Category Archives: Be Yourself
As someone who is a natural introvert, the last couple of weeks have been quite a nice and healthy change to my normal routine. My wife and I (as Katie) went to visit some good friends in Mississippi while also making some new ones, and we also went out to see a local theater group putting on a drag variety show, which was so much fun.
I usually get a chance to dress up as Katie 2-3 times a month, and over the last couple of years I’ve only been out on the town just a hand full of times. I usually like going out as Katie with a group of close friends, as I like having that comfort and support of a group. This of course is not always easy to schedule, especially when so many friends around us are nurses, who have all kinds of crazy schedules.
When we made the plan to visit our good friend MP in Mississippi, someone who I came out to early on and has shown so much love and support, I brought up the idea of Katie making the road trip down, since it had been a long time since she had see her. This trip would also give me a chance to meet MP’s boyfriend, N, who would be meeting Katie for the first time. I was a little concerned about N’s reaction, even though MP had told her boyfriend about Katie, and he was totally cool with it. Even still, I was a little worried. My concerns melted away as N and I had an awesome and deep conversation, talking about Katie and gender before the conversation moved to friendships, and finally food (since he’s a chef, yum!!). This experience again instills the idea that when you talk to someone one-to-one, great things can happen, and new friendships can develop.
At this event, there was another good friend MM, who was new to Katie as well, but was completely supportive and lovely. About 5 min away from arriving to the event, MP texted me saying that MM was bringing a guy to the party who no one had met before. In the past this simple thing would have twisted my stomach up. What would happen? What’s he going to think of me? But I didn’t mind, and told her that it was all good. I was confident in myself (getting my makeup and outfit down pat really helps with that) and I was amongst good friends.
When MM arrived with this new guy, I was again a little concerned. When this guy introduced himself around the room, he came up to me and asked “what’s your name?”. In the past, I would have said they could call me by my male or female name, I didn’t mind. But this time I told this guy “you can call me Katie”. It was quite an empowering experience actually, asserting myself like that. After the introductions and the conversation with N we had a great time playing some Card Against Humanity, a great game for people who don’t mind being inappropriate. 😉
Before long, it was time to drive back home, but before we left we made plans with MP and MM to go to a drag variety show the following weekend. We had plans to make an epic girl’s night out, with the idea of wearing my new red dress and favorite jacket.
So now fast forward a week and the preparations for the big night. Unfortunately, our friend MP was really under the weather and couldn’t make the drive to Memphis. Now it was just going to be my wife and I going to the show, which started to stress me out as worry started to settle in again; going out in public, just the two of us, not in the best part of town, at night, wearing a dress and hells. I just hope that with the more I do go out, the easier it will be and the less stress I put on myself. I worked myself up so much I had to make repeated trips to the bathroom.
In previous years, doubt might have gotten the best of me and I would have thought about either not going or not going as Katie, but this time doubt only got a piece of me. I wasn’t going to wear that dress, I was going to wear something that I felt comfortable in. At least I’m making some progress I guess…. Anyways, we made it to the theater, taking a moment to take a picture in front of a popular Memphis sign, and then heading into the show. The lady taking the tickets said with a smile “how are you, gorgeous?”, which just made my day. It was at this point that the worry melted away and I began to ask myself “why did I work myself up so much?”. I really need to stop doubting myself so often and realize that there is nothing to worry about.
The show was amazing, with many beautify, talented, and hilarious local performers. We really do have some amazing theater groups here in Memphis, many more than in other cities, and we were more than happy to support these groups. After the show, we had to walk a couple of block back to the car, which again wasn’t without worry given the neighborhood, especially as we walked by a random guy walking down the sidewalk while loudly talking to himself. Yikes! We made it home safe and happy that we had watched a very entertaining show.
So, while I had a great time out to a friend’s house, and out to a show, I still have some work to do for myself. I have to work on not doubting myself so much, and work on not always relying on the comfort of a large group, as it’s not something that we can often plan. As a good friend would say, people with pitchforks aren’t going to hunt you down, and that was certainty not the case the last couple of weeks. Instead of pitchforks, it was love.
