Category Archives: Family/Friends
To venture out once more that is. Now that Fall has finally arrived in the south, I can finally continue working on the progress I had made at the end of Spring earlier this year. This past Winter and Spring was full of several fun events to get me out of the house and enjoy the company of great friends and continue working on my goals. But once Summer hit, it was time to pack away the wigs, heels, and take it easy for a while. Needlessly to say this Summer was longer and hotter than usual and I’m happy to see the changing of the seasons upon us, and as with many women out there, this season is my favorite. Yay Fall!
Since last Spring I had made a good friend, Shari, on Facebook who happened to live 30 min away from me and we simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet face-to-face and get to know each other. It definitely feels like the trans/genderfluid community in Memphis is smaller than what it looks like in other larger cities, but it’s a community I hope continues to grows over time. Last weekend my wife and I had a chance to meet up with Shari over drinks and dinner in the hip Cooper-Young neighborhood of Memphis and spend some quality time together. We started off by enjoying a couple of rounds of beer at my favorite pub, which I frequent quite often but this was the first time as Katie, and then we enjoyed some great food at a restaurant next door.
This particular meet up was a bit different than my other times out because it was a casual evening with my wife and a friend, and not a big event at night, like I’ve posted in the past. This meant I needed to tone down my makeup look and try to wear something a bit more casual and appropriate for the occasion. I tend to do a lot of bold makeup looks, which are more appropriate for a special event or a night out, not so much for something laid back during the afternoon. So I kept the false lashes at home, toned down the eye makeup, and went with a subtler lip shade. As for the outfit, I had found this Fall look on Pinterest and was obsessed with it, so I knew I had to wear this out before it got too cold to have bare legs, and with flats it was appropriate for the occasion.
It was a great evening with Shari, catching up, sharing stories, thoughts, and making some fun plans. Towards the end of the night we made plans for our next outing and the possibility of another local trans woman venturing out with us. The idea is to try and meet up once a month, or whenever our schedules work out. Being more visible out in public and doing normal everyday things is the kind of activism I can get behind with; one encounter, one interaction, one conversation, and one drink at a time, and all in the company of great family and friends.
Much love to all,
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,
Those words from my four year old nephew, which will be explained shortly, but first things first, wow has it been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. So what’s happened since my last post, besides leaving it collect dust on the heap of forgotten blogs? Well, the biggest thing that’s taken place, and what’s consumed quite a bit of time is the fact that we searched for our first home, found it, bought it, moved into it, have been doing quite a bit of work in it, and now enjoying it.
Since my last post I’ve gotten some new ideas of things to write about as it relates to Katie in my everyday life. The first story has to do with video games. I’ve always enjoyed playing video games, having great memories as a kid waking up early on a weekend morning to play some Nintendo with my brother. Early on, whenever there was an option to choose a character, I would often go for the female role. In recent years I’ve created and played female characters in games like Skyrim and Animal Crossing and really get a kick out of it. One reason is the fact that I enjoy seeing female characters as the lead role, as the heroine, and of course I’m able to play as my alter ego in a way.
This leads to our new home. Once we moved, we bought a new gaming console in order to be able to play with my wife’s brother and his four year old son. Online gaming has been something I’ve shied away from because most of my friends don’t play games and I don’t like to play with complete strangers. But now that we have some family who are gamers, I wanted to connect with them more often, especially with my nephew through some games.
Minecraft is my nephew’s favorite game, a game where you can be whom ever you want and create anything you want. Just up my alley! So of course I choose to play as a girl, in this case a mermaid (how fun!). As soon as my nephew saw me in the game he said “why are you a girl?” and then “can you please change to a boy?”. It was a strange feeling. It was adorable and totally broke my heart at the same time. To realize that at age four, kids already know what gender roles to play in order to keep within societies rules, and the fact that my brother-in-law and his son don’t yet know about the real truth. The truth that I can’t stop my feminine side from expressing its self.
This strange feeling didn’t last long as I took it upon myself to disobey his request, I wasn’t going to change, and in fact I get a kick out of annoying him, in a fun way that is. Now that we’ve been playing online once or twice a week now for several months, he doesn’t even bring the issue up anymore. I guess we’ve just got to stick to our principles, and along the way help a four year old realize that you can play and be anyone.
