Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days

Just for a little fun, I bring you:

Sophie Lynne’s

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Big Sis gave to me...

Twelve Smiling Admirers

Eleven ENDA Wins

Ten Painted Nails

Nine T-girls Dancing

(picture courtesy Angela's Laptop Lounge)

Eight Perfect Gowns

Seven Gurls Lip-synching

Six Conference Nametags


Four Drinks of Wine

(picture courtesy Angela's Laptop Lounge)


Two D-cup forms

And No Runs in my panty-hose

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different

This is copied from my friend Christen Bustani’s blog with her kind permission. You can read the whole post at http://christenbustani.blogspot.com/p/what-is-it-like-to-be-transgendered.html

Her blog is well worth a read!

“What can it possibly feel like to be transgender?

It's difficult to imagine what it must feel like to be transgender if you are not. And if you are not transgender then your mind and your body match. One way to try to understand what it's like to be transgendered would be as this example...

Let us for instance imagine that you are a genetically born woman who is attractive and feminine. Now imagine that you wake up one day and find that you are suddenly a man. You can no longer wear your earrings or jewelry, your hair will be cut and you can wear no makeup or any of the colorful and expressive feminine clothes you wore. You find that you now have muscles and are covered with hair on your body. You will be treated as a man by your fellow women and must now try to act as a man in order to integrate with them.

You are now required to do this for the rest of your life.

Every time you get dressed, every time you gaze into the mirror, every time you come in contact with another person; who you know yourself to be and who you appear to be are in complete contrast. Stress will build as you are forced to be who you are not. Welcome to being transgender.”

Christen hit the nail on the head. Dead on. She develops the reasons for transgenderism in her blog- the science and all that. You can read that there.

I want to talk about the flip side of this- and a topic I don’t discuss much.


Tis the season and all that, I guess.

Going back to Christen’s example- imagine you are that man, and you then dress like the woman you SHOULD be. That first look in the mirror when you’re ready: Joy.

Doesn’t matter how you look. You see in the mirror who you should be.

I see Sophie.

I see long hair. Earrings, makeup, usually a dress or skirt, hose and heels. I see a smile on painted lips. And the one word that can describe it can only be Joy.

Life for many of us is very rough. We have bills, jobs we don’t like (or no jobs at all), circumstances that make us depressed. Some of us ARE depressed- or worse. My outlet, my saving grace, is seeing a woman in the mirror, and knowing She is Me.

Someday I may continue down this path and be that woman inside and out. And that Joy will be much more often (along with all the stress, anger and heartache that is transition- I’m not blind, but I’m really trying to be positive in this post!)

The very idea that I could be, maybe, someday- that person who I’ve wanted to be most of my life: the Woman in the mirror those wonderful rare times I can dress- sometimes that’s all I have to keep me going.

And knowing people who have DONE it, have walked the path and come out the other side… that’s priceless.

So, picture that Joy- that total happiness I feel when I see myself in that mirror. Imagine that bliss and the smile that comes with it…

And that it what I wish for you this season.

Be well.  And enjoy your holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2011


A couple weeks ago here in the US was Thanksgiving Day. It’s the day set aside by President Lincoln for us to count our blessings and gather as families. These days it’s still about family (usually) but it’s also the day when people eat way too much (if they can) and prepare for Christmas bargain hunting. Some go to parades featuring big balloons.

Not those big balloons!  (Pic from Beauty at the Beach)

Many still count their blessings.

In an effort to avoid my wife’s family, who were visiting, I was going to type a quick blog listing what I am thankful for, etc. But who would want to read it? I mean really?

So for what do I have to be thankful? Let’s face it- my life isn’t ideal. But I have my health and all, and at least I’m employed.

But then there’s that whole “woman” thing. Am I thankful for that?

Is THIS something to be thankful for?

To be transgendered (I’m using the term broadly here) in the US means the possibility of being murdered, beaten, or sexually assaulted just because you exist. Never mind the whole “you’re a freak” thing we encounter. Prejudice. No one will hire you. Getting laughed at. Tears.

Why be thankful for that?

Some say that being TG is a choice. We do this because we are perverted. Or worse.

