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Category Archives: Anacdotal

So, Where’s Your Dad? … She’s Right There

Trans Dad“So where’s your dad, anyway?” The question was asked by a young child who was playing with my son on the trampoline. I was sitting about 10 feet away to keep an eye on things. The other boy was a couple of years older, and my personal childhood experience taught me that older boys were not always hesitant to exercise power by virtue of age and strength. I may not be able to always protect him from this, but I’m sure as hell not letting anything happen on my watch.

My son pointed to me and told the other boy, “right over there!” The little thug was unable to make the connection between the homely woman sitting on the deck and my son’s dad and soon the matter was dropped. Yes, I do realize this was probably a teachable moment, but I was caught off guard and found that words had left me. If the situation persisted, I would have outed myself, but it died within moments and I had the opportunity to ponder this sufficiently to create a new blog post.

As many of you may know, transitioning genders and being a parent to a young child at the same time can be just a little bit challenging. The hardest part is attempting to create an environment of stability and safety for the little ones to give them the best chance to learn, grow and reach their real potential. This can be difficult considering the crushing need for social conformity in child, tween, and teen culture. “But everyone has the new iPod Dingleberry, so I HAVE to have one! They are only $999.95!” The problem is that you can’t just go and get a new dad by maxing out your credit card.

The fortunate side of this is that old ‘Mama, Papa, and Baby’ expected dynamic has been significantly altered over the past few years. Thank goodness for that anyway. Even mainstream TV is now reflecting “The New Normal” (why, just why could that show not have been better?), and there is no longer an assumption that someone has differently gendered parents. Ten years ago, those little family stickers people now put on their cars to let strangers know how many people they can expect to take out at one time with a good ‘Dukes of Hazard’ maneuver, would have been preset parents with optional kids and pets. Now you can get them individually and mix and match males and females to create the set you want. The best version I saw depicted a child without a head. “What a peaceful household that must be.” I thought.

At the same time, “The New Normal” in no way means even slightly common. While gay couple families often know many others of their kind, to their straight friends, they are labeled distinctively. “Knuckles and Barney will be there, you know, our gay friends, so I’m sure they will bring a fabulous appetizer.” When you go across the tracks to Trans Town, chances are you are the only one straight and cis people know, including friends of friends, and one or two degrees of separation beyond that. As of right now, and arguably into the foreseeable future, our status as “normal” is really more like “acknowledged outlier” that is sporadically considered acceptable. The vast majority of American families can still buy the old timey rear window stickers with thoughtless abandon, head or no head.

To bring this around full circle, in the near future I’m faced with attending a ‘Donuts for Dads’ thingie at my son’s school next month. At ‘Muffins for Moms’, it was explained (I think with the idea that the information would be trickled back to me) that in spite of the very clear naming convention, these events were for any beloved caregiver of the child. Even so, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the only one there in a skirt. This doesn’t bother me because experience tells me that the dads are more afraid of me than I am of them. Really, it’s about my son and his comfort.

Sufficed to say, we are working this because the issue isn’t going to go away on its own. Believe me, if I thought this was possible, I would employ my usual tactic of doing nothing and hoping the universe manages to tidy up the mess once it is realized that I’m not getting off my fat ass anytime soon. At present, my son’s feeling is that he is excited to have me come, but is nervous that the other kids are going to think he has two moms, which I’m fairly certain is already the case. Is it too much to ask that some lesbian couples move into the school district? This isn’t Mississippi you know.

We will navigate our way though this and the next 150 instances. At the end of the day though, I’m sure he wants to be like the rest of the kids around him. In this, he simply won’t be, but then again, no one else fits the norm in every category either. The best I can do is to help him find comfort in his existence by demonstrating pride and resilience in the truth of our existence, no matter how off center from the never trodden path of absolute normalcy. As we sit there with all the kids and their dads, at least there will be donuts, and we will focus on those and not the hole.

Trans Writer’s Block… Like That’s a Real Thing

Writers-blockSome of you may have noticed that my frequency of posting has gotten, well, a little lackadaisical of late. All right, fine, it doesn’t appear that anyone really noticed at all, or worse, was relieved not to have my little thoughts show up every fricking time they opened their email. Yes, I know it was you and believe you me, I will remember. Silly little half-assed threat aside, I thought I’d talk about that for a minute because, why not?

