A Texas Butterfly

A Texas Butterfly

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Day with Doctor and Therapist

I’m not a very experienced girl.  I have work and family responsibilities that I recognize as being more important at this point and time than my having a few hours of enjoyment as Lindsay.  Of course it goes without saying that I would love to be out experiencing life on a regular basis as Lindsay, and I am anxiously looking forward to the day I will go full time, even though it will alter my responsibility to my family.  But, at the moment I must bide my time.  I get to be Lindsay about once a month when I go to see my therapist and my doctor, usually on the same day so I don’t have to take off work too often.  Other than therapy and doctor days, I get out about three or four times a year when my best friend Suzi and I go to Dallas for a whole weekend.  Because my time as Lindsay is so limited right now, I savor every moment I can be my true self.

My typical trip to the therapist and doctor usually go something like this.  My wife doesn’t like me to dress around her, or even in East Texas where we live, because she is so fearful that someone we know will recognize me.  So, getting dressed at home on the day of my appointments, and then driving to Dallas as Lindsay is out of the question.  The best solution I’ve come up with is to drive over on the night before, get a decent meal I don’t usually have access to in East Texas, and check into a motel.  I do some prep such as shaving the legs, and putting on some fake nails then try to get a good nights sleep.  I try to get up six or seven hours before I need to be at my appointments.  Let’s face it, it takes time to be as beautiful as I.  Stifle that chuckle.  It does take some time for me to get ready, because I haven’t had that much experience with makeup, but probably more because I’m just not a morning person.  Trowel and shovel in hand and before the day is over, I’m ready to go.  LOL  One bad cup of coffee in the room requires a stop someplace for a real cup of coffee, or to be more precise, a large sugar with a side of coffee.  That usually is enough to get me where I need to go.  I like to schedule the doctor visit first since my doctor is in Coppell, about as far northwest as you can go and still be considered in the Dallas area. 

My doctor is great, and she has helped me in so many ways, but I will write about her in a future blog.  Everyone at her office is so friendly.  They do the usual weight, blood pressure bit, and then Dr. Ridley and I sit down and talk about a little bit of everything.  She takes her time and a session with her usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour.  And, that time doesn’t include the time in the waiting room, or getting vitals checked.  That is from the time I actually sit down with her to talk, until I walk up front to check out.

Doctor visit out of the way, it’s time to remind my stomach that we are still friends.  I eat a light lunch, as in not too filling.  I’ll save my appetite for dinner and splurge a little.  Arby’s, Chick-Fil-A, Sonic.  All are promising for the short term.  With my stomach now having signed the temporary Peace Treaty, it’s time to head for therapy.  Feleshia is such a sweet lady.  Her office is set up more like a living room than an office, with two couches, a soft chair and a coffee table.  We each usually take up the same spot on different couches, with Feleshia kicking off her shoes and tucking her legs under her as she sits clutching a big soft pillow, and me trying my best to be the prim and proper lady.  Sometimes, though, Feleshia rubs off on me and I’ll have to kick off my heels as well.  I usually pour my heart out to her and she provides insight and guidance.  Most of our sessions are pretty upbeat since I have been fortunate enough to have almost NO bad experiences.  I have been known to do my share of crying when we talk about my family.  And Feleshia is so sweet, she doesn’t even make me bring my own tissues.  I know we have a patient/therapist relationship.  But, there is so much more to our interaction than that.  She is truly like another sister to me.  I consider her one of my friends and I hope she feels the same about me.  

With doctor and therapy out of the way, it’s usually time for some more therapy, …, RETAIL therapy.  Over the years I’ve spent so much money on things that aren’t right for me or were just cheap products.  The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is true.  With my RLT or full time looming in the near future, I’m no longer buying things just for me enjoy wearing around the house only for me.  For the last six to eight months I’ve been trying to build my wardrobe to start the rest of my life.  I definitely shop more and buy less than I used to.  While I am trying to pay for doctors and therapy and trying to save for surgeries, I have to be more selective in what I buy to make sure it is something that can follow me into a new life.  It really is therapy.  If I’m feeling a little down, a little shopping time can pick me right up.  I love the hunt, and finding that one great piece is also on sale is fantastic.  I feel the urge for a shopping day coming on.

Before going back to the motel to change and go home I always take the time to treat myself to a nice dinner.  I have my favorite haunts like Chili’s, Olive Garden, Cheddar’s, and Outback.  Perhaps next trip I'll have a good steak and a glass of wine, or a nice pasta and a margarita.  I feel very blessed that in all my outings, whether it’s shopping, dinning out, or going to the movies, I have always been treated with respect, and dignity, as all people should be.    

