Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Familial Revelation

When it comes to family, I think we can all agree that it is never easy and in a word, complicated. I have spent the last few months letting family know about me. Almost all of those I have told have reacted positively, no one has disowned me or anything. The closest I have come to a negative reaction is my youngest brother, who wasn’t negative at all, he was just the closest. I have a few others to tell, cousins who are a bit distant, but whom I still feel deserve to hear it from me, and our middle brother. I have been waiting to tell my middle brother, S, I’m afraid. He has always been the distant brother, one who I can never seem to make happy or get close to. I am probably doing him a great disservice, but I know the type of guys he is friends with so I am hesitant. 

 

 

I did tell another cousin, Kim. She and I were inseparable when we were younger. We spent the weekend at our grandmothers almost every weekend. We were extremely close, we both wanted to be songwriters and playwrights. I would look for ways to get to spend the weekend at the same time Kim did. We would write plays and musicals to put on during cookouts or when we could round up an audience. She was who I wanted to be, pretty, sweet and a girl. I was also in love with her, that kind of children’s love that doesn’t understand cousins can’t be married. I had sent a FB message to her and hadn’t heard anything back for almost a month. I thought that perhaps she either didn’t have FB messenger or that she wasn’t happy with the information. It made me more than a little anxious as she was such a huge part of my life as a child. I wanted her, I don’t know, approval? Acceptance.

 

Well, yesterday, she sent me a FB message… “Love U Cuz!! Call me sometime. You’d be surprised at what we have in common. (her number) Beautiful pic!! (I had sent a selfie of me, it helps when they have a visual to get to grips with things) You are gorgeous!!”

So, needless to say, I was ecstatic! I was so happy that she was happy for me! I was also intrigued by her message. What did she mean by “what we have in common”? 

 

I called Kim almost immediately, this is not something I would let my mind mull over. And it turns out that she, despite being straight and never questioning that, she is in a deep relationship with a trans woman! I was stunned, happily stunned! That she has this mirror image relationship that I have with my wife, it was like the universe saying we haven’t stopped being close! So now we are making plans to meet up in Memphis, to eat and visit!

 

I still have one other cousin, 2nd cousin I believe, I should have kept up with mom’s family tree efforts. Terry was always kind of a distant cousin, but I always thought he was cool. He was the only member of our family, when I was a child, that was gay. He didn’t hide it, just didn’t discuss it, at least around me. He worked in Hollywood as a set designer and then a florist. My grandparents who were very conservative never gave him grief that I know of, he always managed to visit, even got my grandparents to Ted Turner and Jane Fonda’s home to spend Christmas. It was never discussed, his being gay, everyone knew but it wasn’t discussed. We haven’t talked in a while, but he helped me when I moved to LA at a young foolish age. So, I will send him a FB message as well, see how that turns out.

 

I know it seems like I am searching for acceptance, but really,I think I am probably supplementing my NOT coming out at work with coming out to everyone else. There is a point where I will need to just stop this, to confront my employers and then look for another job. It’s not going to work out here, where I work now. They will never accept anyone different from them, which is sad.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Wardrobe Assimilation

When we bought our house, it was after many searches and with a very frazzled realtor who almost wept when we finally closed. One of the features that spoke to my wife was a closet in the hallway that was very big and lined and shelved in cedar. I was less pleased with the small closet that I knew would end up being mine. It has no shelves, just a rack that is about three feet long. This closet would have been great for a man who lived a spartan life. I knew that this closet would not be great for me, a woman who likes clothes. So, yes, I have closet envy.

 

My wife has filled her large closet with clothes and shoes and I have over-filled my little closet completely. I have pruned down my masks male clothing to just the five shirts I wear 5 days a week to work, the rest, pants, shirts, dresses, etc. are all mine. I have shoes piled upon each other on the floor of the closet with a small plastic drawer set for sundries. I could change some things, such as adding a shelf above the clothes rod, so that I have a place to put my wigs. But overall, the size of the closet is the size it must be, there is a window in the only area in which it can be expanded.

 

Aside from the closet, we have a nine-drawer dresser in which I have one single drawer. I know this sounds like I am complaining about my wife, that isn’t my intent. When we started living together, she didn’t know about my being a woman. So, when we moved into an apartment together, I was in full mask mode. And when we were figuring out our living situation, I responded in “spartan male” and told her I just need a drawer and a small part of the one huge closet. Things have obviously changed, but we are creatures of habit and I don’t want to seem like I am taking space from her. This weekend I am going to do that however, get a couple more drawers and see about cleaning out a few junk drawers in our smaller dresser.

 

Next to the closet is a large wicker chest under the window. It is filled with comforters, hand-made quilts my grandmother and great-grandmother had made. I use the top of the chest to put a box of breast forms, my current week’s pair of pants, my sleepshirt and my two wigs. However, it is also the place I pile clean dresses and shirts and capris, etc. that I don’t have the space for in my closet or drawer. It becomes impossible to find anything without digging through the entire pile and having to reassemble the pile. 