Much love to you all,
Spring is finally coming around and along with the warm sunshine, the negative baggage is starting to melt away, and replaced with some much needed confidence and positivity. Since coming out to my mom last Christmas, we really haven’t talked about the issue much, we’ve dealt with it as if nothing ever happen, which I’m sure is not a healthy thing. However, the last time we talked about my gender views a couple of months ago, in context of whether or not to tell my dad, things didn’t go quite well. It just takes a simple sentence to throw you off for a month or two. She told me that after much thought, it would be better to keep this information from my dad because it could be the last thing to kill him. Not literally of course, but after about 15 years of some heavy family drama all around us, this might just be too much to handle, especially since I’m seen as the one who has worked hard to do all the right “normal” things in life. The way she said it was almost factual, with no malice or negative intent, after taking her time to really analyze the situation.
After those words reached my ears I really wasn’t sure how to react, so I didn’t, and agreed that we would keep this information under wraps. It was only after our conversation that those words started to affect me. I unplugged. I didn’t write anything for nearly two months. I didn’t check-in with friends online. I started to ask, “what’s the point”? Why try to feel happy, or beautiful? I once spend a couple of hours getting all glammed up, only to take it all off because I just wasn’t feeling it. I know that this is just the process of how I deal with negative emotions. I go through the process of felling these emotions until I turn the corner and move past it. Also, having a supportive wife and some close friends helped me re-realize that I am beautiful, and that there is no shame in loving myself again.
This all culminated with last night’s event. I haven’t been out in public for a long time, and I had been looking for some good opportunities to go out and enjoy a night with my wife and friends. A burlesque show hosted by a local LGBT group was that opportunity. I felt that confidence grow once again, and we had an amazing night, watching some talented performers, and enjoying a martini or two, all in a friendly and supportive environment. I even got to spend some time talking to a local drag queen, Iris Le’Fluer, who besides looking amazing in her outfits, was asking me if I ever thought about performing, which I was very flattered by.
I did learn some random things last night: lighting really sucks in bars/clubs, which no flash can help in taking a good picture; and I really need to learn how to do some styling on my wig to make it look more interesting. New things to learn and do, what life’s all about I guess!
Happy spring and much love to all!
Twice in my life have I experienced a situation where two hours flew by so fast. The first time was when I defended my masters thesis, where I was so nervous and anxious that before I knew it, my two hour oral examination was over (I passed, of course). The second time occurred last Sunday when I came out to my Mom and told her about my rediscovered identity. I was equally nervous, and time flew by equally fast.
This Christmas we had to visit family out-of-state a couple of weeks before the holiday, and since I had set a goal to come out to my parents this year (at least my Mom for sure), I knew that this was my last opportunity to talk to them on a deep level in person. I decided that I would come out to my Mom (who I’m much closer to than my Dad) on Sunday, after my Dad left on a business trip, when we could be alone and talk things out, one-on-one. I went back and forth so many times in my head. Should I? Should I not? Then by 10 pm on the last night we were in town, I was sick of asking myself whether or not I would say anything that I told her I had some thing to reveal. I told her that I had rediscovered something important about myself, something positive after loosing all that weight and getting myself healthy, both physically and mentally. This was a way of telling her that what I was about to say was a positive thing, something that made me happy. Then I showed her a picture of Katie, and from the moment I saw her facial expression, I knew this was going to be a long and tough conversation. The plan I had in my head of how this was going to go down flew out the window, and the words to begin to explain this part of myself were hard to come by.
It was at this point I pored myself a glass of good Scotch and began to explain all the things I’ve learned from this community over years. How society paints gender as a binary, when in reality it’s so much more complicated. She asked whether I was gay, or needed to have sex with men, which was awkward to me since I’ve never felt like that. It took time to explain to her that I am happy in the middle of the gender spectrum, I have no desire to transition, take hormones, or have surgeries. She asked, “what if that changes in 10 years? What then?” I could only reply by saying I am happy as a man and as a woman. She had concerns about my wife, how she’s handled it? It again took time to explain that we are open and honest with each other, and that we have never been happier.
