Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bags of Dice

Somewhere, perhaps in storage, are two bags of dice.

One is larger.  The bag is tan suede and it's about ten inches long.  It holds a lot of dice.

The other is smaller.  It is black leather.  It doesn't hold as much.

These were my gaming dice, collected over decades.  They are dice of many shapes and sizes- four sided, six sided, eight sided, ten sided, twelve sided, twenty sided, thirty sided, and even 100 sided.

In that bag are two of the surviving dice from my original Dungeons and Dragons blue boxed set.  Their corners are rounded with use, all those years ago.  In fact, they've been rarely used since before high school.  I bought other dice with sharper edges and different colors.  But I saved these two.  My dear friend Dr. Dave has two others from this set.  Or at he did.  I don't know if he still does.

When we started playing D&D, Dave and I scavenged dice from all of our other games for use with D&D.  After all, one can have too many dice!  They are now in the dice bag.  There are dice from the games of my childhood there, the rest of the games long gone.

When I attended gaming conventions, I always bought at least one new die.  A memento.  One of the six siders is a special Gen Con Commemorative die, which has a dragon for a "one."  It is large and red.  It is in the tan dice bag.

I bought the black dice bag at Origins '91 in Baltimore, Maryland.  It was Wife and I's first overnight trip together.  The trip was July 4th weekend, and we watched the fireworks over the harbor while holding hands.  While at Origins, I met the people from Chessex game distributors.  A month and a half later, I had a job there, which I held until 1994.

The black bag holds my Gaming dice- the ones I used all the time.  There are two sets of dice in that bag, both sets a gaudy orange.  I figured no one would steal ugly dice.  I used to use those weekly at least.  Now, I haven't laid eyes on them in years.

Not all of the dice I own are in those bags.  The dice I used while playing at Penn State are glued into a display along with the miniatures used by the gaming group there.  I was the only one with miniatures, so we all used mine.  They are all in a small display: frozen in time.  In storage.

I have a couple of large dice in the apartment sitting on shelves as dust collectors.  One is a very large translucent yellow six sider that I bought at my first Gen Con, also in 1991.  The other is a large 20 sider that I bought at the local comic store.

I have a few dice in my car.  They belonged to my late friend Big Al, dead now these four years.  I keep them there in his memory.

All those dice- engines of imagination.  Random generators that determined the course of mighty stories.  Polyhedral memories.

I have no idea where they are now.  Somewhere in storage I think, in one of the many boxes.  I hope so anyway.  Haven't seen them since before I was thrown out.

Part of my life lost.  Missing.

I can't think of a better metaphor to close out a year that has been so horrific.

Be Well.

December 30, 2016- before work

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Why no posts?

Sorry I haven't posted.

Christmas in retail.

And besides

"If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all."

So I'm not saying anything.

"Give the people what they want."

Gratuitous Sophie Pic

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Happy Hair!

A week or so ago, I decided to try something different with my hair.  Because wow I felt it looked sooo flat, and some people claimed that my hairstyle was one of the reasons I get misgendered so often.  Really!

I haven't seen my Hair Miracle Worker (Donna Miller) in months.  There are sooo many reasons, but y'know I'm not going to dwell on them!

Anyway, one morning, I decided I'd get out my curling iron and do some damage!

Many people commented that they liked my old wig look, with the swept bangs.  Well, so did I, but my natural hair hasn't grown in enough yet to even attempt that!  I wish it were- it was sooo pretty!

Wig by Henry Margu, styled by Amanda Richards

I guess I'm just stubborn, but I WANT to wear my real hair. (Add to that the fact that wigs make me sweat like crazy!)  That's why I take Finasteride, which has helped tremendously in filling in some thin spots.  I still have a way to go around the stupid widow's peak though, which makes some of the styles just impossible.

When I went full time in March 2014, Donna styled my hair with bangs.  But I just sucked at doing that, and I thought it looked too thin.   I mean really!

Comb over

For a while, I parted to the side, but the whole widow's peak thing bothered me.  Seriously!

Look how short my hair was!

So then I parted in the middle for a long time.  It was sooo much easier and covered up the thin areas.

I really like this picture.

My problem is that I have a continental shelf forehead (to go with my aircraft carrier shoulders!)

Anyway, I decided to see if I had enough hair to attempt the swept bangs.

Not Really

So I goofed and I curled and I sprayed... and ended up with this:

Ta Daaaa!

I've been trying slightly different things, but I'm happy with this look.  It requires a LOT of hairspray to keep the bangs in place though.  Like tons!

Going to work last Saturday

I have to admit, when I look in the mirror now, I FEEL more feminine!  That's MY hair, long and styled.

It was a matter of practice and patience.  I'm so excited to try new things!

I think I look so cute and sassy!  Maybe I should try a pretty bow!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Creating Pain

Ok so I've gotten comments on my last entry; here, on facialbook, and privately.

I figured I'd answer publicly.

Why Not?  After all, I posted the beginning publicly.

Several people have taken issue with my posts.  They say I'm too negative.  That I create my own pain.  In the person's words of a person I greatly admire, but haven't met yet:

"Look, you honestly seem to delight in your own suffering...  You create your own circumstances and control your choices.  You make your own bed, then complain it's on fire... Just don't expect sympathy when you make it clear you are deeply and passionately in love with your own self-inflicted suffering."  

(That bit is from a private communication and is used WITHOUT her permission.  I will remove it if she desires.)

And the worst part is- I can't say she's Wrong.

What does that say about me?

Two People said I looked like a guy the day I took this.

I mean after all, it's all MY fault. That's what I get for transitioning, not taking voice lessons, hair lessons, dressing the way I prefer, living here, keeping this job, and drawing breath.


Anger is all I've known all my life.  I don't know anything else.  I know I hurt.  I know my hurt affects others, and that makes me hurt more.  So I want to eliminate that hurt.

My dear friend Jenny North wrote me and said:

"... Change is always scary...letting go of your pain isn't easy sometimes!  {break]  Owning your pain is one thing, but getting mired in it because you're worried about the alternative is something else."

