Blog Archives

New Found Perspectives

As with so many of my previous outings and big events, I like to look at those experiences and try to see how my perspectives have changed and what I’ve learned about myself. With my recent trip to the Twin Cities to visit my friend Hannah and the MN-T Girls group, my views have definitely changed and I certainty have learned quite a lot about myself from such a huge opportunity.

One of the big things I noticed looking back (especially compared to the first time I ever went out in public) was how relaxed and excited I was. In previous occasions, I used to work myself up so much, mentally and physically, about heading out in public, worrying about the general public and what they thought. But by the time I was due to meet Hannah at a nice restaurant in downtown Minneapolis on a Friday night, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was more excited than anything else! The same goes for the day I met up with all the other girls for drinks and dinner.  Looking back, this was a big step forward because I hated how anxious I would get sometimes, and now I feel like I can do whatever I want. I don’t care much that I may be 6’6” in heels, and don’t have a voice to match my appearance. This trip really made me focus on the important things, which is to enjoy the company one has around them, and I definitely did!

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My “light” look… 🙂

The positive experiences continued the next day when Hannah, my wife, and I got some makeovers done at an Ulta store by a wonderful makeup artist. But before we meet up at Ulta, I had to do some light makeup, which if you know me at all is a difficult thing for me to do. I love doing big bold eyes and generally makeup on the heavier side of things, but since I was getting makeup done I didn’t want to do my full treatment and I didn’t want to go without any makeup either. That being said, I was happy to learn that I could do a lighter look, something more appropriate for a daytime look.  While Hannah was getting her makeup done at Ulta, I wondered around the store with a smile on my face. I was happy to be out in the world, doing everyday things, being the individual I wanted to be on that day, with great company in tow. What more could one ask for!

The absolutely biggest thing I learned or realized about myself came to me after we made it back home to Memphis. Going forward, getting all dressed up and having a day in at the house won’t mean as much as it once did. What I mean is now that I’ve pushed my comfort zone to new limits, what I used to do, just won’t do any more. There are new frontiers to explore as Katie and I hope to keep pushing myself with every opportunity that comes along.

One has to be confident and fill ones space to show the world we belong and we don’t have anything to be afraid about. It was great to have this feeling reaffirmed and pushed to new heights.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Much love to all,

Katie Amor

A Birthday Excursion

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Spoonbridge and Cherry

Most years on my birthday I tend not to bring attention to myself. I don’t announce it on Facebook, or let everyone at work know “It’s my birthday”. This year has been a huge difference from all those previous years. One of my best friends in the world, Hannah McKnight, and I have for a long time causally talked about getting together someday to meet in person. Last spring we started to seriously talk about the possibility and since we both share a November birthday, it was only natural that we got together and celebrate. And girl did we ever!

My wife joyed the trip, as we made a nice little vacation out of our visit to Minneapolis. As the time passed and we got closer to November I started to make detailed plans for our trip. I knew I was going to be getting dressed up twice, once for a dinner with Hannah, and then another outing with the MN T-Girls group to a brewery and dinner. I spent a couple of weeks thinking about the outfits that would be appropriate for each event along with the right shoes and purse to go with it. In all, my wife and I had one checked bag and one carry on bag each, giving us some options in case plans changed. More on planning and packing in a future post…

We arrived in town on a Wednesday and headed straight to Surly Brewing Company, which is a very popular craft brewery in town. We thoroughly enjoyed the delicious beer and food along with a fun tour. That night we enjoyed a stand up show by Jim Jefferies, who is one of our favorite comedians, and we were not disappointed as he served up a two hour-long stand up comedy routine.

Thursday was spent going to the Walker Art Center to take in some awesome exhibits they had on display and of course check out the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture out in the sculpture garden. We also checked out some shopping at the Mall Of America and some shops along Grand Avenue near St. Paul.

The real big events started on Friday when we were due to meet up with Hannah for dinner at Ling and Louie’s downtown Minneapolis, just a few blocks away from our hotel. I started to get ready in the afternoon since I had lots to do, removing hair, doing my makeup, and finally deciding on what I was going to wear. On our walk to the restaurant I was so excited to finally meet my friend who I had only ever communicated with through email. So exciting!! 🙂

Hannah was dressed in a beautiful print dress, while I decided to go with a pair of jeans, and button up top and jacket. The jacket came in handy because for us southerners from Tennessee, it was cold! For Hannah, it was warm enough not to even wear a jacket! LOL. Meeting up with Hannah was amazing. We talked, we ate, we drank, and had an amazing time finally meeting face-to-face.

