Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Old Story about Armwrestling

 Some of you may or may not know that I had a Guy blog before my Sophie blogs.  In it, I told a story or two about my life.  I had few readers.  In any case, something happened today that reminded me of this story.  This was posted November 27, 2006- nearly two full years before my rebirth.  

In this story, there is a transperson.  Back then I was DEEP in denial.  I find it interesting now how I wrote about her.  

In any case, I did a light grammar edit, but otherwise, here it us, as I first posted it nearly 10 years ago.

Taken today before Work


Many of you know that I used to work for Games Workshop.  I did that for nine years, and had a lot of fun.  Between me and my fellow GW people, a lot of strange things happened.    By request, I relate one of these stories, which I find embarrassing, but the requester thinks is very funny.

For several years, GW would take the entire US Sales team over to the UK for the annual sales conference.  The time in question, the conference was held in a hotel in London, not far from White Chapel.  Several adventures ensued, like drinking with the Aussies all day, the fire, the old guy and the heart attack, a couple nasty cases of food poisoning (one of them me), the IRA bomb, water balloon fights between two double-decker buses, and others, but I’ll focus on the final dinner, on the final night.

                GW decided that we should go to a Mexican restaurant for this final night together.  Now there were better than forty of us, so we rented out the whole restaurant.  What does a Mexican restaurant in London England look like?  Every bad Western movie clichĂ© you ever heard of.  The music was all country-western.  Not Mexican- Country WesternGarth Brooks, etc.  Huh?  I think I heard Achy Breaky Heart five times that night.  The servers were dressed in white shirts and tan pants.  Each table had several bottles of wine scattered atop the brown paper tablecloth.              
Right.  Dinner was serviceable, kinda bland, but that was to be expected in England.  During dinner, I sat next to Sunny, who was with GW Hong Kong and really fun to hang around.  He was bartending at the Hard Rock CafĂ© when GW recruited him.  He had a yellow Wally Cleaver haircut, years before it became fashionable.  Between us, we polished off four bottles of wine.

                Circulating during dinner was a woman in a tuxedo top, fishnet stockings.  She had long auburn hair, big breasts, and from a distance looked pretty hot.  She was doing magic tricks for tips.  Then when she came close, I noticed the Adam’s Apple.  Some illusionist!  Anyway, he/she was quite a talented magician.

 Ok, dinner is over.  One of my American colleagues, I’ll call him Jim, had a crush on the magician and refused to believe that anyone that beautiful was anything but a woman.  Not just a woman, but a woman he MUST f*ck that very night!  A bunch of people are out dancing a country version of the Electric Slide.  Sunny and I were out of wine and I wanted more.  I noticed that one of the Canadians still had an unopened bottle of cabernet sauvignon where he was sitting.  (He drew a Canadian Flag and his name on the tablecloth in front of his chair, that’s how I knew it was him.)  I thought about just swiping it, but that would not be good form.  I waited until they finished the dance.  The Canadian walked back to his table.  He was about my height, black hair, and had a cheesy moustache.  He thought he shit didn’t stink.  I didn’t like him.  Anyway, I asked him politely if I may have a glass of his wine.  “No!” he answered with a tone that said “I wouldn’t share anything with you, filthy American!”

                “I’ll arm wrestle you for it!”  I said.  Now, I’d recently learned a few tips from a professional arm wrestler.  These tricks would work against anyone who is not incredibly stronger than me, so I was confident of victory.

                We sat at the table, had one of our British friends start us, and I swiftly crushed him- HARD.  I stood and claimed my prize.  I was about to grab a corkscrew when one of my very drunk comrades, Russ, challenged me.  I rolled my eyes, sat down, Russell to my left, and smashed him just as badly.  As we prepared, Mr. Harbour sat across from me.  He was waaaay up in the company.  He was also a third dan black belt or so in martial arts.   He smiled- he wanted to be next.  He had one of those smiles you didn’t want to see.  I really doubted I could beat him.  In fact, I figured the result would be painful.

                So I beat Russell, and was ready to take on Mr. H, when someone to my right spun me around.  His name was Andreas, and he was with GW Germany.  Andreas was big- maybe six foot four.  He was also still in the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) having not officially started with GW yet.  He wanted to play too.

