Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blame It On Cosmo

I never thought I would feel this way; I assumed that I would not fall prey to the pitfalls.  We have all heard the stories and read the countless articles in Cosmo devoted to the subject.  We see the shtick on television, those painfully accurate lists of feminine idiosyncrasies.  From those to which I had not already succumbed, I thought I would be immune.  Oh how wrong was I!  I have encountered a significant catch twenty-two in my transition.  Since coming out of the closet, I have never spent so much time in my closet! 

I gave myself almost three full hours this morning to get ready.  I selected my outfit for today almost a week ago.  The morning should have been a no-brainer.  Yet an hour into preparation, I found myself standing amid piles of clothing torn from my drawers and closet thinking that I was just going to crawl back into bed and forget the whole ordeal. 

It started with a semi-legitimate issue.  My feet have been really dry and cracked lately, and wearing heels tends to aggravate that condition with painful results.  That wrinkle made the shoes I had picked for the day less than ideal.  I say this is a semi-legitimate issue (when have I ever let discomfort stand in the way of fashion, after all?), because what I was really thinking about was that I never made it to the nail salon yesterday, meaning that my toenail polish was in no condition for public display. 

So, as I am sure you all understand, once the shoes are out, then the top is in question.  This of course brings about the considerations of the jewelry, and whether the shorts I planned to wear were really going to work at all.  It is a vicious cycle, people.  After rummaging for WAY longer than should have been necessary, I settled on a simple black tank top and tennis shoes.  Hey, at least I wore the same shorts I originally planned! 

I know, I know – typical woman.  You know what though?  Despite my somewhat toned down look (and the fact that I wasted almost my entire prep window trying to pick out clothes), I think I looked pretty darn cute!  Next time we visit, I’ll tell you what the whole day was about in the first place.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Few Dollars More

Sometimes I question whether I really have the strength to see this transition through to full time; although, it may be the energy I lack more than the strength.  There are so many steps involved!  The name change alone involves multiple government organizations, piles of forms, and goodness knows how many dollars.  I have seen business start-ups that required less paperwork!  It makes me wish I could hire a “transition agent” to handle all the details.  Would that not be cool?

Of course, having the money to afford something like that would alone resolve most of the concerns that keep me awake at night.  Being able to rest at night rather than worry about transition would in turn give me the energy to deal with the BS that is ahead of me, so I guess that means the root of my problems is money.  That is a big surprise… hardly at all.  This is expensive!

I am currently seeing my counselor twice per month; though I could probably stand to see her weekly (the drive is painful enough, though).  Those visits plus the upcoming start of group sessions will cost me roughly $270 per month.  I am spending about $150 per month on laser, which I will soon supplement with electrolysis on my face.  That will probably add an additional couple hundred dollars per week.  Just those three items drive my cost to over $1,200 per month, which does not include fuel cost to make all the trips involved.  This also does not include hormones and other doctor visits, and it does not include saving for the big events – facial feminization and boobs.

If I stop paying my mortgage, take a second job, and exchange sleep for turning tricks at a truck stop, I may have the money for all of this by some time in late 2034.  Oh, and that is on the condition that I travel to Somalia for my surgeries AND bring my own instruments.  Tell me ladies, how in the world do we make this work, and secondly, would anyone like to buy a set of gently used testicles?  They are single owner and only driven to church on Sundays.

Seriously, I would love to read your thoughts on how we manage the fiscal nightmare of transition.  Please share.

