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Authentic

20180108_232910-1.jpgMy life has been a series of small steps that led me to this point. I started this blog back in 2013 – check my first post here – and it’s been one small step after another for the past four years. I never thought I would be where I am now, living out in the open!

I’m not yet living full time. I’m not at that point in my life, and I can’t say with any certainty whether I will or I won’t. What I can say is that I’ve found some peace. I found that I can be happy. I discovered that I don’t need anyone to define who I am. Happiness isn’t dependant on anyone else.

So this is what my life is like at the moment. On most days I live my life as a man. I go to work, spend my time there as such. I’ve wondered what it would be like to go as Stef, to integrate that part of myself into my professional life, but it would be an unwanted distraction. Until I commit myself to transitioning, I will have to content myself to this duality.

When I get out of work, depending on the time, I may change clothes. I scrape off the masculine and put on the feminine. A lot of what I do is only exterior, but it’s a matter of matching what I wear to what I feel on the inside. The masks I wear have begun to blur. When I first started the journey, it felt as though Stef was the mask, but I’ve recently came to the conclusion that it’s not the case. It’s too simplistic an explanation.

The masculine and the feminine clothes I own and wear are costumes, extensions of societal expectations. What I feel is deeper than clothing, or jewelry, or makeup. I feel, I am, female at heart. Even when I was denying myself the experience of being Stef, I knew intrinsically that I was a woman. I was bitter about being male. I knew my life would have been better had I been a woman, because in my mind I was a woman, even if my biological body betrayed that fact.

So I live my everyday life in accordance to what my body tells me to live, even if I suffer a spiritual and emotional discordance from it. People know me as male, so I plod along as such, and I’ve grown adept at it. No one who I haven’t told has ever suspected that I harbor such a secret. Scandalous!

It’s after work, like I said before, or on my days off, that I can come out and shine. I no longer feel the need to do my makeup to feel feminine, though I’ll admit that it helps. I don’t have to put on skirts are dresses, or anything sexy. That’s not really my style. A pair of jeans and a comfy blouse is all I need.

I run errands this way now. I go shopping, go out for a drink at my local watering hole. I meet friends and live my personal life as my preferred gender, or maybe my actual gender. I spend more time onlife as Stef. I’ve grown comfortable as such. It’s a pleasant experience to be me.

I’ve gone from pretending I don’t exist, and being miserable, to allowing myself to be me and being happy. As my circle of confidants have grown, my has confidence has grown exponentially. I’ve discovered that I have more supporters in my friends than I could have ever imagined. My family has not abandoned me, which was my biggest worry.

As for my family, they haven’t met Stef, but I no longer fear it. It’s not time yet, but I can’t wait for them to see me for who I am. I know it will be a shock for them to actually see me this way. Though I have told them, I think there’s still a bit of disbelief in their minds.

So that’s where I am now, further along than I could have ever believed possible. Even though I say I can’t say with any certainty what I’m going to do, I feel as though I do what to proceed in my journey.

I dream of the day when I start to exhibit more feminine features. I dream of the day when I can live full time as myself. I want the experience of being a woman, both the good and the bad. I have no illusions that it will be all sunshine and rainbows. Even in my limited experience as Stef, I have witnessed some mild forms of misogyny. It’s unfortunate but expected. It’d be a small price to pay to live authentically.

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And yet another

20160824_150210It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I’m still alive, though extremely exhausted. Work has been brutal these past two weeks, and I don’t see it letting up anytime soon. I could use some time off. I should look into scheduling a vacation.

Things on the Stefani front is still about the same. I did bring someone else into the fold, my cousin. It began when she brought up a guy we went to school with, someone I always wondered if he was transgendered. There was something about him that made me suspect that he was.

That conversation led me to disclose my own gender identity, though I was nervous to do so. I opened myself up to her, and we ended up talking until after midnight. She was surprised by supportive. I showed her a picture, and she was amazed that I didn’t come across a some drag queen. I took that as a compliment.

Earlier, I had wondered out loud whether I should grow my hair back out, and she pieced it together, that my desire to grow my hair was an extension of my gender identity, and my loathing for wigs. She then made the suggestion that I should try to use extensions instead.

We talked clothing, makeup, and other girl things, which I found quite strange, but oddly satisfying. I could drop all pretenses and be me. It was great. I felt free, happy that at least I have an ally in the family. She did agree with me that my parents would never accept me, nor would my sister, but that’s a longer conversation.

What I hate is that I don’t have ample time to me Stef, only the occasional stolen moments. A friend asked me if I intended to transition, and all I could say is that I didn’t know. I’ve maintained that I had no intentions to do so, but this pull is getting stronger, and though I’m unwilling at the moment to say that I will do so, I have to concede that it is a possibility.

