I had a freaking awesome weekend, the best weekend I've had in a while.  Since it was my weekend to have the kids and it was Memorial Day weekend, I got an extra day with them.  Saturday we went to a local farm that has all sorts of things for the kids... play areas, cow train rides, pick-your-own of whatever is in season, petting zoos, jumping things (as the kids called it), corn mazes, on and on.  It's an awesome place to take kids... if you're in the DC area, I highly recommend it.  We picked strawberries and ended up with a 10-pound haul.  I kept bumping into this one Mom with whom I got chatty, and we might get together sometime.  I made them a good dinner and we had strawberries for dessert.  I chatted with Diana in the evening after the kids went to bed. She suggested I make strawberry jam.  It was a good thought... but...

Sunday morning we had strawberry pancakes for breakfast.  In the afternoon went to the pool at my complex and had fun splashing around in the water and eating snacks, strawberries among them.  First time for me in a swimsuit.  It was fine.  Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, my favorite, and homemade strawberry shortcake for dessert.  They gobbled up every morsel I put in front of them, including the spinach salad, and there were a *lot* of morsels.  I don't know what it is, but I love watching them eat.  I could just sit there and watch them eat with this stupid smile on my face.  It just makes me feel good to make them something that's good for them, and sit there watching them enjoy it.  I love it.

This morning I made them spinach quiche, and for fruit; you guessed it, strawberries.  Then we went to a waterpark and both kids tried a new water feature that they were previously afraid of, after a few gentle nudges from Mommy, and ended up loving it.  We brought strawberries.  Ran home, jumped in the shower, ate more quiche, and some strawberries of course.  Then I dropped them back off with their other Mom.

We have about 4 pounds of strawberries left.  Probably not enough for jam.  It was just a fun, crazy, busy, active weekend with the kids.  They ate well, slept well, had fun, and took in a heck of a lot of Vitamin C.  :)  What more could a Mommy want?  I'm exhausted, but running around after a 5 and 3-year old all weekend will do that to ya.  Ciao!!  :)

I took this picture of myself the other day.  I had a bunch of errands to run and decided to wear a tank top out.  First time I wore this sort of tank in public.  I sanity-checked myself in the mirror and liked what I saw. So much, in fact, that I just *had* to take a picture. (Yes, I'm not completely past the navel-gazing stage of transition; you'll have to excuse me.) Although I still have quite a bit of muscle, I have arms that (natal/genetic/natural-born/cis/insert term du jour) women would be, and are, very jealous of.  In fact, I've gotten lots of comments on them.  Despite the fact that my biceps are about an inch less around than when I started HRT.

I'm actually to the point where not only can I deal with being a rather muscular woman, I actually like it.  I'm proud of it.  Muscular, strong, confident women are hot.  I think that we as transsexual women need to take advantage of one of the only genetic advantages we possess.  I used to think that after transition, I'd never swim or participate in triathlon again because of the muscle it might build. At this point, I'm fairly certain that I've not done my last triathlon. Not this year, but next. It's a great feeling to shed all these hangups... the more I progress through transition, the more I let go of these insecurities.

I offer this post and photo as an alternative to some of the "femininity coaching" nonsense stuff that you'll see if you spend enough time in Blogistan or the trans world.  There was a time when I'd never have posted a photo of myself in a stereotypically masculine pose, for fear that people would make "women don't do that!  you are SO not a woman!!!" comments.  Here or behind my back.  I'm certain that there are those who will read this blog and make such a comment or have such a thought, but it doesn't matter.  I'm content with who I am whether I look the way I do in the above photo, or when I'm more dressed up.

Maybe I'll give Jillian Michaels a run for her money someday.  ;)

"So where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

A pretty common question on interviews, no? Of course, in the interview context, they're asking about your professional aspirations. This post isn't about my career.

Lately, I'm getting more and more reminders of the fact that as hard as some people try, as sincere as they are, as supportive as they try to be, the cold hard reality is that you're seen differently by those who knew you before, or who know that you're transsexual now. I keep hearing and reading and being told that I'm eventually going to separate myself in one way or another from everyone who "knows," with a few exceptions, like my children. "That's not me, I'm not like that," I'd think. I used to not believe that I'd separate myself. Sadly, as time goes on, I'm starting to believe it more and more. I had hoped that I'd be able to keep my old friends while adding new ones, but I'm very skeptical, at best.

