Thursday, December 28, 2017

Another Christmas Meltdown

So the holiday has passed.  And I'm still here.  Still breathing.  And I'm recovering from my seemingly annual Christmas emotional/nervous breakdown.

Maybe I should start planning around it.

Cause this year?  Same as last?  Well, it was similar, but not the same.

This year, it was the incredibly rude customers again, yes.  It was not seeing my daughter again, and I'll get to that.  But there were some variations on the theme.

I can hear it now.  "Get over it!"  "Put on your big girl panties!"  "If you can't stand the heat..."   Most of that from people who are cisgender, or who have not transitioned and never will.

Transition is its own Hot corner of Hell.

So yes, it was customers.  The usual rudeness, with some going above and beyond in the "entitled asshole" department.  But there were some wonderful customers as well.  One example of each came from the same transaction.  They were a mother- 70s or 80s; and adult daughter- maybe mid 40s- early 50s.

Quick aside- every store in the chain does a book drive for the holidays, usually for a school, library, or underprivileged children.  Our store supports the Gesu school, and has done so for as long as I've been there.  As much as I HATE the holidays, this is the part I love- getting rich folks to donate books to kids who NEED the help.  I am convinced that if you give a book, you give a kid a chance; and these kids need all the chances they can get.  Growing up poor and (for the most part) African American in 45's reich means the odds are stacked astronomically against them.  Indeed, for many it's a death sentence. (See: Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher etc.)  I work hard at this book drive, and for the Nth straight year, I've not only ready the store, but sold over 1000 books for donation to the children.

Anyway, I asked mother and daughter, who were buying a basket of books, if they wished to donate in inexpensive book to the inner-city school.
Mother:  "I don't see why money should go to those lazy nig... people.  Their parents should get off welfare..."
Daughter:  *grabs a couple of the books I displayed for donation*  "I'll be glad to."
Mother:  "Why waste your money..."
Daughter:  *grabs the rest of the books I had at my register- 14 in total, some not cheap* "These too."
Mother:  *rolls her eyes and sighs loudly*

I thanked the Daughter profusely.  I could hear her mother complaining as they headed for the door and the next customer took their place.

Ok.  So the schedule for Christmas week was posted weeks ago.  I printed a copy from the scheduling program and wrote it on my calendar at home.  According to that schedule, I had to work hard through the 23rd, then I would have the 24th off (for the first time in years) as well as Christmas day.

So, last week of the holiday rush, where customers are rude, frantic, and numerous.  Most of them had many items, which made the cash registers sing and the managers smile.  That also meant that the cashiers had more time to interact with customers- they had no choice.

Now, this is what I had trained them for (and I trained better than 95% of them)- the Holiday rush.  Be efficient.  Don't worry about speed- worry about accuracy.  Get it right the first time.  I can't teach personality though.  That was up to the individual person.  Hopefully, when the managers interviewed/ hired them, they hired people who could hold up their end of a conversation.  Again, that was out of my hands- I work with who I'm given.

Most of the interactions I had with customers were wonderful.  They were delightful, and generally responded to my puns, etc, and were generous in their donations to the school.  Some were terse and rough.  Still others used that extra time to be as mean and nasty as possible for as long as they could.  And it seemed like the assholes congregated at my register.

All week, I worked hard, doing my job to the best of my ability, often shorthanded.  I knew that Saturday the 23rd would be the absolute busiest day of the year.  But, I took comfort in that all I had to do was get through it, and I had the next two days off.  I used that time off as my Hope, my armor to get me through.

Before I went in, I posted the following on facialbook:

"Today I work 1-9. This will be the busiest day of the year. Customers will be nasty, tempers will be short, I fully expect to be misgendered 4-5 times today.

I woke up this morning and thought about Games Day. When I worked for Games Workshop, there was an annual "celebration" of the GW hobby called Games Day. It was held at the Baltimore Convention Center. Over time, it grew to a 2 day event. 

It was GRUELING. The floors were concrete with no padding. If there was AC (this was mid summer) it must've never worked. The worst bit was when you finished day 1, you went to bed knowing that day 2 was still ahead- twice as long, twice as crowded. We weren't paid extra for working the whole weekend- but we DID get the legendary Games Day party after.

