Monday, June 9, 2014

Meeting my sister

On Friday June 6 2014 I met my sister Karen and her husband for the first time as myself. When I had first contacted my sister and told her I was trans I mentioned that I sometimes attend the James River Transgender Society for their support group meetings and she said that it wasn't too terribly far from her home and she'd like to meet me there at the next meeting. I had been concerned about how to dress for the meeting, I wanted to impress them both with my taste but I didn't want to shock them. I finally wrote her an email and asked her what she would be wearing and she said Capris and that I had better not make her look bad by dressing up so that settled the matter for me I'd wear Capris as well and just be me.

My friend Teri agreed to accompany me and to hold my hands when needed as well as to share her perspective with my sister and her husband Ron. Unfortunately my friend Tammy was unable to make it, I know she would have loved to have been there to hold my hand as well but it wasn't to be.  Teri and I got to the motel a couple hours before Karen was due to arrive so we checked out all the great antiques at West End Antiques Mall   just off of Staples Mill road in Richmond Va. I shouldn't be sharing this as it is an incredible shopping experience and I don't need the competition from other shoppers!

Here are a couple pictures of us goofing around while checking out this incredible antique mall.

My friend Teri and I at West End Antiques mall in Richmond Va.

We had a blast there but we were here on a mission so lets get back to our meeting.

It's one thing to say that you accept someone over the phone but quite another thing to meet them face to face and I was scared to death going into this meeting but nothing ventured nothing gained. I had thought that we would meet at around 5ish then go eat and chat then go to the meeting which starts at seven.  As soon as I saw them coming up the driveway I met my sister and she gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, my brother-in-law was a bit reserved but he was there to support his wife. I was so relieved that she didn't start lecturing me or any other nonsense instead they wanted to go to my room and get acquainted with their new sister. After introducing my good friend Teri Tainot to them went to my room and chatted about what I had been covering up all these many years, I told them about my earliest memories were of praying to God to fix me or to let me awaken as a female. Needless to say praying didn't work out for me and me and I felt God and I weren't on good terms when I was a small child. I tried to explain the many different forms that we express our gender identity and explained the differences in Drag queens, Cross Dressers, Transgender and those of us with such severe dysphoria that we need to transition in order to be happy with our lives. I have to say my sister made her self comfortable and flaked out on the bed right beside Teri and within an hour or two she actually rubbed Teri's leg to feel how smooth the hormones had made them and she said they were smoother than hers. I have to say Teri does have some fabulous skin.

Shortly before seven we decided to go ahead and go to the meeting, I hadn't been sure that they would be up for it or not as they had known nothing what so ever about trans issues other than what you hear on the news and that is usually false information. When we got to the new building several ladies were out front so we were able to chat with Donna, Laura and several others before the meeting. As usual the meeting seemed to be more about non issues than talking about what it means to be trans but we did have about an hour worth of good support. I think that several things happened that really made an impression on them. The first was "mom" the mother of one of the other ladies who is 100% in our corner and offers great advice. Another great thing was a young trans girl there with her mother and all of us offered her great advice. You could see the poor girl trembling but she did well and her mother is a rock. I can't say enough good about her mother she is one incredible lady and she is going to make sure that she raises an incredible young lady, shucks she already has and they are just getting started. Then one of my friends mentioned that she had apologized for being trans and Keri jumped up and told us that we shouldn't be apologizing for being "US"! Keri was absolutely right, we are who we are and if someone can't accept us for us then they didn't love you to start with and who needs people like that in our lives. She also commented that when you come out to someone that it should be done on a positive note and not that you regret having to tell someone, instead tell them "hey I've got some great news" then tell them. That way you have put a positive spin on your coming out, it is yours to do and how you do it is up to you but being positive is usually a good thing.

When the meeting was over Karen, her husband Ron, Teri and I all went to Ruby Tuesdays to eat a late supper as well as to discuss what all we had seen and heard at the meeting. We had a great chat and the food was pretty good as well but the main thing was that both my sister and her husband were absolutely fine with both of us. Once we were done eating and just enjoying our meals Karen gave me a Card that said that things were rough now but they would get better, she also gave my a small gift wrapped  package  and when I opened it up they had given my a set of Black Diamond earrings! Wow, I can't tell you how much I value those earrings; but, they aren't so much earrings as they are a representation of acceptance and love to me, she had even used a pink ribbon to wrap them in. I learned once again that my memories of being dressed as a girl by my mother when I was a small child were true memories not something I had imagined.