                So I set up to my right, using my left arm as my right was a little tired.  A Brit started us, I got him three quarters down- and got stuck.  He was too strong.  Sh*t!  So we both struggled, luckily I had leverage, for a couple of minutes.  People were shouting encouragement in many languages.  Side bets were made. 

                I couldn’t move him, and he couldn’t move me.  Stalemate.  Then- the paper tablecloth, wet from all the drinks put on it this night, ripped.  We staggered, stood, and tried to throw the other over. 

                Then a coke bottle broke.

                That was the sound anyway.

                Andreas held his left arm close.  I knew what happened.  “Oh my God I broke his arm!”

                A Spaniard who was a combat medic came and between us (former paramedic) confirmed my initial fears.  An ambulance was called and I just stayed close.  Andreas didn’t peep, didn’t cry out, didn’t say anything.  Brave man. 

                Anyway, I was told to accompany him to the hospital, which I would’ve done anyway.  (The following bit was told to me later.)  As we were leaving, on of the waitresses went over to Mr. Stallard (highest ranking GW person there that night) and said about Andreas “He doesn’t look happy.”  Mr. Stallard turned to her and said “He’s German.”

                The trip to the hospital was very quick.  Andreas, one of his co-workers who spoke English, and I were deposited in the emergency room.  Now, the UK has Universal Health Care, which means the state pays for everything.  I’m very liberal, and I thought that was a good idea…

Until that night.

                The hospital was grimy.  Not just dirty- grimy.  I’ve seen cleaner fraternity houses.  We were alone in the emergency room.  No other patients, no nurses, doctors, nothing.  This was at around 11pm local on a Saturday night.  Andreas, translator, and I sat there for three hours, just the three of us.  Andreas spoke very little English, and I spoke very little German, and translator wasn’t in a talking mood.

                After three hours, a doctor showed up.  He listened to my description of the injury, read the chart, and took us all to X-Ray. 

                Where we waited ANOTHER hour- with no one in front of us.  This hospital was so deserted it was creepy.  I was no longer drunk, but hung over.  Andreas looked like he was in pain, but didn’t say anything.  So eventually the X-ray person showed up.  Her face was flushed; her hair a mess, her shirt was buttoned incorrectly.  Once there, she did a quick and efficient job.  Within minutes, we had the needed pictures.  Twenty minutes after that, the doctor looked at them.

                “Spiral fracture of the distal humerus.  This will require surgery.  But not here.”  They put the arm in a sling, handed him an envelope with his x-rays, and sent him home.  They were going to let the Germans pay for the surgery.

                So we head out of the hospital and flagged down a black London cab.  He had no idea where we’re going, but he went awfully fast.  As he hit speed bumps Andreas yelled in pain.

Fallout:  The guy in charge of the German business at that time was this skinny little f*ck with an over-large head who I’ll call Donnie.  Donnie is one of those people who think they know more than you, but is completely and utterly wrong 80% of the time.  He insisted that I be fired for this “outrage.”  He apparently talked a lot of shit, but not to my face.  Whatever, asshole.  I kept my job.

                Andreas’ surgery was successful.  He had three pins and a plate inserted in his arm.  I sent him a letter of apology as well as a “care package” of stuff from America that he couldn’t get in Germany

                My colleagues had several interesting nicknames for me after that like “Crusher” and stuff, but eventually the story died out.

                Jim did not hook up with the magician.  Best news of the night.

                And I never got the chance to drink the wine I won from that asshole Canadian!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Once again, I say you over-estimate me.  I am not strong.  I am barely hanging on by my fingernails.  Bluntly, all of my Hope is gone. 

All of it.

a very bad day

I knew the risks and trials of transitioning before I did it.  But I had Hope.  I hoped beyond hope that somehow, someway, I could complete the journey- that one day I could be a complete woman.  I see now that this will never happen.  I will never have the money, and all the fellowships to which I apply for help laugh my application right into the waste bin.  Insurance?  Never happen.  Not in my short lifetime.

When I decided to transition, I did so with Hope.  I Hoped that somehow, someway, I could make it work.  That my luck Had to change.  That ANY change had to be positive.  And it was: I found a Peace I’d never known in my life.  The friends I’d made since realizing who I am are FAR closer to me than most friends I’d had in my male life, with the exception of my wife.  

