Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Sorry it's been so long since my last post.  Life has been a little hectic.  Since I last wrote, I went out once more to Angela's Laptop Lounge (which had a St. Patty's Day theme).  It was fun as always and as always I was out far too late.  I also posted a new column at TG Forum.

Sophie O'Lynne

But that's not what I'm writing about today.  No today I want to discuss defense.  Our "defense mechanisms" to be precise.  I was out for a drink with a dear friend last night (she was dressed, I was in drab.  Bitch)  and the topic came up.  She told me that all through her life she's been a chameleon- that she blends in with whomever she's with- that she likes to keep a low profile.  I said I had a hard time believing she would be dropping f-bombs left and right among certain people (she's very nice and proper) but she assured me she does. 

My defense has always been to go on the offense, and she noticed that.  We are total opposites in that regard.  Even when I am en femme, if someone makes an issue, I rely on my wit and big mouth to humiliate them into submission.  As can be imagined, I have been in my share of bar fights.  Some people just have NO sense of humor!  ;)

Do you really want to hurt me?

I thought about that all night.  And today, I discussed it with my therapist.  When I was a child, my defense was to "turtle": to withdraw into my shell and suffer the pain until it stopped.  Somewhere around high school, something inside just snapped and I started defending myself verbally (it may have had something to do with the martial arts I was studying at the time as well.) 

High school.  I was short and thin and not very masculine.  Add to that, every chance I had, I would put on my mom's dresses and pretend I was a girl. So I really had to come on strong to hide what I felt were these shortcomings.  All through college, even though I had stopped dressing, I kept defending, kept shooting back- don't let anyone even guess that inside of me was a woman hiding. Never let on.  Death first.

As many of you know, the pain of totally suppressing my feminine side was tremendous, even if I didn't realize what the source of this pain was.  Combine that with heartbreak, depression, and all the other pressures of post college life led to a collapse a few years after graduation.

But I still would tell NO ONE, not even therapists, about my feminine need.  It was there- I knew it.  I felt it.  I just didn't want to deal with it at all.  I hid it deep inside.  (Any of this sound familiar?)  Defend- be arrogant- snarky- let no one in.

Do I look like a guy to you?

Eventually (obviously) my feminine side came out.  I am Sophie.  And as Sophie, my defense is, you guessed it, offense.  Those who insult me or mine get both barrels.  But so few do.  My sisters have been so very accepting of me.  Slowly, but surely, I am letting my walls drop as a woman.  Not totally, to be sure, but I am learning to let people in. 

Progress?  I think so.  Enough to repair all those years of pain?  Not yet- probably not ever.  But if all that pain was the price I paid to be Sophie, well then so be it.  I've earned this happiness.  And the best things in life are earned.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Keystone Kapers

Last week was the Third Annual Keystone Conference in Harrisburg, PA.  I've attended all three so far and each year it gets bigger and better.  This year, I even presented a seminar!  More on that in a bit.

I've only been home several hours now- I haven't even unpacked my girl clothes yet.  My head is still swimming and it feels odd that I am not wearing a skirt!  Or having a drink for that matter.

I went out to the conference on Tuesday.  I needed to get away from home and several good friends were going to be out there.  Also being out there early meant I could help out a little.  And help I did!  Stuffing the convention envelopes.  It was a huge task as more than 300 people were coming.

The Tuesday Outfit.  I did my own makeup.

My feet hurt and I couldn't figure out why. maybe the fact that I had my boots on the wrong feet had a bit to do with it?

After dinner and a quick drink, I went to bed early.  I knew I'd need my strength.

Weds morning was windy and cold.  I had breakfast with people from Las Vegas that I'd met the night before: Amy and her partner and a guy from Canada.  They were lots of fun to hang with and as it turns out, Amy did makeup.  I didn't know who she was...

I went to a noon pedicure appointment at Lee nails, dressed in a black sweater and jeggings.  This was only my second pedi, and I was the only tgirl in the shop.  Some people gave me a look, but most didn't care.  I had my nails painted a deep red. 

