Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sophie at 60: A writing exercise

No, I'm not 60.  I'm not even 50.  Or 30.  Ok that last one was stretching the truth.  "Not intended to be a factual statement."  I'm 47 currently.

In any case, my dear friend Tammy Matthews challenged me to write about me at age 50.  But that's only three years away, so I chose to make it 60.  I hope that's ok with you, Tammy.

And I'm posting it even if it sucks.  Here you're getting raw Sophie writing

Scenario 1:

The alley is dark, cold, and strewn with trash.  The rusty dumpster reeks of the leftover waste from the Indian restaurant.  In the back of the alley is a steam grate which usually billows steam into the winter night.  However, the steam is obscured by something blocking the grate.  The body of the homeless person is covered in old, tattered blankets that smell worse than the dumpster.  The hair is graying, long and matted with dirt.

Until the previous day, the body had been a living person.  She tried to transition from male to female in her 40s, but ran out of money, and, fired from her jobs and unable to find other work, eventually ended on this rusted grating.  Her masters degree means nothing, nor all of what made her special.  Now she's just a lifeless body- and the police will call her "John Doe" before cremating her.  Her nineteen year old daughter will never know whether she's alive or dead, nor will it matter as she hasn't spoken to her in over a decade.

Scenario 2:

I did it for my daughter.  De-transitioned.  Cut my hair.  Went back to the painful life as a male hiding their true self.  Denying Sophie her existence.  But daughter is dead. Plane crash on her way back to school. Wife blames me for letting her go to an overseas school.  All my sacrifices in vain.

I look down the barrels of the shotgun between my legs, pointed at my head.  A fireplace poker I bought an hour ago is on on the triggers, as my high school classmate did way back in 1984.  I think of Lisa and smile... then use the poker to compress the triggers.

Scenario 3:

Has it really been ten years?  Ten years since my re-birthday?  Ten years of being the woman I was meant to be.   I look across the table at my spouse.  they smile and raise the champagne glass that the waitress just filled.  "Here's to the most beautiful ten year old I know" they say, and we clink glasses.

Me at 60.  What- you think I'm going to age?  

Scenario 4:

"And what kind of a freak are you?" the customer says.  I'm a retail manager.  Been at the bookstore twenty years now.  I'm paid to take abuse, but not like this.  I ask her to leave and never come back.  The old woman wearing the "Cruz for President  TEA in 2020" holo-button glares at me and says "you liberals think you can even mock nature.  We'll show you!" and storms out.  I smooth my skirt, take a deep breath, and walk back to the managers' office for a good cry.

OK.  Four is enough, I think.

Comments welcomed.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


On January 18, 2014, my parents celebrated their Fiftieth wedding anniversary.  If you know them, you know how amazing that is.  They celebrated by going to a nice Italian restaurant in Southern Delaware where they live.  My dad said the dinner was "just ok." 

Neither I, nor my brother, were there.  We were both tied up for multiple reasons.  But that's ok... because this past weekend, Wife and I planned to take them to dinner in celebration of the anniversary.

Before we went, I went out.  On Friday, January 24, Wife made me cry.  I really can't discuss why, but I was bawling my eyes out.  After crying a while, I decided that I was going to keep busy by doing the best possible makeup job I'd ever done.  Linda Lewis was there, and gave me some makeup tips.  After a while, I finished, and I took Linda to the Ramada in New Hope.


So that night was the first night of Jen Bryant's Raven 18: Frozen Fundra.  The first night is at the Ramada In  in New Hope, PA, and it's a mellow night of hanging out.  There were maybe thirty people there, and everyone were seated at tables in groups.  Linda and I went to an empty side of the bar, and waited for the bartender.  Jen Bryant came in, saw Linda and all but jumped for joy.  This was the first time I'd seen Jen since a little corrective surgery and she looked GORGEOUS!  In any case, Jen hugged Linda like they were sisters... which of course, they are in a way.

With Jen and Linda.  Pic courtesy Jen Bryant Productions

Eventually we got drinks.  And someone set up karaoke behind me.  Well, veteran readers of this blog know I LOVE karaoke, so I signed up to do one of my standards: the Rolling Stones' Dead Flowers.  This time no one videoed me.  I know the words to that song so I didn't need the screen, and wandered about with the mic. I sang with Jen a couple of times.

