Tag Archive | Tgirl

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.

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Boomerang roadtrip

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In front of Walmart 5311 in McKinney, TX. I worked here as an ASM back in 2006-2008! ~Stef~

What a week! Last week was inventory week at my employer, and anyone who has ever worked retail knows just how horrible the inventory process is, particularly if you are a manager or a supervisor. Lots of work, long hours, little sleep. Worked Thursday until midnight, having to return to work at five in the morning on Friday. I ended up not being able to sleep, so I stayed up about thirty hours before I was able to get to bed for a little shut eye.

With inventory over, we had reports to work on Saturday, which we spent a few hours doing, until it got too busy. I worked until six, at which time I went home and tried to relax, knowing that the next day, Sunday, I would be have off. Finally having some free time, I changed into my Stefani clothes, knowing I would have the rest of the evening, and the next day, to be myself.

 

At around nine Saturday, my friend Amy convinced me to drive up to see her. The drive from Amarillo to her house, about an hour and a half north east from Dallas, usually takes about six to seven hours. Not wanting to squander the time I had set aside, I said I would go, but I would only do so as Stefani, which she heartily agreed to. She missed her best friend after all, as did I!

Nothing of note happened on the drive. I listened to music, and then switched over to a book got off of Audible, The Night Circus (my favorite book of all time!), and got to her house at 4 in the morning. Slept in until almost ten before I woke up, exhausted but happy to see my friend.

Now, Amy has known about me since we met back in ’98. Her husband, however, did not. He only found out maybe a year ago, after I told Amy to go ahead and tell him. I think it freaked him out, the arch-conservative that he is. I never presented myself as Stef in front of him, but this time I took only one change of clothes, since I would have to drive immediately home on Sunday evening.

This is where it gets amusing. I was in the living room, on the chaise, covered with a throw, wearing the clothes I wore on the drive the night before. He saw me but didn’t pay me no mind. I thought he was avoiding me, not wanting to deal with a freak like me. Soon after, I look a shower, changed into the jeans and blouse I brought for the visit, put on my makeup, and stepped out, nervous at having her husband see me.

A few minutes later, he called me, wanting to show me his latest acquisition, and I went into his music room, where he showed off the controller for his drum machine. I sat down and began playing on the drums, as I usually do while I’m there. As I played, he went back into the kitchen until I was called back for breakfast.

Amy whispered to me that Bryan hadn’t even noticed that I had on a blouse, or that I was wearing makeup, or had my hair tied back. Never registered that I was in Stef mode. What he noticed as I walked into the music room, and what he asked Amy, was if I was wearing girl jeans!

Amy and I set off for one of her client’s house – she has a pet-sitting business – to drop off their dog. We stopped by a Walmart I had worked at in McKinney, the one I opened back in 2007 as an assistant manager, and walked around. Brought back some memories! Then we got a bite to eat, stopped by another client’s house to feed their dogs, and back to her house.

I stayed another couple of hours. Bryan came in and we talked a bit, mostly about the trailer for a movie that’s coming out next year, Ready Player One, and the differences we noticed between what they showed in the trailer and what was written on the book.

Then at six that evening, I left to make the six hour drive home. Once Bryan had decided that I was the same person in Stefani mode, he grew more comfortable. I hope that leads to him coming to terms with transgender people in general, but we will have to wait and see.

I think most people would grow more comfortable if they interacted with transgender people. We’re not some group of bogeymen. We’re not crazy, and we are not mentally ill, which I’ve read as fact from some ignorant jack asses on Facebook. I know some people are bigoted and are eager to find a group that is socially acceptable to bully and disparage, but if more people were willing just to talk to us, maybe some of that stigma would disappear. Maybe they would come to see that we’re people deserving of respect.

At least, that’s my dream.

Last Sunday Afternoon

20170625_143320I had to summon all my courage, but I actually did it. I went to the Panhandle Pride Festival this past Sunday afternoon. Pride is a celebration of all things LGBTQ, but it is itself a commemoration of the Stonewall riots that happened on June 28, 1969, a watershed moment in the gay rights movement.

What I witnessed at my first Pride Festival was not a demonstration, but an all out celebration, an opportunity to come together as a community, to recognize and find some measure of acceptance from the community at large. It goes without saying that there is still a ways to go.