I had an appointment at 5 with Jamie Austin of "Austin's Angels" fame.    Before I rediscovered my girl side, I found some TG sites- among them was Jamie's.  I was curious.  I wondered how I would look as an "Austin's Angel."  So a month in advance, I scheduled an appointment.  As the bus for that night's event was at 5 I skipped the event.  Jamie worked quickly in his hotel room, and soon i was ready to go out... but where?  I bumped into Suzanne, Amy and a girl named Sheila, and they invited me to dinner at Carabba's.  Ok! 

Sophie as done by Jamie Austin

Thursday was the first day of the conference.  I dressed and went to the vendor area, a bit hungover from the previous night's bar visit.  I participated in a study by Pomona College about T-girls.  It was a nice way to kill time.

Thursday's daytime outfit

After lunch I met my "big sis" Mel and Donna Rose in the hotel bar for drinks and laughs.  My appointment with Amanda Richards was at 4 and I had no activities planned so after a couple drinks I went upstairs to change and shower.  As I was in my pads and nothing else, room service walked in on me!  Eek!

Amanda did her usual great work and it was off to a casino!  I and many others had dinner at "The Final Cut" which is a fancy steak place.  Suzanne had a friend from Oklahoma in town and when those two went to the ladies room, I told them it was the friend's (Brenda) birthday.  He had a table of six people come over and loudly sing Happy Birthday to her!  And free dessert for her! 

Oh, did I mention her birthday is in October?  HeeHee

Blue Dress Bitch in the bar

I gambled a little and won $20.  I didn't drink hardle at all as the next day was my presentation and I needed to be sharp and hot! 

So the bus ride back to the hotel was uneventful, even though it was pouring rain.  I took one step off the bus and SLIP!!  Fell hard on my knees and ass.  And elbow.  That really hurt!  My knee is still swollen.  And it put a hole in my stocking!  Dammit!

The next morning was my presentation: "Writing Transgender fiction."  I woke up early and put on my new suit.  I then went to Amy's room.  See, Amy isn't just a makeup person, she's THE makeup person in Vegas.  She runs Just You: Home of Glamour Botique 2.  She quickly had me ready. 

Your instructor

I must say, I have never felt as comfortable as a woman as I did walking to that presentation.  I was in a sharp suit and I KNEW I looked good.  I was in heaven!  But I was also nervous- it would my first time doing any kind of presentation as Sophie.  I had 9 people and they seemed to enjoy it.

That night was night out in Harrisburg.  Amanda did my makeup and I ate at the Cafe Fresco with 20 others.  My knee bothered me but it was fun.  The food was great!

Saturday was an off day.  I slept in a bit, hung out a bit.  I walked acrross a huge parking lot to Lane Bryant to buy bra extenders... alone.  That was a big step.  2 years before, I could barely leave my room because I was so scared.  Now I'm off shopping.  Maybe I'm finally getting used to this woman thing.

Saturday night was the Big Gala.  My friend Lorraine made my gown for me... and I promptly ripped it as I was putting it on.  :(  It was pinnable and Amada did her usual great work.  But before going to the ball I had a doctor's appointment... with Dr. Ousterhout.  I wanted his opinion on what it would take to make me more feminine looking should I... continue down the path.  He had definite ideas (lose 50 pounds for starters) and it would cost more than I have ever made in a year.  Well, he IS the best- so I expected that.

Angel in Blue

 I was off to the ball!  Oh what a wonderful time!  The food, the drinks, the dancing... oh wait- no dancing, my knee hurt.  Eventually I slipped into something more provocative for the late night bar antics.  There I had drinks with Dr. Ousterhout and Amanda and so many others!

Skirt so short, it's a belt!

But it was daylight saving time.  I lost an hour there.  I slept in a little and scrambled to pack and get out in time.  And then I was home.  In drab.  With nothing but memories and a column to type for TG Forum.

All day I have been in a daze.  After so many days as Sophie, it's odd not to be.  I keep thinking of looking down and seeing breasts, of the feel of a skirt, and of that wonderful confident walk to the presentation.  I think Sophie is really taking form as a major part of me. 

Only time will tell what's next.