I was emailing with a very supportive friend today about a trans-related topic; about word choice and how the person intended to use the word vs. how it was interpreted by the recipient of the word. We got to talking about how my transition was at first, and to some extent still is, difficult for her. To illustrate this, she said that "in many ways, I'm still T** (my old name)," pointing to the fact that I still have the same sense of humor, intelligence, etc. And this is a person who is very supportive. I wasn't offended by her using my old name but it did make me realize how difficult it is for the most supportive of supporters to see us as ourselves, to treat us the same as they treat everyone else. And then there's my friend who acknowledged that she would treat me differently in certain situations than she would a cisgender friend. I have noticed that lately, I've felt a little distant from her.

When it comes to family, they're all trying. My mother and I were talking about pronouns and names. I mentioned that it was important to use the correct pronouns and names when I'm not around, which they don't. They're trying hard to be respectful when I'm around, which is wonderful, of course, but they don't see me. One friend of the family in particular was talking with her husband about me and used my old name. He corrected her, and her response was, "What does it matter? He's not here." Yet another example of someone who has been loving and supportive to me, but she still doesn't quite get it. All this stuff is getting harder and harder to deal with, to accept with a smile and a "yeah, I know it's hard." I keep trying to be the open and accepting transsexual person, but I am tiring of the role.

I hope that if any of my friends or family were to read this, they'd understand that I know they are trying their hardest and that I mean no judgement or anything negative towards any of them; I truly don't. One of my mantras when it has come to people is that all I can ask, is that they try. People in my life are sincerely trying. My fear is that I'm asking them to try to do the impossible. I'm not sure where that will leave us in 5 years. Actually, I suppose that's not true. I have a pretty good idea where it will leave us. :(

I'm overwhelmed. There are so many things that I feel I need to be doing and they're piling up. At least with me, when things pile up, the pile gets even more intimidating and overwhelming, and the pile grows. I suppose that's how people end up on "Hoarders." I don't have a bunch of junk lying around my townhouse; it's mostly in my mind.

Personally, there are about a bazillion things I need to work on. Start exercising and quit smoking... get in shape for surgery. (Finally) work on my voice. Get my townhouse the way I want it. Encourage my kids to use something other than "Daddy." I was OK with it for a while; now, I'm not. Decide whether or not I'll have BA when I have SRS (probably). The whole "make new friends" thing. Thank God I'm not dating right now... that would be more pressure I just don't need. Try to keep the $48,000 of debt I've accumulated in the three years I've been supporting two households from getting larger... five more months to go before alimony is over.

At work, there's this expectation that now that I've transitioned, I'll become a more complete and involved employee. At my company, you're expected to "network" and "reach out" and one's job consists of a lot more than writing software. The networking part is not easy for me. I've taken on a few new things at work but now I'm afraid I've taken on too much, and I feel myself wanting to shut down.

And of course there's transition itself, and just getting used to life as a woman. Right now, I need my roots done, a pedicure, my eyebrows are a mess, there are various places on my bod that need epilation, I have no clue how to take care of my hair, my right eyelid has been twitching for the past couple of days, and I don't have enough clothes for work. Then there's all this loneliness stuff that I've written about before. We're still doing 1 to 2 hours of electrolysis a week and there's no end in sight. I have so much on my mind right now that I forgot to take my hormones... twice!... last week. I've not forgotten my hormones once in over a year and now I'm forgetting them twice in one week.

Maybe the biggest thing of all is that I'm unable at the moment to forgive myself for how I left my family when we separated. Things were awful between my wife and I when we had our G., our second, and we didn't last very long after I was born. I feel like I abandoned them, and him (G), and now sometimes when I look at him, I feel like I'm abandoning him again. There are times that it's hard for me to look at his picture without crying. I suppose to some extent I keep beating myself up about this because on some level, I deserve it.

