Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My Outfit - Cute Dress

Dress - White House Black Market - Similar @ WHBM - @ Amazon
Scarf - ?? - Similar
Leggings - White House Black Market - Similar @ WHBM - @ Amazon
Booties - Madden Girl - Similar @ Amazon - @ DSW

Wow, I have no idea what I was doing when I wore this outfit, but I do know, I really like it!  It is a very simple dress from WHBM that is super comfy.  It also has a wonderful texture to it.  I really like texture, if you don't know.  Well, and of course, I really like black and white.  So there is that.  Plus, the pattern on the dress is super cute.  It is little flower plants printed all over it.  Totes adorbs!

Recently I did something that I found to be super amusing, I did a massive spring cleaning of my wardrobe.  Well, it isn't really spring time anymore is it?  Not with temps around here getting into the 100s.  Anywho - I do like to go through my clothes somewhat frequently and rid myself of the excess baggage hanging in my closet and hiding in my drawers.  I ended up getting rid of about three to four bags of old items.  But that was not the amusing part.  The amusing aspect was in trying to determine if my outfits could work for this next school year. 

I am still quite undecided as to how I will chose to be presenting this coming school year.  Some days I am set solidly on going dressed in a far more female manner, while other days I think, oh hell no!  Time will tell for sure.  However, while going through my closet it did become kind of a thing to look at each item and decide if it was work appropriate or not.  How many outfits do you think I got up to?  The answer is about fifty to sixty. 

Yup, at least fifty to sixty different outfits that I could wear to work without repeats.  Wow!  I mentioned to my wife that I think I have been planning all along to go to work wearing these outfits.  When she questioned me as to why I said that, she seemed surprised and said, "I thought you just liked nice clothes."  Well sure, I do like nice clothes, but why exactly is it that I have such a large collection of outfits that are super work appropriate?  Hmmm... makes me wonder for sure!

So, uh, yeah, there you go! 

Love you!

Love yourselves!

(I super hope you are trying to love yourselves, I really do!)

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Minor Massive Fear

It was with a weird disconnected calm that I heard my wife describe the horror I had been dreading since 2010.  A student came up to her and described how all of the students were talking about that I had been discovered online.  They apparently found my Facebook page which led them here to this little ol blog of mine.  At one point in my life this would have been awesomely devastating for the two of us, at least mentally.  I am sure that it would have sent me into a frenzied attempt to remove my online presence and erase all evidence that is the horror of being transgender.  

But on that day, I listened with a bemused sort of disinterest.  So much has changed.  So much will continue to change.  Currently I am finding myself in a location that I never came close to imagining.  Almost daily I question myself as to if I have determined an answer to my most recent work question - how will I present this next school year and what will I expect for people to call me, most importantly the students.  My answer to that question for now is - I have no idea.  

Thus it is that I find myself pondering future potentials and I view my students finding out that I am transgender as being inevitable.  Of course really, when I look at my day to day appearance, if anyone doesn't already know that I am transgender then they clearly aren't looking.  You really don't even need to look all that close.  

Recently I attached my legal last name to my Facebook name.  Once I did that, I figured it was only a matter of time before I would be discovered online.  Funny enough I have yet to attach my legal last name, or my upcoming legal last name to this blog.  I don't know if I will ever .  I like the name of Nadine Spirit to be my nom de plume.  It was created specifically to use while blogging.  I used it for awhile in being out and about, but I never did feel much of an attachment to it.  Now my current pending legal last name will be __________________.  I don't yet think I will attach it here.  I have no issue with anyone here knowing my legal name, if you know me on Facebook, then you already know my name.  Yay!  It's so exciting, right?  Yeah, but really my legal last name is something super distinct.  It's not like Brown, or Smith, a name that has a million people with it.  Nope.  My legal last name is pretty unique.  So unique that, fun fact, apparently if you meet anyone in the US with that same last name, we are part of the same family line.  Wow, another exciting tid bit right?  Oh yeah!

Focus here cutie!  Right, this post was supposed to be about freaking out about my students discovering my deeply hidden giant obvious secret that I have been putting on almost full display for about the past five to ten years.  So yeah, I can say that I felt a disconnect from hearing the news from my wife.  Almost a nonchalance about it.  An eh, whatever, sort of flippant-ness.  

The reality of teaching middle school however can be a brutal heartless agony.  It isn't always.  Sometimes it's the most amazing job on the planet and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I've been doing it for 21 years, so I think there is something about it that I love.  Call me crazy, but it's true.  

However, that whole brutal heartless agony thing can be a real killer.  Thus it was that my wife and I braced ourselves for our possible demise as we walked into work the next day.  It really wasn't me that I was worried about, it was mainly for my wife.  I teach math.  She teaches Language Arts.  Who would you talk to while growing up, the math human or the English human?  Well I will tell you that for every one student who approaches me with a potential conversation she has about a hundred of them.  

In Language Arts, you talk about things like emotion and such.  In math, we just don't do that.  And further more when you do, it makes the students uncomfortable.  Very uncomfortable.  Thus it really never happens.  But it is almost a minute by minute occurrence for my wife.  That's they way it goes it is what it is and there isn't much that can or should be done about it.  As well, with being a public school teacher, you need to understand that we are contract employees.  We are contracted to do a specific job, and my job is to teach math, not for me to talk about transgender issues.  But another fun fact - we can answer just about any question a student asks.  I can talk about transgender issues, if the student initiates the conversation.  