Well, if you’re reading this, I’m betting you already know it isn’t a choice. Setting ourselves for all that hatred voluntarily would not be sane.

Yet we do it. I do it.

Pics are from November 2011 Laptop Lounge

Being Sophie feels so natural. In the short times I can dress, I feel so much better about being me. I feel like all is right with the world- That I am who I am supposed to be.

So let’s look at what being Sophie has brought me for which I am thankful.

Since coming out, I have met a whole world of new people. Prior to then, I hadn’t met a single TG. Now I know many from all over the country, and thanks to MySpace and Facebook, all over the world. I’ve made some very good friends- friends I wouldn’t have met if not for this.

With Friends.  Pic courtesy Angela's Laptop Lounge

I’ve been able to test myself, especially my courage. As most of you know, it takes a LOT of courage to take that first step out the door, especially when just starting. Now I’ve learned to walk with my head held high as I stride forward. I’m also learning new skills, like makeup and dressing appropriately for an occasion. Ok, so “appropriate’ is still not exactly something I do.

I also test my resolve. How determined am I to BE Sophie? I had a vision as to what I wanted to look like, and went out to find the pieces to get me there. The weight thing is taking time. So, now I LOOK like Sophie. Do I have the resolve to BE Sophie- really be a woman? Time will tell. If asked 5 years ago “do you want to be a woman?” I would’ve laughed at you, and secretly answered “yes” to myself. Now? I think it’s a matter of time and circumstance. The family part is messy- as is the whole living arraignments thing, but that’s another story.

But the answer is still “yes.”

So, I AM thankful for my feminine side. Very thankful, because I am learning about who and what I truly am. I am growing in ways I never dreamed possible and I hope I can continue to do so.

Last but not least, I am thankful for the people who read this Blog. Currently there are 21 subscribers, and I am so happy to have all of you! Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts!

Thank you so much for reading!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An alumnae's thoughts on Horror

A lot has happened at my alma mater in the past couple weeks. In case you’ve been hiking in the distant Misty Mountains with 12 dwarves and haven’t heard, a former assistant football coach at Penn State was arrested for having sex with underage boys. In addition, the head coach, Joe Paterno, was fired after 60 years of service and the president of the university, Graham Spanier, resigned. This is because they may or may not have known what was going on and didn’t stop it.
I’m not here to debate the facts, rumors, or anything else of the case. Even though he is presumed innocent until found guilty, Sandusky has already caused so many people pain- his alleged victims, his former coworkers, and the over half million living Penn Staters. The media have already judged him, as have almost else.
No, this is my blog, so I’ll tell you how this makes me feel.

Actually do I need to tell you?

By the tone and words of people I have spoken with (and seen online) it seems that NON Penn Staters think ALL people from PSU: students, alumni, staff- knew about these deeds and were happy to let them continue. Umm that’s not how it is in reality, folks.

When I heard the news, I was at Beauty at the Beach. It was like someone kicked me hard in the stomach. I felt very sick. Lost. Helpless. I’ve spent the past two weeks defending my love for my alma mater to almost everyone. I AM a Penn Stater. I am STILL proud to be a Penn Stater. I even had one person in my face saying that unless I personally went to Happy Valley and KILLED Sandusky, Paterno and any and everyone who MAY have known, then I had no right to call myself a Nittany Lion. As I was at work, said person kept their teeth.
“An older woman who likes young boys is a cougar. An older man who likes young boys is a Nittany Lion.” Heard that one a zillion times.

I can’t speak for all Penn Staters, only for myself. I am crushed. It feels like a beloved uncle did this, and the family is disgraced. I see Penn State’s name dragged in the mud every day on the news and it hurts. (please spare me the “not as much as his victims” bit. We all get that idea, ok?)

My Penn State experience was one of the defining moments of my life. I went there because it’s spotless reputation in academics and that even our football program was clean. We could hold our heads high. At PSU, we were taught to work hard and that if we did, good things would happen. Do things the RIGHT way. (Yes, many schools have codes of conduct, I know, but I didn’t attend them.)

We all took it seriously, and held each other to that higher standard- during school and after graduation. When I was hiring people in past jobs, if a Penn Stater’s resume crossed my desk, I knew what I would get, and I hired many Nittany Lions.

