Friday, April 30, 2010

Thankfully Letting Go

It's 3:25 PM and I realize that I have just enough time to thank the part that I'm letting go of in 30 minutes.

To My Male Working Facade
I am letting you go.
You have been a valuable asset,
Bringing many things into my life
That I otherwise would not have had.
I know it has been tough.
You have been a consistent defense
Against bullies
And poverty.
You never complained
No matter how tough things got.
But you're tired,
And I'm a big girl now.
I know I can take care of myself
Because you gave me the cool shadow
To grow
Under your outstretched wings
When I was so weak
And afraid.
You taught me strength
And I will take it with me.
I send you off with my gratitude
For all you have done.
Retire in Peace,
I will take the fight from here.
Your Protected Daughter,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Preparing to Resonate

All of the examples above should be rated 4 or 5 [significantly or totally afraid of facing conflict]. In the first example, Jason had taken no steps to deal with the situation. In example #2, Mary put up some very mild passive resistance at first, but eventually allowed the person calling to avoid taking any responsibility. She actually gave Sue permission to back out of her responsibility, despite her criticism when talking to her husband after the call. In example #3, Jan showed no ability to deal with the conflict. She merely vented on David, made hurtful accusations, and then removed herself from the experience. David initially confronted her behavior in the group (which may have been a poor choice given her sensitivities), but apologized when he felt like he was the one who was wronged.

- Tim Ursiny, The Coward's Guide to Conflict

The good news is that I have a private bathroom with a lock and it's closer that the other bathrooms. The bad news is that I have to go outside, ride an elevator to the cold basement, before reaching the bathroom right outside the training room.

It's not what the Fort Knox Legal department wanted. They returned their decision today to my supervisor that I should use the bathroom corresponding to my "genetic sex," which would be even more disruptive than using the bathroom matching my gender identity. When my supervisor told me that, it wasn't long before I took a ride to the basement bathroom to cry.

It's a good thing my supervisor made sure I had access to that, because I even told him there's no way I could do what they were suggesting. It goes against corporate guidelines as well, as the guidelines state that I should use the bathroom corresponding to my gender identity and if I was uncomfortable to provide a safe lockable room.

As I sat there, I thought maybe I should just do exactly as the Army wanted. It wouldn't take them long before the disruption it caused would force them to rethink the issue. But I wouldn't want the company to risk losing the contract over it, and I would obviously be let go before they let that happen. No, I would just have to ride it out. My contract is up at the end of September. I suggested to my supervisor a little bit later that maybe I need to work for a different client.

A recruiter called me today looking for strong Java programmers for a direct hire in Louisville. When I told her I couldn't just jump jobs right now and I was under contract til the end of September, she promised to call me back then.

Tomorrow--the last day of work in male clothing--the last day of any form of male gender expression ends at 4 PM. At that time I will head to my car, grab my blouse, skirt and makeup and change in my unisex basement bathroom. Then I will head over to an Italian restaurant on the base and host a pre-greet for anyone to get to know me as I will be presenting on Monday just a little early.

There's enough happening this weekend to keep my mind occupied: pampering for my first day of work as female, a Derby party at Jim's house, and a support group meeting in Lexington Saturday night.

Soon the first days will be behind me. It is only in male mode that I have ever regretted the moments of being female. In female mode, everything seems so natural that I don't want to leave it, having residual moments resonating into my male day. In female mode, I am always more comfortable because there is so much more "me" there, so much so that I see no reason to not do whatever I can to be me.

I am looking forward to the non-ending resonation to propel me even further into myself.

Hugs and God Bless,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Freakin' Awesome

I waited at my car yesterday from 3:30 to a little after 4 to meet with Sandra as we arranged. The "Mandatory Meeting" my supervisor had called to announce my transition, how to behave and what to expect had just ended. Sandra gave me so many more details from the meeting than I could possibly remember, and summarized it with, "Overall, I think it went well."

Last night, I made my appearance on stage as Ms. Featherwind at Sub Rosa's Open Mic. I signed up for the fourth slot, and it was almost midnight before I got the microphone. The crowd had thinned somewhat by then, but not quite as bad as last week.

I read a couple of excerpts from my book: "Butterfly Wings" and "Transphobe." At the end of "Wings," I segwayed by telling them, "If you didn't figure it out from my last piece, I'm a transsexual poet." Before I started "Transphobe," I did my reading from "They Beat The Girl Out of My Boy...Or So They Tried," the Calpernia Addams segment. As I was reading, I noticed a couple of people walk out, and inside I was panicking that I was losing them. But the remaining people stayed and a couple, including The Bard in Blue, seemed absolutely rapt as I proceeded into "Life is Poetry" and "Rebirth."

As I was getting off the stage, I apologized for clearing the room, and was told that this is the normal size of the crowd at that time. I guess I suffer from CDD, as Amy put it from our earlier chat: Confidence Deficit Disorder. When I was asked what was significant that week for me, I told them my book was available on Amazon. Someone actually asked me how much it was! Too bad I forgot to mention the title.

Almost right after I was done Ed Black and his girlfriend/wife/lover walked past my table and she said. "That was freakin' awesome!"

The comedian that took the stage next thanked me for the bedtime story, and I told him, "Anytime he needs help getting to sleep."

I am going to order 5 copies of my book and bring them with me to Sub Rosa and they will be gratis (read "free") on a first come, first serve basis.

As I came into work today, I didn't worry so much about the slightly orange lipstick, the leftover eyeliner and lipstick. And I didn't worry about trying to get my hair to stay in a less feminine manner, because yesterday's announcement set me free.

I did worry, anticipating a fishbowl effect, but it's been relatively quiet with no visitors to my cubicle. I asked Sandra and was now able to ask Nikki, who both pull off feminine professional so well, to take a look at my wardrobe Thursday afternoon for my first week's plan.

The invitation to my pre-meet went out to everyone at the meeting yesterday, due to an instinctive sense of political correctness by my friend Mike, and Sandra saved the day by saying that anyone who wanted to come was invited.

So, for lunch, I cornered Anil and Mike into going out to lunch with me, where I asked the manager about the feasibility of my having a special event from 5 to 7 at the bar. He assured me that the crowd is usually light during that time.

Tonight is Chalice Night at the church, and I just got a meeting reminder for something in the next 5 minutes.

Hugs and God Bless,

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Have a Date

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 at 7:30 AM. One week from today.

It's the 11th anniversary of my father succumbing to cancer and it's the date I start coming to work female.

At 11:08 AM this morning, I received an email from my supervisor which stated simply:

I'd like to meet with you today. Let me know when you have a few
minutes. Thanks.

Because I believe that face-to-face is better I walked the hallway to his office. Since his office is just a glorified cubicle with not-quite floor-to-ceiling walls and a door, we took the meeting to a nearby conference room.

He asked me about when I believed would be the best time to transition and I told him as soon as possible, but long enough to communicate with everyone and give them a chance to respond. He asked me if the 3rd, next Monday, was too soon. Assuring him it wasn't, we proceeded to go through the material he had gathered to present to my coworkers today and tomorrow, and discussed the bathroom issue. I told him I would conceed to a unisex bathroom for up to a month, because we are on the site of one of the branches of the US military. Afterward, I would expect to use the facility corresponding to my gender identity because anything else would be labeling and discriminatory, and I don't want anyone else to have to go through that.

