Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Last Weekend

I had Saturday and Sunday off last weekend.  I actually didn't realize it until Saturday, so any "going away" plans were not made.

The Pope was in Philadelphia and all of South East PA was closed down.  Were they expecting someone to detonate a nuke or something?  In any case, traffic was more than a bit snarled.

So what did I do?  Well, I saw Wife and Daughter both days.  On Saturday, we went to see Hotel Transylvania 2.  It was a fun movie, and Daughter loved it.  It had enough jokes for the adults as well.  Good family entertainment.  I also saw my dog, Nittany, for a little bit.

So why did I feel absolutely depressed?

I don't know.

Saturday morning, I was hit by a tidal wave of Darkness (see here for explanation of my terms, those who don't get the reference.)  I have no idea where it came from or why it hit, but I was suddenly desperately depressed.  After dropping off Wife and Daughter, I went back to the apartment and quietly watched TV with Linda.  I really don't remember what we watched.  I was lost in thought.  I wrote a blog entry that night.  About what?  My suicide attempt in 1990.  Yeah, really helpful.

I went to bed around 2:30 AM.  The next morning I slept as long as I could.  I went grocery shopping with Wife and Daughter and returned to the apartment.  I went directly to the bedroom.  My dear friend Ally texted me, asking what was wrong.  (I posted on Facialbook "What the hell is wrong with me?)

Oh, quick sidebar.  Friday night and Saturday morning I was on Facialbook.  There is a group I'm in which concerns the town where I live.  I have posted several items about transgender rights, politics, etc.  Many people have been supportive of the TG posts, but several have been REALLY nasty.  You know how trolls are.  Well, both Friday and Saturday, people got ugly personal, sending me PMs, etc.  Usually as soon as someone gets personal, I block them. And so I did.  But it didn't help my mood.

Anyway, Ally texted me.  I told her about the Darkness, and that I was laying on my bed curled up in a ball and crying, which I was.  She tried calling me, but I'd silenced my phone.  I cried myself to sleep.

A few hours later, I awoke.  I dragged myself into the living room.  Linda was on her computer.  I told her how I felt.  She did her best to help me pinpoint the issue, but we couldn't.

My dear friend Sandy Empanada texted me.  She wanted to know what was wrong.  Had she read FB or did Ally contact her?  No idea.  Didn't matter.  We texted back and forth as we discussed the Darkness.  You see, she knows all about it, having lost her spouse Lisa to it two years ago.

Maybe that was part of it?

In any case, I couldn't stop crying.  I kept thinking about how I'd destroyed my marriage and how my daughter was going to have issues growing up because of me.  I kept thinking about all I gave up to be a woman.  And I thought about Lisa, and how I missed her.  How I wished I could speak with her.  And how tempted I was to follow her.  How easy it would be...

Actually, it wouldn't be easy.  I'd deprived myself of Method.  The only way I could do it at this point would be a car accident or jumping in front of a huge moving vehicle.  Those methods could leave me crippled and not dead.  I wanted a sure thing.  Didn't have that... intentionally.  Sometimes I'm pretty smart.

So I suffered through the rest of the day.  I took melatonin to help me sleep.  And sleep I did.  The next day I worked at the bookstore.  I felt a bit better, as work kept my mind focused.

And this morning, I woke up fine.  The Darkness had passed.

I still have NO idea why it hit me so hard and so suddenly.  It was very scary, to be blunt.  And I don't scare easily.

On my way to work this morning

So today, I'm at the register. A regular customer comes up and greets me by name. She has a book reserved, which I give her. She wants to look it over, which is fine. As she walks away she looks back at me and says "Thank you, SIR." I immediately reply "Sir??" and she says " oh sorry." 

Later that day, another woman "Sir"-ed me.  At least her apology was genuine.

Ok, I was wearing a nice new purple blouse, wearing a black skirt.  My confidence was shaken.

Then I received word of the death of fellow Vanity Club sister Stefia Satoh.  She died peacefully in the arms of family after a bout with cancer.  

I finally went home, and Linda and I went grocery shopping with Linda.  We watched a movie.  I bounced around Facialbook and messaged with my cousin Anne in Scotland for a bit.

Then I started typing this entry.

Tomorrow will be a better day!


Monday, September 28, 2015

Saturday from the Past

Long time readers might remember when the blog often talked about my one weekend out a month.  That's all I could swing while keeping Wife from becoming suspicious.  I signed off from work for the third Saturday of every month.

That was Sophie time.

That was time for the monthly Renaissance meeting and for Angela's Laptop Lounge.

What was my excuse?  That I was playing Dungeons and Dragons.  I used to play all the time (in fact I freelanced for TSR for a bit), but hadn't since moving back to PA from Baltimore.  So the idea of me attending a once a month game was perfectly feasible.

Things have changed.  Every day is Sophie time.  I no longer sign off for that day, so usually I'm working.  Often, I close the store on Saturday nights.  Even if I don't, I usually work until 7 or 8, so I haven't been to Ren since... well over a year I think.

Saturday, September 19, I worked 10-6.  My dear friend Jone, who is the treasurer at Ren, asked me to come and help out, as it was the annual BBQ, and the president Kris couldn't be there.  I said I would.  I asked my roomie and bestie, Linda Lewis if she wanted to come along, and she agreed.