So we braced ourselves for a potential onslaught of hysterical students clamoring with muddled rumors of the teacher they found online that is dressed in a far more feminine manner than they are used to.  I tried to be supportive of my wife and offer her any assistance or thoughts that might help her, but at the start of the day we each had to go our separate ways off to our own classrooms.  

Within moments of arriving into my room, as is usual I dove into my work and soon forgot about the potential looming doom approaching me.  And so it was that it wasn't really until about 2nd period that I remembered.  I had to giggle.  Nothing had happened, nor was happening.  My students were working on their various projects, seemingly oblivious to the supposed furiously flying rumors about their transgender teacher. 

Our morning break came quickly that morning and I anxiously awaited news of what the day had wrought for my wife.  She came into the lounge with a smile on her face and was contentedly talking with another colleague about some chit-chatty topic.  When she sat down next to me I gave her that raised eyebrow look and asked her how her morning had been.  She said it had been fine but did not continue or give any hint of what that particular use of the word "fine" actually meant.  I pressed further and asked her if she had any interesting conversations that morning.  And she replied that she hadn't but that she was still a bit concerned about what the rest of the day would bring.  

I wished her my best at the end of break and returned to my room pondering to myself about just what the rest of the day would bring.  It actually took until after 4th period for something to finally happen.  I was in my room during the passing time between class periods.  A student yelled into my room, my pending legal first name, Kelly.  A student waiting in my room for class to begin told me she thought it was disrespectful as I went to the door to see if I could determine the culprit.  

Nobody unusual was outside my door.  Nothing was happening.  Just the one saying of my name from some anonymous student.  And then it struck me and I smiled, they thought they were being mean, when in reality they were actually using my name, well pending name.  Sure they, as a student at the school, shouldn't be using my first name, but it is undeniable that I smile whenever anyone calls me Kelly.  I took note of who I thought may have said it for future reference but that was it.  

As it turns out, that was all that happened.  To me or to my wife.  Not one other word of it was spoken to me or her.  Hmmmmm....... kind of a let down, huh?  I mean, no not really.  It was actually an amazing gloriously awesome sauce thing!  But, to brace yourself for so long for the inevitable super drama headed towards you as a freight train towards an ant, and then for basically nothing to happen it can kind of spin one for a loop.  

Jules and I spoke about it on the way home.  We were both pretty pleased with how our day had actually gone and how different it was from what we feared it may have been.  We did remind each other that now that this news is out, there is no telling how far it may spread.  There is no knowing what may happen from day to day with young teenagers, you just have to roll with it and sometimes figure it out on the run.  Literally, figuring it out while running to them or from them or just to the restroom between classes!  Haha. 

Surely since then things must have happened, right?  Well no, they have not.  It is now summer break, everybody is signed out and gone.  And nope, not one other thing was said to my wife or me.  I heard some rumors of conversations happening around me, but what is middle school without rumors?  What's the fun in that?  

Will I still be paranoid about some massive unseen meteor of doom headed my way?  Well, yeah, for sure.  I have yet to determine if I am going to go to work next school year dressed in a far more feminine manner or not.  I have not determined if they will be told to reference as Mrs. _____ or not.  Why do you think that is?  Because I am so steadfastly confident?  Ha!  Um, no.  Because I am completely freaking terrified!  Terrified of what may lay waiting for me in its infinite horror.  So there is that.

Um, yeah, there you have it.  Shall we review here for a moment?  For the past twenty one years I have been terrified of my students finding out, they found out, and basically nothing happened.  

Not what I thought.  

So not what I thought.  

See, middle schoolers aren't all bad!  They're actually just a bunch of softies.  (I keep trying to tell myself!)


Love you!!

Love yourself!

The photos are all taken of another art piece I did with my students this year.  This was done about 6 or 7 months ago.  Think I have been hiding all that much?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Paper Mache Penguin

This school year I have had the amazing opportunity to teach an applied mathematics course where we have used mathematics concepts to create art.  This post is about a project that I made for the students to learn the process of using proportional reasoning to create a large scale paper mache object.

I didn't have a Teddy Bear while growing up, I had a stuffed penguin.  I slept with that penguin forever.  Eventually it acted as a pillow that I would use to prop up my shoulder.  As an adult now I still.... no, I don't sleep with a stuffed penguin, but I do sleep with a small pillow that does what my penguin used to.  Funny.  Anywho..... suffice to say, I've got an affinity for penguins!  Thus when I set out to create a larger than usual paper mache object, of course I chose a penguin.  I've done several paper mache projects over the years, however this is by far the largest of them.  I think that it ended up being about three to four feet tall.

The process is fairly simple.  Step 1 - create a frame from chicken wire.  Theoretically you could use just about anything for your inner form, but chicken wire is easily shaped.  A downfall however is that it is easily bent out of shape.  This was a fact I would have liked to have known later in the process.  So, I would suggest if you do use chicken wire, it might be best if you support it from within somehow.

Step 2 - once you have an inner structure in the vague shape of what you are trying to create, then begins the actual paper mache.  I used simple liquid starch and newspaper.  Cut up strips of newspaper, place it into a bowl of starch, and apply it to the form.  With the first layer I like to kind of work it into the chicken wire.  That kind of helps the paper to stick to the chicken wire.  The first layer is kind of tricky, so I would suggest to do a single layer and let it dry.  After the first layer is good and dry, generally at least 24 hours later, then go with more layers.  If you plan on doing step 3, I would suggest you use many layers of newspaper.  An estimate for this project is about thirty to forty layers applied fairly evenly over the entire structure.