Now what? The university is disgraced. All that I was taught there, was it a lie? A big fat lie wrapped in Blue and White?

And if Penn State is dirty, then can ANYONE be clean? Anywhere?

I hurt. Still. No end in sight as this will probably get so much worse before it gets better.

What will be left of my school when this is over? Some people call for it to be closed. We will definitely see enrollment drop, and with the over 50% cut in funding from the commonwealth; we may not be ABLE to stay open.

So many questions. No answers.

Sandusky does not represent me. Someday, perhaps, all will heal and there will again be laughter in Happy Valley. But I can never see it the same way ever again. The unstained pillar of my strength is gone.

Dante says that Sodomizers are doomed to the Inner part of Hell’s Seventh Circle. There they all reside in a desert of flaming sand with fiery flakes raining from the sky. Is that enough for the likes of a man who destroyed those boy’s lives and the lives of all who hold Penn State dear? Will he even see trial or will he take his own life first?

I don’t know.

The only thing I know is this:


And I always will be.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sophie at the beach

Last week I went to a conference called “Beauty and the Beach” down in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I won’t bore you with the day to day minutia. If you want that, please check my TG Forum column here: http://www.tgforum.com/wordpress/?p=12257

On the boardwalk, first day.

What matters the most to me was what I learned from this one and the friends I made. I could just spend a whole blog of shout-outs, but that’d be dull. They know who they are.

The experience was actually kind of strange. I arrived on Wednesday, and after unpacking a little, went for a pedicure at “Bad Hair Day” a few blocks away. Then I discovered that they did makeup as well, so they did that for me. I went back to the hotel, changed and walked the boardwalk for a while. I got a couple looks, but nothing major. Yet I did it- I walked around alone in broad daylight as a woman. It was wonderful!

I have a lot of family in lower Delaware (where Rehoboth is) as that area was where we all vacationed while I was growing up. Many of my cousins moved down there when they became old enough. Frankly, I never liked it- it was dull to someone without a car and who couldn’t attract a girl even if I taped $100 bills to myself (as was the case when I was a pre-teen and tween.)

One of the things we did back then was we’d come to the Rehoboth boardwalk once per visit. My brother and I would hit the arcades, etc. I remember watching the girls and thinking how lucky they were to be female- and this was when their journeys were just beginning! So it was extra special to retrace my steps that day, but now it was I wearing the heels and the skirt.

That night, I met some new people at dinner and we went out drinking. I seem to drink a bit at conferences. Character flaw. That night I went out dressed in a sweater, jeggings and boots. I really enjoyed going to a club in jeans and boots. I felt hot. My feet hated it though. After the bars closed, I went back to the boardwalk for another walk. It was very emotional for me to look down and see breasts and know I appeared female while walking the boards at night.

Night at the bar

So the next day, I did my own makeup. I wore jeans and a different sweater and walked about town a little. I must say that this was one of the best parts of the trip: walking around alone as a woman, shopping. I felt my hips sway as I walked, heard the clack of my ankle heels, and felt my breast forms bounce slightly in my bra. I was in heaven.

Evil Queen Sophie

That night was the costume contest. As I spent a lot of money and time with Lorraine getting my costume made, I really thought I had this one nailed. But I didn’t- came in second. The other costume deserved to win. And she made it herself. So back to the room, back on with the LBD and out for karaoke at the Blue Moon. The hostess saw me kneeling in front of the table with the song book and called me a “midget Amy Winehouse.” That was funny! I drank a lot, and sang “Love Stinks.” Walked home with a group of gurls and hung out in room 123, which was a large suite with a hot tub in it.

Friday, the wind blew! 30-40 mph sustained winds all but trapped us in the hotel. I did trivia, and basically hung around. That night was a “Hot legs” contest. Got my makeup done by Amanda Richards and wore my shortest skirt. I placed in the top three, of which I was very proud. So I changed into a longer skirt for a bit, then into a different outfit for partying at the bar. Drank a LOT.

Don’t Ask.

Saturday I felt like shit. Go figure. The hotel bar is cash only, so I went to the ATM to get some. Good thing I was in drab, as I bumped into a cousin. We talked for a bit. I was scared shitless. My cover story to everyone at home was “business trip around PA.” And what if she’d seen me as Sophie?

