Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Edward M. Kennedy

I'm more than a little bit sad today. America just lost a lion in the US Senate. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, like his brothers, John and Robert, was a champion for equality, justice, and those among us, who are less fortunate. His life was fraught with personal hardships, from the loss of his oldest brother in WWII, to the murders of his remaining brothers, John and Robert, his tragic night on Chappaquiddick Island as a young man, his private plane crash and subsequent back injury, his divorce, and the death of his nephew John Jr.. Through it all, he persevered, and became hands down, the most effective voice of the people, in the US Senate. His death is being mourned by liberals and conservatives alike. RIP Ted.

GoodBand, Cool Song

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Donating Old Clothes

I just got back from the Food Lion, where they have a big white dumpster in the parking lot, for donating old shoes and clothing. I have no idea where this clothing goes, because there is no organizational name on the dumpster, but I know it gets a lot of donations, because sometimes when I drive by, you can see the opening is overflowing with clothes, and clothes and shoes are piled up in from of it as well.

A few years ago I lost a lot of weight, and never bothered to get rid of the clothes that are now way too big for me. My place is way to cluttered as it is, and this stuff is taking up a lot of space, so I decided it was time to start getting rid of it. Just after noon today, I started sorting through piles of folded clothes in the laundry room, separating out old stuff from the newer stuff that I wanted to keep, and carrying loads out to the car. Before I knew it, I had filled the entire back seat of the car with old clothes. By then I was getting hungry, so I fixed a chicken salad sandwich, and had an apple. When I was done with lunch, I put on the sleeveless shirt you see me wearing in the picture above, a pair of white shorts, and my new red snake skin flats, and drove to the Food Lion, which is about twenty miles away. I was hoping to get out much earlier to avoid the late afternoon rush of commuters on the highway, and those stopping at the Food Lion on their way home from work, but I've become a creature of the night in my retirement, and since I didn't get to bed until 3:00 AM, I didn't get up this morning until after 9:00 AM. By the time I had washed my face, brushed my teeth, and eaten breakfast, it was already 10:30 AM. So my whole day was thrown back a few hours. By the time lunch was over, and I had changed clothes and done my makeup, it was nearly 3:30 PM.

The Food Lion is about 25 miles down I-64, so it took me about a half an hour to get there, and sure enough I was right in the thick of the afternoon traffic, although to be honest, our society has become so mobile, that highway traffic really only starts slacking off after about 7:30-8:00 PM, and picks back by 5:00 AM. Then it stays fairly heavy all day long. Gone are the days when you could drive for miles and see only a few other vehicles. Now, it's like driving in a never ending convoy.

Well anyway, I got to the Food Lion some time after 4:00 PM, and there were plenty of people driving in and out of the parking lot. The Dumpster was at the rear of the lot, so I just pulled up, and parked right in front of it. Nobody seem to notice anything strange about the 6'2" woman unloading clothes from her car, and stuffing them in the opening on the front of the dumpster. Several cars drove by, and no one registered any alarm. About fifty feet away, a truck driver had his lorry backed up to a loading dock facing me. He noticed me, but didn't seem to pay me any undue attention. Before I knew it, the car was unloaded, and I was back in it, and driving home. I was actually a little disappointed, that I didn't have any close encounters. I'm sort of looking forward to having one, so I can gauge the reaction of people who see me close up. I know I will be read as a male under closer scrutiny, but I remember from when I used to go out in my late twenties and early thirties, that being read as a male, does not necessarily mean a negative reaction. I remember being read as a male back then, and still receiving big warm smiles and positive reactions. One case in point, was when I went to a salon to have my hair and nails done. The woman who did my hair knew I was a boy, because I told her up front when I made my appointment, yet she absolutely adored me. But while sitting under the dryer, and having my nails done, a woman customer facing me on the other side of the room, apparently read me as a male, and by the scowl on her face, I could tell she was obviously disgusted with what she saw. Her reaction reminded me of my mother's stupid knee jerk reactions, to any male she thought was overtly effeminate, so it was easy to dismiss her as the mean spirited ignoramus, that she was.