I am trapped walking between genders: neither fully man nor woman.  A mockery.

Without Hope, there is no life. 

I am weak.

Be well.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Excerpt: Mexicali Blues

 Recently, someone asked me "why don't you drink Tequila?"  I answered "bad experience in college."  Well, I wrote about that experience in my yet-to-be- published book.  So, here it is!  (if I already posted this in the blog... oops)
Then:  "Lens" Fall 1986 (I have no pictures of me from 1988)
Chap 2.122: One and Only Bluze

Saturday, March 12, 1988 McFarlane pleads guilty to deception

            The Mexicali Blues was an annual tradition which took place in the winter, usually a week or three after coming back from Xmas break.  Named after a Bob Weir/ Grateful Dead song, The Blues would always precede another event, like a party or a social.  The dining room was cleared of all but 2 tables by the pledges.  Several large garbage cans also were in the room. 
            The brotherhood would break up into 2 teams, playground style (2 captains picking one at a time).  Each team had a pony keg of beer and a fifth of tequila.  First team done both would win a keg of beer, an 8 ball of coke, a couple ounces of weed, and a couple of fifths of something.  Each team was allowed one “designated puker” (usually the first guy that puked).  If anyone else puked, they were out of the game. 
            My blues opportunity sang before a social with DG (and we remembered to lock the pantry.)  A new camera swung from my neck, ready to take pictures of the event.  Some of the brothers warmed up with bottles of beer.  The pledges cut many lemon wedges for the players.
The captains were Cliff (in his office as Psi), and Stoneman (the last Psi, as tradition dictated).  The two of them chugged a beer for the right to choose first.  Cliff won easily- Stoneman wasn’t a chugger, after all.

Cliff chose Windex, the fastest chugger in the house.  They high fived as Windex joined Cliff on one side of the room as other cheered and whooped.  Quickly, Stoneman made his first choice.  “Lens.”
I wasn’t sure that I heard him correctly, but I slowly took a couple of steps as the brothers cheered.  All my life, I’d never been chosen first for anything.  Always last.  Now, during a Hood event, I was first.  I confidently took the last few steps and high fived Stoneman.  As the teams filled rapidly, Cyborg smiled and said “We’ve definitely won the tequila side.  No one drinks like Lens.”
Our team also had Spuds- the second fastest chugger in the house, a couple other speedsters and a few hard core partiers, including Moonie.
I, along with Cyborg, Diner, and Motel, were assigned to the bottle of tequila.  There were plenty of lemons and salt.  I’d never had tequila before in my life, but how bad could it be? 
Bocchi started us off.  “Ready!  Set!  DRINK!” 
The beer was going quickly as the chuggers downed them at lightning speed. 
Motel poured triple shots of tequila, and we toasted the first one.  “Skull!”  UGH!  That was horrible!  After that, we were to refill at our own speed. 
Two.  Three.  Burp.  Four.  Ohhh.  Fiiive.  This sucks. 
Moonie jammed his head into a trash can and spewed.  There goes our puker.  He staggered and gamely accepted another beer.
Siiix.  Cyborg vomited all over the table.  Motel quickly followed in the trash can.  Holy shit.  The room spun.  Diner, leaning his gaunt frame on the table, poured a shot for himself, and finished the bottle with my shot.  I saw him pour half his shot down his Poison T-shirt and puke slowly dribbled down his chin.  He staggered to the trash can and lost it.
Seeeeevennnnn…  I dropped the glass, slumped against the wall and took pictures.  The room heaved wildly like it was a storm tossed ship.  I found a beer in my hand.  Stoneman, leaning on the table, shouted “Come on!  We can still win this!”  Everyone was slowing down.  Our bottle was finished, but theirs wasn’t!
Soon, people were vomiting out of every window in the room.  Somehow, the other team emptied that bottle.  I think Good finished it, as he fell through the kitchen door, gone for the night.
The other team finished their keg first and won.  Those still able stood and cheered, chanting “HOOD!  HOOD!  HOOD!”
The pledges that weren’t playing immediately moved in with mops.  I was carried from the room by two pledges as I couldn’t walk (having slid down the wall to a seated position) and taken to my room, where a trashcan was put before me.  My mind moved slowly.  I heard a constant tone in my ears.  I woke up a few hours later with my head in the trash can. 
So the hood was plenty drunk when the girls showed up.  The theme was, appropriately, Dead show, so they showed up in hippie gear and tie dyes. 
The next day I was so hung over I couldn’t move.  The day after that (Sunday) I was still hung over, and still dry heaving, but I was ambulatory.  Sunday night before rush dinner, I heard stories of horrified DGs, insulting brothers, broken doors and windows, and pledges (who were smart enough to play the “nice guy” role) scoring like crazy.  Monday, I still had a horrible headache, but made it to class.  Since then, I can’t even smell tequila or I feel woozy.  When pouring tequila as a bartender, I did it at arms length.