I finished work, drove home, re-did my makeup and changed shoes.  Linda was ready.  We made a quick video, then headed out.  Then. we went to Ren, arriving just after nightfall.

There were many people there already.  Many faces were familiar; many were not.  Food was ready:  sausages, chicken breasts, hot dogs... good ol' American grillin' food!  Someone brought a portable picnic table.  Linda and I greeted friends, and ate some food.  One new person there was named Gia.  I was introduced to her, and I discovered she'd only been dressing in public a few months.  She was gorgeous!

Several people I hadn't seen in too long were there, including my dear friend Jen Lehman.  She was there my first night out as Sophie, and has been a pillar of strength for me since.  She has been full time a few years.

I took some time to walk about the offices.  The back corridor, where I had taken SO many pictures, was dark.  I paused to reflect a moment upon how far I'd come in all the years since I first attended Ren in December 2008.  Back then I was corseted, and had so many uncomfortable pads and prosthetics on... I so desperately wanted to look like my ideal of femininity.  The reality of being a woman now is FAR more satisfying.  Do I wish I could look prettier?  Oh absolutely.  But I'm satisfied for now...  (Taking donations for FFS if anyone is feeling generous!)  ;)

Posing in the hall, November 2009

The speaker that night was Dr. Michelle Angello, who was speaking about duality.  I decided not to attend the talk and instead went to Baxter's early for Laptop Lounge.  Linda and I made ourselves comfortable at the bar and I watched some college football.

Transpeople started trickling in.  There were others there earlier, including a DJ who was VERY loud and frankly not great.  He was probably just starting out, so I'm sure he'll improve.  One of the people was an African American guy, who came over and complimented Linda on her look.  He wanted to know how we "did" our breasts.  As neither of us were wearing forms, we both replied that the Girls were real.  He asked if we were trans, and we both just smiled.

Picture courtesy Angela's Laptop Lounge

My "Big Sister" arrived and we spoke for quite a bit.  It's always great seeing her.

Another guy started hitting on Linda.  She moved down the bar to speak with him.  He told her I looked like a "slut" who was "trying too hard" with "that dress."

Ummm... ok.  As I had worn that dress to work that day, I didn't think it was THAT risque.  Live and learn I guess.

As I had worked that day, I was very tired.  We left at midnight.

It had been a looooong time since I'd done both Ren and Laptop.  Doing so brought back such wonderful memories.  I've met so many wonderful people and discovered who I was meant to be.  Doing both used to mean EVERYTHING to me- I'd go FAR out of my way just for a taste of womanhood.  Now I'm a woman full time.  In fact, last week I marked eighteen months full time!

Life takes us so many unexpected places.

Be well.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Letter to 1990 Lance

Dear Lance,

I tried to send you a letter in 1984, but my Tardis broke down, and the Delorean is in the shop.  So again, I write to you.

At this time in your life, late September 1990, your world has come crashing down.  The girl you loved and intended to marry cheated on you, and you broke up with her the day after your birthday.  Your sanity is hanging by a thread.  Your drinking is out of control.  You are still working at TGI Fridays, and getting angrier and more depressed by the day.

At work, circa 1990-91.  This Fridays no longer exists.

Shall I tell you what happens next?

You and she will get back together briefly.  All will be well, or so you'll think.  To do this, you will sacrifice a blossoming relationship with a coworker.  Then, the woman you love will visit HIM, in Florida where he is stationed.  She promises to end it with him.

She won't.  So you end it with her.  For good.  A couple of drunken weeks later, you'll go to a Halloween party.  Before you go, you'll call her.  And she'll tell you she's in love with him.  You leave the party early, to meet with her as arranged.  You will lose your temper, hit a stone wall, and break your right hand.  You will then throw her out of the house.  From there, you will drive to Valley Forge Park, without wearing a seat belt as has become your habit.  In the car already is a bottle of Southern Comfort, rat poison, and Drano.  You park the car at a spot where you know the Rangers don't often check, and mix the Rat poison with the SoCo.  The Drano will be your backup.

At Penn State, you were known for your ability to drink hard liquor, especially SoCo.  So you take large swigs from the bottle.  Too large.  You open the car door and vomit out everything.  You reach for the Drano, but your hand hurts so much, and you forgot to leave a note.  The note that will explain to the world that SHE is to blame for your death.  The note you hope will stick in her conscience for the rest of her life.  So you go back to your parent's house.  It's past midnight.  You are drunk and your insides are twisted into a knot.  Your mum hears you come in, and finds you at the kitchen table, writing the note in one of your writing notebooks.  She sees your hand is badly swollen and that you can barely write.  You break down, and tell her you want to die.  She takes you to the hospital and, while your hand is being X-rayed, tells the doctor everything she knows.  As you wait in the emergency room for the X-rays, you see three paramedics walk in and sit at the nurse's station.  You recognize two of them as being from West End ambulance.  They all try to act nonchalant, but you know why they're there.  They are there for you.