As the night ended, we finalized the plans for the following day. On Saturday we met up at an Ulta store near St. Paul and we all had something done. Hannah and I had makeover (thank you Tawni!!) while my wife had her hair styled (she looked amazing!!). The hair and makeup people at Ulta did an amazing job on us and were so very helpful. I even got some new products, because a girl can never have too much makeup! 🙂  Hannah was wearing a red hot dress, while I felt amazing in my black crochet dress and jean jackets.

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Two happy girls after some makeovers!

Next up was Sidhe Brewing Company, which is an LGBT-friendly place to enjoy a pint of beer or two. I especially enjoyed the nut brown ale. We also got to meet members of the MN T-Girls group who were celebrating their two-year anniversary as a group. It was great to meet the girls and great to see the brewery so busy with people looking to enjoy some good times.

The night ended with an amazing dinner at PUBLIC, a wonderful restaurant in downtown St. Paul. We sat at the chef’s table as we enjoyed each other’s company over some tasty wine, delicious food, and a yummy cheesecake. I enjoyed getting a chance to talk to the other girls, and make some rough plans for a future get together. Before calling it a night, I thanked everyone for such great company and a warm welcome to the twin cities. I also want to thank Hannah for planning the outings and being such a great host and an amazing friend. This trip really allowed our friendship to bloom. It was a great experience and something completely different to celebrate a birthday.

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A wonderful night out with some amazing women!

In closing, this trip really pushed me outside my normal routines, and I think I really needed it. There were so many new and first time experiences packed into just a couple of days, which I hope to elaborate more in the future. First time traveling with all my femme clothes, first time agonizing about what to pack for a trip, first time getting a makeover, first time using a multi-stall woman’s restroom (most other places I had been to were single occupancy, lower anxiety…), first time dressing up on back-to-back days, first time wandering around downtown St. Paul in 4 inch heels after dinner trying to find where you parked your rental car… LOL. I’m so happy to have made the trip, I am happy to have made some new friends, happy to have experienced and learn so many new things, and happy to have finally met my BFF, Hannah! YAY! 🙂

I hope you all get a chance to experience something new and break the routines from time to time. Much love to all,

Katie Amor

Doubt

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.

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Road trip!

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.

It's fun to be so inappropriate!

It’s fun to be so inappropriate!

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.

Love this dress!!

Love this dress!!

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,

Katie Amor

The Weekend Chores

I’m happy that I have a couple of nice wigs in my closet, one old Jon Renau Zara wig, which I wear around the apartment, and my new Zara wig, which is brand new and shinny for when I go out, but of course, with double the wigs comes double the work in maintaining them.  When I first started buying wigs, I had no clue how to take care of them, and my old Zara wig shows the wear and tare from the initial neglect.  I bought some cheap synthetic wig shampoo and conditioner from a big company and after washing the wig in cold water, taking my time to untangle all the fibers, and applying the conditioner, I wasn’t completely happy with the end result.  It wasn’t like new.

When I bought my new Zara wig late last year, I bought some new shampoo and conditioner from the company that makes the wig (Jon Renau), and boy does it make a difference.  It does take quite some time to go through the wig, piece by piece to untangle the fibers, but the end result is silky and smooth, especially after applying the conditioner.  It’s so nice to be able to run your fingers through the hair and not have them get caught up.  With regular washing and proper care, I’m sure I’ll be keeping my hair in good shape for quite some time, and save some $$$.

I hope you all had a great weekend,

Katie

It could be the last thing…but it won’t be for me.

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!

Katie

A Tale of Two Wigs

For a while now I’ve been thinking that I’m well overdue for a new wig.  A synthetic wig only last so long, and I’m assuming much less when you’re new to the world of wigs and don’t completely know how to take care of them.   I’ve only owned a handful of wigs, and my favorite one I use all the time is my Jon Renau Zara wig.  It was my first expensive wig, and after spending a lot of time online researching colors, styles, and brands, I was rewarded with an amazing head of hair.  So, when it came time last month to take advantage of amazing online deals, which new wig would I go for?