Now:  Sophie.  November 2015

The following Thursday night party, Cliff bragged loudly to a pledge that he doctored our beer tap to make it run slower, so our beer just wasn’t flowing fast as theirs.  He disassembled the tap, glued a BB in there, and put it back together.  The news spread through the house like wild fire.  Half the hood cornered him in Squirrel Shack and carried him to the bathroom for a swirley, but not before Stoneman pissed into that toilet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Is It a Dream?

Sometimes I wonder if it's all a Dream.

Do I REALLY know all these fantastic people?  Are there REALLY such good people like Linda, Ally, Sandy, Jone, Sami, Kimberly, Jenny, Amanda, and so many more... in my life?  Are they REALLY my friends?  How could a person be so lucky?

Am I really living as my True Self... all the time?  Sometimes I look down at myself at work and see the dress I'm wearing... see my breasts standing out proudly... and I can't believe I'm not asleep.

And speaking of which, sometimes I look in the mirror after a shower and see a woman.  I look at my chest and see my breasts... MY breasts.  I've dreamed of them all my life.  Ached for them.  And now there they are.  I can touch them, and they are real.  I can no longer hide them.  They state to everyone who and what I am: Female.

Do I really have a Daughter?  I fought being a parent so long, and yet there she is: my beautiful daughter.  She is part of me, and, God willing, will outlive me.  And she loves me.  That has to be a dream.  As much as my beautiful Wife was a dream come true.  Surely, she HAS to be a dream- why would someone like her care about me?

Did I really do all those things?  Was I really a paramedic saving lives?  Did I go to all of those places?

Did I really go to University?  How did I graduate?  And how in hell did I manage an advanced degree?  Was Penn State just a dream that still wanders through my consciousness?

Do I really have a Voice?  My writing?  Do people actually care about the sh*t I churn out?  Have I really been published?  Or is this going to vanish in the currents and eddies of an ever changing dream.

Is this the real life?

Sometimes I wonder if this is all a horrible Nightmare.

Has my writing really done so little to change the world?  Why can't I get a book published?  Why does writing have to hurt?

Did I do all of that work, all of that studying to get my degrees for nothing?  All they've given me is a sea of debt in which I could drown.  They haven't helped me get a job.  All they are is a worthless pair of papers.

Have I done so little?  All those people who served in the military did so much more- have seen so much more.  So I saved a few lives.  They're probably all dead by now anyway.  Like they would remember me anyway- I was just an anonymous person in a uniform or helmet.

Is my marriage really over?  Almost 23 years and for what?  I'm no better off than before.  After it all, I'm alone, and will always be.  Has my presence in her life really helped my Wife?  Or have I been just a curse?  And my daughter- what kind of parent can I be from a distance?  What kind of parent opens their child to ridicule and bullying like I have?

Yes, I have breasts... but that's all.  I'm a freak.  I see the breasts in the mirror, but I also see that I'm grotesquely overweight, and worse- I see what still mocks me from between my legs.  It shouts at me "YOU'RE A MAN!  YOU'RE MALE!"

I go to work in a dress, true.  But how many people misgender me?  An entire political party wants nothing less than my blood to run in the street, and their followers are all to happy to oblige them.  I have to be extremely careful where I go, lest I get beaten or worse.

All these amazing people.  They are so much better than me.  They are braver.  They are more beautiful.  More poised.    More intelligent.  More compassionate.  Sane.  There's no reason in hell that they should want me around them; dragging them down.  What kind of friend am I when I can't help my best friend when she needed me... when she died?