Her biggest concern was about children; future children to be exact, which we haven’t even planed for yet. She is concerned that we’ll screw up our kid’s lives if we’re not careful. All I could say is that my wife and I will make the best choices we can for the future. Mom was also conceded about Dad, and she felt very strongly that we shouldn’t tell him, for now at least, as she thought he might not handle it well. My family has never been good about expressing emotions or talking about deep feelings. These topics would best be avoided while I was growing up. Also, being from South America, my parent’s view on culture and society is very different from mine. The idea of alternative lifestyles is very foreign to them.
By 12:30 am, we had gotten to a good place to stop for the night. She could see where I was coming from and since my wife and I have our lives in good shape (we both have good degrees, good jobs, savings, etc.) this was a facet of my life she felt she could handle, we even ended the night by going through some of my favorite pictures she wanted to see.
This of course is not the end of the story; it’s only the beginning, which I am only beginning to understand. A couple of days after this emotional conversation, I realized I had made a mistake. It came after speaking to Mom over the phone, and I could feel her anxiety about holding this information from Dad. By telling only my Mom, I had placed her in an awkward situation where she couldn’t tell Dad about this. It’s not a fair situation and we decided that if either one of us felt like opening up to Dad, we would do it together the next time we see each other in person.
I keep asking myself, would I do it again given another chance? Right now I don’t feel that big weight lifted of my chest, but maybe with time this will be a positive aspect of our relationship. Taking the easy way by avoiding the conversation only leads to a more distant relationship. It was a tough road, a road that I am still traveling on, but I hope that it will be a rewarding, more fulfilling path. We all have so much more to learn…
I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday season and Merry Christmas to all,
What makes a person who they are? What makes them deal with issue the way they do? Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how an individual chooses to deal with a challenge, large or small. How someone deals with the gap between expectations and reality has to define an individual up to a point, I think.
So often, ones mind will build an expectation of something that reality just can’t stand up to. There are countless examples I can think about, such as the expectation that waxing was going to be this great thing that was going to solve all my problems, to the reality that it’s going to take time and effort to really see the benefit. Optimism can help bridge this gap between the two, and with hard work, the goal can be achieved.
There is also the expectation that my indoor cat, who has always been healthy, will always be okay. The reality of course if that he’ll have kidney stones and almost die on us. That gap was breached with $900 and the realization that I really love my cat and missed him when he was at the ER vet, even though he still gives me judgmental looks for no good reason.
There is also the expectation of routine phone calls from my 82 year old grandmother, who lives 5000 miles away, with news that all is well. The reality is that she is 82 with mounting, serious health problems. The reality that I may have just had the last conversation with a woman who had an enormous impact in my life. I hope to bridge that gap with the knowledge that the life lessons she taught me will be passed on, and the hope that doctors can help her.
It’s not always like this, the reality of life can sometimes surpass your expectations. Yesterday, my wife and I were at a pub having some drinks with a good friend from my work. Up to this point, I never expected that I would reveal Katie to someone from work, but the reality of what happened surprised me, in a good way. We were all talking about personal issues, and after having had a drink or two, I though it was a good time to reveal something personal about myself. As with other friends, I thought carefully before telling my friend about Katie, and to my relief, the reality of the outcome was so positive and rewarding.
It’s not easy bridging the gap between ones expectations and reality, but how we choose to deal with the difference reveals something interesting about ourselves. With that said, I now have the expectation that I will enjoy the rest of the evening before succumbing to the reality that the weekend is almost over. Oh well, such is life…
Since last Christmas I’ve been thinking that at some point I’ve got to open up to my parents and tell them about Katie. I decided that I had to achieve this goal after talking to a friend of my wife’s from high school, who is underdoing hormone treatment as a transgender man. I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to our friend about Katie during our holiday family visit last year, and through our conversation I realized I needed to be open to my family, just as he had done with his family.
I was thinking about telling my folks during our visit to Ohio later this year for the holidays, but that idea changed last week. My mom called early last week asking if they could visit us for the weekend, which was a bit on short notice, but since we didn’t have any plans, we said “sure, come on down”. Throughout the week, I couldn’t help but think that this was an opportunity, since I only get to see my parents a couple times a year, to sit them down and explain to them the changes I’ve gone through the last few years; changes that have made my life so much happier.
