Tag Archive | Tgirl

The Year of Stefani

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February 2017

Is it time for the 2017 retrospective yet? We still have a ways to go, but in the closing month of the year, I can’t help but look back a bit. I started the year afraid of going out anywhere, and I ended up going to my company Christmas party last week.

I have come out to many people, everyone I work with, essentially, and a couple of family members. I came out to a friend I met in college, a priest, someone who promised to remain at my side, to support me. I began meeting with a spiritual advisor. I went to Georgia, and I’m going again next week, this time all week as Stef.

I went from being scared to becoming bold. I went from remaining in the shadows, to coming out into the sun. I went from wanting to remain anonymous to wanting to be known for who I am. This is what 2017 has meant for me.

Going back three years, in 2014, I started dressing up again after more than ten years pretending to be someone I wasn’t. More than ten miserable years lost in anger and confusion, wanting to be a normal man. That didn’t work out.

2011 lost my wife and lost another relationship. 2012, lost my job. 2013 went back to college, got my current job, graduated with my bachelor’s degree, but it wasn’t until December 2014 that things started to come around.

It took time to find my style. I bought clothes, makeup, wigs. I built up a wardrobe, and for the first time ever, I didn’t purge a single thing. I came out to a friend in 2016, someone who accepted me, along with her mother. 2016 began the phase of accepting myself, and 2017 was the next phase,  of accepting that I could come out, that people could accept me. They have.

2017 has been my year, the year of Stefani. I have let myself be seen by so many. I started volunteering as Stefani, something that only lasted a couple of months, and something I wish I hadn’t let go of like I did. I made a few mistakes, as you can see, but I had something to give to the community. Something uniquely mine, and not my male alter ego’s.

I began my YouTube Channel, and though it doesn’t have many viewers, it helps me develop my thoughts as to who I am. I continue writing this blog, mostly as a personal journal as to my own journey, a way to look back and remember where I was, where I am, and where I want to be.

I’m looking forward to 2018 with renewed vigor. Where can I go from here? I have no plans to return into the shadows, or to remain a part time person. I would like to emerge more fully, though fully transitioning is still in question. Do I or don’t I? Some days I feel it so strongly that I must. Other days, I’m a little less certain.

This is what I do know. I am not an alter ego. I am not a character. I may refer to my male and female personas as two separate and individual people, but I have come to realize that I have integrated them into myself. I am both for both make up my singular personality. I may act a certain way depending on how I’m presenting myself, but I am essentially me.

If anything, that’s my biggest take away from 2017. I can’t wait to see what this upcoming year has in store.

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The Party

 

IMG_8rnoct.jpgMy store held our annual Christmas party this past Sunday, and though I really didn’t feel up to it, I went. Sunday was my day off, and I really didn’t want to leave the apartment and drive downtown to the Amarillo Civic Center. But I was hungry, and they were feeding us.

I had dressed up early in the day to go with a friend to see Murder on the Orient Express, a movie I highly recommend, and when I got back to my place, I was loath to go back to Joe mode. I relish the time I have to myself. To exist as my true self.

That’s when I began thinking about maybe just showing up as Stefani. The thought had been in my mind to show up at work, questions be damned, but I thought it inappropriate. That won’t happen until I begin to transition, should I decide that that’s what I should do.

Then the party came up. My day off is my day, the time I spend for me. I want to say I made up my mind to go as Stef, but the truth is I think I was resolved to go. I had no excuses not to.

So I changed into something a little more festive, made sure my makeup was still good. Then I put on my heels and made my way to the party. Only one coworker had any idea I was doing it.

I wasn’t too nervous about it. Most of my coworkers already knew by then, though they hadn’t seen me dressed up yet. I walked in and…

Nothing. Most people didn’t register that I had come in. Those few that did returned their attention to the fajitas on their plate, or the conversations they were having.

I ended up sitting with a couple of friends before getting up to get myself a plate. I was a little self-concious, but I had very little to be concerned about. Several waved excitedly at me, or said hi. Some said I looked pretty. One told me they admired the fact that I was brave enough to be myself, no irony in her voice, by the way.

I spent a lifetime afraid of this moment, and it came and went without any issues. Of course it’s a sign of our times. I don’t claim this as a personal victory. This was made possible by the thousands before me, those courageous souls who sacrificed so much, some even their lives, just so I could go to  party in peace.

So no, I don’t take this for granted. All I speak to is my personal journey, of loosening the reins to my my secret, of slowly coming into my own. I still have a ways to go, but for all the losses I have had, 2017 has been good for me. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.

It’s work becoming me

So far this has been an illuminating experience. I have spent the whole of my vacation thus far in Stefani mode, embracing my inner self. It’s kind of exhausting. I know you cis-women are rolling your eyes at me, and I can’t blame you if you are, but damn this is tiring. Getting up, shaving, chosing what to wear, doing my make up, it’s exhausting. And I’m not doing anything special with my hair!