More specifically, it’s becoming more and more of a bitch to think up new things to write about every couple of days or so. For a while I felt like I hit the mother lode of material; a rich vein that ran so deep I was bound to go through several gross of canaries before the whole thing petered out and I repurposed the site to focus on schmaltzy ‘Good Morning America’ fan fiction. Now here I am writing about having nothing to write about with at least a gross and a half of Sam’s Club canaries in my garage all alive and happy as shit. That’s OK, great writers push through these blocks, good writers take a hiatus and kick around backwater Slovenia for a while, and writers like me sit here and write about the fucking writers block and hope that it ignites something.

I used to think that I could take any idea and spin it into a trans issue and crank out a page or two of reasonably priced claptrap. Now, as it sit here waiting for my tea to cool enough to swallow my morning hormones, I look around the room just waiting to be inspired. Presently the most interesting thing is the cat, who is in process of devouring a decorative ribbon that will eventually be yorked up on my bedspread or dangle out her anus until one of us has the gumption to hold her down and yank it out as she screams in rage (or, yech, elation). Surely something there can be repurposed into an analogy of the transition process, right? Dammit. Nothing.

Don’t get too excited now; this is not a “hanging things up” post. I hate to take the wind out of your sails, but I’m not going to let you get all full of hope that you will finally get to submit your kinky little story about George Stephanopoulos and Ginger Zee in some ’50 Shades of Grey’ scenario. What it does mean is that I need to get out a lot more and have some shitty awkward experiences so I can put them up here and let you have some vicarious fun. When I start my downstairs electrolysis, it should be good for a real corker.

Here’s the deal. When I started doing this, I did absolutely no research on who was doing what in the blog world when it came to trans stuff. I learned of some excellent projects when other bloggers found me, and I was satisfied that we were plowing some new fields here with our scribbling. Now that I’m way more plugged into the trans writing world and get updates, I’m seeing that whatever subject I tackle has usually been done before, and to death at that. New items in the news are also well devoured and digested long before I get around to putting my little spin on things. This of course leaves me with 20 or so half completed posts in my in-work queue of which I have nothing new or clever to add. The taste in my mouth for this is way too similar to the time my German host (I was an exchange student back in the rockin’ 80’s) gave me bread with schmear on it I assumed was butter, but turned out to be lard. Horrible, horrible crap.

Give up though? Oh, hell no! I’m going to learn to eat that fat shit and love it. So, that’s kind of it for today. Looking back across the barren wasteland of this ill conceived post, I pretty much stated that I have nothing to write about, am bereft of ideas, don’t think I’m really adding anything, but going to keep doing what I was doing to begin with. At the very least I’ll get to add to my super-size collection of down votes on Reddit, where I seem to be a real fly in some people’s ointment and inspire personal messages to please, please, please go away and die already. You can expect no less from someone who kept an untrainable, house crapping dog purely out of spite. Yeah, I’m not going anywhere.

Understanding The Temptation of Bringing a Guy Along to the Mechanic

mechanic-01My identity as a female recently got another shot of validation. Not exactly the good kind either to be perfectly honest. At the end of last year I had my car inspected and found out the cost to bring it up to code was a little over 3 times what the car was worth. Well, after 11 years and not one single breakdown, the shoe was going to drop eventually. Having heard enough horror stories about trips to the mechanic from other women, I decided to try to cut them out of the picture as much as possible, so I went looking for a good lease. New car every 3 years sounded pretty nice to me.

The car leasing experience was fantastic. I was treated like a real person by the salesman and even managed to negotiate without once being talked down to or bullshit, and I was happy with the deal I walked out with. The thing with a lease is that you really have to keep up on the oil changes and not just wait for the angry red light on the dash to come on, so I scheduled an appointment at the 3 month mark. To celebrate the deal, my salesman gave me a coupon for the first oil change on the house, which I’m pretty sure he probably gives to everyone and hands them out to dismayed children on Halloween. My experience with the oil change… not so fantastic.

