Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Today was an end of a chapter in my life.  A new beginning.  What was that song line?  "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  

With Dr. Osborne last week

Anyway... today was my last therapy appointment with Dr. Maureen Osborne.  She is retiring with her husband to a place she has always loved.  It's a dream come true for her.

Her accomplishments are too many to be listed here.  How many people has she helped?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Who knows... I don't think even she does.  Because she doesn't look at the numbers.  She takes people as they come- one at a time.  As a good therapist should.

I started seeing her in 2009.  It was just after I re-emerged and I wanted help.  I wanted to know how "deep" the femininity ran in me... and what could be done about it.  I already knew that there would be no cure.  If I couldn't face it down after over twenty years of suppressing it, then it wasn't going away.

I was at a Renaissance meeting and the conversation turned to therapists.  My dear friend, the beautiful Vanessa, told me she was seeing Dr. Osborne, who was a specialist in TG issues.  I asked her for the number.  She texted it to me the next day.  And the Monday after, I called to set up an appointment.

Dr. Osborne and some drunkard.  Keystone 2012

I remember the first meeting.  I was so scared!  I went in, determined I was going to face this issue no matter how painful it would be.  Dr. Osborne listened to my story, and asked what I wanted.  I told her I wanted answers.  I wanted to know who I was.  And so began our journey together.

It hasn't always been easy.  I'm not any easy person to get on with.  I'm opinionated, and was, at the time, angry at the world.  But Dr. Osborne was a wonder.  She was caring, and knew when to use "tough love" and administer much needed verbal butt-kickings.  She also introduced me to my wonderful "Big Sister" Mel, who was far blunter, but had been where I was.

Under Dr. Osborne's care, I realized who I really am, and I knew what I had to do.  And she guided me through the steps.  How many others had she seen through this process?  She knew exactly what needed to be done.  Now I am a woman full time.  My anger has vanished.  So many people remark on how different I am now then I was before I transitioned.

And today, that partnership ended.  She moves on, to a new phase in her life.  As do I.  I will need to find another therapist.  I think I have, but it won't be the same.  That doesn't mean it won't be good, but... well there's six years of hard work and history...

 Before I left her I thanked her for her help.  And smiled weakly.  Then I headed down the hall, down the steps, and out into the cold sunny day.  To my car.  Where I cried my eyes out.  I am surprised I was able to hold it in as long as I did.  But I didn't want to cry in front of her.  I didn't want to put a negative tone to our last session.

And So it's over.  I'll see her at Keystone this year, maybe even buy her a drink.  But I am no longer her patient.

Words can't express the depth of the gratitude I have for her.  Or the respect I have for Dr. Osborne.  I would not be where I am today without her.  I would not be Alive today without her.  The Darkness would've claimed me by now, I am sure.

So here, in the only way I know how, I want to thank her, publicly.

Thank you, Maureen.  You are a Godsend.  I wish you a long pleasant life in retirement.  You've earned it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Blessing

At work, one of my coworkers asked me how my transition has affected my friendships.

And I thought about it.

I told her I figured I'd lost over half of my friendships that I had before I transitioned.  She was shocked by this.  I'm not.

A lot of people expressed their support all those months ago (has it been 11 months already?) and promptly fell off the face of the earth.  To be fair, in many cases I have been far too busy to keep up as well.  I work; I write; I sleep.

February 2015- 11 months full time

But let's face it- I am no longer considered "normal" or "One of the guys."  I've changed teams in the most extreme way possible.  Still, so many friendships... gone.

This is actually a blessing in disguise.  Or not in disguise.  Let me put it this way- I now know who my True friends are.  And I know those who couldn't weather this Storm.  I know who will stick with me no matter what.  These people all now know my deepest secret.

That's another topic I discussed with a coworker (both these discussions were on break btw- we don't usually have time for a discussion while on the floor.)  We discussed secrets, and this coworker's particular disgust with them.  She hates secrets.  I laughed.  I said I have no more secrets.  And it's true.  I had a HUGE secret that I kept from everyone- even myself for all those years.  Some secrets are bad; some not.  It's not my place to judge.  I pointed out that I HAD to keep my secret lest I lose my marriage, my abode, possibly my job... and who knows what else.  I'd lose friends.

Now the secret is out.  I'm losing my marriage, lost my home, kept my job fortunately... and lost friends.

