Thursday, May 31, 2012


As I noted in my last entry - Perfect doesn't last long.  It's back to the day-to-day mechanics that are my life.  Not that there's anything wrong with's just not....well, perfect.

Here in Charleston they have a big arts festival each year called the Spoleto Arts Festival.  It's a combination of music, theater, dance, and all kinds of anything in between.  Performers range from national acts (KD Lang is here this year) to people you've never heard of, and venues cover the entire city of Charleston.  It's actually pretty impressive, and people come from all over the world both to perform and attend.

Last night Ellie and I went to see our first performance.  It was titled "The Animals and Children Took To The Streets" (see info here).

I have no words to explain it, other than that it was unique, entertaining, and enjoyable.  If you watch the video you'll get an idea of just how unique it was...

We've got tickets to other events, as well.  Between the pedicab guy (Eric rocks), drinks at one of our favorite downtown "spots", and dessert afterwards it was a wonderful evening.

Oh - I took another picture of me in the new truck.  It was on my way downtown - after work.  Not quite as cranky as the last photo of me that I shared but feeling severely overweight.  After that last push for wrestling I've gone to the other extreme - not worrying about what I'm eating, I haven't been the the gym in weeks, I go for a couple of runs a week but that's it.  I've decided that I'm done lifting weights other than to tone in hopes of getting my arms and shoulders back to something less scary....

Do you ever think about death?  I do. I find it interesting that the moment you admit that people start to worry so I'll start by assuring that there's no need for anyone to worry.

We have a cultural wall against death, as though even letting thoughts of it creep into your head sends out some kind of negative energy.  But for the life of me I don't know how we can think about life without also recognizing death.  That's what puts it all into context.

When I say I think about death I don't think about dying so much as just not being here anymore and making the most of the time left.  I think I could argue convincingly that much of our lifetimes are spent coming to grips with the transient nature of life, and that whether we're prepared or not all of us run out of tomorrows.  I don't consider that to be morose, or even necessarily sad.  It's just the way it is. 

I don't really think about why I seem to think about it more these days than I used to.  Perhaps it has to do with my own age - I see people my age dying and more.  Part of it is probably because I've got friends dealing with the impending passing of a parent or a loved one.  Every time I say good-bye to my mom I wonder if it's the last time we'll see one another.  Maybe it has something to do with Father's Day and missing my own dad.  I could assign a number of potential "reasons" to it but I don't see that as productive. 

Anyway, on to other topics.  Like my truck.

So, we drove the truck down to Florida and back over the weekend so we've gotten to know one another a bit.  I'm still loving her.  The thing that will take some time is learning where her boundaries are.  In my other cars I could tell where the end of the trunk was, or whether or not I could make it thru a tight squeeze.  I don't have that yet with this massive thing.  I find myself getting out to assess whether or not I'm too far forward in a parking spot, or whether I'm straight.  Anyway - it'll come eventually.

I remember going through a similar process with my body as it changed.  As hips expanded and breasts grew I'd find myself bumping into things.  It was actually kind of fascinating....

That's it for today.  Nothing too deep - except the "Death" thing.  :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I don't use the word Perfect very often.  Part of it, I suppose, is that it's an ideal that's rarely realized.  I also think there's no singlular definition of what Perfect looks like.  For myself, I look at perfect the same way i look at love - you may not know how to describe it but you know it when you see it.

All that said - This past long weekend was perfect.

I don't plan to go into gory details other than to say it involved a road trip that put about 1,000 miles on the truck.  And there's no one element that made the weekend so amazing.  It feels more like a stew where all the ingredients where there and all the various components came into play. 

Driving back thru the Tripical Storm was a bit anti-climatic but that's ok.  No big deal.  The truck did great....

I uploaded a couple of photos from the trip to my SnapLog (link here). 

And really....that's all I have to say about that.  Perfect.  The right amount of rest, things to do, quiet times, scenery, being with someone you always seem to have a good time with, positive energy...that's what this weekend was.  It'll be touch to top.  I'll just have to enjoy it until another "Perfect" moment comes along.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I've finally got my internet connection in my apartment.  Comcast has has a bit of a problem that finally seems "fixed".  Anyway, it's nice to be back online again although honestly I'm not home long enough to do much more than check my email briefly at the end of the day while I'm watching news and getting ready for bed. 