I was rattled- hard.

Went back to the room. It was a cloudy, windy day. I felt physically ill. I felt like everything about me was wrong. I mean, let’s look at it: I lie to my WIFE, to my work, to my friends, and to do what? Put on a dress and a bra and hang out at a bar? I packed up most my things. I lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling thinking I should just go home. I wanted to go home and avoid everything.

Then Jone called from downstairs. And I went to her room (the now infamous suite 123) and we talked. She and another girl said I should tell my wife- sooner the better. Hard to argue that except for that one lil issue of “What if she throws me out?”

I stayed around. Amanda Richards did my makeup again, and when she was finished I looked in a full length mirror. Staring back at me was a woman. Me. Not some crazy ass mess of a guy- but a woman named Sophie. It made everything better for a moment. I smiled.

That night, I did a comedy routine for the show and people seemed to love it. I received a lot of compliments. I love compliments! What girl doesn’t? ;) After the show, I had my first drink of the day. I would only have one other.

Doing the stand-up

Later that night, we all sat in Jone’s room again. The mood was subdued. I really wasn’t in a talking mood myself. My hose were off, as was my corset. I sat on the floor in my dress. It wasn’t a question of “wrong” at that point. Being in a dress was right. The rest of my life seemed wrong- or is it just the way I’m conducting the two parts?

I drove home the next day. I didn’t tell my wife. I still haven’t. I’m scared. I went to Rehoboth to conquer a fear (of being dressed near family) and failed. I’m more scared now than ever.

At least I met new friends and enjoyed the time I WAS properly dressed. It was a good conference. Shame I couldn’t take away the lessons and make them work- yet.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Snowy Halloween

Ok, there are two things that should never happen before Halloween: Snow and Christmas Decorations. This year, we in the Philly area have both. I’ll have to speak to the management about this!

I was co-hosting a Halloween party on Saturday, October 29. It was at a friend’s place, and I supplied the stereo, bar, and some d├ęcor. She provided the house, food and beer. Now, this conflicted with Angela’s Laptop lounge Halloween party for the same night, but I had a plan.

We expected 20-40 people to attend this party. I figured around 10 or 11 o clock, I could slip away, go to Laptop, hang out for a little, and come back. After all, with all those people, I wouldn’t be missed. As long as I was back for the midnight judging of the costume contest. This year’s prize: a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka (supplied by me.)

Ok, so I decided to wear the Mary Marvel costume I wore to the Henri David Halloween Ball a couple years ago.

Mary Marvel 2009

Set up an appointment with Amanda Richards, and…


Yes, snow. Predicted for anywhere between 1-8 inches. No freaking way!

The snow started early- heavy and wet. At two, I started up to Allentown for my appointment. On the turnpike I passed five trees down on the road. The leaves were still on them, and they caught the snow, and down they went! Many roads in this area are still (Monday) closed due to downed trees.

Mary Marvel 2011

After a while, I was ready, and Mary Marvel drove slowly down the turnpike toward the party. The original plan was to stop at the mall, get some appetizers from Fridays, maybe stop somewhere else for a drink, and arrive at the party at 7 ish. Well due to snow delays, etc, I didn’t get back into the area until 8:30, and arrived at the party at 8:45.

Two women live at the hostess’ house- the owner and a lodger. Neither is really big. Between them they had all but finished off a bottle of Jack Daniels. They were flying!

My "entrance"

Oh, did I point out that no one attending this party knows about Sophie? Nope to them I was (male name) attending in drag! So I arrive and they immediately starting laughing their asses off! And pictures! Poses! There was a third person there, but he doesn’t drink. He was in stitches laughing at me. All of them thought of the costume was great!

And they also thought I had some catching up to do. Three shots of Jack later, I had to fix my lipstick and the bottle was kicked. Fortunately, when I supply a bar, it’s properly stocked.

The Bar (the following morning)

Eventually we had a total of eight people. Ten o’clock came and went, and not only couldn’t I slip away, I drank too much to drive. I was only tipsy, but that’s too much, especially on a snowy, sleety night with trees falling. So I missed Laptop, as I guess many did. I wanted to be there to show support, etc, but it wasn’t to be.