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Not Quite 40 Days And 40 Nights

Last night before going to bed I once again conducted the experiment that I have tried so many times before.  And, once again, I could see no scientific proof that the experiment was a success.  So, being the dedicated non-professional that I am, I know that I will continue running the same experiment until I have success.  I am that committed to the outcome I seek.  The experiment, Sleep Learning.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, once again I fell asleep with my laptop in front of me.  Concentrate as hard as I could, I absorbed no more knowledge than dozing off without the computer in my lap.  How many times must I repeat the trials of science with the same outcome, before there is a miraculous breakthrough that will benefit all mankind?  I shall persevere, my friends.  For, to not try would do a disservice to the scientific community, geeks everywhere, and anybody that enjoys a good nap.  Fear not, my friends.  For I look out for you and my sleep learning experiments shall one day be victorious.   

Today is February 12th, 2010 in a small community north of Tyler, Texas.  Well, to be accurate, it is February 12th, 2010 in other places, too.  Last week it was fairly warm, but oh so wet.  It rained, and rained, and rained some more.  On Tuesday I was afraid that I would not be able to make the trek up and down the 130 feet of my poor soggy driveway.  My pickup truck can usually handle just about anything.  But the huge amount of rain that we have been blessed with in the last week certainly put my truck to the test.  So, in a display of brilliance not often delivered by my brain, I decided to park on the opposite side of the circle drive that doesn’t see much traffic.  I was so proud of myself.  There is a fair amount of gravel on that side of the drive and almost never gets bogged down in mud.  The well traveled side of the drive now has ruts about 8 to 9 inches deep that are completely full of water now.  So, as I walked out to my truck Tuesday morning to go to work I hardly got my boots muddy.  I was feeling a little smug as I had put one over on mother-nature.  She wasn’t going to get my truck and I muddy another day.  I backed out  and just barely got off the drive onto the yard, and promptly sunk the truck about 5 inches.  Not to worry.  The back wheels weren’t that far off the drive, and didn’t seem to be that deep.  I’ve done this before and I can do it again.  Slowly give it a little gas and watch the tires spin, in place.  Not what I had in mind.  Rock the truck, that’s it.  I tried that, but what I forgot was that the truck has to move at least a little bit for it to rock, not just spin in place.  I thought I could do this.  Did I forget to mention that I’m the same person that got my grandfather’s 65 horsepower farm tractor buried up to the axles.  We had to “pole” the tractor out.  Probably only the country folks reading this have a clue what it means to “pole” a tractor.  So, what did I do.  I did what every red blooded budding female would do.  I put my head on the steering wheel and cried.  Yes, five months on HRT have been working on me.  I have noticed that I cry at the drop of a hat, lately.  Don’t ask me why.  I know it doesn’t really hurt the hat.  I knew that it was coming.  Other girls have told me that they got very emotional at different stages of transition.  So, why wasn’t I prepared for it.  Girls have told me that they wore their feelings on their sleeves.  I prefer to carry mine in a cute little Coach purse.  Not really.  I’m transitioning.  I can’t afford Coach.  Who am I kidding.  I couldn’t afford Coach if I wasn’t transitioning.  So, how did I get my truck unstuck?  Did I use my feminine wiles to charm some man into helping a poor female in distress?  Although I did ask a neighbor down the road to help me, my feminine wiles and charm are still in reserve for another day.  In my amateurish opinion, feminine wiles and charm are like sage.  Best when used sparingly.  Does that make this sage advice?         

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Roadmap To Transition - High School and Beyond

When I was a Senior in High School in Albuquerque all my friends wanted to go out drinking all the time. And of course, I did my share of that, too, as long my family was home and I didn’t have a chance to dress up. If they were gone, I preferred to spend my time alone, well, except for Lin’s closet. I was working at a fast food place then. Once the rest of the family went up to the lodge, our vacation cabin on the Pecos River that my family built. They were to be gone a couple of days and I couldn’t get the time off to go with them. It’s true, I couldn’t get off, but I wasn’t too broken up about it. It gave me the whole weekend to myself. One of those nights I went to the movies on base. What nobody else knew was that I was wearing one of Lin’s light georgette sheath dresses under my regular clothes. As I was walking home a car load of my friends drove by, both girls and boys, and they wanted me to go out with them to party. I declined because I knew that if I went, something would happen. Either I, or one of the girls, or both would be a little tippsy from wine or beer, we’d start getting a little frisky, and she would see or feel Lin’s dress and I would be found out. That was also the year that we had “Hippy Day” at school. I borrowed a pair of Lin’s purple velvet hip-huggers and wore one of my own pink and purple flowered shirts that went well with the pants. I was on cloud nine all day knowing that I was wearing girl’s clothes to school, even if it was just pants. I felt great wearing girl’s clothes to school and nobody cared.