Work has calmed down a bit over these last couple of days.  Or maybe it's just me that has calmed down.  I can't go into too much detail because there's no need.  Plus, my work requires security clearances so rather than wonder where the boundary of sensitive/non-sensitive stuff is I've just adopted an approach that it's better to just keep it all to myself. 

But managing what I manage, in the environment I manage it, is like being the pilot for an $80 million airplane that's still being built while it's already in the air.  And every once in a while there's an excitement storm where someone in a position of authority starts to worry that either (a) we're not headed in the right direction or (b) we're going to crash.  What I do is not for the faint of heart...

Add to that the fact this is all military.  This isn't like corporate America - it's got a culture all its own.  It's its own unique reality.  If you've been in the military you'll know what I mean, and I really don't have a problem with it.  But it sure is interesting.   More than once I've looked around the room and smiled at it all. 

It's kind of interesting when you're sitting in a briefing and the person talking takes out a wad of chewing tobacco, puts it into his mouth, and starts spitting into a soda bottle, and nobody stops to think twice about it.  Sara - the only other woman at this level in the program - gets a look on her face and looks at's priceless.  Having her to bounce things off  of is a saving grace - it's all I can do to keep from laughing out loud sometimes.

That said - I'll be headed out of town for the long Memorial Day weekend.  One particular dear friend (guess who) and I are leaving tomorrow for the long weekend.  There will be a pool, a nice hotel, and some other low-key relaxing things to keep us entertained.  We've both earned it.

I'm also zeroing in on the dates to fly out to Phoenix, load up my "stuff" into a Ryder truck, and then do theacross-country drive back.  As usual, I'll stop in to see my son and my mom along the way.  I'm tentatively targeting the time around July 4 since I get extra time off anyways.  We'll see.

I uploaded a couple more recent photos to my SnapLog (link here).  I wish the photos did the scenes justice....

Oh....and there's apparently an article in Sports Illustrated about Trans athletes (link here).  They mention me, and I supposed that's a good thing.  I'll agree with the writers in that it can be a complicated subject.  But, as with other aspects of every-day life, you'll see it happening more and more.....

Monday, May 21, 2012


I had another wonderful weekend.  It was much needed after a long, week that featured some unnecessary drama at work.  But I suppose each of us faces unnecessary drama in some aspect of our lives all the time.  Anyway, we'll see what the new week brings.

I enjoyed a totally "me" weekend.  I drove the 200 miles from here to Charlotte to do some shopping on Saturday - leaving at 10 in the morning and getting back to Charleston shortly before midnight.  Shopping can be very good therapy, and in this case it was.

Yesterday there was a little more with a friend...a nice walk downtown...a run along the sea wall...a few errands.  All things considered,  both days were very pleasant and much needed opportunities to ratchet things down a bit from Friday.

The issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Charleston on Saturday night but it was pretty much a non-event.  The skies her are very expressive, so as this system churned off the coast it sent winds and clouds in our direction but no rain.  Perhaps the most visible indicator of the churn out in the ocean was the size and the frenetic energy of the waves.  Other than that, it was still a beautiful weekend.

I uploaded some photos from the past few days to my SnapLog site (link here). 

I'm hunkering down for the events coming up.  I've got out of town teams coming to work at our IT lab.  I don't think the events of Friday are completely over.  And I'm expecting to get out of town this coming weekend for a REAL vacation over the long weekend.  I'm already looking forward to that....

Until then - dragons to be slayed, battles to be fought, mountains to be climbed, and magic to be performed.  It's all in a day's work....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Funny. Not.

So, I've had my truck for just over 48 hours.  We're still in the honeymoon phase.  It's actually kind of nice. (I uploaded the picture I promised to my Snaplog).

I'll also admit to being a bit surprised - not necessarily in a positive way - how people seem to actually apply stereotypes or other personality traits to others simply based on the vehicle they drive.  I've had more than one person use the word "redneck" to me.  Others seem surprised....why, I don't know.  Watching the reactions of others has actually been enlightening.

I was talking about it today with somebody at work.  He asked me if I drove the truck to work today, and I said, "Yes, I got here early today so I backed her into one of the spots up front."

