Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Should I? *indecisive*

Lately I've been kinda indecisive.

(Wow- that first sentence was horrific grammatically.  But I'm leaving it.  So there.)

Anyway.  I'm still sort of adrift of late.  No idea where to go next.  I started electrolysis, so that's something major.  I'm going to New Concepts Med Spa.  They do great work for a very fair rate.

So I'm moving forward in that way.  I'm not stagnating.

I guess the questions revolve around what my wife will and won't allow.  Because I don't really know- except that full transition would end the marriage.  But would hormones?  FFS going too far?

I'm so confuzzled!

Here's another question:  what about conferences?  I'm going to go to Keystone next year- I haven't missed one yet. But what about others?

For example: Southern Comfort.


Southern Comfort (SCC) is the biggest TG conference in the US.  This year it's in late September in Atlanta, Georgia.  I've never been to Atlanta (except to change planes.)  I have friends there though.  (Hi Lana!)  For a History person like me, a trip there would be wonderful.  Add to that the chance to meet so many of my internet friends and inspirations face to face... Sigh.


It's over $300 for registration, figure another $300 for hotel, and then there's getting there from Pennsylvania.  That's a lot of doe-ray-me for someone who makes as little as I do. 

Then, of course, is Would she be ok with me going? 


I must admit, I'm feeling like I should be Sophie much more these days.  And that today specifically I'm feeling it. 

See,  friend of mine had a Transient Ischemic Attack yesterday.  Mini-stroke.  And she's pretty much my age.  Scary as hell.  She's fine now, but I assume she'll be on all kinds of drugs for a while. 

But that lil' mortality brush- wow.  Could I die today knowing I wasn't the Woman I need to be? 

And would it matter? 

I read somewhere that Ghosts are people who died leaving something unfulfilled.  Would I haunt the night crying over my unfinished womanhood?  And what would I wear?  Is white appropriate for a haunting? I mean in the UK they're all "ladies in gray..."

Back to the point.

What do you think?  Should I even ask?  Or is that too risky at this stage?  Operators are standing by.  (Well, the comments board is anyway.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bikers, Rings, and an Anniversary

Last Saturday (May 19, 2012 for you completists out there) I went out for the first time since telling my wife. 

As I mentioned in my last Blog entry (here), she was considering going to Washington DC for the weekend.  And she did- Saturday morning.  Along with my mother in law (MIL) and my daughter.  So it was just me and the dog at home. 

It was a busy week for me at work, so I didn't get a chance to pack.  So after work Saturday morning, I went to my storage unit to find one of my standing racks had fallen over.  Sigh.

So I cleaned that up.  Grabbed my outfit and everything I'd need to be Me for the night, including a pair of white sandals I'd never worn.  Then off to the Motel 6.  I'd reserved it a month in advance, as it's graduation time around here for all the Universities and last year my cadre was shut out of the cheaper places. 

So, then I took a couple hours to shave (again), shower, primp, paint, crush my lungs with a corset... then found out the shoes were too small.  And I was all but dressed.  Only brought the one pair.  Sh*t.

Not the end of the world.  Finished last details, grabbed my purse and walked out of that room as Sophie Lynne (loose on the world again!)

Taken before leaving.  Not my best pic.

Back to the storage unit.  It's ten minutes through highway construction from the motel to the storage space.  Remember that, as it has bearing later.  So I went up to my space, past all the recording cameras, and strapped on a different pair of white shoes.  Now I was REALLY ready and I jumped back into the car.

And drove home.

After all, with no one there, someone had to feed the dog and let her out.  I spent ninety minutes at home, taking some pictures and playing with the dog.  I called my wife while dressed.  And she KNEW I was dressed as I told her I would be.  She didn't mention it.

I also went on the computer for a few minutes.  I had time.  I already knew that none of us were doing the usual dinner at Cafe Winberie.  Why?