On Friday my mind was going around in circles, and as someone who likes to plan everything possible, I was working out in my mind how this was going to go down. We went out for a nice dinner on Friday night, and then did some sightseeing on Saturday. We toured Sun Studios, checked out the Peabody hotel ducks, went to a movie (Despicable Me 2), and then finished with a nice dinner Saturday night. In the end, I just ran out of time. There were many occasions when the words I wanted to say were at the tip of my tongue, but I just hesitated at the last moment.
At least during some conversations over dinner, certain things were said that made me think that coming out is a good idea. Conversation about being happy with who you are, no matter what others think helped me to picture a positive outcome when I do open up.
So…what did I take out of the experience? I think I was able to laydown the groundwork for what I wanted to do by the end of the year. I worked out what I wanted to say, and how to say it, so I don’t think this was a lost opportunity. At least I feel as if I’m making the personal progress that I want to make in order to grow as an individual.
Hannah and I recently did a little Q&A session just asking each other some questions. I think this will be a great way to get to know someone new and get to discuss some topics on a more personal level. Here’s the first question I asked Hanna, and some additional thoughts from me, enjoy! Oh, and if you have any questions, about anything really, don’t hesitate to ask either one of us.
I was chatting with my friend Hannah not long ago and I just had to ask her “do you ever have issues with the term crossdresser”? I sometimes have issues with the term because of what you often find when searching for the term “crossdressing/crossdresser” on sites like tumblr, Flickr, or Facebook. You’ll find a ton of pictures that are straight up porn than anything else. When it comes to crossdressing, I don’t do it to take half naked pictures to post online (I’m not suggesting it’s wrong), I do it because Katie is a part of my identity. She is so much more than a sex symbol, character, or persona that I experience when I have the time to dress up. So when I come out to a friend, what am I going to say I do? Hannah’s response was:
I do love the term because it has the word ‘dress in it…but I know exactly what you mean. I would love to create a new word for girls like us. The term suggests fetishism and sexualization of what we do.
The thing I love about her answer, after taking time to think about the issue, was the very first part. It’s so simple, and not over thought. We sometimes live too much in our own heads, which is sometimes counterproductive. Enjoy the things that you love, no matter what anyone else thinks, be it shoes, makeup, fashion, and of course dresses.
I could write on and on about how I see terms like transgender or crossdresser. The thing is that I’m still working on figuring it out, and if I try to over think things too much and place myself in a category, the more that I’ll lose sight on a broader community of people. I’ve had the pleasure of befriending so many wonderful individuals from all sorts of different backgrounds that I wouldn’t want to overlook. When I do come out to someone new in person, it is never easy to sum it up into one term, although I often do use the terms crossdresser and trans to start a broader (and intensive) conversation to explain how I see myself.
In a perfect word, I would love to be like Janelle Monáe. She is a different and fearless artist, and has battled people from labeling her (this BuzzFeed article is really cool) . We are all trying to be fearless.
So…who am I? I am at most times my male self, but not entirely so; and I am also Katie, but again not entirely so. It’s not always clear living in the middle, flowing from one end to another. I’m not entirely sure what you would call that, or if it even matters. I just need to try and ignore it, and enjoy life. Keep in simple even if it seems complicated.
I recently spent some time with a close friend and had a wonderful conversation over a couple of drinks at an awesome pizza/pub joint in Memphis. This friend has been very supportive of me coming out to her, and has asked some interesting questions about Katie, which I’m more than happy to answer. We got on the subject of what it is to be a woman, and the goals that I want to achieve and respect as I move forward.
When I first started down this road of self discover two years ago, I was easily attracted to the “fun” aspects of femininity. I loved the clothes, learning about fashion, and appreciating the creativity that makeup has provided me. And I can’t forget about the shoes, oh those beautiful. Sexy. Heels. By the way I just got these tall Nine West stunners! And for a great deal too!!!
Anyways, back to the point. During the conversation with my friend, I stressed to her that I wanted to better understand what it means to be a woman. Just like I make a conscious effort to balance my relationship with my wife K, I want to have a balanced appreciation of womanhood.