From the meeting request, it looks like he is going to have one large mandatory meeting at 3:30 to 4 pm this afternoon, which prompted someone to blurt out, "Who's getting fired?" I think it would be best if I am not physically present when the meeting is over.

I'm feeling anxious. But it's not from fear, but instead from excitement. This is the same feeling that almost caused me to pass out at Vagina Monologues and at the probate court requesting my name change. Sandra gave me some herbal supplements to help block the anxiety.

Hugs and God Bless,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Caged Lion

"For months after, I was left with the sense of being a caged lion. Roaming back and forth in a very small cage. Restless. In a sense the lion was an energy, or a state of consciousness within me, one I was not familiar with. This lion would roar, and wanted to be set free. And even though my soul was uncaged, I was still contained in a space that was way too small. I hadn't reached the infinite eternal. Something had been set free, but something so much deeper was becoming available. The lion had to be released because I was going to need the energy of that lion; I was going to need that state of consciousness in order to make the next step of the journey. You could say, also, that this lion represented a courage within me. I needed the courage to trust what I knew to be true; I needed that courage in order to continue on."

- Lynn Barron, as quoted by Hilary Hart, "Pulled by Love," The Unknown She

The time to take the next step in transition comes when you have spiritually outgrown your last step, when the lioness inside feels tightly caged and is roaring to be let out, sinews ready to tear apart the cage that keeps her hunched inside, when she knows she more than strong enough to fend for herself.

It is a move toward comfort that pulls us, and we can become raging beasts if we do not get at least a bigger cage. The bars hurt, and where were once able to live our lot, we feel our freedom strangled.

The cage was not meant to hurt us. In fact, it was constructed to keep us safe until we grew, whether someone else built it for us, or we constructed it on our own.

This seems to be the very metaphor I seem to have instinctively followed. Inside my final cage, my spirit bursting to get out, I only wait for my key, the result of a conference call and the resulting direction, and I'll be free!

Dancing was great last night! I got a personal invite to a Derby party at Jim's house, one of many people attending, and I danced for an hour after the lessons were over. I am going to miss lessons next week. The club is having another event that will preclude the lesson.

Tomorrow, my support group is meeting at my hangout. They will gather around the table in billiard room, and I'll stroll over to say "Hi," but I'll also have to go hang out with my other friends who are regulars.

Tonight, I'll just spend at home and see if I can finally finish The Unknown She.

Hugs and God Bless,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two Years on HRT, Three Days Post Announcement

Let's now look at how we can use our entity outside of a container. This is particularly valuable for unit testing...
- Robert Patrick et al., Professional Oracle WebLogic

As I sit here waiting for my project requirements and resources to be ready, I have nothing left to do but go ahead and write a blog entry to help keep me awake. I have already exhausted as much of my conscious brain as I could to a technical manual, before threatening dozing off. I tried following the latest news articles next, and finally went back almost 2 days on my friends blogs. It probably won't take me 45 minutes to finish this entry, but I can see spending that much time editting out all the silly typos.

I've reached two milestones I guess at this point: today is my 2nd year anniversary on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and the 3rd day into my work transition between the announcement and the final onset of RLT (the real life test).

I'll tackle the latter first: no news, all's quiet on the western front. I'm feeling calm and ready to trust whatever plan finally emerges. Several of my coworkers are also ready and waiting, and Anil asked me when the party is, meaning the Friday after work moment, when I shrug my guy clothes for hopefully the last time, and let my friends get to meet the new me. He already did, though he still plans to be there. I practically begged Sandra to promise to come help me select from my wardrobe work appropriate clothing, and go thrift shopping with me to fill in enough for a week. I just put my "name" on a seating chart. I was about to tell him that he'll have to change it soon. So, in a nutshell: no plan yet.

Two years of hormone therapy has still left me with the large arms. Even when I did lose weight when I got sick, I still bounded back up to somewhere between 194 to 200. The cut of the men's shirts is the only thing that is keeping the male facade. In the last six months, I have pretty much filled out the B-cup bras, my rib cage has shrunk to 40 inches and I can squeeze into a 38-B elastic banded bra as necessary. I lost an inch somewhere. I am now 5'10" tall and my feet have shrunk a half-size. While my girls are now definitely visible under men's golf shirts (they look like fat because the cut is wrong), they are low and tear-dropped shape leaving cleavage pretty elusive. I can sometimes skip a dose of estrogen for a day before I notice the dysphoria seeping back in, sometimes in headaches, dizziness or just plain exhaustion.

And I cycle. The progestin that I'm taking seems to have me cycling about every two weeks instead of once a month, however, complete with a few days of titty cramps and groinal bloating. The chronic loneliness I used to feel has metamorphed into more of an acute longing which I last experienced a few months ago. It's quite possible that the loneliness was a mistranslation of the inherent longing due to the testosterone in my bloodstream. These days, when I curl up with my cuddly bunny, blanket and a book to read, I am more likely to fall asleep before I get farther that 5 pages. And the muscles, particulary in the back and legs tend to recover much more slowly; Thursday dance leads to Saturday pain that finally ebbs on Tuesday. I had a severe pain in my right shin that woke me up and forced me to walk it out before I could go back to sleep.

My voice is naturally softer, partially from practice, and partially from hormones and attitude. I was surprised that my hair has grown faster and longer in the last 9 1/2 months than someone else who has been growing it out for a year.

And I am happy. I am not happy with what's between my legs, but as long as I can ignore it,

I'm just sleepy, too.

Hugs and God Bless,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Living in a Park

During the four years that she has lived here, the house has attracted more life than one would expect in this seemingly empty landscape. Hornets come from an unknown source and swirl around the bathroom, even though Lynn persistently puts them outside after they collapse on the windowsill, disoriented, she suggests, by the intoxicating energy in the house. Mice scurry around the kitchen until they, too, become suddenly stilled by whatever it is that brings the wasps to rest. Then Lynn wraps the swaying little creatures in a napkin, and places them outside where the air is a bit less inebriating. In this evening, strange noises float through the darkness as parts of the building seem to moan and sway under a great pressure. And an intermittent stream of people come and go from nearby Los Angeles and as far away as the East Coast to sit in meditation with Lynn, sleeping outside the little house on handmade wooden structures, skeletal and exotic, set up amidst the sand and sage of the property.

-- Hilary Hart, "The House in the Desert," "The Unknown She", The Unknown She

On the way home, I noticed it's like I live in a park. As I was pulling around the circle, I saw a squirrel skipping, about to cross the road in front of me, and when I willed it to stop, it did. As I drove by and looked in the rearview mirror, it held it's place until right after I thought, It's okay. You can cross now. And cautiously at first, it crossed.

Watching the birds flit across the road, I noticed a couple of ducks by the park bench. I stopped the car, and stepped out to take a photo. Getting back in my car and driving the remaining distance, I admired the robins and the 50-foot trees that nestled my apartment.

Two days after my supervisor was given the heads up from Human Resources regarding my transition, I saw him in the hallway. As we exchanged "Good Morning's," he directed his grin at our feet. Later in the afternoon, he made sure to introduce me to his boss. It was so hard during the introductions to not introduce myself as Sophie.

During lunch, I finally was able to get through to my point of contact at the client company, update her on my status and voice my concerns. After 45 minutes, and getting a feel for how different I will be on T-day, she asked me to send her the email addresses of my contract company's HR to send the guidelines and templates that she has available.