Much love,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Challenging the Christian Embrace

Does any particular body, political, religious, or otherwise, hold the keys to kindness and respect?  I have a dear friend who believes that Christianity is exactly that key.  This friend complains that schools would be safer places for students if only bible study was still a part of the curriculum; that if students were compelled to participate in organized prayer, everyone would be nicer to each other.  I could not disagree more.  Consider the following:

One Christian pundit asserts that protecting the LGBT community from violence through hate-crimes legislation actually “poses the greatest single threat to religious free speech rights in America today.”  Really, not allowing someone to beat up fags is a violation of his freedom of expression.  I suppose that is true, but to be consistent, would it not also be within my right to express love for my lesbian partner through a marriage license?  This, of course, involves the consistent application of a principle (freedom of expression) – not central to most Christians’ arguments.  Read on:

Here is an entire Christian organization promoting the idea that equality is a privilege only for certain people (guess which people) - that if it cannot be rationalized via biblical logic, it must be wrong and therefore eradicated. Hidden among the more than prolific writings on this site (yes, I read several articles… without vomiting… barely) are suggestions that the effort to stop homosexual teen suicide is a bad thing.  One article states that a gay marriage is wrong because it cannot produce children; however, it also maintains that this “rule” does not apply to “traditional” couples who cannot produce children as they at least model God’s intention for relationships – priceless.

From another article, “Contrary to what is frequently and erroneously stated in the media, there is no scientific or psychological proof that homosexuality is anything other than…” so now Christians are interested in scientific proof.  That is a bit of a double standard in my view.  Most appear uninterested in the science of evolution, after all.  As an aside – I see this repeatedly in Christian apologetics (the effort to prove Christian dogma).  When presented with data, a pundit may simply respond, “that is incorrect,” or “that is a lie,” and no contraindicative data is expected.  You tell me there is no proof, and I am supposed to believe you.  I suppose that is where faith steps in – convenient.  Oh, and the article is clear in its condemnation of “non-traditional” values, by the way.

Let me qualify that I struggle to believe any particular body could possess the whole answer.  I merely ask, how can a body which condones (if indirectly) violence against “non-traditional” values, that would suggest people unlike the body are to be viewed with skepticism, that could profess to believe that equality is a term belonging to only its own be a source for the proliferation of kindness and respect to all people?

The data is prevalent.  I invested only a few minutes and one search query in one search engine (“Christian truth about homosexuality” via Google) to unearth pages of resources like the ones I referenced above.  I would require little more effort to continue finding these examples, and I can certainly illustrate numerous examples from my own life experience.  I simply lack the stomach for the prejudice that Christianity parades as love and truth.

I will be the first to celebrate the many wonderful redeeming qualities on display by some Christians in the world today.  I believe fully that not all Christianity is evil and/or wrong, and it is not my intention to condemn as a whole any particular religion.  My point is that I do not believe curricular bible study is an antidote to the violence and hatred experienced by so many unfortunate children.  If anything, the cure for violence is the absence of religiosity.  After all, from what root does most violence evolve?  Hint: consider the central elements of almost every war throughout history.

I love my Christian friends just as I love my Heathen, Muslim, and Miscellaneous friends, but I occasionally feel that you are all on crack.  If that makes you angry, perhaps you should pray for me.  That will probably fix it.

Let the crucifixion begin!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just A Little Bit

So much to share and so little motivation!  I have not been writing much over the last couple weeks.  My attention has been occupied by some professional challenges, which I am not currently at liberty to discuss.  I will share all as soon as it is safely possible… or perhaps I will save those stories for the book.  I will need a hook to get you all to buy copies after all.  Outside of the professional challenges, things have been generally quiet.  Other than what felt like a very sarcastic “Happy Father’s? Day” wish from my sister on Facebook, there are no new developments regarding my birth “Family.”  Life has been quiet.

I have been struggling particularly with body-image issues recently.  That is silly, of course.  I have lost so much weight and am in so much better shape than I have been in years.  I just still struggle to appear the way I feel… or I feel like I am struggling to appear the way I feel.  How confusing.  I think it is mostly impatience.  I want my facial hair to be gone.  I want the hair on top of my head to be long enough to look right.  I am tired of my boobs being hairy.  I want to be able to go to the swimming pool and not feel like a freak in my bikini.  I am so frustrated by all this.  I know I will get there, and I know that I am so much closer to my goals now than I have ever before been.  I truly appreciate all that.

