Dropped my kids off at their mother's late this afternoon a fun and tiring Memorial Day weekend.  I stopped at Starbucks on the way home and sat outside with my coffee.  A rather beat-up white SUV pulled up, and out got a father and his two kids.  Dad had the look of a definite "man's man," sporting a buzzcut, a 5 o'clock shadow, the kind of guy you'd expect to see on the fire company softball team playing the outfield with a glove on one hand and a beer in the other.

His daughter was a year or so older than mine; the son looked to be a teenager.  They had just been swimming and were going in to eat.  I watched as Dad leaned over his little girl and gently brushed out her still-wet hair.  She stood patiently in the 90° degree heat as Dad took his time getting out each tangle. There was something very poignant about the whole thing to me.  I hoped they wouldn't look up and notice this rather ambiguous-looking person with blue toenails watching them.  Dad finished and the family walked towards the restaurant.  As they walked, Dad reached around his son from behind with his burly arms, and lifted him off the ground with a hug.  I finished my coffee, looked into the restaurant as I drove away, and saw the three of them sharing a laugh over dinner.

I found myself rather touched by all this, and found myself smiling.  Mostly.

Went out and did some shopping as me last night... decided to experiment and wear something very nondescript, tiny earrings, minimal makeup, see how that worked out.  I was out for about 3 hours, 4 different places, and got a mere single "look."  Said lookee who I winked and smiled at.

My plan was to go full-time in maybe Fall of 2011, wait until I am done paying alimony.  In 6-8 months' time, I don't know how I am going to pull this off... and by "pull this off," I mean pass for male.  I will need to, for work.  Last weekend I went to the mall presenting male, and got a couple confused looks.  I need to start working on my voice, pronto.

Such irony.  Such a "problem" to have.  The next 12 months are going to be interesting.  Stay tuned.

In the past 2-3 weeks, I have realized how blessed and fortunate I am.  On many levels.  Appearance is only one, and perhaps the least important.

Back in March I wrote a post about being "over the wig." I didn't want to have to wear it anymore, but I felt like I needed it to pass. My hair is now around 5" long all around, and the last couple times I got ready to go out, I thought, "ohhhh, I am thisclose to being able to try going out without it.

Last night I went out with my friend Traci and was talking about it, and she was very encouraging... "well, just go out without it!!" she said. I hemmed and hawed and replied, "Maybe when my hair is another inch or two longer. Then it will be OK."

I thought about it more this morning and decided that was a cop-out, and tonight at support group, I'd go without the wig and see how it felt. Support group is safe. One won't get any looks there. 100% comfortable. So I got ready, blow-dried my hair for the first time in probably 20 years, put tons of various goop in it, and was pleased with how it turned out. I took a picture and uploaded it to Facebook.  I love this picture.  I look so happy, so sweet.  We have some gray hair to take care of and this is the first time I tried to do my (real) hair in a feminine manner... but I thought I looked pretty cute!  You won't see a male picture of me with a smile like that on it.

So off I went to group.  It's about an 1:15 drive, and there was an accident on the $*&#?! Maryland Beltway.  After 45 minutes in the car it was obvious that I wasn't going to get there anywhere close to being on time.  I somewhat disappointedly turned around and drove home.  I thought, you know, why don't you just go to Wegman's (best grocery store in the country, bar none).  See what it feels like.  The worst that can happen is that I get looks.  I've gotten looks before.  Ok, fine.  Bring it on.

Since I am on spironolactone, I drink a lot of water.  And guess what... yeah, I REALLY needed to use the restroom.  Hmm.  Dilemma.  I decided to use the restroom in lieu of peeing my pants.  Get in and get out.  I went in and there were two teenage girls primping for a night out.  Doh.  Teenage girls.  I'm screwed.  I kept my head up, and the evil teenage girls looked up at me...

... and both gave me a smile.

Holy crap.

It would have been odd to *gasp* at them, so I prudently smiled back.  On the way out another woman was on her way in, and she gave me a smile as well.  Holy crap, a little more quietly in my head this time, and no suppressed *gasp*.  I got my little basket and a huge smile broke out on my face.  I walked around Wegman's for 30 minutes with half-and-half and a pizza in my basket, not wanting to leave.  Amazing.  Not one look, nothing.