The doctor brings in the X Rays and confirms a boxer fracture.  He wraps the hand in a bandage, and hands your mother the films.  He tells you that you have a choice: go voluntarily to the psych ward, or...

You look over to the three paramedics, who are now looking straight back at you.

You realize you have no choice.  You agree to go.  They strap you to the gurney, and out you go.  Your mother follows them in her car.  You are checked into Paoli Hospital psych wing.  It is 4 AM.

And there you stay for your mandatory three days, refusing medication.  You miss your friend's wedding.  Your parents visit.  But you don't tell anyone your REAL secret.  No, you've kept that to yourself all your life- and it means nothing right?

When She comes to visit, you cry and she cries and nothing is resolved.  She then goes out on a date with yet ANOTHER guy.  You will not speak to her again for a decade, but, eventually, you will become friends again.

You finish your three days, and are released.  Six months later, you meet your wife.  You don't dare even think of your Dark Secret.

Sounds horrible doesn't it?  How do I know all this?  How do I know your secret?  After all, NO ONE knows it, right?  You've buried it in anger, drinking, and violence.

That's simple:  I'm you- in 2015.  That's right, twenty five years later to the day.  Yes, you live that long.

I no longer feel that anger.  I no longer drink hoping to die.  I wear my seatbelt, not wishing for the accident that would kill me.  I am at peace.  Why?

Because I finally am living life as I should have.  I am now Sophie: a woman.

Yes, really.

You- September 2015

You will be me someday.  I wish you could spare yourself all the pain, drinking, and stupid decisions.  But you won't.  Someday, you will break, devastating the woman you married 22 years before.  You will transition.

By that point, many of your old friends will be gone.  You will have new ones who KNOW who you are.  You will share a community, which will give you purpose.  Are you still an asshole?  Sometimes.  But you don't try to be.

I really wish I could send you this letter.  But- being you, you'd ignore it anyway.

I wish I could speak to you, face to face.  But I can't.

I wish I could tell you that you WILL find peace.

You will.

Lance, you will never be at peace as Lance.  You will be happy as Sophie.  And at peace.

I promise.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bacon or 49

Sunday September 13, 2015 dawned bright and beautiful.  At least I think it did.  I don't know, as I was asleep.

I was sleeping in- as long as I wanted, which is a rare luxury.  It's my birthday, and I'll sleep if I want to, sleep if I want to, sleep if I want to.

My Birthday, September 2013. 

Yes, Sunday was my birthday.  I am now forty nine years old.  I'm nearly fifty.  Somehow it doesn't look so bad when I type out the numbers.  I was born on Thursday, September 13, 1966, at around 2:15 AM.  I kept my mum up late that night, and many nights after.  I was the second and last child my parents would have.  (In 2007, my daughter was born around 2:15 AM as well.  Coincidence?  I think not!)

Anyway, I slept in.  Eventually I decided to roll out of bed.  I was alone in the apartment, my roomie, Internet Sensation Linda Lewis, was off at work.  So I did what anyone would do alone in her apartment on her birthday:

I cooked bacon.

Lots of bacon.  A whole pound.  Yes, I saved some for Linda, but I had most of it in big bacon sandwiches.  My little birthday gift to myself.

After Wife and daughter returned from church, we got together.  The idea was that we would spend the day together then have dinner.  We started the day by going to the Bookstore where I work.  Daughter loves going to the book store, and I do my best to encourage this.  Wife had me pick out a book, which I did (The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, if you must know.)

Birthday September 2014 

From there, we went to the King of Prussia Mall, where we walked around a bit, basically following Daughter around.  We had a good time.  Eventually, it was time for dinner.  We went to Outback Steak House.  As daughter is only 7, taking her to a nicer place is out.  She behaves in restaurants as long as Wife and I keep her occupied.  Still, I miss going to upscale places with Wife.  I kind of think those days are over.

Wife dropped me back at the apartment.  I still was a bit restless, so Linda and I went to one of our favorite hang outs:  Rock Bottom.  There we had a quiet birthday drink, and I talked about my day.  It was a relaxing way to end the day.

Birthday September 2015 at Rock Bottom.  Why am I flexing?

The next day was Monday, September 14.  (Funny that.)  I woke up early, as I was told MIL would be out that morning, so I could come over to see my family and my dog before I went to work.  And so I did.  I found that daughter had placed a bow around my dog Nittany's neck.  As you can see, Nittany was thrilled by this.

My Poor Puppy

As I was preparing to leave for work, I mentioned to Wife that the house was very warm.  She disagreed, saying she was cold.  "But it's no wonder you're sweating with those pads on," she said

I looked at her quizzically.  I said "I'm not wearing pads.  I haven't in a couple of years."

She pointed at my breasts.  "What about those?  Isn't that some kind of pads, or a padded bra or something?"

"No.  That's all me."

Now, Wife is a VERY thin woman with a slight yet delightful figure.  She gets it genetically from her father's side.  So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at what she said next.

"That's not fair!  You have those and you're..."  She walked off in a huff.

I did my best not to laugh.

Many people wished me a Happy birthday on my Facialbook feed.  Thanks to all of you!  Really!  You made me very happy and I felt so loved!

Be Well!