So is it a Dream?  A Nightmare?

Will I ever truly awaken?

And so I sleep on...

Dreaming of a Better Life for us all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Villanova Presentation

Sorry I've been away for a bit.  Life has... um... hit a rough patch.  But I'm still here.  Still breathing.  Still writing.

In any case, I did something I think was worth writing about, so...

Thursday, March 31, 2016 was Transgender Day of Visibility.  (It was the two year anniversary of my first day of work at the bookstore as Sophie.)  In any case, my method of visibility was to give a presentation at Villanova University.

I met my "escort" in front of this church

The class was "Psychology of Gender," taught by Dr. Katina Sawyer.  I was told to expect a full house.  Originally, I was to do the presentation alone, but a couple of weeks before it happened, I was told I'd be sharing the stage with a transman named Aiden James Kosciesza.  I'd heard of him- he is an activist and lecturer on trans rights.

Then we were both informed that Dr. Sawyer had been asked to present at Harvard University, so she wouldn't be there.  We would have the class.  Aiden respectfully bowed out; I'm guessing because that exceeded the scope of work.  I, on the other hand, am trained to run a classroom (thank you education degrees!) so I had no issue with this.

March 31 was a warm, dreary day, and VERY muggy.  My presentation was at 4.  I parked in the lot across from campus and walked around a bit, taking some pictures.  The mood was electric- Villanova's men's basketball team was in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, and the student body was psyched!

At four, I met the beautiful graduate assistant, Rebeca Pareja, who showed me to the building where I'd be speaking.  To access it, we had to go through a HUGE wooden door, which struck me as something out of Dungeons and Dragons.  Inside, the building looked like any other classroom building- and it smelled like it too: that faint aroma of cleanser, books, and burnt brain cells.  Ah, Academia!

Before Class

We were a little early, and the building had no air conditioning.  As I was in a suit, I began to sweat profusely.  I excused myself to the powder room and dabbed off the sweat.  But it kept on coming.  I met my student liaison then as well.  She was Alexa McGrath, a beautiful sorority girl who was Panhellenic president, and she was graciously allowing me to use her laptop.

Eventually, the History professor who had the class in the room before us left, and I set up.  The class would be filmed by a remote camera installed on the back wall.  I had no control over this camera.

At 4 PM, I started the class.  I spoke for about an hour.  The session was similar to the one I did back in November at Penn State Abington, but I cut out some parts that just didn't work.

After answering questions, I ended spot on at 5:15.  Afterwards, I answered some private questions, then Rebeca walked me back to the church.  She had another class, so we would part ways there.  As we walked, we spoke of how getting "the story out" was so important.  She said that my story was inspiring.  I was a bit surprised by that- I looked at her quizzically for a moment.  I replied that "my story is still being told."

I walked back to my car.  On the way, I saw a news van- one of the local stations was doing interviews on campus or something.  I took a picture, and posted it on facialbook.

I then drove back to the apartment.  Linda was there, nursing a sore back (which is why she didn't come along.)

And that was my day.

I think that it went well, but you be the judge.

HERE is the link to the presentation.  It actually starts at 4:45 on the feed.  I did my best to obscure names in it (right, Michelle?)  ;)  Also, I'm still waiting on release forms from a couple of students, so please don't go spreading this around yet.

Oh, and Villanova won the tournament by beating North Carolina in the finals.

Be well!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Matter of Trust

I've always had trust issues.  It usually takes me a LONG time before I trust someone.  Go figure: I held a deep, dark secret for over 45 years of my life!

I can count the number of people who I've trusted instantly on one hand- and those people, I consider VERY special.  To date, my sense of this has been quite good- none have betrayed my trust that I know of.  It's funny- of everyone who fits that category, only ONE was from before I rediscovered myself.  I guess it's because those since then have met the Real Me, and shared the same "deep dark secret."

Lisa Empanada was one of those people.  Linda Lewis, who is my roomie and bestie, is one as well.

In the past couple of months, I met someone who will go unnamed in this blog.  That person and I clicked immediately.  This person, whom I will call... *checks to see what letters I haven't used for aliases yet*... "K" does not live near me; in fact she is in another part of the country.