After my hair and nails were done, I went into a lingerie shop, a few doors down from the salon. Instantly, I spied some gorgeous lace trimmed panties hanging on a rack, and walked over to give them a closer look, when a young woman who was just as nice as could be, came over and asked me if I need any help. I showed her the pair of pastel pink panties with white lace trim, in a size 7 that I had just taken from the rack, and said, "Yes, I would like to get these." She studdied my hips for a second, then pulled an identical pair in a size 8 from the rack, and and very sweetly said, "I think you really should go with these instead.........just for comfort." She had just told me that I was to big for the panties I had selected, but she did it in such a sweet and non-judgemental way, that I could have hugged her right on the spot. I accompanied her to the register to pay for them, and she bagged the panties for me, and and cheerfully thanked me, and asked me to come back soon. While this transaction was going on, the woman who did my hair suddenly came into the shop. Apparently she knew the girl there, and stopped in to tell her something. She noticed me, said hello again, and flashed me a beautiful smile. I left and walked back to my car, which was parked in front of the salon. As I was starting the motor up, my hairdresser returned, and seeing me, she gave a little knock on the hood, waved, and smiled at me again.

Now the point is, unlike the sourpuss customer in the salon, who as long as she knew I was male, wouldn't have been pleased with me, even if I could pass 100%, both of these women knew good and well that I was a genetic male, but it didn't phase them in the least. They appreciated my effort to appear as female as possible, and they both completely accepted me as a girl. It makes me wonder, why is it so hard for some others to do that?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Like My New Red Snake Skin Flats?

I got them for a steal! Only $19.90, and best yet, they are leather lined! I took a chance, and bought them on line from Avenue. I've been looking for a pretty pair of flats, but I always have a hard time buying shoes without ankle straps, that fit. I have toes a bit long for the size of my foot, and if I get a shoe that fits my foot, my toes get squeezed, but if I go one size larger, it usually flops off my heel. What I need is a half size, but when you get over a US size 10, it's hard, if not impossible to find half sizes, without paying hundreds of dollars per pair. I lucked out with these. I've been wearing them all day, and haven't had any problem with them. Now that I know they fit, I think I'll get another pair in purple!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Night, Time To Unwind

Is 3/4 of a litre of Shiraz too much for one transgirl on a Saturday night? I don't know. I certainly hope not. I do know that my trans/tensions are way down right now, and I feel incredibly good about myself tonight! When I retired over a year ago, I never would have pictured myself, living virtually 24/7 as my true self. I still don't know how it happened; I just did it. I guess that being finally free, I was just fed up with the whole sorry pretense.

I was out in the yard this afternoon, adjusting my TV antenna (infernal new worthess digital signals!). The guy nextdoor was on his deck, and surely he saw me sashaying across the yard in my pastel shorts, woman's sandals and dainty feminine top. It will be interesting to see what he has to say, the next time I run into him. :-) I know I still have to venture out a lot more, but its happening, slowly but surely. At first you have to take baby steps. Later, you can walk confidently as a woman. But do you know what? I owe some of the credit to all of you girls!

Oh yes! I never would have been able to move forward, without the encouragement of many of you! God love each and every one of you!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Just In From My 1st TG Suport Group Meeting

Change is good, so it's said, so after nearly 61 years of procrastinating, I finally joined a transgender support group. I just got back from my first meeting about an hour ago. This is definitely going to take some getting used to. Not that I have anything against any of the other girls in the group, they are all very nice people, it's just that I've been such a loner most of my life, and especially for the last twenty years. The extent of my socializing was going to work and occsionally seeing extended family members. Now I've put myself in a position, where I not only have to socialize with total strangers, but I have to do it as my female self, and or the first time in my life, I feel awkward as Melissa.

I used to go out presenting as a female occasionally, when I was in my late twenties and early thirtes, but it was under entirely different circumstances. I used to book appointments at salons, and go spend a couple of hours, getting a facial and havng my hair, makeup, and nails done. That was a much more intimate setting, where I was always interacting directly with a genetic female. I loved those little outings, because I've always wanted to be more than just a girl; I wanted to be one of the girls. When I was in those salons, the girls working there saw me as a girl, and consequently they treated like one. I would walk in full of self doubts, but by the time I had spent fifteen minutes being treated like one of the girls, all of those doubts would vanish from my mind, and I would begin to feel like I truly was one of the girls.