At Home in my new Red Skirt

Because it was an Anniversary!  The 25th Anniversary of Greater Philadelphia Renaissance!  Wow!  A TG support group that started before the internet!  And special guests were founders Joanne Roberts (who now runs TG Forum where I have a column) and Angela Gardner (of Angela's Laptop Lounge.)  I also learned that Kate Bornstein was another founder (there were five.)

But before I arrived there...

I had to stop at a mini-mart to pick up sodas ("pop" in Pittsburgh).  So I pulled into one next to Valley Forge Park, and as exited my car, two bikers pulled up on their Harleys- one to get gas and the other right next to me.  I was dressed exactly as you see above. 

I didn't blink or stop- I just walked into the store as non-chalantly as any woman would.  And bought the sodas.  And the one biker stood right behind me in line.  Leather jacket.  Tattoos. 

And he didn't say a thing.  Nothing.

I got back into my car and left.  Know what?  I really wasn't that afraid.  I learned long ago that REAL bikers won't mess with you if you don't mess with them.  And I don't.

So, off to Ren!  And more pics!

Angela spoke first as she had to go set up for the party afterwards.  She talked about how they all met and decided to start a group.  Joanne then arrived (fashionably late) and filled in some details- like how there were no TG groups around Philly at the time except in South Jersey, so... they started one!  And they advertised in the local press, in print, radio and on the morning news shows.  They made appearances at Universities and other schools.  They went National.  And 25 years later, they ate cake and talked about it. And I told everyone about the Greater Philly Renaissance Meetup page I started.

I found the whole thing very interesting.  At that time I was in college and deep in denial.  After all, I thought  people like me were hated and on the fringes of society. (Which was true, then.  We're better understood now.)  And I wanted to fit in and have a career in Education.  Transgender and Education did not mix back then (and really kinda doesn't now for that matter.)  Had I known about Renaissance, maybe things would've been different.  Or not. 

But different they were not.  And now there I was, in my new skirt, driving from Ren to the mall for Laptop Lounge. 

Within minutes, I was inside and at the bar, having a drink and talking to Joanne Roberts about the events in the past few weeks.  She offered some sage advice.  Then my "Big Sister" Mel came in... and she brought her son.

See, he's home from college, and I bet him he wouldn't come out to Laptop (He isn't TG in the slightest.) He is very smart guy as well as an athlete, and I admit I pressed a couple buttons to get him to take the bet.  I knew he would come, and I had his payment with me: Six Ginger Ales, all cold. 

That's why I had to stop at the mini-mart.

Had a great time at Laptop.  Stayed later than usual.  Went back to the motel and picked up my stuff.  Drove home as Sophie.

Cleaned up.  Went to bed.

Woke up.  Got out of bed.  Dragged a comb across my head.  Oh wait, where have I heard that before?

Showered.  Took aspirin for my hangover.  Put my Sophie stuff in the car.  Hmmm.  Where is my wedding ring?  And my college class ring?  I remember taking them off before getting dressed at the... oh no.  Wait, maybe I put them in my purse.  Yeah.  Had to.  Purse was in a box in the car.  Ok.  Drove to the storage space and put the boxes in.  Checked purse.

Not there.  SH*T!

Texted Jen (who shared the room with me) to see if she had them.  Drove over to the motel- ten minutes, remember?  It's noon- checkout time.  Got a key to the room.  Already cleaned- no rings.  Asked the guy behind the counter.  he tried calling the cleaning people.  No reply.  He handled the next person in line.  That took 25 minutes.  The line built.  No word from Jen.  No word from cleaning crew. 

If I lost my wedding ring, my wife would kill me.  That's not hubris or a misplaced assumption.  That was a FACT.

Jen called.  She didn't see them.  I'm sweating bullets.  Cleaning person comes to the desk.  Didn't see them.  OH SH*T!

Back to the storage space- another ten minutes on the road.  Searched through all the stuff from the night before.  Nothing. 

Dead woman walking. 

Back to the car.  Now what?  Well, I'd just tell wife when she got back from DC.  Just then, she called me.  She wouldn't be home until after I left for work at 3:30.  So I had some time.