I was so happy that I decided to go to the DSW across the way and shop for shooz.  I almost bought these, which are super-fun, and cute, but it was kind of an impulse buy.  So I will buy them tomorrow instead.  :P

So not only do I not need the wig, I pass better without it!!  Very exciting stuff.  I feel so much more authentic, natural, and myself with my own hair.  I'm very lucky that I don't have any hair loss... that's really a blessing.  I am done with the wig.  I don't plan on wearing it again.  How liberating.

Now, about those gray hairs....  ;)

Driving all the way into Old Town (75 mile roundtrip) once a week after work for electrolysis is getting old. It's not so much the electro itself, it's... leave work around 4:15. Fight traffic. Park. Zap. Fight traffic back. Ends up taking the whole night. So, tonight I decided to try 2 hours of electro, an hour, then a break, then another hour. If I could handle that, I'll do that every other week. It'll save me time, and about $15 in gas/tolls. And if it's going to take the whole night, I might as well get two hours in.

The first hour, after the first 10 or 20 needles, I could tell my pain tolerance wasn't great. Oh no. I tried to relax and get into my zone, but I couldn't quite do it. She was zapping up near my ear and I felt that familiar feeling coming back from the 36 hours I wrote about, and I burst out crying. Gillian was so nice, she put her hand on my forehead and reassured me. :) I got that out and managed to make it through the hour. I didn't do "well," but I made it.

I took a little walk, moved my car, then just hung out in the parking lot, and I'm sure I was quite a sight, a person with the right side of her face red, swollen, and covered with Neosporin, the left covered with LMX (numbing cream) and Saran Wrap, wearing capris, painted blue toenails, hair all pouffed out (end of the day), foot hanging out of the open car door, singing yelling along to whatever hip-hop tune was playing on 99.5, and basically not giving a rat's ass what anyone thought because she was trying to get herself in the zone for the next hour.

I walked back into AHA, thinking, "Am I really going back for another hour of this? What is wrong with me?" When we do my left side, I lay on my side, head on a pillow, the same way I sleep. It's actually fairly comfy. I curled up in the fetal position and let her go to work. I talked about some good stuff that's going on with me, she zapped, gave advice, and I breezed through that second hour without a hitch. Yay me!

And now tonight, there are *TWO* good-sized areas of yummy smooth skin, where there was once hair. So I'll keep doing this. Much better.

(prediction: when I am able to afford it, I'll go for two hours like this each week)

Things are getting interesting.  Over the past, say two weeks, the hormones have definitely kicked in, and started doing their stuff.  I'm a Tanner II now, but the biggest thing I've noticed, are the emotions.  Oh my goodness, the emotions.

From Monday morning until yesterday afternoon, I was a WRECK.  I've never experienced anything like this before.  Here's part of an email I sent to a friend, and then forwarded to another:

So I got in the car to drop kids off, had an enya CD in there, a song I've been listening to a lot lately. Which the kids like, so bonus. Anyway, the first couple notes come on and I got that feeling again... "oh no, not again, here it comes... really? really? just 2 seconds ago I was totally fine." Held it together more or less until I dropped them off.   then the floodgates opened.

worst one yet. a full hour and a half. it was so bad that twice I had to pull the car over because I was shaking so much and couldn't see for the tears, and I was afraid I was going to get into an accident. stayed in the parking lot at work for 25 minutes. couldn't stop and didn't really want to stop, but I had to get into work. pulled myself together, got into work, got in a meeting, and almost had to leave twice because I felt it again, even felt at one point like I was going to vomit. it's not even close to being all the way out. I'm on the verge of tears and feel a little sick to my stomach. I don't know what the child psych thing will be like tonight.

I don't want to be here today.  I don't know what is going on. I don't feel depressed or even down but I feel subdued, pensive, something that I can't put my finger on. I don't feel sad but I feel incredibly emotional.

