Monday, June 28, 2004

Is He Cute?

So, I am buying lunch in the cafeteria today and I see this one guy I have noticed for a while now. He’s about 5’9”, lean and fit, who has longer straight brown hair tied into a small ponytail. He doesn’t have much of a brow bone and has little facial hair, except for a little scraggly stuff around the mouth and his sideburns. Although I am not really into feminine men, I do have to admit that he is fairly attractive in a feminine sort of way. Perhaps it’s not a feminine man way, just more of an androgynous sort of way, even though he is definitely a guy. I guess he just seems very masculine but in a very clean way.

I asked Robi if she thought he was cute, and she said I was the second one to ask her that recently. She said she didn’t really find him that attractive, but I still think he’s pretty decent looking.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

First Ever San Francisco Trans March

I think it was sometime near last weekend when a guy posted an unusual thread in a Yahoo group I subscribe to. He posted something along the lines of opening up a Transgender Crisis Center. It’s a good idea, but he also posted that he was an admirer of trans women and wanted the center to be a place where a T could safely be with her lover….well, it’s my words trying to express what I was reading. It sounded more like a brothel when I first read it, and it set him up for a huge power differential with T’s who need help looking up to this guy who is attracted to them. It’s a situation just asking for trouble.

I responded to this guy’s email, perhaps a bit harshly, to express my concerns over the situations he might find himself in. He thought I was flaming him. Perhaps I did, perhaps I didn’t. I’m sure there are two truths hidden within what happened, but we disagreed. He said his operation had already begun and he was setting up housing in an area between San Francisco and San Jose.

I didn’t know if this guy was legit or not, so I asked around the TGSF yahoo group to see if they had heard anything. Because I am fairly small and feared for my own safety, I didn’t really want to meet this guy to check him out. A friend on TGSF, though, told me she was meeting with him and would let me know what she thought of him. Late this past week, she said she met with him and said he meant well, but had a little trouble expressing his exact intentions. He didn’t realize that “admirers” were frowned on a little within the T community. They’re typically men who are interested in having sex with T’s, but nothing else. They prefer the fantasy of sex with a T without having an actual relationship.

Anyway, she also said that they were driving around some of the known T areas looking for anyone that was giving T’s a hard time. She said they performed a little education on some guys, but she didn’t really say anything beyond that.

So, the guy goes by DarinX. We’ve exchanged a few emails here and there. He says they are more like Guardian Angles, similar to the public vigilantes on the East Coast. They don’t hurt people, but they will step in to protect people from harm.

Friday night was the first ever Tranny March. I was asked by the organizer to speak for five minutes, along with a number of others, at the gathering in Dolores Park. Because this past week was pretty busy for me, along with having a light cold hit me Thursday, I didn’t have much time to prepare a speech. I kinda threw one together on Thursday, and then refined it during the day on Friday. Too often, I see a lot of hate spill forth in speeches from the transgender community and I didn’t want to do that. Plus, I am not one that usually lets hate rule my life. I wanted to say something positive, so below is the approximate dialogue from my less-than-5-minute speech:

    Pride. What is it? I decided to rummage through the dictionary to get the official definition: (I asked the emcee and friend, Travis, if he would kinda have a little fun with every definition I read off…and since he is one of the nicest guys I know, he obliged. I even threw in a few of my own little comments) Pride - 1. A sense of one’s proper dignity or value. [oh, yeah, work it Travis] 2. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in achievement, possession, or association. [Hey now!!!] 3. Arrogance, conceit. [w h a t e v e r] 4. The best of a group or class. 5. A group of lions. [rrrwwwwoooooaaaarrrrrrrr] 
    OK, that’s Pride, but what about Proud: Proud – 1. Feeling pleasurable satisfaction. [Travis!!!!] 2. Occasioning pride. [What the hell does that mean???] 3. Feeling or showing self respect. 4. Filled with or showing excessive self-esteem. 5. Of great dignity, honored. 6. Majestic, magnificent. 7. An even larger group of lions. [Just kidding]. 
    For five letters words, those are pretty complex definitions. I thought of a simpler definition – I’m happy to be me. 
    Yeah, I’m proud of my journey, proud of my decisions, and proud of who I am today. I share that pride by just being me, as does everyone here. Some of you may not believe this, but things are getting better for all of us – things are changing – and it will continue to change as long as each of us is true to our selves – true to who we are. 
    Our journeys are very unique, but our roads do cross – tonight, maybe this weekend, and possibly in the future. We’re all different, that’s a given. Don’t be afraid to be different, but don’t let it prevent you from being you. I may be different in the eyes of some, but I’m happy being me. I hope you are happy being you.