After I sent an introductory email, I called my Hiring Manager for an update. She said they were waiting for an email from corporate HR on how to proceed, and then would have a conference with the HR staff, my supervisor and herself on what to do. Then they would let me know the plan.

At this point, I am amazed that I am not feeling any anxiety. In fact, I am feeling happy.

Hugs and God Bless,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Language of Inclusivity

Yet everything that has happened in the history of the world is not "the will of the Goddess." The Goddess is always attempting to persuade us to love intelligently, concretely, and inclusively.
-- Carol P. Christ, Rebirth of the Goddess

As far as it being the day after my announcement, everything went relatively quietly today. I don't know how my supervisor took the news as I was not privy to that meeting.

As Donna told me today, "What does it matter?" My performance is what matters, and everyone thinks I'm doing great she tells me.

I am first and foremost a woman. Transsexual and transgender are adjectives that should be nobody else's business unless it truly matters. I had to bite my tongue with a friend of mine who is an HBS (Harry Benjamin Syndrome) advocate. In her conceptual model, transgender and transsexual are two completely non-overlapping things. She's entitled to her opinion. It's just not my experience. She also says that she's proud to be a transsexual, but I don't consider that the core of my being. As a consequence, years after surgery, her supervisor is telling new employees about how to work with a transsexual.

It's an adjective. Not a noun. The only people who need to know are those who are impacted by it, primarily those that have to watch me transition.

If you think it doesn't matter whether someone refers to you as a transsexual or a transsexual woman, think about this. English language is an embodiment language, that is, essence plays an important part, and hence is represented by the noun and pronoun. All sentences have a noun or pronoun, even if is implied in commands like, "Sit," where "you" is the implied essence.

The essence component of sentence shows itself most clearly when you reduce the sentence to its spine. Let's take look at two sentences:

1. The productive transsexual is meeting her agenda, and
2. The lazy transsexual woman is slouching off.

When you reduce these sentences to your essence, ala Senior English decomposition, you get:

1a. Transsexual meeting agenda, and
2a. Woman is slouching.

The thought behind Sentence 2a is typically more inclusive because the embodiment is easier to relate to.

This is what happens subconsciously when people parse sentences. They typical reduce the sentence to its minimal structure and then add the modifiers, like adjectives back in. When the essence is known, then the adjective is unnecessary and left off. For example, if there is only one ball, there is no point in saying "I kicked the red ball," because all I have to say is, "I kicked the ball." Capice?

So the moral of this story is, "Don't slouch, because you don't want to be known as a slouching woman."

Hugs and God Bless,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bouncing and Shaking (T Minus 1 Week (+-) Til RLT)

I spent almost 200 dollars on new tires yesterday--Bridgestones. Much more than that and they would have totaled the car according to the offer I got from Kia. But the bouncing and shaking is gone. Turns out that one of the three tires I replaced was down to the steel belt--that would do it.

The other two were flat Saturday morning, when my neighbor rang my bell about 10 AM to tell me. I looked out the door to see my Camry listing hard to starboard (the passenger side). Yup, they were flat, not low, but definitely flat like partial melted ice cream on the pavement. This car has been hard on tires since we bought it, and I can't wait to trade it's 145,000 mile, 12 year life in for a replacement. But I have to wait for that. I'll come back to that topic in a bit.

I decided that since I wasn't going anywhere, I'd just stop by the gas station a little early in the morning and air them up and come back to Pep Boy after church to replace them. 3 dollars worth of quarters later, with dried grease on my chilled hands, I finally had enough air to at least make it to church.

After church, I walked out to my car and noticed the rear tire was holding what I had put in so far, but my front tire was a melted ice cream cone again. I got directions to the nearest tire shop--Firestone--from Debbie inside, and as I got ready to limp the car the few blocks to the shop, a couple of gentlemen offered to change the tire for me.

This required shuffling a number of items from the trunk to the back seat and I had to help them help me with a couple of the intricacies, like where to put the jack. The tire didn't come off. One of the studs was so badly corroded to the hub that it snapped while leaving the tire firmly attached.

Meanwhile, a woman came up claiming she was a rape victim, and from the blood in her eye and what looked like two black eyes (I couldn't see indication that it was only makeup), I gave her the three remaining dollars in my wallet after asking if she had been to the Women's Center yet. She may have been faking it or taking it back to the man who beat her, but I didn't have enough evidence to make a judgement call like that, so I gave her the money.

After the gentlemen had given up on the tire, they reattached the lug nuts that weren't broken, put all the tire tools neatly away, and then asked if I had a couple of dollars to spare. I profusely apologized about having given it to the woman, and sincerely promised them when I see them again...

They just waved it off.

It took me about 15 minutes to get my car to the Firestone store, and once I set up service, I walked back to the church just a little late for the Interweave meeting in progress, after which Rodney gave me a ride back to Firestone.

I need to replace the car, but I can't yet, because I would wind up having to get a pass from the main gate every morning. To avoid that, I'll need a sticker, which requires insurance, registration and my defense access card. The latter which happens to be in my male name until I start RLT.

There is one week left on my contract. The ideal time to transition is, I believe, at the renewal of a contract or right after a positive performance review. I am still waiting from my hiring manager to find out whether they are going to convert or simply extend my contract, because it changes the communications. Human Resources at the client company has said they're ready to release my name change when I'm comfortable.

So I know what I'm going to get myself for my RLT--a Toyota Prius, hopefully at 0% for 60 months.

After I went to WalMart and was unpacking and transferring things back to the trunk, I found my missing things. The precious things included my clearance-priced sterling silver feather earrings I haven't worn yet (the ones I had to earn the right to wear), and my copy of The Desiderata of Happiness. Somehow, I believe my spirit guide was behind the strange, but interesting and yet expensive, Sunday.

My kids are planning to come up for my birthday in July. I am soooo excited. I can't wait to see them. And since Frontier Airlines is back in Louisville, the plane fare should be significantly lower.

Tonight, I'm reading my new work at Sub Rosa, and I found my earrings just in time. I'm debating whether or not to also where my blue scarf with the black stars tied gypsy style for effect as well. I only have one copy of my book to bring. I need to order four more, so I can sell them on the spot.

Update: 12:08 PM

My hiring manager just called. After checking the budget, my contract has been extended to September 30th. They are also seeing if they can can give me a dollar or two more per hour. Her point of contact within HR is planning to do the transition with only an announcement, i.e. no personal letter, as they believe this will minimize disruption. She is going to see if we can set up a meeting on Thursday. Since I want to transition over the weekend, this could mean I will be full-time as early as Monday, the week after next (May 3rd). That just also happens to be the 11 year anniversary of when my father passed away. Meanwhile, I need to contact the diversity manager within the client company to touch base and get advice.

Once I get the date set, I will plan my Friday pre-meet, and notify friends by word of mouth.

Update 5:19 PM

I just got off the phone with my Hiring Manager about scheduling the talk for Thursday, and found out that my announcement went today already. The HR on-site contact informed my supervisor already and she met or is meeting with him to discuss the transition. I was hoping to meet with her first before she did that. The arrow is in flight before I could aim it. I hope it doesn't come back and strike me.