Now, this guy is an IT engineer and to my knowledge isn't aware of my history.  Regardless, he explained to me that trucks are usually "he".  He said dogs are "he" and cats are "she" and gave a number of other examples that seemed to make sense to him where masculine or feminine pronouns are used to describe objects.  I explained to him that I really don't care what pronoun others use to describe their vehicles, but that this truck was most definitely a "she".  I joked that the truck was actually a lot like me - stylish lines but strong, firm but supple, more under the hood than meets the eye.  He liked that.

Over the course of my life I've owned a brand new Corvette C5, a Mercedes-Benz, a new Ford Expedition, an Infiniti, a Honda Accord, an Intrepid, a Chevy S10 Blazer, a Volvo 740, an old Ford Crown Victoria - I've had lots of cars over the years.  Most recently I owned a 2001 Volvo with 155,000 miles, and my beloved 2004 Toyota Camry with 185,000 miles.  Some of them have been "fun" vehicles (like the Corvette).  Others have been practical, or filled a specific need.  Regardless of what any of us drive, the minute we allow ourselves to be defined by our vehicles,

I do my research before making major purchases, especially for my vehicles.  I feel good about this - the truck itself, the price, the dealership, the experience in general.  I'm not sure I can say that about every car I've ever bought.  But in the end this truck will do what I need it to do, and it will do it reliably, comfortably, and well.  It will tow boats, it will drive in crappy weather, it will move I suppose if any of that makes my neck more or less red than it was at the beginning of the week I'm ok with that.

Back to these stereotypes.  If I put them all together, someone who drives a pickup truck is a southern dude who own guns, spits, has bumper stickers, doesn't seem very smart, and is just....well... a redneck. I realize some think this is funny.  I don't.

It's bigger than simply applying traits to vehicles.  I saw one friend on FB recently who said she was concerned because she was thinking too "male" lately.  WTF is that supposed to mean?  When does anyone stop being concerned about those kinds of silly things and just do what they want to do without worrying what others think? 

Apparently, I've had a long day.  I'm glad tomorrow is Friday.  Maybe I'll go out and look for something to run over with my truck....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I bought a new vehicle today. I am the still somewhat shocked-by-it-all owner of a used Toyota Tundra pickup. This mother is huge. I've had large vehicles before. We bought a new Ford Expedition back while I was still married. But the reason I like this truck is that it doesn't feel like a truck. It rides nicely. But I've never owned a pickup before, so this will take a little getting used to. You haven't lived until you've been a blonde with a big chest pulling up at a car dealership. It's truly a test of just how comfortable you are, and the good news is that I'm very very very comfortable. I did my research, I went to two different dealers and did my test driving, I negotiated reasonable prices, and in the end I picked the one I really wanted. I'm actually very happy about the way things went. The sad part is that it cost me one of my cars. As I've mentioned before, both have significant mileage and both have been with me for a long time. I bought my Volvo in 2004, and my Camry in 2008. I've put over 100,000 miles on both of them so we've been through a lot together. I had planned to trade one of them in but wasn't sure which one. Well, the dealership made the decision for me as they wanted the Toyota. As I checked throught the glove compartment, and moved my Buffalo Bills magnet to the new truck, I'll admit to a level of sadness at letting her go. But she's served me well, I've taken good care of her, and now it's just time to move on. Sigh. I hope to get something for her to tow sometime in the not-too-distant-future. Something that floats. But until then we'll just get to know one another and I'll enjoy the new-car-thing. I don't do it very often. I'll post a photo of her on my photoblog a little later.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I was thinking what one word encapsulates my weekend.  Nothing too profound, just something accurate.  The word that immediately comes to mind is "Delightful".  My weekend was delightful.

I'm getting the urge to start cooking again so I picked out a few recipes and spent some time over the weekend shopping for spices.  By the time I'm done these are going to be some expensive dishes so I hope I like them enough to make them again, because buying spices can be pricey.  Anyway, when I do cook 'em I'll share the outcomes - for better or worse.

Saturday I spent some time with a friend came to town to look at locations to open a franchise he's looking to buy.  We drove around in his little convertible sportscar - it was actually pretty cool. 

I walked around the College of Charleston a bit - it was graduation day.  I got a mani/pedi.

