Friday, June 30, 2017

Tara's Challenge: The Letter

One of my co-workers gave me a writing challenge:  Write a letter from your future self 500 word minimum.

Events of late have put me in a dark mood, so this is the result.  I know that the few conservatives that read this blog will take issue with this piece.  To them I say- it's FICTION (I hope.)



I don’t know if you’ll read this- in fact I doubt it.  This guy says he has way of sending paper back through time.  He tried to explain it, but I was so tired.  Please excuse the paper and the black dust too.  The guy is one of the guards.  He is a “citizen” and has the Trump logo tattooed on his forehead like all “good patriots.”  However, I think he has a hard on for transwomen, because he’s always promising us extra rations for blowjobs.  I won’t tell you what price I’m paying to have this sent.

I hope you do read this, and that you read it before it’s too late.  I’m writing you from the February 2020.  I’m told the weather outside today is cloudy and 75 degrees, which is typical winter weather now.  Last summer, the average was the mid-90s.  So you can guess what happened.

However that doesn’t matter to people like us.  I work in a coal mine- I’m told in north-central Pa.  The mine has 4 shafts, each deeper than the one before it.  Shaft 1 is the one they show reporters, and those are the people that are free to come and go, and get paid.  They are almost all white, with an occasional black guy so the administration can say there’s racial “equality.”  Shaft 2 is mostly people who have a chance of actually leaving here alive- like republicans that didn’t vote for 45. 

I work in Shaft 3 with all of the other “perverts and freaks.”  LGBT, liberals- that sort.  They rounded us up at night, took us by trucks to holding pens somewhere out by Boyertown, then had us all form up in lines and we were separated into groups.  I was in an LGBT group.  We were marched outside for some time into a field and told to count off by threes.  I was a “three.”  Linda was a “two.”  We were led away from the others, and maybe five minutes later, we heard all kinds of gunfire- automatic weapons, pistols, then it got quiet, followed by an occasional pistol shot.  We eventually were loaded onto old school buses and taken to this mine.  I haven’t seen the sky since.

We work constantly.  Occasionally, if you work hard, they let you rest a bit, maybe even sleep.  They feed us energy drinks from time to time.  I’ve lost over 100 pounds.  Many others have died already.  If you do anything they perceive as wrong, or refuse an order, you’re sent to Shaft 4.  No one comes back from Shaft 4.

How could this happen?  Simple.  Trump won the election.  The beginning was rocky, but after “terrorists” bombed the New York Times and Washington Post, he declared Martial law, and the roundups began.  The Democratic Party was outlawed as was any news source aside from the brand new “trump Network.”  We were set to leave the following day- Linda and I were going to flee north to Canada, but we never got the chance.  They came for us that very night.
I’m hoping you get this before November 2016.  I know you’ll think this is fake.  There’s no real way to prove I’m really you.  Well, I’ll say something only you know: chicken add sickness.  I hope that convinces you.

Even if you get this in time (I have no idea how precise the method is for sending this back) I don’t know what you can do.  If you tell people about this, they’ll call you crazy and paranoid.  But all I have to say is this- you must do anything to keep that maniac from being elected- Anything.

By my own guess, I have only a few units of time left before I drop.  (Those who drop are also sent to Shaft 4, if not shot outright.  The guards get bonuses for shooting “trouble makers” but still have production quotas to meet, so…)  Time has no meaning here in the dark, but we all measure it by guard shifts.  We guess they work 8 hours at a time. 

Sophie, do something!  For all those you love, do SOMETHING!

Better Days

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Inspirations: Linda Lewis

This is the second in an occasional series about women who inspired me over the years, and continue to inspire me.  The first was Kimberly Huddle.

I often write about Linda Lewis in my blog and on my facialbook.  I often refer to her as the "Internet Sensation" and other things like that.  How do I know Linda, and who is she really?