To which I replied:

"I'm not worried about the alternative.  I WANT the alternative.  But some people who I care about deeply don't.  And I'd rather suffer than hurt them."

(I can hear it now:  "you're such a pathetic martyr!")

If you're keeping score at home, that's one person who I greatly admire pissed off at me, several readers pissed off, and a couple who have dropped away...

Pissing people off is my mutant power.


So my next entry won't be so negative.

Give the people what they want.

Be well.

Friday, December 9, 2016


For those of you unlucky enough to be on my Facialbook, you've probably saw that I measure a good or bad shift at work by how many times I get misgendered.  Why?  Because it happens pretty much every day.

Many people have sent me ideas as to how I can improve my presentation, like to check my voice, change my hair, get big implants, or something.  I don't know.

However, many people don't understand what the big deal is; just shrug it off and keep going.  Walk It Off.  Put on your big girl panties.

It simply is not that easy.  You see, every single time someone does this, it feels like they are punching me hard in the stomach while simultaneously slapping me in the face.  They usually do this as they are leaving.

"Thank you, SIR."

In fact, the pervasiveness of it makes me wonder if it's an organized thing.  Am I being paranoid? Probably.  However, there is a church nearby that has sponsored speakers in favor of conversion therapy, especially for Trans people.  One of them has already been told they can't speak to me.  I wrote about her previously.

I don't know, and I frankly don't care at this point.

The fact is that it happens every Goddamn day for the most part.

Let's face it dear reader I am 6'1" tall, and I weigh approximately 250 pounds now.  I have aircraft carrier shoulders, and a face that belongs on a Neanderthal.  There's no way in hell I pass as a woman, even a grotesquely ugly one.


It is currently the Christmas season, and the rich people who patronize our store are getting more and more feral.  And in their "holiday spirit," they make it a point to insult me on their way out.  The management of the store says I should just report these people to them as they come through, but these people always do it when they're leaving, so that by the time I can get a manager to the front, that person is long gone, and, in fact, this time of year as soon as that person goes that I have another grumpy face in front of me.

So in other words, I'm on my own.

And my hands are tied- I can say Nothing. I can do Nothing.

And They know it.

So, dear reader, if you want to come around and punch me in the stomach and slap me in the face, know that I will have to smile at you as you do so, and wish you a good day, because that is my life.

And people wonder why the Darkness has me.

Be Well.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Insomniac Eyes.

It's midnight, and I'm still awake after having gone to bed an hour ago. I just took some melatonin, as I don't think I'll be able to sleep without it.  Tonight, as always on nights when I can't sleep, my mind is racing.

As most of you know, I wear glasses most of the time. I need them to see. I rarely wear contacts, because they bother my eyes, and, besides, their prescription is two prescriptions old.

I wear bifocals, even though I'm only fifty.

Sometimes, late at night, I walk into the bathroom, turn on the light, and see myself in the mirror without my glasses.  When I do, I see a blur.

These days, I see a blur of long hair and breasts, and I could be mistaken- without having my glasses on- that this blur is a Woman- maybe even a pretty one.

It's amazing the way that bad eyes can fool you.

I have often been told that I have my father's eyes. They are blue with maybe just a touch of green, and I've always considered them my best feature. They are deep-set, which, when I pretended I was a guy, wasn't a problem.  However, now it's an extreme impediment.

But still they are Blue, and still they are my best feature- not that anyone looks at them anymore.  Not in a long time.

I see them all the time.  Every time I look into the mirror.  And when they're made up; with mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow, I could almost be fooled into thinking that these are the eyes of a Woman.  What is the difference between a man's and a woman's eyes?  The funny thing is that my daughter has my eyes, so in a way she has her grandfather's eyes, yet her eyes are not deep set.  And her eyes are feminine.

See Me

I think the difference between men's and women's eyes is that a woman's eyes tend not to be as guarded- you can see more of their soul.  You can see kindness, or happiness.  Or Pain.  Men guard their souls- they guard their eyes.  Their eyes tend to be colder.  However, a rare man allows you to see his eyes- allows you to see their soul.  These are the ones who, for whatever reason, women don't want to date.  These are the ones who've been hurt so many times that they can't hide the pain anymore.  Perhaps, emotion in a man's eyes is seen as a weakness.

I don't know.

So what is it I see when my blurred eyes look into the mirror?  At the distorted reflection?  Is that truly a woman who stares back at me, or is that blur the truth of my soul?  Perhaps my entire life is simply


Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Strange Difference

I was thinking of this today at work.  Yes, sometimes my mind wanders.

Between my "re-awakening" in 2008 and when I understood who I truly was, I wore a HELL of a lot more stuff when dressed in feminine attire.

Here's an example:

Makeup by Amanda Richards of True Colors Makeup Artistry

In the above picture, I am wearing panties, a corset, the corset liner, Hip pads (a Veronica 5 from Classic Curves Intl- HIGHLY recommended!), high waisted panty over that to cover seams and corset laces, breast prosthetic (Proactive Prosthetics- amazing if you can afford the best), bra, pantyhose, skirt, top, boots, wig, Lee Stick on nails, jewelry, contact lenses, and had a professional makeover.  15 items.

I felt armored head to foot.  If I were wearing a skirt that moved as I walked, I couldn't feel it swishing for everything else I was wearing!

In the end, it really wasn't that comfortable either.

Now, compare to this:

November 2016

In the above, I am wearing panties, bra, pantyhose, skirt, top, jewelry, glasses, and heels.  I did my own makeup and that's my natural hair and nails.  8 items.  About half.

And THAT was far more comfortable.   And, I think, far more feminine.

Now granted, a MAJOR difference between then and now is that I've been on HRT for several years, and living my Truth full time for nearly three years.

I thought about how physically uncomfortable all that was- confining and tight.  And yet, if I wanted to be Sophie back then, that is what I did.  I had a definite idea of what I wanted to look like and worked toward that "ideal."  And that meant feminine hips, big boobs, long hair and an hourglass figure.  Yet, that one night a month, I felt so Free.  I was shedding the weight of my male skin and becoming who I really was.