That feeling, knowing there was hours of total hell ahead, is exactly how I feel now."

Before work, Dec 23, 2017

I gave my all on Saturday, knowing that the next day I could rest.  I finished my shift late on Saturday.  I was physically and emotionally spent.  My arms and feet ached.

But it was over.  The worst was behind me.  I felt a wonderful sense of relief.

As I knew I wouldn't see my Wife or daughter on Christmas day (they were going to be with MIL,) I made plans to see them on Sunday.  We would exchange gifts, etc.  I would actually be able to see my daughter open gifts for the first time in years.  I also was going to see my "Big sister" Mel for the first time in months for a Christmas drink.  I was getting ready for this meeting when I received a phone call.

It was work.  A manager asked where I was.  I said I was at home, as I had off.  "No you don't.  You were supposed to be here at 11 AM."  This was at 1:15.  I said "But the schedule says I'm off."  "No, you're working today" she said, with no small about of smugness.

I mumbled that I had to get ready.  Actually, I was already made up, dressed... I just needed to do my hair.  I staggered into the living room, stunned.  Linda asked what was wrong.  I told her.  She was as incredulous as I was.  She said what I was thinking- someone must've changed the schedule and not told me.  (Yes, I'd seen that happen in the store before.)

Absolute rage boiled up inside me.  The Promise of this day off is what kept me going all week.  THAT day was going to be MY Christmas, as I'd see my daughter.  The restful peace I felt was replaced by every possible negative emotion.

After shouting, screaming, cursing, raging... I called my "Big Sister" to tell her I wouldn't make our 2 PM meeting.  I ranted and raved, and she tried to be the voice of reason (as always.)  But I was beyond reason.  I called Wife and told her that I wouldn't be able to see her and Daughter.  I ranted and shouted to her as well.  She also tried to be reasonable, but I wasn't hearing of it.

I was going to go in and Quit VERY loudly.  I was going to make sure EVERYONE knew how badly the store had fucked me.  The alternative was to simply not go in at all.

I posted on facialbook again:

I thought I had off today the schedule I printed out showed me as off today.
Apparently someone changed the fucking schedule and I not only have to work, but have to work late. 
I am in tears. I am in a rage. I thought I could relax and recover, but no, someone had to fuck with me.
Today, I'm quitting. Fuck this

I then turned off my phone and threw it as hard as I could at the wall, sat on my bed, and sobbed.  I hadn't cried this hard since Lisa died.  I wanted to simply Die.  Death was preferable to going into work.  I heard Linda speaking to someone on the phone- probably Wife.  I was inconsolable.  My every bit of remaining emotion was being spent on despair and crying.

I don't know how long I sat there crying.  When I simply had no strength to cry anymore, I sat and stared at the floor.  If I had a method, I would've killed myself on the spot.  (That's why I disposed of all methods in the apartment.)  Eventually, I stood, went into the bathroom, and finished doing my hair.  I fixed my makeup only a little.

I looked Horrible.

Broken and defeated, I went to my car, and slowly drove to work.  I arrived, and the parking lot was packed, as expected.  I parked and stared straight ahead, fighting tears.  I then got out of my car, and walked toward the store.

Coming from the store was a mother and grown 20 something son.  They saw me and he called out "Yo dude!  Wait a second!"  The mother rushed over to me and said "You're that one guy who works here, right?  Could you help me with my car?  If I leave it here..."  I didn't glare at her (I was told that may make her "uncomfortable" by management) and told her that my concern began when I passed through the front doors, and that neither I or anyone else inside cared about her car as long as it was legally parked.  She went back to her son who called out "Thanks!"  He may or may not have added "dude" to it- I'm not sure as I was dodging someone's speeding car who wasn't watching for pedestrians.

I'd been misgendered before even getting on the clock.  Yay me.

Needless to say, I was in a Rotten mood.  I did my job the best I could under the circumstances- waiting for the next customer to insult me or whatever.

And soon enough, I was misgendered again.  I reported both misgenderings to management, as I'm supposed to.  Of course, nothing was/could be done.