The Gorgeous Linda Lewis, June 2017

Well, I guess it should start back when I found out about her. My femme side resurfaced in 2008- that is true- but I knew about trans sites before that. Around 2001, I was doing an internet search for fiction sites so I could post my work, and Fictionmania came up.  For those who don't know, Fictionmania is a transgender site.  I remember starting to read a story there and I was hooked.  I couldn't believe that there was a site that had stories such as these- stories that spoke to something that I had long buried.  From there, I started looking up other transgender sites, and very quickly after I found Linda Lewis.

Linda ran two websites at the time- one with just regular Linda pictures and her interviews from various magazines like Ladylike, and there was another one that specialized in pictures of her with very big boobs.  (She took most of those on a Super Bowl Sunday, though I forget which one.)  In any case, she also has a Flickr page, where she has all these fans. She was amazing, gorgeous, and untouchable: she was an Icon.  And she still is.

Heck she even appeared in ads!  When I reawakened in 2008, I started looking for things that would improve my figure etc.  One of the places I found made scientifically designed hip pads for Trans people- called Classic Curves.   A new one had just come out: the Veronica 4, and there on the ad was Linda Lewis- sitting on a stool in a red dress looking absolutely stunning.  Later in my search, I found a site which sold breast prosthetics.  It was an British site called Proactive Prosthetics, and there she was again- modeling the breast prosthetics.  I was like "this woman is everywhere!" and again I thought she was some kind of Royalty.  I put her up there with several other icons such as Heidi Phox, Donna Kelli, Kimberly Huddle, and just so many others.

Ad for Classic Curves

In 2009, that I sent Linda a flickr message, asking her about the breast prosthetics and about the Veronica.  She kindly responded, and I felt I'd been touched by the hand of God.  I ended up purchasing both of those items over time.  They were expensive, but I had a specific idea of how I wanted "Sophie" to look.  I wanted her to have beautiful hips and big boobs.  I figured these would offset my very large shoulders.  I reasoned that if I had big boobs, nobody would be looking at my face.  That rationale continues to this day.  Fortunately, my genetics gave them to me.

Years later, Linda posted something on Facialbook.  I forget exactly what it was, but she seemed very down.  She had a health scare of some kind, which I later found out was a collapsed lung.  She needed financial help.  I sent what I could.  It was then that she and I started chat.  I found out that we had a lot of movies and music in common.  One day, when I was trying to send her a DVD, I managed to call her.  I was so nervous!  I couldn't believe that I would be calling Linda Lewis! I left her a message, and she called back.  A tenuous friendship began.

Eventually, I was asked to join Vanity Club.  I spoke to Linda a lot about this.  Although she is not my "Big Sister," she did coach me a lot, and I am grateful.

I decided that I was going to go to the Southern Comfort Conference.  I was talking to my dear friend Stephanie Shostak about Linda.  She had also helped Linda financially a little.  Now this is saying something because Linda is a very proud person, and doesn't like asking for help.  Between us, we figured we were going to get Linda Lewis to Southern Comfort as well.  We figured out a way to get her a hotel room- she would room with a friend I knew, and between us we paid for her transportation.  I didn't realize when this started that by the time Southern Comfort came around, my life would have completely turned upside down.


I've written before about how, at SCC, I pissed Linda off, and it made me think about how she was not an icon- that she's just a human being like the rest of us.  And God knows I've pissed her off several times since then, just as she's made me angry.  That's what happens when you know someone well.  In any case, after SCC we parted ways and she went back to Michigan.

A couple months later, she was supposed to move down to Florida.  The details there are personal, and I will not speak of them.  However, she was delayed- she couldn't move down to Florida, but her lease was up in Michigan.  She had nowhere to go.  I asked my dear friend M, with whom I was staying, if she could put Linda up for a couple weeks.  She readily agreed, because she is the kind of person who Helps.  So it was that in late December 2013, I met Linda Lewis in her drab mode at State College, Pennsylvania, where had we agreed to meet.  Only a week before, I was headed this way to blow my head off, but I turned around.  It was a rainy, snowy, messy day, and she followed me from there back to the house where we would both stay for another six months. I lived on the second floor, while she lived in the basement, but it was during that time that I got to know the woman behind the Legend.  I thought she would just be there for a few weeks.  However that was not the case, as she kept getting delayed through no fault of her own.