I've decided that I want to get back into tennis.  I haven't played for years, partly because the speed of life goes too fast and partly because I just haven't had has someone to play with.  I've had a racked for a couple of years but have never used it.  One of my friends recommended a local tennic place to get it restrung, and to ask about getting people to play with.  I had a blast chatting with the guy - very helpful.  I'm hopeful to be on the court within a couple of weeks.

While I was there - they were having a Mother's Day Sale on tennis clothes.  Some of the stuff was already marked down 50%.  I tried on a number of different tennis dresses, and got opinions from everyone on which ones looked and fit best.  Long story sort - I now own a tennis dress to play tennis in.

I also own a new bikini.  I stopped by Victoria's Secret to check things out.  They were having a weekend promotion that if you spent $75 you got a free VS Beach Towel out of the deal.  The salesgirl measured me and I'm pretty much the size I usually buy....either 36DD or 38D.  My "girls" are not insignificant and need all the support they can get.  The particular bras I get are actually very comfortable, too, so I have no problem justifying the extra expense of getting them there.  Anyway, I needed something to help push me over the $75 limit so I took the plunge and got a bikini. 

When I go to the beach here it seems like all the women wear bikini's.  It doesn't matter how old you are, how skinny or how chubby you are, or whether you might be better served covering up a little more.  There's a comfort with showing lots of body at the beach that is different than the modesty I'm used to.  I'm trying to get my body into bikini shape, and now I've got a nice pink bikini to do it in.

I got a different bikini last year, and wore it twice.  I'll provide a pic here when I get around to wearing this one....

I've pulled back from a number of things in my life and it seems like the space is filling up with cool things.  Tennis.  Cooking.  Photography.  Biking.  I went for a nice run yesterday evening.  It feels like I'm in a pretty good place with my balance at the moment.

Yesterday was Mother's Day.  I don't make a big deal out of it.  I did call my mom, and we had a nice chat as usual.  People wish me a Happy Mother's Day and I appreciated that, although I've explained here before that in no way do I consider myself my son's mother.  In fact, one of the most important roles of my life was and remains being my son's father - no circumstance nor simplistic definitions of parental roles will ever change that.

I spent most of the day with Elizabeth, and it was ....well....delightful.  We had a very pleasant day. 

I uploaded a photo from each day over the weekend to my Snaplog.  Nothing special - just a few scenes from my life over these past few days.

Now it's Monday.  Lots to do.  I'd better be getting on with it....

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Naughty Bits

This is a bit of a follow-up to my last entry about being a link in a chain that started way before me, and will continue long after.

There's a comment on one of my blog entries from a couple of weeks ago that I'd like to respond to.  I'd write this person back directly if I knew who they were, but it's probably worthwhile to share some of it here.

She wrote:

You mentioned emails from people new in their transition. I don't know how alone in your head you were once you faced who you were and needed to be, but I do know for myself. I'm totally on my own and have no one to bounce any thoughts of. Any time that I've reached out to one of the more seasoned veterans of being transgender, I get absolutely no response. It is a very scarey place to be. We often get stuck trying to validate even our own right to want a better gender role. I love your blogs and that you still reach out to us little girls, so to speak. It is ok to answer people and if needed set ground rules about not being a substitute for needed counseling.  But, each of the newbies is undoubtedly in a very difficult place and with very few people they can turn to. Thanks for continuing to pay it forward through your book, website, and blogs. You perform a tremendous service to the world.

Some thoughts....

First, I do know what it's like to be alone.  Alone has become a good friend.

We won't even count all the years growing up, unable to articulate all this to anyone.  Or married to a woman I very much loved, starting a family, yet knowing something about myself that could ruin it all. That's a given for many of us...

Some of it was the reality of beginning the process that led to transition in 1996 or so.  It was a very different world at that time as the internet had only started to connect people willing to share their experiences online.  Another part was my own internal isolation, the fear of discovery, and the singificant wall I had built around myself.  Those barriers were every bit as real as anything physical or tangible.

I've watched it happen over and over again - people transition, they get involved in the community to some degree, and then they fade away.  Why?  Because life goes on.  They've moved on to other things.  Their lives fill up with relationships, careers, pursuits, and the general stuff that fills the vacume left by purging the gender demons.  I've been criticized for not following a similar path, as though I'm somehow stuck somewhere along the way from here to there.