After a few other speakers, the gatherers proceeded up Dolores to Market, then over to the Civic Center where they had started a trans alter as well as arranged more speakers to talk. Cecilia Chung of SF Pride did an excellent job putting it all together in such short time. After a number of people who are influential within the T community talked, along with Sylvia Guerrero and Mark Leno, I called Claire to see if she was up for a bite. As I was standing there talking to her, two men walk up to me and are standing fairly close. Too close. The area has pretty much cleared out except there are a few people still around. The one guy sticks out his hand…..I cautiously grab it to shake, and he says, “DarinX,” then walks away with his buddy. It happened so fast I had no time to be scared or frightened.

So, Claire and I met up for dinner down in the Tenderloin area. The area isn’t all bad, but it’s not the nicest neighborhood. I walked past DarinX and his buddy on my way there, telling them, “Don’t cause too much trouble” in a joking manner.

After dinner, Claire sat with me as I waited for the bus back to BART. A gentleman approached and sat next to me..….for more on this, see Claire’s blog. Although she had a bad reaction to his presence, I had no trouble with him. He was most likely a tranny chaser as we were about a half block from downtown transsexual-central and he asked questions indicating his knowledge of the area. We even saw a TS sex worker getting arrested across the street from us as we waited for the bus.

Anyway, I ran into DarinX a few times during the weekend as we had a few activities with TGSF in San Francisco’s Pride. Darin seems like a nice guy, just not quite aware of the “admirer” label he used in his introduction of himself and his idea. Darin also visited us at the booth that I worked mainly on Sunday, when we also had a float in the parade. All I know is I am crashing early tonight. I’m bushed.

Thursday, June 24, 2004


It’s not a constant problem, but it does exist to a degree. It’s sorta like the ocean tides; it comes and goes, and it eats away with the gentle pounding.

I wrote earlier this month that I was happy. I’ve come to realize that I’ll probably never be happy. I’m happier than I was, yes, but I’ll truly never be where I’d like to be. I’ll never have my fully female body, nor my youth as a girl. Sometimes I wonder if my facial hair will ever go away, and will people in my family be able to accept me (well, those that don’t already). Sure, I’m whining. I have a lot going for me – but we all have things we’d like to get past. They weigh on me. I can say, “hey, I can’t help how they feel about me” – but in reality I still care for them even though they have shut me out of their life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


San Francisco’s Pride celebration is this coming weekend. The parade is this Sunday starting around 10:30am. I will be riding with TGSF since I am the first runner-up to Ms. TGSF 2004. The theme for this year’s Pride is “Out for Justice.” Some in the T community have also organized a Tranny March for Friday night to show that although we may be a minority within the LGBT community, we are still here. I, along with the other TGSF Outreach Co-Chair, was asked to speak at the gathering. In light of today’s events, I would be honored to say a few words in front of my transgender brothers and sisters.

What happened today, you might ask? Well, the Gwen Araujo trial ended in a mistrial. The jurors could not come to a conclusion on the guilt of the three defendants. All three are accused of brutally murdering Gwen, a transgender youth, in a small suburb here in the San Francisco Bay Area. A fourth man plead to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony. The jury came back 10-2 against first-degree murder for two of the men, and 7-5 in favor of first-degree murder for the third. From what I am reading, none of the jurors thought any of the defendants should walk away with manslaughter, and the judge did not let them consider either manslaughter or second-degree murder since they did not fully acquit them of first-degree murder. The prosecution says they will retry the case, which is not expected to begin until next year.

I wasn’t able to get that involved with this case because I was going through my own turmoil of going full time and having facial surgery. I had friends that did attend portions of the trial, and they can probably provide better accounts of the proceedings than I can. I know Gwen Smith was present and has some words about all of this in her blogger.