Step 3 - cover the entire object using paper mache clay.  The are many recipes online for super nice recipes.  However being as this was a school project, I needed something inexpensive, and easy for students to do.  Thus my process if pretty simple.  Soak newspaper in water for 24 hours.  Blend the newspaper into pulp.  Strain most of the water from the paper, squeezing it from the paper.  Hand knead in salt and flour.  If you add more flour and less water, it will be more like a stiff bread dough, or even like a thick clay.  If you add more water to the mix it will be more like a thick chunky pudding.

So, how much of each?  Hmmm..... I never measured it!  Each batch ended up being about the same amount as a batch of cookies does.  Does that help?  No?  How about four to six cups or so of drained paper pulp, one to two cups of flour, and about a half cup of salt.  Or thereabouts.  Seriously, this is me just guessing at the amounts.

Once you have your clay, then spread it onto your object.  This part is where it gets a bit tricky.  The clay is super heavy.  It will easily bend unsupported chicken wire.  So a good inner form is kind of important.  You could also do lots of layers of the starch and newspaper and then apply the clay in only small sections.  The wetter your clay is the more important having an inner support structure is important.  I found it best to do a very thick clay with as little water as I could get away with.  This made it tough to spread on, but it didn't affect my inner structure as much.

During this stage, of spreading on clay, you want to focus on creating the features you want to be visible in the final stages.  My mixture set almost like a mix between plaster and cement.  It is pretty tough stuff.  And it made my project more and more heavy.  I did use lots of layers.  The initial paper covered form was not nearly as round as I wanted it.  Thus I built up much of the roundness with the clay.

When you have reached the final layer of clay that you want to do, then focus on texture.  I applied the clay, smoothed it into place, wet my hands and ran them over the wet clay.  That helped to smooth things out.

Step 4 - wow, step 3 was long huh?  I used home construction quick dry plaster and covered the penguin entirely in plaster.

Step 5 - I sanded the penguin with several different power sanding tools.

Step 6 - I painted my object using a white primer paint.  This worked pretty well, however in some areas the paint cracked.  Thus I filled in those areas with a super light mix of the quick dry plaster.  I painted it on with a sponger brush and lightly sanded those spots.

Step 7 - I used acrylic paints to apply the final colors.

After that, I have just enjoyed my big new pal!  I think he is absolutely adorable!  Most of my students have agreed as well.

I think he will become my new classroom mascot!  I can have that, can't I?  My school has a mascot, so why can't I have a classroom mascot?  Pretty sure I can.  I'm going to go for it.

Okay.  That's it.  Thanks for being here!

Love you!

Love penguins!

Love folk art!!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

My Outfit - Short Hair!!

Hair - Jon Renau - Cameron Large - @ Amazon - @ Wilshire Wigs
Top - Calvin Klein - Similar @ Amazon
Pants - 7 For All Mankind - Slim Cigarette - Similar @ 7 For All Mankind @ Amazon
Tank - Guess - Similar @ Amazon
Shoes - New Balance - Similar @ Amazon

This was the outfit that I chose to wear for the Visalia Pride Festival.  It was only the 2nd time that Visalia has had this event, and I didn't go the 1st time.  Thus it was that I had no idea what to expect.  My vague notion was, food, information, drag shows, and people.  I just wanted to wear something that was comfy and I wouldn't mind sitting on the ground in.  Overall I thought this outfit worked.  It was cute, comfy, and not too fancy.

A bonus was that when we were pulling out of our house I noticed that the mail had been delivered.  I crossed my fingers with the thought that maybe, just maybe, the new wig I purchased would be sitting in there. And it was!!! 

I have been looking at some other options that might be more work friendly, eeek!!!  This one is actually the most expensive wig I have ever purchased.  It retails for about $420.  Funny price, but it is not the one that I actually paid.  First I got it from Wilshire Wigs, who generally does a 30%, or so, discount per month.  That took off quite a bit of the cost.  Then I used money that I make through some of my side ventures, like Teachers Pay Teachers.  I ended up only paying about $120 out of my pocket.  Sweet!! 

A good number of years ago I had a wig that was as short, possibly shorter, than this one.  I may have had more than one.  Most of my first wigs were super cheap, like in the $50 range cheap.  And no I am not saying inexpensive, they were downright cheap!  Cheap in cost, and cheap looking!  Eventually through trial and error I found some wigs that actually look fairly decent.  But I left behind the notion that I could look good with short hair.

Long hair is so nice in that it helps to change the appearance of features that maybe some of us would rather not have.  Short hair is less of a mask and can reveal much more of a human.  So, maybe I have been afraid of short hair.  But I will tell you that long hair is a pain in the butt on occasion.  I do love my long hair, but it is hard to care for, especially in wig form!  The tangles and pulls are super challenging to deal with.  So it is that I decided to try for an easier to care for style. 

Overall I like the look.  It is totally different then my long hair, but I think it is still cute.  And in wearing it throughout the day at Pride, it worked just fine.  The only thing about it is that as with most hair, it liked to get into my mouth as I was attempting to eat some tacos.  Mmmmm, yum, mouth hair! 

Okie dokie, that's about it humans!  Oh, one last thing, I did enjoy my first Pride festival.  Nothing out of the ordinary happened.  I did think to myself on more than one occasion, wow I am so normal!  I mean this as no offense to anyone else, but I have always thought I am super strange for being transgender and presenting the way that I do.  But on this day, at this event, my wife and I were some of the most vanilla people there.  I think we got more looks from people wondering why we were even at a Pride event, than people wondering who was the "dude dressed as a woman!"  Funny.