Midnight! Slips of paper were given to each person to vote for best costume. I voted for a guy dressed as Rose from Titanic as she was being sketched (necklace, robe, but thankfully he wore pants). Besides, it’d be unseemly to vote for myself. The votes were counted…

And I won! Landslide! So (male name) in drag was a hit! If they only knew!

The Prize!

I opened the bottle, and we all did a shot of the vodka, and let me say that the bottle is FAR better than the vodka! Harsh!

Around 2 AM, I changed back to male mode, and crashed on the couch. The snow continued falling and the wind picked up. The party was a success for the few who came, and it was good to be me again for a night.

Tonight as I write this is Halloween- Sophie’s “third birthday.” I will not be me tonight. I will be at home, quietly waiting for trick or treaters with my daughter (we went trick or treating at the mall Saturday morning.) My gift to myself for Sophie day? Next week I will be attending “Beauty and the Beach.” Five days of womanhood! I can’t wait!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Saturday night for an Evil Queen

I’ve been writing a lot of heavy stuff of late, and that gets old REALLY quick. So today I’m just going to write about last Saturday. Last Saturday (Oct 15, 2011) was another edition of Angela’s Laptop Lounge. As avid readers know, I attend this monthly as it is usually my only time to be Sophie. So what makes this one so special that I’d actually write about it? First of all, they’re ALL special. Second, this one followed the Renaissance Halloween “party.” It’s a party only in the idea that there is a costume contest and fun food.

So, what am I doing for Halloween this year? I sat down with my friend and costume designer extraordinaire Lorraine Anderson (Of “Occasional Woman”). She makes all my costumes (all two of them so far) and we discussed ideas. It came down to two options:

Another superheroine- this one would be Electrawoman (on the right)

Or an Evil Queen, sorta like this one from the movie "Enchanted."

So I asked around, and even had a poll on my Facebook. In the end, Lorraine said she’d have more fun with the Evil Queen. So off we went to buy fabric. And then there was a fitting. I bought a tiara off Ebay. A wig from Amanda Richards of True Colors (who did my makeup.) New Earrings. So I was as ready as I was going to be, and I waited.

Lorraine was running a little behind, so she would deliver the gown to me after my session with Amanda. This meant I had to wear SOMETHING until then. I chose one of my fave LBDs. This one had the advantage of being a wrap around, so it didn’t have to go over my head. It wouldn’t mess up my up-do.

Saturday! I finished work and headed over to our usual room (several of us share a room at the Motel 6.) I was alone for this part of the day as the others would arrive later. I did the usual shaving duties and then headed up the turnpike to Amanda’s studio. There she took extra time to transform me into an Evil Queen!

Ok. So there I was looking pretty drag-queenish, in my black dress and bling. I had to recline my car seat to get my hair in and out. Then it was the hour drive back to the motel, and waiting for Lorraine. I pulled into a spot, and the guy next to me in a minivan was pulling out. He stopped and stared. I smiled at him, and headed for the door. Walking to my room, there were a bunch of teens, some kind of sports team, on my floor. They looked at me, wide eyed, and I just said “Happy Halloween.” They said nothing.

Lorraine was just a few minutes late due to traffic, but that was ok. She showed me the gown and helped me into it. She explained the features and how things snapped together and stuff, as next time I wore it she wouldn’t be there to assist me putting it on.
Soon enough, the gown was on, and I was Evil Queen Sophie!

We left the room together, and the hallway full of boisterous teens fell silent. Drove over to Ren, and discovered that the sparkles from my gown now covered my front seat. Oops!

It took some work to get out of the car, get sorted, then… Make an Entrance! Jaws dropped! I was the most sparkly and fabulous person there! Then again, there were only five people in costume, so that wasn’t hard. There was a tennis player, a cheerleader, a really good Columbia (RHPS) and a couple others. Their costumes were good, but thanks to Lorraine and Amanda’s hard work, I really think mine was better. Others agreed, and I was awarded this year’s Best Costume. The prize? Nothing. Bragging rights.