It’s too bad justice wasn’t served. Hopefully it was just delayed. I know that there are a lot of people who know that these four men did a very bad thing in murdering Gwen, but it’s too bad that the defense attorneys can get away with pushing this gay panic thing on the jury. Via channels, I heard that the defense lawyer was able to tell the male jury members (8 of the 12) that they should look at the murder through the eyes of the defendants, and that the women should think like a man in order to understand. Pathetic. Perhaps people will see the injustice that transgender people face on a continual basis. Let’s turn it around for a moment. Four gay guys who aren’t openly out as being gay are hanging out at a party in their residence when a fifth man, who a few of them have had sex with, shows up to party as well. During the course of the night, they find out this guy is really a straight woman who just comes across as being fairly masculine. They beat and strangle her to a bloody corpse, then bury her over 150 miles away. Do you think these four gay guys are going to get first-degree murder charges even though they had “straight-panic” for a moment and felt rage against this straight woman? You bet they will, especially if they killed a straight woman. Why then, is it different if the victim is a transgender woman? Her essence was female. These men saw it, but when confronted with her physical body, their macho male ego was shattered. OMG…they were gay. Whatever. Listen, if you think a transgender woman is pretty, it’s no big deal. You're not gay. Most men are going to find her attractive as well. Gwen was a very pretty young woman and there were obviously a few men attracted to her. It’s too bad their fragile egos felt the need to kill her.

Hopefully, one day, justice will prevail.

Monday, June 21, 2004

I walk like a lesbian

Well, that’s what I was told, at least. I was at dinner with a lot of the usuals this past Friday evening with two special guests. Lisa and her friend were in from the Pacific Northwest and decided to have dinner with us. They both transitioned in their thirties, but in the late 80’s. You think it’s hard to transition now? You should have tried back then. Both of them went to Brussels for their SRS back when I was just entering college. How I wish I had transitioned so long ago, but the resources available now were not as readily available back then, and for those in the 60’s and 70’s, I just can’t imagine how hard it must have been. Anyway, it was nice to hear how two people were able to successfully transition and were now living their lives as two very sweet women.

During the dinner, I was sitting next to JoanB’s roommate, who just happens to be a lesbian. She was checking out one of the waitresses. They both pointed her out to me, and I found out that she likes them fairly butch. I asked her if anyone there at our table gave off a lesbian vibe. Now, she’s heard Claire on numerous occasions call me a lesbian, so she was quite fast in pointing to me. Doh! I told her that was an unfair assessment, and she just laughed. She said I did give off a very lesbian vibe though, and that I walked like a lesbian. When I asked her how lesbians walked, she said they just have a much more loose walk to them. I’ll check back after I have SRS. Perhaps my swagger will have changed by then.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

The Evil Candy Machine

A battle raged in my mind like it does in many others. I wanted chocolate, but I didn’t want the calories that are preventing me from losing the small amount of boy fat around my waist. It became almost a conversation in my mind as I debated whether or not to get some candy.

Once I decided to get something out of the vending machine, I rummaged through my purse. A brief look into my wallet showed no single dollars and my change section contained no silver. “Ha ha little girl, I’ve stopped you!” said the evil health voice.

I looked in my desk and found $0.50, still $0.15 short. “Ha ha little girl, I’ve thwarted you again!”

“No you haven’t!” I looked back through my change section and low and behold, there was a quarter. “Yes, ha ha you evil bastard, I'm getting some candy.”

At the evil candy machine, there was a guy ahead of me fumbling with his change. He finally puts in enough money to start pressing buttons, and the machine begins to whir as his item moves closer to the cliff that no item returns from. The whirring stops, but nothing falls. He’s ordered chips, and they’re hung up on the last little edge. This often happens to me with my M&M’s, but I’ve come to look before I order since there are two rows of the peanut variety. He’s trying to shake the machine, but he’s doing a poor job, so I step in to help. The guy is bigger than me but he’s a total wuss. So, I rock it a few times before finally giving it a few good shoves. Down fall his chips.

He jokingly says, “Did you used to play linebacker?” as though I seem pretty strong for a girl.

“No – running back,” I respond with. I think he thought I was joking. I used to play running back, defensive back, and wide receiver in a flag football league for a number of years. I was also the captain and the organizer of the team. At 5’5”, though, I had to make up for my lack of height with my speed and agility.

Anyway, with his response, I seem to think, more and more, that half the people in my building have no idea that I transitioned, and probably think I’m just a new person working there.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Frozen Oysters

Two days ago, I came home to my roommate lounging on the couch – his usual position. This time, however, he looked a little different. He said he was sick. Yuck. He said he and a friend had eaten some oysters on Sunday that were frozen in his friend’s freezer for quite a while. His friend was also sick, so they figured it was food poisoning.

