Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Moving Stories

I have Moved.

I'm in an apartment in Jeffersonville,PA.   OOPS!  So much for having an undisclosed location.  Anyway, it's a two bedroom apartment.  I am living with roomies Linda Lewis and A.

Remember A?  Well check the Codex to refresh your memory.

In any case, A hasn't moved in yet.  Just Linda and I currently.  (Or should that be "Linda and me"?  Grammarians?)

So.  Moving is never fun.  And Linda and I did it alone.  I didn't ask anyone to help as I had nothing to give them for their help, like a dinner or stuff.

So I rented a U-Haul and we started by going to pick up some things from a friend (like bed frames) and then to MIL's to get a couch.  This is the couch that was in my old house in Baltimore.  It's a sectional and it's VERY heavy.  And losing my muscle mass to HRT didn't help one bit.

I also didn't fit up the stairs of the apartment.  I ended up breaking it as we tried.  As in REALLY broken.  Useless.  We left it by the dumpster.

I mentioned bed frames.  We have no beds to put on them.  I spent the first night there on the floor.  That wasn't fun.  Then a coworker (let's call her Geri) lent us a queen sized inflateable mattress, which has been awesome.

So Linda and I spend our nights sitting on the floor watching dvds on the computer (when I'm not working.)  We still don't have internet, and won't for a week.  I'm typing this at the Penn State Great Valley Library.

A will be moving in soon.  She has more furniture and stuff we need.  I will help her move.  

That's where we stand.  Much of what we have has been sitting in MIL's basement for 11 years, and was from my old Baltimore house.  Thanks to Wife for letting me take it.  Some friends have volunteered furniture, which we are happy to get. 

In fact, my Friends have been amazing through this whole process.  Some have donated the money we used for getting set up.  Others have lent things like the bed.  I really can't thank them enough.  Special thanks to Tammy Matthews and Jenny North for their wonderful help.  Also thanks to the "Anonymous donor" who doesn't want her identity known as she has a reputation as a republican to protect.  Seriously!  :)

That's rreally it for now.  I'm not homeless.  And that's because of my friends.  I lost many people when I transitioned.  But I gained so many new friends who closed ranks around me and Linda and helped in our time of need.

Thanks again to you all.  I am truly blessed.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I'll Be Bach...

Or Beethoven.

Not amused

In any case, I'll going to be offline for a while.  I'm moving and it will take a little time to get the computer back on line.

This is a Good Thing.  It means I have a place to live that ISN'T my car.

See you soon!

Be well!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Faith in Humanity

I waited on a customer Saturday.  Actually we had many customers at the store Saturday.  

Anyway, this woman comes through the line.  She's wearing a shirt that said "You're not the boss of me."  I asked her if she would say that to Bruce Springsteen.  (I saw a cartoon in the paper with this joke.)

She laughed politely.  I finished the transaction and she left, like many before and after her that day.  So maybe thirty minutes later, she goes through the long line (the store was VERY busy) and stands in front of me again.  This time, she hands me an envelope and says "This is for you."  Then she left.

The Envelope

It was maybe another fifteen minutes until we had a short lull in the crowd.  I opened the envelope.  In it was a note and a gift card to Fridays.  

"Dear Sophie,
I admire your courage and like your dress.
I hope you can use this to enjoy a meal on me.
You rock!!"

The Dress I was Wearing Saturday (Pic from Keystone Conference)

I was stunned!  I didn't know this person at all, and she gave me this wonderful gift!  

But wait a second...  She only LIKED the dress???  (hee hee)

I have since discovered the identity of this mystery woman, and I have her permission to reproduce her note on the condition of her anonymity.  She just wanted to be a stranger bringing happiness.

And she succeeded!

Faith in humanity restored!

The Note and Gift Card

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Reader Mail: Anatomy of a Cry

I get messages from time to time from my readers.  Questions.  Usually I answer these personally and privately.  Not this time.  A Reader who wished to remain anonymous asked me Why I cry.  After all, I have it made, right?  Full time, C/D cup natural breasts, accepted at work, friends, blog... what in hell do I have to cry about?  Especially compared to a CD who dresses only occasionally and feels the Pain constantly.  Like this Reader.