Be Afraid

Eventually, everyone went over to the Raven for dancing.  I went briefly, but I left soon after arriving as I had to be up early the next morning.

Early Saturday morning, January 25, I went to pick up Wife, Daughter, and dog for the trip south to Delaware as snowflakes began to fall.  There were 1-3 inches predicted in the area, but for southern Delaware, nothing.   As we drove south, the storm intensified.  It was slow going, but I only slid once.  We saw no accidents.  I drove in the snow until just south of Dover Delaware, when we outran the southern edge of the storm. 

When we arrived, the cold wind was blowing, and the bay was partially frozen.  I unloaded the car, and my parents' focus was on their granddaughter. 

Indian River Bay: View from the pier.  The ice goes out to the channel. 

We putzed around for a while.  I took a short nap.  The outside was freezing and windy, but inside it was summer- my parents keep the house heated to 80 degrees.  Seriously.

My mum wanted to go to Outback Steakhouse in Rehoboth, so that's where we went.  We were eventually seated, and after we ordered, things got surreal. Mum asked if I could get my blog on my phone.  I said I could.  She then asked me to bring it up so she could read it.  So I did.  She read the last entry, and showed my dad the pictures.  She lingered over the main picture, which only partially showed, pointing at my face.

Isn't it about time I changed this?

When she finished the entry, she handed the phone back to me without comment. 

After dinner, we went back to their house.  Mum, Wife and Daughter were in the living room watching Animal Planet.  I sat in the kitchen, petting my dog and eating a Klondike bar.  My dad was there as well, sitting at the table.

You gonna finish that?

"You know I don't agree with your decision.  I hate it," he said. 
"I know."

And from there he told me that he was afraid I'll be physically harmed.  I assured him that I can take care of myself.  He asked what I'll do if Wife remarries.  And what if the new husband wants to adopt Daughter? 

Then Daughter walked into the room.  There's a tv in the kitchen, and she wanted to watch Disney channel.  So ended our first meaningful father-child dialogue in years.

Later that night, everyone but myself and my mum were in bed.  And she started asking the same questions: What I'll do if Wife remarries.  What if the new husband wants to adopt Daughter? She kept saying that she supports me, and that it will take time for her to get used to having a daughter.  I understand that, and appreciate it.

She then critiqued my outfits in some pictures I showed her.  She is of the opinion that I show too much skin, and that showing my cleavage like I do makes me look "common" and "like a slut."  She thinks I should dress my age.  Well, she's right about that last bit!

She liked my Friday outfit and makeup though!

Pic Courtesy Jen Bryant Productions

She requested a copy of Jennifer Finney Boylan's book She's Not There, which I brought with me.  I know she'll read it.  I'd sent a copy previously to my cousin Anne in Scotland, who recommended it to my mum.

We both went to sleep around 1 AM.  The next morning, we left soon after breakfast.  The topic was not raised again.

The ride home was quick, and next thing I knew, I was back to work at my retail job, where I did my best to digest the events of the weekend.

On Monday, I went to therapy, and discussed the weekend with Dr. Osborne.  My parents ARE trying- it's a lot to swallow.  It took me over forty years to comprehend who I am.

I know my mum reads this blog.  So once again, I congratulate you and dad on FIFTY years.  Yes mum, you deserve a medal.  As does Wife for surviving 20 years of marriage to me.

It doesn't look like we'll match your accomplishment, mum.

Dawn over the Indian River Bay

PS:  Hi Gianna from Australia!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yin Visitations Yang

I normally write every day.  Most of it is crap, and no one sees it, but it's practice after all.  But not this week.  It's like the snow sapped me of all my energy.  I'm so tired that I haven't written at all.  And that's not good with a column for TG Forum due Sunday.  Fortunately I have a topic figured out for that. 

I've had two visitors from out of town this past week, and each visit played out very differently.  in fact, polar opposites.  Both were extremely pleasant visits, though neither were very long.


