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.