Hugs and God Bless,

Sunday, April 18, 2010



As I awoke from my dream on my couch,
A fog of protective attention enveloped me,
Filled the room
Near me
I can almost see
The Divine,
The Feminine Divine.

Like a child feigning sleep
I had caught Her
Watching me,
Close enough to touch.

Which name should I call Her?
The Feminine Divine
Seems too formal.
Is she Ishtar, Aphrodite, Athena, Oestre...?

She tells me gently,
Which translated is Feminine Divine.
She says again,
And She passes Her hand over my eyes,
I sleep.

How long?
How long will I experience this aspect of God?

I think
I will miss Her
When Her work is done,
And She shows me another face.

Thank you, Thea

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Audience Demand

I ask if she feels that this new trend is really driven mostly by audience demand.
- Hilary Hart, The Unknown She

As I sit here writing this blog, I am listening to the wind over the microphones as commentators discuss today's airshow of Louisville. And as I typed the last note, the thunder of an F-16 was clearly heard over the radio.

Of course, I can't see this barricaded in my apartment, and as Thunder over Louisville gets started, I have been told that the parking is going to be horrendous downtown, with roads closed off and parking at 50 dollars. Supposedly, a huge crowd turns out for the opening events for Derby, and maybe I'll step outside to see if I can see the aircraft (I need to brush my hair first), and then maybe I'll make out a firework or two after 8 PM when the largest US fireworks display kicks off.

The tourist attraction for this event is so large that it forces the cancellation of regular meetings, and people put in long hours in support of the massive audience. Tonight's support group meeting, for instance, has been postponed until next week at my local hangout. They're planning to do a session on FtM's (Female to Male transsexuals), but by holding it at the very bar where my friend had his latest slide into alcoholic depression, they're making it impossible for him to attend.

Tomorrow, I'll be greeting all the people coming in through our main door for church. I really enjoy doing this. Soon, I'll have to start soliciting volunteers for next year. And then I'll need to put together some material for my poetry readings on Monday night. I have a couple of new pieces, I'll need to repeat some of my material for a bridge and then select something from my book.

I'm thinking, as Divinity seemed to point out, they want more, and I want people to understand. This ought to work out nicely.


Friday, April 16, 2010

I Want to Dance

Driving home from Jim Porter's Emporium after two hours of dance lessons, I was almost mesmerized by the well lit Slugger Stadium from the elevation over the field that I-65 provides. Baseball season has started, and the view of all the players and the stadium in the floodlights was quite an amazing sight.

Not quite a year ago, but last year nonetheless, I was lamenting over the fact that I didn't know what I wanted, pointing out that the lack of all desire is hell, unless you can also not desire wanting something. I knew there was something deep down that I wanted, but was not allowed to want, and I was at odds trying to figure out what it was. My subconscious hinted at it, knowing it was something creative but with rules. But by a stroke of opportunity, by being once again introduced to it, and given the opportunity to finally do it, I know what it is.

I want to dance. I remember the girl in preschool twirling in her new skirt as it rose in an ever shallower cone around her thighs. I want to move gracefully on the floor. I want someone to suggest the moves to follow. I want to make my skirt dance as if playing with the wind. And I want to spin, pirhouette, tap and sway. And I want to mix it up.

I want to gently touch and hold onto someone who I trust to direct us through an ecstatic ritual that can only be found on the dance floor.

I want to dance.

I realized that dance is also reflected in poetry. As I began writing poetry, I started with the basic steps, fixed meter, rythm and rhyme. As I advanced, I began to change the footwork up, going from a glide to a syncopated step to the basic step as the emotions took me. In my poetry, I found that I lead while you follow. And by taking you through my steps, I can take you on a journey within my world, experiencing the ebbs and flows within it.

Mathematic is also strongly related to dance. All the moves fall on perfect divisions, and like music, prepares the mind for the study of numbers and the relationships between them. From there it is not much of a step to science and engineering and then to computer science, which I tended to be good at. But computer science is a long way from dance. While it still maintains the lead/follow relationship through computer programming, it seems that I am forced to always lead, never adding the flair to make my pirhouette unique.

But every Thursday, I get to return to dance. I get to gently hold onto someone who guides my steps and sends me spinning, lifting my skirt against the generated breeze. I get to add new steps to a growing repertoire, and as my muscles remember the steps and the associated signals, I relax and have fun being more responsive to my partner of the moment.

Hugs and God Bless,

Note: Gender Genie is way off in classifying this one :P

Words: 512

Female Score: 482

Male Score: 811

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Relationships and Interdependence

Since our culture does not yet put as high a premium on relationships and interdependence as it does on the gross national product and the bottom line, the importance of relationships tends to be transparent against the backdrop of the larger culture and socioeconomic imperatives that dominate modern life. It is usually in times of crisis that the importance of this extended web of relationship is brought to the fore of our minds, only to sink down, fade, or be replaced with cynicism when life returns to a semblance of "profane normalcy."
- Karen Berggren,
Circle of Shaman

At a support group meeting, we discussed the value of building a support network, that provided reassurance through a living network between brothers and sisters. Another model I have seen included a star network, where one person is the support contact. The problem I have seen with this model is the point of contact, usually the president, gets overwhelmed as the organization grows larger and has no one to turn to for support but herself.

The solution to that has usually been to create a support committee. While the committee can provide support to one another, eventually they too get overwhelmed and wind up just growing a larger committee.

A third solution has been to develop a hierarchy of support, so that growth needs can be met, but unfortunately the support is unidirectional. If the support link farther up the chain is unavailable, then support is unavailable because there is no backup.

The solution I proposed views everyone as an equal and requires that we take responsibility for each other. There is no delegation of care. While none of us can be expected to handle the emotional needs of a larger number of sisters and brothers, we can provide for and get sustenance from a small set of connections. Alcoholics Anonymous provides a buddy system. We are engendering a web. A living, supportive web of support that can help keep those in it from falling. And it takes a minimum of each person in the web being responsible for two others, both of whom are responsible for the original person.

Naturally, I was nominated to be part of a 3-person ad hoc committee to implement this idea. There are challenges to overcome, like the physical separation of the members, the availability and the modes of communication available. As much as I would have loved to do this through internet chat, it just wasn't feasible, so we are working through the tried-and-true email, which requires more of a proposal feedback mechanism. Drew had already drafted a questionnaire to be used and I gave some feedback on that. I had been doing a lot of thinking and proposed my idea for how to get people hooked up from scratch. Being Derby weekend coming up this month, the number of people attending will be much smaller, so we will probably postpone the "match-up," to create the web until June, when I hope we will have a sizable crowd to launch our support web.

At work, I confirmed that my supervisor has every intention of extending my contract. My hiring manager slapped my hand (figuratively) for approaching him about conversion. She advises I wait until she can confirm for sure whether I will be converted or extended. Having nothing else to do, I drew up a draft of my letter to my coworkers.

I'm leaving in about 30 minutes for Charleston lesson 3. Since I haven't fixed my face or brushed my hair yet, I better get on it.

Hugs and God Bless,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Life is Poetry

After work, I drove one of my coworker friends who knows about me to pick up his car from the shop. Along the way, I was talking about checking out a certain make of car whose dealership is just down the street from my place because I need something that gets better gas mileage. He volunteered to come with me to check it out. He didn't mind waiting for me to change into my button-up blouse and jeans, fixing my face in the process. He still remained quite the gentleman as I test drove one of the models. The transition to female didn't phase him at all. I am feeling more confident about my transition as a result.