Drove home.  As I pulled into the driveway, I had a thought.  When I was at Keystone, I put my rings in my guy shoes for safekeeping.  And I hadn't touched them since I came home the night before.  Maybe?

I ran inside and grabbed the shoes.  Turned them upside down.


Wait, there's my socks in them.  Pulled them out. 

And out fell the Rings as well.

I was so relieved; I almost fell backwards against the wall. 

I put the rings on. 

And at 3:30 I went to work.  When I got home that night, my wife asked how the day before went.  I told her I had fun, and that all went well.  I didn't mention my little sideshow with the rings.

That bit?  She didn't need to know. 

She hasn't mentioned Sophie since, but she will.  MIL has been around, so she hasn't had the opportunity.

Outside at Renaissance at twilight.

It's so much easier now that she knows.

I'm a very Lucky Woman.

Thursday, May 17, 2012



Know what that means?  When I first read it, I had to look it up.  According to dictionary.com, it means "excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance." 

I read a book called Imperial Hubris once.  It was all about how the Bush junta was arrogant about their foreign policy toward the Middle East in general and Al Qaeda in particular.  It was written by the CIA's expert on Al Qaeda.  He concluded that we could either give them what they want (leave our bases in Saudi) or we'd have to commit genocide and wipe them out to a person.

Not a happy book.

But I digress.

Ever been so sure about something that you'd bet your life on it?  Think you know someone so well you could predict their every move?

Know for a fact what a reaction to something would be?

I'm not afraid to say "I don't know," but I've been around and learned some hard lessons.  Some may say I am a pessimist.  I say I'm a realist.  Some say I'm a "know it all."  Well, if I knew everything, where would be the fun and mystery?  And there are many, many lessons I still need to learn.

I've been married for nineteen years.  I've known my wife for twenty one years.  I met her when I worked at a restaurant and waited on her and her grandmother.  The next week, they came back.  And then they came back again.  She worked at a department store in the same mall as this restaurant and one day I went over to see her.  That was May 1991.

After all this time, you'd think I knew her.  I could finish her sentences.  That there'd be no surprises.

Guess what?

As those who've been following this blog know, she surprised me.  I was so SURE she'd throw me out when I told her about being Sophie, that I simply wouldn't even consider the alternative.  (If you haven't read the story about my telling her, look a few entries back.  It has the imaginative title of "I told my wife.")

So.  Now she knows.  There have been questions, yes.  Some back and forth.  But no melt down yet.  But this weekend I will be going out.  I have a great new pleated red skirt and I'll be out and about.  And for the first time ever, she will know EXACTLY where I am, who I'm with, and what I'm doing.  She'll know the Truth.

Still feels weird to type that.

This weekend will be the first big test.  How will she react?  Simple- she's going with her mother to visit her brother in another state for the weekend, and bringing our daughter with her.

She hates visiting this brother, but our daughter loves playing with her cousins, so that's the reasoning for her going.  I told my therapist that I figured she was going because of Sophie. 

My therapist countered with "Have you asked her?" 

And I said "No.  I know this is why."

And she said "And we know how right you were last time about her."


"A hit, a very palpable hit" as Osric said in Hamlet.  (Act 5, Scene II for you completists.)

She's right- I DIDN'T know.  I made an assumption.  Like I assumed I'd be thrown out.

A little later in the conversation, we were discussing a visit to my alma mater.  I was going to go up for a fraternity alumni reunion.  I mentioned that I wanted to go, but couldn't due to another commitment, and that my visits to the fraternity may be numbered.  They'll throw me out when they learn I am transgender.  See, the first requirement of membership is "male."

Again, Dr. Osborne reminded me of how I shouldn't be so sure of everything.  Maybe they would think it's cool to have a transperson as an alumna.  I said that while I was there, they barely were tolerant of my presence (LONG story) so I was sure they'd jump at the opportunity to toss me.  And she again brought up how I was SO SURE about my wife.

So two instances with fifteen minutes of me making an educated assumption that may not be correct.  But I'm SO SURE.