Going for an oil change in dude mode is not even an experience that registers as a thing. Sure, you get a half hearted song and dance that you really should consider changing the coolant or something else pricey, but you look him in the eye and say, “Just the oil, Mr. Lube, if that is even your real name; just the oil. And fill up the goddamn washer fluid this time!” I didn’t realize this could be any different until my mother-in-law complained how she hates going for an oil change because it costs her over $500 every time. I thought she must have diamond pin in the shape of a sucker pinned to her blouse every time she walked in there. No, they simply gave her the old song and dance, and when she hesitated even for a second, the balls to the wall pitch was rolled out and she found herself writing a hefty check for muffler fluid replacement.

I thought about this as I rolled in there and resolved to be the kind of chick who knew for sure that mufflers didn’t have fluid, if my car even had one anyway. I wasn’t really sure, and not about to get under there and check. Walking up the counter, I waited through the inevitable awkward stare and let them know everything wrong with my brand new precious. “Um, the oil needs changing, the trunk button won’t open the trunk, the remote starter starts the car, but won’t turn on the heat making it pretty useless, and every time I turn off the car, my iPod shuffle goes back to the beginning of the playlist and doesn’t shuffle or anything.” He smirked at me and said don’t worry, I could sit pretty in the waiting room while they did manly things. He didn’t say that last part, but oh, it was implied.

After a while, I was called back to the much dirtier part of the operation. Coming through, one of the mechanics held the door and gave me a, “There you go, little lady.” Nice. He was all of maybe 2 years older than me, but I let it go. They took the usual tack of making you feel stupid first in the run down. “Well miss, the trunk works just fine, you just gotta hold down the button for a full 2 seconds.” It worked like a charm, because I felt really fricking stupid. Next they sold me a cable that would fix my iPod problem that cost $60, nearly $20 more than I bought the iPod itself for. Next they told me the oil change went well, with no complications, brining my hopes back up. “About that remote start…”

I stood there surrounded by 3 mechanics and the manager, including the asshole who called me ‘little lady’, as they explained that the remote start feature wasn’t supposed to turn on the heat at all. “Well, I read the manual and it said that if I left the heat and defrost on when I turned off the car, the remote start would turn them on. The whole reason I got it was so that I wouldn’t have to brush off the car anymore, which I hate.” Living in Buffalo and doing this 274 times a year got kind of old. They chuckled at my bosomy foolishness. Oh, no, no, no! The remote start was only so that when I did get in the car and turned on the heat, it would be warm right away! I seemed a marginal benefit at best, but outsized, outnumbered, and apparently outwitted, I capitulated and even thanked them.

After stalking back to my car in humiliation, I found that the ‘special’ cable they sold me wasn’t even for an iPod, as they left it on the seat and didn’t bother hooking it up for me. I had to slink back to counter and received a refund, though it seemed implied that the mix up was based solely on the fact that I failed to properly communicate the problem to them. To make matters even worse, I had to go back a second time because I didn’t know if the garage door was going to open for me automatically, or if I kept going I was going to hit it with the car.

When I got home I jumped on line and found out that the remote starter was supposed to turn on the damn heat and that it was occasionally wired wrong when installed which causes my problem. Fixing it is time consuming and expensive for the dealer. Fuck. It looks like I need to work up the nerve and go back there. An no, no I’m not going to bring a guy along with me.

Home Stretch: My Consult With the Fabulous Dr. McGinn

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This past Saturday I had the pleasure of finally meeting in person the fabulous Dr Christine McGinn. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it appears as though I’m going to make one of my New Year’s resolutions after all! I can’t remember what the rest were, and clearly too lazy to scroll down the page, even though I took the trouble to link to the post here. That’s OK though, because out of all of them, this was the biggie and the rest will come in time.

Late in the winter, I finally got off my ever widening ass and did the research on who I felt comfortable doing the honors of reconstructing the burrito I certainly didn’t order into a much more aesthetically pleasing taco. After tens of minutes of internet research and some enlightening discussions with friends who have already been down this route, I had it narrowed down to 2 players for different reasons. First off, I really had a strong preference for staying in the northeast for logistical reasons. There were many close contenders and decided on either Dr Brassard in Montreal or Dr McGinn in New Hope, PA. Dr Brassard made it easy by not returning my calls and ignoring my patient intake form, while Dr McGinn’s assistant got in touch with me instantly and booked the consultation. It’s kind of who I was hoping for anyway, so that worked.

