Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wonderful and Frustrating Passing Moments

The other day I took the day off of work and lined up three different doctor appointments throughout the day, all around NYC. I did my best to dress professionally and while I'm still learning how to do more casual makeup, I tried to do a no makeup/light makeup look. Apparently it worked.

I got up early, got ready and then headed to the train to start my day like any other woman in the city.

First stop - the dermatologist.

I went to a new dermatologist (my old one didn't take my insurance) and had him look at a mole. Then he was asking me some various questions, including what medications I was on. I had put E and spiro on my forms. Had a fun conversation:

Doc: Why are you taking estradiol?
Me: It's for hormone replacement.
Doc: Okay, yeah. But for what? What were your symptoms. Are you having hot flashes?
Me: (thinking to myself- I was born wrong? Is that a "symptom?") I'm transgender.
Doc: OH.......oh.....okay.

It was nice to realize that I passed with a doctor who had actually examined me!

Then I headed off to my second appointment. For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere or in more gentle climes, I will take this opportunity to remind you that NYC has had a hot, muggy, humid miserable summer. It's been awful. And guess who took a day off work and scheduled three appointments all over town on the hottest day of the year? Yep, this girl. I was sweaty, I was gross and in constant fear of my makeup getting ruined.

So, the first thing I did when I got to my second appointment was to use the restroom. I saw the men's room door but not the ladies' room and took a few steps over to the men's room just to investigate where the ladies' room was.

"That's the men's room, dear." One of the receptionists pointed out. "Ha ha ha ha ha." they chuckled, laughing that I had almost accidentally gone in the men's room. "The ladies is over there." she pointed out. Win!

Got myself cleaned up and of course took the opportunity for a selfie. Then, my overcautious scheduling got the worst of me. While I'd given myself plenty of time for doctors' appointment (knowing that they often run late and make you wait), I'd managed to breeze through mine in less than an hour each. I ended up with a five hour block with nothing to do! So I headed back to Brooklyn and did some shopping. 

I hit LOFT because they were having their usual 40% off sale. I managed to snag a skirt I really liked but gave a pass back when it was at full price of $59.99. With the sale and markdowns I picked it up for $25. Over half off! Not bad. I loved this skirt because it's sort of A-line and some great movement and it feels fantastic. I liked it so much that I even switched skirts. 

Then I went to my favorite diner for lunch and got a rather different experience than in guy-mode. Not only did the waiter carefully explain my entree (a hamburger) to me; what it was and what it came with and what the various cooking temperatures meant. He actually insisted on pouring my ketchup for me. You know, because girls don't understand hamburgers and can't pour their own ketchup.

Lastly, because I'm desperate to come out at work and start being full time (I plan to come out as soon as my next performance review and raise discussion happen - sometime before October), I went and did a stupid thing. I decided that, since I was in the neighborhood and had a little time to kill, I'd go stop by work!

Actually, all I did was walk through my building's lobby. It's a skyscraper with a kind of mall area in the lobby with shops and things. But, I walked right past one of my coworkers, whose desk is like ten feet from mine. She didn't recognize me, didn't react, just walked right past me in her own little world. Phew- but also good to know people are oblivious to me! And people I know well can walk right past me without noticing at all!

In the evening I had planed to go to a transgender meetup at Stonewall Inn. I'd gone a couple times a few years ago and met some fun people but at the time my work schedule made it hard to attend many meetups. Since I had a chance now I thought I'd check it out again. Because I had time to kill I ended up early. 

And the meetup was pretty bad this time around. Only two or three people were there and they busied themselves playing pool. As I'm not even remotely interested in billiards, it was kinda boring. Especially since the pool game made conversation nearly impossible. The worst thing was the groups of lesbians around the bar. I really wanted to hang out with them instead. I longed to hang out with them! I think I feel more comfortable identifying as a lesbian than as a trans woman, I guess. I need some more lesbian friends I think. 

Does Kate McKinnon need new friends? 
Ah well. I ducked out early and did an Irish goodbye. My family is from Tipperary. I'm allowed to say that. I headed out into the night, time to go home. 