Eventually she gave up on Florida, and we decided to get an apartment in Pennsylvania.  So we moved out, found a third roommate Zoey (without whom we would have been on the street- and we will be forever in her debt.)  We lived there for a year, and then moved to our current place.

Road Trip- July 2014

Linda and I are best friends. We are not romantic at all, because, One: I'm not her type, and Two: I'm married.  However, I would die for her, and I hope she knows that.  There aren't many people for whom I would take a bullet- less than a handful- but she is one of them.  I promised her that as long as there is breath in my body, she will never be alone.

So we will go through the rest of our lives, hopefully, as best friends and companions through this Whirlwind that is transition.  She is on the cusp of going full-time herself, as the hormones are doing their work, and soon she will be unable to hide her femininity.  I look forward to that time, and I know she does as well.

There are so many things that make up a transition, and Linda has been instrumental. I could not have done it without her; she was there that first day when I declared myself full-time.  She was there my first day of work as a woman, and she has been with me every step of the way.  She has done her best to help me when the Darkness has me firmly in its grip.  Linda is one of the wisest people I know (and her knowledge of the Space program puts some Phd's to shame!)

She is my Bestie, and I love her.

Linda is a legend- even if she doesn't think she is.  She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met.

She is Linda Lewis.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Old dream

It's an old dream, but I still remember it very clearly.  I think it was from around 1976 or 77, because of who is in it.  That would mean I was somewhere between 9 and 11 years old.  This also means that it was 40 years ago.  It's amazing how memory works, isn't it?

In this dream, I have been sent to an island, and the only way to access this island is a small, short tunnel. It's possible that this island was in another dimension.  The tunnel was like a large log that you could walk into- it was maybe six feet high and about the same width; oval in shape and dark brown.  Maybe 20 feet long.  One could see through to the other side, and it was a green paradise.

My parents had come to see me, although I think they were there to "rescue" me, I don't remember that part precisely however when I was summoned to come off the island and meet them I walked through the tunnel and I was a woman in fact I looked like Jessica Lange as she appeared in King Kong- the 1976 version (which is how I date this.)

They were surprised to say the least.  I mean to have your 10 year old son suddenly be walking in front of you as a mature woman... I remember my mom burst into tears, and my dad was absolutely disgusted.  He yelled something, but I don't remember exactly what.  It wasn't nice, whatever it was.  I remember saying "I don't understand why you're upset! I'm happy! I'm finally happy!"  I then turned and walked back through the tunnel, and I remember still hearing my mom crying and my dad shouting.

That was the whole dream that I can remember, but the part is still clear as day is standing there as a beautiful woman saying "I'm finally happy! I'm finally happy!"

The crying and the shouting.

I think about this dream occasionally.  It wasn't the first Dream in which I was a woman, and far from the last.  Now, occasionally, I still dream that I am a guy.  I hate those dreams.  They are becoming rarer though.

Now my dreams have been centering around the same themes: I'm lost; I can't find something; I'm haven't finished something, usually school work; I'm using trying to get somewhere, but every time I try to travel I end up going the wrong direction and being further away much further away.  These dreams usually take place in a grotesquely huge version pf Penn State main campus which is miles wide, and has a very urban part.

But in that old dream, I was exactly where I needed to be, doing exactly what I needed to do.  I was a woman, and I was happy.

Be well.

Monday, June 19, 2017

PSU Hazing Death Backlash

So Penn State has imposed new rules for Fraternities and Sororities.