Here is the thing with me. Although Dr McGinn is not the oldest and most experienced person out there who specializes in vaginoplasty, she has had one. From a strictly medical knowledge standpoint, this means bupkis, but from a me being comfortable point of view, it’s fairly priceless. A number of previous medical experiences in the past have made me, well, just a tiny bit mistrustful of the practice in general at times. To have found someone who I feel some commonality with and within driving distance made it a no brainer to put her on top of the list and go see what she was about. Besides, if worse came to worse, I could always look elsewhere.

I brought my spouse along and we stayed at her mom’s in NJ, which is about an hour away from New Hope. Well, less with no traffic, but failing to meet a threshold of at least half the Jersey population on the road at the same time is against state law and strictly penalized. Her office was just a little bit hard to find, nestled in a large conclave of walkway connected suites similar to what I believe the Pueblo cliff dwellers were aiming for. We figured it out once I was able to decipher the Byzantine naming and numbering conventions that has to really piss off new mail carriers. It was a medical office, so I’m pleased to say they met expectations in keeping me waiting for a bit beyond the scheduled start of the appointment.

We met with her PA Heather at first and she was absolutely lovely. She had a great sense of humor and professionalism and made me feel completely at ease. Better yet, she was able to answer my questions so well, I hardly had any for Dr McGinn when she joined us. My big question, by the way, was about getting electrolysis, ahem, down there. I was aware of this, but also aware that Dr McGinn utilized the electro-cauterization technique to kill the hair follicles before stuffing those bits of skin up inside me. Ever the optimist, I was kind of hoping she would say, “No, no. You don’t have to worry about that nasty business at all. We take care of you!” She instead very honestly informed they that they tried their best to take of it, but it’s way lower risk to have some work done ahead of time. “After all, you don’t want the inside to act like an old carpet trapping in moisture, dead cells an whatnot.” Heather made a pretty good point, dammit, and I certainly didn’t want to spend the next 40 years being known as Miss Stankencooch. You can look for a future recounting of my shitty experience having that done. Does the pain and humiliation ever end?

Dr McGinn joined us and I liked her immediately, even though she had been on TV. She was very frank, honest, and also had a good sense of humor. At this stage of the game, I’m not super excited to disrobe any part of myself in front of anyone for any reason, but I specifically didn’t mind in this case because I had the knowledge that she had been there and could sympathize. I was also impressed by her bedside manner, which is also something important to me. I’ve been present enough in enough cases where someone was in howling level 10 pain and the attending physician was a total dick about it. With her I feel very much at ease that this is not something I have to worry about.

By the end of the appointment, I went ahead and booked a date. Yeah, I probably could have gotten other consults, but was pretty comfortable that no one was going to blow her out of the water in terms of competence of demeanor. The logistics of getting to her location and such were also a big plus for me. I’m not going to share the date here, because unlike most Facebook junkies, I’m not a believer in telegraphing my movements about the country. Suffice it to say though, I will not have another birthday improperly configured and really can’t think of a better present to myself.

If anyone is thinking of going to Dr McGinn and has any questions, feel free to shoot me a message using the address under the ‘Contact Michelle’ tab and I’ll be happy to get back to you as soon as I can.

My Week As The Bearded Lady

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After much searching, I finally discovered something that is arguably more painful than facial hair removal, or any hair removal for that matter. I can’t remember feeling this level of distress since that craptacular 3 days of work between the time when everyone found out about me and I began coming to work dressed as myself. Yeah, that was pretty bad and all, but this is far, far worse. Curious? Prepare for a stunning lack of shock and awe, but stick around at least to find out why. I had an electrolysis appointment on a Monday where James attempted to work my neck. Not fun, but even less so was his recommendation that I come back on Friday. Unshaved. After letting the hair grow since Saturday. Not nice James, not nice.

If you haven’t had facial electrolysis yet, you are in for a real treat. It’s recommended that you put the razor aside for a couple days before coming in for an appointment. My deal has been to make appointments on Monday, and spending the weekend holed up in my house away from prying eyes. The growing, by the way, is to allow your intrepid zap-n-plucker a good view of the playing field with ample visible targets. As it turns out, the weekend was just not enough to make the hard to reach neck area easy enough to clear.