Yesterday morning, my stomach starts feeling pretty woozy, and during the course of the day, I ended up having to visit the restroom on a number of occasions. Yuckola. When I got home yesterday evening, I told my roomie that I think I had his bug, and he informed me that a female friend at work that had visited our apartment that Sunday had picked it up too.

So, for lunch yesterday, all I was able to get down were some snap beans and rice. That was it. I think it came out later that afternoon. Nice, huh?

When I’m usually sick like this, I like to eat bread since it makes my stomach feel better. Since I didn’t have any lying around the apartment, I decided to get a sandwich at Subway. I haven’t had a sandwich there in over 3 years, outside the one I had in an airport terminal this past year. I used to work at a Subway in college, and when I saw the latest menu I was blown away with how many choices there were now. All I wanted was a Steak N' Cheese, but couldn’t find it. Then I noticed they changed the name to Cheese Steak. Anyway, it was quite delicious and, lucky for me, it did not come out anytime soon.

My stomach has still been quite woozy today, although I haven’t had to run for the bathroom at all.

Tonight, I was in the city at the Community Q&A for the Gwen Araujo Trial. They had a panel consisting of Jim Hammer, a former SF Assistant District Attorney; JoAnne Keatley, Project Director of the UCSF-CAPS Transgender Resource and Neighborhood Space; Saifa Wall, Community Organizer with Gay-Straight Alliance Network; and Chris Daley, lawyer for the Transgender Law Center. I met Jim at the 2002 Cotillion when he was a judge. I was one of the judge assistants, and sat right next to him. He and another guy got totally wasted wasted when the other guy pulled out this flask of some pretty hard alcohol. I said hi to him before the Q&A event started and reminded him where we first met. He remembered and started reminiscing about that darn flask. Jim is also covering the Scott Peterson trial for one of the local channels. I have worked with JoAnne on a number of outreach committee activities in the city. I’d never met Saifa before tonight, but she was a very well spoken young woman. I have known Chris Daley for a number of years now, ever since I met him with one of the first education activities I put on with TGSF. They were all great speakers and provided a different perspective on a number of different aspects of the trial…from the trial itself, its possible outcomes, how to prevent the murder from happening again, how to educate the rest of the US starting in the schools, and how much of the US isn’t sensitized to transgender people. We even touched on the upcoming Pride festivities.

Cecilia and I were two of the first to arrive and we sat and chatted a bit before the event. Afterward, I hung around and talked with Gayle after not seeing her in quite a while. I think she was one of the first fully recovered Dr. O patients I had ever seen. I thought she was GG when I first met her. We talked about some of the lingering aftereffects of Dr. O’s surgery.

Gwen Smith and I chatted for a while after most of the people had cleared out. It was nice talking to her about some of her past history with her family and wife. I even chatted with a woman from CUAV (Community United Against Violence) who said I looked quite different than most of the TGSF people she’d met in the past.

I didn’t tell her this, but who else is there to do outreach projects with besides TGSF? I don’t work in the city, so it’s hard to do any of the weekly activities there. Plus, I have to work to pay for my own transition, so I can’t really volunteer during the week to help out. There are a few other possible groups, and I have worked with one or two of them in the past. Now that I have most things in order after FFS, I might look into working with some of them again.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Not Quite San Francisco Pride

Whew, another tiring weekend. I was at San Jose’s Pride again today, this time for the parade and the outreach booth. Bobby, the current reigning Mr. TransGender San Francisco and I rode in the convertible while a few TGSF members walked along. I rode with Bobby because the current Ms. TransGender San Francisco is either out of town or lives too far away for such a short parade (it spans 4 blocks). Since I was the first runner-up at the Cotillion, I was asked if I wanted to ride. Obviously since I already mentioned that I rode, I said “Yes.”

I love how everyone always tells you how to do “the wave” for any type of public event. It’s a 90 degree angle at the elbow, cup the hand and tilt it back about 20 degrees, and then slowly turn your wrist. Even people in the crowd will do that wave at me as though I’m doing it wrong. I just play along with them for a while.

Bobby and I had a good time riding. He and I kept checking out the pretty girls along the way and joked about making out with each other right when we got to the judges table with the announcers. We even made each other laugh, as well as the driver, with a few funny comments.