It was an amazing day and I felt like a normal girl all day. Sure, it was hot and muggy and gross but I'll have to put up with that when I'm full time. And I had to have an awkward conversation with my doctor's billing agency as to why the name and gender I put don't match with my insurance card. But, ah well. These minor frustrations will pass.

Also, at what point in your transition do you stop taking lots of selfies? I hope it's never.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Transgender Girl's First Time at the Beach

Oh my gosh. I totally did it. Yes, I totally went to the beach as a girl. It was way more amazing than I ever thought it could be. 

It's been a rough summer beach-wise and this was literally our fourth attempt at going to the beach this summer. Every other time was ruined by weather. In June our beach day was ruined when the temperature suddenly dropped to the high 50s that day. In July it rained twice and each time, with heavy heart, I put my brand new tankini back in the drawer. I was seriously starting to worry I might never get to the beach and might never get a chance to wear my new swimsuit, my carefully chosen swimsuit I was so excited about. With August already a week in, that meant there were literally only three weeks of beach left this summer.

On a side note, why do they insist on closing NYC beaches on Labor Day? It's in the 90s all September. Can we not start accepting global warming in our parks' schedules?

For years I'd looked at other transgender girls' pictures on the internet. I'd be amazed that they managed to go out in public or managed to hang out with friends just casually at a restaurant or something. Then when I had been out about and with friends like normal routine I started being amazed that some transgender girls were hanging out on the beach like it was nothing. The beach, for me, has always represented something of a level-up (to use a gaming metaphor).

This is apparently the key to my transition:

  • See Transgender woman do awesome thing
  • Get insanely jealous.
  • Wait two years.
  • Copy her!

It's worked thus far. All I needed for the beach was some decent weekend weather.

All week we watched the weather forecasts. At first it was supposed to rain, then it was supposed to be cloudy, then it was supposed to rain again. Then low and behold, the weather gods were with us and it was clear on the weekend! Woo hoo! I was actually, finally, going to get to girl up on the beach!

On Sunday we hopped on the train and headed out to Rockaway. The last time we were there it was almost empty. On that day last summer we and our friends seemed to be about the only people on the beach. I was hoping for that again. The idea of a super insanely crowded beach like Jones or Coney Island scared me. I wanted as few people on the beach as possible. The fewer people there the less chance I'd have of getting weird looks or having someone make a comment indented for me and everyone else to overhear.

The beach was crowded. It was crazy crowded. It's been a hot, humid August and I guess we were not the only ones looking to cool down a free public beach. We found a spot, put our blanket and other items out. No one seemed to be paying me any attention at all. That made me feel a lot better. So, I stripped down, taking off my jean shorts and shirt I'd worn over my tankini. Thus far it was all good. No one was paying any attention to me. That's exactly how I like it.

There were a couple things that helped me at the beach. Maybe I'll expand my How-To Guide page with a special "How to Not be Noticed on the Beach" section. It's easy. First off, make sure that two topless women sit down and take the spot next to you. That helps quite a bit. Secondly, be sure and get your partner to bring her mermaid tail.

Like this. 
Every time she wears it she becomes a movie star or a Disney princess. Every little kid wants to get a picture with her and some creepy dudes also want to get a picture with. The important thing is, one she looks amazing in her tail, and two whenever she has it on no one pays a tiny iota of attention to me. It's the ultimate way to blend in as a transgender girl. Stand next to the mermaid.

Pictured: Invisible transgender girl.

Honestly, I was almost instantly amazed by how confident I was and how normal it felt to be on the beach in a tankini. We brought a picnic, books to read and I just lied there on the blanket like any other girl and enjoyed the sun. Also I reapplied sun screen twice because I'm not stupid. I subtly tried to spy other girls on the beach to see how they were sitting, how they were laying, what they were doing. I even went down to the surf to wade a little bit and get my feet wet.

But, I was rather concerned about going any deeper than my knees. Not only did I worry that it would ruin my makeup, but I was also wearing a wig. I shuddered at the thought of a strong wave knocking me under and leaving me wigless and humiliated. And speaking of embarressment and humiliations galore, I was also using tape for tuck and wasn't totally confident that it was waterproof.