On the side I’ll admit that much of this probably has to do with my neck in particular. All the dark hairs were cleared by laser, and the forest of remaining grey ones are just a teensy bit harder to see. On top of that, my beard growth comes in all criss-cross and woogly. Seriously, had I been born a male in mind, my beard growth would have been downright Taliban worthy. “Yes, yes, good crazy beard. We make you general!” Don’t worry, I can antagonize them with impunity. My blog is flagged by their IT guys and members can be terminated with cause just for stopping by, so no need to sweep my driveway with for IEDs just yet.

The agony of this is that I have work in the interim. I try my best to look nice and ideally inconspicuous. Kind of hard to do when it looks like I’ve got a turtleneck made of polar bear fur on under my sweater. I’ve already mentioned that I’m still trying to overcome the perception here that I’m really just a guy in a dress, and that it’s already taking a little longer than I had hoped. Having a solid week of neck hair growth just sitting there between my chin and my breasts is in no way helping this cause whatsoever. The urge to keep stopping people in the hallway and buttonholing them with a needless explanation that I just look this way because it’s a loathsome step in the process is nearly overwhelming. Most people don’t want to know any of the details to begin with, and doing this sort of thing will kill my chances if they ever decide to implement popularity contests.

I decided to go with the tried and true means of hiding an unsightly neck. The good old scarf. Yes, a turtleneck, would probably work better, but none of mine fit well at the moment, and there is simply nothing so annoying as feeling several days of rough growth rubbing at the clingy fabric every time I turn my head a quarter of a degree. The scarf unfortunately is only a partial fix because wearing it as I would really need to, right up to my chin, would make me look like a total tool. My only hope is that it proves to be a colorful distraction away from the affected area instead of drawing more attention to it. Ugh. There is simply no winning this.

The big moral of the story is that starting female life is by no means the end of transition discomfort, unless of course you got all this done well ahead of time. It feels like it should be that grand moment of pure relief when the male identity is shed for good and you start living your life one hundred percent as the appropriate gender. Instead, it is only the beginning of a whole host of new challenges you never really gave much thought to, such as humiliating days spend as the bearded lady. All of a sudden electrolysis induced gorilla jaw and big red laser burns on your upper lip don’t seem like such a huge hairy deal any more. With my luck my SRS is going to leave me with swelling that makes it look like I’ve got a tortoise shell sized codpiece on under my pants. It’s all right, this too shall pass. Just have to make it to Friday.

Expiration Date: When Swallowing Is No Longer An Option

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The fuse is lit, the snooze is broken, the point of no return is half a mile back, and the expiration date draws nigh. I think more than a few trans people are aware already of what I’m talking about. That point of time, now on the visible horizon and approaching rapidly, where we will lose the ability to function in accordance with our natal genders. It’s a pretty freaky time to be sure, and one that is different for every one of us. Some reach it through slow deterioration, or needful embrace, or even a sudden flash of overwhelming insight and clarity. How does this happen and why is it so different for everyone? I think we need to talk about this. And yes, I did title it like that just to lure you in.

It’s clear that the need for transition is different for everyone in regards to when and how it comes about. Some understand at a very early age and the knowledge wears them down glacially until every option is exhausted. Others understand at an early age and have the courage and conviction to go against everything they were raised to believe about themselves and insist on their identity before their first school bus ride. Others have no idea why they feel different and why they are plagued with physical manifestations of their own inherent wrongness. There are hundreds of variations, but for most of us they all converge on that one point where continuing life means transition no matter what the cost.

My own story is a mixture of the above. I knew young, but worked very hard to make sure to keep that knowledge well below the surface where I couldn’t even see it but for a few terrifying instances when it broke the surface. My goal, if it was coherent enough to be stated in words, was to make it though this life without ever truly acknowledging it or anyone ever knowing. I was really kidding myself with that one, but I went strong for a really long time on it. It wasn’t really until two years ago that my own expiration date appeared over the horizon, making 2011 a really shitty year.

Before that much of my life was filled with manufactured obsessions. Little habits I would take off to focus my mind on anything but my own feelings. As a child, I started collecting comic books and put the whole of my mind into the project; a massive collection that still plagues me terribly every time I have to move. I swapped out every so often to keep it fresh with a new one every year toward the end – book collecting, cooking, obsessive eBay, creating and interring time capsules (there is an art to this), getting every design of funky colorful socks (3 large drawers full), running, and finally blogging.

