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Back to the Future!

Well, it has been two years since I last wrote an update. Nearly as long since I even visited this site. In my last post I mentioned my hopes for the future. A lot has changed in the past two years. Dreams have come to pass. Others have been vanquished. Several are still low on the horizon. While life is far from perfect today, it is significantly better than it was two years ago.

Bestest Friends Forever!

In September 2012, at SCC (SCCWS) I met a new friend. I was immediately intrigued and amazed by her. She was/is young, beautiful, shy and introverted, and has the most amazing tattoo on her arm. We spent a lot of time that weekend talking and getting to know one another. We have continued to get to know each other better and better. It didn’t take long to become the very best of friends. Since my last post there has been a lot of traveling back and forth to see her (R) and spend time with her. When we had/have been apart, we stay in touch often.

In April, 2013 I was given the opportunity to share in a truly life changing experience with my closest friend. She was having GCS (Gender Confirming Surgery) and I volunteered to be her companion. I was there to help her get everything in order before going. I was there to help her in the hospital and the Bed and Breakfast afterwards. I went home with her and helped her get back into the swing of her day to day routine. While there were some emotional challenges that I faced with seeing her achieve a goal that seems as elusive today as it did then. I was also rewarded with being able to see first hand what is to be expected with this surgery and recovery. I had a chance to meet the surgeon whom I hope to be able to use when it is my turn. Mostly, it brought the two of us so much closer than I ever expected I could get to someone.

The Gypsy Moves Again…and Again…

In June, 2013 I moved into roommate situation in a home in Nashville, TN. It was the first time that I was able to feel the freedom of just being myself, a woman named Deanna. I was no longer prefaced with the trans* label. My three roommates did not know that I had a past that differed from what I lived. This was very refreshing. Though there are certain difficulties and complexities surrounding this. Talking about my past now requires certain editing and adaptation to refrain from gendering myself or sharing details that would make someone question my experiences. What did I do when I was a girl? What did I like to do? The answers to these questions were complicated by, not only the gender experiences, the fact that my memories of my youth are vague and fragmented. I remember little of my youth. Did I ever have fun? If so, what did I enjoy doing? I remember a few friends, but have almost no memories of doing things with them.

The stories I weave about my past are still my stories. I believe there is truth to them, I hope there is truth to them. I can’t be certain that my memories aren’t just lies and stories to cover up more sinister experiences. Oh well…

While I lived in Nashville, I was given the chance to spend a lot of time with R. She would come over for dinner. We would go out to eat. I would spend time (a lot of time) at her house visiting with her. I was still unemployed and struggling financially. Though I was getting a bit of freelance graphic design work, it was only just enough to pay the rent and have some little bits to eat. Things had become increasingly uncomfortable with my roommates. Two of them were taking over the house and leaving me with only my room and little room in the kitchen for my stuff. I wasn’t able to find work, because being without a car, I was limited in where I could look. My options were pathetically limited. I knew I wanted to live with or near R. I knew that there were far more opportunities for work there.

The planets finally aligned. I was able to move into the condo that R shared with two roommates. I set up residence in the upstairs hallway. I got a job almost immediately. I decided to fall back on my experience as a restaurant server. Again, I was able to be in the world as Deanna. To this day, none of my coworkers knows that I am trans*. I have become a part of a close knit team, where I’m well respected and appreciated. I work hard and I enjoy my job. I can not complain about this.

Nurse Deanna… Part 2 (and 3)

My experiences with caring for R’s recovery from surgery came to the attention of one of her friends (K). She was in need of a companion and I, again, volunteered my time and experience. We traveled together to the same surgeon, the same hospital, the same Bed and Breakfast, we even stayed in the same room. Even though the procedures were the same and the recovery stages were the same, the experiences were fairly different. Both were successful. But I learned that each patient has different experiences with the recovery, different concerns, and even slightly different outcomes.

The close bonds that we develop through these experiences are important and significant. While I don’t think I’ve done anything particularly remarkable or special, I know that for R and K, it is very special.