For those of you who've read my Guide to Tucking (which based on analytics seems to be everyone), you'll know I think that KT Pro tape is fantastic tool for when you need a serious tuck. And even better, I learned that they now have KT Pro Extreme, which they advertise as water-proof.

They might as well have a picture of a transgender woman on the box. 
Well, firstly I  must say that since starting HRT nine months ago I haven't really had a need for a serious tuck. So, I was happy to learn that with HRT's wonderful effects the tape works even better. While I didn't notice a difference in feel between the regular and the extreme versions, I was happy that my own sweat didn't wreck the tape or loosen it on the way to the beach. And and at the beach it held really well and helped me look perfectly feminine.

The ultimate test though was whether it was really water proof. At first I was rather hesitant to try it. Even though I had brought along a couple extra strips of tape in my bag, the idea of having to run to the public restroom and stand there in the stall trying to retape myself did not appeal to me. But, with the August sun beating down heavily on me, the cool waters of the Atlantic ocean kept calling out to me. Plus my partner had gone for a long dip and talked about how great it felt to be in the water. So, I figured, why the hell not? If worse to worst I could tie a towel around my waist. Let's go swimming!

Yep, I went in. Up to my knees. Up to my thighs. Up to my waist. It was cold and refreshing and after a bit I was right up to my boobs. I was boob deep in the Atlantic ocean. It felt so nice. Since it was underwater and out of view, I did a quick check on my tuck just by feel and it was holding. I wanted to dunk under but in a wig that was a bad idea. Luckily though, I figured out that I could face the waves and let them come toward me. Then at the last minute, I could turn my back to the wave and let it break over my shoulders.

Okay, I did end up having a couple difficulties. A couple of times my bottoms got pulled down by the water, but not too far. Thankfully I had some serious tape to help me avoid any embarrassment. And it was all underwater so no one could notice. My wig didn't get pulled off, but a particularly strong breaker did knock my hat off. And despite my attempts to keep my makeup good and pristine there was quite a bit of splash around with the waves. In the end I got a good amount of water on my face and did some serious damage to my makeup. So I survived the water with my feminine look more or less intact.

Well, more or less intact. After our serious swimming, we packed up our stuff and headed to the bar. I was soaked from head to toe, covered in sand and feeling utterly gross all over. Though inside I felt utterly rapturous and elated. I'd been to the beach! I'd worn a tankini out in public! I'd been swimming as a girl! I felt like I had jumped up so many levels in my transgender status. And maybe even earned a little more trans street cred.

We hit a bar nearby, one of our favorites, a little Irish pub, with a fantastic and refreshing selection of frozen drinks like strawberry lemonade and pina coladas. It was so nice to get in the shade (especially for pale girls like my partner and I) and be able to chill out with a nice intoxicating beverage. It was perfect. Plus, I was able to duck into the bathroom and clean myself up a little bit.

There were public restrooms at the beach but I'd skipped those. The idea of trying to get changed and cleaned up when there's an inch of cold, sandy saltwater mixed with God knows what on the floor and small children screaming. No thank you. Though the bar bathroom wasn't single use (I really wanted to some privacy but ah well) it was a thousand times better. So I was able to fix my hair and touch up my makeup just enough that I wouldn't look like a boy. At least laser has erased my beard to the point where I could lose the makeup and still be okay.

As we waited for the subway so we could start our long train ride home, I snapped a couple selfies just to see how I was looking. Surprisingly, I felt I still looked okay. My hat was soaking wet, my wig was basically wrecked but still looking okay, and though my make was basically gone, I still looked okay. Basically. I've looked better.

A good angle and the right Instagram filter really helps.

I'd done the beach! I'd had a wonderful time. I'd fit in and felt completely normal. No one gave me weird looks. No one made mean comments. No villagers with pitchforks and torches chased me away. I felt fantastic. I felt beautiful and courageous. And I was exhausted and sunburned and ready to go home and take a long shower to try and get all the sand washed away.

And also here's a podcast I made about my fun beach adventure. Check it out!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Coming Out to My Sister

So it turns out this is going to be my actual 100th post. And while announcing my podcast The Gender Rebels, is a fun thing, I'm glad that 100 (or C in Roman numerals) will ultimately be a little more personal. Here it is. This is moment.

I've officially come out to my sister as transgender.