OK, an aside. I’m not talking about this blog, which I am just a little bit obsessive about, but my old one. When my last old friend moved from the Buffalo area, we set up a multi-author blog to capture all the old ‘glory days’ stories. For me this wound up being over 500 pages of autobiographical material, less the female side of course. At the time I felt like I was revisiting my life and codifying it firmly in my memory, an unconscious attempt to hold on to my created identity. What it really did was allow me to shed the skin of my life by turning poignant personal events in stories. It wasn’t a bad thing as it allowed me to let go of old feelings, grudges, heartaches, fears and whatnot. It is, by the way, still out there. I’m not going to link to it, but if you are for some reason interested, industrious, and very clever, you might find it, but it’s not so easy. I don’t think I used my full name at any time (the male one).

The point is that no matter what we do to stave it off, it appears that we reach a point in our lives where the inevitable simply happens. We run out of energy, mental tricks, avenues to pursue, and the fear of the consequences becomes a shadow of the former bogeyman it was. I think we all know nothing could have changed that time either. My ex often wonders she hadn’t dug so hard, it would have stayed buried. I don’t think so because it was already on its way up when she started. We have both pondered what would have happened if my dad hadn’t gotten sick and passed away. It was already rising though before he felt the first twinge in his gut. Is there anything that could have delayed things more? Anything is possible, but I truly don’t think so. I had already been twisting and turning in my body for a few years, completely unable to get comfortable. It may have taken me a little longer to figure out why, but not much.

10 Super Keen Milestones of Gender Transition

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Now, I’m not one to go ragging on my sisters all the time (shush you, “all” the time is a little extreme you know), so I thought today would be a good time to start looking at some of the really great positives that we get to experience in transition. Almost every one of us who went down this road got to the starting line, looked at what lay ahead, and simultaneously lost today’s breakfast and yesterdays dinner at the same time. Wouldn’t it be nice then if we made it easier on our sisters who still go by ‘mister’ by highlighting some of the really great things they can expect? Normally I tend to churn out a laborious 3 paragraph intro to these, but today I’m just going to get to it.

1. Prognosis – Not Psycho: One of the first great milestones in this long and lonely road is having your therapist look you dead in the eye and say, “well… I don’t think you are psychotic…”. Mine said it exactly this way and made a great show of providing me a letter that spelled it out word for word. Yeah, it also said this person is known as “Michelle” blah blah blah, she probably looks weird to you yadda yadda, is transgender, and definitely not a psychopath or con-artist. Being officially designated as ‘transgender’ in the sort of letter of introduction people carried in 18th century novels is swell, but it’s the absolution of being a raging maniac that makes it special. I’m still planning to frame mine since I’ve long since stopped carrying it.

2. Lonely Leaves You Alone: This one can be a little tricky to be honest. It might be the very first person you come out to, or it might be dead last. Chances are though, you already have a pretty good idea about who is going to be super supportive and who is going to wig out and somehow make it about them. Try and go with the former for your first stab at it, or the second is going to be all the harder. Early coming out, one on one with someone and having them get all excited and happy for you is the best feeling. It’s even more validating than the letter and instills a blossom of hope that maybe you won’t have to move to Norway in the near term.

3. They Love To Watch You Strut: If you are reading this, chances are you are familiar with peering out the front window at twilight to scan the neighborhood for any signs of activity so you can run to your car and attempt to navigate down the street with your head in the passenger seat. This gets old real fast. It comes as a pure delight then to finally stroll to your car leisurely at noon and motor down to the nearest cross street without taking out garbage cans or that cat that keeps shitting in your vegetable garden. The real difference is that you really kind of don’t care anymore providing there is at least a degree of separation between your neighbors and everyone else you know who still doesn’t know. In Buffalo this is nearly impossible, but understanding that it’s no biggie anyway is just a slice of heaven.

4. Permission to Juice: There is a good chance that your therapist sees a great divide between determining you are not psychotic and determining you are ready to start making some changes. Sometimes it’s a really big divide, but understanding who you are finally will make you cross this hell or high water. Mine was under some kind of impression that hormones can be catastrophic and I picked up on this vibe early on and left it alone. Eventually though it’s enough already and time to pony up. Where the first letter feels like, “well, at least I’m not crazy”, this one is pure validation that, “I am who I know I am, and everyone agrees”. Welcome to mood swings, weight gain, tender nipples, crying at movies, and needing 11 trips to get all the groceries in. Bye forever, oh cursed morning wood.