The first visit was last Saturday.  Tammy Matthews came to PA to have some electrolysis done, an swung by on her way home.  I met her once before, and had a blast.  This time was different- she had a long drive ahead, so we didn't drink.  We met at the King of Prussia Mall, which was dangerous as she is a self-diagnosed shopaholic. 

Linda Lewis came with me, and she and I went in drab, for reasons I will get to.  Tammy had never met Linda, despite both being long time Vanity Club sisters.

We met for lunch.  I bought the three of us cheesesteaks from Tony Lukes, which has a place in the food court.  All were provolone Wit', in case you're wondering.  For both Tammy and Linda, it was their second ever cheesesteak.  Yes, it's the niggling details that makes this blog what it is! 

In any case, we spent a pleasant hour together, catching up and discussing hair removal among other things.  I gave Tammy a Washington Redskins cookie tin that I had no space for in my room.  She is a Redskins fan, like me.  After an hour, Linda and I left her to the mall's temptations.  We both had appointments with Amanda Richards.

Linda has known Amanda for maybe fifteen years, but had never had a makeover from her.  So I used a little of my savings to make that happen.  A late Christmas gift, if you will.  She went first, then me, and the three of us had a great time just talking as Amanda worked.  For Amanda's late Christmas gift, I gave her a set of CDS I made of 80s music.  We listened to those.

Me and Linda after makeovers

Properly made up, Linda and I went to the Renaissance meeting.

When we arrived, I ran into Tammi.  I wrote about her a few months ago.  We spoke briefly when she whispered to me "Oh my God- I can't believe SHE'S here!" 

I said "who?"

She said "Linda Lewis! I've been following her on the internet forever!  Even longer than I've followed you!"

"Would you like to meet her?" 

Tammi's jaw dropped as I asked Linda to join us, which she did.  And I introduced them.  I really thought Tammi was going to faint. I laughed.  Later that night, Tammi asked us both to pose with her for a picture.

Me, Tammi, Linda

Linda also spoke at the meeting about how in Saginaw, Michigan, where she's from, there was no TG scene, and that we as Philadelphians were lucky to have a place to gather as we do. 

After the meeting, we went to Baxters in Malvern for Angela's Laptop LoungeLast time we were there, there was a blues band.  This time there was a band, but it was finishing up.  At Laptop, I met up with my friends the beautiful Victoria and Amy.  I then went to the bar to get a drink.  The only spot open at the bar was between the crowd and the band, who were playing their last song.  So everyone saw me ordering.  Everyone gave me a good long look.  Some commented to each other.  I didn't care.

The night was a lot of fun.  I saw many great friends, including one of my oldest friends, Jen Lehman.  Linda had a lot of people all around her.  People couldn't get enough of her.  I spent a lot of the night talking to a lesbian about being TG.  She was quite nice.  Her friend was a guy and he really didn't like being in the same room with us.  He sat on the other side of the bar, scowling and rolling his eyes, arms crossed over his chest.

Linda and I left around 1 AM.  I was very tired.  As you may remember, we live in the same boarding house.

Fast forward past a huge snowstorm to Wednesday.  On Monday into Tuesday, the Philly area got fourteen inches of snow.  As the storm raged on, Kimberly Huddle flew into Philadelphia International Airport.  She was here for work, and would be in town until Thursday.  We couldn't get together on Tuesday as the roads were horrible. 

Kim and I on her visit a few years ago

So we got together on Wednesday night.  Linda and I were ready by 6 PM, and we went to meet Kim at the Cheesecake Factory.  She was there in drab, having just finished work.  So we had a wonderful dinner, again three Vanity Club sisters, but this time only one in drab.  We then went to McKenzies for an early nightcap.  As Kim had to be up early the next morning (and so did I) we made it an early night.  I was in by 10 PM.

And so it was- two visits, two different visitors, differences in presentation and what we did.  But both were fun.  I don't get to see Kim or Tammy near enough, so I treasure each time I can see them, however short.

On an unrelated note, Wednesday I also had a meeting with the regional HR person for my retail job.  The meeting went well, and she swears that the company will stand behind me.  I'm cautiously optimistic.

