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“Mom” Returns

Not my Mom, if she returned from the great beyond, it would be bigger news. This post is about meeting up with the woman who you might recall, harassed me a couple times about my hair. I made the comment at the time, she reminded me of how my Mom would have approached me.

Fortunately this time, I just had my trip to my hair dresser Friday, so visually I was ready for her.

When Liz and I arrived at the outside shelter house near a nearby lake, it didn’t take her long to approach me. To her credit, she was very positive about my hair which indeed made me feel better about our relationship.

Then, she asked could she tell me something and I thought now what?  She paused and said how proud she was of me for living the life I wanted to. I was taken totally off guard. Finally I managed to blurt out the truth…I appreciated her acceptance but my choice didn’t come out of bravery or anything like it. I literally didn’t have the chance to be brave, it was either change my life or lose it.

A day later as I look back on her comment though, I feel now as if I finally found a sense of peace with my long deceased Mom. Whose approval is what I really wanted.

Thanks to my new Mom, Monika.

Depression

It’s a good thing I had Liz around to talk to yesterday. For some reason, I began to feel the walls close in from our forced quarantine from the world. Along the way too, I have begun to think of what we are going to do as the world begins to open back up. Since summer has finally arrived, I was able to pull out one of my favorite outfits I barely remembered I had. Essentially it’s a sleeveless tank top with a satin bow which keeps it fitted together so it can be worn in public. I paired it with a pair of lose fitting culottes.

Even the outfit couldn’t get me out of my depression. I even fantasized about wearing my semi revealing summer outfit to one of our local lesbian bars. 


Reality soon set in and it was back to thinking ahead to the week ahead after Memorial Day. The only exiting happenings revolve around our cars. I need to take our newer car into the mechanic for an oil change. The older car is much more of a challenge. It has been sitting for quite a while now and needs a new battery (I hope). Assuming we can get the hood open, we have a portable battery jumper we can try out. How’s that for excitement? 


Since I am bi-polar, I am used to bouts of depression and how to handle them. Since I have waited this long for things to open back up, it looks like I still have a ways to go to at least get out and about…just a little. 
In the meantime. it seems like at the least boredom is my way of life.   

Memorial Day 2020

As you Cyrsti Condo regulars know, Memorial Day is special to me for a number of reasons including the fact I am a transgender veteran of the Vietnam War era. In itself none of my service entitles me to be any more patriotic. But then I was forced into service and honorably served my time…the best I was able. Unfortunately,  many of you too know someone who served and paid the ultimate price. It should be for them we celebrate the holiday. 


I celebrate my service too because of what I gained. Most importantly I gained a relationship which actually thrives to this day and provided me with a daughter I cherish. I found the hard way that life is but a circle, the least of which is proven by me finally getting to live as my chosen gender. Other ways though include the Veteran’s Administration health care I take advantage of, all the way to my nine year relationship I currently enjoy with my partner Liz. 


Perhaps now, more than ever before our country faces more challenges. On Memorial Day it’s time to pause and examine how we got here and how to improve where we are going.

Mommie’s Little Girl?

This is actually from 2010 and was reposted in 2012 and has always been received well, so here we go again. It was actually called, “What Kind of Daughter Did Your Mom Want?”

This picture was from the end of
my “blond period” about 5 years ago
and was only taken as a response to
those “who wanted to see more of me

As you can see the quality is terrible.

“Yes girlfriends, I’m talking about us. Some Mom’s really wanted a daughter and dressed some of us as girls. Some Mom’s may have found it interesting to relate to us on some level as a girl and let us in on a little makeup or clothes. Other Mom’s may have shut us out all together.

All of the mother/son interaction intrigues me because of a couple of reasons. The first would be the simple question of why me? Did my Mom set me up for all of this? (My brother believes she did). The second would be is how much I look like her. How many of you believe your Mom knowingly or even unknowingly opened your door into a female world? I remember vividly the way my Mom blotted her lipstick and made sure the rest of her outfit was together before she went out. I would bet you my brother doesn’t!