I was miserable all night.  And, of course, after closing we had to change out all the signs from Holiday to whatever, as well as re-do displays.  I'd done this every year forever, so I knew what needed to be done.  I didn't do it at top speed, but whatever.

We eventually were told we could go home, so I went back to the breakroom.  A well meaning coworker saw that I was miserable and asked what was wrong, so I told her.  I mentioned that because of this, I wouldn't see my daughter for Christmas.

"Those are times that once missed you never get back!" she said.

I told her I was very aware of that, and somehow managed to keep from bawling while standing there.  In fact, I made it to my car before I completely lost control and started sobbing again.  And that's how I drove home- crying my eyes out.  I stopped at Wawa to get a sandwich for me and one for Linda.  As always, I got some looks of horror and/or disgust.

I went home, where Linda and I ate the sandwiches and watched Dark Knight.  Because nothing says Christmas like Batman.  (I didn't want to see anything even remotely connected to the holiday.)

I called Wife, and told her she could come over to get Daughter's presents since she wasn't able to open them here.  She came, and I gave Wife her gifts as well.  I told her I absolutely didn't want to know from Christmas at all.  I just wanted to forget the whole thing.  Wife took the gifts, and drove back to MIL's.  She looked sad.

Linda and I finished the movie, and I trudged to bed.  I lay down, and started crying uncontrollably again.

I cried myself to sleep.  Again.

Tree this year

The next day was Christmas.  Just another day.  Still, Wife managed to get Daughter away from MIL for a little bit and they visited.  Daughter had already opened her gifts that morning, but Wife hadn't, so she opened hers.  She brought me a gift: a book I'd asked for.

I had off the next day.  I triple checked. 

Today (Thursday) I was called on the carpet because of my mood on Sunday.  At this point, I'm not at liberty to say more about that meeting.  However, I expect the worst.  I started crying in this meeting, and was asked if I wanted to go home.  I accepted the offer.  There will be "consequences."  Yeah, I get consequences- people who misgender me?  Not so much.

I thought about this- when was the last job where I had a major meltdown.  I had to go back almost thirty years- to TGI Fridays.  I had already put in my 2 weeks and been removed from the schedule, as I'd found another job.  The one manager I liked called me and asked me to cover a night shift as a favor.  He promised I'd be the first one OTLEd (allowed to leave when business slowed) as I'd already worked nine hours at my new job that day.   I took the shift- a table shift.  The manager I liked wasn't the closing manager; he was the "mid."  The closing manager said that any deal the other manager made weren't binding with him, and that I was closing- which meant being there until after 2 AM.  I'd been at work since 8 AM, and would do the same the next day.  I was in my early twenties and FAR angrier then.  That wasn't a pretty result.  Needless to say, I never worked another shift, even though the manager I liked called me several times to pick up more shifts.

I spoke to my therapist today.  We talked about the meltdown.  I told her about my mood, and where my head was.  She asked how I "recovered" from such breakdowns in the past.  I answered her truthfully- I didn't.  I just learned to live at a heightened level of despair, hopelessness, and deeper depression. 

I never "recover."  I don't know how.

And there's that chorus again:  "Get over it!"  "Put on your big girl panties!"  "If you can't stand the heat..." I'll even add "stop faking!"

So.  Here's where my head is at this moment.  I'm not going to bother applying for my PhD, because no one will accept someone as stupid as I am.  After all, if I'm so fucking smart, why am I stuck working as a retail drone?   Besides, to continue the process requires Hope.  And I have NONE.  Any time I DO have hope, it's completely crushed, leaving me worse off than before.

I'm never going to be promoted to management, so why bother with the extra bullshit of being a supervisor/trainer?  After all, no one listens to my recommendations anyway, (hell they didn't even listen when I told them there was a pervert in the women's room!) and I end up doing my job as well as that of the helpless person next to me.  So assuming I still have a job (which I don't assume) I'm going to step down from being head cashier.

If I want to keep working, I need to find a job.  At this point, I've literally tried everything except fast food.  Minimum wage.  Working with high school kids.  Assuming they'll hire a transwoman to make food.  Which I doubt.  See "Hope" above.