These days, of all of the Sophie "ideals" I had, I only managed to get two:  Long hair (almost five years of growth) and generous boobs (yes, I KNOW how lucky I am.)  Maybe If I lost weight, I'd achieve a better figure.  Someday...

Obviously, the biggest change is that my male self is gone.  I move FAR more confidently as a woman.  Now I do everyday things as Sophie, and, while I think of how I walk, etc, I don't think twice about appearing in public in feminine attire.  Why should I?  After all...

... I'm a Woman!

Be well!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ally's Question.

It's amazing how simple things can send me into a spiral.

My very dear friend Ally asked a simple question on Facialbook: "what was the best gift you've ever received for Christmas?"

And she received many replies, with many people reliving their childhoods with some cool toys and stuff like that.  I try not to think of my childhood, because when I do, I just remember overwhelming Pain- the pain of not being who I needed to be.

It's a Pain my fellow transpeople know well.

I have written many times about how much I despise the holidays, and, as I wrote above, I don't like thinking of my childhood.  However, Ally's question got me thinking- remembering.

I complain a lot about my childhood but there are some truths that cannot be ignored.  We were poor, but my parents, especially my dad, busted their asses to put food on the table and to provide for my brother and I.

I learned my work ethic from my father.  Work hard.  Do a thorough job.  Do it right the first time.  Ignore all else.  You have responsibilities.

Yes, I had a hard time growing up, and yes, I was disciplined and beaten and bullied and everything else that growing up in the sixties/seventies/eighties entailed.

But my parents did their best, especially around Christmas, to provide for their two children- to make the holiday as magical as they could for two children who would not have happy lives.

That is not my parents fault.  The responsibility for my Life; my failures; my Pain, lies squarely on me.

And I?  I have inflicted Pain on my Wife and Daughter by becoming who I am.  By living my Truth.  What kind of life will my daughter have, growing up with a father who is Trans?

Her inheritance from me is Pain.

She deserves better.

Christmas 2015.  I saw my Wife, Daughter, and Dog briefly.  Nittany is now gone.

My parents and I haven't spoken in months. I don't want to disclose the why of it, because it is a private matter.  But the fact is, in many ways, I feel like an orphan.

Ally's question made me think about my childhood again, and that is not a good thing.

Because it hurts. It hurts desperately-deeply- tearing at what is left of my rotted soul.

My favorite memory of my brother is a Christmas morning when he received what is probably his favorite gift of all time.  I remember him sitting on the floor next to the tree, playing with this toy; this new toy that brought him tremendous Joy.  That, for this short time in his life, he could be happy with the Joy- the Innocence- that a toy can bring to a child on Christmas morning.

We become adults through the Pain of Life.  We become adults when we outgrow our toys.  When the imagination of childhood is curbed and stunted by the needs of adult life.

In that way, the Pain, could I be truly be said to have had a childhood?

All of those days, laboring with my studies, then seeking respite in my imagination and toys that helped it take flight.

I grew up in imaginary worlds where I was the Heroine- where there was Good and Evil, and fantastic adventures spun on the Web of streets of a dying industrial town.  I invented fantastic devices that made me rock star famous, and loved because I did the Right things.  I imagined worlds of fantastic stories and dancing among the building clouds of a summer afternoon.  I did these things alone.

And then, one day, I stopped.

I went and found a job, so I could save money for the future.  I had no more time for toys.  Or Dreams and Worlds as intricate and detailed as any True place.  And, within a short time, I buried my deepest desire, my fondest wish, my only Hope- that I would someday be the woman I knew was inside.

It was then, that my soul rotted and died.  I did what the world expected of me.  The child was dead.  The girl- dead.  What remained was a young man whose soul was gone.  I filled the empty space with alcohol and self hatred.

So now, it's nearly midnight.  Tomorrow morning I have to wake up early, and go to work.  My job is fulfilling dreams for others- satisfying their needs and desires

After all, it's Christmas.

It's midnight, and I am crying.  I'm crying because, Ally, I can't answer your question.  That, despite my parents' best efforts to bring me Joy, I failed them.  I was incapable of it.  And there, sitting on the floor maybe three feet from me,  all those years ago, my brother sat with his favorite toy, his imagination creating worlds of fun and adventure.

Worlds of Joy that my mind has been denied.

And, right now, I'm sitting on the floor of my apartment, crying alone at Christmas.

What have I become?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Haunted at Work

I don't remember if I ever wrote about this, but I was listening to the podcast Deeper End with Donna Rose and Diana Fronterhouse, and the topic of ghosts came up.  Then, the other day we were talking about ghosts at work.  I mentioned that I used to work for a place that was Haunted.  Yes, really.

And yes, I saw the Ghost.

Back in 1994 I was working at the Royal Scot.  It was the last bartending job I ever had.  The Royal Scot was in the Hotel Chester, Phoenixville, Pa, where Sips is now located.  It's an old building- built in 1894.

Hotel Chester

I was on opening one day- I think it was a Saturday.  One of the owners had just died the week before.  I don't remember his name, but he was a Marine and he was a fine gentleman.  One of the duties when opening was to go into the basement to turn on the carbon dioxide for the taps and soda system.  The basement was accessed by a trap door behind the bar, which you would then hook to the back bar, and then go down the steep wooden steps.  It was unfinished, and lit by a single hanging bulb.

That morning, I went downstairs, and was turning on the gas when the single bulb started to swing wildly back and forth.  It wasn't an earthquake, because I would have felt that.  I wasn't scared-not at all.  I felt oddly calm.  I turned, looked, and said "okay [Dead owner's name] I'm just trying to do my job here." The light bulb stopped swinging.  It didn't slow down and stop-  it just stopped dead.