I don't know how many of you have ever eperienced presenting yourself as a female around genetic females, when there are no males present, but I can tell you, it is the most wonderful thing in the world. Women act differently when men are not around. They are much less guarded in what they do and the things they say. They also display a wondeful female hierarchy, that is rarely ever noticable when men are around. In that setting, totally devoid of masculine influence, they are truly magnificent beings, and I always wanted to be a part of that.

I don't get that same sort of vibe from my trans group. This is a totally different animal. Although the goal of everyone seems to be the same; to be the females we've always felt we were inside, the feeling is entirely different. The members run the gamut from very feminine, to totally masculine, and that is regardless of whether or not they are on hormones or have had SRS. What struck me as most surprising, was the near total absense of any convincing female voices. I learned to affect convincing feminine voice, while still in my teens. I always used it when booking my salon appointments over the phone, and again while I was in the salons. I think that went a along way in helping the women in the salons feel comfortabel with me, and accept me as a girl. My female voice has become quite rusty from years of neglect, and I was looking forward to giving it some much needed exercise, when I decided to associated myself with this trans group. I have tried to use it on a couple of occasions now, but as soon as I hear the pesron I'm talking to repond in a fairly masculine tone, I drop my pitch as well. Why was it so easy for me to talk like a girl, when I was surrounded by genetic females, but doing so around these transwomen, seems so intimidating? I can see I have much confidence building to do.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

That Was So Funny!

So it's about eight o'clock PM, and I'm fixing a late supper, when I hear someone pull into my driveway and honk the horn. Now normally by this time of the evening I'm pretty settled in, and can usually count on being left alone. Who can it be? (shades of Men At Work

I'm thinking maybe it's the post lady. She's the only one who usually honks when she comes into my driveway, but it's way to late for her to come by. Normally I would just play opossum, but all the lights were on, and there was jazz playing on the radio. What the hell, I thought, I'll just answer the door, and sure enough in about five seconds I hear a knock. So I go to the door and open it. Standing on the deck is a young guy in his twenties, and and I say, "Yes?" He immediately launches into a sales pitch. It seems he's selling frozen fish & chicken fillets, and steaks. He doesn't seem to notice that anything is strange, even though I am standing there wearing the the white puff sleeve top and gold hoop earrings that I have on in the picture above, a pair of pink shorts, and a pair black patent leather thong sandals, with my toenails painted dark red. As he finishes his sales pitch, I say no thanks, and he asks if I'm sure, saying he has some good deals. I reiterate that I'm not interested, but since I'm not used to talking in my female voice, I let my pitch drop, and he sort of gives me a funny look. Then he asks, "Are you sure?", and once again I said, "No thanks, I'm really not interested." He says, "OK , thanks!", and he starts to turn and walk away, but turns his head back to give me one more look before descending the steps and heading to his truck.

LOL! Oh God, it was precious! I walked back inside, with a grin stretching from ear to ear! I think my trip out last week, gave me a lot more confidence in myself as Melissa, than I realized.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What's so great about private health insurance?

Normally I don't like to discuss politics or religion here, but there was some discussion the other day about US health care reform, on a blog that's settings won't allow me to post a reply. Since affordable, comprehensive, quality health care is important to everyone, and especially to people going through transition, I thought it might be appropriate to post a link to an article that explodes some of the popular myths about the greatness of American private health insurance. I know this won't change the minds of those who are firmly wedded to the notion, that being an American means an undying devotion to capitalism in all endeavors, and an utter abhorrence of any government social programs at all, but for those whose minds are still open, you might find this article interesting.,0,6650122.column

First Time Out in 25 Years

I didn't sleep well at all last Friday night. All I could think about was my planned trip into Richmond as my real self, to meet some transwomen for dinner. Meeting them first, was a prerequisite for attending a meeting of their TG support group, and I was determined to do it fully dressed. The last time I was out on the street dressed in Richmond, was twenty-five years ago, when ironically, I went for a makeover to a Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio, practically right next door to where I was supposed to meet these women. Since I retired a year and half ago, I have been living here at home pretty much full time as Melissa, both inside an out, even cutting my grass in my girl clothes, but other than trips up to the mail box a quarter of a mile away, I haven't ventured off my 4.5 acres, so quite naturally I was a bit anxious over this upcoming event. So anxious in fact, that the Benadryl I took to help me fall asleep that night, had absolutely no effect. My mind was racing and I just couldn't get relaxed.