Love you!

Love yourselves! 

Loving short hair!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Artsy Hat - Sharpie Tie Dye

I have been searching for a nice feminine hat and have been disappointed by the available selections.  Sure there are quite a few baseball caps out there that are pretty cute, however I really like to wear wide brim hats.  Remember that whole skin cancer thing I mentioned awhile back?  Well I keep imagining them having to take that kind of slice out of my face and yikes that is some scary shit!  So, yeah, the least I can do is to wear a good hat, right?

For some time I have seen various Sharpie tie-dye projects on the web.  I teach a 3D art class this year and am always on the lookout for cool projects.  This is one I have been wanting to try and this was the perfect opportunity to go for it.

The first step was to practice on something that I didn't care about ruining!  Thus paper towels to the rescue.

The process is pretty basic.  Take your fabric, stretch it over something, or not, and begin drawing.  You draw a small circle of dots with Sharpies (or some other permanent marker.)  Or a large circle.  Or a triangle.  Or anything you want!  It is really pretty simple.  I tried out numerous different things.  It was only paper towel so what did I have to lose?  Nothing!

After I had practiced a bit and had an idea of what I wanted to do, I began working on my hat.  Being as it is such an odd shaped item, and I wanted some sort of consistent look to the blobs, I put it on top of a jar.  I covered the top of the jar with plastic wrap, then placed the hat on top, and stretched a thick rubber band around it all.

I drew what I wanted to, starting with blue.  After I did a bunch of the blue ones in the sort of pattern I wanted it in, I then began working in other colors.  As you can see, I kept one of my test strips nearby to give me inspiration.  I also did some test spots on the white paper I was working on.  This also shows the colors I was working with.  They are the five near the heat gun in the upper right quadrant of the photo.  On the paper I tried out some other colors whose colors did not seem to bleed very well and thus I decided to not use them, like the black for instance.

Once you have stretched your fabric how you want it, and you have drawn your design, you then slowly drip rubbing alcohol from an eye dropper.  I suppose you could use anything to drip the alcohol, but it should be something you can control.  A small amount of alcohol will spread the ink a small amount.  A larger amount and a larger blob will form.  Be cautious though as too much alcohol may not give you the effect that you want.

The other tool that I used was the heat gun.  I would drip the alcohol and then use the heat gun to control how far the drip spread.  By applying some heat you can make the spread slow or stop.  But be careful to not burn your clothes in the process!  The other nice thing about using the heat gun is that it helps to set the color into the fabric.

After I was done coloring the top of the hat, I used the same process for the chin strap.  Overall I think it came out looking pretty cool!  I impressed myself and have enjoyed wearing this hat since I completed it.

Oh one more thing was that I also tossed the hat into the drier after I was finished and ran it for awhile trying to further help set the colors.

Oh as well - be cautious about moving the garment you are dying.  If the spot is not dry, it will smear onto anything it touches.  The strap was really particular about that last part.  Being as it is quite thick it took extra long to dry and the heat gun got super close to singing it.

Hope you give it a whirl!

Seriously, try it out.

Even if on just a piece of paper.

Art is fun.

Art is love!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

My Outfit - Lovely Blue Patterned Tunic

Top - White House Black Market - Similar @ Amazon - @ WHBM
Leggings - White House Black Market - Similar @ Amazon @ WHBM
Belt - ?? - Similar

I got major compliments on this outfit when I wore it the other day to group therapy.  Though I didn't wear the hair during group.  I decided to go for comfort instead of style.  That has been a recent theme for me as of late - comfort over style.  I'm not 100% sure that I actually like that new philosophy!  Ha!

Though it is not super obvious from these photos, I am pretty matchy-matchy in this outfit.  So..... well the tunic has blue, black, white, and a cream color in it, which the leggings of course go with, being as they are black and all!  Then the shoes are my super cute blue polka-dot wedge sandals, which go with my black and white polka-dot finger and toe nails.  During therapy I also had on a black beanie with rhinestones covering it.  So..... I was pretty matchy-matchy!  And I loved it!

Group went well, though I would have to say that my wife would most likely say I was feeling feisty!  I am not so sure if that was the case, but I am relaxing for sure at group.  I am slowly trying to force myself to be confident even when I am not.  Which is a struggle!  I may come off as pretty darn out-going and confident, but really that is all cover for the truth - which is I am often super insecure and anxiety ridden.  Typically my worst moments are after I have gotten through something - I will then spend, hours, days, months, years, and yes occasionally even decades worrying that I totally fucked up something.

What do I have going for me?  An abundance of bravery.  It is only through my bravery that I have been able to accomplish anything.  I am still a bit concerned about this, and am trying to deal with it.  But I also have come to an understanding, bravery has to come before confidence.  One must be brave to face their fears, and after proving oneself capable, repeatedly, then comes confidence.

Seems simple.  Too bad it's not as easy as it sounds!  For to brave sometimes takes an unbelievable amount of strength.  I believe in us fellow humans.  We can muster that courage.  We can find the strength.  We can be brave.

Love you!

Love yourself!

Go forth and be brave my loved ones!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

My Hair

On occasion I receive compliments on my hair.  I really appreciate the thoughts but I also feel super guilty and almost immediately have to tell people that it isn't actually my real hair.  It is something that I need to stop doing.  Who cares if people know that it is my real hair or not, right?  