 

All of this came about because I decided to do something about the clothes pile. I decided to wash the entire pile even though they are clean, our dog was shedding for a couple of months very badly so hair everywhere. After they dried, I hung everything that could be hung in the closet. I was left with a considerable pile of clothes that still didn’t have a home, my one drawer being completely full. So, they are back on the wicker chest until I can get more space. I intend to create space this weekend, hopefully without my wife feeling resentful that I am taking space from her.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Weight of Things

When I was a child, from 6 to 12 years old, I was fat. I had to wear “husky” boy’s jeans, that was the name of the size “husky”! So on top of having to wear something that was for boys, it had to be named something like “husky”. Who does that to a child? Why not just say we ran out of numbers for your size so now we are going descriptive, something like “Chubby” or no, wait how about “Husky”?! I was picked on at school for being fat; I got into fights a lot. So, I worked out all the time with my mother; I was determined to knock my weight down. I was active and played sports, I was particularly happy to play baseball. I know it seems like a manly sport, but it’s non-contact and I got to wear a uniform that had albeit manly stirrup pants, but they were still stirrup pants.

 

I started leaning out in my early teens, and once I was in high school and running in track, at 16 yrs old, I was very lean. During this time I could wear almost anything my stepsister (who was 13 at the time) had in her closet that wasn’t constrained by height or my shoulders which were too broad for some clothes. My stepmother’s clothes were almost perfect, so I wore a lot of Cato’s dresses during that time. I was weighing in at 120 lbs at the time. Being that lean meant no boobs at all, but at least I could stuff my stepmom’s bras with the contents of my sock drawer.

 

After joining the military, I stayed lean, maintaining 165 lbs; muscle put on by running track and from military training had made me heavier but not much bulkier. I could wear anything my girlfriends wore for the most part. Even after I left the military, I managed to keep to my weight down for years.  I started gaining weight during my first marriage, a combination of being married to a person who made me miserable, depression and quitting smoking did its work. Since I didn’t keep to a workout regime or running, I slowly and imperceptibly started gaining weight. I didn’t realize it at first, I had to get new jeans every once in a while, that was all. I really started noticing when I couldn’t wear a lot of the clothes my (now) ex-wife wore. I started going to a gym, but I found I had a lot of issues with sticking to a routine. There were many times in which I had just given up because I was stressed and anxious and depressed, and working out didn’t seem to relieve any of that. I am also lazy! Laziness can’t be understated here, I like to watch television and play video games.  All of thesethings combined into a pretty potent recipe for being overweight. I had let being thin during my prime fool me into thinking my weight would never change, the foolishness of youth.

 

After my divorce, I was still hiding who I was. We have a son and we were then fighting for custody. Thankfully, I had never told her about my being trans or bisexual, she had no idea. She is conservative in the extreme, probably my trying to push who I was way down into a dark pit. If she had known, it would have been used against me during the divorce and the custody battle. I viewed the divorce and legal proceedings as my fault, because I wasn’t in actuality, my mask, it had to be my fault. Lying in your marriage, especially about who you are, can’t be a good marriage. Depression was my only friend at that time. Then I lost custody of my son, I sank into the darkest recesses of depression, even contemplated the worst thoughts of self-harm. I was lost of darkness for several years, just barely keeping it together to keep my job, but I had let myself completely go. I’m tall, so it doesn’t look it, but was carrying around two of me. 

 

When Michelle and I finally got together, then married after 25 years of friendship, weight became a thing for both of us. We are older now and it’s harder to lose and harder to workout. We don’t spring back into shape, we had to really work at a change of any kind. It can be disheartening to put forth all this effort for little to no change, weight-wise. We tried juicing, which is when you don’t eat anything but the juice of vegetables & fruit. It’s not a fun cleansing, we did it for 30 days. At first, you miss chewing food, you are always hungry and you get agitated. About two weeks in, you hit the plateau where hunger dies down, the chewing is just forgotten, and you start feeling great. I lost 75 lbs in the month we did that. Of course, when you start eating again, if you maintain your workouts and eat reasonably, then you will stay on point with the weight loss. We didn’t do this, we had started shopping for houses and with the stress of getting a VA loan and finding a house within our price range and the packing of our apartment and moving, for three months we basically ate junk food and stopped working out. (Lazy remember?)

 

After buying our home, I purchased a treadmill and managed to get the great hulk of a thing put together in our home office. I have used it ten times. I don’t know why I have trouble making myself use it, I usually like treadmills in gyms or in the apartment gym, but at home I just find excuses not to use it. I have some pain in my ankle, caused by being overweight and I use that as an excuse. It’s also boring, I get bored on the treadmill, even if I use my phone to play tv shows or movies on Netflix. I keep rededicating myself to working out and using the treadmill to only use it a day or two at a time. Then I find an excuse, any will do, to not touch it again for weeks.

 

In the end, I am my own worst enemy for being healthy. I tend towards fatty foods and leading a sedentary lifestyle which is just not good. I want to be thin(nerbecause I want to look as good as I can and fit into the clothes I like, but I also just want to be healthy and vibrant again, a bit of youth reclaimed. For those of us already fighting the ravages of testosterone and a biologically male body, weight becomes a big issue.