My reputation had spread and I now had several people talking to me about the possibility of my accompanying them, or looking for advice and what to expect when they go. It gives me a bit of an ego boost to have people want me to be around them. I never felt that in my old life. People typically wanted to distance themselves from me as quick as possible.

Once more into the fray I went. A friend of a friend, whom I’d briefly met before (A) contacted me and said that I was referred to her as a possible surgical companion. She was to have another procedure, not the same as R and K, and with another surgeon and wanted to know if I would avail myself. I did. This was a much shorter stay/recovery, only 3 days (instead of 2-5 weeks). I now have another close friend. Now that I’m working full time, I have had to decline aid to several friends. But, I hope one day to be able to be there for others. Perhaps one day I will even be afforded the chance to be cared for by another special friend.

The Amazing R&B

My dear and wonderful R met the girl of her dreams in February, just shortly before I moved into my hallway residence. They fell instantly in love and right after my move, they moved about a half hours drive away. This opened up a room for me. It also took my bestie away from me. I had a hard time for a while. I had grown very fond and dependent on her company. I knew that one day she would fall in love with someone and it would change our lives together. I needed to adapt. I felt I had lost her friendship, though I knew in my heart that she and I would always be friends.

Just a little more than a month ago R and her gf B got married. I was honored to be R’s bridesmaid. My first time ever being a bridesmaid. I also designed their wedding invitations and made their wedding cake. The theme of the wedding was steampunk meets fairies. The cake was the most challenging thing I had ever made. But, I had to make it special. It had to be amazing for the most amazing girl in the world. R&B are happy together. The three of us have become closer. B and I are still getting to know one another, but she is pretty special to me now.

Thus ends this chapter of my Quest. I don’t know if there will be further chapters in the future or how long you will need to wait. Not that anyone really reads this. Where will the gypsy be in the future? Will I finally be able to have my GCS? I anxiously await what ever comes next. Hmmm…I just realized that that is the most positive I’ve been about the future. I must be happy. :)

 

Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Quest Journal

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The Gypsy Has Landed…again

One year ago this week I officially began living full time. It has been an amazingly interesting year. It all began with my biggest purge ever in my history. Only this purge was unlike any that preceded it. All of my past purges involved throwing away all of my secret stash of women’s clothes, severe berating myself for being the way I was, followed by weeks of intense self-loathing and deeper than normal depression. But, the difference this last time was that I loaded all of my now no longer needed male clothes, shoes, etc into my car – two car loads in fact – and taking them all to my support group to pass them all along to my trans-men friends. You would have thought that Christmas came a month early. In a way it did. The guys were digging through t-shirts, sweaters, dress shirts, ties, shoes, suits, socks, polo shirts, belts and coats. Many of the trans-girls were gathered watching the joyfilled exchange with an enthusiasm that was palpable in the cold weather. It filled my heart with joy to see these guys and their partners walking around effectively buried under the piles of fashions that most would not have been able to afford otherwise. Hugs were profusely exchanged – once anyone had relieved themselves of their loads. The purge took two meetings and two car loads to complete. That was one of the most rewarding things that I had ever done to that point in my life. It made for a very symbolic beginning to my new life, where I would be forever after seen as a woman.

At the same time as this purge, I had made one of the most difficult and emotional moves of my life. After living 50 years with my mom in two states and four apartments, it was time to break the bonds and begin MY life. The two years prior to this move had been very difficult for both of us. I had come out to her in possibly the worst way. Because of my ineptness in handling the most important news of my life with the most important person of my life I created a rift in my relationship with my mom. The fear and apprehension that I felt in regards to talking to her about what I was feeling and had felt my whole life kept me from being able to talk to her. We very often were left with silence between us, tension, and even anger. If only I could turn the clock back and revisit that experience with the knowledge and understanding I have today. I am happy to say that things between mom and I are much improved, though the subject is still a hard one to express. :(