Others can and have expressed in more elegant words what Pride means. This is not what I’m writing about. This is a personal journey for me. I have been working towards accepting who I am as a member to the LGBTQ community. Am I trans? Am I genderfluid? Am I bi? What does any of this mean? Does it change who I am, or am I simply coming to terms with my personal reality?

I have hidden myself  behind a mask, a mask that I believed expressed what others wanted from me. I became what I thought others wanted me to be, but it came at a price. I was miserable. I was depressed. I didn’t know who I was, how to be happy. In short, I denied myself to make others happy. It was a supreme act of cowardice.

In the past few years, as you well know, if who’ve been keeping up with my writing, I’ve been coming to terms with my identity. Growing up, I didn’t have the resources that are available now. I was a freak, someone to be shunned. I shunned myself. Now, I’m happier, more at ease in my own skin. I make consessions in my everyday life, but even that wall has been slowly falling away, leaving my true self out in the open.

Which brings me back to Pride. I became aware of the festival last year after the fact. The Home Depot, where I’m currently employed, set up a booth as a community outreach program. My store manager is a lesbian and made it her mission to become involved in the festival.

I remember thinking that I wished I had known about it. Further, I wished I would have had the courage to go. Since last year, it’s been on my mind that I wanted to go. I didn’t know if I would have the strength to go as I am, as Stefani, but I wanted to go. I had to.

Pride came around this year, and I decided I would go. I still had doubts that I would actually go through with it, but I wanted to go. Home Depot again would have  booth, and if I showed up as Stef, I knew my secret would be out. I resolved to go regardless, but I would do my best to avoid the booth to keep my poorly kept secret from falling away.

The moment I showed up, however, dressed in my usual jeans and blouse, I went immediately towards the booth. I barely hesitated. The time had come to let the wall fall away, in this sphere at least. I was welcomed with open arms. I had no reason to fear.

My store manager had already knows, as did another of my coworkers, but for the rest, they did not know. I have to give them all the credit in the world. They didn’t bat an eye. I was their friend, and I was treated with the same amount of respect as they always afforded me. I was in heaven.

I was still crazy nervous, but at least that hurdle had been cleared. I soon relaxed, thanks to the few beers I had. Soon I was just another person enjoying the park, a valued friend and coworker.

I had intended to spend an hour at most. I stayed for five. I took my picture, posted it on my work Twitter account for all to see. Even my store manager took a group picture and posted it as well, with me visible. My secret was gone, at least as far as my job was concerned. I outed myself and it felt good.

There are still hurdles to clear, of course. My family still has no idea. It’s been growing on my mind that the time is coming that I will have to own up to my reality. I fear I will be disowned, but the stress of having two distinct lives is wearing at me. I want to be me.

 

Getting comfortable in my skin

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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.

Moved in!

20170314_150227[1]I’ve moved in! Well, actually, I’m in the process of moving in, but I have the apartment, and I moved the first of my things in this afternoon after work. It’s a little difficult seeing as how I’m trying to do this alone, with only a car to haul everything. Everyone who can help is out of town for spring break. So I’m doing this solo.

It’s not too bad, I suppose. I’m just happy that I have someplace to call my own. It’s really a process now, slowly rebuilding my independence. It’s scary that I’ll be on my own, but exciting that I’m leaving my safety net behind. Besides, I’ll have a place where I can be free to express myself!

What I’m looking forward to the most is my privacy, a place where I can read and write to my heart’s content. I haven’t allowed myself the opportunities to just sit down to read, or to write, like I want. There’s always something to distract me at the moment. Plus, I’ll be saving about an hour and a half on my commute to work!

I’ll probably wait a bit to move all of Stefani’s things into the apartment. I’m sure my parents will want to come by and nose around the place, open all the closets and cabinets to satisfy their curiosity. Once they leave, I’ll drive down the street to my friend’s place, pack all my things there, and haul them to my place.

It’ll be a nice assimilation of both of my genders, the male and the female. I won’t have to go anywhere to be either. I can express myself as I choose, whenever I choose. I can’t wait for that.

For now I need to get off. I have some more packing to do. Maybe my family will be back soon, and they can help me move my things over, especially the larger things that won’t fit into my car. For now, goodnight!

 

Step two – Lease is signed!