 

I don’t have any answers for getting the weight down or keeping it off for lazy transgender people who have a genetic disposition to be large in the first place. I am guessing eat right, workout and don’t try to cheat the system because I am pretty sure that never works out well in the end.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Post Interrupted…

The problem with being me (sans mask) at home is that it consists of mostly weekends and a few week nights. The weekdays belong to my mask, who works and gets paid to keep our family fed, housed and all the things that come with it. Of those weekends and week nights, I don’t really go out, I like to be at our home and work in the yard or spend family time. The mask I have grown up wearing is an introvert. I have no way of knowing what *I* am, who I am. I like to think that I am nice and a bit of an extrovert, but since I spend no real time with friends or outside of my property, it’s hard to see if I am growing into anything. 

 

It’s not that I don’t want to go out, but I am hampered by my own issues, those of my voice (first and foremost) which is very male and makes me horribly self-conscious. Then there is my weight, about which I have done very little lately, my work out routine is mainly thinking of an excuse in order to not work out. There will always be issues; body image is a huge one since it comes in two forms, the obvious gender dysphoria and being too heavy. I’m my own worst enemy. Who doesn’t want to be pretty?

 

More than this, I’m trying to shed my masks mannerisms, these were used to distract from who I actually am, movements honed into a masculine ideal so that I could not be detected. Of course I am doing the same as all transwomen do in the beginning; I am over-feminizing my movements to where they are more a caricature than reality. I am working on this, everything takes time which is at a premium to those starting late in life.

 

Sorry – I was writing this and I got a twitter alert. Trump has just tweeted this statement, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow..........Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.........victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you,”

 

Alright, most of you know I am a veteran of Desert Storm/Shield. So it should be pretty easy to know how I feel about Trumps statement. We are already serving, we have always served. This is just like the bathroom laws against us. Do you really think we haven’t been around since the start of humanity? That we haven’t used the bathroom? Fought in wars, served with honor, gotten medals and saved lives? Trump, who has never served in the military, gotten deferrments from service, is trying to stop those who are transgender from serving. Yet another thing, one at a time until we are put back into the closet where white cis men in power don’t have to see us. This is the start of the take down of the LGBT community, first the T, then the rest will go down one at a time under this administration.

 

I know one thing about me, one thing that doesn’t change wether I am wearing my mask or not. I shall not go quietly.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Transgender Dominion

I don’t travel in the circles of other transgender. My son is the only other transgender person I have ever met face to face, that I know of. I would love to make friends and hang out if they were good people, I am an introvert and it takes a lot for me to overcome that. I have heard that in a lot of cases, when groups of trans get together that it can get clique-ish. That these cliques can become very judgmental of others for not being transitioned, or transitioned enough, or even passing etc. I admit this causes me some concern, I never feel transitioned enough for myself, no idea what trans-snobs would think of me. I think it is easy to forget how it felt being the newly out person, or to be jaded because they spent so much money transitioning and this new person hasn’t done that yet or doesn’t need to spend that money. It becomes a kind of badge that they probably feel must be earned. Of course, that isn’t how it is in reality. In reality, we all walk our own path, transitioned or not, if you are transgender you just are, regardless of a judgement rendered by your peers.

 

I was recently on Facebook and noticed that someone was in a tirade over a British comedian, Eddie Izzard’s, claim that he is transgender. [Note: I will be using masculine pronouns in reference to Eddie Izzard, because that is how he continues to refer to himself.] The person who ranted didn’t like that Eddie was “pretending” or using a transgender claim as a way to boost his presence. Now, I had known from his comedy specials (Dressed to Kill, Circle, etc) that he identified himself as a transvestite, or an executive transvestite. How much of that was his comedy, or how he actually identified I have no idea, and frankly I didn’t care. I don’t need to know a person’s gender or even sexual orientation for me to enjoy them as an actor or comedian or a dog walker or person sitting on a bench, anything really. 

 

In the Facebook post the person who was ranting had referenced the article (which I of course cannot find the actual post now to give the URL for the article), instead here is a similar article. https://inews.co.uk/essentials/culture/eddie-izzard-people-still-shout-abuse-streets/

 

In both articles he says he came out 32 years ago as transgender. I read the article I cannot find now, and this article and I still cannot actually understand if he came out, then how does he refer to himself as “he” and why still use a male name. But here is the thing I don’t have to understand a thing about him for his being transgender to be real and true. I don’t have to do a thing, don’t have to care, don’t have to shout or shrug. Why other transgender people have this feeling that they alone can judge who is also sufficiently trans has always been a mystery to me. I don’t have to conform to anyone’s idea of trans for me to be a woman. I don’t even like being transgender at all, I mean I support the cause; I want everyone to be treated like a person and not like outcasts or beaten and killed. But the truth of it is, if I could, all transgender would magically be transformed into the gender they are supposed to be, leaving no one to be transgender, just people. Labels are used to control people; labels don’t work in the interests of the minority. So, I don’t care how Eddie Izzard identifies. I don’t care that people see a bloke in a dress because he still uses masculine pronouns and his male name, they were going to do that anyway and it is his life. His being transgender doesn’t detract from me any more than two gay people being married detract from my marriage, which is also a gay marriage. - Do two bisexual people being married constitute gay marriage? No idea. 