There are many people around me who have helped by sharing their experiences with me. I had my first experience being hit on during a drag show, which took me totally by surprise, and made me think of things in a new light, especially when I had no clue on how to react to the attention. I’ve had plenty of friends who’ve received unwanted attention from guys, and in completely random places too. Being hit on at a gun range, while holding a gun being one such case! As a guy, I never think about being hit on, and I’ve never had to deal with the creepy feelings some situations can provide.
As my male self, I have no problem walking the downtown streets, most of the time not looking over my shoulder at any seedy individuals. I have a new found appreciation of why my wife and female friends carry around pepper spray. I could not imagine being in a situation where I’m watching over my shoulder, looking out for where trouble might come from.
One can look further at these issues by thinking about how many woman are objectified, how they may be treated in the workplace, and how on average, they make less in pay than their male counterparts. One could also think about how much respect I am showing to woman if all I do is dress up as Katie and stay home, and avoid facing the real world outside.
In the end, I think it is immensely important for me to have a balanced appreciation of what it is to be a woman in today’s society. I would feel guilty indulging in the “fun” aspects of femininity while I’m dressed up as Katie, and not think about the challenges of an everyday woman. It’s not right, and it’s not respectful. I will never fully understand what it means to be a woman, but I want to make that effort to better understand, and be a better man, a better husband, and someday, a better father.
I knew there was a little something different about me back when I was in my early teens while day dreaming. I would often dream or fantasies about finding a magic lamp and wishing to have the power to switch between my male and female self on command. I wanted so much to know how it felt to be a woman. Thinking back to those teen years dreaming and fantasizing, I now understand what my mind was trying to tell me.
It has now been just over a year since starting my weekly yoga practice at a local studio, where I’ve had the fortune of becoming very comfortable and open with the instructor. I originally started yoga to help my lower back pain, but have since gained so much more than I could have hoped for. At the end of each yoga session, we finish with a short meditation session, where you allow the mind to rest, and focus on breathing.
For a long time, the only thing I did during this time was to catch my breath from the yoga practice, and try to keep my mind clear from trivial thoughts (easier said than done). If I couldn’t clear my mind, I would try to have some deep thoughts about myself, questioning who I was, and becoming comfortable with who I was becoming. It got to the point where I got tiered of questioning myself, and stopped thinking about the person I am today. I accepted and moved on. Once I was able to get to this point, I was able to clear my mind during meditation and allow my mind to quiet. I would often picture myself as a little boy, out on our summer camping trips, staring endlessly at the flickers of flame from the camp fire.
At times, I picture my adult male self on a mountain pass, this one in particular being called Condor Pass in south america, where you can pull over, sit down, and watch the giant Condors catching the wind as the glide up the mountain slope. Only occasionally will I meditate and picture myself as Katie, maybe folded up in a chair overlooking the trees in the wind during a rain storm.
All these signs, the day dreams and mediation, allowing the quite mind to paint the picture, has shown me how I need both my masculine and feminine sides for me to be complete. It is truly remarkable what the mind can tell you when you allow it to speak to you through all the noise of our daily lives.
I hope you all are having a wonderful Saturday,
Over the last month, having gone out in public twice as Katie (last night as Bloody Mary), the most important lesson I’ve learned is to “Own It”. If you set out to do something for yourself, be confident in what you do, and don’t let anyone get you down. Owning what you do has such a powerful affect on your attitude and those around you.
Last night was the first time in years that I’ve dressed up in a costume for Halloween. My costume of choice this year had to reflect the feminine side I’ve developed, and a need to satisfy my badass attitude I wanted to explore. As a fan of MissChievous on YouTube, I fell in love with her vampire tutorial, and I had my mind set on this look for months, as I worked on getting all the parts to build the outfit. A black leather jacket, with dark jeans, and a kick ass pair of Nine West black platform heeled boots. After pride, I spent a couple of weekends getting the makeup down, to the point I was happy with.