Looking back now to when I first purchased my Zara wig, almost two and a half years ago, I’ve developed a style around it that has represented who I am.  A lot of the style comes from the clothes I choose for my figure, along with the style and color of my hair.  With that said, I found it very hard to picture myself wearing a different style or color, especially since I’ve gotten many compliments already with what I have now.  It was at this point that the decision was clear to me, I would purchase the same wig in the same color (130-4), and I couldn’t be happier.

I thought it would be a great idea to show how my wig has changed over the course of its use when compared to a brand new one.  It’s important to note that during the first year I had my original Zara wig, I don’t know how to take care of it at all and I’m sure its current condition reflects that neglect.  I now wash my wigs on a regular basis with the proper wig shampoos and conditioners.  The only difference between the two is that I was able to find my new Zara wig in a larger cap size, which works great for my head.

One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed is from the lace-front part to the wig.  The old wig has thinned quite a bit over the years when you compare it to the thicker cap of the new one.  Another noticeable difference comes from the condition of the fibers, especially towards the ends.  The old fibers are rough and frizzled, compared to the smooth fibers of the new one.  One of the surprises I found was that the color of the old wig didn’t fade much over the years, if at all.

Now that I have two Zara wigs, I plan to use the old one for days I’m just being lazy around the apartment, and use the new one for days I go out on the town.  With the experience I’ve gained I’m sure I’ll be able to better care for my new investment, and I’ll have to see who the new Zara looks like in two years.

Have a great week everyone,

Katie

Expectations and Reality

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.

Ouch!

Ouch! That did some damage!

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.

Cat: Put me down now!!!

Cat: Put me down, now!!!

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.

Expectation: I hope this new top works out.  Reality: Nailed it!

Expectation: I hope this new top works out. Reality: Nailed it!

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…

Much love,

Katie

Equilibrium

IMG_2468 copyAs someone in the scientific field, I know a thing or two about equilibriums.  I know about their delicate balance and also about how easy it is to tilt them from one end to the other.  The last couple of months have been quiet, with the equilibrium shifted to the male side, as I’ve been spending quality time with the wife, busy with projects, work, and saving up some money for the future.  This has caused the balance to shift, and I can feel that it will soon rebalance itself again.  Katie is never far from my mind; she’s actually just a few taps away hidden in the photo album of my phone, providing a brief moment of joy in an otherwise busy day.

I am itching for the upcoming opportunities to push myself further this fall and winter as our local pride parade comes ever closer.  I picture myself coming out to more friends and having Katie make some new ones on her own.  I picture myself telling my mom about Katie over a cup of coffee in her kitchen.  I picture myself doing some shopping for a nice dress, after having had the chance to try out my new waxing kit.  I often look at my hairy legs and picture how they would look bare, and I don’t mean to be self-centered, but I think I have some great legs to show the world if they were waxed.

I think this is just some built-up anticipation for what I hope to accomplish this year.  I hope for so much moving forward, that it’s just been a while since I’ve had a taste of that progress I know that I can make.  Things are beginning to shift back again; we’ll just have to see where I’ll end up.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Katie

Summertime Slowdown

Heat be damned, I'm getting dressed up!

Heat be damned, I’m getting dressed up!

Wow, it’s been three weeks since my last post.  I’ve been a bit out of the loop when it comes to the blogging world.  To be honest, I’ve been busy with some other things, mostly catching up on some awesome video games, which I’ve fallen way behind on over the years, and binging on episode after episode of Dr. Who.  On top of that, I’ve lost some motivation to do some writing on my thoughts and feelings, as I haven’t had a chance to spend time as Katie for a few weeks.

I love summer for all the activities in the city, but I don’t like the summer when it comes time to don that wig.  Besides the heat, I have a separate issue when it comes to being comfortable.  I would love to be able to wear a dress and enjoy a nice summer evening out.  The issue has to do with my hair, all that body hair.  Now, I know every guy has body hair, so you may say “Katie, why don’t you just shave it off”?  That sounds easy, but you must understand that when I say I have body hair, I mean I have a ridiculous amount of body hair (head to toe, and from front to back).  It’s been something I’ve had to deal with since middle school (I’m serious, I remember starting to shave in 7th grade).  I avoid the pools, the beeches, and the water parks, anything where I have to take off my shirt.