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11/01 (Political)

Many people are posting what they were doing 14 years ago today.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day. I was driving to work at Games Workshop in Glen Burnie, MD, listening to Howard Stern. He was discussing a plane hitting the WTC when Gary (his producer) came in and reported that the second plane had hit. And there was a moment of silence... which on that show was very rare. Stern said we are under attack.

Me, working at GW, date indeterminate

I made it to work, and the place was shocked. Selling toy soldiers seemed so insignificant. I had paramedic training. I should be doing something... people were dying. I tried calling my Wife, but the phone lines were jammed. My boss at the time, a short marine wanna-be, was telling people "get back to work." I decided to take the day off. The radio said that the areas in NY and DC had been sealed off; to stay away. I made it home. I told Wife I was going to give blood. We found a nearby Red Cross center and there was a LONG line, which I got in. Our neighbors had come along as well, but they left when they saw the line. Wife left as well, saying she'd come back to get me.

While I was waiting, a local news crew interviewed some of the people in line. I was one of them, and my interview made it on the air.
I waited in line for 10 hours. Around 8 pm (I think) President Bush addressed the nation. The Red Cross set up a tv so we could all watch. I remember thinking "Ok, you stole the election, but that doesn't matter now. The country needs you: Lead us." And what did he tell us to do? "Go shopping."
When it was finally my turn, the phlebotomist was exhausted. She did her job efficiently. She told me she was going to stay until every last person who came that day was served. There were I think 6 phlebotomists there at that time. They were ALL staying.
I got home at 11 PM. Tired. Emotionally spent. I went to bed, and went to work in a different world the next morning. To sell Toy Soldiers.

There are some who call today "Patriot's Day."  I am not among them.  


After 9/11/01, the GOP commandeered the term "Patriot" to mean "Republicans/ Conservatives who think like the neo-cons and follow orders."  And the term was EVERYWHERE.  If you DARED disagree with the GOP war-mongering, you were branded a "traitor" or a "liberal" (same thing to them)  

That's why so many dems voted FOR the Iraq war.  They didn't dare vote against it, lest they lose all support.  Of course, the "So-called-liberal media" went along with this, hook line and sinker.  They beat the war drums harder than anyone else.  France didn't join the coalition, so once again we had "freedom fries."  Of course, the French were right not to send their children to be slaughtered.

By the time the Bush junta left office, the word "patriot" was indelibly stained in the blood of our troops and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who had done nothing, save for the fact that they were in the way of Halliburton's profits.

Oh, and the short Marine "wanna be?"  Did he go to war?  After all, he was a Navy Medic- a valuable military asset.  He was so very gung ho about the war... but refused to serve in it, despite still being in his early 30s.  "They don't need me" he would say.  I called him on it- called him a hypocrite and a coward.  

To this day, thinking people know that the word "Patriot" is a dog whistle meaning "intolerant extreme white wing Republican" who will not listen to anyone save their Fox News masters.

There are those who consider 9/11/01 to be an "inside job."  At first, I thought "no American would EVER do this to our own country."  But then the crimes of the Bush junta kept piling up.  The atrocities.  Torture.  Illegal war against a sovereign country for no reason.  People detained without access to counsel for YEARS.  People losing careers for speaking out- including the outing of a top secret CIA operative by the administration.    

So, when someone says "it was inside job" I don't dismiss it out of hand.  The Bush junta would've stooped to that level to get it's Patriot Act and wars, and subsequent jackpot to Halliburton.  So I'm not saying I agree with those theories, but I am willing to entertain the discussion, as I think the Bush junta were capable of such evil.  

So.  These are my thoughts on this, the 14th anniversary of tragedy.  I remember the days after that as being so very hard.  Everyone was numb and angry.  The next day, we had a minute of silence at the GW sales floor.  I asked to announce it.  And we were silent.  After the time, I quietly started to sing the National Anthem.  No one joined me, in fact, some gave me angry looks.  

After all, I'm a Liberal.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Place to Start...

My cousin Sharon contacted me once.  She just started reading the blog, and wanted to know where to start.  Well, I don't blame her!  To date, there are 561 posts on this blog, as well as the 41 posts on the Myspace blogs- totaling almost TEN years of posts!  Egad!

I've also noticed that I've suddenly gained a few new subscribers.  Hi folks!  Are you from the book store?  TG Central?  TG Forum?  Spaceballs combing the desert?  In any case, welcome aboard!  So this post is for you as well.

So.  Where to start?

Well, the easiest place to start could be the beginning... the Dec 2008 post in my Myspace blogs.  And that's fine.  If you want to read through my evolution from a scared person taking her first steps into a strange new world, that's the place to start.

June 2018

However, that's not what I recommend.  No, I'd say you need to start with some simple basics.  I have two entries that do this, an original and an update.  After that, I'll post some of the more popular entries for your perusal, as well as some critical moments.

First the basics.  Codex Sophie.  Here I define terms and introduce people.  For those new to the world of the gender variant, this is a simple introduction.

Now, some entries:

Day after Play:  From the highest high, to suicidal low.  All inside of 24 hours.

New Dawn Fifty:  September 13, 1966   I celebrate my 50th birthday by wanting to kill myself, and trying to do so.  Obviously, I didn't.  But I discuss it all here.