We text and IM.  It's fun.

But here's the thing about trust- I don't know what is too much.  What is "going over the line?"  Despite the fact that I bare my soul in my writing, I am usually a very private person.  You want to know about me?  Read my blog.  It's a habit I developed early on.  I learned that, really, people just don't care to hear about your problems, your fears, doubts, and especially your wants.  And that's fine- it fit in with the distance I needed to put between myself and people.  (See "secret" above.)

And this is important- we wonder how "Coming out" will be taken by the world at large.  How will my walking in the mall in a dress be perceived?  Pitchforks and torches?

The fact is: no one cares.  They may look.  They may say something.  But then they go on with their lives.  That is, unless you encounter an a$$hole.  They like hurting people- especially those they perceive as different.  (See: "GOP")  In my area, this is actually uncommon.  But in some parts of this country and world, it's downright deadly.

But I digress.


Anyway, why am I writing about this?  Well, I was IMing with K, and I told her a story.  It's a story I have told no one else.  Something very private.  This was kind of in response to something ELSE I said that...

Well, anyway, I told her something that maybe I shouldn't have.  Now, I don't think the story will get around- I do trust her.  But I worry that I may have alienated her with one or the other parts of that conversation.

Sometimes a friendship can be lost by oversharing.  I lost so many friends when I "shared" with them my Truth.

That's the big problem with Trust:  the risk of putting oneself out there.  You become vulnerable.  Shields and defenses down.  Naked before the storm.  Insert cliche here.

And there is Fear.  Being vulnerable is so very scary.  We are conditioned to shy away from possible pain- to flinch.

In a way, Coming Out about your Truth is a dichotomy: one becomes so vulnerable while simultaneously empowering oneself with the Truth that has been hidden.

So, in any case, what's done is done.  The words I sent were read and she responded to them.  What she thinks of me for writing what I did is, well she keeps things to herself as well.

We ALL have secrets.

Some we share.  Some, not so much.

But they are always there.  Big and small.  And sometimes, just sometimes, the secrets...

Are good.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Planning for Transition? Questions

A friend of mine is on the verge of transition. She is married with children and has a good job; living in a well to do suburb of a major eastern city.

I told her to plan it well, and she asked what kind of plans? This is what I sent her. I figured it was something that maybe someone else could use, so here it is. I've modified it slightly to remove personal info and make it more... well... blog entry like.

Random Recent Sophie Pic.


Well, start by assuming the absolute worst. Loss of home and marriage.
Where will you live? Can you afford to live by yourself? If you need a roommate, where will you find one?
There will be lawyers. They will do their best to make you look like scum. Can you afford a lawyer? What will they take? Home, obviously. Car? 401K?
Word will get out- she will not stay silent. How do you control the narrative, which is vital?
Job. Assume the worst- you lose your job. How is your savings situation? With your skill set, can you find other work? What about insurance?
Friends. Assume the worst. You lose ALL of your "guy" friends. Do you have enough a support network with your [girl] friends to catch you when you fall (and fall you will)?
Family. Be prepared to lose them all. Disinherited, Cut off. May not happen, but be ready. How will you come out to them?
Children. They will not understand at first. They will be angry and confused. You may lose them for a time, but USUALLY you get them back in your life. Can you keep your head until they get theirs together?
Remember- you do not transition alone. Everyone you know transitions with you.
And after ALL of that... you didn't do this to remain a guy. Will you want surgeries? Electrolysis? You're going full time- you'll need a day to day wardrobe. That isn't cheap. Can you afford HRT without insurance?
Wigs. You'll need more than one; preferably identical (unless you'll be on finasteride to grow your own) [my friend is follicly challenged.]
Emergencies. Say something happens to one of your children, and you and your wife must work together after you split. What will be the compromise? (For 1 year after going ft, I kept a set of guy clothes for seeing Wife. My compromise. Those clothes are now long gone.)
Overwhelmed yet? Well, it's a good thing that YOU set the time of your coming out, so you have time to plan. So plan it well. But what if SHE outs you? Then what? Prioritize your planning for that emergency. Shelter, support- they are the priorities. (Think Maslow)


So, this is how I planned. I made the plans prior to telling Wife about my Truth, but didn't need them then. But they were ready, and they really saved my butt when MIL tossed me out with two days notice.