 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

All the things

After telling my brother that I was a woman, I waited to see if someone in the family would contact me or make mention of it. However, I suppose he is being tight-lipped about it. I have a suspicion that he is keeping this secret because he thinks I don’t want it out. He probably doesn’t realize that I have come out to both sets of cousins, I am pretty sure that the wheels of gossip are spinning now. One of my cousins was just wonderful about my confession to her. The others have yet to respond, but I’m ok with that. When I sent them the letter through FB messenger, I told them that I don’t expect a response, that I just wanted them to know. I’m perfectly ok with this arrangement. I can’t and won’t please everyone and this has nothing whatever to do with pleasing anyone.

 

Aside from the general tell-everyone thing, I have been feeling lackluster and a bit despondent. The constant intrusion of manly hair dealings, the lack of time to be Beth rather than my mask has allowed darkness into my thoughts. I don’t care for it, but shaking it off isn’t always an option, sometimes you have to ride the darkness until you find the light. My light is often my wife, who will surprisingly include me in “girly” things. Yesterday, she had talked about waxing and how she wanted to try the wax beans and wanted to know if I would be interested in trying it too. It was nice to be included, to know that she is thinking of me. It has helped too that my best friend, Joe, showers me with compliments about how pretty I am. Between the two, it is easy to forget the genetic misfire of this body.

 

Onto other things.. Twitter. I have an account, @bethlocke45 ,which I use to shout my thoughts at people. I have avoided twitter for years, yes I love tech and I am an IT person, but I just don’t like being limited to 140 characters. Twitter always felt trite. I can’t say my views have really changed, but I have embraced twitter without my mask, and that is freeing no matter what venue. I don’t have much of a following, but I like to think I have quality over quantity.  At first I had put I was a “transblogger” on my profile, which I had seen on others and thought it was a cute way to put it. But then every post, no matter the subject was ignored and instead became an attack on my being a “man pretending to be a woman”. So, I tried taking off the transblogger, but I left my blog address on the profile. Miraculously, I was cured! I was no longer a man, but a woman with whom they could disagree. Sure, I still deal with the mansplaining and the assumption that I don’t know what I am talking about, but it doesn’t take over the entire discussion. It’s amazing the change in tone and how less aggressive people are. I don’t like leaving this part of me off, only because I had a few really good conversations about what being transgender means. In fact, one conversation actually brought about the best talk with the best results. Another MtFtransgender person and I were able to have a conversation with a cis woman and explain what transgender meant after she had asked on a political post. She is now an ally and we follow each other on twitter! So I feel like I am losing that part, but I would have to keep arguing the other 99.9% of the time about my not being a man at all. So for now, I have left the transblogger off my profile. I would rather argue about things that we have choices on, like politics, sarcastic poetry and cat gifs. I told you, trite, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Birthday

Another year is down. I typically don’t subscribe to the linear timeline or the various anniversaries established within it. Celebrating my birthday was always something I did with great reluctance and only if approached by others to do so. Otherwise, my birthday didn’t exist. It isn’t that I care about my age or time that has passed. I just didn’t want to celebrate the error of my birth as a biologically male child. Celebrating that anniversary was never something I wanted to do. I was a somber child; you wouldn’t know it because I hid behind jokes or I was just silent and kept to myself. I felt that if I couldn’t distract them with laughter they may look too closely, they may see something wrong with me. I felt wrong, broken. I couldn’t define it, couldn’t express it. I grew into a mostly silent adult, rarely going out of my way to meet people or engage. If they somehow guessed about me, or just rejected me out of hand, it was better to just be hidden. I avoided photos of myself. I look through photos of my life and with exception of a very early age; I can count the number of photos of my mask on one hand. I never ever contemplated a “selfie”, it would just never happen. In the last couple of years, when I am able to be me, I take the occasional selfie and even look myself in the mirror without disgust. So things are improving slowly but surely.

 

As with most transgender, I go through periods of time where I am depressed and experience an increase in my dysphoria. I also feel like I am stuck and not moving forward. In those moments, I want to just stop, go back to pretending to be my mask, grow the stupid hair on my face and be miserable. These feelings happen and I get through them, I rarely mention them because I don’t want these momentary issues to define me, they are not my story. I’m human, so I am far from perfection; I experience doubt and loneliness, fear and jealousy. I live with mostly women, my wife and my daughter;they are both beautiful in their own ways. I have female friends who are beautiful and wonderful. I experience jealousy that they are able to concentrate on being treated equally, to be taken seriously as people. When I come out fully, I will have to contend with not only equality and being taken seriously, but I will have to fight to just be treated as a woman. I won’t ever be able to wake up in the morning and be pretty and with false modesty exclaim how I look terrible. I will forever be fighting this body because I lacked bravery/information at a young age. Testosterone has done so much damage, hardened my mask into the very likeness of a prisonSo, yeah, not all roses here, I have the issues. Not as bad as some, bad enough to be scarred by it. There is nothing to be done but continue the fight, to try to make my life as good as I can. 