Well Reader, I'll answer your question for All to read.  I will document my last four big crying jags.  All of which occurred in the past five days.


At work, I overheard a mom talk about her son, who wasn't there.  She was shopping for his birthday with her daughter, and she mentioned that he collects the "City" Legos.  I put this out of my mind for the last hour of my shift.  I clocked out and went to my car.

You see, back when Wife and I first married, I collected a certain type of Legos too.  I collected the Castles.  Wife would give them to me for Christmas.  And on snow days, we would make hot chocolate, put on a CD and build them together.  And we'd leave them built a week or so, then take them apart for the next snow day.  It was Something we did a lot before my Daughter was born.  Just the two of us, in our home (be it an apartment or our house) surrounded by a snow storm, nice and warm and playing.

There's still one Castle set that We never built,  Still in the box, untouched.  And I will never build it now.  Now we are apart.  The days of us as Man and Wife, well, they're done.  I highly doubt we'll ever live together again.  Maybe I can sell the old sets on eBay someday.  Or keep them for Daughter when she's old enough.

So I thought about this, sitting in my car.  I thought about what I gave up to be True to myself.  What is past.  What is Future.  All symbolized in plastic bricks.  I Cried my eyes out.

A few days before that, I passed a cemetery.  And I thought about my eventual end.  You see, Wife is a few years younger than me.  We figure I'll die first.  And the plan was that I would be cremated, and she'd keep the ashes.  And when she died, my ashes would be put in her coffin (as a catholic, she doesn't want cremation)  That way we could be together through eternity.  I thought about this.  And how in all likelihood, this will never happen.  I will die alone and my remains will, well, whatever.  That togetherness will not happen.  And I cried.  I cried so hard, I pulled over to pull myself together.

A couple nights ago, I spoke to my six year old daughter on the phone.  After we talked, I went to another room of the house I'm in, and cried my eyes out.

A week ago, I went to bed a little early.  I was wearing the clover necklace that I had once given Lisa.  I looked at it as I took it off for the night, and I thought of Her.  Cried myself to sleep.  I still miss her.  A Lot.

Tonight, I sat on the porch.  I was wearing a Sun dress, one of Lisa's.  I looked down at myself.  Even a year ago, this night would've been far fetched.  My hair now touches my shoulders.  My nails are painted.  My breasts hold up the dress.  No forms- me.  I am a full time woman now.  I'm still getting used to it.  Now and forever, I am a Woman.  I paid the price.  I've earned it.

Let's make that number of Cries five.  I cried typing this.

So, Reader, I hope this answers your question.  And keep the comments coming... and the questions.  I love both.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Seeing Dad

On Tuesday, May 27, 2014, I drove down to my parent's house in Delaware.  This would be my dad's first time meeting me as Sophie.  He has known about it for a while, but hasn't seen me.  My mum met her daughter back in February.

With me on this trip was Linda Lewis.  She'd never seen the Atlantic Ocean, so I thought it would be fun to take her to Rehoboth Beach and push her in, I mean show her the surf.

First thing in the morning, I went to my therapy appointment and we discussed ideas and possibilities for the day.  I didn't tell her about the trip at the previous appointment as I hadn't planned it at that point.  She wished me well.

Yes, I was really nervous about this.

And so at 10:30 that morning Linda and I headed south towards lower Delaware.  My parents live in a small town on the Indian River Bay, and the journey took about two and a half hours.

Coast of Lower Delaware (Google maps)

We arrived when expected, at 1 PM.  By this point, I was very scared.  My dad, in case you haven't followed this blog, wasn't the nicest of people when I was growing up.  That's an understatement.  He was quite the disciplinarian to say the least.  Growing up, I was absolutely terrified of him.  Add to the fact that he was trying to "make a man outta me" which was the last thing I wanted...

How would he react to seeing me with breasts?  As his daughter?  I really had no clue.  He'd been accepting when I came out, but words are one thing and seeing your son dressed as a woman is an entire different kind of flying altogether.

Linda wanted to get inside, so up the stairs, open the door (which sticks) and there both my parents were.  Mum was right inside the door, and hugged me.  Dad was off to the side in the kitchen.  He stood when we entered.

View from back porch

Now comes the quandary.  As this is something to do with family, it should be private.  But this blog has been all about my life and I know that inquiring minds want to know.

So I'll say what happened, but leave out some bits.  Fair enough?

In any case, Mum hugged me.  Then dad came over... and hugged me.  That was only the second time ever in my life.  He smiled... another rarity.  I introduced Linda.  I don't know how she felt about meeting my parents but I was sure glad she was there.  She's a wonderful conversationalist and filled in the "gaps" of the conversation as if we rehearsed it.

We talked a little, and mum made us tuna sandwiches... but she never puts onions in them, and dad does.  These had onions.  Dad had made them.  Linda and I both had two, and then headed for the beach.  We would return for dinner.

Through the traffic to Rehoboth Beach.  We found parking, bought Linda some sandals, and headed for the beach.  Linda had previously seen the Pacific, but never the Atlantic.  I introduced them.  No I didn't push her in.

Linda meets the Atlantic

I also waded into the water.  It was cold and perfect for a 92 degree day.


We bopped around the beach for a little, then headed back to the boardwalk and to the Greene Turtle.  I wanted to go there as I had unfinished business there.  You see, the last time I was at Rehoboth as Sophie was Beauty at the Beach in 2011.  I planned on going to the Greene Turtle as me, but was too scared.  So this time I went straight up the steps and into the bar.  No hesitation, no issues.  Linda and I both had a cold beverage, as we were both sweating like crazy from marching across the sand in the heat.

See?  We were there!  Really!

After we cooled down, we walked on the boardwalk for a bit.  I asked Linda to take a couple of pictures that would be in the exact spot of my favorite pics from BatB those years ago.  And she did.

Not exact, but close enough

We were in front of the Atlantic Hotel, where BatB is held,  for those pictures, and if I had the money I would've treated to a shot at the bar there to my late friend JoAnn Roberts.

We then went south to another place:  Bethany Beach.  This is where for many years I came with Wife and her family.  It's a quiet beach town.  I'd never been there as a woman.  This was the first time.

Bethany was a ghost town.  They heard we were coming?

It was windy by then.  Storms were coming.

As I walked around, a thought occurred to me that should have beforehand.  My days of coming to Bethany for vacation were over.  I'd never do a beach vacation like those again.  For one, I'd never be invited again, as her family is no longer speaking to the "freak."  And if they did invite, I'd politely decline.  Maybe I'd go there with Wife and daughter someday, but I doubt even that.

From Bethany, I drove back to my parents' house for dinner.  As it simmered, my mum showed Linda and I a bunch of earrings she didn't want and told us to take what we wanted.  Some were quite old.

We then walked out on the pier for pictures.  The wind was quite strong now as the storm approached.


Even windblown, she's still hot

Dinner was quite good.  Linda told stories from her California and airport days, where she serviced planes.  My dad is mechanically inclined, so he took to her immediately.  Directly after dinner, my mum hurried us out, as the dark clouds were coming in at a high speed.

We were on the road maybe half an hour when the storm hit, and it was nasty.  It stayed with us most of the trip and slowed us considerably.  As I drove, Linda and I discussed the day and what it meant.

So what DID it mean?

I didn't know what to expect.  But Dad was polite and even hugged me goodbye.  He managed to get my name right every time, but had some pronoun trouble, which is to be expected.  In the end, it was a very affirming experience.  I've come to the conclusion that what Was in my family relationship is Past.  We are on new ground entirely.  Where there was once animosity and distance, there is now a new closeness.

I do NOT take this for granted.  At all.

In many ways, I am very lucky with my transition so far.  I lost my home and will probably lose my marriage, true.  I've lost friends.  But I regained my family, and have so many wonderful people in my life supporting me.  People I owe so much.

My parents and I still have a long way to go.  This is still just the beginning, and things could still sour.  but I am now hopeful.  The hardest parts- disclosure and meeting them- are behind me.

I still have rough times ahead, but this helps me gain strength for this Journey.

I wish you the same strength in your Journeys.

Our Day:  1) parent's house  2) Rehoboth  3) Bethany