Tag Archive | LGBT

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.

Advertisements

Loving me

20180304_142016.jpgI escaped the confines of my apartment, drove two hours to Lubbock, all to meet up with a group of writers. So here I am, sitting here in a coffee shop, playing on my laptop. Isn’t this exciting!

I’m working on a novel, which I’ve been working on for years, and I’m still working on it. The rough draft is done. So is the second draft. And the third. I think I’m going crazy chasing perfection. I’ll never get there. I just want to get to adequate. I’ll be happy with that.

So, like I say, I’m here in Lubbock, with a group that met me as Joe. One of the writers here has already met me as Stef, but two more now know. It’s interesting to me to see how people react. So far, I have yet to run into anyone who has an issue with me. At least I think I haven’t. If they do, they haven’t voice it.

Living my life is so much better. I feel happier, more at peace with who I am. It’s amazing how much freer I feel just because I’ve stopped fighting with myself. I no longer waste energy denying who I am. I’ve let go of a lot of anger because I no longer have to hide the essence of me.

I still feel depressed at times, but my anxiety has gone down. I get down, but I’m not as sad as I was even a year ago. Moving out on my own again helped. Finding people who accepted me and pushed me to be me led me out into the open.

So being able to meet with friends is such a joy. Being able to feel the open air is a gift. Knowing that I have family and friends who accept me gives me peace of mind. I no longer fear for my fear is baseless. I only wish I would have had the courage to come out twenty years ago. Coming out in middle age comes with its own set of struggles, but I suppose that’s not unique to my age.

There are people who consider people like me sick, that we have some mental issues. Being transgender does not affect our mental health, but being ostracized does. Being rejected negatively impacts us. Living in fear has a huge impact on anxiety.

Finding love and acceptance has minimized my depression. I no longer want to die. There have been times when I actively thought about my own death, sometimes wishing I had the courage to kill myself. Does that shock you?

Those thoughts aren’t as prevalent anymore. If you feel as though you’re not accepted, find people who do. If you are hated, find people who love. If you can’t be yourself, find a space where you can express yourself without judgement. It’s amazing how much better you will feel.

And if you see people struggling with their gender, or their sexuality, show them respect, give them love. Affirm who they are without comment, without judgement. Be the friend, the family member, they need. It’s a struggle to come to accept yourself when you see yourself as outside of mainstream. It takes a lot of courage to come out and say “I am…!”

I am transgender, and I’m proud of who I am. Yeah, I sometimes wish I was born normal, whatever the hell that means, but being me doesn’t make me abnormal. I love me, and that is such a change of who I used to be.

Found out

IMG_20180211_221310_331.jpg

That was a complete disaster. About a week ago, my sister ran across the picture on this post on Instagram. Not my Stefani Instagram, but my Joe account. Naturally, she was shocked by it. My brother was the one who text me and told me I needed to talk to her, which I tried.

I sent her a text seeing if she wanted to talk about it. She didn’t. We exchanged a few texts but it was clear she didn’t want to talk, and frankly she’s so pig-headed that I decided to let it go for the time being, and let my brother know what was going on.

It wasn’t until last night that I wondered why I wasn’t seeing anything of hers on Facebook. I searched for her and discovered she had unfriended me. She also blocked me on Instagram. I couldn’t believe it!

I’ve yet to confront her. I see no point in antagonizing her. She has always been a spoiled, self-centered woman, wrapping herself in an oh-so-Christian attire. Half her posts are about going to this mass or retreats. It’s easy to see why I have an issue with going to church. Nothing but judgment from those who call themselves religious!

I talked to my cousin a bit, and she’s upset. My brother couldn’t believe it either. Haven’t talked to my parents about it yet, but I will eventually. I’m not so irritated. I was telling everyone that I was okay, not really bothered, but I was close to having an anxiety attack over it. I had to concentrate on keeping calm last night until it passed.

I don’t know what to do about it, if anything. Maybe it will pass, but like I said, she’s extremely pig-headed, and I have no intention of apologizing for being who I am. If she doesn’t like it, I don’t need her in my life. She doesn’t contribute a damn thing to my existence. Blood may be blood, but my friends have shown themselves to be my biggest supporters.

Had I worked up the courage to tell her first, maybe she wouldn’t have reacted this way, but I kind of doubt it. She was the one I felt would give me the most trouble about it, having been the only sister with five brothers. I want to just let it go, but I’m honestly fucking angry at her. Truly angry.

And now, I can’t help but wonder if I’ll lose any other siblings to this.

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.

My new channel

20690050_1976279675940743_5806870085882549103_oHi everyone!

I posted my first video on my YouTube channel earlier in the week. Boy was I a nervous wreck! I think it shows in my mannerisms and the crazed look in my eyes. Do I always look like that? Now I’m self-conscious. I hope I’ll get better as I get used to being on camera.

So far all the feedback I’ve received has been positive, though I haven’t heard much. That’s okay. I wasn’t expecting anyone to take time out of their lives see the video, and I’ve almost amassed a whopping 100 views. I’m actually pleased!

I’m planning on continuing to put out videos on a regular basis. Maybe one a week, or every other week. I’m not sure if what I have to say will find an audience. After all, there are a ton of people out there who are more photogenic, who are well-spoken, and who are plain better than I am at connecting with people at large. I cannot compete.

Then again, they are not me. I’m on my own journey, and I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m partially doing it for me, to document this journey. It’s fun to do, and if I connect with anyone, then that’s a bonus. Maybe I can help someone whose own trajectory is similar to mine.