I think I finally got to sleep at about 4:00AM on Saturday morning. At 7:30 AM I had to get up to go to the bathroom, then I went back to bed and tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't. The morning light was filtering through the blinds and my mind started racing with thoughts of the up coming evening again, so I decided to get up. I slipped into a pair of thong sandals, and went out to the kitchen in my yellow, lace trimmed, shorty nylon pajamas. I made some coffee and a bowl of oat bran, into which I sliced a half a banana, and then I scooped out about a cup of plain yogurt, and mixed a couple of teaspoons of blueberry preserves into it. That and the other half of the banana later for a mid morning snack, would hold me until lunch. I wanted to stay busy so I wouldn't be constantly thinking about going out, so I did a few loads of laundry. After lunch I got on my mountain bike, which I have mounted in a magnetic resistance stand, and pedaled hard for about an hour an ten minutes, while watching a couple of episodes of the BBC documentary, World At War, narrated by Lawrence Olivier. I always feel so much better for the rest of the day, after a good work out.

Finally it was time to shower and get ready. I had let my beard grow for a day and half, hoping it would help me get a closer shave. I usually shave a couple of times a day with a Norelco, but since I was going out, I wanted the closest shave I could get. The only way I can get my beard soft enough to allow a super close shave, is to let it grow out for at least a day and half, then steam it with a damp towel, heated in the microwave, followed by a thorough face washing with scalding hot water. I got some new shaving gel, specially formulated for guys that shave their heads. The stuff is great! It lubricates your skin far better than any foam you'll ever find in an aerosol can. The best part about it, is it's clear, so it lets you see where you need to put your razor, and unlike foam, when it starts to dry out, all you have to do is wet your hand and rub your face again and it instantly rehydrates to keep your beard from drying out. But as good as this stuff is, I still managed to get four nicks. One at each corner of my mouth, one under my lower lip, and one on the bottom of my chin. The three around the mouth were mere scrapes, but the one on my chin was a bleeder. After wiping my face down with an astringent, and much dabbing with a cotton ball, I finally stopped the hemorrhaging. Shaving is such bitch! I hate it! I'm really going to have to look into laser. I know most of my beard is white and the laser won't phase it, but I still have a significant amount of dark hair, especially in my moustache and goatee area, and that's what creates the shadow.

I did my make up as naturally and tastefully as I could, going easy on the eyeliner and blush, and doing my lips only with a very natural colored Clinique lip pencil. A thin little line of smoky dark shadow just in the crease over my eyeballs and some Clinique Lash Power mascara in black slate, and I was done, and following the lead of sweet Caroline in her outing a couple of weeks ago, I too drenched myself in Channel (No. 5, I love the stuff!). Fortunately, it's very subtle, and after about a half an hour, you have to get up pretty close to smell it, so you don't have to worry about leaving a wake of fragrance behind you, wherever you go.

Since Alyssa told me that dress was extremely casual, I just wore a pair of fade jeans, a fuchsia linen blouse, and a pair of Trotters woven calfskin loafers. By then it had been about five hours, since lunch and I was beginning to feel a little bit shaky. I had to give my blood sugar a little boost, because it would be at least a couple of more hours before I would finally get to eat, so I spread some peanut butter on half of a piece of whole wheat bread and some strawberry preserves on the other half and wolfed in down, just before leaving the house.

I don't know what I was so worried about. I looked good in my ash brown wig and make up, and felt full of confidence while driving down the road, even when passing through the little village a couple of miles to my east, where there are a couple of gas station/convenience stores and people are always coming in and out and milling about. A couple of miles past that and I was on the Interstate. I set the cruise control for 70, and just turned the radio on and listened to Garrison Keeler's Prairie Home Companion. About 45 minutes later I was pulling off at the exit, which deposited me about five or six blocks from where I needed to go in a part of Richmond called Carytown. It’s a very popular section of town, where the streets are lined with small shops and places to eat and drink, and there were lots of people out on the street. I drove five or six blocks to where I was going, and pulled into the parking lot next door. Fortunately there were plenty of open parking places and I got one fairly close to the entrance/exit. I turned off the motor and checked my nose in the rear view mirror and decided it need a little powder, I pulled my compact and a small portable powder brush out of my bag and dabbed my nose little before getting out of the car and walking the half a block to Babe's.