Thoughts on a Waxing Moon  May 12, 2014   Random thoughts, or are they?

Death, Disclosure and Delaware  June 10, 2013  In which Wife tells me that her mother suspects I'm TG, just as I'm dealing with the death of a mentor.

These next three are related.

Lisa Empanada's The Pain of Being Just Like You... What if I had Died?  (A true story)  August 6, 2013  I attended a party held for my dearest friend Lisa.  I wrote something to her the next day.  She included it in this piece, which she posted on Facialbook.  I reprinted it here with her permission.  What I didn't know was she was telling us ALL something... something horrible.

Goodbye Lisa Empanada September 20, 2013  I wrote this the day I discovered that my dearest friend killed herself.  I still can't read this without crying my eyes out.

Final Farewell:  Lisa Empanada's Memorial  September 27, 2013  This was the most popular post by far for quite some time.  People wanted to Know what happened.  So I told them.  Another one I can't read without crying.

In many ways, to understand MY story- a person must know about Lisa's.  Lisa is still my inspiration.  I still miss her horribly.

A couple of other places to look:

Feelings From a Bittersweet Dream  August 7, 2013.  Here I discuss Lisa's party- and one of the most momentous days of my life.

Tossed Out  September 11, 2013  Here I discuss being thrown out of my MIL's home.  The very next entry was the one about Lisa's death.  As you can see, I had a Horrific September in 2013.  It almost killed me.

Just Another Night  April 5, 2011  Documents my first time ALONE as Sophie in a very crowded place

I Told my Wife  May 5, 2012  When I finally told my Wife my big secret... and her reaction.

My First Day of Work as a Woman  April 1, 2014  Guess what this is about?

Anyway, those are touchstones.  The journey continues, and I'm glad to have you with me for the trip!  If you have questions, you can always email me at or just post them in the comments section of the entry in question.  As I screen comments, I'll definitely see them!

Be well!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


In a previous entry, I mentioned that I did some travelling, and that I'd update everyone on those travels.  Well, I'm finally doing it.  It's already been almost a month!

In mid-August, I took a week off of work.  During that week, I took trips to Richmond, Va (Fri-Sun); Washington DC (Mon); southern Delaware (Weds-Thu); and to Camden, NJ (Fri).  I've already written about the trip to southern Delaware to see my parents:  find that HERE.  Now, I'm going to write about the rest.

The trip to Richmond was to visit my dear friend Ally.  She invited me to her birthday party, and, as I missed the last year's, I was determined to attend this one.  I drove down Friday morning, arriving after a seven hour trip (lots of traffic south of Washington DC.)  After freshening up a bit, we went to Jay and Ally's favorite watering hole, Barcode.  Many of their friends were there, and as always, Ally was flitting about the room.  I had nice conversations with several people.  There was another transperson there.  Her name is Kelly, and we spoke for a bit.  She was a perfectly charming southern lady.

With Ally at Barcode

The next day, I had plans.  Hayden was supposed to arrive by bus around noon, and Ally and I would go collect him from the bus station.  I then planned to go to Hollywood Cemetery and see all the famous people there.  But Hayden's bus was delayed... and delayed... and delayed.  So I waited.  It was nearly 3:30 when he finally arrived.  By then, it was far too late to go to the cemetery and still make the beginning of the party.

I kept asking what I could do, but was told "nothing."  Jay and Ally put together a marvelous spread of food, and Hayden arraigned the veggie plate.  It all looked so good!  (and it was good too!)

Almost Ready!

The party was simply magical.  I met many wonderful people, and re-made acquaintances with many more that I'd met previously.  As I sat in the living room, I saw a knot of guys in front of the bar.  They were discussing... Interior Decorating!  I commented that you could tell it was an LGBT party when guys hanging at the bar weren't discussing sports or women or cars... but Decorating.  Many of them laughed.

Party pic!

I spent a good part of the evening having a friendly discussion with a gay man who was head of the college republicans at UVA.  He was born rich, always had servants, never wanted for a thing in his life.  He said he was sad that for birthday parties, the servants would run the party while his mother drank cocktails in another room.  Yes, that IS sad, but I'm sorry- no sympathy.  I countered his points, and we were quite civil.  He said he couldn't imagine life without money and privilege, and I said THAT'S why you're a republican, despite the party hating [him.]  There is a picture of us speaking together, but as I don't have his permission, I won't post it.

Party Time!

Ally was in her element.  Everyone sang Happy Birthday and she was almost in tears.  The biggest surprise of the night was when one of Ally's daughters arrived.  She was gorgeous- just like Ally!

I went to bed around 1 AM.  I understand the party continued far far later.

The next morning, I woke up, had breakfast, and got on the road.  I offered to take Hayden back to Baltimore as it was on my way.  He was pleasant company on the ride.  After a long day of driving, I arrived back in Pennsylvania, and retired early.  The next day would be another long trip.  You see, on my way home from Richmond, I passed by Washington DC.  And I thought about how long it had been since I'd been there last- a decade at least. My roomie, Linda Lewis used to work on airplanes and has a passion for outer space.  Seriously- she studies the space program like it's her job.  So I figured- hey- Linda is off, we should go down to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  She readily agreed.

