Did you ever spend lots of time thinking about something, chasing dead-end after dead-end in your mind, only to have the answer smack you right in the face? I'm talking a good, solid *SMACK!!* here. So obvious that you're incredulous that you hadn't thought of it before? I had such a moment this morning.

I've been trying to think of ways to get out and meet people. Get my life restarted. Somewhere I'd be comfortable, engaged, interested, etc. I talked about the volunteering thing and while appealing, I don't think I'll meet too many people stocking shelves at the library, volunteering to pick weeds at the local horticultural garden, or delivering food via Meals on Wheels. I looked at local meetups online and most of them are 20-something moms. Not quite in my comfort zone. There's always triathlon, but I wouldn't be able to seriously get into that until well after surgery, and even then, it requires a level of dedication that I'm not certain that I possess anymore.

This morning in the car, I was listening music by this Norwegian group called Secret Garden. Instrumental, peaceful. One of the pieces featured uilleann pipes. I love the uilleann pipes. So mournful, so moving. I was thinking how it'd be cool to play the pipes. The pipes were accompanied by a violinist. Years ago, I had purchased Secret Garden's violin sheet music and used to play along with.....


I've played the violin on and off since 3rd grade. And I was good, too. In high school, I was the concertmaster of the orchestra, played in a bunch of "all-star" orchestras, was a member of the Syracuse University orchestra, in the 1st violin section alongside a bunch of music majors. As an adult, I played in an orchestra which had the honor of accompanying Placido Domingo for a concert. It's a pretty amazing feeling to play while one of the Three Tenors is singing five feet away from you. Hard to pay attention to what you're supposed to be playing, in fact. I also played a few Irish jigs at my sister's wedding reception. Most of my family hadn't heard me play before, and they were blown away.

I always loved expressing myself through violin, the people I met through it, the music itself. I always enjoyed being part of a performance ensemble, whether it be an 100-piece symphony orchestra, or a 4-member string quartet. And it's a group of people that share a common interest, intelligent people, people that I've always been able to relate to, people with whom you share a certain camaraderie. Practicing at home will keep me doing something healthy while keeping me off the stupid internet. Something I love, that's rewarding, and will set a good example for my kids.

My violin has been sitting in its' case for three or four years. It has a giant crack in the back of it. :| I'm not sure that it's salvageable. Oh well, I can always get another instrument. There are a few local community orchestras around here. So my plan is to get practicing and audition. It's been a few years, so I'll be rusty for a bit. But playing the violin has always been like riding a bike. Hopefully it will be a good outlet for me, as it's been in the past.

How could I not have thought of this before?

Back to the transition diary.  That's how this all started.  Apologies to Tasha, because much of this post is just an email that I wrote to her yesterday, with a few additions.

At therapy the other night, we talked about my recent malaise and loneliness, about how I can't be content to sit on the couch, in front of the TV and computer. Which is virtually all I've done for the past month or two when I'm not at work or with the kids. It's getting bad. I bring the laptop out to the kitchen with me when I make dinner, when I use the restroom for um, a longer period of time, when I go upstairs to get ready for work. Martha encouraged me to try to get out there and suggested volunteering to get myself up and out of the house, and maybe meet some people. Right now, I have absolutely zero social life.  By choice, partially.

I'm getting back to that place that I was before I started coming out to people... withdrawing again. From friends, family, and at work. The initial euphoria of "being myself" is getting replaced with reminders that as long as I am at the same job, with the same group of friends, etc., I won't be free from this. Just now, for example, I stopped over to a teammate's cube, and he's like, "yes, sir!!" when I asked him something. A slip, but also a reminder.

I looked at some volunteering opportunities and many of the things I'd like to do... volunteer at a shelter, help kids, help the local rescue squad, all carry with them "background checks."  Something that strikes fear into my heart, as a pre-operative transsexual woman with an "M" on her driver's license.  I could go restock shelves at the library.  Meh.  We had mentioned the working with kids thing at therapy, and for now at least, that's really a non-starter.  They find out your background, and as my therapist put it, "all hell breaks loose."  Working with kids is out.  Maybe in the future.

Tasha suggested taking a class.  I'm such a wimp.  I thought a little while ago that it might be fun to take a cooking class or something... but who shows up by her lonesome self?  I think this is something that people do as couples, or a couple friends take a class together.  At least all the promotional stuff I read about such classes advertise them as a fun way for a couple to do something together.  Excuses?  Yeah, probably.

I guess I'm just not in a very good place right now.  Of course, I am the only one who can get myself out of it. I've been blaming surgery for my disinterest in getting out and living, when I think it's more motivated by fear.  I have to stop thinking that somehow what's between my legs is going to make *that* much of a difference in my day-to-day life.  That's dangerous.  That's Mike Penner-type thinking.

I got my hair done today. It looks really nice. Then I went grocery shopping and now I'm home for the evening. I was reminded of this song. Lately, I feel like I could one be of the people in this video. It was written for gay and lesbian people, but it might as well been written for trans people, too. Fits me like a glove...