I don’t have to make up my mind yet. I can still dress when I have the chance. It’s the best I can do, and it’s fine for the time being. I have found some measure of peace whenever I do get to dress. I have found happiness, though only for brief moments of time.

And another one finds out

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At Myriad Botanical Gardens. Forgive my crazy eyes, lol! ~Stef~

It seems like I’m being found out all too often lately. A few weeks ago, my ex-wife called me to tell me that my step-daughter saw my pictures on my ex-wife’s phone. Okay. No problem. Not what I wanted to happen, but she’s okay with it, and we can live with it. Then last Monday, a co-worker hinted that she found my Facebook profile and asked if that was me.

Yikes! I thought I was being more careful, but I also knew it was inevitable. I pulled out my cellphone, opened up my profile, and asked if that was what she found. She nodded excitedly before berating me for not telling her. She has two gay sons, after all. Not that being transgender and being gay are the same thing. Still, she had a million questions, which I tried to answer discreetly.

We tried to talk a little more on Friday, but again we couldn’t say much. Too many prying ears, so I said we should have lunch sometime to discuss my crossdressing even further. She did ask if I was gay. I am no. Bi? Well, not really, but I have fooled around a few times. Does that shock you, my readers? It freaked me out. I almost had a panic attack the following day after my first time.

But back to my co-worker. I wondered if she wanted to hook me up with her son. He’s currently in a relationship, so I doubt it, but what if? Is that what I want? I don’t think so. I mean to say that I’m attracted to women, but the thought of being with a guy no longer terrifies me. I’ve kissed one. I’ve given a few guys a blowjob – but not at the same time, mind you – and I enjoyed the experience. I’m keen to do it again.

But what about a real date? I wouldn’t mind going out on a movie date some time with a guy. Maybe go to a nice restaurant, or an art gallery, a musical, opera, etc. What I want are experiences. I’ve closeted myself for far too long, especially to myself, that I have no true idea of self. I’m only a reflection of who I think people want me to be. Isn’t that horrifying? The me that exists is merely a mask I wear to please those around me.

As I write this, I’m forced to conclude that I don’t know who I am. Which one of my identities is my true face and which one is the mask? Is it even fair to ask the question? Can’t both be part of my true self, different halves of the whole, man and woman made one in me? More importantly, can I have both a boyfriend and a girlfriend?

I read Alice in Genderland by Richard J. Novic, M.D., and he found himself in a marriage that allowed him the opportunity to live as Alice on the weekend, and as her was in a committed relationship with a man. I admit that I was fascinated and a little jealous when I read that. Isn’t that the fantasy I have, of having a wife and a boyfriend with their respective blessings?

I don’t know, but truth be told, I have to admit that it is. It feels like the moment of truth is circling ever closer. It’ll be soon that I’ll be outed at work, and what then? Some will be intrigued, some few maybe even excited, but I suspect most will be repulsed. I’ll become the laughingstock of my coworkers, the butt of their jokes. I’ll be mocked and made to feel less of myself.

I hope I’m wrong, of course. Sure, some will mock me for sure, but I pray that it would be as bad as I fear. Part of me just wants to be done with it, to let the world in on my secret. It would simplify so many things. I’ll no longer fear being discovered and outed to a hostile world. I’ll be able to just be me, and let the mask slip from my fingers.

I’m supposed to have lunch with my friend, hopefully this coming week. I believe she wants to go out with me as Stefani next weekend as well. I’m not committed to that, but I’m thinking about it. It would be nice to have more friends in my corner, should the worst happen.

Hero

20160603_184413I’m a role model!? I never thought of myself as such, and I certainly don’t feel the part. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it’s an eye-opener to be sure. Whatever it is, it’s humbling, given that I’m just a boy, dressing like a girl, wishing she could be a girl, but knowing that that final plunge is one I will never take.

But her? She has a courage I lack, a determination to be who she needs to be, despite the hardships blocking her path. She’s my hero, my role model. She inspires me.

After my last post, I received a message from one of my followers. I don’t often get private messages, and when I do it’s usually some porn starlet seeking followers, are perverts wanting me to scratch their tranny-chasing itch. It’s creepy and a little insulting.

This one, however, was from a mother telling me about her son who wants to transition to female. Mom didn’t say much, and revealed a few intimate details that shall remain between us. What I will share is that my writing seems to inspire her son. Mom even sent me a picture with her son, and she’s beautiful. Her son, that is. Mom is too, but that’s tangential to the story.