 The age old question-environment or genetics? Was I predisposed to be trans? Most likely it’s a question I will never know. (Update! Perhaps the DES drug my Mom very well could have taken during her pregnancy could been the answer.) Maybe the whole “daughter” question explains my total lack of respect for women who do not take care of themselves. This girl was raised believing that appearance was part of the female gender.

My Mom passed away years ago and I believe in two sure facts. She would like the fact I try to keep up a good appearance. She would hate the fact I’m a lot like some of the girls I brought home she didn’t like and live a very wide open lifestyle. Neither Mom or me or even my daughter are shy women.”

A Decade

It turns out I have been writing Cyrsti’s Condo for a decade now. On certain days, it seems like yesterday when Connie encouraged to start writing a blog on others it seems as if it was a century ago. At any rate, after I figured out what a blog really was I am nearing six thousand posts today. 
After extensive searching, I found a post from 2010:

“Saturday, May 29, 2010

You make a better looking woman!

You’ve probably heard the comment.
Unless you are like the recent “Tyra Show”guests. I’m referring to the 7 and 8 year old transgender kids who are living in their preferred gender. You’ve likely agonized over the duality within you. .When I played defensive end, I wanted to be the cheerleader…you know the story.
My experimentation with the opposite gender didn’t really start until I was about 12. The magic elixir of seeing a girl in the mirror was powerful.  I’ve often wondered if some chemical endorphin in my brain is the catalyst for the creature I am today.


And what about the comments that I made a” better looking woman than man”?  (Halloween party gossip) Comments such as those used to destroy me! How could I even consider stopping this shameful “hobby”? Where was my “get out of jail free” card to end this madness?
Obviously, I didn’t stop. In my mind there is nothing more powerful than a beautiful woman so I listened to the comments and obsessed to get better.  Better I did become.

The world knew me as one gender or the other and for the most part I went out of my way to create two existences.  Chance encounters with people who knew the male side of me never produced any recognition. Life was balanced.
Until New Years day this year.
Symbolically, I started the year and decade as Cyrsti for the first time ever. Checked into the hotel as a girl, went to the clubs with friends and left the next morning in girl clothes. On the way home, I changed into my favorite teams jersey (filled it out a little different!) and stopped and watched the first of the bowl  games.


On the way home, I was totally into girl mode when impulsively I stopped at my regular grocery store to pick up a couple things. On New Years Day I figured none of the regular cashiers would be working.  If they were, they wouldn’t know me anyhow.  Wrong, wrong and WRONG! Both of the regular cashiers were working.
Of course one of them picked me out of the crowd immediately. I knew it and she knew it…she thought. I bought my groceries and took off.


I went back the next day to see if I was right.  It took her about ten seconds to start asking questions since I was alone in line.
She said “I know how you will answer” but “do you have an alter ego” or did I lose a bet.
I was naturally evasive as I considered “outing” myself and just said I was at my brothers watching football.
I did not out myself to her so she got bored and  wrapped it all up with “Who ever it was was very attractive and really looked like you”.


Nearly three days later I ended up in the other cashier’s line. Following a similar Q & A, she just said “if you ever had to go that way, you would have no problems, she was beautiful.”
Not my ideal way to go fishing for compliments.
Fortunately, my gender balance wasn’t too difficult to restore.  Many around me know of my duality and I don’t care.
I did spend some time considering the old questions about how challenging it is to live life this way.
But you know I wouldn’t miss another shot of that “magical elixir.” Life would be soooo much more boring!”


There you go. Obviously I was better looking a decade ago! I even found pictures from 2010.

Back in the Saddle?

Well almost that is. I have actually had an active week for a change, even though some of it has been done virtually.
Monday, I had a therapist appointment  by phone. I am so fortunate in that my moods have been stable for awhile now, so the session only went about half the scheduled hour. Hopefully I gave up the rest of my time to a veteran who needed the time worse than I. 