I went back upstairs and started working starting up the sound system behind the bar. This bar is a national landmark, and as such cannot be altered.  That's because the wood is of an extinct type native to the area.  In any case, there are mirrors behind the bar- old ones.  I looked up into the mirror and I saw an old man standing on the other side of the bar. He had white hair, and wore a brown suit that looked extremely outdated- like a costume.  He had a handlebar mustache and mutton chops.  I was surprised to see him, and I wondered if I'd forgotten to lock the door when I in to prep the bar for opening.

I turned to say "May I help you, sir?"...there was no one there.

I then looked back in the mirror, and there he was, still standing there looking at me! I turned again to face him, and he was not there.  When I turned back to the mirror, he was gone there as well, but I thought I heard a sound: like an echo of someone spitting into a spittoon.

When the surviving owner, a wonderful Scotsman named Doug Brown, came in a couple of hours later I told him the story of what I saw, but I did not say what I heard.  He didn't seem surprised at all, and he showed me a book which contained the history of the building.  In this book was an old picture of a man, which pointed at, and asked "was this the person?"  

It was!  It turns out that the person was the guy who built the place.  Doug said that people don't normally see him; they only hear him.  They hear him spitting into a ghost spittoon.  I told him that I had also heard that!  He laughed.  He called the ghost "the Colonel."

Birthday at Royal Scot.  1993 or 94

The Royal Scot is long gone now, as Doug moved to Michigan.  He passed away a some years ago, far before his time. There have been two bars in that place since then.  

As I noted above, currently the place is called Sips. I went in there a year ago to have a drink.  The bar looks exactly the same.  I mentioned to the bartender that I used to work there back when it was the Royal Scot.

I asked the bartender if anything strange has happened in the place.

He laughed, rolled his eyes, and said "oh yeah!"  I told him this story, and he told me some of his.  He even called the owner over and the three of us swapped stories.  So the ghost is "alive" and well, so to speak, and it wasn't just me who saw him.

As a side note, I was going to buy this place when it was up for sale back around 2007.  But I couldn't get the money together.  I was going to call the bar The Spirit and advertise the fact that it is haunted.  Alas it never came to pass

So, that's one of my ghost stories.  Maybe I'll tell one of the others someday.

Be well.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dreams of Old

Dreams.  I write about them a lot.  I talk about them.  Everyone has them supposedly.  I was speaking with a friend about childhood dreams.

I have stated many times that my dreams are Dead.  But are they?  What dreams have I had in this life?

So, I decided to make a list.  What are all the dreams for my life that I remember having?  And what happened to them?  I put these in order the best I could.

Firefighter:  One of my earliest dreams.  I lived across the street from the firehouse, and would see the volunteers sprint to it when the whistle blew.  I would then see the large firetrucks (Gray first, then Yellow) leave the firehouse, sirens blaring!  I wanted to help as well!

The old firehouse on Hall St, right down the street.  I remember these trucks

Spring Ford Rescue Squad Trucks- 1980s.  Yes, it's a plumber truck.

Status:  I became an EMT in 1984, and went on to be a paramedic until the early 1990s.  So, I'd say I fulfilled that one.

Another early dream.  One of my earliest memories was watching the moon landing on TV.  And, like so many people, I would look at the night sky and wish that I could explore the stars.  Having been born nearly the same day as Star Trek helped that a lot!  When I was a child, NASA launched several moon missions, and I was glued to the TV for them.

Status:  When I was in third grade, I had to get glasses.  Back then, to be an astronaut, you had to have 20/20 uncorrected vision.  So my dreams of flight were dashed, leaving me with really ugly horn rimmed glasses.

A Day of Peace and Quiet:
Sounds unusual for a kid, right?  Well, I was an odd kid.  Whenever my brother got bored, he would come pick on me, causing a fight.  And I would get in trouble (sometimes he would too.)  I remember wishing for a day when I could just do whatever without being picked on or yelled at.  I could just sit and read or whatever.

Status:  When I started working at Burger King, my parents no longer required me to go on family vacations, as I was working.  My brother usually still went, because he liked fishing, etc.  So, I would have the house to myself, and I would take care of the family dog.  Just me.  It was then that I started "crossdressing."  I remember the hot summer days, walking Sabre by the river, reading, watching MTV (which my parents forbade), and going to work for a few hours.  It was heaven for my tortured teenage soul.  So yes, that one was fulfilled.

Becoming A Girl:
The dream of so many transgender people- to magically wake up in the body which you should've been born with.  I used to take long walks when I was a teen (see: Peace and Quiet, above) to sort out my head.  Hormones were rushing, causing changes I didn't want.  The girls were becoming women, and, due to delayed adolescence, I was still me.  It wasn't fair!  In any case, I didn't WANT the changes that were coming my way.  But, come they did, and there was nothing I could do about it.  All the wishes in the world weren't going to prevent it.

Status: Well, there was no magical solution.  Now I'm on HRT and living as a woman.  I'd say that this one, due to its nature and timing, didn't come true.

So, this seems basic, especially if you look at Maslow.  I even put it in my yearbook- all I wanted to be was Happy.  It seems so easy, yet is so hard to achieve.  I have come to believe that Happiness is something you are born with.  You either are or you aren't.  Others say it's a choice.  I'll entertain that argument, but I don't believe it.

Yearbook Picture

Status:  Unfulfilled now and forever

Go to College:
College.  Higher education.  Back when I was growing up, I was always told that College was the gateway to a better life.  That if I worked hard at school, and went to college, my future would be set.  And going to college was by no means assured.  But that is what I wanted.  Long story short, I worked hard and made it to college.

Status:  This dream came true.

A Girlfriend:
I always figured that people could see right through me- that my "secret" was no secret at all.  In any case, I was a late bloomer, so I was undersized and looked like a little boy while my classmates were shaving daily.  So of course, the girls wanted them, not me.  Yet, I dreamed of finding someone who would see ME, not just a runt.  And of course, my dating someone would cure me of my insane need to be female.  Right?  It took a while, but in January of my senior year, I finally did start dating someone seriously.  We lasted two years before she cheated.  I mean, after all, I was off at college and all, so DUH, but I didn't see it that way at the time.

Status:  This dream came true.  Be careful what you wish for...