The signal-to-noise ratio in my brain is very small these days. If I attempt to sit and think, my thoughts are best described as a loud din. I'm having trouble separating and prioritizing things and it's getting to me; I'm feeling paralyzed. Last week, I had four out-and-out bawling meltdowns; two of them could be explained, two of them I had no idea why. I'm fighting off I had another one this morning.

Some say that you never really stop transitioning. I hope that's not the case. I want this over with. If it's true that you never stop transitioning, I won't make it.

As parents, we go to sometimes extraordinary lengths to protect our children.  We slather them with sunscreen to stave off skin cancer years down the road.  We feed them organic foods to avoid trace amounts of impurities. When they're babies, we put them to sleep on their backs, or their stomachs, depending on the latest study.  We cover electrical outlets with guards.  We go to the fire department to make sure the car seat is installed as tight as it can be.  We put helmets on them when they're riding bikes with training wheels.

And then in the blink of an eye, in a moment of carelessness, it's all for naught.  To save a walk of a few hundred feet, maybe.

A first-grader at my daughter's elementary school was killed yesterday, crossing the street with her mother.  They didn't use the crosswalk. The mother is in the ICU; the child is not.  I cannot imagine what that family must be going through right now.  I cannot imagine how one recovers from the loss of a child, young or otherwise.  My ex called me last night with the news and asked me to hug them a little tighter than usual.  This morning, I made sure I was ready a few minutes early so I could sit and cuddle with them on the couch as they watched their show.

It upsets me more than anything to hear about something bad happening to a child.  Watching news stories or reading articles about such things is too upsetting, so I don't.  I suppose having a kindergartner and a preschooler exacerbates the upset.  I drove S. and G. to school this morning and watched the other moms in car line.  Many of them were wiping tears from their eyes or covering their mouths, as was I.  I wondered what was going through the principal's mind as she just-a-little-bit-less gaily waved at the arriving students.  My ex sometimes calls in the morning to say hello to the kids on the mornings that I have them.  Much of the time, I don't answer because it's just too busy.  I answered this morning.

Will you promise me that you'll use the crosswalk?

There's a lot of buzz in Blogistan lately about "decisions."  Decisions to transition.  Decisions to have SRS.  Decisions to date men or women.  For me, none of these things were decisions per se.  The only true question I asked myself, in my first post, in fact, was "Am I a woman?"  It didn't take to long for me to know the answer to this question.  About three months.

But even that turned out to be less of an answer to a question and more of a realization.  My moment of clarity came when I received my hormone letter, just over a week after the first time I went somewhere in public "en femme," to borrow a term from the crossdressers.  It wasn't this long, drawn-out, torturous process of deciding what I wanted to do... going out, seeing what it was like, seeing how I "passed," making a decision based on a bunch of inputs.  It's interesting because typically, I am not one to do things based on my gut or my emotion.  I'm analytical and logical.  I make lists of pros and cons.  Not so here, in this, the most profound realization I've ever had.

I remember sitting on the couch in Martha's office and going over my hormone letter.  Reading the written word "she" in reference to me.  That was the moment I knew.  I just knew.  I knew I was going to transition and I knew I was going to have surgery.  Giddyup.  Let's do this.  Bring it.  When I realized who I was, I didn't talk about it or title it in terms of making a yes or no decision.  I wrote about it in terms of accepting who I was.  Once I accepted the fact that I was female, there weren't any subsequent decisions to be made about transitioning or having surgery.  It was one atomic thing for me.  I'm a woman, therefore I'm going to transition and have surgery.  It never would have even crossed my mind to retain the parts with which I was born.  Not an option.  I'm going to try to be careful not to wade into the trans wars here, but I don't understand how someone could decide that she's female and live the rest of her life as a female with a penis.  It doesn't compute.  Maybe it's possible.  It might work for others.  It doesn't work for me and that's really all that matters insofar as I ought to be concerned.

To be certain, since I've gone full-time, I have continually "sanity-checked" myself.  I have gone through my typical analytical exercise of playing devil's advocate... are you sure, Faline?  Are you sure about this?  You can't take this back.  Once it's done, it's done.  So make damn well certain that this is the right path for you.  Every time, of course, I end up at the same place... sitting there in my therapist's office, reading the word "she" in my hormone letter.  I'm not going to play devil's advocate anymore.  There's no point.  It's a waste of my time.  I'm sure.