Both Karen and Ron were moved and shocked to learn that many parents and siblings can not accept us for who we are,  my sister told both Teri and I that she accepts us for who we are and even gave Teri a big hug while telling her that "I accept you". Both Karen and Ron told Teri that she should look out for "our girl"! Teri agreed to look after me. I should also mention that Karen several times used the wrong name for me and more than once she used the wrong pronoun, I gently pointed these out to her and she agreed that it would take time but that she would get it right, this is where we have to exercise some patience as she is trying to adjust to our new relationship she has to transition right along with me. I asked her if she could see any changes in me and she said she could see a difference in my face, she seemed to think my face was thinner where I was thinking hormones would round my face out. She also said my "aura" was different I was calmer and at peace with myself and that I seem happier and smile a lot more than I used to. Its nice to hear these things from someone that I know would tell it like it is.

I also learned that my brother Joe who lives in the Mid-West who told me nothing would change in our relationship is actually 100% supportive of me. Turns out when he got my email he mentioned it to a friend of his who has a PhD and this friend had actually done a dissertation on transgendered people in college, this friend set my brother down and explained what I have been going through and my brother is now an advocate for me. I hope that with this knowledge that he will reevaluate his relationship with one of his daughters who he had rejected when she came out as a lesbian, one can only hope that he will now accept her as well. What are the odds of my brother having a friend with a PhD who understands and advocates for transgendered people. I didn't even think my brother could spell PhD much less have a friend who has one! :)

All in all I don't think this could have gone any better and I would like to thank my friend Teri Tainot, Keri Abrams and all of  the ladies of the James River Transgender Society who shared their experience and great advice to both my sister and myself, I can't thank you ladies enough. Laura sat right next to my brother in law and regaled him with her wit and humor through out the meeting. Thank you ladies

Lisa's coming out


I’ve got some great news to share with you about myself,
I have been dealing with or more likely trying to deny an issue for most of my life that I did not understand. I decided to seek medical care 10 years ago to get a handle on this issue as well as to get a better understanding of myself. I have been working with a team of Medical Professionals all of these years trying to understand what was causing my internal conflict and we have a diagnoses finally after all of these many years.
I have been suffering from an internal conflict that has prevented me being able to live the fulfilling life that we all deserve a shot at. The medical term for this condition is called Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and it is basically the condition of being transsexual or transgender. What this really means is that, though biologically I was born a male my brain and my own sense of being is that of a female. This is not the same as being a cross-dresser, drag queen, female impersonator or being a gay male. Inside I have always felt as though I was female and I never knew what to do about it. On my 40th birthday I sought therapy and psychological counseling in order to get a better understanding of myself and to find a way to break the grip of my problems. I wanted to feel normal and achieve some happiness and success in my life. Being transsexual has always held me back and kept me from being the person that I needed to be in order to achieve my potential in life.
You may have noticed some changes in me this year and perhaps you’ve been wondering about me, I want you to know that I feel better in general and about myself, than I have at any time in my life. As you may know, I had a seemingly happy childhood until I was 12 when my mother passed away, things never seemed to fit into place for me after that. I am sure you may have realized that I have issues even though I have tried to cover them up. Something has never been quite right with me, I’ve never fit in to society as I should have and I didn’t understand why that was or why I was the way that I was.
Through my therapy I began working with a team of medical professionals to help me confront my situation directly rather than running from it, the only treatment for being transsexual is to make a gender transition. This is not a choice; it is something that I have to do in order to survive. I have been treated by a therapist for 10 years this just confirmed what I have known and tried to deny all of my life. I am also under the treatment of an experienced physician. The medication I have been on, basically female hormones has brought about a great and positive change in my mental outlook on life. It has allowed me to feel normal inside for the first time since childhood and given me hope that one day I can live a normal and happy life. The medication has brought about some physical changes and that will continue. I will still be and am the same person inside. I think you will agree with me that at heart I am a good person. All I want is to feel normal and to have a chance to reach my full potential in life.
I will always be your sibling/in-law and I love you very much. I feel extremely fortunate to have been in your life and I am so happy that you’ve been in my life. The reality is, mentally I have always been your sister/in-law and I hope you will be able to accept me. All I am trying to do is make physical changes in order to help me become on the outside the person that I am on the inside and to be accepted. I will always be here for you just as I hope that you will be there for me. I realize finding this out is very difficult for you right now and believe me I have always tried to avoid facing this about myself mainly for this very reason. The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you but in order to have any chance at a normal life, I have to make this change. I have chosen the name Lisa for my first name and Marie as the middle name. I know that this is going to take some time and I ask that you be patient with me and I will be patient with you.
I’ve often wondered where this came from, I didn’t ask for this however I am stuck with it and I have to learn to deal with it as best as I can. I’ve mentioned that I feel like my soul is female and it does, I wonder if re-incarnation is real and my soul remembers being a woman in a previous life, another theory is that the fetus before me died and perhaps my soul was meant for that fetus. I don’t know if that is valid or not, I do know that after a miscarriage such as my mother had back in the sixties DES was prescribed to the mothers in the belief that massive amounts of Estrogen would help the mother to carry the next fetus to term. Was my mother prescribed DES? I will never know if she was prescribed DES, I do know it was likely and it is known to have caused numerous issues with the children who were bathed in it while being carried by the mother, of particular note is the groups Sons of DES which has a disproportionate number of transwomen amongst their members. I’ll never know why but I have to find a way to live a happy life and productive life as myself.
I hope that you can find it in your heart to accept me as I am, warts and all.
Hugs Lisa
I’m glad to answer any questions that you may have.