 

Since I have come out to the majority of the people in my life, I find that the anniversaries mean more, that many things mean more to me. My birthday, while it is still a contentious subject, I find that I can enjoy it for others. I celebrated this year as me, as Beth. That makes this a pretty good birthday.

 

Friday, June 30, 2017

My Best Friend & Ally

I received a call yesterday afternoon from my best friend, Joe. He is a stay at home Dad for two rugrats and two older daughters, living far too far away in Memphis, TN. I know, I know, I am starting to give specifics. Coming out is often not a surge, but a slow reveal. Frankly, I have started caring less and less about anyone finding out what my masks identity is. It’s just a mask, inanimate and discard able. Anyway, Joe called and wanted to talk. He had some cool things to share about the world of geek that we live in (custom gaming tables for role-players, etc) and to ask some questions he had about me, about Beth.

 

A lot of the questions he asked were about things I have already posted on my blog, but I was happy to answer anything he was not sure about. Things like sexual preferences and surgeries; they are the typical kind of questions I expect. I want him to understand me, the real me, that the person he knew is still there, loves him, is still his friend. The mask was there to distort others perceptions of me, distorted my gender, my sexual preference (I presented as male & heterosexual), not completely obliterate my identity. So there are naturally questions about the parts of me that had until now remained hidden. 

 

It’s not easy for me anymore than it is for the people I tell. They endure the shock, but I have to deal with the mask that lingers. It’s not easy to cast away something that has kept you hidden and safe, and yes given you a privilege that otherwise I would not have enjoyed. The moment I step out from behind the mask, it calls back to me like when you yell at a movie screen when the murderer is in the room. “Run! Hide! What are you doing?! So Stupid!” My insecurities brought about from being in a body that isn’t the right gender, or from those around me while I was in my mask, how they acted toward transgender. It’s not easy, but with Joe, he made it seem like the most natural thing in the world. That was the gift he gave to me, it was an accolade, a prize gained. He builds me up when I feel down, tells me I’m pretty and makes me feel so feminine when I start to feel all man-ish. He has a photo of me (a selfie of when I did a particularly good job with makeup) on his phone. He says his children see this and ask him who the pretty lady is. It makes me feel so great that all is not lost,being in this T ravaged, hairy, penis-y body.

 

I had a few dreams about Joe when we roomed together. They were I think based on a desire to be seen as the woman I was on the inside. I was a girl in these dreams, full on biologically complete. One of my favorites was me standing in the kitchen of our apartment with only an oversized button-down dress shirt and panties. I was cooking breakfast when he comes in. He comes up behind me and puts his arms around me and nuzzles my ear, his beard tickling my neck. That was as far as the dream went, but it was nice, being loved, held as a woman. Don’t get me wrong he is an attractive man, but I don’t believe it was about wanting, specifically Joe to do this, but he was in my life a lot and I think he held that place in the dream for that reason. Not sure I am saying this right, dreams are fickle things. My point was that because of these dreams, when he says I am pretty, it makes an impact with me. That was the point I was trying to get to.

 

All my friends are supportive and great. They didn’t flinch, just accepted. I’m never going to not acknowledge that single great thing that they did for me. [Geek Warning] It was like when Buffy received her tiny umbrella, as the Class Protector. It was a magnanimous moment and it touched her to tears. That is how my friends made me feel, make me feel still. Without Joe, I would not have had the nerve to tell the rest of my friends. Yes, I know how lucky I am. No, I don’t take it for granted, not one little bit.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Belated Honeymoon

My wife and I decided to Universal Studios in Orlando for our honeymoon which was two years overdue. Specifically, we went for both Harry Potter Parks, Hogsmeade and DiagonAlley. Both of us are geeks about different things, but Harry Potter is something we both love. We live in the mountains of North Carolina outside of Asheville, so we decided to rent a car and drive there, which is about 9 hours. She is nervous about flying and a 9 hour drive is nothing to us, since we have driven pretty much all of the USA.

 

The night before we left I packed my bags two or three times. I waffled on what to bring, a pair of jeans or a skirt, my wig or to leave it, my makeup or just leave it behind. I packed and then re-packed. I didn’t want to presume that my wife would be alright with me just being me during our honeymoon, also I was worried about the security check and the extreme heat and humidity of Florida during the summer. I ended up just packing my cotton nightgown she had bought me and a sexier nightgown for sexier times. I packed my breasts and a bra, though it was more an oversight as it was in my secondary bag and I had forgotten to take them out.

 

I made the decision that this time, my first time in this resort & theme park, I would go as my mask. Travel is always problematic, rests stops aren’t so bad, but if we stopped at a gas station or truck stop then my going to the bathroom would be problematic. Thanks to the interest in trans bathroom usage, now the public is looking closely at us and therefore me. Also I had no idea what to expect with the Cabana Bay resort or the Universal Theme Park itself. I hate that I have to still be behind my mask, but I am easily clocked especially if I talk, this damnable voice. So, this was for me, a scouting mission. 