I suppose I am the only one who really cares and ultimately it is a result of having not voluntarily given up my hair.  Alas there are many things that continually bum me out about the lasting effects of testosterone, and a huge one has got to be the loss of my hair.  If you don't know, losing one's hair is typically a result of testosterone converting to DHT (dihydrotestosterone,) it can also come about in females from DHEA and testosterone also converting to DHT. Exciting stuff, huh?  Oh boy! It is interesting that while baldness typically affects men, it is also a problem for many women.  Bummer! 

Point being, if I had started estrogen and spiro oh so long ago, like anywhere before age 18 or so, I would most likely have super luxurious hair today!  Okay, maybe not, but I'd have more hair than what I have today.  Wanna see?  Okay, here ya go.

That was my senior photo.  I was eighteen at the time.  Like the color?  Well it is sort of natural.  I spent so much time swimming in pools and at the beach, the salt and chlorine would totally bleach out my hair.  Personally I really liked the color.  I think occasionally I assisted the sun with some Sun-In or peroxide.  But generally that color is what I consider my natural hair color to be.  

I think this whole hair thing has got to be funny for people that have met me within the last fifteen to twenty years.  That is about how long it has been since I shaved it all off.  People have asked me on occasion as to why I don't grow it out again.  If I could, I would.  Seriously.  It is not super noticeable how much hair loss I have when I keep it cut super short - like no guard on the clippers short.  But if it grows for more than a week or two, you clearly see the typical male pattern baldness toilet seat pattern.  

Alrighty, anywho - I have no hair unless I wear my wig.  But, if I did have hair, it would be close to the same color as the wigs I chose to wear.  Which is one of the things about my wig style and color that helps to make my hair look a bit more natural.  Oh and also the fact that I buy rather expensive-ish wigs.  They are Jon Renau, one is the Zara, and the other is the Amber.  I do however have a rather largish head and thus I will only purchase wigs that have specifically been made using a large wig cap.  This is a big issue.  Most males do have large-ish heads and standard sized wig caps just do not sit right on our heads.  It is not a matter of it just being too tight, it is the wrong size.  It looks a lot like a small baseball cap sitting on top of a Charlie Brown head.  Well, for me at least.  

Okie Dokie peeps!  I am outta here!  

Love you!

Love your hair!

Yes, even if it is "just" a wig.  Come on, every bodies doing it, right?!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Branching Out

A receipt?  Yup, a receipt.  This receipt is kind of special to me.  The sort of thing that if I were fifteen years old again it would go into my keepsake box and be stored away for too many years.  It is a bit of a marker.  It is the only piece of tangible evidence of me starting a new endeavor, public speaking.

I recently connected with a popular international public speaker, Jessica Lynn.  She came to one of my group therapy sessions as a guest speaker and mentioned that she was always looking for people to join her in speaking to people about our transgender lives.  It is something that I have always been interested in, but have yet to actually pursue it.

The receipt above is alas not from my first public speaking gig, but it is from the first time that I met with a college professor to have a private discussion about meeting with her students.  Her name is Debra Hansen and she is a psychology professor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California.  She is currently teaching a couple of courses that she frequently invites several transgender people to be a part of a panel.  Her students are then able to question the panel and the panel can answer the question if they feel like it.  

Yesterday when I met with her it was a bit of a vetting process.  While I had emailed with her a few times, and we had spoken on the phone, there is nothing like the connection that can be made in person.  You can really get a feel for a who a person is when you sit across from them in a small office and chat openly for about an hour.  

Can you suspect that I was super nervous?  Well I was.  Like usual.  A holdover from growing up with the ever present paranoia of someone finding out that I am actually transgender.  I wish I could just blink that away, but that just isn't reality now is it?  Nope.  To rid myself of the nervous jitters, I generally have to get out there and actually face me fears.  

And I was afraid.  I was literally shaking when I stopped into a restroom retreat just prior to meeting with her.  While sitting there I asked myself if I was this nervous in just meeting with a professor, what was going to happen when I would be presenting to an auditorium of humans?  Yikes!  

I used my unstoppable bravery and mustered up the courage to exit the restroom and find my way to her office.  And what happened upon that fateful meeting?  Uh, we hit it off just fabulously!  We chatted and chatted easily allowing more than an hour to go by.  Our conversation was so enjoyable we continued it down the hall and out the building as we walked together to my car, and to her auditorium.  Auditorium?  Yeah she was off to rehearsal for a play she is in.  Exciting, huh?  I think so, I so enjoyed being in plays when I was younger.  

It was yet another awesome experience that showed me, hey I can hold my own in a conversation, and I am generally a fairly personable human.  And as Jack Handy used to remark, gosh darn it, people like me!  

Another small step was taken.  Another small step that one day will lead me to stepping up and out and continuing to expand my ability to make connections.  For it is those small connections, that we all can make, that change the world.

Love you!

Love yourself!

Love connections with other humans!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Silly Work Outfit

Top - ?? - Similar @Amazon
Undershirt - Vetemin - @Amazon
Jeans - Levi Denizen - Modern Boot Cut - @Target
Shoes -  New Balance - Similar @Amazon
Beanie - FHeaven - Similar @Amazon
Belt -?? - Similar @Amazon

Well, I suppose it is time to come clean if I am going to be able to accurately describe the context of this outfit.  And besides, I don't really think it is going to affect my life one way or the other for the blog-o-sphere to know how I am employed.  So.... ready for it?  Here goes nothing - - I am a middle school math teacher! 