So from there, it was slowly clamber back into my car, drive over to the mall, and make my entrance at Blue Pacific and the Laptop Lounge! As it was still open, there were many non- TG there. One mom in particular gave me very disapproving looks. I found out that she was giving us all those looks. Maybe she didn’t like our outfits? Our shoes?
I made my way to the bar and eyes bugged. Let’s face it, the non trans were all in jeans, the TG girls were in dresses and nice outfits, then there is me in this sparkly tiara-ed Evil Queen outfit. Yeah, I kinda stood out a bit. I must admit I enjoyed the attention. Of course, having my cleavage showing really had a lot to do with it.

My big sister was there. Many friends were there. The Fridays bartenders were there. Yes, they are getting kind of regular there. The bartenders are these fantastic ladies, very open minded and lots of fun. I visit them in drab a lot, and they don’t recognize me. This is a good thing.

I hadn’t eaten all day, really. A granola bar and that’s it. And of course I started drinking. Smart, I know. I didn’t have many- maybe three. Ok, four. I think. Anyway, I had drinks, then lots of water.

Somewhere during the night, the mall security guards stopped by and told the bouncer and the bartenders that NO ONE is allowed out in the mall to take pictures. He stood there, in his bike helmet and two wheeled thingee, and banned us from taking pictures.

Which we proceeded to do anyway!

The mall isn’t exactly the best photo studio, but if you don’t want a lot of people in the picture and want to pose, it’s all we have.

1 AM came and I was really tired and kinda loopy. I somehow got back in the car and back to the room (I was fine to drive.) The hallway was empty- I guess the teens were asleep. It still smelled like a locker room in there though! I undressed, removed the wig, and took a quick power nap. When I awoke, I showered (discovering there was no soap in the room, so I used shampoo) packed up and went home- back to my drab life- at 4 AM.

The next day, I paid the price for my stupidity: an Evil Hangover and vacuuming my car before work.

When will I wear this outfit again? Oh, that’s easy- at “Beauty at the Beach” in Rehoboth in a couple weeks. It will have some changes though… ;)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I just started reading "I'm Looking through You" by Jennifer Finney Boylan. I was struck by a bit she wrote early in the book. "Others become stuck, become Exes, haunting their own lives like ghosts."

While this is very true (and Art Garfunkel is the great example she used) I think many of us are stuck by a FUTURE. We are locked into a life we feel we cannot change. Jobs we can't afford to leave. Children we don't want to lose. We trudge through our life playing our part like the 47 Ronin or a Greek tragedy- trapped by events that have not happened yet.

I wrote before about just picking up and leaving. Follow Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity across country and be who I need to be. However in today’s tough times, that is nearly an impossibility, as there’s that whole needing to feed myself thing. Yeah, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but total starvation wouldn’t work. I wouldn’t make a good looking corpse (my fast living, young dying days? I missed the “young” part of that.) Then there’s that whole daughter part of the equation.

I’m as trapped by her future as I am my own.

So where does that leave me? Stuck in the middle between past and future, me and where I need to be.

“Stop whining!” you say, and just get a move on. And usually you’d be absolutely right. However changing my life completely requires a plan, not just a hope that luck, love, or God will provide a way. To execute this plan requires resources- resources I will probably lose in executing this plan. So. I plan. And I hope and pray and wonder if I will throw off the chains of my future AND my past. “The Waiting,” as the man said, “is the hardest part.”

Someday I may meet myself in the middle. Until then, I have what little time I can find to be me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October is here (lots of pics!)

It’s October. The leaves are changing and falling and Halloween is coming! This Halloween marks three years since my “re-awakening” as Sophie: my birthday if you will.

It’s been a hard month so far. A good friend of mine died a week or so ago, and really caused me to re-evaluate my life. He was younger than me, and his own body killed him. I discuss this in detail at my TG Forum column here: http://www.tgforum.com/wordpress/?p=11930

So here I’m going to write about three years as Sophie. What they’ve meant to me, and where I may go from here. Why? Helps me clear my head and sort things out.

My first year back I was so scared. I was discovering what it meant to be TG and a woman. I started losing weight. I went to professionals to see what I’d look like as a woman.  I decided what my body would "look" like, and started assembling the needed pads, corset, etc.  As these bits are EXPENSIVE, it took time.