Okay, that may not sound like much, but for me it is. As many of my regular readers may know, I grew up in an evangelical, republican, military family in the Deep South. It's not an environment that's highly conducive to coming out as LGBT. And that's putting it lightly. For most of my life I've lived in shame, terrified that someone would discover my secret, worried about what would happen if my family ever found out I was transgender. Coming out to my sister is the first step.

My sister and I were the only two kids in my family. As we were a military family we tended to move around a lot. There was always a new town, a new school. So our family grew kind of insular. Some people thrive in that environment. Me not so much. But my sister and I were always close, even into college. As we are so close, I think she's always known I was transgender (or whatever people thought before transgender became a household term). Despite this, I've never officially come out to her. Until now.

I mailed her a letter yesterday. I know some of you are thinking "a letter, Faith? Why not a call?" Well, firstly I hate talking on the phone if I can avoid it. The other day I was trying to call my doctor's office about something and it took me a minute to remember how to place a phone call on my phone. Plus a letter gives the recipient a time to process, to digest. A call sort of seems to put the person on the spot. That doesn't seem fair. Also it's easier for me and my lack of courage too so everyone wins!

Well, it's been mailed.

Here's some edited highlights I thought I'd share. The actual letter was much longer because I tend to be a little wordy sometimes.

"You’re someone who’s been there for me my whole life and you’re important to me. Plus we never actually ratted each other out to mom or dad when we were teens and for that I will always eternally owe you. We’ve had our shouting matches through the years, but you’re my sister and that’s important to me.

So, yeah, you’re my Face Book friend, but I should probably come out and tell you that I’m transgender. You may already know. You might have guessed. You might have heard rumors. But I wanted you to know straight from me. You deserve as much for putting up with me all these years.

This isn’t anything new. In fact this pervasive feeling of dysphoria, of not being right, has been with me literally as long as I can remember. I’ve been dealing with being transgender all the way back to those early days. You’ve met our parents and you know our upbringing, so you know this wasn’t the kind of thing I ever felt safe bringing up as a kid. It wasn’t even until I moved to NYC that I was ever comfortable expressing myself in public or with friends. It’s only now, with transgender topics on the front page of Time Magazine and in the public eye that I even have the courage to really come out. My whole life growing up I did my best to hide my transgender feelings. I thought they were shameful and made me unworthy of love or even eternal salvation. Heck, there wasn’t even an internet then, so I was completely lost, confused and ashamed. All of that is the reason I’m only courageous enough to come out now. 

You’re the first person in the family that I’m even talking to about this. Hopefully I’ll come out to them too soon enough. Mom, I think, will be okay. Dad will no doubt threaten to disown me but then be too lazy to actually do so. I think he’ll eventually learn to deal. And the rest of the extended family - well, perhaps you now know one of the reasons I’ve kept to myself all these years instead of being involved in family. I probably should come out to them at some point, though honestly I don’t really care that much what they think. But, I’d like the next generation to know they at least have an LGBT ally in me should they ever need it. So yeah, eventually. But you first. I hope you feel special! 

So, I’m still me. I’m still the same person I always was. I hope you’ll accept me as your little sister. Your support in this is insanely valuable to me. I take the older family rejecting me. I can take dad disowning me, but I’m not sure I could take it if you did. That’s not to put any pressure on you obviously. I mean, feel what you feel. But I hope you can accept me. 

As I said, this is something I’ve dealt with my whole life. I’ve still got miles to go on this particular journey, but I hope I can have my big sister along with me. 

PS- Sorry about borrowing your makeup and clothes without asking. 

It's been a day or so and I've not heard anything. It's probably still not even in her mailbox yet. Of course I'm a little nervous, but not that bad actually. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully well.

I'll post an update once I hear back. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 8, 2016

My Favorite Songs about Transgender Topics

Of all the songs I've ever listened to some of my favorites address transgender or gender rebel issues and I thought it would be fun to share some of them. And to also share some that I've just given my own transgender interpretation to. I didn't want to make a list of every song with a transgender-related lyric. For one that'd be a lot and two, not all of them have positive or meaningful lyrics. These are my favorites .Also, this will pretty much show you what my taste in music is.