Truth be told, I'm not stuck.  I here for two reasons.  First is that I choose to be.  And second, because I can balance my other stuff and this stuff fairly well.  Sometimes I'm not much of a pen-pal, or I've got other priorities that require both time and attention.  Thankfully, most people are appreciative, and patient, of that and remind me from time to time to do something. 

But I can only do so much.  I'm not much of a pen-pal when it comes to extended conversations.  I don't want to become anyone's crutch because sometimes I need to be my own crutch.  I'm happy to provide an opinion or a resource - 10 times out of 10m - but I've grown to be very good with boundaries so if you ask me to call you, or answer the same question a half dozen times, or demand too much time I invariable can't deliver.  I'm not alone in that. 

The best thing I can do right now is live my life, and share that.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  It'd be easy to try to paint a rosy picture of a bleak situation, or to sugar-coat the tough issues we all face in every-day life.  Putting it out there for a world of faceless strangers to judge based on their own agenda, or in a confined context, involves some risk.  But the reward of remembering how I felt when Beck Allison would answer my emails, or of being wheeled into the operating room before FFS, or of feeling terror before coming out to my family and my son, or of showing up on my first day at work as Donna - those are uniquely OUR experiences.  So only we can provide real-life, first-person, been-there-done-that input.

So - that's what this blog has largely become.  Why?  That's simple.  Because that's what my life is.  A blend of a number of complicated things all working together in a mostly-harmonious whole.  Difficulties?  Of course.  Frustrations?  Sure.  Insecurities? We all do.  Frailties?  They're what make us human.  But to paint a picture that either all black, or all doesn't work like that.  But in the end, the theme of my life has become about seizing your own destiny, not being afraid, taking risks, doing, feeling, and being.  Most importantly, just know that there is life beyond a gender transition that can, and frequently does, rock your a$$ off.

I really like the paragraph that I recently shared from Dr. Anne Vitale's most recent essay on being post-op.    The word she used was bittersweet.  I've thought about that for a day now and that's the perfect word.  The key, though, isn't whether you focus on the bitter or the sweet.  It's the combination that makes it such an important concept.

So - back to my original point.  Things change.  People come and go in our lives.  Part of being resilient is being forced to test your creativity and your patience.  "Old timers" move on, and others take their places.  Skype, Facebook, Meetup groups, regional conferences, supportive therapists and all kinds of other things have replaced the crude tools that we had way back when.  It's all simply part of the chain.

As for me.  I'm not going anywhere.  I'm not as involved as I once wash, but I'll never be invisible.  That boat sailed a long time ago.  I doubt I'd want to be even if I could at this point.  But Anne Vitale's use of the term "hide-in-plain-sight" was exactly what I've always wanted.  Just to be me, without having to be any one thing but at the same time not being afraid or ashamed.  That's my Nirvana.  It might now work for others and that's certainly fine.  It works for me and I'm the only one who gets a say.

I'm glad I can continue to add value.  Who knows how long it will last?  I don't.  I'm just going with the flowing.  Welcome to my world....

Last night a group of us from work went of for drinks and munchies.  We've got a great group of people.  I posted a photo of us on FB, and here's a similar but different second picture.  I'm smiling more.  A secret between me and the few people who read this:  The reason I didn't post it on FB is because you can see thru the dress more so some of the naughty bits are more prominent.  At least, it seems that way to me.  :)

Speaking of naughty - there's report of an incident involving Mitt Romney during Prep School.  Apparently, he didn't like some other students hair so he had some kids forcibly hold this student down while he cut the kids hair with scissors (story here).  Are you kidding me?  I realize that his happened a long time ago, but at what point do we pardon people for their youthful transgressions?  More important, though, is the arrogance involved in thinking he could even do this in the first place.  That's what I feel from him.  Arrogance.  Some things change.  Other's don't.....

As mentioned yesterday, recent remarks by high-ranking White House folk forced the president to do something I'm quite sure he would have eventually done anyway (story here).  It's being reported that Biden apologized to the President (story here) for forcing his hand.  I personally think he's going to owe Biden a huge thanks later on.  I suppose time will tell.