My friend Laura said it sounded like I had PMS.  She was being serious.  So there's Monday morning for you.  Monday night, my wife and I had a meeting with a child psychologist to talk about how we'll handle this with the kids.  Which is great, but it's emotional.  I broke down once at the meeting.  Got home, was feeling OK, screwed around online while having a few glasses of wine (BIG mistake), then around 11:30 in the PM, it hit me again.  Overtiredness, alcohol, hormones, all these things joined forces to send me into a state even worse than the one described above.  Sitting on the floor of my kitchen, wondering where this uncontrollable river of tears was coming from; going outside and crying because the cloudy sky made me feel lonely; looking at all the pictures of the kids around the room, crying more... This lasted until about 2:30 AM.  I wrote this self-pitying poem and posted it on here, which I have since removed.  Woke up at 6:30 AM, more tears, more body wracked with tears... got to work, more crying in the parking lot, emotional on and off at work.  I finally decided to go read my inspires on my triathlon site mid-afternoon, and this one really made my jaw drop, from a woman I've only recently met.  Anyway, this was the beginning of pulling me out of this...

"I wish we lived closer. I have some stuff that's making me sad right now. I don't really want to talk about it, I just want a friend to walk beside me and quietly understand. I think we'd be good company for each other.

I wish you peace in the midst of the storm today."

That actually made me appreciate all that do I have, and all that I am going to have, going forward.  I mean, had I not been going through this, it's likely I wouldn't have made this new connection, with this wonderful, empathetic woman. And so I emerged from the temporary whatever-it-was.  Nothing about my life changed before this, or after it.  Wild, wild stuff.  But you know what?  These emotions feel more right to me.  Granted, if things stay that extreme, we'll talk to the endo, but having these emotions, being able to cry when I want, having that cathartic release, is most definitely the right thing for me.

My wife and I separated about 2 1/2 years ago.  The mere thought of dating was exhausting.  The last thing I wanted to do was get involved with someone.  I wanted nothing to do with entanglements of any sort.  So I stayed away from the dating scene, with one small fling/blip.  Then I started down this TG path, and noticed that little by little, I was starting to view women more just as friends.  Instead of thinking, "damn!  she's cute!!" I thought, "damn!!  I love her shoes!!"  I have many attractive, funny, smart, easygoing female friends, and I truly wasn't attracted to any of them.  The last thing I was interested in was anything romantic.  And let's face it... with all that's going on with me, it's not the best time.  At times I wondered when, or if, I would meet someone who piqued my interest on more than just a "fun" level.

I've become closer recently with one particular friend who possesses one of the brightest spirits that I've been fortunate enough to know.  She's truly an amazing person.  I typically don't draw inspiration from others; it's more of an internal thing for me. But I do from her.  I notice things lately.  I notice myself daydreaming about this or that... notice myself thinking about her....       a lot.  I wonder what to make of it.  It's not a physical/sex* thing... but whatever it is, it's different than feelings I've had for other female friends as of late.  For many reasons, not the least of which is, um, the fact that I am changing genders and as far as I know, she's straight, nothing would come of it.  Along with the fact that we're both going through a divorce, have multiple children, and live far apart.**  Other than those tiny impediments, no problem.

Less important to me than the answer to questions such as "would this work out?  could this work out?", is the answer to the question, yes, you will meet someone who piques your interest, and yes, things are going to be OK for you in the long run.  Have I wondered about the would it/could it questions?  Of course.  Seriously, who wouldn't?  That said, I view her as a friend, albeit one for whom I have somewhat different feelings at times. :)  It's nice to have these little thoughts, palpitations, whatever they are.  She makes me smile.  She gives me hope.  Not necessarily for she and I, but for my future.  Hope *does* die last.

At some point, she will read this, maybe today, maybe in a week, maybe two, and I hope it makes her smile.  Because she'll know, without a doubt, that I am talking about her.***

* Well, maybe a cuddle.  Cuddling's good.
** Approximately 611 miles in the car, according to Google Maps.

*** I mean, it's not like I haven't dropped a gazillion hints.  But you didn't need them anyway. :)


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When I transitioned, there just weren't too many blogs out there written by straight, transitioned women. Well, here's one.

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