Transition isn't something we do alone.  If we try this alone, we end up dead or worse.  Our strength may come from within, but it is reinforced exponentially by our friends.  My friends are my shield and my safety net.  Without them, I would've followed Lisa. 

And I treasure my friends.  Thank you- all of you.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

On to Richmond!

Richmond, Virginia is a city with a long history.  In the US, it is best known as the capitol of the Confederacy during the US Civil War.

I've been to Richmond once before, and visited the Museum of the Confederacy among other places.  I was there with Wife.  It was long ago, not long after we were married, and we were taking a week to visit various Civil War sites.  yes, it was my idea, but she really enjoyed it as well, and at the end of it we visited some of her relatives in Virginia.  It was an Amazing Journey, and she and I still talk about it.

This past weekend I went back to Richmond, but not for the History.

I was going to see a show with my dear friend, Ally Raymond.  Among other things.  I met Ally and her partner (hereafter "C") at Lisa's Affirmation Party back in August.  I've seen her a few times since when visiting Sandy in Baltimore. She's absolutely beautiful and simply a blast to be near.  I look up to her a LOT as a person and as a Woman.

Friday morning dawned cold and icy.  There was freezing rain and wind.  And I was going to drive south for many hours.  No, I'm not exactly bright sometimes.  But Ally and I had planned this since our last trip to Baltimore, so I was going.  I woke before dawn to shower, shave, and put on my face.  I was "travelling pretty" like my dear friend Kim would say.

 About to Leave

It was slow traveling, and I made a side trip as well.   I stopped into the quiet peninsula area where my Sister Lisa passed away.  I knew where it was, but had never visited there.  So I stood in the rain at the spot where Lisa spent her last Earthly moments.  I prayed, said my piece to her, and cried my eyes out.  Then continued on my way.

150 years ago, the Union Army took four years to enter Richmond, after multiple bloody campaigns and a siege to the south around Petersburg.  And even THEN, they only entered as Lee fled west in a vain attempt to link up with the Army of the Tennessee... only to meet destiny at Appomattox.

It only took this Yankee a little over six hours until I finally arrived in Richmond.  I was tired and a little grumpy, but seeing Ally cured me of that immediately.

We sat around for a while, catching up, and relaxing.  I changed into a different outfit, one that was a little more fun.

Ally and I ready to go!

We went to a bar called Barcode.  Ally and C knew everyone, and it was a very friendly place.  I was greeted warmly.  I was Ally's friend, and that was enough for them.  Ally buzzed about the room as I spoke to C and a couple of others.  All were so very nice and knew how to treat a lady!

We partied as the rain outside intensified.  We then went next door for dinner to a nice place called Chez Foushee. The dinner was sublime.  We had wine.  A whole bottle.  We then went back to Barcode.

I drank and chatted with Ally's friends.  i flirted and had a fabulous time...

And got way too drunk.  I ended up as these nights often do... with my porcelain friend.

That night I dreamed that I was with Wife and daughter at a strange combination of a mall and a daycare center.  And I kept needing water.  All through the dream, I kept drinking more water.  Go figure- I was dehydrated.  Also, during the dream, I felt a pervasive sense of loss.

I awoke around dawn, and went to get water.

To get to Richmond in 1864, General Grant fought a brutal campaign of attrition against the Army of Northern Virginia.  Win or lose, he would march the next day trying to get around them and into Richmond- his goal.  But his true goals were twofold- Richmond... and the destruction of Lee's army.  He knew that only relentless determined action would achieve those goals.  Despite heavy losses, he kept moving.

The next day it rained.  I redid my makeup, and Ally made us eggs.  Yum!  Saturday's plan was to go to the nail salon, then a little shopping, then change for the night.

At the nail salon, I had my eyebrows done a little.  Ally had her nails sorted out.  We then went to Walmart (ew) where many looked at us, and a few people commented.  then off to Five Guys for lunch!  By the end of the lunch, Ally befriended everyone in the restaurant.  That's her amazing ability- to win over EVERYONE.

Lee stopped Grant's advance south of Richmond outside the city of Petersburg, where the armies settled in for a LONG siege.  They waited, fought, waited.  For an eternity as soldiers died.  Endless suffering... little progress.