Post your own favorites below in the comments!

"Bleed like me"- Garbage
Garbage first directly addressed transgender topics in their 2002 song "Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)," but that was less about actual trans people and more about literary hoax J.T. Leroy, who not only didn't exist and also wasn't at all transgender. It's hard to be transgender when you don't actually exist.

In "Bleed Like Me" Garbage explores the pain of gender confusion, in a lyric that I think all gender rebels (be they transgender, queer, questioning, crossdressers or non-conforming). "Chrissy's all dressed up and looking coy / painted like a brand new Christmas toy / She's trying to figure out if she's a girl or she's a boy..."

"Candy Says" -Lou Reed
While I don't think "Walk on the Wild Side" has aged particularly well, "Candy Says" is fantastic song. In its slow, mournful telling it examines the pain of  transgender woman Candy Darling's struggle in life. The lyric "I've come to hate my body / all that it requires / in this world" is particularly poignant for me as I know exactly how that feels, being forced into a male role that has never felt right and always felt a bit like a prison or a handicap.

Of course I chose the Garbage version, you know, just 'cause.

"As Girls Go" -Susanne Vega
While I was never a big Suzanne Vega fan (though I think I own all her albums - because I own lots of albums). "As Girls Go" tells the story of a cis person meeting a transgender woman and wondering what their life is like. Sometimes I find myself wishing people thought that of me "You make a really good girl / as girls go"

"What it Feels Like for a Girl" -Madonna
Okay, this one is sort of just obvious. While I'm not a big Madonna fan, there was that brief period in the late 90s when she decided to briefly foray into electronic or trip-pop and I did like a few songs. This one is about a guy secretly wishing he knew what it felt like to be a girl. Then it morphs (such a 90s word, right?) into Madonna signing about how great it is to be a girl. Now, as someone who's always been jealous of girls, I can relate.  

"One of the Guys" -Jenny Lewis
Now, I don't think this one was ever intended to thought of as having a transgender theme, I've always given it that meaning when I've listened to it. I mean, there is crossdressing in the video after all! Really, it's a song about gender roles and the frustration that comes when we we don't quite fit in with what's expected of us. For me the lyric "No matter how hard I try / to be just one of the guys / there's a little something inside that won't let me" reminds me of my own inability to be happy in the male role society assigned me at birth.

"The Longer I Wait" -All Girl Summer Fun Band
This is another one that the artist, a pretty fun female pop-punk band, All Girl Summer Fun Band, probably never intended to have anything to do with any remotely transgender related. But every time I hear "If you could see me now / the girl that I've become," I can't help but smile.

"Too Little Too Late" -Metric
Metric is one of my favorite bands and they've danced around queer subjects before, using sly kinda gender-fluid language to tell a sexy story. "Too Little Too Late" probably doesn't have anything to do with gender roles or being transgender, but I enjoy the lyric "Sure for the first time you're wearing the right clothes." I'm not entirely sure what Emily Haines may have intended, but to me that's how it always felt becoming a girl. Sure that I was finally wearing the right clothes, in the right role. Sure that I was who I was meant to be.

"Firewalker" - Liz Phair
A song that dates back to her early, almost Girly Sound days, "Firewalker" was once part of my collection as a really low quality live song. Honestly, I was surpised to hear a full studio version of it on her self 2003 self-titled album. At its core it's a song about defiance. While the lyrics may be a jilted lover castigating the one who hurt her, every time I hear it I always take that defiance to heart. To me it's all about being transgender, being unafraid and standing up to those who hurt you in the past or tried to keep you down. "My hopes are like embers / Lying around inside a fire bed / And your mind is a firewalker / It steps on them like they are dead but / I, I can grow in spite of all you know / You might not recognize me tomorrow / Yes I can change in spite of all they say / Become something strange and beautiful /Like joy, like joy." It almost makes me cry just type it here. It's like everything I could ever say to the hateful people back in Georgia.

Maybe I'll post some more when I find those songs that really move me, that make me sad or make me smile or make me feel alright. 

And beyond that, I just wanted to share some thoughts on music and why it's such an important part of my life.

