Thanksgiving, one of my favorite times of the year where we get to enjoy good food, drinks, the company of those close to us, and be reminded of the important things in life to enjoy and be thankful for. In the current climate we’re in today, and especially after the election results, there have been plenty of things online and in the news to be bummed out about, which makes this time of year all the more important to recalibrate and enjoy the things we have control over.
In the past month I can say that I’ve been thankful for having the opportunity to make positive progress in my life and taking those small steps to achieve my goals, while at the same time sharing what I can to help others. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to meet with a wife who works downtown, minutes away from me, and whose husband had recently come out as a crossdresser. Over a couple of beers at a pub we chatted about this new aspect in their relationship as the husband begins to discover what this means for him as she blossoms going forward. I know that at the end of our chat, the wife felt much more relieved having been able to speak out load to someone else, someone in the community with a few years of experience. Having had the chance to meet with her gave me the opportunity to look back and see how far I’ve come along in the last six years.Also, in the past month I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to go out a couple of times. This is really starting to become a regular thing, which I’m actually excited for. At the end of October, I was able to have some drinks and dinner with a great friend, Shari, and one of her good longtime friends. When Shari suggested we meet up at Babalu, which is a great but very busy restaurant, I immediately said yes. I was ready to venture out alone (my wife had to work) and meet Shari and her friend at a busy restaurant. Sometimes it helps not to think things over and just say “yes”, especially if you’re like me and have a tendency to overthink/overanalyze/over-plan everything. Needlessly to say, everything went of great and we all had a great time out with no issues. All the better to raise that confidence.
Finally, in a much needed effort to increase positive vibes, we planned another outing to go out and watch Drag Me Under the Mistletoe, a drag theater performance filled with a cast of local performers. One twist to this outing was that at the last minute one of my good friends and coworker had invited another coworker (let’s call her J), who didn’t know about Katie, out for the evening and I was all in on this opportunity to get to know J better and open up. Since it was last minute, I didn’t have a chance to give J a head’s up on who she’d see coming out for the night, so I was intrigued on how she would react to me showing up at the pub to have a drink before the show. As with all my other experiences, things went great! We chatted a bit, we met up with friends who we hadn’t seen in a while, we drank, ate, and enjoyed each other’s company.
After dinner and drinks we left for the show, which since it was a Christmas themed, put us all in the Christmas spirit by the end of the night. The show was funny, raunchy, and entertaining. Everyone in our group had a good time, which we all felt was much needed after the rough start to the month. After the show I was able to meet up with a couple of the performers and thank them for a fun show in which we all were able to be distracted for a short time from the all the negativity out in the world.
I am thankful for many things, so today we eat, drink, and celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Much love,
So far, this summer has been full of hard work and satisfying rewards; from doing many little projects around our home, celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary, and in particular interest to this post, growing the family and friends who know the full me. Having the opportunity to open up to a good friend from work and my brother-in-law have been some big highlights of the summer thus far.
Apart from all the hard work, I’ve taken some time to enjoy watching some soccer on TV, especially the woman’s world cup. A good friend from work has also been following the world cup very closely and after work one day we decided to meet up, along with my wife, at a local bar to support the USA. I had thought about opening up to my work friend, G, because I knew she was a very open minded friend, being very proactive in many progressive groups in the city, and since we had many overlapping friends who knew about Katie, I though this would be a good opportunity to talk to her about my gender views.
At half time, my wife and I were discussing, along with G, about the pride parade coming up in the fall. I’m sure it’s held in the fall because it’s just too damn hot in the middle of summer to hold a parade. I told G that I wanted to make plans to go this year because it holds a special place for me, having gone out for the first time as Katie in public almost three years ago at pride. As with all my other experiences, it was overwhelmingly positive. We talked about gender roles in society, trans issues, and we also had a fun discussion about drag and RuPaul’s Drag Race, as she’s a HUGE fan. My wife and I talked about the different seasons, who were our favorite contestants, and about how we’d love to go see Bianca Del Rio perform!
My next big step was over the 4th of July weekend. I had an extra day off, and since the weather had turned much cooler than normal, I took the opportunity to dress up for the 4th, especially having been over a month since my last time all dolled up. I was enjoying the cooler weather, catching up on social media, when my brother-in-law, R, texted me in the evening and wanted to know if I’d like to play some games online. Later that night, while still in full makeup, I logged on and we played some games while chatting over Skype. During this time I made sure that my webcam was off so he couldn’t see me. At this point it’s important to say that my wife and I had talked about telling her brother about Katie, especially since my wife and R are quite close compared to the rest of the family.
During our gaming session, he told me that his son and wife were at a family’s place and that he was by himself. I thought this would be a great time to talk to him one on one about Katie, so before we logged off at the end of the night, I told him I had something important to talk about. At this point my heart was pumping fast as I told him that I was going to turn on the webcam and that he would see something different and that I would explain everything.
Just as before, the experience and reaction was incredibly positive. I began to talk about my past and how I got to this point. Why I decided to open up to him and where the future might take me. R has made choices in his life that he wanted to make for himself, despite what others might have wanted for him. I respect his independence and I think he understood where I was coming from when I told him that I was so much happier now than before, having chosen to be open and honest with myself and others about who I really am. It’s a great feeling when you can open up to someone and no longer have any secrets and nothing to hide. At least now he knows why I love playing strong female characters whenever it’s an option in games. 🙂
After we logged off my heart was still pounding, and as I started to come down from the adrenaline rush, I felt nothing but joy. After taking a shower and heading to bed, I saw that R had texted me. It was an amazing text, because it was only about games and which one we should get next to play online. We went back to normal very quickly, as revealing Katie was no huge thing, in a good way if that makes sense. It wasn’t a roadblock to our relationship.
The next day, R and I texted that we would only talk to his son about Katie when the time was right (he just turned 5). I told R that I was 100% okay with that decision since he’s the father and it’s not my place to say otherwise. I’m sure it’ll be an interesting discussion to have in the future, but one that I know will go well, since R and his wife are raising their son to be open minded and teaching that things aren’t as simple as black or white, that things don’t always fall into two categories, but that life can be a wonderful and beautiful rainbow of possibilities.
I hope you all are having a great summer and staying cool!
Much love to all,
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,