Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fitting Week Part 1

As I mentioned a couple of entries ago, I was alone for the week where I live- just me and the dog.  Wife, Mother In law (MIL) and Daughter were all at the beach.

I tried to make the most of it.

Tuesday, I woke up early to prep myself for my therapy appointment.

 It was so calming, doing my makeup in the mirror.  I tried a couple of different things with middling success. 

Ready for the Day!

At therapy, we spoke about many things, but primarily about my inability to forgive my parents for the abuse I had growing up.  I've heard all the reasons: that I'm just hurting myself, that the hate will eat me alive, etc.  And they're great reasons.  But I'm not prepared to forgive them. 

We talked about this because I told Wife I wanted to tell them about my being transgender.  Her reply was "You must really hate them."  I asked for an explanation and she said "They never need to know- no one does."

As you can guess, we still haven't discussed our future yet.

Later that afternoon, I went to a memorial gathering for JoAnn Roberts.  It was held at her home, and was drab only.  (I also talk about this gathering at my TG Forum column.)  There were maybe sixty people there, mostly family, but I saw many of the TG community there in drab (many for the first time.)

It was a very nice townhouse decorated in art and science fiction memorabilia.  JoAnn was a major Sci-fi fiend.  There were also many plastic models of Corvettes.

Yes, JoAnn collected many things, including trains. She had a Lionel lay out in her basement. At one point, I went downstairs to look at it. In a former life, I worked at a company that made toy soldiers and war games. To play these games, we built hills and houses — just like model train folks. I looked at her workbench and thought of the pleasant hours JoAnn must have spent there, puttering away at her hobby. On the bench was an unfinished building kit.

It will never be finished. It was left undone. So many things, left undone.

I fell to my knees and cried my eyes out.

After a few minutes, I gathered myself and rejoined the party.  Many of us sat on the patio speaking to her widow.  JoAnn ran Beauty and the Beach, and it WILL go on this year... as a tribute to her.  The patio group were pitching ideas on how to do this.  I volunteered my meager talents to whatever use they could be put.

There WILL be a Transgender memorial for JoAnn in the Philly suburbs.  It will be held at the same place we have Renaissance meetings on Saturday, June 29 at 7:30.  BYOB and a pot luck dish.  Black attire requested.

Thursday was the Transhealth Conference in Philly.  I went to Amanda Richards as I wanted to stun, and she didn't disappoint! 

I decided to go a bit casual, so I wore my Penn State t-shirt and a denim skirt.  I also wore some new wedges.  They took a while (and a couple of stumbles) to learn!

I parked in a nearby lot and carried over all of the things I brought, as I was setting up the Renaissance Table.  I bumped into so many people I knew!  After a bit, I finally arrived at the table which was FAR from the action, but oh well.  Our spot was next to the wonderful  Dr. Michelle Angello, who was there promoting her new book.  She was kind enough to sign a copy for me.

After being at the table for a bit, I decided to go to lunch.  Where to go?  I decided to go to the Hard Rock Cafe... alone.  Why alone?  I needed to do it to prove to myself I could do it.  As I've written many times, if I'm going to be a Woman, I need to have experience as one.

I sat at the bar.  No one looked at me twice.  I had a wonderful lunch, and walked back.

At the Hard Rock

I sat at the Renaissance table for a bit when a grad student from the University of Florida came over.  She was a pretty redhead, petite and pale.  There were many grad students in the crowd, and they were easy to identify- they were the only ones not smiling.  She asked lots of questions about Renaissance, and i answered them.  She then asked if I would mind being interviewed for her research.  As I was alone at the table i said I would, but it had to be in an hour (after the others came back from lunch.)  She agreed, and walked away.

As she did, I saw a familiar face.  This person is one of the regular customers at the retail store where I work, and I'd heard that "He'd been coming in lately wearing a dress."  And there she was.  I called over to her in my fem voice, and no reaction.  I said in a louder (and more male) voice "Hey I know you!" at which she turned.  I smiled at her, and said "You don't recognize me, do you?"  A quizzical look.  Then I mentioned an item she had once generously given me. 

Her eyes widened, followed by a huge smile.  She mouthed my drab name (designated by random letter "L").  We both laughed.  She came over and we hugged.  And I said, "No, I'm Sophie.  L is just a shell."

We chatted about how she would've never guessed in a million years, as I was always so dour and all business at work.  I smiled at her.  Her name was Lauren.

She hung out for a while, and went to Wawa with myself and another Renaissance member on a munchie run. 

An hour later, the grad student returned.  I'll call her Julie.  We walked about the Convention Center looking for a quiet place to talk, and found an empty cafe on the third floor.  We sat, and i signed her consent form.

The questions were rather standard.  "When did I know I was transgender?"  "How did it first manifest itself?"  However, her follow up questions were excellent, and we ended up talking for a couple of hours.  I asked her questions as well.  Turned out she's married with a small child, and wants to be a doctor.  We talked about my paramedic days.  She asked why I stopped, and I told her. 

And I cried about the event.  It happened in 1989, and I never cried about it.  But there in an empty cafe, I did.

After the interview, I attended a talk by someone in my support group about "Sobriety and Transgender."  Aside from people in our support group there to lend support, there were many Transmen.  it was an amazing talk.

After that, the group went to Maggianos for dinner.  This was set up previously... and I had a plan.  See, we were eating with our therapist, Dr. Osborne.  At Keystone, we all posed together for a group picture.  I bought this picture, bought matting supplies and a name plate, and matted the pic.  I also bought a frame.  I wrapped the frame in some REALLY ugly wrapping paper. 

After we ordered, I stood and called the group's attention.  I gave a very short speech about how Dr. Osborne did a lot for us all, and how we all got together to give her this...  and she opened it.  An empty frame.  Then I explained a frame is all about potential, and meant nothing without something inside it.  I showed her the matted picture, and told her I wouldn't give it to her.  Instead, I signed it with a sharpie, and passed it to the person to my left.  It went around the table, and we all signed the matting.  She was stunned and very surprised. later she asked if I planned the whole thing.  Of course! 

Dinner was wonderful.  Eventually, the group broke up.  I drove home.  If the week had ended there, it would've been amazing.  But the best was yet to come...

End part 1.

Yes, I'm a bitch.  ;)


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