After the parade, I spent over 6 hours at the outreach booth. I was so worn out, I took two naps when I was there. I was working the booth with three guys: Bobby, Damon, and Tyler. They’re all pretty cool guys. When a possible MTF came by again to ask more questions about how to get started with transition, she (in the sense that she has a female gender identity) asked about the three guys and if they wanted to be women. I told her that they used to be women but were guys now. She almost Schmidt her pants at that time.

The entire time we were there, we only had a few people stop by to pick up information. During the day, though, we often had people walk by that saw the word “transgender” on our banner and then look up at us. This in turn was followed by them whispering to their friend or friends and then more staring. Now, most of the people at this festival are gay or lesbian, so you’d think they would be used to us. Apparently not.

Saturday, June 12, 2004


I’ve barely written anything here in a week. Ever since last weekend’s adventure, things have been pretty busy it seems. Work, exercise, eat, sleep, work, dinner in SF, sleep, work, exercise, eat, sleep, work, sleep, work, electro, sleep, electro….

Part of me is worn out from dealing with friends who are having a rough go of things. Yeah, I want to be supportive in their bad times, but it also drags me down. I’ve done OK in my own transition because I planned the hell out of it. I saw how different transitions succeeded and how others failed. Perhaps “failed” is a bad word. How can I say this? I saw a lot of people who rushed into transition and went full time as fast as they could. By doing this, a lot of people don’t quite have the basics down and end up making a lot of people feel uncomfortable because they can tell that they are still relatively male. I saw and read about a lot of people who lost their jobs after rushing through transition to go full time. A lot of people transitioned while still not presenting in a fully female manner. They had a range of items that needed work still, such as the facial hair still primarily present, voice still off, attire not quite fitting, or other items. Some also ran into problems they couldn’t fix, such as being very tall, having male baldness, or very masculine features in their faces. I still saw people succeed when they had items that didn’t necessarily make them feminine, but they made up for it in their voice and presentation. They just vibed female. I saw others succeed when they took care of the facial hair, let the hormones work what magic they could, practiced their voice, established some sort of decent dress attire, and allowed their female vibe to mature. By vibe, I mean that they broke down the walls they put up previously in their life in order for them to try to live as men. You have to let go of a lot of learned behaviors in order to let the female inside fully shine.

I also saw a lot of people succeed quite well when they had facial surgery. So, seeing how some had succeeded in blending back into society as women and how others had basically fallen along the wayside I basically noticed that the better you looked and vibed as female, the better you were going to do at keeping your job, which in turn provided the money to continue along one's transition. Let’s face it, society and life in general just aren’t fair, especially when you’re a transsexual. Now, I’m not saying one needs to look pretty, but one needs to definitely look female if that’s the path that one chooses.

Now, all of this so far is physical. There is also a huge battle that needs to be fought on the psychological front as well. There are a lot of things to work through before finding any type of internal peace. One of the hardest things is self-acceptance. Some of us become so involved with what society tells us that we start believing it. “Transsexuals are freaks…they’re sick….they’re just gay men in a dress…who would want to alter their body like that….they’re just perverts….they’re just failures at being men,” are all different types of thoughts that run through people’s minds. These thoughts in just a casual conversation with someone can be devastating. If a transgender person heard these while still living in their birth-gender, then they continue to build up this false image of who transsexuals are and they realize that if they did transition then they would be considered some sick freak. I’m not a sick freak, trust me. I’m just a person who wants to live their life in relative peace and happiness. I want what a lot of people want….a good life.

Once a person accepts who they are and can live with their decision, they can move forward. There are also other issues such as telling people that you love that you are a transsexual. When I first conversed with other TS on line, they told me to be prepared to lose everything…my job, my family, my friends. I told them I couldn’t do that. I didn’t want to lose my job, my friends, and especially not my family. They are all that I have. I didn’t want to lose my job or my friends either, so I began to look at how to keep them. I’ve always been an honest person because serious lying is very hard to me. I can kid around with the best of them, but it’s just very difficult for me to lie. I find it much easier to state the truth. For me, people have tended to respect the truth more than a good lie. I did what I needed to do, though, when any type of gender issues came up in the past because I needed to survive.

So, I planned out how to transition “successfully”. I planned to start electrolysis and get as much done as I could before transitioning. I sought out a therapist to begin hormone replacement. I practiced my makeup. I started letting my hair grow out. I also tried to present as male as possible at work and with my family. I didn’t want them to know because I was afraid of losing them. I realized, though, that I needed to tell my family because I wanted them to join me for my journey. I hoped that they would be able to take things easier if I gave it to them in baby steps. Two months before starting hormones, I told my family who I was and where I was going. They had a hard time reading my words on the letter I wrote them, but they told me that we’d get through all of this.

