Tuesday, November 5, 2013


This past Thursday was Halloween.

As my grizzled veteran readers (all 79 of you) know, my femme self "re-emerged" on Halloween Night.  Halloween 2008, to be exact. 

That means Sophie is Five.

Does that mean it's time for kindergarten?

Earlier in the day of Friday, October 31, 2008 the Phillies had a parade down Broad Street in Philly to celebrate their World Series Victory.  I worked.  And pondered last minute adjustments to my outfit.  I wondered what my wife would think.  What would my co-workers say?

October 31, 2008 was a scant four days before the voters of the USA rejected the Republican agenda as personified in their candidates Palin and McCain.  I stood in the rain for several hours to vote for Senator Obama, and what was I thinking about?  I night out wearing a long plaid skirt and a  black sweater filled out with home-made bird seed breasts.  The fate of the United States hung in the balance as I tried to re-suppress the tidal wave of emotion that was released Halloween night.

So.  Five years. 

Then: Deep denial and suppression of my truth.  A comfortable set of rooms with my Wife and infant daughter.  A habit of heavy drinking and fits of complete fury.  Overweight and uncertain of where my life was headed as I still couldn't find a job with my brand new Masters degree.  My shrinking circle of friends were mostly from my work place.

Now:  Acceptance of who and what I am: A Woman.  A Transgender.  I have been thrown out of that house and now barely see my six year old daughter.  I am calmer, if sadder.  My drinking demon has been pretty much tamed, thanks to a DUI, and I've lost a LOT of weight.  And I still haven't found a permanent job using that Masters degree.  I have met some of the most amazing people in my life, and lost the one of those friends who was closest to me.

Five years is longer than most people spend in college.  It's longer than many marriages.  So many things can change in five years.  So much has changed for me in far less.  However, I'll restrict the scope of this piece to the past year (since my last "birthday.")

The past year was dominated by four events:  One welcomed, one amazing, one inevitable, and two tragic.

In the past year, I began my transition in earnest when I finally began HRT.  I started slowly, but picked up speed within a few months.  The first thing I realized was a sense of relief- that I was finally on my way.  That there was NO coming back from this once the hormones started kicking in.  Then I felt a calm.  The hormones calmed the fires of rage inside me, replacing it with a sublime mix of new emotions- a new palette if you will.  I learned to cry for the first time in my life.  I started on pills, but quickly moved to injections every ten days.  It's better for my battered liver.

Slowly, I started to show physical effects from HRT.  My breasts budded and grew.  My arm hair all but vanished.  And eventually my skin began to soften as well.  Some say my facial features have softened as well. 

October 2012, pre- HRT

So can you see any changes?  (October 2013)

My hair is growing out nicely, and the thin spots are filling in a bit due to finasteride.  I also now have shaped eyebrows.

How am I "getting away" with it all?  Well due to the "inevitable" event.  In July, I told my wife of my intention to transition.  At the end of August, her mother threw me out of the house.  I was very lucky that I had long planned for this, and, due to a friend's generosity I have a roof over my head.

Now, when I go back to my room, I change into femme clothes.  I am myself far more often.  I go out occasionally during the week and I am becoming quite comfortable doing it.

It hasn't been without issues.  I only see Wife and daughter a couple of times a week, and my dog even less.  I have been banned from MIL's house when she is there.  This means I will not be there on Thanksgiving day or Christmas Eve... or Christmas morning to see my daughter open gifts.

That Hurts.

But, as I said, my ejection was inevitable.  Wife doesn't even want to see me as a woman.  And I am now physically becoming one.  Slowly, yes, but inevitably.

Transition isn't easy.  Often, we as Transpeople become close to others who are around where we are, and we "buddy up."  We promise to see our transitions through together- to give each other strength, hope, encouragement, and to be there for the inevitable set backs.  It's an amazing bond; stronger, I believe, than that of "Blood brothers."  We become Sisters.

In June, my Sister Lisa Empanada came out to her family.  Her family decided to throw her a party.  And I was invited.  After all, we were transition buddies.

The party was Amazing.  It was transformative.  Even months later, I realize how profoundly that weekend changed me.  I saw the Power of a Family's Love, which is something I had never seen nor experienced before in my life.  And suddenly I craved it.  I told Lisa this and she laughed. 

"You are part of MY family" she said, smiling, and we hugged.  Tears streamed down my face.

Family. Something I never had, but never realized how much I needed.  Yes, Wife and Daughter are my family, but it's a network of two and really the relationship was built on a lie: the Lie that I was male.  Lisa brought me into HER family, who are an incredible group of people.

Me, Lisa, and Ally on that Amazing Day

Which leads me to the Tragic parts of this past year.  And if you read this blog with any frequency, you already know what they were.