Within the past year I have lived in almost as many places as I had in those first 50 years of life and there are already plans forming for a next move. I have not only lived in three places, I have lived with three quite different women, two cats, and a dog, I have also had very different living environments. Do I have a favorite? Nope. While each was very different, each has been precious to me. My first housemate is a rather famous woman in the game design industry, a legend, as well as being a trans-woman. Her home was by far the most grand and luxurious abode I had ever lived in. I loved the feeling of living in an art museum/gallery with some of the most amazing fantasy paintings I have ever seen – and it was all original paintings. Perhaps most dear to me was the kitchen. As a culinarian I had free reign of this one room above all others. That kitchen afforded me the freedom to create, develop and evolve my culinary prowess. With a great deal of room for entertaining, the tools and equipment, and the encouragement to create my ‘fame’ in the kitchen had been borne. My reputation had been sealed when I was tasked with the creation of a special Valentine’s Day dinner for my housemate and her girlfriend (who is every bit a legend in the gaming industry). All of the stops were opened, the menu planned, vast provisions ($350) were procured and the three days of preparation ensued. Twenty one recipes and six courses later, my charges were fully satisfied and satiated. My pride and confidence soared after hearing the very, very lofty praise from someone who prides herself on dining in five-star and Michelin Star caliber restaurants. The offerings were rated near on par with the best she had ever had. Of course I deny being remotely close to that loftiness, but flattered beyond measure nonetheless. There have been a good many other chances to show off what I can do.

Housemate number two is an amazingly wonderful woman with a small two bedroom condo inside the perimeter. So, yeah, I got to be an ITP for a short few months. With my reputation well established, I got to do more cooking as well as house and puppy dog sitting during the times that she worked out of town. I was given my first experience with going to the pool in a women’s swimsuit. I had expected it to be more of an issue and make me more self-conscious than it did. It actually felt very natural and no one apparently batted an eyelash. Apparently, by this point in time I had become quite passable and able to generally slip through society as just one of the women. Not a particularly attractive woman, but just a woman. By that point in time I had dropped nearly 95 pounds from before transition and was down to near my ideal target weight. I’m still at the point of slowly creeping down the final few pounds to get where I want to be. My biggest goal before making the move to this second home was to downsize my possessions significantly. My goal was to leave with upwards of 75% less than I arrived at the first home with. While I did very good, I found that so much of what I own belongs to the kitchen and as such I was unable to justify parting with them. In the end I arrived in the much smaller living space with less than half what I left my old life with. Another 20+ percent had been relieved before heading off to abode number three. Sadly, my roommate was planning to move out of state for work and was given a move out date. I’m sad to no longer be sharing living space with her and spending time with her friends. But, I went into the arrangement knowing it was only temporary. I know that she and I will remain good friends from a distance.

My third move and what likely is going to establish me as a gypsy came just a few weeks ago. I am back in distant outerlands of the Atlanta area. As one of my dearest friends calls anything that is OTP (outside the perimeter), I am living in Egypt. Other people call it Duluth, GA. My latest roommate is an old friend of mine. She has known me since well before I knew I was a transwoman. She also has the lofty distinction of being the first person – after my therapist – that I had come out to. She has been my mentor for the half dozen years I have known her and an inspiration to be sure.

What future holds for this gypsy?

My immediate plans involve acquiring work to gain income to actually do things. I am hoping that fates allow that I will be able to move to Tennessee in early 2013 to be closer to my special friends and to secure a job that provides transgender inclusive insurance benefits. It seems that will be the only practical way that I will be able to undergo my much needed surgery. For my friends that would left behind in Atlanta, fear not, there is a bus that I will be able to take from there to here on a regular basis so that I can maintain connections to this place. Assuming that my plans to gain said employment in TN works out, then I would expect that 2013 will see my being able to secure that critical step in my transition. I am finally motivated in a way I have not been in far too long. Happiness would prevail in my life once that goal is met. Beyond that I will be left with just simply living my life in a way that would be not entirely different than presently. The other BIG goal for my life is to finally find someone that I call my girlfriend. While relationships are something that, right now, seem to be overly complicated things, I am sorely craving a close, intimate relationship with someone who can accept me in my current form and would desperately crave the future I envision for myself. Will such a thing happen? Can it happen? Since I have never been in a relationship in my life, I can not imagine how it could come to pass. But, I still want it more than anything, save that one thing.