I continued electrolysis and the hormones for a year and a half before finally having FFS. It was a hard year and a half. Damn hard. No one wants to go that long living part time as one body and part time as the other. It wore on me. I had a hard time concentrating at work and on my life. A variety of anxieties slightly returned as I waited and waited until I could finally live as me. I embraced FFS when I was ready, even though the facial hair probably wasn’t as good as it should have been. I had enough money in the bank to keep me on my feet for a while if I was fired, and the FFS would provide enough of a difference that I would be able to be hired at a new job as Kara if I was fired.

When I came out to friends and coworkers right before FFS, none of them knew this was coming. None of them! They never saw it. I did a pretty good job of giving them what they wanted to see….a regular guy.

Now, I have people that meet me less than 4 months post-op who have a hard time believing that I was ever a guy. I take it as a compliment.

I guess I’m a bit different than some TS. I’m not ashamed of who I am or of who I used to be. I’m proud of who I am now and the road I have traveled. I’m proud to be me.

So, yes, it’s pride month. I was at San Jose’s Pride events today, and will ride in the TGSF car tomorrow. Ugghhh…it’s been a long day at the end of a long week. Well, the few hours to relax tonight have been nice, but it’s off to the races again tomorrow. Hopefully I can get a break sometime soon. I’m tired.

Sunday, June 06, 2004


Yesterday morning, I was just wrapping up an electro session when Claire calls me. Her voice sounds different. She asks me about a girl on GP and if I have read it yet today. I tell her I just read a bit before I left early this morning. She says that the girl was talking about killing herself. She’d left me a very strange text message the night before, and after checking my phone again, she’d text messaged me two more right before Claire called. I jumped on the internet and tracked down her GP forum messages. I tried calling her, but no answer. Over the course of a few hours I talked back and forth to a number of friends both here and ones that lived near her, including Jayne and Sianna.

The hardest part about this is that our friend was mobile and we didn’t know where she was currently living. Her uncle beat her up two weeks ago after her mom told her uncle about her in an attempt to keep her from traveling to Chicago to meet us. She went to Chicago anyway and hung out with some of us. I could tell she was having a bit of trouble when she was chatting with us since she was still in boy mode and had a long road ahead of her to transition, if she so chooses. I mean, it has to be intimidating for someone just confronting their transgender feelings to meet TS that are either post-op or living successfully after having transitioned. I can remember getting flustered when I read Kate’s website and seeing her great FFS results. I was only a few months into HRT at that point, and I felt this rush that made me realize I wanted what she had. I wanted to transition and feel the happiness that she was feeling.

Over the course of the hours we tried to stop our friend from committing suicide, she text messaged me where we would be able to find her body. Immediately, I tried calling the police in her city, but it took forever to finally get routed there. In fact, I had to look up some emergency numbers in her city, but all that was listed was some campus police. I called them anyway and finally got the number. My freaking 411 service through my mobile phone provider had first routed me to some other city on the east coast. What a bunch of boneheads. Anyway, they took my information and said they had a unit on the way. My friend had text messaged a few other people as well, one who had already made contact with the police.

Claire and I conversed again, and I asked her to call some of the Kinko’s (she had posted that she was in a Kinko's) in the area of her proposed suicide attempt since my phone was rapidly running out of juice. Since I was on the road, the only place to charge it was in the car. I ran a friend back to her place as I was again on the phone trying to make contact with her. She text messaged that she saw the police when she was headed for the place, and decided to change locations. As I was driving my friend home, I told her I was debating jumping on a plane really fast so that I could try to track my friend down to talk to her since she wasn’t answering her phone. As soon as I dropped her off, I headed for the airport and text messaged my friend that I was flying there, and would she meet me at the airport.

I had just pulled into short term parking when my friend calls. Finally. She tells me I had better not be on a plane. I tell her I am ready to fly out if she will not seek help. I ask her to call someone…her therapist, the police….someone. She says she will. I believe her. I know that she is still in desperate need to talk to someone, so I hang up then walk into the terminal to check the schedules into my friend’s city. I look on the departure schedule – no direct flights. Damn.