 

We spent a lot of money on merchandise, or for us, collectibles. It was Harry Potter everything it seemed and we are still going through everything[TIP: If your rooms are with the Cabana Bay Resort, and you aren’t checking out the next day, you can have everything you buy from shops sent to the Cabana Bay Concierge, so you don’t have to walk around with your hands full.] The two best things I brought back were vastly different, my interactive wand which was Luna Lovegoods (2nd) wand, the handle looks like a closed flower. I'm Ravenclaw and feminine so it was fitting. The second best thing was a small necklace in the Jurassic park area that my wife had bought for me, the central bead had "Beth" printed on it. I almost cried.

 

There are things I observed behind my mask, which will allow me and hopefully others who go to Universal Studios as themselves relatively hassle-free.

Cabana Bay check-in: This was easily done and my wife ran in while I stayed with the car anyway. But the people were nice and I don’t think they would balk at a transgender person checking in.

Cabana Bay Environment: During the summer there are a LOT of families there and the place is chaotic. The bathrooms are men & women, but there are family restrooms. I found that no one watched the men or women’s bathrooms; I would have felt safe using the women’s. Also, I get the feeling that the people who work there have seen it all and won’t be thrown by a transgender person.

Cabana Bay Shuttle: The shuttle runs every ten minutes; rarely did we wait for more than two minutes. No need to speak, just walk in and sit down or stand and hold the braces. It can get crowded so if you find yourself across from someone or tightly packed against them, they may clock you. Overall though, I found that they were either too excited about getting to the park, dealing with their children, or too tired after the park to care about the person next to them. Still, very close space and made me uncomfortable despite being behind my mask.

Cabana Bay check-out: You can check out using the automated process via the television, so you never have to talk to anyone.

Universal Parks SecurityFor whatever reason, it had no occurred to me that we would go through security. Everyone hits a semi-circle of security terminals before you get to CityWalk (the free area that leads to all the different parks). They put out a plastic bin into which you and anyone with you places everything you have on you. This includes purses, wallets, keys, etc. which then goes through a scanner. You will go through a metal detector as well. Though most times I had no issues, a few times my belt caused me to be briefly scanned with a wand (muggle metal detector). They are efficient and quick, they don’t touch you and they don’t care who you are, just trying to get the next person through the line. 

Universal Parks Bathrooms: Men and Women’s bathrooms, they are large and built into the backgrounds so they are not obtrusive. I also saw no reason why any transgender person would have an issue.

Florida Environment: The real villain here is the heat/humidity. During the summer it easily hits 90 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidity approaching 100%. For those of us who use heavier foundations, this is a recipe for disaster. There were several cis women that had problems, their makeup flowing down their face in a parody of melting wax. It’s just brutal weather, so if you go I suggest that you go during the end of the year, from Sept into Feb. The weather is cooler even if the humidity doesn’t get better. If you have to go during the summer, then I suggest you do as we did, I call it shop-hopping. Most of the thousands of shops in universal sell the same things with small changes. The best part is that every shop is air conditioned and so very cooling. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy really. So just hop from shop to shop, keeping relatively cool until you hit those rare stretches of areas without shops.

 

Alright, so we had a great time, despite my being behind my mask. It would have been better had I been able to be me, but that will happen next year when we come back. Though next year we bring our daughter and just enjoy the Cabana Bay resort (and it’s many swimming pools) & CityWalk, which has plenty of fun without buying the park tickets. I suppose I have to start working now towards a swimsuit body.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Life, Love & Happiness

I was talking with my wife last night, we were discussing sexual attraction. My wife and I are bisexual so for us it’s a pretty open conversation. It started with us talking about the adult cartoon “Archer”, and Burt Reynolds who voiced himself on the show. I told my wife that Burt was the first adult male I had seen naked, in his Cosmo centerfold. My Mom had the magazine hidden away (which being a curious child, I had found immediately). My father had a playboy collection which was extensive and not so hidden away, just a closet full of them. I told her I remembered thinking, I am attracted to both magazines contents. 

 

When we watched the Great British Baking Show, something we loved very much, we had a joke that Paul Hollywood was picking the prettiest ones for his sex dungeon. We would choose those that we found prettiest, male or female, and those would be in the Hollywood sex dungeon after the season ended. Paul made out pretty well by season 7, his sex dungeon was quite fullMy wife and I found also that we have very similar tastes in men and women, not that difficult I guess, but still interesting. 