It’ll take me some time to create videos that are polished. I bought a tripod so I won’t have to try and balance my phone. I’m going to experiment with video editing software to clean up the video. I mean, I don’t have enough hobbies as it is! I’m already neglecting my writing and my painting, and my music. I really need to sit down and write. I miss creating my stories.

But this is an extension of my storytelling. Instead of creating fiction, I’m telling the story of Stefani, who am I and I came to be. I’ve written a lot of who I am, so I guess this is repackaging my narrative, but there’s also the path I’m about to walk down.

I would appreciate any support I can get. Like my videos, and if you can, please subscribe. If you are not already following me, please follow me here, too. I would love to hear from you as well. If you have any questions I can answer, please email me at tgstef@stefani.com or leave a comment on this post.

This is only the start of a new endeavor. I don’t know if I will succeed, but I am willing to try, and I’m excited about the challenge.

 

Getting comfortable in my skin

20170602_170313

Downtown Amarillo, The Burger Bar. 2017 ~Stef~

Freedom is a funny thing. Since making my move a little over two months ago, I’ve been able to be me more often. I can come and go as I please, and largely I have done so. About a month ago, I got dressed, picked up my friend, and we drove two hours to Lubbock, solely because I wanted to buy art supplies as Stefani. I wasn’t confident enough to do it here, so close to everyone I know.

That experience was awesome, to say the least. I bought some paints, went to Kohl’s and Walmart, and ate at the Rib Shack. Then we drove the two hours home. I was fun, amazing, blah, blah, blah. The more I’ve gone out, the less of a novelty it has become. On the one hand, isn’t that what I want? On the other, the thrill is kind of gone. I miss the adrenaline rush!

Last Friday, on my day off, I dressed up, once again, went to my friend’s apartment to work on my painting. While there, I decided that we needed to go eat. Usually I just order a pizza, but I was feeling daring, so we went downtown and ate at The Burger Bar. The apprehension was there, but it wasn’t paralyzing. I do recognize that I need some work interacting with others. My confidence isn’t there.

That notwithstanding, it’s a great feeling to be out an about. I do elicit some looks, but most don’t give me a second glance. I’m just another person, and they couldn’t be bothered to have anything to do with me. They’re so wrapped up in themselves that everyone else registers only slightly. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, lol.

Which brings me to what’s going on now. The Panhandle Pride Festival is coming up later this month, and I’m considering whether or not to go. I’m leaning towards going, but that brings into question whether to go as myself or in boy mode. I had wanted to go as me, but my employer will have a booth set up, attended by my coworkers, most who are unaware of my identity.

So, do I out myself further and go as me, or do I go incognito or not at all? Of course, I have no illusions that you can give me the answer. The decision is ultimately mine, but it’s one that I can’t help but contemplate. Be me or not? Embrace my identity or continue to hide?

At the moment, I have no desire to transition, though it is on my mind at times. I will admit that I have so much respect for those who have crossed that threshold and decided to transition. It takes so much courage to accept who you are, but also to come out, knowing that there may be some relationships irreparably damaged. I’m not to that point.

I’ll go it one day at a time, and I’ll made the final decision nearer to the day, and probably on the day.  Some of my friends are all into me going to Pride, and I’m sure they’d love to accompany me as Stef. If I do, of course I’ll let you know, and yes, I’ll post pictures. I kind of hope I do it. I love going out!

 

Feeling blue

20170415_215759This has been a good month, more or less. Since moving to Amarillo, I’ve been able to go out and about at my leisure, without having to be accountable to no one but myself. I have the ability to lounge around my place, dressed up or dressed down, usually shorts and a t-shirt, without worrying about who may catch me. I missed this freeing feeling!

On the downside, I have a lot less disposable income, very little to spend on make up and clothes, though I did buy some Clinique powder, having decided to upgrade the quality of my makeup, slowly. I would like to buy more clothes, though having moved the majority of it to my place, I do have a decent wardrobe built up already!

On the negative, I hit a rough patch last weekend, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically. The weight of everything seemed to press upon me, pushing me under like a woman on the verge of drowning. I was at once exhausted and terrified. Tired of life and living, almost of the point of being unable to function. I was scared for a moment of being alone, that I might actually do harm to myself. I considered checking into , but I refrained. I worked for the company that owns that hospital, and I don’t like the way the conduct business.

Ultimately, I ended up messaging a friend I went to college with, who’s now a priest. He messaged me back to let me know he would be free after 7:30, and I met him at the parish offices to discuss what was bringing me down. After our perfunctory greeting, we sat down and I started to open up to an old friend.

There was no look of judgment in his eyes, though I may have detected a little bit of shock. He was as warm and friendly as ever, giving me pastoral advice, and listening to me both a a spiritual adviser and a friend. My fear of being rejected was alleviated, and he promised to walk with me where ever my path should lead, that he would love me even should the time come that I decide I must transition. That eased the burden weighing on my heart.

His first reaction was to say that he thought I bore the symptoms of clinical depression and suggested I find someone to deal with that, as he is not equipped and trained to deal with depression. He suggested a few resources for me to consider, offered someone he knew to act as a spiritual adviser, and offered to do so himself as I needed and his time allowed.

In the end, I came out feeling, if not well, at least better about my situation. I’m glad I opened up to him. I have felt better about myself in the past week, not feeling so hopeless and alone. I have another ally on my side. I guess I should feel fortunate, and I do, when the demons don’t push me to feel nothing at all.