Tuesday was what I call “vampire day”. I actually had to travel up to Dayton, Ohio to have my blood labs taken to see if I needed to have a pint taken if I had too much iron in my blood. Also, it was my second try to find out what my hormone levels were. The last time they were taken, the labs disappeared in the system. In a day or so, I will be able to check myself on my veterans health on line site. I am still three months away from my next endocrinologist visit so hopefully all will be fine as it was with my iron. This time I didn’t have to have any blood taken.


Tuesday also happened to be the day for the “question of the week.” The Dayton VA hospital I go to is now cordoned off so they can control who comes and goes. When I arrived at the guard station, the woman asked me if I was there for an appointment. I so wanted to say, no, this place is so exciting I just come to hang out here. But I didn’t. 


Thursday was my virtual meeting with the Rainbow Elder Alliance up in Dayton. The group was screening me to see if they wanted me on their board of directors. My goal is to get to a point where I can speak to elderly housing groups concerning treatment of transgender and LGB persons they treat. If I can get to a point where I can help at least one other person, the whole effort can be worthwhile. 
One other surprise I took from the virtual meeting was how much the other board members didn’t know about transgender people. In fact, one of the women said just that. I told them, there haven’t been many questions I haven’t been asked over the years, so fire away!


Thursday was also the day for our trip to the market. I don’t know how you feel about wearing a mask in public. I feel if I want to protect someone else, I should have the right and I expect others to respect me too by wearing a mask. Yes it is uncomfortable and it makes it hard for me to breathe with my breathing problems but I do it and so should they. It’s a good thing some of them couldn’t hear what I was calling them, under my mask. So much for my rant of the week. 


By Thursday night I was “socialized” out and decided not to attend the first virtual social of the cross dresser-transgender group I am a part of. As snarky as I was feeling, it was probably a good move. As I am back to whatever “passes” for normal for me now!

The Trinity

Spoiler alert, this is a very shallow post and it reality it has nothing to do with being transgender. It’s actually about being on hormone replacement therapy. (HRT) It’s my belief you don’t have to rely on drugs and/or surgery to calm your trans feelings. For that matter, you can look like a man with a full beard walking around who feels between her ears she is a woman. The tricky part comes when a person tries to “sync” up  what’s going on inside with what they are projecting to the outside world. Since I am not planning on any surgeries, HRT was my only path to helping my feminine presentation with the public.


By now, perhaps you are wondering what any of this has to do with the title of this post.  Another of my not so guilty pleasures I have is watching any and all of the PBS television networks’ cooking shows but Vivian Howard’s Somewhere South is my current favorite. She is a Southern Chef who also does quite a bit of work with other feminine chefs and features the bond between women. Which of course I am always quite interested in, since I am not much of a cook. Fortunately, my partner Liz is. If you know anything about cooking, the “trinity” is normally made up of onions, peppers and celery (if you are cooking Cajun style).


My own personal HRT trinity is hair, skin and breasts. It’s what I rely heavily on when I wake up in the morning. It ties in with my brain and tells me I am a feminine person. Like so many of you, I spent most of my life wondering where I fit on the gender spectrum. I am well aware of the trinity could well be temporary since I have to rely on continued good health to stay on the regimen. 


So I try to be thankful everyday.

Not Good Enough

Perhaps you have read somewhere by now, the Navy has given a waiver to serve for a stellar transgender active duty person. As you probably remember, for no good reason (except pleasing his red neck base) the liar in chief banned all transgender troops from serving. Since I am a transgender veteran myself, this story really hits home.
Now. “The acting Secretary of the Navy has approved a specific request for exemption related to military service by transgender persons and persons with gender dysphoria,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Brittany Stephens told CNN. 
Here is more from the LGBTQ Nation: “This service member requested a waiver to serve in their preferred gender, to include obtaining a gender marker change in (the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) and being allowed to adhere to standards associated with their preferred gender, such as uniforms and grooming.”