The Futility of Frugality or Penny Wise Pound Foolish

Well today was supposed to be a beautiful day here on the outer banks so I had planned to mow my yard, work in the garden a bit and perhaps move the compost out to fill in a low spot in the front yard. Well that was the plan anyway, I jumped out of bed and decided that I should mow first thing just in case something came up then at least my yard would look nice. I drug the lawn mower out and put fresh oil in it and I decided to run down to the local purveyor of lawn mower "go juice" otherwise know as gasoline, first though I needed to empty the left over gas from the can before I could refill it I would first need to empty it out. I was only going to use a one gallon can and I looked at the fuel and it looked ok and smelled ok so I decided to use it in my car after all that was about $3.50 that would be wasted otherwise, so I poured it in to my nice new can thinking that even if it was bad one gallon mixed with fifteen gallons would present no problem for it. Oh how wrong I was to learn that thought was!

After pouring it into the tank I jumped in the car and went down the street to refill the can, I hadn't gone a hundred yards when I noticed my car was missing slightly, I figured oh no problem it will work through and that will be that. I went ahead and slowly (as fast as it would go) drove down to the gas station and filled the can up and on the way back it was running horribly and every indicator light was lit up. The engine light, ABS system, emissions etc. by the time I had made it back home I had lights lit up that I didn't even know my car had!

When I got home I was afraid to turn my car off as it was missing so bad I thought it may not restart again so I told my friend Teri that I was going to take it into the dealership to have them drain the tank and change out the fuel filter. I was thinking at this time perhaps a one hundred dollar lesson but it couldn't be more than that could it? (yes it could) So off I go with my friend Teri following as soon as she could get around in her vehicle as she had things of her own to do in Elizabeth City. on the way up I stopped at an automotive store and bought some "Heet" to remove the water from the gas while I drove it to the dealer. I drove the 45 miles or so to the dealership at 50mph at best as the car was missing horribly and I finally arrived to discover I was in luck they could take it in immediately.

I told them that I wanted the fuel filter cleaned or changed and the gas tank purged and to let me know how much it would be. Well they told me the only way to empty the tank was to pull it out of the vehicle and dump it that way. By this point I'm thinking ok perhaps I can get out of this with it only costing me a few hundred dollars. I was to find out that was wildly optimistic thinking indeed!

After approximately one hour or so the guy I was dealing with came back with a report saying I needed $1,280 worth of repairs and they would have the vehicle for four days! I told them they were crazy if they thought my car needed that kind of work just because of a small amount of water in the gas. I paid them the $60 diagnostic fee and jumped in the car as soon as I hit the gas I noticed that it had its "pep" back so I drove to the local Ruby Tuesday where I met my friend Teri for lunch. On they way I may have put my foot into the accelerator a few times and I "may" have slightly exceeded the speed limit to see if it was running ok and it did do fine by the time I arrived at Ruby Tuesday the lights had all gone out and the car was running like a top so I figured the "heet" had finally gotten rid of the water in the gas.

When I left Ruby Tuesday I took Teri with me and we went out on 17 bypass to put my foot really into it and I wish now I hadn't as I lost power and it started missing again! #$%%$^^%^%$&$ I took her back to her car and decided I would drain the tank myself and deal with it as I'm not paying the money that Honda wants. By the time I got home the lights were all out and the engine is running great. I took it for a good 30 extra mile run and it seems to be doing fine for now. I still don't completely trust the fuel in the tank now but I'm sure it will work out over the next few days and all will be well with it.

So to not waste that one gallon of old gas has cost me around one hundred dollars and I consider myself fortunate at that. How many customers would go into the Honda dealership with a missing engine and they would pay the $1,300 rather than $5 for a can of Heet. How many people are so frugal they would try to run last years lawn mower gas through one these "sensitive" new vehicles we all seem to have these days.

I guess I learned a lesson today and in the future I will not risk my cars engine like that ever again. I got lucky!