This brings about a question that I have been wrestling with for some time.

Should I add a donate to my transition fund function to this blog? Would people actually donate? Please post your thoughts in the comments section. I am sincere in asking this question.

Thank you all who support me and read my blog. I love you all.

 

Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Quest Journal

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SCCWS

I believe most people who have attended the Southern Comfort Conference at least once has experienced this condition. Known as Southern Comfort Conference Withdrawal Syndrome (SCCWS), this affliction often presents with tears of joy and sadness, euphoric highs and depressing loneliness, introspection, retrospection, dreams, hopes for the future, craving for the next SCC, a profound feeling of having been a part of something special, something deeply profound, and many other side effects.

For those of you who may be reading this, I am not referencing a conference that is related to the brand of whiskey. I refer to the largest transgender conference in the world that takes place in Atlanta every September. I have just attended my fourth SCC this past weekend and while the withdrawal has taken on a different form for me this year, I have been feeling its effects nonetheless. This is the first year I have not driven away from the hotel in tears, sad that it is over and that my many new friends are headed off in multiple directions. No, this year I did not drive home. I got a ride from a dear friend. It is also the first year I didn’t just say goodbye to everyone in the lobby of the hotel and leave straight away, alone. No, this year I went out to breakfast with two wonderful friends, one new, one not so much new. It was nice to have the decompression time with someone. It is also the first time I didn’t have to head home and just dive straight back into life, in the Matrix. This year I came home, had a chance to sit down and talk to my roommate for a while before going to bed early in the afternoon. I slept like a baby for how many hours?

 

Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Quest Journal

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Happy Third [Re]Birthday…

It is strange to me to think back three years to when I first launched this site. At the time I was excited to be starting on this quest towards the self-discovery of who this person is who had been hiding behind the impregnable fortress that I had erected within myself. At that point in time, I remember being scared of what the future may hold for me. There was a nervous anticipation. I knew that my life could either become really great and amazing, or the complete polar opposite. I knew at that point in time that stepping out of that door and being swept up by that road, I would be leaving everything I had done to protect myself behind, unpacked. I could have easily become one of the hundreds of persons that are killed every year for simply identifying as transgender. I could easily have ended up homeless, thrown out of my own apartment that I had shared with my mom since moving here to GA. I knew that I could easily have been disowned and rejected by my family, left to go through my life alone. I also knew that there was a high chance that I might lose all of my friends. I knew that, given my propensity for contemplating suicide, I could very easily have become one of those statistical 42% of trans persons that chooses to end their own life rather than face the hatred.

I knew all of those scenarios were possible and in all respects likely. Likely because so many in this community live with these issues. But, I was optimistic. I had and continue to have a very positive outlook for my future. Three years ago, I could only see a guy looking back through the mirror at myself. It didn’t matter what I wore – and back then there was little that I wore that I considered even remotely flattering on me. I have learned a great deal in 3 years. I felt a fool at times. I made some very serious fashion faux paxs. But, that wasn’t going to stop me. I made attempts early on to look like what I thought I was supposed to look like. I did the wigs. I did the breast forms. I did body shapers. I did whatever I could to show something outwardly feminine. It took me a bit to realize that it wasn’t how I looked on the outside, but how I felt and was on the inside. That was an amazing turning point for me. I walked away from the costume pieces, the things that created something that sort of looked like a female version of myself. While I presented more often as androgynous as I could – I was still living full time as a guy because living with my mom, I could not transition – not openly at any rate. As I got out more I became more comfortable with myself, I became less concerned about what people ‘thought’ about me. Once I stopped caring if they were staring, if they knew I was ‘one of those’, if they even cared, then the staring and clocking and other paranoias stopped. Do they still look? I don’t know. I don’t care.