New measures include:

-University control of the fraternity and sorority organizational misconduct and adjudication process.
-Hazing that involves alcohol, physical abuse, or any behavior that puts a student’s mental or physical health at risk will result in swift permanent revocation of University recognition for the chapter involved.
-Transition to deferred recruitment/rush process for fraternities and sororities.
-Strict social restrictions.
-Monitoring of social events by University staff members.
-Relationship statement signed by all fraternity and sorority members that clarifies the respective rights and responsibilities of the University, the chapters and their respective members.
-Further parent education: availability of report card, messages to reinforce with their students.
-Capitation fee for support of extra services, spot-checkers/monitors, and educational activities.

The Penn State Panhellenic Council sent a letter in reply.  (read that HERE)  They are of the opinion that they are being unfairly targeted, as they had nothing to do with any of the recent controversies.  They have a point.

As I have written many times in this blog, I was a brother in a Fraternity in college.  I joined Phi Kappa Sigma (Skull) while at Drexel in May 1985.  When I transferred to PSU, my membership transferred with me.  I even wrote a book about my college days, which is yet unpublished (I have posted some chapters in this blog from time to time.)

Fraternity Anniversary, November 2015

I've been thinking a LOT about the fraternity sanctions since I read them.  I wanted to think them through before posting my opinion.

My fraternity at PSU got physical with the pledges.  No doubt.  It was hazing.  Lots of pushups, etc.  And we played drinking games WITH them.  If they were drinking, we were drinking.  And they were never asked to do something that the classes before hadn't done.  That said, each class seemed to... increase the intensity.  Like their memories of what they endured warped, or that they remembered it being far worse than it was.  As "House Paramedic" (and I was) if a pledge got hurt, I would evaluate, treat, and if needed, the pledge would get further care.  The worst we ever had in my time was a broken rib.  Our chapter re-chartered about ten years ago.  Everything has changed.  Stupid hazing is a thing of the past (it better be- I helped re-write the pledge program.)  And the chapter is better for it.

Me bartending at a fraternity event, 1987

Fast forward to this year.  A Penn State student is dead.  The kids who allowed this to happen refused to help him- refused to help someone they said they WANTED to be their BROTHER.  And when people tried to help, they were threatened.

The fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, has been "permanently banned."  Charges have been filed.  A grand jury says that Piazza died from "the direct result of encouraged reckless conduct."  Pearls have been clutched.  Old white guys have harrumphed.

Call me a cynic- but Beta was a rich boy house.  Families with a LOT of money.  Rich and Powerful alumni.  I really wonder how long "permanent" will be.  Five years?  Ten?  Does Beta own the house and grounds?  If so, what then?  Will judges,etc, be bought?  After all, this is Trump's America, where Money talks louder than ever.

Beta (image: Google maps)

Will the Piazzas EVER have justice for the death of their son?

I hope so.  Desperately.


These rich kids not only let the kid die, but prevented anyone from helping him.  And why didn't someone simply take that cellphone they ALWAYS carry, walk outside, and call 911?  Oh right, they'd been drinking, and that kid would be all right.  After all, he's not just a Man... he's Beta material!

And, they are all young and Invincible.  Death is for lesser beings.

So.  This is all territory I've gone over before.

The University has placed these new sanctions.  TKE has said they are closing for the 17/18 year because their brothers keep destroying the house among other things.  (I wasn't aware they were back after that drunk driving death in the 90s.)

The tragic and avoidable death of Timothy Piazza has forced the University's hand.  What do I think as a Greek alum?

What would I thought then?

Then?  That it was over-reach.  But I would've been outraged that fellow Greeks allowed such a thing to happen.  That said... I was only 19-22 then.  Now, I'm 50.

I loved being in a fraternity.  I made friends with whom I still keep in contact after 30 years.  Some of whom I consider my dearest friends.  A couple of my brothers were my biggest supporters when I transitioned back in 2014.

The Fraternity brothers (hereafter Bros) across the PSU Greek system has had many opportunities over the years to police themselves.  I was on the IFC Community Relations committee in 1988, so I saw this first hand.  During my years, we had several houses busted for underage drinking, several Bros arrested for selling drugs, and one house condemned because it was falling apart.  We had one death due to drinking- a Pink Elephant brother fell off the roof of his house after a night of partying. Number of rapes and sexual assaults I couldn't find statistics.  Anyone care to help?