First, I lost a mentor to cancer in June.  JoAnn Roberts taught me a lot, and opened up this world and path.  God took her far too early.  But she died naturally.

My Sister Lisa killed herself three days after my birthday: on September 16, 2013.

She tore herself away from her Family... from her soul mate, Sandy.  I've never personally seen any crueler act.

I've written a lot about this already.  I fear I will write a lot more as time goes forward.  I still think of Lisa almost constantly.  I wonder what she would say in certain situations.  What would she say to me now that I am so deeply depressed by her passing (among other things.)  Would she tell me to put on my big girl panties and keep going?  Probably. 

No matter what, I will never hear her voice again.  We will never laugh together again.  Never finish each other's thoughts. 

I have the four leaf clover necklace I gave her those many months ago.  And I have some of her ashes in a memorial pendant.  And I carry her Memory.  The Memory of my "Transition buddy."  My Sister.

Now, it's November.  I still work two jobs.  I'm still on HRT.  I'm still growing as a Woman.  But I'm in my lowest place in years.  I'm essentially homeless.  Essentially broke.  Sundered from my daughter.  The Darkness calls for me to follow Lisa into the Light. 

And if I don't have my Daughter, what tethers me to this plane?

Well, I made promises.  I promised Lisa that I would transition for the both of us.  That I would finish what We started. 

And by giving my Daughter life, I promised to be around for her- whether I can see her or not.

The Darkness is Strong.  Lisa and I spoke of it in depth, and it took her.  Maybe someday soon I will write EXACTLY how I feel in its grip.  As a signpost for others?  A warning?  Or maybe just to get it out of my system.

October 2013.  Picture Courtesy Angela's Laptop Lounge

Five years as Sophie.  In the end, I never dreamed I'd be where I am.  I am on hormones and racing toward being a woman full time.  I've grown breasts.  I have gained some confidence.  I still have a long way to go. 

Lisa is Gone, but I am not going through this alone.  I have one of the top gender therapists in the world helping me: Dr. Maureen Osborne.  I am lucky to have my "Big Sister" Mel, without whom I wouldn't be where I am today.  Arguably, without them, I may have given up the Dream of Womanhood and fallen to the Darkness.

I have my sisters in my Support group, whose names I will not list for privacy reasons, but they know who they are.

The Newell family, Lisa's relatives, have opened their hearts and lives to me.  Sandy, Krissie, Tiffany and all the others- I couldn't survive the loss without following the example of your courage.  You ARE my family, just as Lisa said.

M, who has generously taken me in and told me I can stay as long as needed.  She insisted actually.  Without her, I'd be on the street.  I can't describe how grateful I am for her.

I have my sisters in Vanity Club, who have been extremely helpful.  I am still so humbled to have met and become friends with women like Ana Christina Garcia, Dee Gregory,  and so many

I have Dear friends nearby like Jennifer L, Hayden, Jane, Jone, Kristie, Erica, Rachael, and Kristyn, and so many others in Renaissance.  Ally Raymond is a Godsend!

Friends far away as well.  The Amazing Linda Lewis is one of the finest people I've ever known, and she's been generous with her friendship and advice.  And I'm so very happy that life is finally going her way.  Olivia, Stephanie, Jennell... so many wonderful sisters.  Michelle and Deb, whom I've known for decades and who accept me.  And my Scots family led by my cousin Anne.

I have some close friends I've never met, as I know them from Second Life:  Cisop, Mad Kitty, Plato, Zonker, and so many others, especially at Callahans.

Add to that the 79 of you who subscribe to this little mess of a blog.

All those names I listed for a reason.  All lend me their strength when mine fails, as it has lately.  And by typing them all out, I remind myself that they (and you) ARE there.  And if I fall to the Darkness, my departure would ripple through them all.  Not like Lisa's did, no far from.  But enough.  I hate the idea of hurting my loved ones... and I have seen what Lisa did to us all.  To Sandy.  To me.

The people in my Life are responsible for my being who I am today.  They are responsible for my being on this path to my Dream. 

To Womanhood.

A True Life.

My Life.

May the Good Lord Shine a Light on You All!

Halloween Night 2013.  Five years old... and doing my own Makeup



  1. When you are down, just remember: This too, shall pass....

    With that being said, I hope that the eventual change for the better happens soon, and that next year at this time, you'll have much more positive things to report.

    Best wishes...


  2. Just keep on keeping busy. Between your two jobs and (what for lack of a better description for the time being may be) your two lives (one male life and one female life) you can avoid the concept of "Idle hands being the Devil's playthings".
    I seem to notice that there may be a calming effect that HRT is having on some of your writings. I recognize that for you (and others) that writing is a form of therepy. Your demeanor seems a bit calmer and I think that you need to continue to try to engender niceness from others by projecting the niceness that HRT may be bringing you.