The trans-filled news parade continues.  In the past 24 hours, the singer of an apparently well-known punk group came out as trans and indicated she'd be transitioning (story here), and it's already turning into another visible social education moment (see CBS story here).  Argentina passed sweeping trans-supportive laws (story here).  The outgoing student body president at American University came out very atriculately as trans (story here).

Finally for tonight, I'm thinking back to this time in years past.  Last year on this day I had just driven 600 miles with the dogs to Charleston to start my new job the next week, and to lay the roots here that are now growing deeper by the week (blog entry).  That was a year ago?!

The irony is that two years ago today I was getting ready to come to Charleston to extricate my remaining roots here after tumultuous weeks highlighted by some jaw surgery (blog entry).  Yuck.  It was a crazy time, and when I finally left here afterwards I never expected to be back.  It's funny how that happens sometimes.

That sucked.  The moral of the story:  Don't forget where you've come from.  It makes where you're going all that much sweeter.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Chain....

I have a couple of things to share this afternoon. 

First, President Obama said publicly for the first time that he supported same-sex marriage (story here).  On one hand I appreciate the fact that he's the first standing President to say such a thing.  But on the other, it would have had more power for me last week, before others in his cabinet expressed similar sentiments and put him in a position to walk the walk.  For example, the Secretary of Education showed no hesitation when asked his thoughts (story here) on Monday:

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That impressed me.  That's leadership.  I wonder if any of that had any effect on what happened today. What I do know is that the difference between "us" and "them" has never been clearer, and that conservatives are going to try to make this the deal breaker in the election.  Maybe they'll be successful.    But whatever happens

As the interviewers indicated, the White House was in the middle of trying to do damage control over recent similar comments by the Vice President. I certainly acknowledge that the President has more at stake politically than anyone else in this regard, but c'mon - I doubt that the real historical impact of what's happening will become more apparent over time.  Andrew Sullivan has written a good write-up of his thoughts (read it here).

I'm going to have to stay off Facebook from now until the elections because people are already all over this and I'll be tired of hearing it all inside of an hour.

I saw a Photography exhibition in Vancouver that piqued my curiousity.  It's about trans women in Paris in the 1950's (story here).  I find that kind of thing fascinating, because I consider myself as another link in a long chain.  I can't imagine how difficult it was for these women to save up enough cash for surgeries and the like - but looking at some of these photos is like seeing old photographs of long-lost relatives you never met.  There's a resiliency there, a strength of purpose, a seeming simplicity that transcends current argumemts over Gay Inc./transgender umbrella/I'm this but not that....

Anyway, I would enjoy seeing that exhibition.

I suppose it's easy to take the times we live in for granted.  But where we're at is hard fought territory in a culture war for legitimacy and rights.  But before we get too giddy about it we need to remember that North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment yesterday banning legal recognition of ANY relationship that's not marriage between a man and a woman.  A pastor there gave a sermons promoting violenct towards "effimnate" boys (story here).  Two african american trans women have been murdered in the past two weeks along - one in Chicago, and another in Oakland

GENDA is up for passage again in NY State (story here).  Lincoln, Nebraska is moving forward to expand descrimination protections to cover trans people (story here).  The recent EEOC ruling that workplace discrimination against trans people is considered sex descrimination is a big deal (story here).  National Geographic broadcast "American Transgender".  The list goes on...

When I was a kid and needed to find a word that explained how I felt I couldn't find anything.  Nothing.  Nowhere.  It was frustrating and confusing, and I expect many of us from that generation had similar experiences.  From that to this....

It makes me feel old to say...."Well, back when I was your age..." but I can't help but think that.  In the earliest days of my transition I found some resources that were useful, and that helped me along the way.  Some of them were local resources, while others were online.

One of the most significant was a website started by San Francisco area psychologist Anne Vitale.  She had a number of essays dealing with key issues involved in coming to terms with being trans, to transition, and eventually to moving on in life.  Some of her writings were fundamental for me...about relationships, and the nature of change, and whatnot.

She started an email list of news items dealing with trans "stuff", and sent it regularly.  At first it was a fairly sort list, sent every few weeks.  But the list got longer, and came more frequently.  Eventually she had to break it into multiple emails.  And not long after that, she had to stop altogether because she just couldn't keep up with it all.