I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the picture. My female side is in awe by her beauty. She’s young and beautiful, with a wonderful smile and gorgeous hair. I’m a little jealous, to be honest. My male side is like, whoa! Who’s the hotty?! My two sides crack me up sometimes. Then I realize I’m forty and creep myself out. Aging sucks!

But more than her physical beauty, it’s the fact that she’s able to be completely honest with herself about who she is that I find remarkable. She found the courage to be frank about her gender and then found a way to tell her mother. I could never do that. I’ve made my peace with living in the shadows, only making brief forays into the light, and this young woman is eschewing the darkness to bask in the glow of the sun.

I envy her!

I feel for her because I know being trans isn’t easy. There’s a lot of uncertainty and a tremendous amount of risk involved, yet she steadfastly seeks to walk that path. How is that not courageous? How can I not be awed by her strength? How can I not be moved by her mother’s devotion? It’s too amazing not to share!

I’m only a storyteller telling the stories I have lived. I feel like a scared child, poking their head out the door only to pull it back in again, shutting the world out again, then writing to tell you all about it. I won’t completely close the opportunity to come out to the world, but I highly doubt I will. For those who choose that path, I pray you find love and peace in the world. And for you, it’s not much, but I’ll extend my hand in fellowship and friendship. You’re a braver woman than I can ever hope to be. You are my hero.

God bless.

Reintroductions

IMG_20160603_210251I’m about set to take another road trip down to visit a friend of mine next weekend. I can’t wait. I’m working to get my car ready as my air condition decided it no longer needed to work. I think I’ve located the leak, I’ve ordered the part, and I’m hoping it arrives before I leave. The Texas heat has begun to settle in, and I’m not looking forward to making that drive sans air conditioning.

I’m also looking forward to it because I’m planning on making the drive as Stefani. I did it last time, back in March, but I pulled over before I got to her house, changed back into boy mode, so that her husband wouldn’t see me. He doesn’t know, and as macho, right-wing man, anyone that doesn’t subscribe to traditional gender roles is to be ridiculed.

So I’m leaving early Friday morning, around five in the morning, and I asked my friend to be off that day. I want to introduce Stefani to her, even though she already knows. I send the occasional photo, but she hasn’t seen me dressed yet. At least not since 2000. I can’t believe it’ been that long.

She was the first person, back in ’97, that met Stefani. In fact, she’s the one that asked if I had a name. Back then, I dressed in secret, and though I came out to a friend even before then, it was still more of a fetish thing, one that filled me with shame and regret.

I came out to her as a joke. We worked at the same place, a Burger King on campus of the university we were attending. I kind of fell in love with her, which is strange to say now as she is my best friend. Then, I didn’t know her, but I thought she was cute, and we had that awkward banter that two people who are into each other fall into.

I would joke how I probably looked better in a dress than she did, as I recall. She laughed, but then she called my bluff. She told me where she lived and invited me over. To my everlasting surprise, I went over. I’m not sure if I actually put no a dress on that occasion, but I eventually did. I remember her pulling out a short, black dress. That I could have put it on is nothing short of amazing, considering how thin she was back in those days. Come to think of it, I was a lot thinner, too. Ugh, I feel fat!

Back to my story. She’s the one who helped me accept myself for who I was. She exhorted me to stop feeling guilty and to embrace the woman within. She taught me how to dress, showed me who to do make up, and encouraged me to leave the house, which I did. We went our during the day, me in short shorts with hose, and a sleeveless blouse. I totally rocked the look back then. It helped that I actually wore my hair long back then. We even went to Lubbock once and shopped around, if I recall correctly.

A lot can change in over the years. I’m no longer a thin wraith, and I don’t pass as well as I did back then. We dated for a while, broke up, but remained friends. She married, and I did as well, before divorcing five years later. The only constant is our friendship. And though I hid Stefani away for years, she never wavered in her acceptance of a person I tried to deny.

So here I am, ready to reintroduce myself to the woman who helped create my identity all those years ago. I can’t wait to make that drive, to step out of that car, and have her see me again.

Second time…whatever

20160507_205851I made it back to Club 212 again this past Saturday, the second week in a row that I felt compelled to leave the safety of my refuge. The first time was magical, as first experiences usually are. My adrenaline was pumping, the expectation was set, and my need finally overcame my trepidation as I set my foot out of the car, walked up to the front door, handed the bouncer my card, and with a wave, let me in. He didn’t bat an eye.

The second time, nothing. My adrenaline was there, but nowhere near the level it had been the previous week. I knew what to expect, so there was no trepidation, my expectations were more realistic, and all fear and bashfulness had transformed into accepting this new status quo. Now, what was once my refuge has become my prison. I see no purpose in keeping myself locked up.