Back when I was an awkward, unpopular, introverted teenager, Rock & Roll saved my life. It absolutely did. There were a couple times in junior high when I seriously thought about suicide. Those years were a terrible, horrible time in my life. I'd be terrorized and bullied at school, had no real friends, a generally unhappy home life and a whole heaping helping of gender confusion on top of that. Life was bad.

But, then I discovered music. Honestly, I'm not even sure how it really happened, but I think it started with a friend of mine trading me a copy of Stabbing Westward's 1993 album Ungod for a Warhammer 40K Imperial terminator figurine. Though I'd never heard the album, the concept of owning a CD of my own, especially one so blasphemous, was exhilarating.

Dorky past.

Cool, Rock & Roll future. 

Back in 1993 the only way I could play a CD was by borrowing headphones from my parents and playing it in the CD-ROM drive of our Windows 93 PC. Rock music was considered one of the worst of all sins. At my Southern Evangelical Christian school we were literally told that rock music derived from ancient African tribal music that was intended to summon demons. If you listened to rock music you would become possessed. And certainly you'd go to hell. Music could also lead to dancing, which somehow also led to pregnancy. Rock music was Satanic. Even so-called Christian-rock was looked upon with a wary eye. It didn't matter. I listened to my new CD anyway.

Ungod was an industrial album full of emotion; anger, sorrow, loss, pain, fury. I soaked it up like the lonely, sad, frustrated sponge of teenager I was. I hid the CD from my parents and started listening the the local radio stations when I could. There was RXR, a rock station and Chanel Z, which played alternative. Alternative struck more of a chord with me than rock, though I still liked some industrial and a bit of heavy metal too.

All that summer I saved up my cash, did extra chores and eventually, after a few months I purchased my very own Sony Discman. It was black and shiny and I loved the sound. It so crisp and clear. Plus it came with its own headphone so I could listen to my music any time. Slowly but surely, I started buying CDs of the songs I liked on the radio. Eventually, I stopped hiding them from my parents. My early collection included grunge like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, some more alternative stuff like Greenday, Cracker or R.E.M., and some punk bands too like Dead Kennedy's, The Ramones and Operation Ivy. Eventually, I found Garbage and fell in love. But I've told that story before.

The 90s was a good time for music. There weren't hair bands. Disco was dead. Pop music was easy enough to ignore. Hip hop hadn't quite yet become mainstream. And alternative rock was great for the weird, awkward and geeky kids to feel, for the first time in their lives, that they belonged. Our rock stars weren't gods. They were geeky kids just like us, with jeans and cheap sneakers and bad hair and glasses. All you had to do to be a rock star was just be yourself. Unlike hip hop, which felt like it was all just bragging, or R&B which was all just about fucking, alternative rock could be about anything. It was just about life and being okay with who you were. It was fun. I loved it.

Pictured: 90s rock stars.
And for the first time I had an escape. I had something that was just mine. It wasn't forced on me by my parents, it wasn't something I was dragged to, it was something that only I understood. And it made me cool. Cool kids were into music. Lame kids were into academics or sports or after school activities. I was into music. My days were spent pouring over song lyrics, album artwork and listening to the radio. I wrote letters to every address that was listed in my CDs and got cool postcards and stickers from bands. Eventually, I even made friends with other music-obsessed kids and at last I wasn't alone. I had friends, I had a tribe, I had a life, I met girls, I met other freaks and it was beautiful. I made it out of my teens okay.

You know, my live was saved by Rock & Roll.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Behold the Frustrations of Living Part Time

It's Monday morning and I was late for work today. Partly it's because I hit snooze one time too many and slept a half hour later than I should have. But mostly it's because I had to take a good amount of time this morning to finish washing off my makeup from last night and had to clean off my weekend nail polish too before coming to work. I am not yet out at work. This means I am not yet out full time and living in what could be described as a duel-gender space.

In part this is because my hairline is still suffering from male-pattered baldness. It's not bad, nowhere near as bad as I once thought, but definitely noticeable. For the past twelve years I'd kept my head shaved, precisely to avoid looking bald, but it's actually not bad at all. At least for a guy. For a girl it doesn't work. Still I'm taking finesteride/propecia and I think it's been helping. Hopefully I can avoid $8,000 worth of hair plugs. Hopefully, because I can't friggin' afford that!