On Saturdays, my wife K, has nursing clinicals, which take up most of the day. The plan was for me to get ready at our apartment and meet K, along with some friends, downtown after they were done with their nursing stuff. This meant I had to get ready and drive downtown, alone. I was a little nervous, but I knew this is want I wanted and needed to do. After putting on the last part of my outfit, the black leather jacket, I had this amazing confident feeling flow over me. I was so happy with how I looked, I had no problem stepping out that door with my head held high, believing on who I was and what I was doing.
The night consisted of wondering downtown on Beale street, having some drinks, food, playing some darts (in my awesome boots), and going to some karaoke bars. Our group consisted of K (dressed as Katniss from the hunger games), myself, and a couple, one of who is a classmate with K. This couple have become good friends of ours and have been so respectful and open to me and Katie.
The one issue that came up last night was which restroom to use. I figured that since I was about 6’6″ with my boots on, I wasn’t fooling anyone, and to avoid making a scene, I used the men’s room. Luckily, most of the times I had to go, there weren’t many people around. The best part was the offer from our friends to kick anyone’s ass if they messed with me, which was a nice offer, and which luckily wasn’t needed.
In the end it was a great night. Many people stopped me in the street to ask for pictures, and complement me on my heels. I was proud I wore them all night long without complaining. I was confident stomping the streets and owning who I was, feeling like a badass, with no one getting in my way. If they did, I would have just bit them to death and drank their still warm blood. Muahahahaha!
Happy Halloween everyone,
Yesterday I checked off the last goal I had set out to achieve this year when I started my blog back in January. Several months back, our good friends from Mississippi invited me to join them for the Mid-south pride festival, which took place yesterday on Beale street in Memphis. I committed myself to attend and there was no looking back. For months I worked over the details as I put together my plan for the event. We went shopping for an outfit, purse, makeup, and even got some contact lenses. I kept practicing my skills to achieve the look I wanted. I washed my favorite wig and took care to untangle the hairs, section by section. I knew that if I wanted to go out for the first time, I wanted to look the best that I could.
Saturday morning I started out by waking up early, having some tea and breakfast, and then hitting the shower to do a lot of shaving. I had a ton of arm hair to shave, along with my face and chest. Then I went through my regular routine to get ready for the day. Our friends from Mississippi arrived around noon, and then we headed downtown. The sun was out, and it was turning out to be a gorgeous start to the day. But by the time we parked the car, the clouds rolled in, along with the wind, as it started to get a little cool.
By this time, I was just a little nervous and looking forward to getting to the park where they had the event stationed. We walked through Beale street, and the first thing I enjoyed was the feeling of the wind blowing through my favorite wig, as I kept running my fingers through it. Awesome 🙂 I walked through the streets with confidence and I didn’t look people in the eye, thinking it would bring unnecessary attention. I just minded my own business, with a little grin on my face, as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
We got to the park next to Beale street and walked around the different LGBT associated booths they had set up. I got to meet some of the local drag queens as people were getting ready for the parade. Unfortunately the skies opened up and it began to rain. Needlessly to say, I was shivering, and maybe in the early stages of hypothermia (just kidding, lol). Because of the rain the crowd was quite light for the parade, and we soon headed to the Rum Boogie Cafe after the parade, to warm up and get something to eat.
One of the best parts of the day was the server at the restaurant. She began by asking me “What would you like to drink shug?” in an awesome, typical southern style, followed up by “and what are you having, sweetie?”. That just stuck with me, putting a nice smile on my face. Unfortunately, the rain continued, and after our burgers, we walked around Beale street a little more, and then headed home. It would have been nice to spend some more time at the park and make some new connections, but people were already closing up and heading out.
One of the last things I wanted to do was to stop by and see my friend and makeup artist Britney at our local MAC counter. She has helped me though out the year to find the products that have helped me out, and to really appreciate makeup. She also is someone special because she dresses as the woman she is meant to be and has made me realize that it’s no big deal to be out and about as the person you truly are. Be confident and proud!
Overall it was a great experience, despite the weather. Things were much easier than I thought, probably because I planned this out as much as I could, and with great friends to lean on, anything was possible.
Now it’s time to plan my halloween outing. 🙂