This all means that when I do dress up, I wear jeans (or thick opaque tights), long sleeve tops, or jackets to help cover up the hair.  So far it has worked out just fine, at least when it’s not 100 degrees out.  I’m always looking for ways to improving myself, and trying to achieve my goals, whether it is coming out to friends and family, or practicing on my skills.  Recently my friend, Nadine, wrote a nice post on waxing.  After reading her article and watching some YouTube videos, I thought that waxing might be a worth a try.  I ordered everything I need and will have to try it out in the following weeks.

I’ll take it slow and see how it goes.  It might be a while before I work up to waxing the whole body, and I’ll have to see how my wife reacts to it.  She’s mentioned in the past that she likes all that body hair, and I have to think about the balance.  Is it fair to take away something she likes about me?  If I were hairless, I might love going to the pool, or the beach.  We’ll just have to wait and see how it works out.

I hope you all had a great weekend,

Katie

Time to get my hands dirty…with makeup!

As many of you know, I love makeup.  I love the transformative properties it provides along with the artistic creativity it affords me.  I’ve been working on my skills with makeup for nearly three years now and it seems to be getting me noticed.  I’ll be the first one to tell you that I am by far not a professional makeup artist, and will admit to the fact that I think I’m quite average when it comes to makeup.  With that being said I’ve received many compliments from people all over the place, and recently my friend Hanna has suggested that I give a little rundown on my routine.  So here we go…

Before we get too deep into the post, let me talk a little about the tools of the trade.  If you’re just starting out with makeup, it’s probably a good idea to stick with cheap options, such as using swabs or cheap brushes for applying eyeshadows, and using drugstore brands of makeup.  As you get the hang of it, you can then move up and invest in a nice set of brushes and makeup.  Another basic tip, YouTube!!!  I learned almost everything I know from it, and so can you!

After getting a close shave and finding a confortable place to sit, I usually start of first with my eyes (I usually make a mess with eyeshadows).  I start with a primer base (Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion), and then I start my work with the Urban Decay Naked palette (around $50, a heck of a deal for what you get), for a bold natural eye makeup look. DSC_0089

I usually start with a white eyeshadow and brush that up from the inner corner up to the brow for a highlight color.  Then I take a light gold color for the inner eye, and gradually change to darker shades as I work myself to the outer eye.  Then I take a dark color, and with a blending brush, blend that color from the outside corner towards the inner corner along the crease of the eye.Untitled-1

I use a MAC Kohl pencil (in Feline) to line the bottom and smudge the line with a pencil brush.   I then use the same pencil to color in my bottom and top waterline (the top is not necessary and tough to do), followed by MAC blacktrack gel liner for the inner eye (I get the pointy thin line in the inner corner by using a thin brush I bought at a crafts store, cheap way to go, oh…and a ton of practice).Untitled-2

I finish up the eyes with a brow pencil (I use a thin brush to blend out the color along the brown and fill it in), lashes, and some mascara.Untitled-3

After applying some lotion, and a base primer (MAC Perp+Prime), it’s time for the foundation (MAC studio fix fluid).  Since I am quite pale, I have a noticeable line of foundation at the bottom of my neck, which I blend out into my upper chest with the lightest shade of foundation I could find.  This gives me a nice transition from the face, to the neck, and to the body.  I follow this up with Dermablend along my beard area, which does wonders to coverup the noticeable beard shadow.  I finish up the foundation with a translucent powder to set the foundation.Untitled-4

Next up: contouring.  This is most dramatically used by drag queens to shape their faces, but I tone it down quite a bit for an everyday look.  You can search for YouTube videos to explain how to contour the face.  I use a MAC blush palette to help shape the face, the nose, and the cheeks, using a light color for the highlight, and some shades of brown to create depth.Untitled-5

To finish things up, I add a little blush, line my lips, chose a nice lipstick, and don my wig to wrap it up, at least for the makeup, there’s still an outfit to choose…DSC_0087

Have a great week everyone! Love,

Katie