The problem is that this city is still too small to contain both my halves. While I feel comfortable going out at night, and going to a small gay bar in downtown, I feel less inclined to head out to the mall to go shopping, or to the movies, or even to the corner convenience store. One trip to the drive thru last Saturday proved that, as the gentleman took my order, via speaker, called me sir, then saw me, as Stefani, and became flustered. He called me ma’am after that. It was actually cute, and amazingly affirming.

Now, my new issue is that as I come to grips more fully with my feminine side, my male side is confused. I’m living a lie, but I’m not sure which side is the truth, and which side is the lie. It may be more complex than that, as I learn about my own duality, that I can neither choose one over the other, that I’m both male and female, not wholly one or the other, but somehow both.

That may be what I’m at odds over: to what degree am I Stefani, and to what degree am I Steve? Am I simply a crossdresser? I started out as a fetishitic crossdresser when I was younger, putting on pantyhose and  dress, getting off almost immediately, then taking everything off, feeling sick with myself. It made me feel so alone that I suffered such a sick perversity.

I know better now. I thrill came from it being taboo. That’s where the excitement came from, the sexual tension and release. When I found acceptance, with myself and from a friend, the sexual side faded, though it was still arousing, especially as a 22 year old wearing short shorts and walking around the park during the day. I was way skinnier and cuter then. I wish I could have found the courage then to live out in the open.

I’m 40 now, and it’s not so easy. I’ve gained weight, my baby face is gone, and some typical masculine traits have blossomed, such as my facial hair and having my upper body fill out. I wanted to be more manly in my twenties. I despise it now. Be careful what you wish for!

Still, I’m happy to found some peace in my life, and the ability to accept this facet of my personality. I’m slowly outing myself to friends, though I don’t think I’ll every come out to my religious, bigoted family. It’s sad to know that they will never truly meet me, as they are of the conviction that to be transgender, or gay, is morally wrong and therefore unacceptable. I could never be without my family, so I bear that little lie with as much grace as I can muster.

Soon, I will have to move from here, to allow myself the room I need to expand my limits, to explore the world with my eyes. I’m feeling that itch, that home is a prison, and the world without is a limitless playground. I’ll miss it here, but life waits for no one, and at my age, I’m discovering just how fleeting life truly is.

40th

20160409_183517Happy 40th to me! God, I feel old. I look it, too, when I look in the mirror. I can see the gray beginning to show, and the pain – Oh the pain! – in my knees, my back, and everywhere else. I still feel young. I feel like I did when I was a youngster in my twenties. It’s my body that has betrayed me!

The great thing about age is experience. I still feel that I’m lacking a bit there, but looking back on my life, I’ve made many major life transitions. I’ve quit and been fired from jobs, and I started new jobs. I’ve been married and divorced. I’ve been broken and been mended whole by the passage of time.

Through it all, I’ve come to my current standing crop, overlooking a live that I have lived, and I can see the footsteps that led me here. In a few places, I can see where I crawled on my hands and knees. I think I was dragged behind someone during 2011 and 2012, and into 2013. Some hardships leave you broken, and I’ve never been as broken as I was during those few years. I’m still amazed I’m alive.

The biggest change in my life, and the one that has brought me the most joy, is when I finally stopped running away from my self and my truth, and accepted the fact that I’m transgender. It’s a scary thing to accept, a dangerous truth to admit, but I did. I’ve let a few friends in on the secret, but at least it’s out there, and in here, now that I think about it.

Letting Stefani out of the proverbial closet has been a gift. It’s not easy, and it’s not something a readily put in public. I live my daily life in drab, but I life for those few stolen moments when I can fly and be free. I’ll probably never let my family know, and I may never find a steady relationship again, since I refuse to deny myself ever again, but I know my truth. I was born broken, and though I’ve done my best to live with the pain of my knowing this torture, I’m a broken human.

I know there are some who would advise me to transition, and I’ve considered it, but I won’t. The cost is too great. I would risk losing my family, and my family has been the only constant I have, the only reason I feel that I’m alive still today. I understand others feel differently than I do, and have sacrificed their family for the freedom to be themselves. I envy them, but I have to do what’s best for me. Life is full of uncomfortable compromises.

Now that I’ve started my 4th decade, I’ll nurture my feminine side, allowing my true soul to emerge. Maybe I’ll make myself a liar and out myself someday. Who knows? I never thought I would let Stefani out of the confines of my being, but She has emerged, and I’m richer for it. She’s more confident and open than my male ego, and I enjoy being Her more than I enjoy being Him.