Thursday, March 26, 2015

Keystone Conference 2015 Part 1

The Keystone Conference 2015 has come and gone.  Keystone means so many things to those who attend.  In the past, it was a door that allowed me to be Myself for a few days at a time.  But then I'd have to return to drab life.

Keystone 2014 was my doorway to a new life as I left the drab behind.

Keystone 2015 was still a door, but through which I reached to others.  Thanks to the amazing volunteers at Transcentral PA, I had the opportunity to help those who were just starting out.

This was my Seventh Keystone Conference, and I wouldn't have been able to go without a scholarship from the people who organized the conference.  Scholarships are available based upon need, and as I am a retail worker, I needed the help.

Thanks again to the organizers for the scholarship!

I drove up with roomie Linda Lewis on a cold, windy Wednesday morning, March 18.  We arrived at around 11:15, and checked into room 309.  We then went to the Dog and Pony bar to wash the dust from the road from our mouths with a cocktail.  We didn't eat there, as we already had plans for lunch.

Newly arrived

We had lunch plans with my dear friend (and Vanity Club sister) Olivia Loren.  She was attending Keystone from Arizona, and brought her beautiful fiancee Kayden.  I feel I know Kayden a bit from her facialbook page and from all that Olivia has told me, It was an absolute thrill to finally meet her.  She, like Olivia, is an intelligent and fun as she is beautiful.  I did my best to not intrude on them too much during the conference, as theirs is truly such a rare thing: True Love.  You can see it in everything they do, and it is truly Magic.

Kayden (left) and Olivia (right)

After lunch. Linda and I unpacked and hung around, meeting people as they arrived.  We had dinner with an old and dear friend, Vanessa.  I've known her for many years.  She's the one who recommended Dr. Osborne to me.  No pictures, as she works in a VERY male dominated industry and would lose her job very quickly if discovered.  that's right, we still have no employment protection under the law here in PA for TG people.

Wednesday Night

After dinner, Linda, Vanessa, and I sat in the bar and relaxed.  Amanda Richards, makeup artist extraordinaire joined us for a while, and did several others.  Linda pointed out that at the bar were a few guys looking at her.  She flirted from a distance with them, but nothing major.  It was a mellow night and I was in bed by 11.

Amanda Richards

The next morning, I woke earlier than usual, showered and prepped.  I had an appointment with Amanda arraigned the night before.  She did my makeup, then I saw Donna Miller to sort out some life for my hair.  I then dressed in my suit, and was ready for my seminar.  But first was lunch, and the speaker was Kristin beck, the retired SEAL who is now running for Congress.  I had a chance to speak to her briefly before lunch, and she was amazing as always.  Her speech was the best I've seen from her.  She has become quite a relaxed speaker, but is still Very "Real."

Senior Chief Kristin Beck

After lunch was my seminar: 2 PM in the Dogwood Room.  Before I went downstairs, Linda helped me make a video.  I then checked my material, went to the room and prepped the easel with my needed pics.  I didn't use Powerpoint.  I don't own a laptop.  I'd be presenting on my usual topic of Writing TG Fiction as Therapy.  In past years, I've averaged about a dozen attendees.

Ready for the Seminar

Not this year.  I had eight.  And of those, five were friends of mine.  That's ok, I thought.  I can do this.  And then the whole thing fell apart.  Two of the people wouldn't stop giggling, and a third didn't contribute at all.  My entire lesson plan is based on this being an interactive exercise.  And yes, I know that "No lesson plan survives first contact with the students" but I gamely kept going.

After the seminar, my five friends said it went well.  The other three said nothing to me, even when i thanked them for coming.  I crashed and burned.  I felt like sh*t.  I felt like I failed.

And with that in mind, I went back to the room and laid down for a few minutes.  I had a 5:20 appointment to get some pictures taken with Cassandra Storm.  I read the conference materials, figuring out which seminars I'd attend.  Then I went to get my pictures done.

I then changed clothes and joined my old friend Jenny Jensen doing something I'd never done at Keystone:  I played Bingo.  I sat with the gorgeous Jenny North, who takes her bingo quite seriously.  The year before, she'd won a nice wig.  Well,  I didn't win anything in Bingo, but I ruled the trivia questions between games.  I won lots of small things, but at the end won a nice set of breast enhancers from the BreastForm Store.  As I don't need them I'll either donate them or sell them on ebay.  Probably sell them, as I have bills racked up from the conference to pay.  More on that later.

Run!  She has a microphone!

So then I went to the bar and sang karaoke.  I sand Joe Jackson's "Is She really going out with him" with a little success.  The bar was PACKED with people.  My dear friend Ally sand two songs beautifully, and my therapist Dr. Osborne absolutely ruled a Peggy Lee song.

Ally sings so well!

The night ended quietly.  Ally had arrived so all three of us called it a night.  Tomorrow would be a new day...

To be continued in Part 2

1 comment:

  1. It was great seeing you at the conference last weekend! And I said it before, but it bears repeating: I know the seminar didn't go like you'd hoped, but try not to beat yourself up over it. I think you had some tough competition in that time slot, and interactive sessions are always a huge roll of the dice. I think you did the best you could with the group you had, and your preparation and guidance was a big help. I know it probably didn't feel like a win, but kudos for sticking your neck out like you did--the topic and format were a welcome change from the other sessions!