Philadelphia Skyline, Nov 1986.  View from Drexel Dorms

Go to a College that wasn't an Urban Hell:
So I went to Drexel University, located in a not great part of Philadelphia.  I figured that the BIG CITY would be the answer to my prayers, and I'd become a City person- cultured and urbane.  Nope.  I hated it.  I got mugged four times in two years.  A classmate was murdered.  Then that whole MOVE thing.  In fall 1985, I visited my childhood best friend, Dr. Dave, at Penn State.  And I was hooked.  Penn State was everything I'd ever dreamed college should be.  But, transferring?  That's a major change.  Would I have the courage?  As it turns out, I did.

Status:  This Dream came true.  One of the best decisions I ever made.

Graduate College:
So there I was at Penn State!  I met people, and partied... and did my damndest to be the Man I was expected to be.  But- what did that mean?  And could I live up to what I felt I should accomplish?  Well, no.  I didn't adjust well at first.  And my drinking was out of control.  But I was determined- I WOULD graduate!  I WOULD make a great life for myself and make a difference!  And THEN I'd be Happy, right?

Status:  I graduated from Penn State in 1989.  Dream fulfilled.

Find a Job:
Great- now I had a degree!  My teaching career came to a screeching halt.  Now what?  I searched and searched.  I found a couple temporary jobs, but nothing stable.  I went back to the restaurant buisness- waiting tables and bartending.  I felt I'd be trapped there forever.

Status:  See below.

Find a girl who wouldn't cheat on me:
It seemed that every woman I could find to date me ended up cheating on me.  I guess I wasn't Manly enough.  Many women told me that they saw me as "one of the girls" or "didn't see me THAT way" and, of course, the dreaded "Let's just be friends."  I would meet Wife in April 1991.

Status:  Dream fulfilled.  I'm sure she regrets that...

So.  I couldn't find a real job.  I was drinking far too much.  I was lonely.  Depressed.  Couldn't get a date.  Then the woman who I thought was the answer to my prayers cheated on me.  It all became a whirling vortex, which, when added to complete bitter self hatred, was lethal.  I wanted to die- badly.  I started driving without a seatbelt, knowing full well that I could be killed.  I wrote about this time period HERE.

Status:  Failed.  Still alive.

Find a Real job:
In April 1991, I was still working at Fridays.  I met Wife.  I was miserable in the food service business.  I wanted More.  I felt I could do more.  This was during the first Bush recession and jobs were scarce.  That July, we went to a gaming convention in Baltimore, where I met people who worked for Chessex Game Distributors.  After a couple more months, they hired me.  I worked there for three years, before quitting (before I was fired) and going to Games Workshop.

Status:  Fulfilled for a time.

Me at work: Games Workshop. 1999.

Buy a house:
Ok, so I had this steady job in Baltimore.  And I hated apartment living.  Wife kept saying how she wanted a House.  And she got me wanting one as well.  It seemed like an eternity, but yes, we did finally buy a house in Owings Mills, MD, that we owned for five years before we left Maryland.

Status:  Dream came true.  I loved that house.

Figure out why I am so miserable:
I had a job.  I had a wonderful wife.  I had a dog.  A circle of friends.  So why was I so angry and full of self-hatred?  There HAD to be a reason.  So I thought about it.  the last time I felt the closest to Happy was in college, so the root must be there.  My brilliant solution- write a book about my college experience and research the HELL out of it.  And I did.  It took seven years, but I did it!  But the answers weren't in those pages.  I finished the book in early 2008.  I didn't know that my Answers would be coming soon...

Status: I finally did figure this out, so I'd have to say fulfilled.

Restore my marriage:
When I moved back to Pennsylvania, my marriage was on VERY shaky ground.  Without going into detail, I was deeply depressed to the point I could barely function.  Wife lost her patience with this.  I remember crying into my pillow often, just wishing I could have my happy marriage back.  (I'm tearing up even thinking about that.)

Status:  We worked through the trouble.  Then my female side re-emerged...

Find a Real Job:
So there I was, back in Pennsylvania.  After a couple months, I found a job as holiday staff at a chain bookstore.  It didn't pay much, but it was income.  However, it wasn't enough for Wife and I to get a house and move out of MIL's place.  After the holidays, the bookstore kept me on.  Thirteen years later, I'm still there.  I've kept looking for better, full time work, and occasionally found work (like at Vanguard) but I stayed with the bookstore just in case.  Smart move.  The other jobs always petered out.

Status:  See below.

Get my Masters Degree:
One of the goals I had when moving back to Pennsylvania was to earn my Masters degree in Education.  I did my due diligence, and decided to enroll at Penn State Great Valley campus.  I needed loans.  I got them.  It took years (due to financial considerations) but I finally received my Masters degree in 2007.

Status:  Fulfilled.

Get a Real Real Job:
I had my Masters degree, so it was time to really make a living, right?  WRONG!  I graduated during the Bush II depression.  There were no jobs to be had in my field, and those that WERE available, I'd "priced myself out of the marketplace" simply by having the degree.  I put out ten resumes a day, every day, for seven years (that's 25,560 resumes- including 10 for Leap day the one year.)  Not a bite.  In all that time, one or two calls.  One interview.  I stopped doing that when I transitioned, figuring I'd start again after my name change.

Status:  Unfulfilled, probably forever.

Determine Who I am really:
As I've written MANY times, my feminine self reawakened on Halloween 2008.  That led to a lot of soul searching and Pain.  I knew that Sophie was part of my life permanently.  I dreamed of figuring out my Truth, and how to live with it.  I prayed for it.  I NEEDED it.  My Myspace blogs are chock full of my trying to figure this out.

Status:  Fulfilled.  I figured out who I am: Sophie.

Start HRT:
Having determined who I truly was, the time came to start integrating my feminine side into my life.  I dreamed of being more feminine- of the day I didn't need pads in my bra or to wear a wig. Wife and I talked, and we decided I should start HRT, if only to keep me from going completely crazy.  What neither of us expected was how my body would react to the hormones, or the inevitability of her mother finding out my secret.