I was inspired to write the following poem after being a silent observer at open mic night at Sub Rosa last night. Divinity Rose offered to put me on next if I would only stay a little longer. I hadn't sign up, because I was afraid that people would eventually get tired of transgender poetry if I took the mic every week. I promised her I would bring something next week.

Life is Poetry

As I stand at home
In the evening before I undress,
My hands gently cupping my breasts,
I feel strangely fulfilled.

The peaceful calm
Is different from
My feelings of jealousy,
What if.

What if I had not grown these?
Had not questioned?
Had not felt a strange desire
To just try?

I would never know
The serene blissful calm
That something so sensual
Can be so spiritual.

Life is poetry
In meter, rhythm and rhyme.
Sensuous longing,
The ebb and flow of time.

A beat with a heart,
A dance with a spark,
The flames of the universe,
Of which we are a part.

A song,
An echo of the past,
A connection
That we hope Will ever last.

A picture perfect painting

With abstract hue,
A perfect reflection
Of me and you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Coming Out to the Past

"Any understanding of the nature of reality automatically arouses great compassion because you see how you create so much suffering for ourselves and others when we don't see the essential emptiness of things."
- Ani Tenzin Palmo, quoted by Hilary Hart, The Unknown She

Up until now, almost everyone I came out to is someone in my life presently, including reconnecting with two ex-girlfriends, one from when I was 10 and the other when I was 19. But last night I received an email from a co-worker from 2 to 3 years ago who asked: "Where did this Sophia come from."

"She is me and I am her," I replied and wrote how three years ago I had reached a point in a long struggle in which transition was the only answer, closing with, "I know now this is the person I was meant to be."

Last February, when I found out my name change was official, I modified my Linked In account that had my old name on it to reflect the change. In my status, I stated that I would like people to update my references from the old name to Sophia.

Going back to Linked In last night, I selected each of the references, and discovered that I could request a modification. So for every reference, I sent the request with a slight edit to what I sent to the person who wanted to know where Sophia came from, and I changed my status, removing the reference to my old name.

This morning I got two emails in my inbox. One of them was an announcement that the chief architect, who is now the CTO of his own company, had updated his reference. As I read it with Sophia, she and her, it seemed to actually fit better. This means I now have one of my two managerial references, should I have to get another job after I transition to full time. I marked that one for display, and proceeded to hide the others while waiting for the corrections to come in.

The second email came from the original person that triggered these actions. His response was positive:

Thanks for letting me know. I have known only a couple of people who changed their names. It took some practice to call them by a new name - but I will work on it for you.

He sent it to the old email address, however, so I made sure to reply with the new one.

This seems to mark a new phase in my transition: Coming Out to the Past, something that I hadn't really anticipated. But the experience is really beneficial, because soon I am going to have to provide a short, personal letter to attach to a transition notice, and this just gave me a little practice.

Hugs and God Bless,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Transgender-Only Bathrooms

My conviction that thealogy begins in experience means that I, like many other feminist scholars, can no longer write in an impersonal voice.
- Carol P. Christ, Rebirth of the Goddess

I was in an interesting theological debate for two days, just because I think transgender-only bathrooms are a bad idea. One of the people who are wielding the Bible as a weapon said they believed in the Gospels when quoting Romans.

I have two Baptist grandfathers who would also point this out. The Gospels are composed of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Romans belongs to the Pauline Epistles, the letters that were instructions on running the church while he was imprisoned waiting for his execution.

I believe the Gospels. Paul wrote some great stuff, but I have reasons not to believe everything that he wrote as being timeless.

This, of course, engendered an ad hominem attack:

"Of course sophie. If you accepted all of the Bible as being the word of God instead of picking a choosing then you couldn't be trans now could you?"

Belief that the Bible as the literal word of God as interpreted in the official manner will make me not trans? What a hoot. That totally ignores science, psychology, and spirituality. No, it will just make me want to hang myself. I thanked him for the positive vote and pointed out that the discussion was way off on a tangent and I didn't know why I was responding to him.

I told him I accept his beliefs, but couldn't join him in them:

Go ahead and let your life be run by what other people tell you the Bible means. Forget reading it, since supposedly unerring men wrote it, and unerring men can tell you what it means for your own life. And don't even think about questioning it later, because everyone knows it's perfect and you must be "mislead by Satan" to come to any other conclusion.

In denying alternate interpretations than their decided standard, the church apparently doesn't believe in spirituality, but in religiosity. To develop in spirit, one must question and explore and develop their own connection via their own empathic interpretations of scripture to the divine as it applies to their own lives.

I tried to accept the Bible as the interpretation that the church gave me. It didn't stop me from being "trans." Sorry. Doesn't work that way. Wish it did. I gradually found little consistent support in the official interpretations. But I did pray and read and seek meaning for myself. I explored each situation is as much of a context as I could. I read things besides the Bible to give me insight.

I accept that God is a passionate, embracing, loving spirit who works through imperfect people. There is much that is taught about the interpretation of the scriptures as they were determined by the Council of Nice, who elected to give the missionary Paul's epistles a prominent position in the accepted texts. It has always bothered me, that Paul's opinion, who never met Jesus in the flesh, supposedly is interpreted as the Word of God.

God's word is in the Bible. God's word (Logos) is also in the birds, the trees, the flowers of the field. In Jesus time, the religious elite took the Torah as God's word. But law without compassion is meaningless and imperfect. Germans in Nazi Germany were able to desensitize by suspending empathy for strict adherence to rules by an elite that supposedly knew more about what they needed.

After two days of debate, I finally struck pay dirt with the person who seemed at least willing to consider transgender people as people.

My last attempt to persuade:

I am saying that no human beings should have preferential rights over others based on their characteristics. I am also saying that a transgender bathroom doesn't work. I've spelled it out enough. I have provided an alternate proposal currently in use by Fortune 100 companies that does work and satisfies other needs.

It's pretty darn easy to address the predator problem. If he has a mustache or beard and walks into the ladies room, he's where he doesn't belong. Easy to enforce. If he walks into the bathroom taunting someone, he doesn't belong there. It's harassment. If he looks like a man, and he has a biological gender of male, he doesn't belong there. If a male part is deliberately exposed to a woman, that's an arrest.

I was just speaking with someone from Europe. They said they don't have that problem. Everyone goes where they will. So why do we have a predator problem in the U.S? Or is it an exaggeration to suggest predators have a desire to prey at the ladies at the restroom?

Besides dehumanizing others, there must be a way to ensure that predators are less likely to use the bathrooms as a hunting ground.

You were creative in coming up with the transgender room, maybe you can brainstorm something that only takes away the freedom of predators.

Resulted in the user named believer saying, surprisingly:

sophie, my desire is that any person using a public facility receives the respect, security, and comfortability they deserve and all that can be done to ensure this needs to be done. And if the Fortune 500 Plan can do that the best then let's move forward. But will local governments be willing to provide the funding to do that. And if they are not willing then I believe the separate transgender facilities is the next best option.
Which underscores my point made in an earlier blog that we are dealing with people whose bias is based on experiences quite unlike our own. By listening to their concerns and engaging in logical debate, we can come to understand one another and work toward peaceful agreement.