It was in H.S. that I realized that when I dressed up I didn’t just feel like I was Chuck in a dress. There was more to who I was, who I am. It didn’t seem right to look at myself in the mirror wearing a pretty dress and say, “Chuck, you look pretty.” The girl in me needed a name that was female. That’s when I chose the name Lindsay. That was long before my niece was even a thought, so I didn’t name myself after her. Lindsay is still who I am now, who I have always been. Then I thought that I was Lindsay just when I dressed as a girl. I would later realize that I have always been Lindsay, regardless of what I wear. I am not Lindsay because of what I wear. I am Lindsay because of what is in my heart and mind.

In college I continued to dress. Most of the time I had my own room, even though I had house-mates, and I managed to keep my secret. My best friend back then was Rick. His girlfriend was Debbie. When I moved into the apartments that Deb’s father managed, I worked security there. Rick and Deb and I had a friend that was getting married and we went to a party for the Bride & Groom the week before the wedding. While we were mingling Rick and Deb had gone off someplace to visit with friends and a girl I didn’t know approached me. She introduced herself and told me that she had been to the apartments to visit one of her friends who lived there. Her friend was a male and she had a female friend with her that night. She and her girlfriend had talked the guy into letting them dress him up as a girl and they had taken him out driving around. They were all giggling and having fun when they drove back in and I checked them at the gate. I knew that something was going on but I also knew they had been in numerous times visiting the friend and had never caused any problems so I let them in without knowing the third girl in the back seat was the guy. When she was telling all this at the party I remembered the night she was talking about and thought that the guy didn’t make a half bad looking woman and I told her so. Then she floored me. She told me that I would make a good looking woman also and she could help me like she and her girlfriend had done to that guy. It took me by surprise and all I did was blow her off saying I was too ugly to make a pretty woman. She said “your loss” and walked away. Regret #3. I wished that I had taken her up on her offer. But, if I had, I probably would have found a reason to stay in Albuquerque, I probably would not have moved to Texas, and I wouldn’t have met my future wife, Diane, and I wouldn’t have a beautiful daughter, so even though it seemed like a regret at the time, it seems that I made the right choice.

When I moved to Texas and met Diane, I thought being married to a beautiful woman would cure me of this curse. Regret #4. I didn’t tell Diane, my future wife and soul mate, that I thought I should have been a woman. I fell in love with her pretty quickly. At first I was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to handle me being femme, and I was sure she would leave me. Then I found out about Michael, her first husband, and how hurt she was finding out that he was gay. Me hurting Diane like that was the last thing I wanted to do. I was already in love with her and knowing about Michael only made me feel MORE GUILTY. I couldn’t tell her then, that would have crushed her. So, I didn’t tell her. I should have. Making the arbitrary decision not to tell was, in retrospect, selfish. She should have been given the information and had the chance to make the choice to either stay and marry me and my femme side, or run for the hills. I didn’t give her that choice. I took that choice away from her because I was afraid that she would leave me if she knew. That was selfish. I was hoping Diane would be my salvation, and in a way, she has been. Just not the way I thought at the time. I did stop dressing for a while. I was, am, that much in love with her. I was willing to give up the thing that had given me so much pleasure, and pain, over the years. The thing that made me feel whole. It wasn’t until well after we were married that I realized that this is not something you get cured from, it’s part of who we are.

Roadmap To Transition - The Early Years

I’m not very good at writing these things, but I do recognize the value of writing down my thoughts and experiences, even if it’s only for me. I got a little ahead of myself when I wrote my first installment of this blog. I should have started at the beginning and done this in chronological order. When I wrote the first blog I was inspired and wanted to get it down while it was still fresh in my mind. In this blog I will try to fire up Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine and fill in some of the things from my childhood and growing up that provide some insight to how I got to the place where I am today. For anybody reading this that is Transgender this may be the same old boring story that many have read before or even lived. It is surprising to find how many of us have similar backgrounds and experiences.

My first recollection that I was different than boys was around the time I was 5 years old. Before this specific instance I had already noticed that girls had a certain quality about them. At that age I wasn’t sure what this quality was or how or why they possessed it. All I knew was that they seemed special. I admired them, thought they were pretty, and I was fascinated by them.