I jump back into my car and head for home to check the other area airport flights, knowing for sure that the other airports do have direct flights. On the way home, my friend calls again and says that she talked to her therapist and the police, and has decided to drive up to another TS friend’s place to chill for the night. A sigh of relief came over me. We’d gotten through to her – suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The only ones it hurts are the ones you love.

During our conversation I tried to tell her that I know she is in a difficult position right now. She is at the very beginning of transition and all she sees are the obstacles to where she needs to be. I told her she just has to manage through all of them because there is a huge reward at the end of it – you get to be you - you get to be happy. She asked me, “Are you happy?”

Am I happy? That question. I used to ask that question to all of the TS I met when I was first figuring out where I needed to go with all of this – where I needed to be to be happy. I would talk to as many post-transitional TS that I could, and I would ask them, “Are you happy?” Now I was being asked the very same question. Have I come that far that I am now at a place where a few years ago I never realized I would be? Am I happy? You better believe I’m happy. Well, close enough…for now. I still have a few steps to take, but yeah, I’m there.

I told my friend, “Yes, I’m happy. I’m finally me.”

We chatted for a bit longer. She was crashing at a mutual friend's place and seemed to be a bit more in control. She seemed to be doing much better today, but there are still a lot of things she needs to work out. Transition is not an easy road – not at all. In fact, it’s very hard, but there is a reward when you get to where you need to be. I think she’ll make it one day, and then, she too can answer the question, “Are you happy?”

Friday, June 04, 2004

Feeling the Wrath of The (Mail) Man

I decided to pick up a spicy chicken sandwich at Jack in the Box on Tuesday night. The price: $5.40. I dug a crisp twenty out of my purse as well as 40 cents. I looked at the backside of the newest version of the 20 dollar bill and noted the little 20’s in different colors on the back of the bill. When I approached the window, I gave the teller the money as she handed me the food and drink. I waited. Nothing. The teller looked back at me and says, “That’s it.”

Uggghhh. The thought of all of this actually ran through my head right before this happened. I respond with, “I gave you a twenty.”

She disagrees and says that I gave her a 5, and after I requested to see it, she waves this limp $5 bill at me. It wasn’t even close in paper condition to the bill I gave her. She finally calls the manager over who asks me to pull to the side as they pull the drawer to count it.

I sat outside for about 10 minutes until the teller walks out. I thought, “OK, good, she’s bringing me my $15 of change,” but instead she waves that stupid limp $5 bill at me. She continues to say that I only gave her a $5 bill. Well, nothing left to do but get in the car in disgust. At least they didn’t spit on my sandwich. The bad part about this is that JitB is like the only place I go for a spicy chicken sandwich and an oreo cookie shake on occasion, and there is only one that is fairly close.

I did figure out, though, that from now on, I will write a little K on whatever large dollar bill I give the teller. That way, if they tell me I gave them something else, I will tell them I wrote a K on the bill I gave them. My electrologist suggested I write the last four of my social security or my driver’s license, but I think I’ll just stick with something simple.

The following evening, I pulled into the apartment parking lot to check my mail. I opened up the mailbox as I have for the past couple of weeks wondering if my new college diplomas have arrived…the ones with my new name on them. As I opened the box, I see this paperboard envelope bent in half in my mailbox. Instantly, I knew I’d been screwed by The (Mail) Man yet again. I pulled it out and, yep, it was from my college. On the bottom left of the front of the envelope it stated in the largest letters on the package, “DO NOT BEND.” My mail carrier decided that those letters obviously did not mean a thing and bent it in half to fit it in the apartment complex’s mailboxes.

I went over to the post office on Thursday and waited for about 30 minutes trying to talk to the mail carrier’s supervisor. They never showed and I was pissed, so I just stormed out. I sent an email to the online USPS site, and they said I should go to the post office to talk to them. The USPS basically won’t refund you if you did not insure it. Fuck. I mean, basically, what motivation do they have not to bend something if it isn’t insured. It’s job security for them because they know you’ll order it again. It’s not the $20 that I had to pay for the 2 diplomas, it’s the time it took to fill everything out, organize the name change paperwork, mail it, and wait for it to arrive. When I did finally open the package, the diplomas were bent, but I tried to straighten them out a bit. I think I will have to order them again, though, so that they will look a little more professional. Now, when they do come in, I’ll have to figure out how to remount them in the framing that my sister gave me a number of years ago. It’s kinda funny – when my sister offered to frame them, I was hesitant because in the back of my mind I knew that one day I would change the name on them. I just didn’t fully acknowledge it at that point.