Ally asked to do my makeup for the night.  I put on one of the black dresses that were Lisa's and Ally did my makeup in a way I'd never had it.  I hardly recognized myself.  She then did her makeup the same way.

Off into the night!  It was pouring rain, and C held the umbrella as I got into the car.  He was a perfect gentleman.  our first stop was Barcode again, but this time, I only had one drink.  While there, we spotted another transperson.  Ally was excited, as she's usually the only transperson in the bar.  This woman was Alex, and she was from Mexico City.  She transitioned years before, and was a delight.

We went to the show, which was at the Richmond Triangle Players.  the show was a one man show called Pure Imagination by Ally's friend Matt Beyer, and was sold out.  He commanded the stage, sang songs and told stories.  An absolutely magical evening.  The man can SING!

Before the Show

Before the play and during intermission, I watched Ally work the room.  These were her friends, and they loved her.  I thought that she really should run for office.  My admiration for her grew.  She is so comfortable in Who She Is.  Some people think I'm outgoing, but I'm an introvert next to her.  She electrified the room.  I was in awe.

Lee's army was coming apart.  They worshiped him, but that wasn't enough to stave off starvation.  And his men were starving.  Grant attacked again, and on April 2, 1865, Lee decided to break out to the west and link up with the Army of the Tennessee somewhere in North Carolina to continue the fight.  He abandoned the trenches and marched west along the Appomattox Creek.  Petersburg and Richmond were left defenseless, and the Union occupied both with small forces.  The bulk of Grant's Army of the Potomac marched west in pursuit of Grant's second objective- Lee's army.

The show ended, and we went out into the damp night.  The rain ended, and we went to a nearby club called NU.  Not Ni, as those who hear that word seldom live to tell the tale.

NU was a medium sized dance club that featured professionals dancing on blocks for tips, a loud booming sound, smoke and low lights.  I had a drink there.  Alex eventually joined us as Ally buzzed around this room as well.  Where did she get the energy?

At NU:  C, Ally, Alex, Me.

At one point, I was on the dance floor, that had a mirrored wall.  I saw a woman in the mirror, and, I felt, a fairly attractive one at that.  My breath caught in my throat.  I was that woman.  No pads.  Just me.  I saw my reflection.  I couldn't see any trace of the guy I once was.  

It was loud and dark.  As usual in this sort of place, I felt isolated.  I couldn't hear conversations.  So I smiled and watched people.  I had a couple drinks, but I was beginning to get tired.  As was Ally.  C drove us back to their house, where everyone retired fairly promptly.

I woke up the next morning crying.  I dreamed of the End of my marriage.  It was inevitable, I knew.  I thought I'd steeled myself to that.  But I felt Wife's absence keenly.

Lee camped the night of April 9 near the small village of Appomattox Court House. He attacked west toward supplies in Lynchburg, but Grant's V Corps infantry slid between him and his objective.  Surrounded by vastly superior numbers, Lee surrendered to Grant at 3 PM that day.  The war was effectively over.

I showered and redid my makeup as Ally made a huge breakfast.  Eventually, I was on the road back north, driving on a beautiful warm day.  I made several stops, some at redneck places, and didn't think twice that I was presenting as a woman.  And no one cared.

The Surrender itself helped heal the wounds of war.  In the words of General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who presided over the ceremony:

"When General Gordon came opposite me I had the bugle blown and the entire line came to 'attention,' preparatory to executing this movement of the manual successively and by regiments as Gordon's columns should pass before our front, each in turn. 
"The General was riding in advance of his troops, his chin drooped to his breast, downhearted and dejected in appearance almost beyond description. At the sound of that machine like snap of arms, however, General Gordon started, caught in a moment its significance, and instantly assumed the finest attitude of a soldier. He wheeled his horse facing me, touching him gently with the spur, so that the animal slightly reared, and as he wheeled, horse and rider made one motion, the horse's head swung down with a graceful bow, and General Gordon dropped his swordpoint to his toe in salutation. 
"By word of mouth General Gordon sent back orders to the rear that his own troops take the same position of the manual in the march past as did our line. That was done, and a truly imposing sight was the mutual salutation and farewell. "

The War was over, but those who fought had nothing but admiration and respect for each other.  And the healing began.