Status:  Fulfilled

Transition to Full Time alongside Lisa:
In August of 2013, I attended an amazing party.  Soon after, my dearest friend Lisa Empanada and made a promise to each other- that we would Transition to our True selves together, supporting each other every step of the way: "Transition Sisters."

Lisa and I at Southern Comfort- our last night.

Not long after that, I was thrown out of the house.  And, a couple weeks later, Lisa broke all her promises by killing herself.  I have written a TON on how this affected me, and the community.  I still hurt.

Status:  Failed.  Will never come true

Lisa's death sent me into a nose dive towards suicide.  My whole life disintegrated.  Within three weeks, I'd lost my home, my marriage, and my best friend.  I seriously have NO idea how I survived September 2013.  But I did.

And so I made a plan, and December 2013, I was headed toward Penn State to execute the plan: suicide behind the Nittany Lion shrine.  Obviously, it didn't happen.

Nor did my extensively plotted plan to end my life on my fiftieth birthday last September.

The Darkness is still with me.  I fight it EVERY DAY.   Lisa once said she was "one bad day away from ending it."  I understand that completely.  Every night, I lay in bed and contemplate ending it all.  And usually, I smile.  Yet every morning, I awaken, and, somehow, find the strength to get out of bed and face another day.  In this fight, I have amazing allies, like my roomie and bestie, Linda Lewis.  I will fight this battle all the days of my life.

Status:  Hasn't come true.  Will someday.

With my life in ruins, I pushed ahead with my plan to transition- to live my Truth.  On March 25, 2014, I started living as my True Self: a Woman.  In the years that have followed, I've chipped away at the necessities of name change, gender markers, etc.  It's still a work in process.

Status: Came True.  At great cost.

Now I start going into what would be considered "current" dreams.  If I had them.  Which I don't.  In any case, I live my Truth every day.  I would LOVE to finish the process, and be a Complete Woman.  As for FFS, I'd love to see a feminine face gazing back from me from the mirror instead of a Neanderthal.  However, as each costs more money than I make in a decade, neither will be happening.  So, I don't even dream of them anymore.  Why keep hurting myself?  (See: "Death" above)

Status:  Yeah right.

Exasperated yesterday at work

I have always had the smallest flicker of a dream that I would someday be a Phd.  My dear friend Dr. Dave has two of them!  However, getting my Masters degree saddled me with a ton of student loan debt that won't be paid off in my lifetime.  Also, if just getting a Masters priced me out of the marketplace, a Doctorate would kill all possibility of work.

Then there's the question of topic.  Education?  I'd rather get one in American Studies, or History, or Gender Studies.  But then I'd need to go back and get masters in these topics first, which, again, I can't afford.  Also, I can't take the time off work to pursue these degrees.  So I don't even dare dream of this either.  Why keep hurting myself?  (See: "Death" above)

Status:  Yeah right.

So, there it is- a tour through the ashes of my desires.  Yes, some Dreams came True, usually through a combination of hard work and dumb luck.  Some of these dreams left deep scars that will never heal.  That's the danger of dreaming- even daring to do so can cause intense pain.

But sometimes...

"Is a Dream a Lie if it don't come true
Or is it something worse..."
Bruce Springsteen The River

Sunday, November 13, 2016

What Now?

Well, we sher showed them uppity librils, didn't we?  They think there so smart with their book lernin n sech.  Well, we showed them!  Theys corrupt an think we don't know!  So we put a straight talkin white man in the White House!  The libril media sez he lies most of the time, and says he assaults wimmin but they would say that wouldn't they!  Fox News lahks him and what they say is the gospel truth!

Besides, it's not like liberals understand business.  They never owned a small business- they've never had to sign a check.  We need a successful businessman in charge.  let's face it, Obamacare was making us pay a LOT of money to get our employees insurance that they should be getting for themselves.  What?  Trump and his bankruptcies?  That's in the past!

Also, those liberals support THOSE people.  Homosexuality is an abomination!  It says so in the Bible!  I heard that on Fox News.  And don't even get me started on those trannies!  And abortion!  It's a sin!  It's horrible how some women just end their pregnancies on a whim like that!  The Bible says so!  They should have as many children as they can and serve their men and be silent!  The Bible says so!  I'd show you but I don't know where my copy is right now.

Yes!  That bitch had NO respect for our rights!  Especially for the second amendment!  She was coming for our guns!  Trump and the NRA said so! No one will take my guns from me ever!  Not unless they pry them from my cold. dead hands!  After all, I need them to fight of a tyrannical liberal government!  What?  Well Obama was GOING to take away our guns but never got around to it!  Now I can exercise my right to carry my AK-47 to the supermarket, just as God intended!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"
Thomas Jefferson


"No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they'd die for."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."
Thomas Paine

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
President Abraham Lincoln

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
President Barack Obama

So.  The people elected a monster: a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, narcissist.  He has threatened or insulted everyone in America that ISN'T a white male.  And so now...

What do we do?

I've spent days crying and trying to get my feet under me.  My faith in the people of the United States is severely shaken.

But I'm not surprised.  Thirty years of Hate spewing from the GOP propaganda machine gave us this end result.  People HATE those who are different.  Violence in Trump's name is already spiking, and he hasn't even taken office.

I'm sick to death of having cisgender white males tell me everything will be all right- THEY aren't the ones targeted.

What shall we do?

What CAN we do?

We do what we've always done- we Endure and we Fight.  

The stakes have never been higher than now.  We fight for the life of the American Experiment; for our Nation itself.  And, in addition, we fight for our very lives.

And make no mistake- those are the stakes we're fighting for.  If we succeed we, and our Nation survives.  If we fail, we, our loved ones, and our Nation, will cease to exist.  We will become a dictatorship of Hate, and the greatest threat the world has ever known.

If we lose, it could literally cause the end of humanity itself.

I have no illusion as to the costs.  I don't expect to survive to see another presidential election- if Trump even allows one.  But I WILL fight.  I am a fifty year old out of shape woman.  I will use the weapons I have- my Mind and my Words.