Part of me relishes the simplicity of being a guy. Get up, shower, throw on some clothes. Done and done. It’s not sexy, it’s not fun, but damn it’s easy. I look like a slob most of the time, especially at work, but who cares? Right? And when I do dress up, it’s still quick and painless. Slacks, a dress shirt, and done. The difference is quite stark.

Now, it would be easier if I wasn’t putting on makeup. It would save time. A lot of women aren’t into putting on makeup daily, or if they do, a little eyeliner, maybe some lipstick, and done. I can’t do that. It’s a full face all the time, to cover up this annoying 5 o’clock shadow. I’m considering waxing or some other semi-permanent hair removal. Then it would simplify it a little.

But there’s also the matter of dressing. I wear pantyhose all the time. I just do. At first, it was a sensual thing, I won’t deny that. I still love the feeling of hose on freshly shaved legs, but it’s hot, and itchy, and it’s a little uncomfortable. Also, I can’t not wear it. The reason I do is because – how do I say this? – it helps me hide my genetalia. It’s how I tuck everything back.

I will admit a few things while I’m at it. I sometimes doubt myself. Am I really trans? Do other transgender ever feel this way? Do I doubt because I’m unsure or because this is an arduous and painful process? What does it mean to have this doubt?

I know I can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Or maybe Pandora’s box is a better metaphor. I can’t but Stefani back in the closet. I’m unhappy without her. I’m unhappy with Joe. I’m somehow neither and both. Schrodinger’s gender? A bad joke perhaps, but somehow also true.

That’s the thing I’m discovering about myself. It’s not entirely black and white. I thought the whole gender spectrum was a bunch of bullshit. I’m discovering that it is truer than I could have imagined. I’m a little of both. A little bit country, a little bit rock n roll. Another bad joke. I apologize.

In the end it’ll come down to which side is more me. It’s going to take me a lot of time to figure this out. I have a spiritual advisor to help me out, and she gave me the name of a therapist who deals with LGBTQ issues and hosts a transgender support group.

I refer to my female self in the third person not because I consider her someone else, but to identify her, to give me an identity. Joe is who I am everyday. Joe is drab, and mundane. Stefani is an emergent butterfly, ready to take flight after her transformation.

I do want to make clear that Stefani is not a mask, a costume I wear when I’m bored. I wouldn’t bother trying to come out if this was just some cheap thrill. I wouldn’t risk friendships and possibly alienating my family on some fetish. I am Stefani. I’m also Joe. I’m both and neither, and sometimes it’s overwhelming and confusing.

And the act of maintaining two distinct and separate lives is exhausting. Yes, there’s be some integration of my two halves, but it’s not complete. In the end, I think I will have to let Stefani out more and relegate Joe to the shadows. I’m happier as Stef. I’m freer as Stef, even if being Stef is a little more maintenance. It’s a small price to pay to be happy.

But why does it have to be a lot of work?

Taking a break

20170826_170048I’m on vacation! I drove down to my friend’s place after work on Friday, in Stef mode of course. It meant that I couldn’t leave immediately after work, but it was worth the wait.

My first day went well. I spent all morning in bed, catching up on my sleep. When I actually dragged myself out of bed, I got dressed, ate, and headed to Commerce to visit my stepdaughter. It was the first time she was introduced to me in Stefani mode. It was the first time my ex-wife has met Stefani as well. It was a little scary, but the accepted me and it was marvelous. My stepdaughter even made me a choker.

Then me and friend went to Greenville to do some shopping. I worked in Greenville and know quite a few people. I was a little eager to run into some old friends and acquaintances, but it didn’t happen. I was a little bummed. The more I go out, the more I desire to be out.

On that note, I went and met someone this past Wednesday. Back in April, I met with an old friend who is now a priest in Hereford. I told him about me, about my journey, and my struggles, and he suggested I meet with someone, a spiritual advisor. I finally met her and I was apprehensive. I didn’t know what to expect. Being Catholic, I expected more resistance, but instead I got understanding and love. I was surprised.

It was a freeing experience to talk about me, what I was going through, what I was struggling with. It was heartening to hear that I wasn’t being rejected or belittled. I was being validated from someone within the church that I call home. She even apologized to me for how the church has treated me and made me feel.

Going forward, we will meet once a month. In addition, she wants to help find a counselor for me, someone experienced with the  LGBTQ community. Fr. Tony had mentioned it as well, that I displayed symptoms of depression. In addition, I would like that help to help guide me to the decision of whether or not transitioning is right for me. Somedays I think it is, others I think it would be a mistake. It’s too big a decision to make on my own, though I recognize that decision will ultimately be my own to make.