I just want to be there!  Grr.

And this whole pronoun thing is getting really annoying.  My wonderful wife is encouraging me to begin openly correcting people, which I may just start doing.  When I introduce myself to you as Kate while handing you cash from my purse, responding to me with “I’ll have your drinks ready in a moment, sir” is just plain rude.  I can forgive ignorance, but I struggle to think most people are really that dumb… especially when it sounds very much like you are emphasizing the word “sir.”  Even the people who are now consistently referring to me as Kate are still referring to me with male pronouns most of the time, and it drives me crazy.

Oh well.  Things are still generally very good, and I am truly happy.  No matter what, I will continue to remember that I am where I am only because of where I have been, and I will get where I am going only through where I am now.  And every day is a better day than the last, because every day is one step closer.

Ooh, ooh!  I recently started the process of acquiring a legal name change.  With a little luck and of course a few more dollars (as usual), I will very soon not only be able to introduce myself as Kate Lynn DeLong, but I will be able to prove it!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend.


Friday, June 17, 2011


I seldom remember dreams.  From my understanding of dream “science,” I am a relatively advanced dreamer.  I often float and even occasionally fly in my dreams.  I will from time to time realize I am dreaming and control those dreams, and there are even times that I can continue or return to a dream consciously.  One virtually constant reality in my dream state has always been my femininity.  Good dreams or bad, I am always feminine in nature, at least to some extent.  Still I seldom remember dreams, so it is possible that I am only recalling those dreams that “fit.”

A couple nights ago, I had nightmares virtually all night.  I don’t remember them.  I do recall waking up needing to use the restroom, but being so freaked out by my dream that I was afraid to get out of bed.  I must have been dreaming about monsters or something… or maybe I dreamed that I burnt the spaghetti, or that the Cowboys made the playoffs.  Kidding… I don’t really know what that means.  (Sorry, dear!  J)

Last night, though, my dream was vivid, and I remember it well.  My wonderful wife was driving me to the hospital, because it was time for my surgeries.  I was so excited and happy.  (I don’t even really know which surgeries I was heading for.)  I woke up feeling a sense of joy and wellbeing.  Then I realized that I had to go to work and not to get boobs.  That was a bummer.

The dream left me feeling really good though.

I hope that everyone has a great weekend, and until next time, take care!

Much love,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Insecurity and Silliness

Some days are just hard.  I’ve had a lot of those days lately, but I can handle bad days.  I have love, friendship, and an amazing support network.  Bad days are no match for the blessings in my life.  Still, even on good days; there are some things that really have a way of bringing me down.  Pronouns, in particular, can be real pests.

As I consider all the reasons that I haven’t yet taken the step of presenting publicly as female, one reason stands above the rest.  I am afraid that even once I go all the way, someone somewhere is going to call me “sir” and shatter my bubble.  Most of the time, I am wearing primarily women’s clothing.  I carry a purse and wear makeup.  I wear bracelets and earrings.  My hair is still short, and I usually have on a t-shirt rather than a blouse.  Still, I am dressed no differently from the majority of the women around me.  I even have (small but) noticeable boobs for crying out loud!  I am addressed as “sir” without exception.

Yesterday, dressed as I normally do, I introduced myself as Kate (no, I hadn’t put on makeup... the morning got away from me, and I knew that I was going to end up oily anyway… we were having a massage).  I even filled out forms using Kate as my name, and still the people in the spa used male pronouns to address and / or refer to me.  I’ve seen so many women who are significantly more “butch” than I have ever been who are not mistaken for men.  What the hell is the secret?  I just don’t get it.

The ironic thing is that I have no issue being out and about looking the way I do, I really give very little thought to the notion of walking into a store or a restaurant carrying my purse, for example.  I don’t care that people see me as an effeminate male, but I’m really afraid of being seen as anything other than a woman when I actually give it my full effort.  I know, I know – get over it, right?  I will.  I hope.