In the almost thirty years since I've graduated, there have been multiple deaths, fires, hazing incidents, underage drinking citations, and I won't even count the suicides.

Timothy Piazza, Rest in Peace

Hell, even AFTER stricter measures were in place, SAM violated almost every single one of them.  They were suspended but when I visited campus, days after that happened.  I saw MANY bros wearing SAM gear.

Obviously, something has gone wrong- either in the system, in the parenting, in society, or any combination of those.  As the University is ultimately responsible for the safety of its students, they MUST act.  And so they have.

Do I LIKE what the University is doing?  No.  But I don't see any other alternative aside from disbanding the entire Greek system.  If bros in even ONE house are sociopaths (and I contend Beta was) that's too many.  But according to the stories, the police reports, and statistics, Beta WASN'T an outlier- not for Bros.  Maybe not even for that entire generation.  Am I painting with too broad a brush?  A boy is DEAD.  You tell me.  Please, I beg you, please prove me wrong.  Yes, PSU has Thon.  But what is done every other weekend of the school year?

Penn State has acted.  The Bros know what they need to do.  If they care ONE bit about the letters they wear, the University they attend, and the Brothers they supposedly care for, they will do it.

My letters meant a LOT to me in my Penn State days.  They still do.  I am PROUD to be a Penn State Alumni, and a member of Phi Kappa Sigma.  I will be both until the day I die.

Be well.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Big Mistake

I made a HUGE mistake the other day and its results hit today.


You see, the other day I called Wife's insurance company about changing my name and gender on the policy.  (Wife has graciously allowed me to remain on her policy.)  They told me they can't do it- she has to.  Fair enough.

I then asked about Transgender coverage, and received a nice surprise.  Wife's insurance from her employer now covers GCS. I just have to find someone who accepts BC/BS. It may/may not cover FFS. In any case, preauthorization is required.

So I emailed the doctors that I had researched; asking if any of them accepts BC/BS.

Unanimous:  NO.

This isn't even a case of "in network/ out of network."  It's NO.

So, what was my mistake?

I did something I swore I'd never ever do again:  I allowed myself to Hope.  I thought that maybe, just MAYBE, something would break my way for a change.


And so, the Hope crashes, ripping yet another hole in my soul.  It Hurts.  (And please spare me the "big girl panties" remarks.)

Yet again, the lesson is reinforced:   Hope Lies.

Be well.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


It was pouring rain the morning of Tuesday May 30th 2017.  My roommate and bestie, Linda, had to work at 4 a.m, so I took her to work, then came back to the apartment. I climbed back into bed for a couple hours, but then I had to get ready.  I was taking a trip.

I had taken off a couple days of work after working six in a row.  I was going to Boston, Massachusetts. Why Boston?  Well, I had a couple reasons, but the main reason was that I was going to a consultation with Dr. Spiegel.

Road Trip!

Dr. Spiegel had performed FFS (Facial Feminization Surgery) on several of my friends, and I love the results.  You see, I have determined a couple things: first is that I will never retire.  Working retail, I will never make enough to retire, so I will work until I drop.

(Oh, how did I pay for this trip?  Prostitution.  No, actually I sold a few things on ebay, and had been paying down my credit cards, so there was room.)

I have enough in my 401k to afford one surgery and only one. I already know how much GCS (Gender Confirmation Surgery) will cost, both with Dr. Christine McGinn and Dr. Toby Meltzer.  I also know how much Dr. Meltzer charges for FFS.  I got that consultation a few years back at the Keystone conference.

So now I was going to see Dr. Spiegel to find out how much he costs.  Then I will have to make a decision. I can afford only one surgery, so do I get FFS or GCS?

That is the question.  Both are Dreams come true:  The face of a woman or the "parts" of a woman.