Hugs and God Bless,
- Sophie

Friday, April 9, 2010

Silent Deceit

Late-acknowledging transgender people, myself included, seem to almost invariably have fallen into a pattern of quiet deceit, and the process of coming out begins with only cracks in the deceit.

If you're like me, it probably began in your pre-adolescence years, struggling with the fact that you could be hurt in some way if you said what you were really feeling. How can you tell the girl you like that you want to be like her? And you certainly aren't telling the guys, to give them something more in their arsenal to sling at you in the form of verbal taunts and physical beatings. So you begin to quietly deceive, letting slip gender neutral interests that you're allowed to have and share in private with your friend. What's the point of telling anybody, you told yourself. It won't make a difference anyway. But you know that you know how girls think, they're who you want to be with, and you start crafting the perfect heterosexual gentleman, because you know you can be better than the cruel boys. And so the deceit slowly turns inward.

Of course, what's hidden won't stay hidden. All things rise to the surface occasionally, and so it is with the deceit. Who you are comes out in weird ways, forcing you to patch up the wall that's holding it back. One of your last patches may be to marry that woman that you love so much and start a family. You wonder when you can safely tell her about these things that make you different.

The time never seems right, or you can't get an alone minute, and the patchwork dam starts springing leaks again. You think to yourself that maybe if what's being held back is allowed to flow and kept hidden, the pressure drop should be enough. So you start giving in to your desires in secret, late at night on the internet, after work, on the drive home and you find yourself dealing with the holes slowly getting larger.

At this point, you may contact a gender therapist in an effort to build a more solid damn of your feelings, and she encourages you to find more ways to relieve the pressure before it kills you, but to do it carefully.

At this point, your spouse may have noticed some of the flotsam, like a pair of panties in your car, and you now have another kind of damage control to do. You only tell her about the leak, and she supportively gives into it. Of course, you wouldn't tell her about the rest. Your denying what could hurt her and you. Your silent deceit continues.

As the evidence of more leaks continues, she feels that she doesn't really know you. She asks herself if she was such a horrible woman to cause you or let you start becoming a woman. And she's thinking these thoughts while you're struggling with why you're urges to become a woman physically have become so profound. She wants to know, she wants to know what you feel, and begins to feel disconnected and hurt by the fact that you claim to be a woman, but you won't share your thoughts and feelings. She is quite possibly going to lament the husband she thought she had, despite your insistence you're still there. You begin living with the ghost of your formal self.

This made me try to take my own life on numerous occasions. It's why, unless things change, I can't go back to living in the same house. To me it's better to be a distant parent than a dead one.

Our anxiety ridden thoughts rarely emerge ready to share, at least to garner empathy, and sharing them at those moments does more harm than good. But if your thoughts, particularly your feelings, emotions or desires don't seem tamable and may result in an impact to your relationship with your spouse, you need to tell her. Breaking silent deceit is something that takes willpower, time and remorse. If something is going to be hard to say, I still give myself time to simultaneously wait for the right moment, explore my feelings in more depth and try to understand her feelings and her response. The idea of not sharing will instinctually eat at me, but I put a moratorium on the silence, a deadline of when the thoughts need to come to the table if not resolved, unlike burying them with resentment like I did in the past. Some things will hurt when spoken, but they will heal.

Silent deceit, on the other hand, is like a dagger inserted slowly which has caused severe damage by the time it's felt: both to yourself and the person who has trusted you.

Sharing seems to be instinctual between women. It is quite likely that your honesty will be treated as suspect in the beginning, but forthrightness over time will let her know you are truly, deeply regretful for the pain you caused, and may allow you to build a deeper emotional relationship, a more supportive one.

Hugs and God Bless,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Eloquent Activist?

It's almost like a message from beyond.

I was twice referred to as eloquent between Monday and Tuesday. I was told that my testimony on Sunday was eloquent, and then Leslie used the same phrase in her blog a day or so later. I've never really considered myself so. I don't even really know what is required to be "eloquent." I know I spend a lot of time trying to get my words and thoughts to flow, and I know I chat a lot, and tend to be verbose. When you hear the same word you don't hear very often used twice by two different people in two different situations, you have to take notice.

The same thing happened with the word "activist." I arrived a little late for dinner at my church on Wednesday night, remembering it was my turn to do dishes, and Earl, an 80-year long-term member of the church who handles all the Sunday morning maintenance addressed me in the kitchen while I was cleaning up gave me a hug and said, "You are fast becoming our number one activist."

I thought to myself, how so? I didn't go lobbying the legislature in Frankfort or making speeches. Well, I did make one. It was only a short paragraph after I announced my transition and only to the congregation on Easter Sunday. I was pleading for awareness, not demanding change.

Yesterday, I responded to a topic post on makeup via the yahoo group for heterosexual crossdresser group back in Texas I used to attend. My "Big Sister" Tootsye, responded by telling me to drop by some time and she would like me to drop updates on how things are going. I told her that would be difficult, since the drive from Louisville to Fort Worth is killer, and I gave her a snapshot of all the activities that I am involved in. An activist herself, she responded that I "have developed into quite an effective activist for us in such a short time."

I thought an activist is someone who works for change, not someone with a lot of activities. I have a couple of weekly activities that are for me, but the rest is a simple response matching my availability to needs I am made aware which I can address. Is that activism?

Hugs and God Bless,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Have you seen the face of God?
Have you felt Her sweet embrace?

Fuchsia, lavender, yellow and green
Springs from each and every tree.

Spotted black and white,
Red crested
On Her arms alight.

The road leads down
A twisting path
Cutting into Her forest mound.

Her thighs wide open
Draw you back inside,
The road seems so narrow,
Too long to ride.

Birth in reverse
Reverses again,
Spitting you out
At exit 10.

Alive again
You know it's Spring
Emerging from the hips She brings.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Open Mic Night

I was 7th in line for the microphone last night. I brought 3 of my poems to read in my rainbow colored folder: "Compassion", "Silhouette" and another I had written about sensual awakening.

As luck would have it, Divinity introduced me to the stage after the guest musical performers had finally arrived and were setting up, so as fortune would have it, the room was full and every eye on me--again!

As I went through each piece, with a little chat between each one to set up the context, the room was silent. Suddenly fears went through my head that they were not entertained at all, as the normal ruckus was missing. As I finished each piece, I stepped back and paused for a few seconds to signal the end, and the silence would finally be pierced by the applause, which I was afraid was mandatory aritist-to-artist support.

When I gave a slight bow and took my seat, Divinity called out from the Mic, "Miss Sophie Featherwind everybody! Do we want to her to come back!" And everyone applauded, hooted and whistled, which did not dissuade me that they weren't just being polite.

About three performers later, I learned that if this group doesn't like a performance, they'll just stroll out and leave the place empty as they did to one poor individual in his standup routine. The fact that they stayed silent during my piece and a few women introduced themselves to me afterward gives me renewed confidence. Rebekah, the belly dancer, approached first, gave me her card for fashion design, saying she could help tailor for my shoulders. The others expressed that they liked my work.

I seem to silence the audience. First, during the Vagina Monologues, then Becoming Real at the church and finally, last night. Being up on stage, it's hard to tell if it's a rapt attention or the audience just waiting for you to finish up, shut up and get off the stage.