Crazy huh?  Well I think I am to have been working with this age group for over 20 years!  Yikes, am I really that old?  Why yes indeed I am! 

Okie dokie, so now that is officially out of the way, this past week we had spirit week for our upcoming standardized tests.  On Friday it happened to be "meme day."  I kept asking everyone, what exactly are you going to do for meme day and they kept explaining to me what a meme is.  Uh, sorry kiddos, I understand what a meme is, what I don't understand is how is someone supposed to dress as a meme??  Whatever, right? 

My wife and I each have a shirt with a funny little saying on it, so we decided to wear those for our meme spirit day.  My wife's shirt is a pig eating bacon, thinking to itself, "yummm."  Funny huh?  And you can obviously see what mine says.  If you don't know the meaning behind this saying, it is going against conforming to the norm.  I always think of it as the students are the penguins!  Ha! 

The day that I wore this outfit, it was about an hour or two into my work day when it occurred to me that I was dressed fully in female clothes!  Funny as it was the first time ever.  I normally wear pretty much exactly what is pictured, except for wearing a male work Polo shirt instead of the silly penguin shirt.  I thought it was also pretty darn interesting as I normally don't wear such a tight shirt to work.  You know, with the boobs and all, tight shirts are interesting!  Oh, but I was too lazy to shave on this morning, so I had a bit of a goatee! 

You may be wondering how exactly things go with dressing the way that I dress while teaching 7th and 8th grade students.  You know that lovely age from about 12 - 14!!  Ha!  Lovely!  That is funny!  Well I will let you know, if you don't already, typically middle school students are so super self conscious of themselves that they can barely focus on anything else.  Sometimes it is about half way through the school year before a student will loudly exclaim "wait, what, you paint your fingernails?!"  And then the whole class laughs, not at me, but at their fellow student! 

I once had a student directly ask why I dress the way that I do, and I told them that I do it to show them that it is okay to be different.  Many teachers tell them it is okay to be different, all while looking exactly the same as a typical teacher.  I tell them that even though at first I was terrified of being myself in front of them, that I do it because I am learning how to love myself for who I really am. 

Generally speaking after that conversation with my classes, they clap.  Yup, that is how awful the little buggers are!  Ha!  Seriously the students are awesome.  And yeah, I do work at a pretty rough school.  New teachers have been known to run scared from this place!  But as well, this is not the only school that I have worked at that I have been dressed in a mixed gender manner.  I think this is the 4th school.  And at no time have I received any negative feedback from my students.  They have questions for sure, but they accept my answers. 

So, um, yeah, there ya go!

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Seriously, give it a whirl!  Who knows, maybe you'll like it and start treating yourself better!


Friday, April 6, 2018

A Human Narrative

What do you picture when you hear the phrase "gang member?"  How about the phrase "founding member of a gang?"  How about hearing someone explain to you, in person, standing not five feet away, that they have possibly taken the lives of human beings in the commission of crimes?  And yes it was left open as to the exact number.  I got the feeling that possibly not even he knew the exact count. 

So?  How about it?  Thoughts on who this human being is?  A pleasant one?  One that makes you think, hey you know what, this is the perfect person to come out to and explain that yeah, I am transgender.  

Whatcha think?  Sound like a good idea?  Does that sound like someone that you would picture as being tolerant?  What about warm and touching?  Well, without much fanfare, I will let you know that was exactly the conversation I had a while back.  I'm not so sure of when exactly it was, except it wasn't super recent.  Maybe a few months ago.  Maybe. 

I do know that back in February I did mention to you that I have been having some odd conversations as of late.  This particular one came about through the fact that I want people to know someone who is transgender.  I read somewhere that something like 80% of the American population does not personally know someone who is transgender.  That is a crime.  Those of us who are transgender seriously need to stop hiding.  It is easy to discriminate against a group of people that you personally have no connection to.  I want the people in my life to have a connection to the transgender world.  It is a small but vital thing those of us who are transgender can do to help out the entire world.  We need to put a face to this whole transgender thing.  We need cisgender people to feel some sort of personal connection to a word.

Moving on.....  So yeah, this guy I chose to speak to that day was pretty high on the list of people I assumed I would never speak to about transgender issues, let alone my own personal ones!  Eeek!  And the things I had heard about him certainly did not help me to feel comfortable about him either.  How about when one of my supervisors told me that we had one of the top three founding gang members working for us?  Yeah!  Not the first person you would chose to have the whole TG talk with right? 

Funny, as because in reality, yes he is all of those things, a gang member, an original founding member of the top gang in our area, a possible murderer, and a felon.  Yet he is also, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an artist, a hard worker, and one hell of a nice human being.  But if you can't get past the lack of formal education, the time he has spent in prison, the actions he has taken, the obvious gang tattoos covering most of his body, you'd never get the opportunity to learn who this human being is.  

Isn't it more than a bit ironic that is what most of us who are transgender are actually looking for?  For people to see who were are on the inside and stop judging us by our outside shells?  Hmmm..... Yeah.  

Of course I had the conversation with him.  We see each other almost every day at work.  Not for long, but for long enough for us to have a few moments to converse.  One day, kind of out of the blue in my recollection, I told him that I am transgender and that I am taking estrogen. 

He had super thoughtful comments.  One of them was explaining to me how he had a friend in prison who transitioned while in prison.  I was floored by that and asked how in the world a person gets those types of meds in prison.  He explained that you can get almost anything you want while in prison if you are able to pay for it.  I explained that I thought it was sad that this TG human had to exist as a female in a male prison.  Damn. 