Arrogant presumption?  Maybe.

Hubris?  Maybe.

The future is now a big mystery.  How long will she stay around?  Who am I really?  Where will I find peace as a person?  Will peace require transition, or can I balance the male and female sides?

Well, there's one thing I really, really know for sure.  No, really.

I know that where I am, right now, is not where it ends.  I know that I need more.  The woman inside me needs more.  Revealing Sophie to my wife has brought that much into focus.  Maybe it's time to stop lying to myself and take a very hard look at myself and not flinch or look away.  See who and what I am. 

"To be, or not to be."  (Act 3, Scene I)

So, this weekend I will go out and be me.  And God willing, there will be laughter and fun and smiles.  And maybe I'll learn a little more about myself.  The one person who I don't even pretend to really know.  Nor will I warrant a guess.

Because, after all, I my guesses of late haven't been too reliable, have they?

If you figure out who this is, please let me know.

The Keystone Cartoon!


Remember back in April, I mentioned that I met Lisa at Keystone, and she is a brilliant cartoonist?



Well, I did.  :)

In any case she sent me a cartoon for my blog.  This work is copyrighted by her and I am reproducing it here with permission.

As soon as she publishes her book, I'll let you know!

And I'm still jealous of her beauty and effortless femininity!  *meows*

Thursday, May 10, 2012



It's been a week since I told my wife about being Sophie.

And what a week!

First, thanks for the wonderful comments you wrote for the last piece.  I really appreciate the support!

I re-posted this blog over on Pink Essence and got so many great comments as well!

(pic copyright Cassandra Storm Photography, used with permission)

Right.  So this week has been weird.  Wife has occasionally asked a question or two.  She commented several times that I seem so much happier now.

Well, yeah!  I am out from under my burden of lies.   From here on in, not matter what may happens, I will do it without hauling around that weight. 

I went to therapy yesterday, and my doctor was pleased that I'd taken this step.  She cautioned that at any time, things can change and to be ready when things go a bit sour.  She asked me which questions were asked and was surprised that one in particular wasn't asked.

Last night she started asking more questions after my daughter was in bed.  We talked for a couple of hours.  She asked the question that Dr. Osborne expected:

"Have you thought about transitioning?"

I answered "I'd be lying if I said no."

"If you do thats the end of the marriage."

"I understand" I said.

So.  A definite boundary.  She set a limit.  An expected one, to be sure. 

Now is the time for me to sort out where under this gender umbrella I really am.  With the guilt and stigma gone, i can search much easier. 

That said, last friday, the day after I told my wife, I texted my "Big Sis."  It was a simple message.

"The weight is gone but the pain remains."

(Yeah in retrospect it's pretty reminiscent of a certain Pink Floyd lyric.  but that's not what i was thinking when I sent it.)

But it's true.  The pain of GID is still there, in fact even more focused.  Clearer. 

The next challenge?  Well, next weekend is my first Renaissance meeting and Laptop Lounge since coming out to her.  When I'm out, she'll know exactly where I am and what I'm doing.  How will she react?  How will she feel? 

And what will she say the next morning?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I Told My Wife


After months of preparation and planning.  Of expecting the worst and Hoping for the best.

I waited until my mother-in-law was away (she lives with us.)  When she's away, my wife is much more human.  Mother in Law (MIL) went away for a two week cruise, so it was just us.

Ok, so let's go down the checklist.  Backup place to stay?  Check.  Health insurance purchased?  Check. Format of talk in mind and rehearsed?  Check.  Told my therapist and Big Sister I was going to do this?  Check.  Money?  Ummm...

Ok, so when?

I worked both jobs all week except Friday.  I wanted to be able to stay up late and talk as long as necessary (I wake up at 5 AM for work) so it had to be Thursday.

So, date set?  Check.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Last Time Out

As the week went on, my stomach tied itself into more knots than a Boy Scout manual.  (Ok, that was a cheesy metaphor).  I felt physically sick from worry.  I paid a lot more attention to my daughter and my dog as I felt this would be the end with living with them under the same roof.