I texted Wife and Ally with my progress at each stop.  Ally answered, but Wife didn't.  After four hours, i arrived at M's house and carried my suitcase inside.  The trip to Richmond was over.

But my Journey is not.  In many ways, I am camped out on the night of April 8-9, 1865, and the inevitable is before me.  But to do what needs doing will take incredible courage and cause massive damage.  I will lose my Wife.  We will always be friends, but... Twenty years of marriage... twenty two of history...  and for what?  For my identity?  So I can wear a dress?  MIL wants W to seek an annulment from the church- to say WE never happened.

Why am I tearing apart My Life, and the lives of my Wife and Daughter?

I know what I must do, but my old self is fighting hard.  I don't want to lose Wife.  I don't want to destroy everything.  I NEVER wanted to hurt anyone.

the battle rages in my dreams.  it rages in my waking life.  A Civil War for my Soul, to be a bit melodramatic.  To finish what NEEDS to be done, I, like Grant, need to be relentless.  Despite the cost.

If I don't do this... if I stop now... my destiny will be like so many others.  Like Lisa.  What has been done cannot be undone.

I pray that after this is over, that Wife and I can still be closest of friends.  that we may raise our daughter as a team.  Watch movies.  But I fear that MIL's influence may prevent that.  Wife and I want the best for each other and especially for Daughter, but I fear MIL only wants to burn Me to the ground, as Sherman did as he marched to the sea.  To inflict punishment.  Nothing I've seen proves this wrong.

Someday, I will have peace.  And many years later, God willing, I will pass from this life.  What happens between those two events, I can only guess, and hope to guide.  I want to see my daughter grow up.  i want to grow old with Wife in my life in a significant way.  And maybe that will happen.


Until then...

My War goes on...

And On...

(Most of my history I give here is from memory, with several Internet searches to confirm dates.  yes, I'm a Civil War nut.  If anyone wants more info on that campaign, please go HERE for a summary and the end of the article for a nice bibliography.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I rang in 2014 among Friends.

Linda, me, Sandy, Jake, Hayden

I spent the last hours of 2013, then the first hour of 2014 at the Raven in New Hope, PA.  And, believe it or not, I didn't drink.

Really.  I swear.

I don't go out for New Years anymore.  As the ancient saying goes it's "Amateur night in Dixie." Every moron would be out on the roads driving drunk, and every cop on the payroll would be out waiting for them. 

I really didn't need the hassle or danger.  Been there; Done that.

But Sandy Empanada was coming north to go to the Raven.  And Linda Lewis was in town.  She is temporarily living in the same house as I am as she awaits her place in Florida to open.  She was willing to go out, and I wanted to introduce her around to the Trans Community.  That's one thing she didn't have in Saginaw, Michigan: a Community.  

I wanted to be there for Sandy.  So I went.  I asked Linda to do my makeup and hair, as I screwed up the chance I had at SCC.  And she generously agreed.  She taught me some techniques I never knew and a different way to do my wig.  She teased it up a bit- a bit more than my usual look, but it looked great!

And I received so many compliments all night.  

The Raven was crowded- not as crowded as during a Jen Bryant party, but still crowded.  Linda met many people of the Philly Trans scene.  And she danced the night away.  My knee still hurt from a bone bruise suffered in a work place accident a couple of weeks before, so I didn't dance much.

The clock counted down to the New Year and I almost cried.  (I discussed why here.)  But Time is unstopping and unstoppable.  It is now 2014.  

I hung around until the 1 AM buffet and sat with Sandy, Hayden, and others eating finger hoagies that were simply amazing.

Eventually the night was ending.  I was a little worried about the trip.  The night was VERY cold and I worried not only about the drunks, but also about ice.  But, with Linda happily tipsy in the passenger seat, we arrived back at the house without incident.

With Linda near the end of the Night

I down loaded the pictures from my camera and fell asleep after 3 AM.

Several of the ladies at the Raven discussed Resolutions.  I wrote once on TG Forum that I try to avoid resolutions.  But I made one last year, over Lisa's coffin, and let that be my 2014 Resolution.  I WILL be the Woman I was born to be.  This is the year I go Full time.  This year will be either a monumental success or a spectacular failure.  I can't see much in between, really.