 

My sexual orientation made things awkward during boot camp, as you shower with everyone else in an open shower area. I had to mentally focus on other things, to not be attracted to anyone, because male anatomy gives a pretty clear indication of arousalLuckily boot camp wasn’t that long and I had my own room most of the time I was in the military. I’ve said before that I had an opportunity to have sex with a man when I was in the military (he was a civilian friend). The problem was that he was gay, and he wanted to have sex with me as another man. I know it may seem like semantics, but I didn’t want it to happen that way. I wanted to be treated like a woman, loved as a woman. So for me, he didn’t want to have sex with me for the right reasons. With most women I have been with, I can go into my head, feel their softness and be soft myself. In the moment, most women forget who they are with; I think that makes it easier for me. There are times I long for a man’s touch, for a man to be inside me, to kiss me and touch me. It’s a longing, not a compulsion. I’m monogamous and not looking for sex outside my marriage, as I love my wife. The longing is still thereI acknowledge it with toys and a good imagination.

 

Growing up, I had my issues with sex. Not knowing where to aim my attraction, as I was brought up that men loved women and women loved men. Every romantic comedy told me this, and I was brought up by romantic comedies. I honestly thought that it was the way it was supposed to be, which made my attraction to both boys and girls very upsetting. I was angry with myself for not just being normal, why must I complicate everything for myself. I fell in love with, at the time, my very straight best friend. I was in love with girls and guys at different times and sometimes at the same time. Confusion abounded as to what I was supposed to be, I had never heard of bisexual only the gay/straight dynamic. Being transgender on top of all this didn’t help. I was confused about my dual attraction and who I was, as a person all at the same time. 

 

Now that I am acknowledging who I am, as well as my sexual attractions, I find that I am able to talk about it without feeling ashamed or judged. Having a good partner and good friends allows me a lot of freedom to explore these feelings. Now I look at romantic comedies like I should, as movies and not as a tutorial.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What Comes Around and Other Thoughts

My wife and I are going on a trip to Universal Studios in Florida. We are both geeks and we both love Harry Potter, so I’ve booked us for next month (belated Honeymoon/early Anniversary). We are extremely excited and looking forward to it. I will be going as my mask as I don’t want to put my wife through any issues and frankly I am not up for a long car ride and having to worry over which bathroom I can use without being called out in a truck stop. I look forward to the day I don’t have to do this, but I’m still taking my makeup kit and some clothes for when we are there.

We are planning on picking up my wife’s niece on the way back as her sister lives in Florida, so that she can spend time with our daughter and enjoy the summer with us. I told my wife that if this happens, which I am perfectly fine with, then it is entirely possible that her niece will find out about me. Our daughter might tell her, or she may find artifacts of my presentation, etc. I’m not going to hide who I am, so I told her that this may be an issue with her parents and sister if they find out. 

 

She said she is fine with them knowing, she just didn’t want our son blabbing about me because outing someone is not right. (in a previous post I explained that my son had gotten drunk and outed me to his aunt, who then told my wife’s parents) I am pretty happy with the fact that my wife is ok with her family knowing, as I have told almost everyone that is close to me but them. This is a big step and I am glad this is coming around. I am so tired of hiding this, so tired of being made to feel like I should be ashamed. I’m not happy with my body, I can’t help what it is, but I’m not going to be ashamed or hide that I am a woman from my family. So this works out very well for me.

 

Meanwhile… At work, I often go to one of the two bathrooms that are marked as unisex. There is only one person at a time in these and I am more comfortable. However, there are those times when either both of those bathrooms are occupied or some disgusting piece of filth has managed to pee on the seats or other fully worse things. In these cases I go to the mens room. Inevitably, when this happens I go to a stall and do what I need to do, but then three or four men come in just behind me. (bathroom has two stalls and one urinal) I am surrounded by belching, farting, groaning (pain) pissing men and I find it very hard to use the bathroom myself and not be sick. I don’t believe that I am overreacting.

When I was in the military, I was deep in my mask, but even then I had to mentally prepare myself to use the bathroom with men around me. I am not deeply hidden behind my mask anymore, I can’t just act like it doesn’t bother me when men are disgusting. I’m still looking for employment somewhere else more.. accepting for at least equal pay. This is just not going to happen I fear, so I have to see what I can do with less money but in a place that may be more for me.

 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brothers and Sisters

I came out to my youngest brother last week. P was the youngest of three; we are each 3 years apart, with me being oldest. We were always very close, figuratively as well as literally. Brought up in a hostile household, with our father who worked nights and had an extremely short fuse, we stuck up for each other, even as we fought like cats and dogs. P was my tag-alonghe looks a bit like me and he followed me around like I was cool or something. 

 

Over time we grew very close and then very distant. Today we aren’t close, but we don’t avoid each other’s phone calls. So I think it was a shock for him when I told him that I was a woman. He did remember that I used to wear our stepmom’s clothes when I could get away with it. In my defense, they were Cato’s and pretty. He took things pretty well, though I don’t think he knew enough about transgender to understand the full ramifications of my confession. I believe he might be inclined to include it as a level of transvestite. I didn’t want to go into the full meaning and what it means for me in the phone call. He asked if I were getting surgery, and I said I was unsure at the moment. That is expensive and there are more factors than my happiness since I am a parent. 