And my other hair is growing out, Almost to the point that I can pull off a Twiggy look like this. Almost.

Actually, I've already started collected images to show a hairdresser as soon as my hair is long enough to style. And my laser place also has a hair salon and they do fantastic work. I think if I lose a little weight, I can totally pull of a layered pixie cut like this, once my hair is long enough to style over the bad parts of my hairline. 

The other thing keeping me from living full time is the need to come out to more people. I'm out to all the easy ones now and so all I have left are the hard ones. You know, people like my coworkers and family. And my in-laws.

My in-laws are particularly tricky because I'm much closer to them than I am with my blood family. And it's double-tricky because I'm also sort of outing their kid as dating a transgender person. That's a lot to handle. I am, needless to say, rather frustrated by everything. And I'm especially frustrated by my own lack of courage.

It was actually my own lack of courage that screwed me out of something that I was really looking forward to. I was looking forward to being Faith at my friend's wedding. It's difficult for me to relay how excited I was. I would get to be me at an important social occasion with many of my good friends in attendance. It would feel so validating to be there at that important moment as a girl, accepted by friends and celebrating together.  It was a June wedding but I think I had my dress picked out even before the bride did.

Thanks, Banana Republic!

I'd even planned on taking a few days off work so I could get a mani-pedi and spend the extended weekend in girl-mode. There was the wedding, an after-party, and a brunch the next day. The bride had even invited me to her pre-wedding preparation when she would get her hair and makeup expertly done. We were going to have champagne and be girly. It was going to be an awesome, fantastic weekend.

Unfortunately it was not to be. A few of the invited guests RSVP'd "no," and so the bride dipped into her B-listers. That meant that my that suddenly my in-laws were on the guest list. And of course they RSVPd "yes." Of course they did. Why not, right?

So now, instead of being able to spend a wonderful weekend as Faith, celebrating with friends, taking part in all the traditionally female parts of a wedding, I would be going as a boring old stupid guy. In pants and a nicely pressed shirt and a tie. Yeah, that's right. Instead of a beautiful dress for a summer day, I'd be wearing my friggin' work clothes. My office outfit. Ugh. Stupid boy life. 

Well, one the day, I wore my stupid boy clothes, I did my best to be happy and enjoy myself. I saw old friends, celebrated two of my friends' union and enjoyed some food and drinks too. Evnen

But, this story has a happy ending! It turns out that my in-laws were all tuckered out and decided to head back to their hotel rather than attend the after-party! My foot started tapping and I tried to will their Uber to show up as quickly as it could. After an intermittently long time where they insisted on saying goodbye to every single person in attendance, they finally got in their car and headed out. I was free!

So like the superhero I am, I rushed home and got into my girl clothes as quickly as I could, put on my makeup faster than The Flash on meth and headed out to the after party!

It was great. I was able to come out to some new people (a few friends from out of town and things) and actually got to be me for at least part of my friends' special day. It made me super happy. Insanely happy. I was the happiest girl in North Happyton. 

I'm also running for Comptroller of Happyton County. Vote for me in Novemeber!

Chilling out with the bride. I thought of wearing white, but ultimately decided against it.

Making new friends. I'm already up to 108 friends on Facebook! 

So there's my predicament. By not having the courage to come out to many of the people in my life I'm missing out on a lot of great experiences. I'm missing out on my life. The other day I almost cried while looking at dresses on Banana Republic's website. Why aren't I wearing all these wonderful dresses to work? Why isn't this me? I guess they call that dysphoria. It's been getting harder. I'm 8 months on HRT and I don't feel like I've ever been farther from actually being a woman. It's almost getting too hard, to the point where I don't know if I can bear another day as a guy.

Step one is coming out to my sister. Yesterday I bought some nice paper and nice envelopes. I started drafting a letter to her and maybe I'll mail it this weekend. She's already one of my 108 Facebook friends, so she obviously knows.

And from there, I guess...we'll see how it goes. If you have any extra courage, please use your mental telepathy to broadcast it my way. Or maybe invent a courage transference pulse emitter and do it that way, you know, if you don't have any mental powers. Whatever works. I just know I need some more courage to get me through this.