He also shocked me when he confided that one of his cousins is transgender.  It turns out that he is super sad because his cousin disappeared for a long time and nobody knew why.  Eventually he got a hold of his cousin and that was when his cousin explained that he was transgender and was transitioning.  He told his cousin that he better come by and begin reconnecting with everybody.  The cousin came over, and everybody was super supportive of her.  Did I explain, besides the whole gang member thing, that we are talking about one of those huge, extended, Hispanic, Catholic families?  Well yeah, there's that as well!  

It was again just one incident in what is becoming a vast number of them that made me shake my head at myself for ever being so foolish to think that I can't be honest with my fellow human beings.  One of the huge things for me was another conversation with this gentleman where he explained how freaked out he was about people finding out about him, his past, and who he once was -- I swear I thought he was going to explain he was transgender!!  If you know transgender humans, that is like our narrative!

Or so I thought.  Apparently, it is not a transgender narrative, it is a human narrative.  We as humans are typically so in need of human contact, and so fearful of being shunned by the herd, that we are terrified to tell anybody who we really are.  It's a sad existence.  I know not everybody suffers this way, but a vast number of us do for sure!  And this coworker of mine, he has apparently been terrified of people finding out that he was a gang member, and had been to prison.  He was afraid that if anybody knew the truth they wouldn't want to have anything to do with him.

Regardless of his past, of who he used to be, he is trying to be someone different.  He has made a vow to his wife, that with his first two kids he spent too much time in prison and missed much of their lives.  So when she had two more children about ten years back, he said he was done, and would never go back to prison again.  And he did it the right way.  He cleaned up his act.  He was able to barely find employment, but he did it, and he has kept his word.  Eventually a judge ordered his record be expunged and he was eventually able to find decent employment, which is how he and I eventually were able to have this seemingly odd meet up and conversation.  

In reality that conversation was exactly the one that needed to be had for we were two people who were both suffering in the exact same way.  It was such a mind blowing moment for me to realize that two humans who have had such vastly different paths in life were able to share the exact same insecurities.  

Shocking.  Seriously.  Shocking.  Well, for me at least. 

It was yet another incident that is slowly but completely changing my opinion of just who exactly my fellow human beings are.  

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Only then can you love each other!

Oh and by the way - the art pictured at the top of the post was a gift to my wife and I from the gentleman I had this conversation with.

Photo Credits:

Monday, March 26, 2018

My Outfit - White Sweater

Sweater - White House Black Market - Similar @ Amazon (at least it looks soft and fluffy!)
Scarf - No Idea - Similar @ Amazon or Similar @ Amazon
Jeans - 7 For All Mankind - Similar @ 7 For All Mankind - Similar @ Amazon
Booties - Madden Girl (Farrley) - @ Famous Footwear @ Amazon 

This is such a plain sweater but it does actually have a very small embellishment on it.  You can't see it in any of the pictures that I took, so you'll just have to take my word on it.  It has a small black bow on the upper right shoulder.  It's at least a little somethin-somethin to make it look a bit different than most.

Oh, and it is super soft!  I am super into texture, if I haven't mentioned that to y'all yet I will take this opportunity to toss that out there.  I think my affinity for texture comes from color blindness, blue-green, and my love of black and white.  So, yeah, textures can seal the deal, or kill it off entirely.

Alright, thrilling, I know!  The thing about this sweater though, as with many sweaters, it is a bit bulky and boxy.  Thus when I put it on for this outfit, I knew that I hand to find the right way to belt it.  But none of my many regular belts worked.  Which is exactly why I keep my hanger with my scarfs right next to my belts.  Sometimes, they work so perfectly, like this black and white polka-dot one.  I love the way that it pops when combined with this sweater.

Getting opportunities to get out used to be such a special occasion for me that I could remember each one as an individual piece of joy and happiness.  Funny, as now that dressing in my preferred manner is pretty much a daily occurrence, each particular day is not so special, it is just ordinary and common.  In one way the magic has seemingly faded, but in reality it has simply spread to my entire existence, which is actually way more cool.  Hmm.... is that just a fancy way of saying, I have no idea what I was doing when I wore this outfit??  Hmmm.... Maybe!!!

Okie dokie!  Love you!

Love yourselves!

Love scarfs as fabulous accessories!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Hiya Dermatologist, Yup They're Boobs

That morning I had to giggle as I was getting ready.  I was taking a half day at work so that I could visit the dermatologist.  What had me giggling was thinking back to a day, oh so long ago, that I was worried about wearing women's underwear to the doctor's office.  I mean, what if they found out?  What if they were to somehow find out that I was wearing women's underwear!  Oh the horror, the horror!!  At one point in my life I actually felt that way, and yet on this day, I had to laugh.  Pretty much everything I chose to wear was purchased in the women's department.

Oh and let's not forget that I am growing breasts.  Yeah, that is kind of a difficult thing to hide when one is going to the dermatologist for a full-body mole check!  Ha! Err, there is also the little thing of my dermatologist having updated information about which medications I am taking, which happens automatically!  So, uh, yeah, there's that.

Okay then..... onward!

I made it to the dermatologist that afternoon and after being led into the room, and being asked to disrobe for the doctor, I found myself pondering what sort of lovely paper garment the nurse had set out for me.  Would she give me the standard paper blanket, or now that I am obviously showing my transgender status, will I have been promoted to the breast covering, backwards opening, lovely paper robe?