20160723_220725I signed my lease! For the first time in ages, I will have a place all to myself. There are a few things I need to do in the coming days, get renter’s insurance, put the utilities in my name, but the biggest hurdle has been crossed. I have an apartment, and I will be living alone!

I will move in on Tuesday, after I get off of work. I’ll hand over my deposit and pro rated rent for March, they’ll hand me the keys, and I’ll start the laborious process of moving my belongings from the house where I’m currently living, up an hour to Amarillo, then trudging up the flight of stairs to the apartment.

The good thing is that I don’t really have to move everything all at once. I’ll start with my necessities first. I’m already buying things that I need, towels, cleaning supplies, that sort of things. I’m also buying a few kitchen things that I can use until I have time to drive to my friend’s house to get the bulk of my belongings, namely my bed, dishes, and the rest of my books.

I’m going to clue you in on something; I’m terrified. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to pay rent of utilities. I’ve done it before, so I know I’ll get it again, but in the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to budget for it. I know I’m stressing out over nothing, but it’s still a big step, especially since the last time I was on my own was before I got married over ten years ago!

That’s okay. I’m about to look into buying furniture. I want to buy new things, especially my sofa and love seat. I found a set that’s reasonably priced. I’ll probably see about buying a dresser on the cheap, at least for the time being. I’m also going to see about building a few things, too. I need shelves to put my books in, and I suppose I need a desk to write at. I’ll just have to buy a dining set. I wonder where I can get one at a reasonable price. Hmm….

There’s a lot to do, and it’s getting expensive quickly! I need to take a deep breath, relax, and accept that I can’t just do it all at once. I’ll be fine. I can do this. I just need money. Lots of it!

Of course, things opens things up for me. Like I’ve stated before, this gives me the freedom to explore the identity, away from prying, judgmental eyes. I’ll be able to go out whenever I please. I’ll also have my clothes and make up with me at all times. So, I can do this. This is what I wanted, after all. Only three more days until move in day.

Moving out and moving on

img_20161129_182453Since my divorce, I’ve been living with family. At first, it was a necessity since I lost my job soon after the divorce was finalized, and living with friends was becoming a drain on the friendship. It also afforded me time to heal, in the company of those who would allow me to grieve. It was truly a blessing.

In that time, I went back to college and earned my degree, found a job, but I’ve remained here, unwilling to strike out on my own. Now, I’m starting to feel a little antsy, as though I’m ready for a change.

Well, I’ve been ready for some time. Change is long overdue. While living here has been a luxury, for some time it has been holding me back. I don’t have the freedoms I need in order to move on with my life. It’s hard to look for romantic attachments living with family. I need to support myself. It’s important for my own self-esteem.

What’s more, I would like a my own place where I can store my own things. All of Stefani’s clothes and make-up are at a friend’s place. It’s not very convenient for me. It doesn’t afford me many opportunities to be myself. It kind of sucks.

So I’m about to look for an apartment, in Amarillo, for now. Part of the hesitation to this point has been that I didn’t want to move to Amarillo. I wanted to find a place outside of Dallas. For now, however, I will settle on a place closer to home, as it were, in order to get used to being on my own again. It’s been over ten years since I’ve lived by myself, what with being married, then losing everything. It’s kind of a big, scary step.

But I think I’m ready. I’m trying to psyche myself up. I can do this. I’m ready to do this. It’s time to move on.

Driving Miss Stefani

20170217_1236551I’m on vacation! It’s nice to get away from the hassle of everyday life. No work responsibilities, no familial ties to bind me into societal norms. I’m free to be me, to explore, to live. It’s an awesome experience.

I left work on Wednesday and drove to my friends house outside of the Dallas Metroplex, getting there around eleven at night. I didn’t change into Stef. I was more concerned about getting out of Dodge than anything else. Thursday was a no go as well. There were too many things to do. My friend, who runs a dog sitting business, had to travel to McKinney to pick up a dog, her cousin’s, and then I went to Commerce to visit my step-daughter.

Friday, however, was my day. I woke up at four in the morning to get ready. Once, done, I finished whatever last minute packing we needed to do, then we headed out at six, down U.S. Highway 69 to Tyler, where we jumped on I-20, and eventually Georgia. It was a looong drive!

The trip itself was uneventful. I sat in the passenger seat most of the way, relaxing and enjoying the scenery. I had never been in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia, so it really was a new experience. We stopped at all the rest areas to take pictures, except in Georgia. By then, it was dark and we were tired of being cooped up in the car.