I woke up early the next morning.  Linda, always an early riser, was already awake, dressed, made up and on her third or fourth coffee by the time I awoke.  I showered, shaved, did my makeup, and we were on our way!

I used to live in Baltimore, so I knew a little trick.  As it's VERY hard (and very expensive) to find parking in downtown DC, I parked just inside the beltway, and we took the train into the city.  Parking there and the train cost far less than parking in the city, and as a bonus, I didn't have to drive in the city!

Linda waits for the train

As we exited the subway at the Smithsonian station, we were accosted by a man "giving away" maps.  We politely said "no thanks."  He replied "Why don't you want a map, SIR?"  I glared at him.

It was a SUPER hot day, and by the time we'd walked the several blocks to the museum, we were both soaked with sweat.  The air conditioning inside the museum felt SO GOOD!

We spent several hours at the museum.  I knew more about the war planes than Linda, but her knowledge of the space stuff was simply astounding!  She knew what everything was without even reading any displays!  Having her there really added to a wonderful learning experience.  I posted many pictures on Facialbook.  I may post some on Flickr.  I'll only post a few here.

Apollo 11 Command Module

Naval Aviation Exhibit

Left: Voyager; Right: New Horizons (its twin is currently orbiting Pluto)

Linda and I in front of Viking Mars lander.  Upper right is the Spirit of St. Louis

We couldn't see Zefram Chochrane's warp ship, the Phoenix, as it was being restored or something to do with the space time continuum.  The original model was being restored as well.  It normally lives in the lower level of the Smithsonian Gift shop.

 It was late afternoon, and we'd seen most exhibits at least twice when we decided to head home.  We made a video in front of the museum, then walked to the train station.  It was a long trip back, but we finally arrived.

The next trip was Southern Delaware, but, as I stated above, I've already written about this.  I got home from there in the afternoon.  The next morning, Friday, I awoke, got ready, and drove with Linda into Philadelphia to pick up our prescriptions for HRT.  We then drove home as fast as possible, as Wife and Daughter were waiting.  Wife took off work that day so we could go to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ, across the river from Philadelphia.  We had a wonderful time, and even had a family picture done.  Daughter rushed us through the first part of the museum, over-eager for Wife and I to see something  (she'd been to the aquarium previously with day camp).  And when we got there, she was so happy.  It was an underwater tube, around which were swimming many sharks.  She was so enthusiastic about this, and actually about the whole trip in general.  Maybe someday she'll be a marine biologist?

I took some pictures, but they all have Daughter in them, so I'm not going to post them.

It was a very tiring week, but also a productive one.  I was able to see friends and family and accomplish some important things.

But since then, it's been back to work.  Retail... and Christmas is coming...

Be well!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Codex Sophie Version 2.0

This entry will be updated as needed.  It's sort of a resource for the Blog.  Here you'll find basic definitions of terms and who the people are that I reference most often.

A quick summary of my life as it is currently:

Who am I?

That's a deep question.  I am Sophie Lynne.  I am a pre-operative transgender woman.  I was born in September 1966.  I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Education, then many years later I earned a Masters degree in Education, also from Penn State.  I married in 1993, and currently am still married.  My daughter was born in 2007.  I used to work at a bookstore as a supervisor, but was laid off in February 2018.  I am currently living in an apartment in S.E. Pa.  I went full time as a woman on March 25, 2014.  I now do Outreach at Universities, and wherever I'm invited, really.  I have been writing my whole life, and have been published in international magazines as well as the New York Times.  I wrote a book about my college years, but it has yet to be published. I've posted some chapters here in the blog, though.

What is a Transgender?
According to the American Psychological Association, transgender is:

an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice, or body characteristics. “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.” While transgender is generally a good term to use, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person. The ways that transgender people are talked about in popular culture, academia, and science are constantly changing, particularly as individuals’ awareness, knowledge, and openness about transgender people and their experiences grow.   Source

HERE is another good definition with some follow up questions.

When did you realize you were transgender?
I knew I was different when I was four- that I was in the wrong body.  I was 11 when a special ran on the local news called the "Transsexual Dilemma" and I was like- That's me!"  Of course, being in a very blue collar family in the 1970s I thought I was only one like me in the world.  I crossdressed for a while until I was about 16, then stopped.  I started again in 2008.  I realized that I needed to transition comparatively recently.

Like many TGs, I joined a fraternity in college. I also participated in hyper-masculine activities in an effort to bury my feminine feelings.

Frat boy???

Why did you choose to be Transgender?
I DIDN'T choose this.  I was born this way.  Being transgender is NOT a mental condition, it is a Physical condition. There are several theories as to how this happens:  a flood of estrogen in utero at the wrong time, faulty hormone receptors in the fetus... but in the end, no one really knows for sure.

Here's a VERY good dicussion on the current theories.

Why would someone CHOOSE to be TG?  Why would they choose a life of prejudice and hatred?  A life where they constantly feel the anguish of not being "Right"?  41% of TG people attempt suicide.  Compare that to 3% who attempt suicide in the non-trans population.  Our murder rate is much higher than the cisgender population as well.  It's a HARD life.  An expensive one.  And, in the end, a life of uncertainty and pain.  Yeah, definitely my first choice.  *rolls eyes*

Why did you stop in 1983?