Go to work and take your calls
Hang the fruits
of your labour on the walls
Such precision and care
What does it matter
if there's no one here to share

Flowers in the garden
blue wine
the "Waiting for Godot"
and so much modern time?

All I want
is what you want
I'm always waiting
for a red letter day

The years perfecting a stance
of measured cool
fade into insignificance
The moment one starts to understand
What on earth
does it profit a man?

All I want
is what you want
I'm always waiting
for a red letter day

For something special
somehow new
someone saying 'I love you'
Baby, I'm waiting
for that red letter day

You can sneer
or disappear behind a veneer
of self-control
But for all of those who don't fit in
who follow their instincts
and are told they sin
this is a prayer for
a different way

All I want
is what you want
I'm always waiting
for a red letter day

Like Christmas morning
when you're a kid
Admit you love me
and you always did
Baby I'm waiting
for that red letter day

I'm always waiting,
I'm always waiting, waiting

For something special
somehow new
someone saying 'I love you'
Baby, I'm hoping
for that red letter day

This is all getting to be too much.

I read this very succinct post from Leona this morning and it neatly summarizes what's been going on in my head these days. It could not have come at a better time for me.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. -- Cyril Connolly (1903 - 1974)"

Whether it's having a link to my blog reposted by someone on a website that I have absolutely nothing to do with, or getting emails from people telling me this person is really three people and this person is that person, or my blog getting 3,000 hits in 8 days, or having some other blogger tag me in 14 blog posts because he's got some weird obsession with me, among others, or a well-meaning person on PE who starts a thread titled "Faline Makes Marie Claire Cover" because she decided I look like the model on the cover, or being told by a friend that a stranger recognized me in real-life from my blog, when I was with my kids, no less, or reading for the 18,439th time about TG vs. TS and allowing myself to be pulled into the conversation...

... or whatever it is, it's too much. My head is pretty much spinning with all this crap. These are signs that one needs to close ranks. This was only supposed to be a transition diary. I'm not sure how we got to this point. I feel like I am being watched, or something, and I don't know who is real and who isn't. I don't know who I can trust. It's like the freaking Truman Show. I've contributed to it, of course, by posting pictures of myself and even one video. No more of that.

It's going to be close to 100 degrees today, I have a ton of work to do, I have electrolysis tonight, I'm upset because this morning my Dad took my place at this preschool thing, I'm trying to figure out how to go about making new friends, and instead of focusing on my real-life "stuff," I'm dwelling on all that other stuff.

By "close ranks," I'm not sure exactly what that means. I don't know if it means make this blog private, or shut it down altogether, or just be more quiet online. Something has to change, though. I changed my avatar by applying a Photoshop effect to my old picture. That's a start. Pretty much sums up how I feel these days.

At the end of the Truman Show, Truman makes the choice to leave the only world he's ever known, a world in which he's encased in a deceivingly protective bubble which he *thought* was safe, but turned out to be just the opposite. What is it that he says as he steps out of that world? "Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" Yeah, something like that.

I'm very frustrated with myself.  Last night I went for an early dinner with an old friend at this local town center.  Had a nice time catching up.  I didn't feel like heading home afterwards; it was such a nice evening, I looked pretty cute, it would have been depressing to be home at 7 PM, so I decided to meander around the town center for a while.  Felt pretty lonely walking around, seeing all the families and couples, although it would have been worse at home.  I popped into the Apple store and put something on Facebook that I was wandering around at the Town Center, in case anyone I knew was down there.

I had been walking around for about half an hour when I bumped into one of the maybe 4 people in the world who only know me as me.  At work, we're doing a pro bono project for a little non-profit and Robyn is our main client contact.  After the initial meeting our team had with her, I think she was a little intimidated by us, the big bad technology consultants.  I happened to run into her in the ladies' room after the meeting and we talked for a while and she felt better afterwards.  We have a great rapport.  Anyway, at the Town Center, they have these free concerts, and Robyn is a member of a swing dance group that comes and dances at the concerts.  She told me that I ought to come down and hang out with them, told me where they'd be, and said she hoped to see me.

I did try, kind of.  About 30 minutes later I came down and saw her dancing with her friends.  I stood a bit away and watched, waiting for them to take a break from the dancing, and then I'd come over and say hello.  Robyn didn't see me; the crowd is big enough that you can hide if you want to.  I watched them for all of 10 minutes before I started to get self-conscious about standing there by myself, so I went home.  Truth be told, I was also afraid that if I did go over, one of her guy friends would grab me and pull me out to dance.  All these stupid excuses... I've never danced as myself before, I'm wearing a rather short A-line dress and what he if spins me and, well, do I need to spell it out for you?  That would have been awful.  So anyway, I copped out, went home, did the obligatory self-pitying cry in the car, blah blah blah.

The irony of posting in the morning about making a friend who doesn't know juxtaposed with this story is not lost on me.  I had a chance here and I blew it.  Damnit damnit damnit.  No one to blame but myself.