You see, as my long suffering readers will remember, I know my wife's mind on Transgenderism.  She is a strict Catholic and thinks that TG people are an abomination.  So, I made the logical assumption that she'd throw my ass out.


But I was tired of the lies.  More than tired.  I couldn't look in the mirror, in drab OR as a woman, without seeing a Liar.  A False person.  People I respect didn't respect me, as I was a Liar.

I couldn't move forward with my life until I removed this roadblock from my mind and even from my soul. 

Thursday.  I worked both jobs.  Came home.  I'd wait until after my daughter went to bed.  My hands were visibly shaking.  I spent the time posting on Facebook and to my support groups and even on Second Life that I'd be doing this.

"Tonight, assuming I don't lose my nerve, I am going to tell my wife about Sophie.

God help me.

So by midnight, odds are I will be homeless. But the lies will have stopped."

I texted like a thirteen year old girl with my Sisters.  They gave me encouragement. 

My facebook post got 25 Likes and 49 Messages of Support.  And each one gave me Courage. 

Wife wanted a shower after daughter was in bed.  So I waited.  And being Me, I drank.  Jack and Cokes.  Tall.  Double shot.  I also had a bottle of wine opened for the both of us.  The shower stopped running.  I texted my Big Sis: "Show time."

We sat in our living room.  I poured wine for us both.  I closed the door so any loud sounds wouldn't wake our daughter. 

I told her I wanted to talk about something important to me, and I asked her not to speak until I could get it all out.  Told her that I'd been hurting since I was four, knowing I was different.  I told her that I thought I had it beat after suppressing it for over twenty years and then She returned.

I told her about Sophie.  That inside me was a Woman. 

And that I had been lying.

And that because I lied because I feared she would throw me out.

I told her everything.  Tears ran down her face.  My legs were shaking so much I folded them under me.  I told her about Renaissance and about going out and about the Conferences and that my therapist is one of the leading minds on TG issues. 

And I stopped, and told her I was finished talking. 

She put down her wine glass and said:

"Could you put down your glass so I can hug you?"

I didn't marry an idiot.  She knew something was up.  My stories didn't always match up.  (I'm not a good liar.)  She thought I was having an affair, or that I was planning to leave.

I told her if it was an affair then I am the other woman.

We hugged and we cried.

She asked questions and I answered them.  I did my best not to overwhelm her with details.  She didn't ask for pics and I didn't volunteer them.  I told her that I didn't know where in the gray area of gender that I belonged and that I still needed to find that out.  I told her that no one knew but my therapist, my Sisters, and one other person, and that I needed to keep my feminine side secret to keep my jobs.  And that MIL could never know.  She agreed- MIL would definitely not understand. 

So.  She said she didn't UNDERSTAND, but she can ACCEPT.  And she thanked me for telling her and that her mind was much more at ease.

We toasted, and watched the new Muppet Movie.

Then she went to bed, and I finished the bottle. 

Cheers! (picture courtesy Angela's Laptop Lounge)

The following morning, I woke up with a hangover.  And like a good cliched story, the sun shone through the window.  She and I talked a bit during the day on the phone as she was working.  She thanked me again for telling her. 

I posted the good news on Facebook.

"So. I told my wife. I'm still trying to process this.

We both cried.

She is supportive. She doesn't understand, but sees I am in pain and forgives the lies.

Tonight I sleep in my own bed.



that my Sisters were there for me, giving me of their strength.

I can't thank you enough- all of you.

Thank you."

And got 29 Likes.  33 Messages of advice and encouragement.  The replies to these two posts were so wonderful!  I never realized how much people Cared!  I am still blown away.  And I can't thank all of my Sisters enough!

Now it's two days later.  And my life is completely different.  I'm out from under the cloud of lies and I feel, well, liberated. 

Now it's time to sort out my next step on this path. 

And I'll tell all of you about it, each step of the way! 

Happy Woman.
(Picture copyright Cassandra Storm photography.  Used with permission)