I was ashamed.  I felt like a freak.  And I'm sure if I were caught, the punishment would've been VERY severe.  So I suppressed it for many, many years- doing my best to be the guy I was expected to be.  I wasn't very good at it.  Remember, this was before the internet, so I thought I was the only "freak" who had those feelings.

Why do I call myself Sophie?

I didn't start with this name.  In December of 2008, I went for my first makeover at Femme Fever in NY.  Karen, the proprietor, did the makeup and asked what name I was using.  I told her but said it was not set in stone.  She stepped back and looked at me, as the makeup was finished, but I hadn't seen myself yet.  She looked at me and said "I have a strong feeling your name is Sophie."  She then turned the chair around so I faced the mirror and said "Say hello to Sophie!"

My First Look at Sophie

I usually don't ignore strong feelings, so I kept the name.  I added the Lynne part as I liked the sound of it.  I have been told that I "own [my] name!"  Ok.  Thanks!

Sophie is Greek for Wisdom, and I can use all the wisdom I can get.

Since becoming Sophie, I've researched famous Sophies in history.  By far, my favorite is Sophie Scholl.

What's your male name?

It was Lance.  Was.  Past tense.  I answer that question only because I mention it in posts occasionally.

Will you legally change your name to Sophie Lynne?

No.  I legally changed my name in October 2016.  Sophie Lynne remains as my nom de plume.  :)

Are you gay?

I am attracted to Women.  I am not attracted to guys.  At all.  So,  I am considered a trans-lesbian.

Sexuality is who you are attracted to.  Gender is who you ARE.  The two are independent of each other.

What does Christ have to say about Transgender People?

He had the last supper in the home of a TG.  Luke 22:10 says And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.  Back in Christ's day, Women carried water.  period.  Men did NOT do so.  Yet, this man did.  Why? The man was TG.  (I didn't make this up.  Google it!)

I think he's cool with us.  After all, why would God have made me this way if they weren't cool with it.  God doesn't make mistakes, right?

Have you had your surgery yet?

The normal answer to this would be something like "Why are you so interested in my genitals?"  I mean really, it's no one's business.  Calpernia Adams has a really wonderful video about questions like this one.   But for the sake of the blog, NO, I haven't had any surgeries yet.

Baby I'm a Star!
Ok, not really. It doesn't happen often, but occasionally I get some press coverage.  Here are links:

Philadelphia Daily News Profile, June 2016
Penn State Abington Review of a talk I did, Nov 2015
Penn State Abington Review II, April 2017
Phoenixville Non-Discrimination Ordinance, March 2017
Me speaking at the Borough meeting, March 2017.  I'm at 14:15
Outward Today, Oct 2016

Dramatis Personae:
I use many pseudonyms for people in my life as I'm sure they don't want any publicity.  My favorite form of pseudonym is a random letter designation.  After Wife and daughter, they are in no particular order.  This list is FAR from complete.

Sophie Lynne:
Me.  Your humble hostess.  I am the youngest of two children, and I have an older brother.

Me, June 2018

My wife is a couple of years younger than me.  We met in 1991 and married in 1993.  Like all couples, we've had our ups and downs.  I refer to her as "Wife" as a term of affection.  And she's cool with that.  She's the oldest of three children, and has two younger brothers.

My daughter was born in late 2007.

Parents:  My parents are alive, and still married after 50 years.  I told them about Sophie on Saturday, December 28, 2013.  The initial reaction was positive, and we've covered a LOT of ground. Both parents have now met their daughter.  Things went well for a while, but now- not so much.

OB:  Older brother.  Used to always beat me up and blame me for everything he did.  My parents always believed him over me.  I told him about being Sophie and he laughed at me, then lied to my parents about it.  He met his sister on Christmas day 2014.   We don't speak.

MIL: Mother in Law.  My wife's mother.  So right wing she thinks Rick Santorum is liberal.  Extremely intolerant of anyone who is not exactly like her.  Racist.  One insulted her Filipino daughter in law with a racial slur to her face.  For ten years, Wife and I lived in her house due to my inability to find a job that paid enough to move out.  I was thrown out of that house in late August of 2013 for being TG.

Mel:  My "Big Sister."  Mel transitioned in 2003.  She is an incredibly intelligent woman, and very plain spoken.  My therapist asked Mel to advise and mentor me, and we've become good friends.  I wouldn't be where I am today with out her candid, sometimes brutal, advice.  Mel is very good friends with Donna Rose, who was HER big sister.

Dr. Maureen Osborne:  My therapist.  One of the leading minds in TG therapy.  She's fantastic!  She was my "Big Sister's" therapist as well. She retired in 2015.

Dr. Osborne (seated) receiving a gift at Transhealth, June 2013

Lisa Empanada:  My "transition buddy."  My Sister.  Aside from my Wife, she was my closest friend.  We could finish each other's sentences and often did.  She committed suicide on Monday, September 16, 2013.  Her death sent me into a tailspin which almost killed me.  I miss her very much.