5. Yes, I Would Love the Hanger, Thanks: Let’s be honest here. You have been shopping before, but not without a big old sack of high octane anxiety to go along with it. Oh, it was fun and all picking out new clothes, but trust me, you are never going to miss doing it with a red face. Not to mention fake lists from your “girlfriend”, asking for bullshit gift receipts, never getting quite the right size, outfits the blind wouldn’t wear, and dumping everything in a mad panic behind a Frito’s display because you could swear that woman who just looked your way used to go to your mom’s church or something. Welcome to relaxed outings where your only anxiety is sticker shock at the register, everything fits, and you never bring single shoe brought home you have to wonder how the fuck you are going to walk in anyway.

6.  Screw You, Clark Kent!: I’m sure you know the worry of having a sneaking suspicion that your co-workers often wonder why they never see you and femme you in the same place at the same time. Trust me, they don’t, but you can’t help wondering. Best cure in the world for that is to leave the glasses and suit in the phone booth you changed out of them in and never looking back. Just imagine the joy of noticing that is your boss in line in front of you at Mighty Taco, and they only reason you hope he doesn’t notice you is because you promised to have that thing or whatever done last Tuesday and just now remembered. A double life is a half life sister, and they day you decide to just be you and no one else is just like warm apple pie.

7. Goodwill Humping: Remember that cute little trend back in the 80’s when women wore neckties and suspenders like a 40’s era newsman? Yeah, me too, and I’m going to be so pissed if that comes back for some reason. One of the greatest joys that goes hand in hand with #6 here is voiding your abode of every stitch of clothing that may have been purchased at Men’s Wearhouse. No more ties, wingtips, pit stained undershirts, dress pants with real no-shit pockets, and anything that buttons on the wrong side. For the first time ever, there is no worry about anyone going through your stuff and wondering what you are supposed to be anyway. The garbage bags are full up, and it’s time to take a sweet ride to the donation center.

8. Buying Tequila: You look freaking amazing tonight and never once got the freaky nuts hairy eyeball. Well, that is until your bottle of Chilean Sea Bass infused vodka hits the scanner and the inevitable request for ID comes. Oh, the humanity. Your weak joke about having a bad hair day that day fails to amuse the cashier, who politely asks you if you would like paper or plastic for that, Mr Schnitzel. Yeah, going through the bureaucratic nightmare of swapping out your birth name and gender is a huge hassle, but the day your new license comes is nothing short of amazing. Almost as amazing as the feeling of smug satisfaction you feel every time you present it to suspicious lady at the checkout and watch her smarmy little grin just fade away.

9. There Can Be Only None: Terrifying, exhilarating, dreadful, onerous, and then never ending. How the hell did you get to know so many fricking people over your lifetime anyway? Family, friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances, old school chums, military buddies, and of course the 900 people you never met before who ended up as your Facebook friends. Given enough time, however, even someone emptying Lake Erie with a thimble will get to that last drop. Going to bed and knowing there isn’t a single person out there who you ever said boo to who doesn’t know brings with it a deep and dreamless sleep. Well, until you suddenly realize that those cousins on your dad’s side you never ever see don’t know yet, and they are probably going to show up to the next funeral. Hold on a sec, I’ve got to paw through my old Rolodex and draft yet another damn letter…

10. Speaking of Letters: It’s been at least a year since you maintained even a semblance of a male identity, and by now you are hoping that those around you finally forgot what you ever looked like with a five o’clock shadow and George Costanza haircut. You wish anyway, if not for the ten zillion photographs still floating around that seem to be everywhere. It’s been a long time coming since you were declared sane-ish and given permission to put some chemical ice on the dried up old boys. Finally, finally, you managed to clear every arduous wicket and qualify for the big golden ticket. So to speak anyway; it would be a cold day in hell before I traded my GRS letter for some tour of an obscenely dangerous candy factory. Whether you can afford it, or are medically qualified, there is nothing like knowing that you have done everything necessary to secure permission to proceed to the final frontier. Just a couple more months, and I’ll tell you what it’s like. Trust me, it’s going to be the best one yet.

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