Friday, August 14, 2015

Spare no expense

As I type this I'm sitting in a hotel room near Birmingham, AL.  I'm on my way to Dallas to pick up my other pup and drive him back to Charleston.

There is quite a bit of emotion wrapped up in this.  Leaving him with my mom in early February was one of the hardest emotional traumas I've experienced in a long time.  One of the things that allowed me to leave that house without him was justifying to myself that it was in his best interest....that my mom's stable world was a better fit for him than my own gypsy life.  Anyway - without going into too much detail - I'm headed back to get him.  I don't mind admitting - I'm excited.

Cody man!!!

There are a few things in life where I spare no expense. I have no problem justifying additional cost, distance, or effort if I can convince myself that I'm getting what I need.

My make-up is one of those things. 95% of my stuff is from MAC. They earned my loyalty many years ago and I've probably got a small store's worth of their stuff.

Another of those things is my hair.
Over the years I've put my hair into the hands of a number of people who ultimately became dear friends.  It's typically more than just a service-related thing for order to give my hair some "personality" it involves knowing a little about me.  It's a relationship....a long-term relationship.  And, in some instances, a long-distance relationship.

At the very beginning of my transition I had convinced myself that in order to be percieved as feminine I needed long hair.  As wrong-minded as that was, learning that I was wrong was an important step in the development of my ideals of feminity, masculinity, and who-the-heck-cares.

I'll never forget my earliest wigs.  While I tried to grow my hair out to a sufficient length I wore them to my first support group meetings, and on my initial tentative steps out into the world.  Funny thing is, they probably drew more attention my way than they deflected but that's the thing about a's not a rational thing, it's an emotional one. 

I will never forget the night I took my wig off...and it hasn't been on since.  I had recently come back from seeing Dr. O and my own hair was still very short.  But the wig was hot, it was unruly, and most importantly it put pressure on the spot in the hairline where Dr. O had made his incision.  It hurt. 

I decided then and there that whatever hair I had was the hair I'd use.  In a way - it became part of my identity.

In the early days I kept it long.  Eventually one of my hairdressers in Austin asked if I wanted to be bold and change things up and we cut it pretty short.  It stayed that way for 3 or 4 years before I eventually started growing it out again.

I've done some research and found a hairdresser that I wanted to entrust with a little bit of a shorter, layered, lighter style. Here's the result (pardon the crude's hard to take a good side picture of your hair in a hotel room bathroom mirror).  The mark of a good hairstyle in my book is that it looks just as good when you style it yourself as when the stylist does it at the salon, and how it looks a week later.

So far - I like.

I'm getting to ready to leave the hotel for the 10 hour drive to Dallas.  If all goes according to plan I'll see my mom tonight!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Time in a Bottle

Today is my 15th anniversary of SRS.  I didn't even realize it until someone sent me a congratulations text.  Lord, how time flies.

In the year leading up to this day I had a countdown on my computer telling me the number of days left until SRS.  When it got less than 100 I was thrilled.  When it got less than 30, I couldn't believe it.  And with it got less than 7 - well, I was amazed.  The good news is - I'm still amazed.

In the years that followed I celebrated this milestone date for the significant role it played in my life.  I typically celebrated it alone as it was a time for reflection, introspection, and appreciation that really didn't need anyone else to be special.  I'm sure I could look back over my blogs to see the things I've done over this last decade to mark this milestone.

Not surprisingly, it has become just another day.  I'm more aware of my FFS anniversary than my SRS anniversary as that actually had the larger impact.  I don't want to minimize or trivialize SRS but by the time it arrived I needed it as much for congruency and closure as anything.

15 years represents over 25% of my life.  That's crazy....

One of the things I came across recently while unpacking was a stack of video tapes that contain my family "home movies".  They're called "Memory" tapes because theyt're labled "Memories 1", Memories 2" and so on....sometimes with the accompanying dates.  I used to have a video production company so I always had a video camera around.  As a result - there are a significant number of Memories tapes.

When I was told I was no longer welcome in my house I left without taking anything with me.  In retrospect, I would have done that much differently as there are things I would have wanted if I had known then what I know now.  Regardless - I didn't have any of the Memories tapes.

In the years shortly afterwards my son brought me a pile of the tapes on one of his visits.  He said his mother would never watch them so he brought the ones he could find.  I've brought them with me here and there and everywhere, but it's time to transfer them to DVD.  I'd like a copy, my mom wants a copy, and I'd like my son to have a copy as it covers everything from the day we found out that we were pregnant to the day I left home in 1999. 

I brought the first one in to see what the output is like earlier this week - I'll let you know.

My ex-wife and I haven't spoken in a couple of years now.  She has her life and I have mine, and the only thing we've got in common is 20 years of memories and a son.  Although I had a strong suspicion that it would be wasted energy I wrote to her last week to tell her what I was doing, to inquire if she was interested in a copy, and to ask if I could borrow the Memories tapes she still has.  Needless to say, I haven't heard anything back yet and I don't expect to.  That's a shame, and I'm still hopeful that I can get them.

I'm actually looking forward to seeing what's on them.  Things were much simpler back then, or at least that's how I remember it.  Anyway - stay tuned on that front.

I've got quite a bit of traveling coming up.  Later this week I'll be starting out on the 1,100 mile drive to Dallas.  I'm headed there to pick up my dog, Cody.  I left him with my mom in February and was heartsick over it for months.  Anyway, my mom has asked me to come and get him and it is without hesitation that I'll be coming home with one more furry friend than I've got now.  But it will involve a 2,200 mile round trip over 4 days - yuck.

Then, I've got a dear friend coming to visit for a few days.

Finally, I'll be headed up to Rochester NY at the end of the month on my mom's annual birthday pilgrimage.  She's turning 86 this year.  It's the only time that our entire family gets together so I wouldn't miss it for anything. 

I'll travel back to Dallas in early October to participate in a conference there.  And I suspect I'll have another trip - or two - in between.  Now that summer is coming to an end, it appears that I'll need to dust off my suitcase. 

Back to the significance of this day.  For years there was only one other person who knew what this day was and she called to congratulate me every year.  She was a wonderful, very special person in my life who passed away a number of years ago.  Thanks to those who still remember and who remind me. 

Some who visit here regularly know that I've posted all the various correspondences, emails, diary entries, and background "stuff" that eventually ended up as my book.  When significant anniversaries pass - like today - I go there to re-live them (Trapped In Blue).  I hope I never forget where I've come from, or lose the appreciation of what it has taken to get here from there. :)