And by God's Grace, I hope they are enough.

Be well.

Before the Election

Monday, November 7, 2016

Christmas Curtain

Halloween is over, and, in retail, that means it's the holiday rush.

This is Hell on Earth.

I hate the holiday season.  I've said it many times, and here I'll say it again:


And many of my veteran readers know why.

I'll be without family for the first time this year.  As in, no parents.  I won't see Wife or Daughter, because of MiL's hate.

Add to the that the unbridled hate and greed that will be unleashed on everyone who works retail.  Yes, HATE.  The party of Trump (GOP) has given license to its followers to uncork all the rudeness and hatred they used to keep corked up.  Most of them pretended to be rational, polite human beings- but no more.

They have become Savage.

I have noticed it over the past few months.  They became ruder and ruder.  And now, throwing Greed and pressure into the mix...

The other night I worked and was misgendered (despite wearing a DRESS that showed off my cleavage), yelled at twice, and in general sneered at.

I wore THIS... and someone still called me "Sir."  Seriously.

My dear friend Kimberly Moore suggests that I should "let the Christmas spirit in."

What IS the "Christmas spirit?"  For me, decades in the service industry killed any trace of it.  The commercialization of it (remember when the season started AFTER Thanksgiving?) and the hypocrisy of Republican "Christians" (War on Christmas, anyone?)  Destroyed it.

I guess the "Christmas Spirit" is fragile.  It exists in the eyes of Children, like my daughter, who, yet again, I will not see on the holiday.

I have hated Christmas of old.  So, can I define the Christmas spirit?  It's SUPPOSED to be about the birth of Christ.  But it is a co-opted holiday.  It was originally a midwinter festival for several peoples, and the Romans coopted it to make it a "Christian day."  The Yule log, Christmas Tree, Santa Claus- all pagan from another era.

Is it about Family and friends?  That would be nice, wouldn't it?  How many transpeople are estranged from their families?  How many of us have few friends?

Guess that's out.

A co-worker defined it as "the joy of giving."  I can understand that.  However, I have given and given and given... my life has been serving humanity.  A special day just for it?  Sorry, I get no joy from it anymore.  I do it because it needs to be done.  And frankly, I'm tired of Giving and Giving and suffering because of it.

The Christmas Blues have been a constant in my life since I stopped believing in Santa Claus.  (I forget when that was.)  Yes, when I was a child, I enjoyed Christmas.  Our family was poor, but my parents did their best to make the holiday magical.  And it was.

Christmas makes me want to curl up in a ball and Cry.  Cry until I fall into hopefully dreamless sleep.  But every day, I'm faced with working retail.  With people telling me to "get into the holiday spirit."

I AM in the Holiday Spirit- but MY Holiday Spirit is far different from theirs.

Mine is Darkness.


Be Well.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Costumes over Time

I started this entry a couple weeks ago.  However the meat of it I made into a TG Forum column.  Read that HERE.

However, since I had all the pictures together, here they are anyway.

2007: I was Clark Kent.  Wife was Lois Lane.

This looks like a job for...

2008:  The next year, as I've written zillions of times, I was Lois Lane while Wife was Clark Kent.

Just after the makeup was finished

2009:  I wanted to do the Woman thing right.  By then, I'd had almost a year of practice, and more "crossdressing" supplies, like hip pads, breast prosthetic, corset...  I won the costume contest in a landslide.

"Monique"  Makeup by Amanda Richards

I also attended the Henri David Ball for the first time, in a costume made by the incredible Lorraine Anderson.

Saving Snap, Crackle, and Pop.  Makeup by Amanda Richards

2010: In another Lorraine Anderson creation, I was a St Pauli Girl at the Henri David Ball.

Anyone want anything?  Makeup by Amanda Richards

But for my coworkers and friends, I was God's Gift to women.  I needed to "throw off suspicion."

2011:  Lorraine made me an "Evil Queen" gown.  It wasn't quite ready for the Laptop Halloween party, but it WAS ready for Beauty at the Beach.

Makeup by Amanda Richards

For the friends' Halloween party, I debuted Mary Marvel.  They would see this several times.

Makeup by Amanda Richards

2012: This one I bought online, but Lorraine modified it extensively.  I wore it to all parties, and it's one of my faves.  At one party, someone asked if I was transitioning.  2 months later, I would be on HRT.

Vamping at the Henri David Ball.  Makeup by Amanda Richards

2013:  A pure Lorraine creation- a Flamenco Dancer!  This one was so much fun to wear!  And, for the first time, those are my real breasts filling out the costume instead of forms.

Flamenco!  I did my own makeup

For the friends' party, I wore Mary Marvel again.  By this point, I'd told several close friends about my Truth.  One person who DIDN'T know had a tradition of squeezing my fake boobs really hard every year.  And she did it again- but they weren't fake.  OWWWW!  (After I came out to her, she apologized.)

2014:  I went to Baltimore to hang out with my friends there.  Once again, Mary Marvel.

With that Webbed Menace

However, this picture was more interesting.  Here we see Sandy Empanada and Ashley Jane Morgan, standing at the same place where, 2 years before, Ashley and Lisa Empanada stood for a picture.  There was no smoke, no strobe lights, no nothing.  Yet this streak appeared...

For my friends' Halloween party, I had no idea what to do.  After all, I was out and living as a woman full time, and didn't want to wear something old.  So I tossed this together.  I called it "Genderf**k."  It was half my old suit along with a leather miniskirt and pumps.  Not my best effort.

In 2015, I resurrected the Vampiress.  (get it?)  This time, I wore no fake breasts.  All me.  And I was happy.

So now it's 2016.  I've been out as a Woman for Eight years.  It's been eight years since that fateful night- the night that destroyed the life and lie I'd been living.  That tore apart my Wife's world.  I no longer wear any padding, but I still occasionally wear a corset.