Dad was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and as such he was a strict disciplinarian. At this time there was something that I was upset about or something I wasn’t getting my way about, and I was throwing a fit. I don’t remember why I was upset, but I certainly remember the result. Dad thought I was acting like a baby or a little girl. So as punishment Dad put me in panties and a dress that belonged to my sister who is three years older than I. I had to stay in the dress and panties for the rest of the day. My sister, Lin and I shared a room back then. When I was sitting in our room wearing the dress and panties my first thoughts were “This is supposed to be punishment?”, “What’s wrong with this?”, “This feels nice!” Then I began to wonder if girls felt the way I was feeling. Was it the pretty dresses and other clothes that made them special, or was it something else. Back then I thought it had to be the dresses. I knew that only girls wore dresses, so I reasoned that if I liked to wear dresses, I must be a girl. I began to wonder what it was like to actually BE a girl. And NO, Dad did not do this to me. He did not cause this, and it is not his fault. I don’t blame or hate him for what he did. Even though my feminine side has, over the years, caused my wife and I considerable pain and heartache, I see Dad’s punishment as a learning experience now and wish I could thank him. This experience confused me for many years to come. I thought, ‘everybody tells me I’m a boy, but I can’t be a boy because I like pretty dresses and other girls clothes. At that time I thought I was unique, and for many years to come, I thought I was the only “boy” in the world that felt the way I did. I would much later find out that we were wrong. Everybody was wrong about me being a boy, and I was wrong about being the only one that felt the way I did. I enjoyed the experience, being punished by making me wear a dress, and thought “why can’t I wear a dress all the time. But, I couldn’t tell my father I enjoyed it and liked the dress. After all, I knew that I was being punished and if this was punishment, then this must be something that I wasn’t supposed to like. So, I hid my feelings and started wearing Lin’s clothes whenever I could.

When I was in about the 5th grade we lived in Salina, Kansas. Halloween was coming up and I had no idea what I was going to go as. Mom suggested I go as a girl. She knew I would be embarrassed about trying on girl’s clothes in front of her. At that time she knew nothing about my dressing, although I’d been trying on Lin’s things when I could for a couple of years, by then. Mom laid out two outfits for me to try on for size and she left me alone in the house. One outfit was the traditional poodle skirt & blouse. It was cute. The other was a very simple blue cotton dress with a fitted bodice, short puffy sleeves, and a full sweeping skirt with a net underskirt. I fell in love with that dress. It wasn’t fancy, trimmed in lace or anything exciting. But, when I put it on it made me look like the other cute girls that I had admired, at least from the neck down. It zipped up the back and it was hard for me to zip, but I was determined that I was going to wear that dress. Both outfits fit perfectly, but the blue dress was THE dress. I felt so pretty in the dress that I didn’t want to take it off. In the end I was too afraid that I would be too enthusiastic about wearing the dress in front of my friends and I would be found out. I told Mom that neither outfit fit me. That was my first big regret, that I was too chicken shit to take advantage of the situation. I think I ended up going as a Hobo that year. After Halloween Mom packed the dress away with some other Halloween things. When I could, I would secretly take it out of the box, wear it for a while, and cry when I had to take it off and put it away. I really cried when I outgrew it. I really think Mom knew that something was going on even though she never said anything.

When I was about 12 years old we were living in Savannah, Georgia. Rick, Dan and I were all in the same room together in bunk beds. Mom and Dad used to have parties a lot. During one of their parties and after the rest of the kids had fallen asleep, I went into the bathroom we shared with Lin. I found some of her panties in the hamper and tried them on. They were nylon panties and they felt wonderful. I then brushed my hair into what I thought was a feminine style and put some hair ribbons in my hair. Then I painted my fingernails a medium pink. I put my regular PJs back on and went back to bed. I didn’t plan on falling asleep, but if I did I knew that Mom and Dad always could drink with the best of them, and being in that condition they probably wouldn’t come in and check on us that night. But, guess what? Mom came in to check on us and sure enough I had fallen asleep. Mom saw the hair bows and the fingernails and called Dad to come in and look at me. Dad woke me up and we went into the living room to talk. Well, that’s not really accurate. He lectured and I nodded my head and listened. It was pretty embarrassing. Even drunk Dad could make you feel about an inch tall. I told Dad that I was just playing around. Regret #2. Maybe if I had told Dad the truth, he might have been able to help me be a girl that I truly wanted to be, but I didn’t hold out much hope that he would understand. After the lecture Mom helped me get the polish off my fingernails and comb out my hair. Nothing else was said about it.