Alas, I received the paper blanket.  I briefly pondered wrapping myself up in the blanket and then thought, no, that would be a bit too over the top.  Besides, I really don't have a problem with nudity, even with my newly forming friends.  Though I did sit there, with my boobs out, getting a bit irritated at the growing thought that they surely would not have a cisgender woman sitting there with her breasts out.  I've spoken to my wife about these things and she has assured me that this sort of thing has never happened to her.

The doctor came in and we chatted for a bit about the little things in life.  She performed her exam and I asked her about a spot on my breast.  It was a red spot that appeared to be a bit like an ingrown hair.  It was something that I spoke to her about a couple of years prior and she kind of dismissed it.  Well, now that I happen to posses an actual thinking brain, I was determined to stand up for myself and not allow her to blow me off.  I calmly, but insistently, explained my concern for this spot.

Okay, brief interlude - if you do not already know, back about 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with a level 2 melanoma on my right breast.  I had plastic surgery to remove it and to make sure my nipples stayed aligned, ha!  Thanks Kaiser!  I did everything I was supposed to do, and have continued since as well.  I have had more moles removed than I can count, and most of the scars have faded away, and thankfully, I have never had any signs of cancer since.

All that to say, yeah, no, the spot on my left breast was not of the cancerous, scary kind, it was of the hey this stupid red spot is really annoying and bugging me, can't we please do something about it kind.  Which the dermatologist heard and quickly said, "okay then, let's do a small punch and remove it."  Which, if you don't know, is where she uses a device to cut a small circle in and down a bit.

She explained the procedure to me and why she thought it was appropriate.  I immediately asked her about scarring.  She sort of blew me off and said, "oh well it won't be anywhere near as bad as that scar."  I know that she had no idea of how badly she made me just feel as she motioned to the scar above my right breast.  The scar from the cancer removal, the scar that I will have to live with for the rest of my life, directly above my right nipple.  Thanks doc!

With my mind spinning while contemplating this, I calmly said to her, "I want you to know that I am transgender.  As well, I have been taking estrogen since last July.  I am telling you this, as I want you to know that this area,"  I motioned to my breasts, "is very important to me."

It is in these types of moments that show the really important difference in me since starting to take estrogen.  In the past I never seemed to be able to articulate myself well in times of stress.  I would always sort of short circuit and unfortunately often all I would feel was a rising sense of frustration and anger.  Now though, it is as if the world has slowed and I have all the time in the world to calmly, rationally, converse with clarity.  Ha! That's funny, me with clarity!  I know that to many it often does not come off that way, but trust me the shit that is rattling around up in that noggin of mine is far more clear than it ever has been!

Anywho..... After giving my doctor the "official transgender speech,"  I watched as she slowed down and began absentmindedly repeating her previous examination of the area she was contemplating cutting into.  Then it all clicked for her.  She wasn't talking to a man about his manly chest, and his manly scars, she was talking to a woman about her breasts.  Not just that, but talking with a woman, about cutting into her newly forming breasts and leaving her with stitches and a potential for a scar.

It was then that her entire demeanor changed.  She took many more looks at the area she was examining.  She looked at it from more angles.  And she told me that she was sure that I would be happier with the outcome than I was in trying to live with it.  Now that I knew she understood the gravity of the situation for me, and she reassured me that the scar would be very minimal, and look far better than the slow growing red blemish did now, I agreed to do the it. 

She began taking things out and prepping for the procedure.  I knew exactly what she was going to do.  I have already had it done numerous times to remove those pesky little moles I mentioned earlier.  She was pulling things out and seemed to be checking a mental list of needed items.  I didn't want to disturb her while she trying to get ready, but I knew I had to speak to her about the stupid little blanket they gave to me.

As she wrote a few notes down, I tried to come up with exactly when and what I should say, but she beat me to it and asked "Being as you are transgender, is there anything that we could be doing to make you more comfortable?"

I like my dermatologist.  She's a keeper!  I asked her if it was standard policy to give everyone the little paper blanket.  And she said yes.  Which kind of surprised me actually.  I was really thinking they had a shelf with folded up paper clothing items and one was labeled MALE and the other FEMALE.  Okay, so maybe not, but I still kind of assumed that they would give a robe version to women.

Apparently not!  My dermatologist explained that was the standard item given, but that anybody could request a robe if they prefer that.  She went on to say that there are many women who will only disrobe down to their underwear and bra, but that makes it a bit difficult to do a proper full body check.  Furthermore she explained that there are some men who refuse to undress, and will sit in the family member chair, fully clothed.  She then asked if there was something that I would prefer.  I explained that no, I am quite comfortable with my body, I would simply like to be offered the same thing as any other human.  Ultimately, both she and I think of humans as just that, humans.

She did understand though that I am a human who cares about the overall appearance of her breasts!  Taking that into consideration she deftly performed the procedure, removing the offender, and neatly places two tiny stitches into the incision.  She then said, "let's see what's in there....... yup, it's what I suspected, a sebaceous cyst."

This was the second removal of this nature, though the previous one was on my back, which my wife used to loving refer to as my volcano.  Lovely, huh?  Oh boy, the joys of being human!  These are things we don't really mention to kids.  Who wants to know this stuff???  Not I!

So.... there ya go!  I told her I am transgender, she understood the gravity of the situation, asked if she could be doing better, removed a cyst, and now it's healing.  Badda bing, badda boom, there ya go!  And I used to be afraid about wearing women's underwear!  Ha!  Silly little human!

Love you!

Love yourself!

Love dermatologists!

Photo credits: