The duality of my life can be trying, but I’m happy to be here, free to live this life. I’m happy that Stefani can be out in the open!

I spent the day today running a few errands. I had to get my car inspected and then registered. As I was at the Santa Fe building in downtown Amarillo, where the Potter County tax office is located, I walked across the hall to cast my vote for next week’s election. I feel as though I really accomplished something. I also did dishes!

At midnight, if I’m awake, I’ll start writing this years novel. Tomorrow, I will continue to write and I’m planning of going to a football game. My niece will be in town with the marching band, and I have to cheer her on. I’m also taking a friend in tomorrow, I hope temporarily. I don’t want a roommate.

I’m also looking forward to a trip up to Kansas in December. I, along with a couple of friends, will be going to see Halestorm and In This Moment. I have my ticket. The only issue there will be whose care we will be taking, when we are leaving, and when we are coming back. We need to get together to discuss this, but so far all plans have fallen apart. I hope the trip itself doesn’t get cancelled.

Otherwise, my life is pretty much going as it always has. There has been no major changes. I haven’t met anyone, I haven’t lost anyone. I’m still contemplating moving out of Amarillo, but nothing’s concrete. I’m just happy to be alive, and honestly, that’s a monumental change in my outlook.

 

No time for me

img_20180921_185953I’m nearing the end of a week-long overnight work week and I’m feeling the strain. As a department supervisor, I have to go overnight to do some organizing in my department, something we do twice a year, once at the beginning of the spring season, and after summer ends. It’s a glorious task!

I’m kidding. It’s exhausting. Some supervisors only had to do two or three nights, but since I’m in one of the main departments, hardware, I have an entire week. I’m still not going to get done with everything. There’s that much to work!

So while I’m working the night shift, I don’t have much time for myself. My sleep is out of sync, and it’s getting to me. I’m not cranky or anything, but I’m just really tired. I don’t have the energy to do anything other than lie in bed and stare into the void. Or my phone.

Honestly though, I haven’t really taken any me time lately. I usually take my days off for myself, but my last day off didn’t really pan out as I had a friend who needed attention. Afterward, I decided to see my parents. I don’t go visit them as often as I should.

This coming weekend isn’t looking good either. I’m planning on going to the WT homecoming game as it’ll be the last one at Kimbrough Stadium. I have a lot of memories there. I was in the marching band back in my college days. As much as a new stadium is needed, it’s still a little bittersweet. I’ll be my last trip there as a college stadium.

Sunday, my parents are supposed to be coming to visit. I complained a bit that they never visit me in Amarillo. They go to Lubbock and Muleshoe to visit my other siblings, but never me. I don’t mind most of the time, but it would be nice for them to take time to remember me. I’m sounding too much like a whining brat, so I should leave it.

All the same, this weekend doesn’t look good for me. I do have next Tuesday off, so I’m sure I’ll make the most of that. I’ll probably end up getting caught up on my cleaning. So even if it is a Stefani day, it’ll be a shorts and tshirt day.

That seems to be my usual outfit these days. I used to get all dressed up, even if I was just going to stay in. Now I don’t bother unless I’m heading out, which is such a hassle. Showering, shaving, dressing, doing makeup, it’s such an ordeal. I love the end result, and I feel great, but it’s so time consuming.

Right now, though, I have to make it until Saturday morning. I may try to sneak a few hours for myself this weekend. I do miss the freedom to be myself. I envy those who have the courage to go all in and transition, but at the moment that’s not in the cards. I’ll have to make do with the precious few hours I do have. One day that may change. I can only hope.

Losing the thrill

img_20180908_221221_178I no longer feel the need to post as often as I used to. I guess it’s a bit of a win, though I confess that it makes me a little sad. The divide between my two halves, the male and the female, has lessened and has become my new normal. I no longer fear people finding out about me. I have become me.

The funny thing is I don’t feel the pull of being Stefani as I once did. I would look forward to the day I could steal a few hours out of the week to hide out at my friend’s place, dress up, even if I had no place to go. Dressing up was the destination. It was exhilarating!

Then came the moment I left the apartment for the first time. It was for a late night drive, but I was terrified. I just knew I would be found out. I wasn’t, but it was still a huge step. Then came the first time I stepped out in public, at Club 212 in Amarillo, a gay club, so we could see the drag show. Terrifying and exhilarating.

Each step was met with a feeling of dread, then excitement, then the eventual normative state. Each time the high was less thrilling, the excitement less so, the dread not as dreadful. I feel as though I was losing a part of the reason why I was dressing up. Being Stefani was less because it was thrilling. I became Stefani because that was who I was, who I am.

I came to visit a friend this weekend. I drove up here in boy mode, as I could be a little more comfortable. I’ve gone back and forth the whole weekend, depending of the situation. Went to a waterpark and it was more convenient to be in boy mode. The same night we went to Choctaw Casino. I went as Stefani. The compulsion to be one or the other is not as pronounced now. I have reached equilibrium.