Anyway - I digress.  I recently went back to Dr. Vitale's website and was gratified to see that not only is it still there, but that she's adding new content fairly regularly.  Her most recent Essay is a good example of why I found it so helpful - it's called "Post-op +5" (read it here).  She writes:

Full gender role transition is a bitter sweet accomplishment. Bitter in that post-op transfolk-- despite moving ever closer over the years toward their intended goal-- come to eventually realize, that in the end, they will still be left an important iota short of ever being totally of one sex or the other. Apparently that is a distance too far for reality to transverse. On the other hand, it is sweet in that the dread of experiencing an unlived life being gender dysphoric no longer burdens them. Fortunately the sweet relief of being free of gender dysphoria and the chance to live a life that is far more comfortable--if not exactly what they expected-- leads a large majority of long term transitioner to say that transition saved their livesÉ. And, very importantly, would do it all over again despite the hardships many experienced and in some cases continue to endure. In some respect we can say that the long term effects of gender role transition amounts to a net positive but a subtle reversal of misfortune.

She's pretty deep, and incredibly articulate about some topics others never seem to quite capture.  But she's right on the money far more often than she's not.  If I'm a link in a chain - that's one of the links before me that helped me get here.  I owe her a debt of gratitude. 

Oh - I posted another photo on my Snaplog.  I didn't mention it last week but, but I started having some ankle issues a couple of weeks ago and ended up at the doctor last Thursday (see yucky photo here).  We're trying to figure out what caused it, but in the meantime we're treating the symptoms.  No cute shoes for me for a few days....

Monday, May 7, 2012


My short time downtown, in this space, has been transformative.  It's like there's a creative energy down's really crazy to say that but when you're open to things I think things have a way of becoming real.  What's happening in my world is very real.

Last year when I lived here I was in a nice place - same general area - but I didn't get the same vibe.  I don't know if it was because I had the pup (she's with my son), or that the space just had a different "feel" to it, or what. Frankly, I think it's the combination of a number of things.  But the energy here is almost magical.

My photography as an outlet continues to blossom.  I'm planning to update my website in a major way, which will take a significant amount of energy.  I'm enjoying writing.  It's really cool to feel this way and I've learned the hard way that nothing lasts forever so I'm just channeling the energy while I can.

This iPad is crazy cool.  It's not necessarily that the iPad itself is cool - I've only got a handful of apps on it.  What I'm really digging is the ability to turn it into a base station so wherever I am it acts as a portal to the internet for whatever other devices I've got.  For example, as I type this I'm using my iMac that's connected to the internet through my iPad.  Too cool fer school.

I've started a little photoblog to attach to this blog.  The url is  It's much easier to use that than to upload photos from my iphone to Blogger.  I've put a few photos from over the weekend there to start.  It's simple - not many options and no mechanism to comment but all that is actually a positive as far as I'm concerned.  Anyways, my general tinkering continues...

One email I received recently asked me when I stopped transitioning and just started living.  I realize that probably makes sense conceptually, and I suppose I would probably have approached things in a similarly compartmentalized, structured way at one time.  But it's sort of like the Matrix, in that I don't think anyone can really explain that it doesn't really happen like that for many, if not most, of us.

I suspect that I'm still transitioning in one way or another.  The flow of my life over the past decade shows a number of things that have ebbed and flowed.  That tide continues....

I'll have more to say on that.  But right now it's almost midnight and this little turnip needs to get to bed.  Days at work are very full these days, and we've got some major deliverables to create by Friday.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Living in downtown Charleston again has been pretty amazing, and I've only been back a week. I guess I didn't realize just how much it added to my overall balance, but I'm acutely aware of it now.

 I moved away for a few reasons, including the fact that it's expensive and I rationalized that it really didn't matter during the winter. A bigger complication, though, was my wrestling. Between work and some flavor of training it was probably best to put myself in a position of relative isolation because all this would have been a distraction. Now that the wrestling is done I've been wondering to myself what would fill its place. The answer is an obvious one.