Much love,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Things That Scare Me

Things have been going quite well, and for the first time in my life, I actually believe that I will accomplish my lifelong goal of living full time in my correct gender.  That is exciting, but I know I have a long road ahead.  I know that I am likely to face some real challenges (am already facing a few), and that scares me.  Here are some of the fears I have been thinking about lately:

My work life:  I have taken the first steps in communicating my intentions at work.  Theoretically, I work for an “evolved organization” that embraces diversity and makes a very big deal of its work with the LGBT community… in Europe.  The fact is a company’s non-discrimination and equal opportunity policies are only as good as the people who enforce them.  I worry about those people, and about all the other creative ways they might choose to “resolve” the situation I create.  And of course assuming I keep my job, there’s the reality of dealing with old colleagues as a (perceived) new person.

My family:  I have never had a close relationship with my family.  Still the idea that they may shun me forever is scary, and it hurts.  I don’t know why.  I have all the love and support I could ever dream of, and yet, I really want my family to accept me.

Public Life:  It’s more of an annoyance than a fear, but it really bothers me that I can be out and about wearing makeup and carrying a purse, and am never “mistaken” for a woman.  It’s somewhat fascinating, if entirely maddening, what combination of signals and non-verbal queues it requires to cause someone to assume your gender.  I’m afraid I haven’t yet figured that out.

And the biggie… Restrooms: Other than in gay bars, I haven’t yet had to navigate this particularly delicate situation, but I am only a couple weeks away from being there.  I’ve been in normal society before, but not long enough that I couldn’t “hold it” till I got home.  At the end of June, I will be spending the better part of the day away form home (and in “normal” society). I am attending my first group session in the morning and have a regular session following.  Both are in the same place and far enough from home that I won’t have an out.  I am going to have to deal with the restroom situation, and that frightens me more than about anything else I have faced.  I could really use some advice on this one.

So, what are your fears?  If you have dealt with it, how have you handled this whole restroom thing?  I’d love to read your thoughts.

Take care,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Just a Quick Hello

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still out here and still doing well.  I know I've been somewhat dormant over the last week or so, but that will pass soon.  I've unfortunately been a little overwhelmed by the events of the past two weeks, and until about yesterday, I was really struggling to remain positive.

I am okay though.  I've experienced a few unfortunate events, but nothing has happened that leads me to question my path, and nothing has happened that makes me truly unhappy. More than anything, I think I was just overwhelmed by the quantity and frequency of the negativity that was pouring down around me.

I enjoyed my second counseling session near the end of this week, which couldn't have come any sooner!  It was wonderful to talk through the events since our last session, and it was even more wonderful to have the reinforcement that she gave me.  Don't get me wrong, I get plenty of support and advice from the people around me, but I guess there's just something nice about having all those things validated.  If I learned nothing else, she made it very clear to me that feeling down was okay... as long as I didn't stay down.

In truth, I left her office on top of the world... and I've been floating ever since.  My problems have not been solved, and I still face all the same hardships that I was carrying with me when I walked into her office.  But I understand them better.  And even more than that, Andrea said something that absolutely blew me away as we were closing out our session.

As we exchanged our parting pleasantries, she gave me a big hug... we hug... it's a good thing.  She told me as we chatted that she had been trying to picture me as a boy, and she just couldn't see it.  That is among the most amazing compliments I have ever received!  Talk about a confidence booster.

I hope everyone has had a good week and is enjoying her weekend.  I am certainly doing just that!

Until next time, take care.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Late Winter Night's Dream

I recently stumbled across this piece I wrote in late 2008.  It retold a pivotal dream.  The writing is a little weak, but it still brings a tear to my eye.  I hope you enjoy it. Please share your thoughts!