But not all of them.  And maybe some of the ones who went away my drift back.  Or not.  But if nothing else, they now all know a transperson.

I AM blessed.  I know who I am.  I live authentically.  And I know whom I can count on when things go bad.

Not bad, I'd say!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sophie's Valentine's Day

As you know, being a blogger is an exotic lifestyle.  It's filled with travel, fine wines, fast cars, beautiful clothes and cute shoes.

Yeah right.

Today in the USA was St. Valentines Day.  It's a contrived holiday meant to force people to spend money on their partners.  And it's not a BAD idea, really.  Except if that's the ONLY time you spend time with your partner.

Last night I had dinner with Wife and daughter.  We waited over an hour for a table at Iron Hill Brewery in Phoenixville, PA.  Dinner was nice.  I miss dinner with my family.  A lot.  In fact the other night I cried my eyes out because I missed my daughter and regret being isolated from watching her grow up.

So what did I do today?  Well I thought I worked 12-8 at the bookstore, so I slept in a little, showered, etc, threw on a red sweater and a heart necklace, and left early for work with the intention of reading a little before my shift.  En route, I received a phone call asking where I was.  Apparently I was working 11-7.  Oops!  So I was thirty minutes late.

I spent my busy day at the bookstore.  Came back to the apartment.  Zoey had made dinner for the three of us, and we watched Skyfall.

And that was my exotic holiday.

I have no illusions.  Once Wife divorces me, I will be alone the rest of my life.  It's part of the price I pay for authenticity.  I understand that.

I've never liked Valentines Day.  I'll like it even less in years to come I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another Dream in Winter

Yet again, I dreamed of college last night.

And yet again, the setting was the same: my fraternity house.  As always, it wasn't the house as it was (or is.)  It was a grotesque parody, monstrously huge and always with parts under construction to make it more different from the house I knew.

Skull House 1987

And as always, the brothers were exactly as they were when I was there nearly thirty years ago.  Only I have gotten older.  I am as I am now.

This time the weather was warm, and there was a social with a sorority.  Pretty girls were everywhere.  It was a BBQ social, so we were grilling stuff.  We had this huge monster grill at the house made from a cut in half burning barrel (and operating it was a very talented guy who eventually started a VERY successful restaurant chain in Northern California with Guy Fieri) but in the dream I only assumed it was there, as I never saw it.

Anyway, I walked around the house as I always do in these dreams, and notice all the changes.  In this case, one of the rooms I lived in had its wall knocked down as well as the room next to it to create a very large single room.  I remember thinking that yet another part of me has vanished.

Down in the kitchen. there were trays of food everywhere, and people swarming them like locusts (at least some things never change!)  I was offered a piece of spiral ham by a guy I recognized as being a few years ahead of me, but he was still young.  And since when do people barbecue spiral ham with pineapples?  But in any case, I took it and went out a side door that didn't exist to side yard that also didn't exist (but if it did, it would've been to the left side of the picture above, while the kitchen would be to the right rear of the photo.  If that makes sense.)

The attic often appears in my dreams, but much larger

The yard was wide and green.  Scattered about were seven black picnic tables, more or less in a circle, except there was one in the middle.  There were places to sit at all the tables here and there, but the one in the center wasn't occupied at all.  And I felt so uncomfortable asking anyone if I could join their table, each brimming over with brothers and sorority girls having a wonderful time.  No, I placed my plate at the empty table in the middle of it all, knowing no one would join me.  But I didn't sit down.  I looked around and figured if I sat down there, everyone would see how lame I was to be sitting alone.  I picked the plate back up and went back inside where I stood at the side of the kitchen and ate.

I looked through a door and saw a row of kegs in the foyer (another door that doesn't and couldn't exist) all tapped and waiting, but with only one person there filling a clear plastic pitcher.  I remember thinking how odd that was, but then again, everyone was eating right?

I went back outside, and I awoke with a start.  I was sweating.  I was back to reality as I know it, in my bed.

I've spent all day thinking about this dream.  What does the symbolism mean?  If anything?  Or does it just mean that I shouldn't have had manwich for dinner last night.