Live Long and Prosper: 2016

So, on a whim, as the sun began to set on Halloween, I decided to dig out the outfit I wore that first night.  The shoes, earrings, and wig are long gone.  I couldn't find the belt.  But the top, skirt, bra and necklace- I still had those.  And so I put them on, and my roomie and bestie Linda was kind enough to take some pictures.

I've come a long way.

I tend to focus on everything I've lost over the eight years.  However, what I've gained is VERY significant as well.  I've gained a Community that Understands me.  We are diverse, but we all have the same challenges.  I have made some of the best friends I have ever had.  I have accepted my Truth and had the courage to live it.  I have had many gains, and yes, some horrific losses.

It's Halloween, and it's been Eight years.  What will the next year bring?  Will I live to see year nine?  Where will I be?  So many things can happen.

But, for tonight, I raise a glass to all those who have helped me to where I am today.  Thank you all!

Be well!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Day of Rage

A few days back, October 26, 2016, I had a very BAD day.

On that day, my Rage took over everything.  It was just like life before I transitioned- the Anger, the Pain.  Everything was against me.

Before clocking in that day

I worked 11-7 that day.  For the first hour, I was covering the manager's lunch, so I was de-facto manager.  My first customer encounter was when the cashier nearest the door needed a return authorization.

The customer was a young woman with a baby carriage.  After I arrived, she was surrounded by an old man and an old woman.  I asked the customer if she knew these people.  She said "no" and looked disturbed, as these people were standing quite close to her.

A Diagram.

I smiled at the old people and said "I'm sorry, but the line is down there," pointing down the row where three other customers were patiently waiting their turn.  The old man pointed at the woman and said "she's with me."  I said "Ok.  But the line is still down there."  I was still trying to be pleasant, yet forceful.

Then the old woman said "I don't see why I should have to wait in line."

I said "Everyone else waits in line.  Please join them."

She refused.

At this point, I got angry.  That fat old entitled person felt she was better than everyone else, and that the rules of polite society didn't apply to her.  I was about to say something when the woman who was REALLY next in line said "just let them go ahead," obviously disgusted.

I was ready to read these entitled people the Riot Act, but thought better of it, as I'd lose my job, and stormed away.

But the damage was done.  I was furious.

From then on, nothing went right.  If I needed to move something, it got stuck.  Or it fell over.  After the manager's break ended, I explained what happened, but she didn't seem to care.  I went back to the registers, where I was working with a coworker who loves to complain about everything.  CONSTANTLY.  And she repeats everything she says.  So I got constant complaining squared.  "I can't believe you let them do that!  I can't believe you let them do that!"  "This is crazy!  This is crazy!"


I finally went beyond my limit and had to do my best not to snap at people.  I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.  I wanted to hurt someone- beat someone until I got tired.  I wanted to destroy something: anything.  I didn't care if I got fired.  I was prepared to quit if a manager said anything I half construed as bad.

I went on break and posted to facialbook.

I was absolutely possessed by Rage.  I wanted to go home and cry.  I wanted to Inflict.

Add to this, it was Daughter's ninth birthday, and I didn't know if I would see her.  After my break, Wife and Daughter did come in.  I received much needed hugs.  That helped keep me from going completely ballistic.

It had been years since I had been this angry.  When I would Rage against everything.

When I FINALLY finished my shift, I started home.  I tried to calm down but I couldn't.  Wife called me, and invited me to dinner at Daughter's favorite pizza place.  So I went.  And I did my best to enjoy my time with my family.  Then I went home.  And posted again on facialbook.

Eventually, I went to bed, still fuming.  (Before I transitioned, if I lost my temper, I'd be angry for days.)  I wanted so desperately to die.  I wanted to end the Pain.  I laid in the dark, listening to my roomie and bestie, Linda, breath heavily as she slept in her bed on the other side of the room.  And my mind raced.

Why was I so angry?  What set me off so badly that it was like I never changed?  Then it occurred to me.  Like a Flash of Light.

I was Furious at myself.

Yes, the anger WAS like before transition.  It was directed inward.  It was pure passionate HATE of everything I am.

But what triggered it?

Simple.  Once I determined WHO I was angry at, it was easy to determine the cause.

I failed to do the Right Thing.  I walked away from a situation where there was Wrong, without making it Right.  Why?  Because of Fear.  I was afraid for my job.

I allowed someone to flaunt the "rules" of polite society, thus inconveniencing several others.  It was within my power to correct it, and I didn't.  I didn't live up to my Own standards of right and wrong.  I didn't Act.

I set a VERY high bar for my behavior.  I have to- I talk a big game about Morality and Courage and Doing Right.  And I didn't live up to those standards.  And that made me VERY angry at myself.  Just like back in September when I had a Plan and didn't execute it (and I STILL don't know why I didn't.)

The next morning, still angry, I posted on facialbook again.

I considered just deactivating my account- going silent.  But I didn't.  I was tired of all the Noise.  I needed Quiet.  I needed Calm.  But I had to work... and the Complainer would be there.

I made it through that shift, and, eventually, calmed myself.  Understanding WHY I was so angry helped me toward a very necessary next step- one that I never allowed myself before.

I forgave myself.

I worked again yesterday.  Normal shift.

Today, I went to the King of Prussia Mall for "Mall Trick or treating" with Wife and Daughter.  I had a good time, as did Daughter.  As Daughter doesn't like chocolate, Wife and I divided the chocolate Daughter received between us.  The sacrifices we make as parents!

Trick or Treat!

Now, I'm sitting at the apartment, listening to the Grateful Dead (Des Moines, IA, June 16, 1974) and typing.  Linda is taking a nap in the next room.  Tonight, we're going out for a bit.  Penn State won its game against Purdue.

All is well.  The Rage is gone.  But the damage it left behind in my soul still needs cleaning up.

The Person who raged and Hated against themselves is Gone.  I shed that shell over two and a half years ago.  But 47 plus years of self-hatred is hard to leave behind.  I will bear those scars for eternity.

Monday marks Eight years since re-discovering myself.  It will be Halloween.  And for my Wiccan friends, it is Samhain.

If I don't post again, have a wonderful holiday!

Be Well!