You randomly meet a Mom in the food line at Great Country Farms, a Mom who just moved here and knows no one, has a couple kids around your kids' age, and she's really friendly. You run into her a few times over the course of the day, and each time the two of you chat. Her baby keeps giving you huge smiles, which causes her to smile and say how much he likes you. By the fourth and final time you bump into each other, you feel that you've chatted enough to feel that it wouldn't be inappropriate to try and make a friend. So, for the first time, you get your courage up and offer that if she ever needs to get out, away from the kids and hubby, for a drink or a chat or whatever, to shoot you an email. She gladly accepts your email address and thanks you. She and her husband both smile and wave as you part. You feel like you've accomplished something by taking one small, tentative step towards putting yourself out there.

Then a week goes by without an email. You were really hoping you'd hear from her, because she seemed like a cool person, and you're yearning for just one friend... one friend who doesn't "know." You don't know if you've not heard because you are trans and she was just being polite. Maybe when you cooed at the baby, you were clocked. After all, your voice just doesn't go as high as other women's voices do when cooing at babies. Maybe her husband clocked you and filled her in. Maybe your child yelled "Daddy" at you within her earshot. Maybe you committed a faux pas by offering your email address, and in fact, women don't do this in such situations. Maybe she Googled your name and something trans-related came up. Of course, it could be for a million other reasons. They could be busy. It's busy when one has a 7-month old and a 5-year old. She could have lost the scrap of paper with your email address. Or maybe she was just being polite and it has nothing to do with your history. Maybe a week is too short of a period in which to lose patience and/or faith. It's early yet.

Problem is, though, you don't know if they were just being polite to the transsexual person. You'll never know. You'll never know if you don't present as well as you think. The realization that this is what the rest of your life is going to be like is pretty damn depressing. As much as you know that things could be far, far worse, you get tired of the mantra. As you are typing this blog entry, the little number next to your Inbox changes from 228 to 229. Huh, maybe her ears were burning. *Click*. Nope. There's a sale at Ann Taylor. Ann doesn't know or care if you're transsexual. Now *her*, you hear from quite often.


Not only is it a little early yet to lose faith over someone not sending an email, it's early yet in the context of the rest of my life. Of course I would like to hear from her, and if I didn't, it would be frustrating not knowing. This is only the first time I've put myself out there like this, and it's not easy. It will get easier over time, and at some point, I'll get an email from someone. Perhaps it's a bit of overly-dramatic hyperbole (is there any other kind?) to say "the rest of my life will be like this." It probably won't. It does feel that way sometimes, though.

I remember when I started transition, actually before I started, I was trying to find information about Electrology 3000.  I stumbled onto a blog that I read start to finish.  It inspired me and helped me think that maybe I'd be able to transition.  Somehow reading this blog made things real for me.  So I, too, decided that I needed to write a blog, just as a diary-type thing.  It seemed like every trans person had a blog, so the initial title of it was "the obligatory transgender blog."  :)  I didn't tell anyone about it.  I remember being surprised when I got a comment.  How on earth could anyone have found it?  It freaked me out a little bit.  Kept writing, and once in a while, maybe once a week, got a comment.  Almost a year later, I came out on BT as well as being included on T-Central around the same time, and the hits started coming.

They're continuing to go up... each month for the last 5 months, I couldn't imagine how the next month would get more hits, and each month it goes up.  Yesterday, there was a link to my blog posted on a site that I'm not a member of, and there were 487 hits today alone, the most I've had in a day.  The last two months I've had over 4000 hits, each month.  So far this month, I have 689 hits, after two days.  That's crazy.

It seems like a lot for a non-activist trans blog.  It's not like I'm advertising it, posting links to it all over the place, etc..  Once in a while if I feel I've written an important entry, I'll put it on Facebook, but that's it.  I think I've done that three times.  Anyway, it's a lot of hits, almost more than I am comfortable with.  Earlier in the week, a friend told me that someone in real-life, someone he knows but I do not, recognized me when I was out with my kids, from my blog.  Didn't necessarily freak me out, but it was a reminder that as long as I continue to do things like post pictures and the (very) rare video of myself, people will recognize me in real-life.  Of course, that's not compatible with the life I want.  I'm not complaining about any of this... when you have a public blog and when you are open about yourself, this is how it goes.

This blog has been tremendously helpful to me in many ways... mostly writing about things has helped me work through them, I've met a few wonderful friends who I imagine I'll be in contact long after the last suture has completely healed, and I'd like to think that the blog has helped others who once were where I was.  I've also learned that I overuse commas.  :)  Ultimately, though, this blog needs to be about me and for me.  For a while, it was true that I *needed* this blog... I don't think that's true anymore.  I think that now, I like it, as silly as that might sound.  Eventually it'll just be another reminder of a life that I'd just assume leave behind.

It's hard to imagine that once SRS recovery is over, I'll have much to say here.  I hope I don't, anyway, because this is a trans-related blog, and the idea with transition is that one's life is supposed to evolve into a life which involves transsexual-related issues less and less.  Over time, the entries will come less frequently, and at some point I'll stop altogether.  After that I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I'm not there yet, though, so y'all with have to deal with my navel-gazing and pontificating for a little while longer.  :)


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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.

I can be reached via email at this address.

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