Yes, it was a dream. I’m still a little flustered:

I saw her as if through the reflection in a mirror – only a glimpse at first, but I was drawn. Was it to her beauty, to a sense of familiarity? I did not know, but I felt compelled to seek her. My eyes flowed across the room. There again that same image; I can see her, but I am not looking at her. I’m seeing a picture – a reflection. Something about her moves me. Odd.

She is slightly more round – not plump, just fuller – than I might normally admire, but I just cannot shake this feeling about her. It is unexplainable. She has a pleasant face, round with subtle features, her makeup merely an accent to her natural beauty. Her eyes are so happy. A glance from her would certainly inspire a smile from any man, but there is a depth there – a sense of long endured suffering, and of arrival. She has stories, no doubt, some not so pleasant, I’m sure. But while they define her, they do not consume her. Her face is framed with dark lustrous hair, sleek and smooth – glistening in the light of the room. She wears it down, no ornaments. The finest jewel would be made tawdry by the beautiful flow of those dark tresses, falling just slightly onto her shoulders, tickling her flesh.

That flesh which seems to caress the very body to which it belongs – smooth and sun darkened – disappears suggestively beneath the cloth of her dress to reappear again in the form of two beautiful legs. She is athletic; the power in her calves reveals that, but there is also grace. The eye is drawn as if with the stroke of a brush from her dainty ankles, perched atop her earthen colored heels, across those silky calves, gazing longingly at her supple knees – the mind urging the eye ever upward. One catches just a glimpse of the smooth flesh above her knee before the journey is stopped short, the remainder of the brush stroke flowing into the billows of her dress.

The dress is understated, the strapless bodice hugging a voluptuously athletic figure. The pale ecru color of the garment beautifully accents her sun darkened skin, and the subtle earth toned accents of her jewelry lend a sense of comfort that she carries so gracefully, one might believe she was born in the ensemble. She is the picture of elegance. She is comfortable in her own skin; she feels beautiful, and the joy she feels is transparent. Her smile brightens the room. I am entranced. I begin to wonder if I will ever be able to tear my eyes away from this picture.

I am eventually shaken from my daydream to realize, to my despair, that her smiles and the twinkling gaze from the depths of her beautiful brown eyes are directed to someone in the room – I had failed to notice that she was not alone. As I finally begin to digest the larger scene, I am forced to conclude that the deep happiness in her has a source in the tall, handsome man standing at her side. He is dressed conservatively, and seems to wear his clothes as easily as he wears his smile; a smile that seems to focus all of its light on the beautiful creature on his arm. He is well groomed – just the slightest hint of gray at his temples – and comfortable, there is not one ounce of self-doubt in this man; possibly made even more confident with the knowledge of the beauty whose heart he has clearly captured.

I can see the wisdom in his eyes, the self assurance, and the feeling that he has achieved his dreams, and that he is happy. As I investigate the lines of his face, I find myself returning to those eyes – those smiling eyes. The warmth in his eyes seems to radiate throughout the room, and I am caught in his gaze. His smile warms my heart, and I wonder if… I wonder. My knees seem to weaken for a moment, but I catch myself. My heart is racing, and the warmth is welling up inside of me. The smile on my lips is beyond my control, and I cannot seem to break the spell his eyes have inspired. With the greatest of effort, I tear my gaze away and return to the reflection in the mirror – to her.

That face. What is it about that face? I know that face. I work my way back across her features – her small chin, the full inviting lips, that pert nose, and those eyes. The other features are familiar, but it is her eyes that tease the back of my mind. I am lost again in those eyes. I stare into those eyes. They are so deep that even in them a reflection is played back to me. That reflection brings me back to the larger reflection, and as I stare thoughtfully into the mirror, I realize that she is not alone there. I also see him. My reverie is broken as I see the sensuality smoldering in his eyes as he moves closer to her, leaning toward her. I can feel his arm, so strong, pulling me to him, enveloping me. I smile as I turn to meet his embrace with my own lips. 

I know that face. Her face.. my face.

Then I woke up.