My material for the "Finding Your Spiritual Name" Sunday Morning Adult Round Table is progressing nicely. I actually have enough as is to be educational. But I am still Googling for more examples of a couple of the aspects. I'm sure I will find them. There seem to be plenty out there.

This morning, my increasing inability to pass as male made itself evident during my morning exchange at the checkpoint. As I pulled up, singing Good Morning as usual, he replied quietly with, "Hi, Ma'am," looked at my government issued ID from October that I haven't updated yet, and said a little more loudly, "Have a good day, Sir," as he handed it back. Now keep in mind that I am wearing a men's short sleeve button up white shirt with navy blue pinstripes interspersed around, and I hadn't shaved since 6 PM last night.

Something's working.

An unbelievable 30 minutes of pain is scheduled for this afternoon at 5:45. Judy called me last night to remind me about the laser appointment. This has been a rough four weeks. Shaving only when I'm going somewhere besides work gets really depressing. I so enjoy a smooth face. I have also discovered that a razor once opened and used still only lasts about a week. Go figure. Practically all the downward hairs are gone and the remaining hair is noticeably thinner. With my 4th treatment today, she'll be forced to zap the resistant chin and neck hair once again.

Hugs and God Bless,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Becoming Real (My Easter Story)

Like the Velveteen Rabbit, I, too, am becoming real; and it’s in no small part thanks to my Unitarian family. This congregation has gone beyond accepting. You have been inclusive, loving and have made the effort to understand what I am going through, and that has made all the difference.

My path to becoming real has been a difficult one, and along the way I have shed many tears; yet day-by-day, as I become closer to “being me,” I am better able to tap into that joy that comes with allowing myself to be myself.

I was born a boy. Physically and genetically, I was considered normal and given my father’s name. As I grew, however, I had a distinct and increasing aversion to boys and an increasing desire to spend my time with the girls. In a lot of ways, I was sheltered. I knew no other boys who felt they had girl’s feelings, and I didn’t dare speak out, because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy. So I tried to redirect my feelings toward being a better boy and man, at least to the public. I went to college, served my country, finished college, married and have two lovely daughters. Meanwhile, I drank, I experimented with drugs, and I sought escape from my feelings. For many, many years, my feelings of wrongness became more intense. When I finally found out I was not alone, I sought help.

After learning to acknowledge my feelings, the first thing I had to fight was my fear of being labeled a freak, and all the anxieties that go with it. I had to accept and love myself, and I had to grow spiritually beyond the boundaries I was given. I had to seek my own connections to the divine. And when I was ready, I needed was a name.

I chose the name Sophia because I like the sound on my lips. Derived from sophos, which is Greek for wisdom, it is also considered the incarnate wisdom of God in Judeo-Christian cosmology. Sophos is even worshiped as the female aspect of the divine. It’s fitting, because that is the aspect of the divine that is closest to me., for when I open myself to the Divine, I feel a spirit that is embracing, compassionate, supportive and distinctly feminine. Jean, the middle name my mother gave me and derived from her own, means “Gift of God.” And it fits so perfectly with Sophie.

Two months ago, 3 years after I committed to start the journey to becoming real, I made it my legal name--Sophia Jean. In a couple of weeks, I will embark on the next step of my transition to “be real” at work, and I am filled with such trepidation. Yet in my mind, in my spirit, it is a path I must take.

All across this country, conservative fundamentalists are fighting hard against human rights, trying to overthrow the important work already accomplished. They say it’s for “religious freedom”, and they’re using the bathroom as a battlefield… Fundamentalists point to cases in Florida and Maine, and prey on peoples fears when they say that gender identity is just an excuse used to stalk young girls. These are half-truths revealed when you know the whole story. The truth is that in both Florida and Maine, neither stalker had any support for having a persistent “gender identity” of female, and one of the victims is herself a young transgender student with the courage to “be real,” who was then forced to start using a segregated facility.

On one of our chalice nights, we envisioned what we want this church to be, and I envision this place as a loving, welcoming congregation, fighting injustice. Thank you for being with me as I become Real.

May the Divine warm your hearts with Her Blessings.

Packed House

Bunny, I and others played to a packed house Easter Sunday. *Bunny is the cute stuffed rabbit I bought at Walmart as a potential stunt double.* While we entered as a parade of characters, I was dancing with Bunny and followed the Nursery Fairy to the podium where I placed the plush doll in her hands and went to my seat next to the microphone where I provided the voice of the Velveteen Rabbit.

Everything went smoothly, a few mistakes were made but the recovery was great, lending to a more realistic presentation. One of the congregants told me later that she couldn't figure out where the rabbit's voice was coming from until she saw my bunny ears behind the piano.

When the magical transformation time came, I emerged from my hiding spot, exchanging places with the brown and white doll. At this point in the story, the rabbit has become really real and goes off to live with genetic rabbits who had made fun of her before. So I sat gracefully on the step just below where the two "male" rabbits were seated.

At this point, the girl visits the garden, where the rabbits peek from the bracken to look at her. Instinct told me to stay in a low rabbit crouch as the narrator described the curiosity. Shortly afterward, I stood and helped address the congregation with the final words of the play.

It was a magical moment.

The minister in her fairy wings introduced me as a "special guest who is going to give a real life example of "Becoming Real."

As I stepped up to the podium, I totally forgot to remove my rabbit ears as I launched into my carefully crafted speech, editting sections as I spoke. Apparently, when I said "I was born a boy," a young boy suddenly looked up and said "what?" in front of his mother so quietly that only she took notice.

Completing the service, I followed the minister to the back of the sanctuary by the exit, where a long stream of people offered me congratulations, hand shakes and hugs. One little boy said, barely audibly, "Sophie's so brave." Someone said, "Thank you for sharing your reality." "Courage" and "sharing" were the terms I heard most. Another said she was moved, and afterwards people were still seeking me out to offer praise. Not everyone put forward their hand or offered a hug, but a great many did.

Outside in the main hall, after I had gathered my things and my purse hung from from my shoulder like a chandelier, one man who had a powerful ambience and was alone gave me quiet congratulations. Debbie or Jasmine told me that they were glad that I got a chance to talk to Joe.

Another woman caught me mid-step and said, "You're out of the closet now." When I replied, "Now I can go back to stealth," she said, "Not with this crowd."

It seems I may have accidentally bulldozed my metaphorical closet down.

Hugs and God Bless,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter (Bunny's Debut, and Mine, Too)

In the vision developed in this book, the Goddess is the power of intelligent embodied love that is the ground of all being.
- Carol P. Christ, Rebirth of the Goddess

My makeup is done, my hair fixed just so and in less than an hour, I'll be heading to the church for pancake breakfast served by the high school youth, my bunny ears in a bag and my script in my hand. I am wearing my chocolate brown spaghetti strap summer dress, with a taupe and white inverse leaf print button up short sleeve blouse over it, that is, the background is taupe and the leaf pattern in white.

After breakfast, while the middle school kids are searching for Easter eggs, I'll head to the library where I'll don my fluffy white bunny ears with pink lining, grab Bunny, and dance in the parade of characters doing a skip-hop-dance into the sanctuary. I'll hand Bunny to the minister (the nursery fairy) and hide behind the piano, where I'll provide the voice of the Velveteen Rabbit. I hope Bunny's not too nervous, since this is her first time on stage, and she has a lot of tough acting to do, being dragged by the ear, lovingly crushed where she can barely breathe, and being tossed across the stage. I'm sure she'll do fine. She was such a trooper during rehearsal yesterday. Then I will trade places with her for the magical moment of transformation, finish the play and give my own testimonial for being real. I hope Bunny doesn't feel like I'm stealing her spotlight.