The only stressful part of the drive was going to the bathroom. Damn conservatives! I myself consider myself right from center, but damn! The evangelicals in the right wing of the party are a bunch of busy body, judgmental assholes. So much for being for smaller government. It puts a great deal of pressure on us to conform into a mold in which we feel uncomfortable.

For the most part, I tried to find places I knew would have family or unisex bathrooms. Where I didn’t, I hurried into the women’s room, did my business, and left. I didn’t linger. I felt pressured and uncomfortable. I feel judged as it is, and I’m self-conscious about taking a pee. I never had any trouble, however I did get some jackass glaring at be as we gassed up in Mississippi. I wanted to beat up the old codger, but I refrained. I’m a very nice person.

I didn’t let that dampen the enthusiasm for the trip. I took over the drive in Alabama, stressing out over how busy the traffic was. My friend fell asleep, and I drove in silence, enjoying the beauty of the scenery. Wishing we had the time to stop more often to explore places I had never seen before.

I gave up the driver seat right before we entered Georgia. We stopped for gas, and once we left, I had to change back into Joe. I was bummed out, but a little relieved. My jeans were a little tight around the waist, and my men’s wear is a little looser. Taking off my makeup and fingernail polish was tricky in the dark, but I got it done.

The people we are staying with don’t know about Stef. I haven’t decided whether or not to tell them. They have a daughter who is a lesbian, so I don’t fear judgement. It’s more that it takes it out of me to revel myself. Opening myself up isn’t easy. We’ll see how it goes.

We plan to leave here Thursday, bound for New Orleans and Mardi Gras! I will spend those few days as Stef, once again stressing about restrooms and the like. I used to worry about it years ago when I took my first steps out as Stefani, but now there’s an increased focus on that, which I absolutely loath. I may end up having to become more political, but not just yet. I’m on vacation. I’m not ready for reality to ruin my fun.

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Growing out

fotor_148643598267887Growing my hair has been a royal pain in the ass, if you’ll allow me to be frank about it. I don’t know how I managed it the first couple of times I grew it out. It’s getting in my way, it’s hard to work, and it’s uncomfortable. It’s at the awkward length were I can’t really do anything with it. The front of my hair has grown down to my nose, while the back is almost down to my shoulders. It’s annoying.

Pretty soon, but not soon enough, it’ll be long enough for me to tie it back, which I’m sure is how I’ll wear it most days. For the moment, however, I need to find a way to get it cut, one that won’t give me away. A friend said I should get a pixie cut, but that may be a little too girly. Also, I don’t think it’s right for me or my face. This is going to be tougher than I thought.

This past Saturday, I decided to try styling my own hair. I gave up after a few feeble attempts. I was never shown how to fix hair. Growing up, I was given really short hair cuts, which I despised. In high school, my hair was usually shaggy, but never too long. It was only in college that I decided I wanted to grow my hair out, and yes, I kept in in a pony tail. Creative, I know!

What I want to do now is learn how to fix it up. On Saturday, I let my friend give it a go, and it turned out okay. She said some hair gel and/or hairspray would have helped. I don’t disagree. I think I need someone to give me some hair-styling tutorials. I think I may need a hair dresser. Yikes!

I’ve hated my wigs since I bought my first one back almost a year and a half ago. It’s not that I didn’t like the way they looked. I did. I didn’t say I hated the way it make me feel, I loved it. I that the way they feel. They’re hot, cumbersome, and itchy. I never spent the money to buy an expensive wig, but I suspect they would be just as big of a pain in the ass as the one I did buy.

The one thing I do have to say is that they hid my forehead nicely. Without it, all I see is my huge noggin. I know, I know! I need to stop focusing on things I don’t like about myself, but it’s difficult. Let’s say it’s a work in progress.

I’ll experiment with my hair the next few days, and maybe I can find someway to fix it, one that looks good, and is at least somewhat comfortable. I need to figure it out soon. I start my vacation next Thursday, and I plan on spending as much time as I can dressed up as I can manage. I don’t want a cumbersome wig to mess with.  I may buy some curlers, or a curling iron. I’ll have to practice some more. I doubt I’ll have anyone to come to my rescue on my roadtrip.