I'll probably drop out of all groups and clubs.  No money means no extra-curricular activities.  No conferences.  No talks, protests, or speeches.  No one cares what I think anyway- that's been proven again and again.  Also, to protest implies hope for a better future.  Ibid.

I need to find a new roomie for Linda.  If I can't pay my half of the rent, I'll only be a burden to her. 

After all that is done, I'll be Free.  Maybe I'll jump in my car and drive west or south until it breaks down.  And there, I'm sure the Trumpanzees will solve my problems the way they solve anyone "different."

Or I could just disappear.  That appeals to me as well.  But I probably won't even be able to do that right. 

That's where my head is right now. 


Happy fucking new year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


I was re-reading my old TG Forum columns.  Twice I've written about bias between full time transwomen and part time "crossdressers."  Both times I concluded that we are the same but for circumstance.  And I still think that.

There IS a difference between part and full time transwomen, though.

Full timers (FT) were willing and able to take that next step.  Then the next one.  Then the next.  Part timers (PT) and FT take many of the same first steps.  That first time actually dressing. First time trying  makeup.  First photos.

One of my first Sophie pictures, Dec 2008.  Femme Fever.

Opening the door and having the courage to walk through it as a Woman for the first time.

We felt the same thrill- the same fear.  The same quiet feeling of being Right- being your True self, if only for a short span.

The difference stems from Fear.  Many PT are content to be as they are- expressing themselves occasionally.  For others, dressing is a fetish- a sexual thrill.  A fantasy.  Yet others aren't willing to pay the awful price of transition.

But for a few, just a few, it isn't enough. Some know this immediately.  They've always known.  Many of those of my generation Died by their own hand rather than live one more moment as a guy- another second living the lie.  Fortunately for the younger generations, this doesn't seem to be as much of a problem, as more are transitioning younger- becoming the women they were born to be with the bodies we could only wish for- indistinguishable from genetic girls.

Some need time to dig through the layers of denial, self-hatred, and Pain to discover their Truth.  That was my path.  I knew she was there.  I buried her deep, and did my best to forget her.

But she bubbled and stirred, torturing my soul.  Causing me so much Pain and anger.  I searched for the cause blindly for decades, denying a Truth I didn't dare admit to myself.

Melodramatic?  A bit, yes.  But true nonetheless.

Those few take that next step: admitting the Truth to themselves.  They have the strength to admit that they Need to change.

Many end here.  They can't face the steps that follow.  They Fear the Pain and humiliation and Hate they will face.  Their own demons devour them.  This is where we lost my dearest sister Lisa in 2013.

Everything about this is Fear.  Every step.  I've written about this before.  Each step is far more terrifying than the last.  Each step has its own costs and dangers, individual to the woman taking them.

And the worst Part?  The journey never ends, not as long as she lives.

Enduring somehow.  December 2017

Some have it competitively easy.  They keep their marriages and/or careers.  They have the means to get the surgeries they want/need.  Some even blend in with the world of genetic women and disappear, putting their past and Pain behind them and living the lives they were born to live.

But few.  So few.

The Dead far outnumber us all.  They whisper from their graves about the steps they could not take, and the step that they did.  The step they took promises peace- an end to the Pain.

We Transpeople have a blessing that so many don’t have- we KNOW who we are.  We have worked hard and suffered greatly to take what steps we have.  And our reward is derision, humiliation, violence, and even murder.  Transwomen are hated because we exist.  After all, what guy would WANT to be a woman?  And God forbid a man find one of us attractive.  That's too often a death sentence.

One of my dearest friends is about to take a major step.  She has been full time for a while.  She has changed her name legally, and works as a woman.  However, her ex-wife and dependent children have never met Her (even though extended family have.)  I remember this step well, and the Fear it engendered.

But she is Strong.  She will endure.

That's the difference between FT and PT.  FT have simply taken the next steps.  Does this make us better?  Worse?  No.  It makes us Sisters.  Sisters in different places, but sisters nonetheless.

Be well.

Monday, December 11, 2017


My first therapy session in months was Thursday.  My therapist asked me how I've been, and I reported that the Darkness has been really really rough lately- that day and night all I think about is why bother sticking around?