I really need new pictures

Monday, February 9, 2015

Keystone Prequel and Prep

"Anyway, a glass of wine and off to bed. I was soaked with sweat. I took off the clothes, but not the wig. Started packing. Shoes... Wash off breastforms...
Then I looked in the mirror at my face and wig. It made me so sad. I would take off the wig, and Sophie would disappear. If only for a while I know, but... It still made me so sad. So, I whispered to my reflection "Goodbye Sophie" and removed my wig and makeup."    (entry from March 15, 2009)

"It was eerie. When I close my eyes and think about the walk to the Dog & Pony on Sunday morning I swear I can hear dying echos of the most genuinely delightful laughter. It's like hearing ghosts from the past, Sophie."

Hayden Denton,  TCPA staff  (entry from March 31, 2013)

The seventh annual Keystone Conference is coming.  The above quotes are from blog entries I wrote about past conferences.  (To be fair, the one is a quote I reproduced with Hayden's kind permission.)

I just re-read the first quote about a half hour ago and started to cry.  I remember being so sad.  As my dear friend Tammy commented, I've come so far.  I don't say goodbye to Sophie any more.  I've said goodbye to many things in this journey: marriage, comfortable life, etc, but I now see Sophie in the mirror when I wake up every morning.

But my point is this- Keystone evokes very strong emotions from those who attend. 

My first Keystone gala- 2009

As those who follow this blog know, I've been attending Keystone since the very first one.  This one will be the seventh...my seventh as well.  Each year it gets bigger and better.   And again I am presenting (10:30 AM on Thursday if you'd care to come.)

But this is where is gets complex.  Simply put, I couldn't afford to go.  And as much as I love it, Keystone is a luxury.  I really wanted to go and see my friends, enjoy the speakers, learn, Vanity Club dinner- everything about it.  But I couldn't afford it.

Fortunately, Keystone offers financial aid.  I applied.  And was accepted.

I wish to publicly thank those running the Keystone Conference for helping me attend this year's conference.  

Keystone is different for me now, but has always been a place of comfort.  I spent my first days full time as a woman at Keystone.  I met so many of my friends there.  It was an oasis in a sea of drab, and now it's a mile marker.  Every year I want to be better than I was when I last left the conference.  Each year I arrive and ask myself- Have I improved?  Am I a better person; a better woman than I was the year before?

I am so very lucky to be where I am.  I am Me full time now.  Things could be better, sure, but at least I'm not pretending or lying to the world any more.

Keystone has been the springboard for so many on this journey.  I love attending it.  Maybe this year, I can make a difference...

Ally, Linda, and Me at Keystone 2014

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I've been conducting a very formal scientific type survey at work.  (For those who don't know, I work at a bookstore.)

Anyway, next to my cash register is a magazine display featuring Bruce Jenner on the cover of people magazine.

SO I waited.  If someone mentioned the magazine (or Jenner) I asked them "What do you think about that?"

Here are some of responses I received.

"I don't know why anyone would want to be a woman."  (30 something woman)

"I wish him the best.  That can't be easy."  (40ish woman)

"Too much money."  (40 something man)

"I hope he's proud of himself.  She.  He.  Whatever it is."  (30 something man)

There's more, but this is a representative sample.  Many were sympathetic.  As expected, people buying conservative books had all negative reactions.  I don't think any of the people I questioned clocked me as trans.  Or maybe they did- I don't know.

As I said, totally scientific.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

On Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner has been in the news of late.

In case you've been out of touch, Bruce Jenner won the 1976 Gold medal in the decathlon for the US.  He was on Wheaties boxes, etc.  Currently, he's best known from being the Kardashian's step dad.  Oh how the mighty have fallen!

So today alone, three of my coworkers asked my opinion of the Bruce Jenner situation.  i wonder why they asked me?  Like I have an opinion?  Hee hee.

I don't know Bruce Jenner, and all I know about his current situation is what I read and what I'm told, as I don't watch that tv show.  But I will say this:

If Bruce Jenner is transitioning, I wish her the best of luck and strength.  She's going to need it.

Transitioning is so very hard even in the most private circumstances.  Some people have it relatively easy- others...  well, others don't survive it.  So far I've managed to stay alive, though more than once I've considered my situation Hopeless.

Bruce Jenner would have to transition in the full glare of a media frenzy.  She would become the new Face of Trans- for better or for worse.

Maybe Bruce Jenner will be exactly what the community needs- a thoughtful, articulate spokesperson used to the spot light.  Maybe the media will stop laughing and take her seriously, and start taking US seriously.  Maybe the extremists on the Right will learn to stop hating.

Me?  I can't see how this ends well.  But I've been wrong before.