Last night was a great night with TransKentucky. I can't tell you what gets discussed there, because we value the privacy of our members. Most girls are just finding their way out of the closet, with the door cracked open, but they are already looking so lovely. There are a couple veterans there, including myself--I can't believe that I am farther along than everyone I met! It speaks to the success of the group that most of the other veterans left the group because they were comfortable with themselves and no longer needed the support.

Dinner afterwards was very enjoyable. Of course, by then, it had been over 12 hours and my makeup was starting to wear off in patches. It was even worse after the hour drive back home. I suspect it's the increased dose of hormones, but whatever the reason, my voice was gentle all night long, and as a result in the lilting zone. I actually had to force it down on one occasion, when I was talking about no longer suppressing mannerisms. But I talked too much. The weather had turned chilly, and I couldn't seem to say good night. I met a couple more members and they were really sweet. I wish it wasn't such a long drive, but they are a good group of people to know.

I can't believe the weekend's almost over, when I am going to have to dress in men's clothes and bear being called by my old name and sir by my coworkers from 8 to 4. I did it for 28 years. I can hang in there a couple more weeks.

Hugs and God Bless,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

T Minus 2 Weeks Plus or Minus a Few Days to Full Time Announcement

So it is important to remember that the transformation process always begins and is accompanied by a level of discomfort, unease, or despair, and in this case is not pathologically based, but rather is a prelude to a profound change and impending rebirth of some aspect of the self.
- Karen Berggren, Circle of Shaman

My contract is up in about 2 1/2 weeks. Continued employment seems fairly assured, as my coworkers try to encourage me, I have 2 projects in the queue for me to work on, and I am on the on-call support schedule in both May and November. I haven't released my name change outside of my contract because I don't know whether I'll be given the opportunity to convert to a direct employee, yet. It changes which company is responsible for the announcements. The employer already has a process in place for transitioning employees, while the contract company, while being supportive and ready to work with me, has not done this before.

Whichever company I wind up making my announcement through, I am thinking of hosting a chance for my coworkers to meet me outside of work, the weekend before and the afternoon of my actual transition on the job.

More immediately, today I have practice for my part in "Becoming Real," an inter-generational service where I play the Velveteen Rabbit and at the end of the service I present my own testimonial of becoming real. If you're interested in attending, the service will be at First Unitarian of Louisville from 10:55 AM to 12-ish tomorrow. I expect that I'll be expected to hang around during the coffee hour as people will undoubtedly want to tell me how "courageous" I am. I want to tell them that it is more a process of giving up a fight I was losing than being courageous.

Tonight, I am driving to Lexington for the TransKentucky support group meeting. I am having difficulty remembering people's names already, though I do remember Cassie. Don't worry, I still remember your faces and look forward to seeing them again. I hoped to bring a copy of my book, but I loaned out the one copy I had the night before last to Marge at swing dance at Jim Porter's. When I teased her that she had to give a recommendation for reading it for free, she mistook my meaning and started thinking who she knew that might be interested instead of an online posting that I was imagining. I have ordered another copy and released the current version to be distribution. It should show up on Amazon in 6 to 8 weeks. It should be a helpful resource to anyone who is struggling with their identity and others who are curious about the human face of transsexualism. But be warned, I can't afford to give it away to everyone who might benefit from a reading. I may order about 5 loaner copies, though.

Laser treatment #4 is coming this Tuesday, the one day every 4 weeks that I have to show up as a scruffy woman, and then have to wait 24 hours before wearing make up to prevent contamination. Soon, it will all be worth it.

And, finally, next Saturday is my last counseling appointment before making my announcement. I certainly hope she has some resources or advice to make it easier.

Meanwhile, I'll be putting together a presentation on "Finding Your Spiritual Name," for the Sunday Morning Adult Round Table (SMART) discussion on Sunday, April 11. I have some ideas for the format that I'm toying with. It will be helpful if I have a copy of my book by then :)).

Hugs and God Bless,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Safe Zones

I am going to talk about something you'd rather not know but need to hear.

If you have not reached that state yet, and are becoming a woman, at some point your body shape will be more feminine, your hair done well, your makeup pretty flawless and your clothing flattering. Let's face it, you might even be relatively attractive; when means you are going to attract.

Some of the first guys who will take notice are not going to have your feelings in mind as they behave tenderly toward you, fueling your need to be recognized as a woman. They will be more concerned about using you physically as a woman, than appealing to your emotional needs.

They will at first be helpful and seem kind, giving you what you want. They'll physically attach themselves to you, and attempt to lure you into a secluded spot where they will attempt to seduce you through kissing and feeling up. When you try to resist, hinting that the equipment is not what is expected, they'll surprise you with understanding. Don't mistake this for caring, because if you do, half your mind and body that enjoys his touch will fight the rational part that tells you this is too soon, and he only wants to get his rocks off.

What you consider attractive, he considers vulnerable. Yes, girls, he's a predator. He'll attempt to separate you from the herd, from your purse, from all forms of contact, so he can take you someplace (even if it's in your own home) and insistently press his desires on you. You say "No" a hundred times, tell him you don't want to, and are forced to his bidding, and he'll try to play emotional games and try to convince you that you did all this willingly, just to get you to go farther. He'll insist he's your man, and you'll be trying to figure out how to get away or get rid of him, and he'll make veiled references to what will happen if you refuse.

You might come up with an act and a lie that he believes, like your man is waiting for you at home, monitors your phone calls, you forgot your purse and your phone number, because he is looking for a way to control you afterwards. He might even "promise" to meet his objective the next time he sees you.

As you are walking away, you dig out the cell phone that you told him you didn't have, open the flip and dial 911, ready to hit send if he approaches you again. You're lucky this time, as he stops on his approach when you tell him to stay where he's at, and you go home with the smell of bile on your breath by how much he turned your stomach.

This is not the kind of man that you want to build a relationship with. Too many relationships that are built on sex first are power relations of abuse. You never want to establish this precedent. You want someone who cares about you, not how sexy you are, and pressing for sex on a first meeting pretty much rules them out. When you tell them you don't feel safe and comfortable, they promise to take you someplace else.They really don't understand. Trust me, this even happens to 70 year-old women. But the right guys will understand. They're just typically shyer and take their time, and don't press you for sex when you first meet or when you are not comfortable.

So the question is how to stay around the nice guys and not get cut from the herd. The main trick is to establish safe zones. Safe zones are any place out in the open that you are familiar with and away from dark corners, staying preferably where people you know can see you. Never, ever, follow a stranger out of a safe zone.

For instance, if you are in a dance club, the safe zone is usually the dance floor and table area. If he's grabbed your hand for a dance, and suddenly wants to leave the safe zone to go look for the D.J., don't let him take you with him. Stop, drop his hand if you can, and dig your feet in if you can't. Calmly tell him you'd prefer to wait wear you are until he gets back. The gentleman will respect your request, while the predator might. If he doesn't, make a scene and keep making a scene until you are free of him. You'll be glad you did.

Hugs and God Bless,