Lisa Empanada

David:  Davis is a trans-man living in Baltimore.  I met him at Laptop Lounge back in February 2013, and really got to know him at Keystone 2013.  He is good people.

Elizabeth:  Elizabeth was the first non-TG I told about being Sophie.  My first time out on Halloween 2008, she helped me pick out an outfit.  (She didn't know then.)  She and I worked together at the time, but she was moving to Turkey with her boyfriend. I was SO nervous!  But she was extremely accepting.  For a while, she was the only one of my friends who knew.  She gave me a party on the one year anniversary of going full time, and I was a bridesmaid at her wedding.

Dave:  Dave was the first cis-gender male that I told about being TG.  We are former co-workers.  He is married to Elizabeth.

M:  My coworker for several years.  She was among the first I told.  She's an unapologetic hippie from California, and her exploits could fill several books.  She is also VERY rich, and uses that money to help autistic children world wide.  She opened her home to me for nine months after MIL threw me out.

Jamie:  Another former co-worker, she now works in the publishing industry.  She is from Missouri and is an absolute delight!  She accepted me readily.

Linda Lewis:  One of my earliest inspirations, Linda is an amazing person.  Over time we started conversing on Facebook and became friends.  I met her at SCC.  She is an icon of the community, but more important, she is an amazing and down to Earth woman.  Linda is currently my room mate and bestie.  She's a BLAST to have around!

Linda Lewis, April 2017

Kimberly Huddle:  Another early inspiration.  Kim travels the country dressed as Kim for her drab job.  She lives in Texas, and, despite her folksy manner, is extremely sharp.  She's an amazing, beautiful woman and a great friend.  She has an amazing blog which inspired me to start this one.  Read it HERE.

Kim Huddle, on her second Philly visit.

Ally Raymond:  She's from Richmond, Va.  I met Ally at Lisa's affirmation party, and since then she's become an indispensable part of my life.  Tall, gorgeous, and so outspoken... she's a role model for transwomen!  At least I think so.

Ally, March 2017

Amanda Richards:  Owner of True Colors Makeup Artistry.  A absolute genius with makeup and a very dear friend.

Amanda Richards, March 2017

Lorraine Anderson:  Owner of Occasional Woman.  She makes a lot of the clothes to fit over my difficult to fit body.  Such a fun, caring, and genuinely amazing person whom I'm proud to call friend!  She also writes for TG Forum.

Lorraine and her worst customer

Sandy Empanada: Lisa's Widow, and one of the strongest people I know.  She's simply amazing.  She, and Lisa's daughters Kristy and Tiffany, are family to me (as are the entire Newell family.)

Jake, Sandy Empanada, Tiffany Empanada, David, me.  November 2013

DrD:  My oldest friend.  We met in kindergarten. He was Best Man in my wedding.  He is my best male friend.  I told him about my Truth, and he was supportive.  DrD holds two doctoral degrees, and is a fellow Penn Stater.  He is an amazing person, and I would die for him.

With DrD in May 2016

R:  My friend since 1980.  We graduated high school together.  US Army veteran and VMI graduate.  He was a groomsman in my wedding, as I was in his first wedding.  In his second, I was Best man.  When I came out to him, he cried, and swore to support me.  I have often said I would "take a bullet" for him.  And I continue to say that.  He met Sophie in late 2014.

A:  My friend since 1993.  I met her through her boyfriend of the time when he was in my D&D group.  She dumped him soon after, but we stayed in touch because we clicked.  She invited Wife and I to her wedding to her no-good husband (who abandoned her when her cancer relapsed.)  I told her about being TG right before moving out of MIL's house.


CD:  Short for Crossdresser

Cisgender:  The opposite of transgender.  A person whose body matches their gender identity.  In other words, almost the entire population of the planet.  More HERE.

Crossdresser:  A person who dresses as a woman.  Said person may or may not be transgender.  See HERE for more information.

"The Darkness":  My name for the pain and thoughts surrounding suicidal depression.

GCS:  Gender Confirmation Surgery. "Surgical procedures that some transgender people go through to obtain physical characteristics found in the opposite gender."  "The Operation."  Also known as "Sex change" and SRS.

GG:  Genetic Girl.  A woman who was born female.

HRT:  Hormone Replacement Therapy.

"My Truth:" My term for the fact that I am a Woman, and Trans.

"The Pain":  My name for the suffering inflicted by being Transgender.

"Pink Hangover": The feeling after a night, weekend, whatever, of being en femme and having to return to being a male.  This is a feeling of regretting being male and wishing the female time didn't have to end.

Second Life:  A Computer simulation game sorta thingee.  All content is made by users.  I have some amazing friends there, like MK, Cisop, Zonker, Plato and so many others!

SRS: "Sex Reassignment Surgery."  "Surgical procedures that some transgender people go through to obtain physical characteristics found in the opposite gender."  "The Operation."  Also known as "Sex change" and GCS.

TG:  Short for Transgender

Transgender:  A person who dresses/lives as the gender opposite their birth.  See HERE for a better definition.

Transsexual:  Old term for someone who has completed GCS.

TS:  Short for Transsexual