Femme Fever photoshoot, December 2008

Most importantly, I started meeting people who were friendly and accepting.  I made some dear friends who would help me over the rough spots, and with whom I would start attending conferences, notably the Keystone Conference.  There I met many people, including the amazing Lady Ellen.

First True Colors Photoshoot, 2009

In that year, I started cementing friendships and started learning a bit more about fashion.  I also starting to learn more about doing my own makeup.  I started going out more and gaining confidence.  The most important decision of that year was I changed therapists- from one who DIDN'T understand TG issues, to one of the top specialists in the country.  She helped me sort out the big mess in my head about all this.  Well, it's still ongoing, but you get the idea.

I also started shaving my chest, legs and underarms at least once a month.  Then, at Halloween, I had my eyebrows thinned completely.  And I got my ears pierced.

Yes, people noticed.  But it was for Halloween after all, and they grew back, but I made sure not as thick or wide as before.  And that has helped my look tremendously.  As had one more addition (or is that two?)...
Also, that Halloween, I went to a work party totally dressed.  I dubbed myself "Monique" and won the costume contest in a landslide.

Happy birthday Sophie!  I celebrated at the Henri David Ball in Philly in a costume made by the amazing Lorraine Anderson, who has become a close friend.  I dressed as a Superheroine, Mary Marvel.  Being in public like that was so scary, but so cathartic.

Mary Marvel, makeup by Amanda Richards of True Colors

The next year I spent figuring out who I am and what my feminine side meant to my life.  I also started writing some TG fiction

I arrived at some conclusions.  Sophie was here to stay, come hell or high water.  That conclusion scared the hell out of me.  I also decided that once a month wasn't enough- that I wanted more.  Perhaps even MUCH more.

That summer I went to the Empire Conference, and went shopping for the first time as a woman.  Once again, I was scared out of my mind.  At the conference, I met many new people and made new friends.  I was even recorded as I sang karoke.  Ick!

As my second year as a woman concluded, I started flirting with the previously unthinkable- transition.  Is that what had been troubling me all these years?  Depression?  Etc?  Could it have been my feminine side trying to escape?

That year, i attended Henri David again, in anothe Lorraine Anderson piece, a St. Pauli girl.

This time, the party ended on a sour note.  Anger was introduced to my feminine world.  I had to deal with negative emotions as Sophie for the first time.  I wrote about it too, and it's in this blog somewhere.  It was a bad experience, but in the end, it helped me become a more rounded woman.  As the year ended i was becoming much more confident in my makeup skills.

This past year I stopped thinking of myself as a "newbie."  I started thinking of myself as an experienced TG.  My wardrobe grew, as did my tools for looking better.  I connected with new people, and came under the wing of my "Big Sister" Mel.  She has taught me a lot, mostly that transitioning is very, very hard.  I've met some of the people who I saw saw as Heroines and found that they are really fun people.
I also decided to see if i could contribute to the community in some small way.  At the Keystone Conference, I presented a class on "Writing TG Fiction."  And at the Transhealth Conference, I assisted at the Renaissance table.
Both scared the hell out of me, but I overcame.  At Transhealth, I even went into the very busy Reading Terminal market and ordered lunch! 
I also started doing laser treatments on my face.  My first permanent move toward womanhood.
But easly the scariest time all year was walking in the King of Prussia mall, on a Saturday night, as Sophie.  I wore jeggings and showed off my assets.  I was terrified.  I went to the MAC store and bought lipgloss, and walked out.  One person laughed.  Others gawked.  But I did it!  I could've run into people from work, or family, but I didn't.  Not that they would've recognized me anyway with my boobs hanging out.  ;)
Photo courtesy Angela's Laptop Lounge.  Makeup by Amanda Richards
So as I approach the end of my third year, I am much more confident as a woman, yet much more scared.  I think that I will have some hard times ahead, and hard decisions.  I know where I want to go, and I simply can't do it right now as it costs a LOT- too much for a girl working retail and another job.
The next year?  Who knows?  I can't even dare think.  Perhaps i will be discovered by my wife (God knows she has enough clues) and thrown out.  Or worse.  Maybe I'll find better employment and begin my journey.
Sophie through the years.
In any case, I will do so with the help of dear friends. And you'll be able to read about it here.