But there's another component.  I'm remaking my entire life.  Completely.  So why not try to re-make my attitude as well.  My Dream is coming true- I will live my Truth.  So there's no need to be so pessimistic.  If I am Living my Dream, then I shall do so Happily... and positively.

Tall Order.

But I think I can do it.  it will be hard to change a lifetime of attitude, but if I can change my entire body, I can change my mind.  Right?

So welcome, 2014.  May you be a year that more than my Dreams come true, but many others' dreams as well!

Casual Look.  I did my own makeup

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sophie's P&L Statement, 2013

P&L.  That's business jargon for "Profit and Loss."  ("BS Bingo" anyone?)  I decided that I'm going to judge whether or not 2013 was a good or bad year in a purely analytical sense.  Coldly.  Dispassionately.  Without feeling.  Vger seeks the creator.

Sorry, got carried away.

Celebrating 2014 at the Raven. 
Makeup and Hair by Linda Lewis

2013 is over.  Finished.  In the books.  And I must say that in many ways, it was the worst year of my life.  But was it?  Let's find out.  I will rate each on points.  1 (meh) to 5 (Incredibly Major).  Then  I'll total the results.


Completed ARD Program                           3
Attended Keystone Conference                   3
Attended Southern Comfort                        4
Met several of my inspirations                    3
Came out to several friends                         3
Cousin Anne accepted me                           3
Lisa Empanada's Affirmation Party            5
Elected to Vanity Club                                3
Parents accepted me                                    4


70 Hour Weeks at Poverty Wages              3
Inability to find a new job                          3
JoAnne Roberts' Death                               4
Wife decided she can't stay with me.         5
Thrown out of MIL's House                       5
Alone on Birthday                                      3
Lisa Empanada's Death                              5
Lisa's Funeral                                             4
The Darkness that followed                       5
"Whatsit"                                                    2

Ok, so those are the majors.   And the totals?

2013 taught me how low I could sink and survive.  And it also taught me that I AM on the right path.  For me.  It's amazing the losses I've suffered.  It's amazing the Joys I've experienced.  I've made some amazing friends this year... and lost my Sister. 

As the countdown to 2014 rolled to zero, I couldn't help but think that I didn't want the year to end.  I felt like I was leaving Lisa behind.  2014 would be a year without her- she Lived in 2013.  I expressed this to Sandy and she felt the same.  As did my cousin Anne, but about her mother.  Life continues without our loved ones.

With Sandy, New Years Eve

I'm still learning to live without Lisa.  Hell, I'm still learning how to Live.

So it's 2014, and the situation is as follows:  I am living at my friend M's at her charity.  I am all but full time as a woman.  I see my daughter once or twice a week, and I have to tell her soon.  Wife thinks I should wait until it's almost time.  Time.  March 25 is the target.  Why?  It's when I leave for the Keystone Conference.  So like my friend Stephanie, I'll return from a conference as my True Self.

There's so much yet to do.  My first few months of 2014 will be busy.  Name change, gender marker, some more hair removal, save save save.

I'd love to think that 2014 couldn't be any worse than 2013, but experience has taught me that it can ALWAYS be worse.  How many more losses will I experience before it's all behind me?  But if it can be worse, I must always acknowledge and remember that I can also be BETTER. 

I was having a lunch with Linda Lewis the other day (she is temporarily living in the same house as I am as she awaits her place in Florida to open) and we toasted to 2014.  We were both in drab.  She then said "if nothing else, at this time next year we won't look like this."  And she was right.  Next Christmas, I'll have been a woman for many months.  Legally. 

At the Raven with Linda Lewis

I have dear friends.  I have some family that accept me.  I have much more than so many transpeople right now, just for the fact that I have a roof over my head. 

So 2014 lies ahead of me.  It will be what I make of it.  I can choose to wallow in Darkness, or reach for Light.  I have chosen to Live.  I have chosen to live MY life, and to be the best parent I can to my Daughter.

I have chosen to be Sophie.

And may all of you have a wonderful 2014.  Choose to Live.