I’m also continuing my video channel, even if I don’t get many views. It’s another avenue to talk about my journey. I’m not very good at it, but at least the quality has improved from my first. I finally posted my third video, and I’m planning on recording another one on Monday, talking about my meeting with my spiritual advisor.

I want to thank everyone, while I’m at it, for reading and following me. I know I’m not a leader within the community. I’m just some girl spilling her heart and soul to the world. This is more a diary than a forum. What I would like to say is that it’s a lonely road sometimes, and that I appreciate hearing from you, even if I’m terrible about responding.

For those of you who are transgender, I hope that what I’m saying helps you in some way, even if only to tell you that you aren’t alone. If you know someone who is transgender, then try to be understanding. It can be confusing at times, especially when you start coming to terms with what it means.

I love you all.

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.

 

From then until now

It was a year ago that I took my first roadtrip as Stefani. I drove to Oklahoma City, spent the entire time dressed up, did some sightseeing, and drove back, without once changing into my male alter ego. I didn’t even take him clothes. It was a scary and exhilarating experience, and one I will never make again.

Since then, I’ve grown bold in my femme persona. As I write this, I’m in a coffee shop in Amarillo, a few blocks from where I work, wearing a skirt and blouse. Being Stef is less of an issue. I’m still apprehensive about it, especially with all the negativity thrown our way via the politicos in Washington and Austin, but no one gives me a second glance. I’m invisible.

Part of it is growing more comfortable in my skin. My first forays were spent in a state of hyper anxiety, waiting to be called out. But the more I have gone out, the less anxious I have become, learning to relax and enjoy my time out. The more comfortable I’ve become, the less attention I draw to myself.

Since my trip to OKC, I’ve gone out several time to DFW, visited the Arboretum there. I’ve driven to Lubbock and spent the day. I’ve started going out during the day here in my city. I’ve let more and more people into my life, the fear of being discovered having less power over me.

Only last week, I drove to Dallas, spent the entire time as Stef, and even visited my old work place. No one bothered to pay me any attention. I spend almost all my free time as Stef, only going out as Joe when it’s necessary, or when I go to work. I’m not yet ready to introduce myself as Stef there, even if most people already know.

Where I am now is coming to the decision that it’s time to move on. I never meant to stay in Amarillo, and I think my time here is coming to an end. I think that by next spring I’ll be ready to make the move to DFW. I’ll transfer to another Home Depot around the McKinney area, or maybe I’ll consider looking for another job altogether.

I’ll admit that I want to go to work as Stef. I want to live as Stef. The act of transitioning is growing more on my mind. I feel no rush when I dress up any more. I do not feel the excitement as I once did just to step out the door. It feels natural, it feels right, I feel like me.

I’m supposed to call someone my friend has recommended I talk to. She’s out of town until this coming week, but I’ll meet with her as soon as possible. I need to know how to proceed with my life, and my spiritual life is just as important to me as my physical well being.

There’s a lot to look forward to, and I can’t wait to live my life. My only regret is that I waited this long to come to terms with who I am. I can’t change the past, but I can make the right decision going forward. Here’s to me.

Finding an ally

DFrMul3XkAAy03dLast week I saw this image on a friend’s Facebook timeline. I didn’t think much of it as she’s a liberal person and I thought she was simply being supportive. She didn’t know about me or my journey, having never confided this secret to her. I loved the image and  continued on my way, scrolling down my feed, wasting time.

It wasn’t until later that I started reading her comments, and she stated that she had a transgender son. I was in shock. I had not known that. I suppose most people don’t advertise that fact. It’s dangerous to say so and can put them in an awkward and even a hazardous position. Being out comes with a price, a price I’m only now coming to terms with, and deciding if I’m willing to pay that price.

But my friend’s son decided to come out, to transition. She went from a young woman and accepted herself as a young man. That takes a lot of courage, especially with the amount of bigotry that seems socially acceptable to push onto the transgender community. I’m in awe.

But I will confess that I had a mixture of emotions when I read about her son. On the one hand, seeing her accept her child filled me with a sense of hope. Maybe I could confide in her my own struggles and my own journey to accept myself. On the other, I felt saddened by it. Saddened because it’s such a difficult burden to carry. Many fail. I pray he succeeds.

But it also takes a toll on the family. Who was once a daughter is now their son. How does one process that? I’ve never been in a position to deal with that, and it’s a position that I may be placing my family under should I conclude that I must transition.

At that moment, however, I decided to reach out to my friend, and to tell her about my own journey, my own struggles. To my relief, she accepted me for who I am, referring to me as her, girl, Stefani. It was an amazing experience.

I’m hoping to meet up with her in person at the end of the month. I’m heading back to the DFW area for a mini vacation, just a few days away from work and home, a chance to relax and to recharge. She sounds every bit as excited as I do. Of course I will be going in Stefani mode. There’s no question about that. I now I can’t wait. It’s nice when you discover another member for your support team. Every one helps.