Bring it!!!!!

Sometimes I'll take little virtual trips via Google Maps' Street View. I'll stand in front of my old house, schools, the beach where our family vacationed every year when I was little.  I remember the pine trees my Dad hung Christmas lights on in front of our first home.  The trees are about 40 feet high now.  Looking at these places brings back a different memory each time I pay a virtual visit to a given place. I enjoy the reminiscing that comes with visiting places from my past.

Lately, I've been making virtual visits to this place. It looks like it was a beautiful day that the Google van passed by L'Asclepiade. To the left of the house, there's a canopy with some chairs. Zooming in shows a woman sitting in one of the chairs. It looks like she is looking at the hospital, which is directly behind the house. I wonder about her. I wonder if she was excited or nervous for her impending surgery. Or, perhaps she has already had surgery and is recovering. Perhaps I've communicated with her online and don't know it. I wonder if it'll be warm enough to sit outside when I'm there in November, if I am even able to sit afterwards.  I turn around and look out at the park opposite the house. It looks pretty. I wonder if I'll be taking walks in that park. I wonder what will be going through my mind when I'm taking them.

I then usually walk around to the hospital, which is right around the corner.  You can see it in the picture here.  It's a pretty nondescript-looking building. I wonder what it'll be like, what I'll be feeling when I'm walking into that building. I walk around to the side of the building down and see the wheelchair ramp coming out of the back of the building. I wonder what thoughts will be in my head, what physical sensations I'll be having when I am being wheeled down the ramp. Emotional? Out of it? In pain? Congruent? All of the above?

I'll fly to Montreal in November and all my "I wonders" will be answered. I'm certain that for a while afterwards, 908 Boulevard Gouin Ouest will loom large in my present. Someday, though, just as I come back to Loudonville Elementary School or Ocean Beach, NJ, I'll come back to L'Asclepiade. I expect I'll do so with fond memories, just as I do for other places from my past.

So there's this guy that I see a couple times a week when I stop at Starbucks on the way to work. You can't help but notice him if you have a pulse. He's around 6'3", with shoulders that make mine look petite, great smile, sparkling eyes, black, bald, cute cute cute. He has a very friendly look about him. I shall refer to him as Yummy Starbucks Guy (YSG). A couple of months ago, YSG almost fell out of his chair craning to not-so-surreptitiously look at me one day when I was rocking my favorite knee-high boots.

Yesterday YSG and I made eye contact for the first time... I was on my way out and he was getting in line... we made eye contact and smiled. That made my day. This morning I wore a flattering pencil skirt and my favorite heels. Am not ashamed to say that the only reason I wore this outfit was in case he was there again. I was looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. I got to Starbucks around the time I usually see him; alas, no YSG. Boo. Well, we'll give him a couple minutes. I stalled for a bit, ordered some extra food, got a free sample, dum-da-dum-da-dum... poured the sugar in my coffee more slowly than usual, but still no YSG. Crap. One can only hang around in Starbucks for so long. My last option to stall for time was to read one of their little Starbucks Gold Card application-thingies. I was resigned to put it down and leave when the back door opens and in walks YSG. (!!!!) I timed things so I was just turning around as he walked behind me towards the front. We made eye contact and exchanged smiles once again. Yay!! :D

I think that I must be 14 years old. :)

Anyway, I finished up and headed for the front door. I made sure to look him straight in the eye as I walked past. Got another smile back. I tilted my head, smiled back, wished him "morning!!" and out I went. Was downright giddy on the walk back to my car. I flipped down the vanity mirror and hoped that he saw what I did... an attractive woman. I sat in the car and let my mind wander a bit. ;) If we ever actually talked, I'd spill my coffee all over myself. Of course, nothing will come of this unless I manage to string along this smiling and eyelash-batting for another 8 months. Might be fun to flirt, though. I'm not inclined to date until after surgery... no point. The palpitations, though, are enjoyable. When I do go on my first date, whatever comes of it, I think it'll be quite an experience.

I need to finagle my way into getting in line next to him. Maybe tomorrow I'll get there about 4 minutes later. :)


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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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