Babe's is a popular lesbian bar/restaurant/hangout. By day it's a place to eat and after dark it's a place to hangout, dance to DJ music, and occasionally watch live drag shows. I had been by the place hundreds of times when I lived back in town in the eighties and early nineties, but even though I always wanted to, I never went inside, because I didn't think I would fit in as a male, but this time I wouldn't be going in as a male. I walked in and was lightly taken back by the look of the place. I don't know why, but in my mind I pictured a brighter, livelier scene that what was staring me in the face. I walked back to the booths where Alyssa had told me they hung out and I instantly recognized her from her picture in Pink Essence. She and several other girls were sitting in a booth with a lone dim light on the wall above. Another table had been place up against the table in the booth, and several chairs had been placed around it to accommodate more people. I introduced myself and made an awkward comment about how dark it was in there, and someone said something like, well.... its a bar. They were already eating, so I sat down and asked if they had anything to eat that was good. One of the girls answered that it's just bar food, so I looked at the menu and it was indeed the standard fare of burgers and other various sandwiches, accompanied by a pile of potato chips and a slice of pickle. I normally try to eat pretty healthy, but since that wasn't an option, I went for the Swiss cheeseburger, which turned out to be juicy and pretty good. Bar hamburgers usually are, but I'm sure I got my daily quota of fat and sodium in that one sandwich!

I'm a shy person, and I'm much better when dealing with people one on one. I'm not very good with meeting groups of people for the first time, so the evening felt a little awkward for me. The atmosphere was kind of subdued, and there were multiple conversions going on at once. I found myself trying to divide my attention between them, and do something I that am notoriously very poor at, making small talk. I was also sitting in the aisle, facing across the spare table into the booth, so the people in the booth were really too far away to talk to without having to raise my voice. Alyssa, who I had hoped to be able to talk to, was sitting all the way back in the booth against the wall, so she was really too far away to carry on a conversation with. A lesbian couple joined us a little later, and one of them sat next to me. She was easy to talk to. She was rather animated and talked freely. I found out she was originally from Germany, and when I told her I was born there, she asked where. When I said Regensburg, her face it up. It seems that was just a short hop from where she was from. So I had good time talking to her about Germany, and telling her a little bit about the three times I lived there while growing up.

All of the transwomen there appeared to be either post-op, or well into their journey, and that made me feel a little intimidated, especially when one of them asked me if I was starting my transition, and I had to tell her no, that this was my first time out in 25 years and I hadn't done anything yet. When the German woman heard that, she said, "WHAT? 25 years? Girl, you need to get out more!" lol I said, "Yeah, I know you're right."

Well anyhow, after a couple of hours, some of the girls decided they wanted to go sit on the patio out back, where they have a volley ball court. They asked me if I wanted to come, but because of my lack of sleep the night before, and the stress of the entire day, I was feeling fairly exhausted, and I still had an hour long drive to get home, so I begged their leave. Alyssa reminded me of their support group meeting on Friday at the local free clinic, and asked if I needed directions. I told her I knew the street it was on, and I was familiar with the area, so I should find it with no trouble. She and one of the other girls gave me a hug, and I walked out the door onto the street.

It was dark when I emerged and the streets were all lit up with the amber glow of the sodium vapor streetlights. There were still lots of people walking around and with purse slung over my shoulder; I walked passed a man and woman. They seemed to pay me no mind. Further on at the entrance to the parking lot, I passed several people sitting at a table of an outside cafe, and once again they seemed to pay me no mind. Of course I didn't dare wheel around to see if they were gawking at me after I passed, but I sensed that they weren't. I'm over six feet tall, but I do look like a girl when I'm dressed and in make up, especially from a distance, so maybe they suspected nothing. Then again, maybe people are getting so used to seeing us, that we just don't faze them anymore. I hope so. This whole experience left me somewhat exhausted, but it was very liberating, and it's given me the confidence to go out again. Thanks to all of you sweethearts, who left encouraging replies to my last blog. You all helped give me the confidence to take this first big step!