 

He mentioned that he is the most open minded person in our family, which is probably right. It makes me apprehensive about telling my other brother, S, who is the middle child. He is much like our Dad was, this kind of “practical” attitude people adopt when they don’t know something but think it’s ridiculous. Like there being more than two genders and not knowing the differences between sex and gender. That will be the attitude I will have to deal with, I think. Who knows, perhaps I am not giving him a fair chance. I’ve always had this thing about not wanting to appear foolish, it stems from having to live in a male body and not coping well with it. I always felt foolish, until I had the house alone and could be me, those few times I didn’t feel foolish.

 

I have to tell S, then I can move on to my cousins. I’m not really sure at what point my responsibility to tell people who I am ends. I mean, do I really need to tell family I will likely never see? I have cousins I haven’t seen since I was a teenager, what is the likelihood I would need to tell them?

 

I have to say, when I told my friends, I was elated, happy that I was able to tell them. I felt a weight lift from my shoulders, and I was grateful that they accepted me with not one single hesitation. I didn’t feel that way telling my brother, I don’t know it was different, like I should be ashamed. He didn’t say anything to make me feel that way I don’t think. I wasn’t ashamed, I just felt like I should feel that way.

Afterwards, I was just kind of left with this anti-climactic end of the conversation. I’m not telling people to make myself feel good, it’s a result of getting a secret out, of being able to be myself around those people. So, I’m not sure what this feeling I was left with means.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Story Time

I have been sick since the weekend. Had an upper respiratory infection which is never fun and tends to linger. Of course I only got one day off for this, so I had to work during the worst of it. The fun of being the only IT person in the branch cannot be overstated. Since I am here at work and miserable, coughing and wanting to sleep, I am going tell you a story. This is about knowing who you are, but not what you are.

 

I moved from California to Memphis, TN about a year after I had left the military. I was still kind of trying to reconcile my civilian life and the different freedoms and constraints it afforded. My family lived in and around the Memphis area so it seemed like a good idea. I found a job or two; I was young and not looking for careers just paychecks. I made a few friends in the area and one of them, Don, was looking for a place and I needed a place. We got a pretty decent but cheap 2br townhouse in the Raleigh area, which at that time was a pretty nice areaThe mall was very close and at the time was still thriving; you could walk at night and not be afraid. We both worked as cooks in a local restaurant, so our hours were the same, no issues with sleeping and loud roommates. It was a pretty good arrangement, despite my secret.

 

About two months into living there, I got a call from an old military buddy, Tom. We worked in the same unit for a couple of years and I knew him pretty well, I thought. He was roaming and wanted to know if he could live with us to get his crap together. I was all for it and my roommate had no problems with it, he could get a job, chip in a bit of rent/food money and then when he got ready move into his own place. Of course it never works that way; he was there for months and never got a job more than a few days. During that time I was hiding my female-oriented clothing in the back of my closet and my panties weren’t hidden at all, just in a drawer of my dresser in my bedroom. I started noticing that my panty drawer was messy, I don’t fold them or anything, but like every woman I have ones I wear through the week and I have those for special nights and then I have those that are when it’s been a long time before I did laundry, granny panties. So, when I started seeing these mixed in the drawer I knew someone had been in there.

 

I knew Don hadn’t because he wasn’t curious and it had never happened before. So, I knew it was Tom who was going through my things. It took me a bit to realize that he was only really going through my panties. At first I didn’t say anything because nothing was missing and I didn’t want to actually come out to anyone, as I was still trying to figure out what I was coming out as, transgender? (didn’t really know about that), transvestite? (that seemed like the best definition at the time, but I had it wrong). A few days later, I started missing panties. That pissed me off! It took me long hours of courage to buy them in the store, claiming they were for my non-existent wife or gf. Or I had to order them and worry over how they would come in the mail and if Don would get to the mail before me. Every article of clothing was an endeavor, a chore and a worry. I couldn’t let this thievery stand, but I still didn’t want to come out. So, I did what every fraidy-cat does, I wrote a note and placed it atop my panties inside the drawer. It said simply, “please stop stealing my panties. If you need clothing, let me know and I can help you get them.” A day later, the note was gone, and my panties were back, cleanly laundered in a stack, but I put them in a bag and brought them downstairs.

 

Tom was sitting on the couch, and since Don wasn’t there at the time, I decided to acknowledge what was going on. I tossed him the bag and said something like, “keep them”, well that was probably exactly what I said. Then I sat down and he told me he was a transvestite. I told him I think I am too, but I didn’t know much about what that meant. He told me and I tried to explain to him why it was different for me. For him it was about feeling sexy, about experiencing sexual feelings while dressed in lingerie or woman’s clothing, but he was still “him” he didn’t use a different name and didn’t even want to use makeup. I told him that while I do feel sexy sometimes when I wear certain clothing, I always felt female. But we decided that “transvestite” was probably close for both of us, regardless of the differences, it was all we knew. That was my first coming out, fraught with mistakes and errors.

 

Tom didn’t stay much longer after that. He ended up stealing actual things, cameras, money, etc. So we couldn’t let him continue staying with us. I was also probably a lot uncomfortable with his sexuality aimed at my panty drawer.

 

There you go, short story done and I think I can leave work now and be sick in the comfort of home.