The way I see it if I get the FFS, I may be able to find a better job, and then later maybe be able to afford GCS- if you can follow that logic.  I know it's a bit convoluted.

And it would be wonderful to look into a mirror and see a feminine face instead of Neanderthal man.  I still don't see a girl when I look at myself in the mirror- even if I'm topless and can see my breasts.  I know a lot of people can see a girl when they look in the mirror, and I envy them.

Essentially, I've grown tired of walking between the genders.  I would love to be able to afford to get it all done; be done with surgeries.  Heck, I still haven't even had electrolysis yet, so I still have that ahead of me.

It took over six hours to drive up to Boston.  I was meeting an old friend for dinner.  My GPS took me on a merry chase through the city, especially in a series of winding tunnels.  Several times, people almost took off one of my bumpers or worse.  As my friend calls them:  "Massholes."

Kim Moore: "Is that the Bunker Hill monument, or is Boston just glad to see you?"

During my travels, I passed Fenway Park, so I saw the legendary ballpark with my own eyes.  It is impressive.

After dinner in a sports bar, I found the hotel.  It was in a VERY nice part of Boston, near Boston University (my "Big Sister's" alma mater.)  I changed clothes, rested a bit, then touched up my makeup and went down to the bar for a glass of pinot grigio.  I was exhausted.  The bar was fairly empty- just me and a couple of business-looking men, neither of whom gave me a second look.


The next day, I met a dear friend and fellow Vanity Club sister Cheryl Katon for lunch.  She came in guy mode, looking very sharp in a suit.  We ate at the Cheesecake Factory (I had a chicken sandwich) and we talked about transition, being trans, and life walking in both worlds.  She is very successful in her line of work, and many people know about her feminine side, but she doesn't want to go full time.  She is happy where she is.  Lucky her.  Also, she picked up the check.  Thanks again, Cheryl!!!

After lunch, it was time for my appointment.  I made it to Dr. Spiegel's office in plenty of time.  I was efficiently checked in by Dr. Spiegel's staff.  His patient Care Coordinator, Carole, led me back to an examination room, but first- pictures!  These will be the "Before" I assume.   Carole is a very nice woman with auburn hair and wearing green eye makeup.  She smiled easily.

When I was settled in Exam Room 3, she started asking me questions about what I wanted.  She said I had a soft, feminine look already.  I smiled and thanked her.   She took down my answers to the questions, then left.  And then I waited.  And waited.

Dr. Spiegel finally arrived.  He asked questions, examined my face, and asked more questions. He asked what my main area of concern was.  I put my hand across my neck and said "from here up."

So, in his opinion, I need a forehead reshaping, a brow lift, cheek implants, rhinoplasty, and jaw shave.  So, essentially I was right- everything from the neck up.  I asked him a few questions, then waited a bit more after he left.  Carole then took me to her office and we looked at numbers.  BIG numbers.  Bigger than I have.

I was messaging with one of my dearest friends, Ally, and she suggested looking overseas.  She went to a surgeon in Mexico, and she looks spectacular.  He charges less than half of any other quote I've seen.  But then there's plane fare.  And I don't have a passport, currently.

Ally is simply stunning!

So, back to the Question:  which Dream do I choose?

I am 50.  Looks fade.  And what if the job is botched?  I'll look even worse.  Having female parts is til death do we part.  Do I attempt to blend as much as I can?  Or not have to tuck anymore?  After all, it's not like I'll USE those female parts.  Is dilating so enticing?  With a female face, maybe the misgendering will stop, or at least become uncommon.

A lot to think about.

I left the office, and headed directly home.  I arrived at 9 PM, tired as hell.

On the way back through Connecticut, I kept driving through clouds of milkweed sparkling in the sunlight.  They looked like snow falling.  It was so beautiful.  And the clouds above seemed like Heaven.  For a time, I had no cares, absorbed in the splendor.

I have a decision to make.

Be well.