The unnamed officer came out after the ban went into effect in June 2019. They were represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights(NCLR)  and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

“The ban has been in place for over a year and this is the first waiver to be granted,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director. “While we are relieved that our client, a highly qualified Naval officer, will be able to continue her service, there are other equally qualified transgender service members who have sought waivers and are still in limbo, despite being perfectly fit to serve. Dedicated military service members shouldn’t have to bring a lawsuit to be able to continue doing their job.”

“There is no basis for treating transgender service members differently by requiring them to seek a waiver that no one else has to obtain in order to continue to serve,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director.” “While we are relieved for our client, requiring transgender service members to jump through this discriminatory hoop makes no sense and only underscores the irrationality of the ban. Being transgender has nothing to do with a person’s fitness to serve, and transgender individuals should be held to the same standards as other service members.”

Hopefully, in November, the people will speak and the crook in chief be be voted out!

Validation II

I have received several comments here in Cyrsti’s Condo concerning transgender public acceptance I wanted to share with you.

The first comes from Gracie:

I had a similar validating experience at the 5/3 office on Fountain Square. I had euros left over from a trip that I wanted to convert to dollars. I was chatting with the teller and the adjacent teller (I was the only customer at the time).

Everything was going fine until the teller asked for my ID. Not sure why the needed it, but their process wanted to link the transaction to someone in their records. So I reached in my purse and handed her my male drivers license. She started typing from the license, then got a confused look. She looked at me and then looked at the license and started fumbling for words. In my male voice, I said, ” I wasn’t dressed as nicely for the license photo.” She smiled and continued on with the process. When I left she said that it was really a pleasure to meet me. The guard held the door on my way out and said, ” Good morning Ma’am” . Great validation. I was on cloud nine.

Thanks Gracie! So exciting!!

The second comes from Connie and her unique personality:

The other day, I did my weekly grocery shopping (the only thing I’m doing in public these days). I was trying to ignore the dysphoria that lingered from what I saw in the bathroom mirror at home. It’s always been the lipstick that adds the finishing feminine touch to my appearance – to me, anyway. Wearing a mask over made-up lips seems ridiculous, if not downright messy, so I left the house feeling somewhat undone.

While the checker was running my items through, I made some smartass remark (who, me?), and it suddenly dawned on me that my facial expression may not have been detectable because of the mask. Also, I couldn’t tell if the young man behind the counter knew I was joking because he was wearing a mask, too. I immediately followed up with saying, “I just realized that no one can see my smile behind the mask. I was just joking…really!” The woman in line behind me, who was not wearing a mask, had heard me, and she bust out laughing. Aside from the probability that her robust laughing was sending airborne particles far beyond the six foot safe zone, the incident completely distracted me from my dysphoria at that moment.

Even though, after I’d loaded the car with my purchases, I applied my lipstick in the rear-view mirror for the mask-less drive home, I did so out of a positive attitude, and not out of a desire to mask my dysphoria from myself. Hmmm, should I call it an “e-mask-ulating experience? 🙂

Thanks Connie!

Public Feedback

Michelle commented on the Cyrsti’s Condo “Dysphoria” post:


“One of the things about Dysphoria is that we seem to have an over whelming need to have others confirm what we already know about who we are. If you really look at it, you already do have some public feedback through this site. I don’t know if you have a counter on it but just the fact that you get comments from others shows that you are getting the confirmation. Hopefully soon this quarantine will be over and many of the places we have frequented in the past will be open for business. Also remember that what we see in the mirror is not always what others see. We tend to be harder on ourselves than what others perceive.”

All great comments! I do on occasion get feedback from all three social media/blogging platforms I am on…it still doesn’t seem to impact my “forever” curse of transgender dysphoria. I guess I am fortunate enough I don’t have to get up everyday and get totally dressed for the mirror since the only other people who see me daily don’t care. I am who I am to them. 
I guess, the past is just so hard to get rid of! Used to tell people I had more baggage than a freight train! Every now and then the train slows down enough I can rearrange the baggage.