Did I miss anything?

Transition isn't easy ("If it were easy everyone would do it" as Donna Rose has said.) And it should be the LAST resort. A person shouldn't do it just because they like wearing dresses when they get home- they should do it because they NEED to do it. And if you NEED to transition, you'll know.

I hope this helped my friend, and maybe someone else.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Intranet Marvel

As I mention many times in this Blog, I work at a chain bookstore.  This is a major company and, as such, has a company intranet, which is the internal internet site.

A month or so ago, the company solicited 500 word "essays" about "why YOU are the biggest Superman/Batman fan in the company."  It was for Superman/Batman Day earlier this month, which was a chain-wide event.  They also wanted the employee to submit a picture.

I wasn't going to do it as I write a ton anyway.  But several managers asked me to write something, so I did.  I didn't want to do the whole "Pick me!  Pick me!" thing.  I thought about it a bit, and I decided to submit one of my Mary Marvel pictures.  But that's neither Superman or Batman, so... how to link them?

So, I decided to make my piece a reply to a "fan letter."  I wrote it in less than half an hour, and submitted it.  And forgot about it.

Then, on the bookstore chain's facialbook page, I saw the picture I sent, with people congratulating me.  The next day, I worked, so I looked on the intranet page.  There was an article about several Superman fans, with pictures.  (There was a Batman page the day before.)  At the bottom of the Superman page was a sentence with a link "And here's a special letter from Captain Marvel."

The Page, printed out and posted on the store bulletin board

And there was my piece!  I had my own page!  What follows is what I wrote:

Thank you for your letter asking about Superman and Batman.  As you may know, my brother and I have known them for 75 years.  We have fought side by side with, and, occasionally, against them, for the past 43 years, since 1972. 

One question I am often asked is “Who is cuter: Superman or Batman?”  Maybe that question was appropriate back in the forties, fifties, or even the sixties, but in this day and age, women aren’t defined by men.  We are independent and equal to them.  My brother and I have the same powers granted by the same gods, and, in fact, I retired the name “Mary Marvel” years ago.  Now, I’m just referred to as Captain Marvel, as is my brother.  That aside, I’ll say that while Batman may be a guy you date; Superman is the guy you take home to meet your parents.  I’ve always been more attracted to the positive, and Batman is just too darn moody!

You asked who I believe would win in a fight.  That’s an easy question.  If Kal-El were so inclined, he could swoop in at super speed, knock out Batman with a mere tap of his finger, and fly away before a second had passed.  But that is not his style.  He believes in fair play.  And in that sort of fight, Batman wins easily (as documented in 1986.)  Why?  Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite, and Batman not only knows this, but has had some in his utility belt since 1990.  Batman may be only human, but he actually is far smarter than Superman, and would be prepared for such a fight.

Thank you again for your kind letter.  I am enclosing the 8x10 picture you requested.


Captain Marvel

Fawcett City

The picture is from 2011.   The costume is by Lorraine Anderson of Occasional Woman, and the makeup and picture are by Amanda Richards of True Colors Makeup Artistry.  The event was a Halloween Party during a blizzard.  

The reason I'm writing isn't to brag and say "look at me!"  It's because seeing that picture... the entire company seeing that picture... well, it actually made me pause and reflect for a moment.

When that picture was taken, I was still deeply closeted.  I was still hiding my Truth from my Wife (I would come out to her seven months later.)  Now, that party was going to be a bit of a debut, but no one was really there due to snow.  But the idea of my coworkers seeing that picture... never mind the whole company... was terrifying.  I mean- being OUT to EVERYONE?!?!?!  

What would people say?  Would I lose my job?  Would my Wife leave me?

Now, looking back, and knowing what I do, I understand those fears.  Most of them came true.

But now, looking at that picture on a screen of a work computer, I just smile.  And thank God I don't have to hide any more.  

Oh, and by the way, I wore that costume on Superman/Batman day.  I ran the trivia contest.  Eight hours in three inch heeled boots and a corset.  I was in pain for days afterwards.

Before work: Superman/Batman Day

Coda:  A few days later, I received this message on facialbook.  

I smiled and laughed.  TY Illinois!  :)