As many of you know I have a love of beer, which leads to my wife and I enjoying ourselves whenever we go to a beer festival. During our last beer-tasting event I was reminded of how sharp the contrast between the two ends of my identity can be sometimes, swinging from one end to another in no time flat.
We visited our favorite local brewery, which was hosting their first beer-tasting event and got to make a new friend. There we were, getting something to eat at an awesome food truck that parked for the event, when my wife sparked up a conversation with a stranger wearing a gay pride shirt. She said how we’re big allies of the LGBT community, which is when I stepped in to say that I was more than an ally, I was part of the T in LGBT, and told him all about Katie, only moments after getting his name. Afterwards, I found it so interesting how a simple shirt got me to open up to a complete stranger. I guess it’s part of me being much more comfortable with who I am.
It was just a few minutes after talking to our new friend when things swung sharply. One of my ice hockey teammates (I play on a local recreational adult team) walked up to say hi, which is when we stopped talking about our favorite drag queens in town, and started talking about beer and hockey. As you could imagine, a locker room environment filled with guys doesn’t make for the most reassuring environment, so needlessly to say, I don’t see myself coming out to any of my hockey pals. Once my hockey friend left to browse the options, we resumed to talk about the local LGBT community, drag, and gender. To be honest, I’m surprised I didn’t get whiplash, LOL.
Looking back on this day, I’m happy that I took the opportunity to make a new friend in the local community, which in the end was one of the goals I wanted to work on for the year. This day also makes me think, why have such abrupt swings? I guess it’s a necessity for the moment. I have for a long time felt that my gender views are a private matter, not secret in that no one should know, but a private matter that a select few are privy to. In a perfect world it would be nice to speak on these matters open to everyone, but we’re still working our way there.
Anyways, it’s almost time for the World Cup, and it’s going to be a month full of excitement. Excitement for my home county and excitement for my adopted county.
Much love to 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.
Early last week I was going to write a purely positive post, but as things often happen, life makes things a bit more challenging. Last week my wife’s sister came into town and stayed with us in order to help celebrate my wife’s graduation. I was so proud to see K walk across the stage as she was able to close another chapter in her life as a new one prepared to be written. We were also happy to be able to host her sister to help show support for what has been a long road to a degree.
As her sister was going to stay in our apartment, I decided ahead of time that I was not going to hide Katie’s things from site. I have a closet full of clothes, shoes, along with a bathroom full of makeup and brushes. If she saw any of these things and asked questions, I wasn’t going to shy away. I was going to open up to her. As it happened, big sis was helping K pick out an outfit to go out on Beale Street when she saw some heels that clearly didn’t belong to K. The cat was out of the bag, and I told her all about Katie. She responded very positively, saying that we all need to be true to ourselves. She even got some use out of my massive collection of makeup and jewelry.
As the week progressed, K and my attitude changed. The emotional high of the weekend, going out and seeing the sites, was replaced by the worry for her sister’s future. She is unemployed, with no insurance, overweight, and likely with many undiagnosed heath issues. We have tried to help her over the years to improve her life style choices, but to no avail. How much responsibility does one have to help a family member? We’ve tried talking to her about proper foods and exercise, but there has been no change in attitude. By the time she left, K and I were demoralized and allowed ourselves to think it was hopeless. K came to the realization that her sister will not be around much longer if things don’t change quickly.
I have often felt, especially as a couple living far away from friends and family, how much should we do to help those close to us? At what point does one say, “it’s their responsibility, and I’ve done the best I could”? Yes, one has to take responsibility for their own life, but it is so hard to see someone close to you who is not, and it’s hard to just let them be, even when they are an adult, making conscious choices about their own life. We let our guard down for a moment, giving up on her and her situation, thinking things were hopeless, but the more I think about it, the more I think that was a mistake. The best thing we can do for those around us is to love them. In the end, big sis did come to Memphis to show her love and support for K as she advanced in her life goals, we should at least return the favor. And if they feel that love and support, hopefully they will someday find the will to improve their life, on their own terms.
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend everyone,