As I am now more than two years into taking Spironolactone (anti-androgen, aka, testosterone blocker) and more than a year taking estrogen, there have been many profound changes in my appearance. I have not only lost a lot of weight, my looks have dramatically changed as well. I am also much healthier than I was three years ago. My presentation – how I look, how I wear my hair, how I talk, how I walk, sit, stand, eat, drink, laugh, smile, cry and every other part of who I am – is so much more feminine. I am just simply a woman. I am openly accepted as such and I walk through my life as any other woman does. I just simply have a birth defect, a malformation down yonder. One day that too will be fixed.

One of the biggest changes that I have seen in recent months is the fact that I can now look in the mirror and see a woman. More than that, I can see a fairly attractive woman in the mirror. That means the world to me. There are still times that I see him peering out of the eyes, or some remnant of his personae in my actions. I do still have to edit myself and measure myself against a strict regimen. I have not forgotten where I had come from, what I have lived and experienced. I don’t want to lose that part of me. I know that may seem strange to some of my friends, but that guy was me for forty-seven years and that is still me. I am the sum of my experiences and while it is a fairly complex equation it seems to add up to something pretty substantial.

My major accomplishments to date:

Began therapy June 2009
First appointment with hair stylist as Deanna September 2009
First time out of the house fully dressed (overly dressed) as Deanna September 29, 2009 (my birthday – 47 years young)
Started taking anti-androgens August 2010
Attended SCC2010, spending three days around the clock as Deanna for the first time ever (preview of full time) September 2010
Legal name change May 2011
Started estrogen June 2011
Third time attending SCC – getting to be an pro at this September 2011
Moved out and started living full time November 2011
Finally get ears pierced July 2012

I’m sure I have overlooked a few things, but it is nice to look back and see just how far I have come. Life is indeed grand these days.

Well…What’s Next?

What is next? SCC 2012 is right around the corner, just a few weeks away and I am volunteering to be a Big Sister this year. That means if there are any first-timers that need a bit of help getting into the grove of the SCC experience, then they can call on me to lend a hand. After my first experience with SCC in 2009 and the fear that I felt and the loneliness and the anxiety and spending the better part of that day cowering and crying in the ladies room, I don’t want anyone to feel that way if I can help it.

I am also hoping to further expand my activist role, working to promote education and understanding wherever I can. I want to help everyone to understand that being trans is not a perversion or unnatural or evil, it is just another facet of the jewel that is called life.

LOVE! Will I find love? Is there someone out there who will win my heart over and make me fall head over heels for her? Yes, there have been a few that have already done so. I think the better question is; is there someone out there whose heart I can steal, who will fall head over heels in love with me? God I hope the answer is yes. I hope she is not far away and is able to look past my inexperience with relationships and have a willingness to maybe make the first move. At this stage of the game, I’ve become rather timid of the idea of asking someone out – though I’m sure I will do so again.

One of the biggest things I am working on and will continue to work at is accepting and loving myself as myself. I have spent nearly my entire life feeling like I just had no self worth, that nothing I did mattered or was cared for or had any value. I don’t know if some/most/all/any of that has to do with my upbringing. I have almost no memories of my youth. Some wonder if I had experienced some trauma or abuse to not remember. I don’t know. I have no memories that seem to tie to anything like that, but I tend to think that it was all self-imposed. I knew from an early age that there was something drastically wrong with me and that I could not share it with another living soul. It was that bad. So, I think I just judged myself so harshly and had written myself off from having anything worthwhile. I have almost always blended my passion for someone with my heartless self deprecation. I would express my feelings openly and would always follow it up with a list of reasons why she should say no, I’m going to move to another planet tomorrow and not leave any forwarding address – you are just a freak. I’m working around that. I have gone maybe a month without the self flagellation. And that is a huge step for me.

The very next thing for me is sending this post off into the wild blue/black yonder (it is after 11pm and dark outside). Then I’m going to get myself some ice water, brush my teeth and get to bed. Yeah, I know, sounds like I’m getting my Twitter on. Naw, I’m just tired and want to go to bed. Here’s to the next three years. Lets see where we go.

 

Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Quest Journal

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