And she asked me "what gives you pleasure?"  I thought about that.  What currently gives me pleasure?   The answer I came up with was Nothing.

Nothing at all.

At this point, even writing is a chore.  I get no pleasure from it anymore- I still write but it just out of habit.  Maybe that's why it took so long for me to write my last entry.  I don't know: this one I'm dictating and then I'll edit it later. I guess.  I don't know- if I publish it at all.

In any case I thought about it, and something DID give me pleasure.  Wednesday December 6 was my roomie and bestie Linda's birthday, and I was absolutely determined that I was going to show her a good time.  I saved money so I could take her out to dinner and get her a few gifts.  We went out to dinner Wednesday night (Dec 6)- McKenzie's- and I had a good time.  But the part that gave me pleasure was the fact that I could give Linda a good time; that I could show her that people care, and that her birthday matters to people.  It matters to me.

I spent most of the dinner doing math in my head- calculating how much everything will cost, as I only had a certain amount of money.  I made sure she got whatever she wanted made sure to keep my part down.  In the end I had plenty.  I still have maybe $10, so my math was correct.

Dinner Wednesday night

But aside from that, the answer is Nothing.  Seeing my daughter has been not pleasant for various reasons.  Going to work is an absolute nightmare for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the misgendering, the insults, the looks- I'm just so tired of it. I feel like I'm being treated as an inferior to people: that they look at me and say "oh you work retail fuck you."  It's not like I don't have people that I get along with at work. I do. Some of my coworkers are very fine people, but they're going to move on, because most of the people I like tend to move on after a little while- usually sooner than later.

In any case, that's how I feel- and that's the Darkness.  It just saps me of everything.  It's like putting a blue filter over a movie or something.  Everything is dull, lifeless, and the Question comes again:

Why fucking bother?

I know some people be pissed off at this. The point I'm making to my therapist and to Linda is that I really don't believe that me disappearing, my death, would mean that much.  It would mean a bit to my Wife and to my daughter; and to Linda... but after that?  No, it wouldn't.  It wouldn't even be a ripple. I would just be gone.

Yeah the bookstore would have to hire a new head cashier, but they wouldn't. After all, I did the job for a year-and-a-half on my own. They don't like spending the money for it.

Not even a Ripple.

"But Sophie, didn't Lisa cause a huge tidal wave of emotion when she passed?"  Yes, she did, but she was an Icon.  She was known internationally- everyone loved her.  I don't know anyone who didn't.  But me? I'm no Lisa.  I never was.  I never will be. I'm no Linda- I never was and I never will be.

All I am is Sophie- a fat chick with a Blog.

And you know what?  I've made peace with that.

That's where the Darkness has put me right now.  It's the holiday season, and it's insane at work.  I was misgendered three times today.  (Maybe it's my face in profile?  I look like a caveman.)  Today marks five years on HRT, and I still look like a guy.

I'm holding on.  I have to- Linda can't afford rent on her own.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Breasts: One Transwoman's Perspective

I've now had four different transwomen ask me to write about my breasts.  I've been reluctant to do so, as I don't want to write something cheap and sleazy (if you want to see how I handle "sleazy," check out my stories on Fictionmania.)  So, the challenge is to write about my breasts while maintaining some kind of class.

Right.  Human female breasts are also known as mammary glands.  I should probably start with a dissertation on what breasts are, how they function, how they develop, etc, but that would be extremely dull and pedantic.

What do you mean "that's nothing new?"

Grumble grumble.

For some people, Breasts are the symbol of womanhood.  People can see them from a distance, and guys... well, I'll come back to that.

Prosthetic boobs- Raven January 2013

Anyway.  I began HRT on December 10, 2012.  As with everyone, I started slow then increased my dosage under a doctor's supervision.  I noticed a tingling sensation, then itching of my nipple area after around a month.  Then, soon after, I noticed a thickening behind the nipple.  I remember my "Big Sister" Mel saying "you can stop now- after this it will be very hard to turn back."  I started wearing compression shirts under my work shirts.  Eventually, the shirts were no longer enough.  During this time, my chest would occasionally hurt or itch.  I'm told that this was my breasts growing.