As I type this I'm sitting on the end of a pier, with a cruise ship just off to my left, big late-afternoon clouds building behind it, and cool breezes washing across everything. Sunshine is behind me and warm on my shoulders, and boats of various sizes and flavors are out in the harbor. The aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown is across the way with a number of aircraft on her deck, and a destoyer is docked behind her. Off in the distance to my right is Ft. Sumter, and you can see the colors on the flag as it flies high overhead. It's quite the scene, and it still hasn't sunk in that this is my neighborhood. I only had to walk 3 blocks to get here.

I almost feel guilty sitting at home because there's always something to do or someplace to go - all within walking distance. Great restaurants, live music, the ocean, the's all right here.

Sunday mornings are magic. The early sun on an almost deserted Charleston lends itself to taking great photos, or simply walking and soaking it all in. I woke up this morning at 6:30 and was already out with my camera by 7:30. Ninety minutes later I was back home, made a batch of fresh blueberry pancakes, and headed to the beach for an hour. I typically try to go there to connect spiritually every week if I can....

I should probably be home unpacking but as I said, this time is too nice to be stuck indoors so I'll do some later. I think I've made it over the hump of total chaos and there's more order than mess right now. More importantly, I know where most things are.

I'll share something else today. I went for a date a week ago Thursday and had a wonderful time.  I have no idea where it's going, but I attribute the fact that it's happening at all to the fact I'm living down here, and have become more socially available.

Of course, there's always the speed bump that comes with getting to the point of deciding to share details of your life but we're not there yet.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Today's picture is shortly after sunrise this morning, taken from my bedroom window.  I had a squirrel sitting on the branch just out the window who startled me - I don't know who jumped first, him or me.

It's a unique perspective.  Now that I'm on the 3rd floor the view out my back windows roofs, smokestacks, treetops, and sky.  It's actually very nice, especially with a window open and the cool morning breeze  blowing through. 

My front view overlooks one of the historic Charleston downtown streets.  The height offers a whole new perspective.

Speaking of perspective, I'm going to share some thoughts on a couple of recent news items.  I saw an article about a Stonewall Dem event honoring Barney Frank (read it here).  Now that he's retiring people are singing his praises from throughout his long tenure in Congress.  From my perspective - big deal.  His legacy will simply be as the guy who threw "people of transgender" (his words, not mine) under the proverbial ENDA bus.  He may have actually done us a favor, but that was unintentional.

There's an article about a trans woman in Dallas who received a ticket for using the women's bathroom at a hospital there (see story).  TX is one of those states where you can't change the gender marker on your driver's license until after surgery, and she had the appropriate letter from her doctor indicating that she is transitioning.  Furthermore, she was cited for "Disorderly Conduct", which is defined in TX as "intentionally or knowingly for a lewd or unlawful purpose".

This is just plain wrong, and although the Hospital says it is investigating it seems to me that the place where the training needs to happen is with the police. 

It's funny, but my past is usually forgotten in my day-to-day life.  This is my life now.  It has been this way for a long time .  It feels right, and natural, and easy.  The constant lump in my throat is long gone, as is the tightening grip on the soul that being trapped in a life that you know is wrong can create.

I do still pinch myself from time to time to remind myself how dreams really can and do come true.  But by and large, it's such a non "thing" it only comes up in email, on FB, and in other aspects of my life directly connected to it. 

The reason I mention that is that I talked about it twice yesterday, with two different people.  Everything seems cool, but that's nearly the total number of times I've had that conversation since I moved here.  It doesn't bother me, since I'm really not embarassed or ashamed about it.  The thing that concerns me from past history, though, is that relationships can change because of it and what was comfortable one moment becomes awkward and odd the next. 

I've come to peace with the fact that there are things I can control to some extent, and things I can't.  How others react about anything is one of those things that I can't.  So I don't dwell on it.  But I've seen more than one relationship fall off the map after that chat.

At the same time, though, I've also seen relationships blossom afterwards.  Sometimes there is an appreciation for the gift and the trust involved in sharing something that's deeply personal, which opens the door to opportunities for deeper sharing.  So the end result is not a foregone conclusion by any means.  But I always go back to the guiding principal of only having the discussion when needed or when approached. 

Back to my downtown place....I've only been there a couple of nights and I haven't had a single minute to unpack anything yet but it already feels good.  My social life soars downtown at the expense of my sleep.  That's already true again.  :)