It’s just funny that coming to this understanding and acceptance came at a cost. The fear of being discovered came with excitement. It fueled my desire. The thrill of being rejected also gave me a rush of adrenaline. The most I feel is a bit of trepidation whenever I step out of the car. It passes almost instantly. I’m largely invisible now. Just another nobody in the ocean of the public, bobbing along, trying to keep my head afloat.

 

Whirlwind Days

Panhandle Pride Picnic at Memorial Park ~ © 2018 Veronica Fite.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me. Two weekends ago, I attended my neice’s quinceñera on Saturday. That was a lot of fun. I took my friend Jessica as my date. She didn’t know what a quineñera entailed, so I thought taking her would be a lot easier than explaining it to her.

The following day was Pride. Panhandle Pride hosted a picnic at Memorial Park in Amarillo. Last year was the first time I had attended. It was also the day I kind of outed myself to everyone at work. This year wasn’t as dramatic for me, but it was fun.

Again, I took Jessica. She was eager to go. We wandered around the park, taking a look at what was available. A law firm was handing out free beer, with proof of age. We had to show our ID, get our hand stamped, and then we were allowed a beer. It’s a little weird to be walking around in public with a cup of beer. Amarillo PD was roaming the park, which made it weirder.

The afternoon was pretty chill. We looked at booths of merchandise. I saw the ex-president of my alma mater, West Texas A&M University – Go Buffs!, – Dr. Russell Long and his wife. They had a booth promoting their books. I was interested in his, Jessica in hers. I plan to look them up on Amazon and get us those books!

I ran into my friend Veronica while there. Home Depot also had a booth, hosted by my former store manager from store #6831, Amanda. Talked with her a bit. Jessica ran into a lot of old friends. It was a fun day, until the combination of alcohol and heat got to me. I was probably close to suffering heat exhaustion. We ended up leaving and going to my apartment for a bit just to cool off.

Last weekend, I began my vacation. I picked up my best friend Amy and headed to Corpus Christi. My mom’s side of the family had a family reunion. All my siblings were there, except my sister. She had to work. It was a draining weekend, one with driving in from Amarillo to DFW on Thursday, DFW to Corpus on Friday, reunion on Saturday, and back to DFW on Sunday. I slept almost all day Monday!

On our way to Corpus, we toured the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX. I had always wanted to go, or at least have wanted to go for over twenty years. It was a neat experience. I can’t believe how popular the tour is! Afterward, we drove to Aransas Pass, got on a ferry – the first time I’ve ever been on a boat! – and went to Port Aransas. We visited the beach, but didn’t go swimming. We then made it to Corpus.

We got to do a little bit of swimming on Sunday, on our way back to DFW. Again, we went on the ferry, except this time I drove my car onto the boat, found a place to park, and got into the water. I haven’t gotten into the ocean since…, well I don’t know when. It might be close to thirty years since the last time I swan in the ocean. I had a blast and actually laughed joyfully, without reservation.

After our swim, I drove back to DFW. The brief swim at the beach wore me out. Made the drive back extremely difficult. I had to stop a few more times than I would have liked just to keep from falling asleep.

After coming back, well it was a pretty tame week. I finally met someone I’ve been talking to for the past couple of years on Twitter. She has a trans daughter and I believe we found each other because of this blog. I only wish I could have met her daughter, but she was out of town. I hope I can meet here the next time I’m in town.

I brought my friend Amy, who was not too keen on meeting my friend. But I was apprehensive about going alone, mainly due to my social awkwardness. She’s a lot better at dealing with people. We met at a place on the square in McKinney called Square Burger.

Lisa was there, along with her husband, Ray. It was not some run down burger joint, which I would have been okay with, but a hip bar that specialized in burgers. Not much else, but the burgers were out of this world, and the beer was cold and refreshing. So glad they suggested it!

Our conversation was primarily about me and my journey, which seems a little egotistical. In reality, I think they were curious as to what I went through in order to help their daughter. She’s a lot younger than me, but already out and living life. There’s still some anxiety about it, which I can relate. I tried to explain how I got to where I am in order to help them see how she she might improve.

Lastly, I said goodbye to my stepdaughter. My ex-wife, her husband, and their children, moved to Arizona on Saturday. I don’t know when I’ll get to see her again. It was a surreal moment for me, to say goodbye to her. I know I only see her a couple of times a year, but DFW is only a 6 hour drive, one that I do regularly. I don’t know about going to Arizona.

It’s been a hectic few weeks. I got to spend a lot of Stefani time, enjoying the freedom of being me. I spent my last day at my friend’s sketching on the couch. I created a new blog for my artwork, Artistica Girl. I hope you check it out, and follow me. I would appreciate it.

At the moment, I’m helping Amy with a few things. I have to finish packing, put everything in my car, and begin the trek home. As much as I don’t want to, I also can’t wait to get back. I miss my friends. I’ll get back to work tomorrow night and who knows when I’ll get another vacation. When I do, maybe it won’t be as hectic as these past couple of weeks have been.