My breasts grew steadily.  One night in May 2013, I went to Angela's Laptop Lounge.  I was still wearing breast forms at that time.  A friend of mine said that my breasts looked comically large.  I slipped under the table where we sat, and removed my forms.  I haven't worn them since, and sold both of my sets of breast forms on ebay some years ago.  I still have the famous "prosthetic" in storage.

First time without forms- just me

That night, I went back to my motel room (where I was changing back to my drab self) and, after stripping down to my panties, I looked in the full length mirror.  I still had on my wig and makeup.  It was the first time I saw a Woman looking back at me.  I cried tears of joy.  I had BREASTS!  They weren't forms or a prosthetic- they were me!

When I first started as Sophie, I knew what I Wanted to look like: big hips, long hair, and big boobs. And it was starting to happen.

Every month since beginning HRT, I have taken pictures of myself, chest up, to track my development.  I still do this today.  It's amazing to see how I've changed over time- not just the boobs, but also my face and skin.

Many women in my matrilineal line were "well-blessed" by Mother Nature.  Due to lucky genetics, so am I.  My breasts kept steadily growing.  Now, five years later, I am blessed with natural DD cup breasts.  Yes, I know how lucky I am.

Ok, I've been asked many times what it feels like to have breasts.  Well, often they feel like nothing at all.  Seriously.  They are simply a part of me and I don't notice them.  If they bounce, I notice them.  When I feel them (breast exam, etc) I feel the pressure of my hands.  The nipples are very sensitive, and, if I'm not wearing a bra, they rub against the fabric and can get irritated.  When my arms bump into them, it feels like they've hit a soft muscle.  Being hit there hurts, but nothing compared to a shot "down low."

When wearing a bra, I feel the underwire and the shoulder straps.  And after eight long hours, removing the bra feels soooooo good!  It's liberating! The underwire is gone, and the cool air caresses them...  Heaven!

Cotton bra.  November 2017 "development" picture

So, is there a difference in sensation between the male breast and the female breast?  Absolutely!  It's like comparing a Whisper to a Scream.  Seriously!

Still all of this are matters of mere fact.  How do I feel ABOUT them?

Well, for me, breasts are the symbol of womanhood (with hips right there behind.)  (Get it?)

I have always wanted breasts.  In my mind, growing up, breasts were the most feminine attribute (remember- this is all I could see about women.)  I was in 7th grade when many of my classmates started to undergo puberty- both male and female.  I saw the girls beginning to blossom into women, and I felt left behind.  I was a late bloomer as it was, and seeing them growing hips and breasts made me very depressed.  I knew that would never happen for me.

Girls take their puberty for granted so to speak.  It is their birthright- they become women.  It's simple biology.  Girls become women and boys become men. 

I didn't WANT to be a man.  I was female- I knew it, even if I dared not ever breathe a word of it. 

They left me behind. 

So many years later, while my life was crumbling around me, I took the steps I Knew in my heart I had to take. 

Now?  Now I have breasts- big ones.  They are literally a dream come true- as I often through my life dreamed of having them.  I wanted them so badly.   I still get a thrill looking down and seeing them there and knowing they are real.  I often go topless around the apartment (my roomie and bestie, Linda, is probably tired of seeing me flop flop around.)  I do this because for one, it's cooler and I sweat easily, and for two- I just love seeing them.

Is this why I prefer low cut tops?  Partly, yes.  But that's mostly to give a Very Feminine indicator- to show all that see that I am a Woman.  Does it work?  Not really- I'm still misgendered often at work.  On Saturday, I had a guy misgender me twice while he stared at my boobs.  Seriously??? 

Late November before a shift: feminine indicators

I've been working on this blog entry for a week.  I'm finding it hard to put my feelings into words.  Transition is a very emotional process- I'm finally on the path to becoming the woman I've always known I am.  To be lucky enough to have been blessed with that which I've wanted all my life... I really can't describe how happy I feel about it.  So few things in my life make me happy- bring me joy.  Having my breasts is one of them.

I hope this answers your questions, ladies.  I wish I could articulate it better. 

Be well.