Going deeper in relationships


I’m listening to Sam Cooke, Clarence Carter and other R&B artists sing love songs and it’s intriguing. As I’ve been wondering how my bills are going to be paid without a job as I’ve been working full time to look for a job, I’ve been receiving some passionate attention from a couple of men and mature girl-watching from many others. To be on this end of the attention is such a game-changer. I’m learning to use discretion in both to whom and in what manner I respond. (For a while I was giving my number to everyone!)

Male-to-male I was never with a guy (kissing and the other stuff they do) so after my transition I didn’t think I’d want to be with them or that I could easily brush them away if they got too close. However it’s not that easy to escape when they fix their sights on you, especially if they’ve been imbibing. They’re pretty persistent, those T-driven fellows!

So when a guy buys me a drink, which I certainly will not refuse :), I begin a mental tab of what I owe him. Sort of like an eye-for-an-eye but in a sweeter way! And my idea of returning the favor is to talk to him, smile at him often, and possibly even let him “chair dance” on his bar stool directly up against my back as I face the band. Since I usually refuse to dance on two feet and since music literally moves me, this has happened a few times! I definitely consider the bill to be paid in full if I sweetly place a kiss on his stubby face.

However he doesn’t see it that way. Kind of like the cave man mentality, he owns me and the final conquest into my octopus’ garden that evening is simply a matter of time. This happened dramatically once when a guy brought a bottle of wine to the condominium pool one night after he finished his kiosk business on Duval, which I’ve mentioned. The expectation of my body was assumed (by him), albeit with the utmost concern and respect (in his mind). My soft resistance was futile until he wanted his member to join my OG Club. I’d have no part of that, especially in the back seat of my car.

So the same guy is back again a few weeks later. I sort of like him and was wondering if he should be the “first.” “But I can’t let him in me,” I’m thinking, “unless he knows about me.” So we met on the beach late that evening. I had already poured in much wine and he brought me more, which I guzzled. Sure enough, our shirts were up and our pants were down and he’s telling how nice I am and how he loves my soft kisses. We were close to consummation and I knew it would happen very soon so I begged off and tried to disclose. “Just tell me,” he reassured me as I grew more and more frantic holding back my news of the hour. “I have four children and have never been with a man,” I blurted out. When he didn’t get it, I declared, “It was my sperm!”

Even though my short, handsome, muscular, ex-military friend seems to be fine with the news (there’s no evidence otherwise since he’s contacted me since that night), this has sent a tidal wave into the homeostasis of my Key West existence. So I’m keeping that male relationship at a distance in hopes of remaining friends and pouring water on any remaining passionate embers…

But here I am in a another male relationship. He’s a prince! Except for a dear high school friend, I didn’t know a guy could be a huge sculptured hunk and be so considerate! So… I’m moving forward in this relationship and approaching the D-Day invasion of my virgin OG. The prerequisite of his OG visit, we agreed, would be me bringing myself to ecstasy. I’m working on that! Unbeknownst to my prince, the nerve endings in my clitoris are still healing so unfortunately I am numb to most of his sweet attempts to please me. He thinks, which is also true, I’ve been recovering from a dismal psychological period of my life where I basically shut down sexually.

So, concerning going deep in relationships, I don’t think I’ll disclose my status again on this island but that doesn’t mean a guy can’t guess, such as when a deep groan emanates from within me instead of the usual soft sigh. Scary thought but it actually happened a couple nights ago. I don’t think it phased him but he’s astute and I’m not sure.

All this to say that I’m walking a stealth tight rope in Key West, not a safe place to be, despite the paradise amenities and BL’s tremendous giving. So I’m wondering if I need to plan my exit, hopefully to a decent job waiting for me.

~ The week ~

I share our KW living expenses but I’m still not working. My small tax refund helped a little bit towards February’s budget.

I interviewed with a telecommunications carrier this week to be a sales support rep and my heart wasn’t in it, even though I gave good answers and looked great in my peasant skirt and sleeveless lace and embroidered top. The employees looked like college students! I know my heart wasn’t in it because I had to remind myself to smile.

Emotionally things are adding up, including emails from a relative telling me I’m being “flirtatious” and am being read by prospective employers and they don’t want “drama” in their business. Isn’t that great encouragement? So then why all this guy attention? And did the fine dining restaurant experience drama in my two years there under the greatest pressure? (Well, come to think about it, maybe a little…)

Hopefully your week went better.

So long for now…

One day equals… light years!

Friends and I were dialoging recently about the aging effects of hormones and the GRS both mentally and physically. At the beginning of the transition we mentally feel like young teenagers finally going through puberty. For me it was about three years ago and then a dear forever-young friend and I gravitated to the Juniors department at Kohls and other clothing stores!

The timelines of our paths to womanhood all vary and mine went into warp speed. The highs and lows were extreme. I lost two jobs and most of my relationships, all religion connected, as I was judged for my decision. (Like I had a choice in this? “Who would ask for this?” Dr. Renee Richards once exclaimed.) Oh but the highs were worth it all! I was set free from a cage. I danced with joy and had to pinch myself to convince me I wasn’t dreaming!

I did some calculations and think in those pre-op days I was “maturing” from a female puberty age at the rate of about two years for each month I lived. That put me around 50 mentally at the time of my GRS, still 10 years short of my actual age.

After my operation another aging process began as my body was now anatomically female. I’m fresh and new; I’m a virgin. I’ve never been all the way with a guy!

Physiologically, we post-op girls heal and develop at about the same rate. My vagina is losing most of the swelling and numbness (Yay!) and bacterially changing to what is similar in a genetic teenage girl. It’s kind of like one month for me physically now equals two years of normal female development. When post-op about one year, I should be near a woman’s physiology somewhat near my age. Hopefully I can match that mentally! Sometimes I feel so goofy I wonder if I’ll ever grow up! Oh, and I also have a new, perky, pair of full grown girls who have helped mentally!

~ The Week ~

It was a hard week… Very sweet and also sour.

  • BL has had a couple folks visiting lately and, one after another, they’ve impacted me positively. I fell for F, the first guest, a handsome, wise Jewish fellow.
  • I had a long, engaging interview as a part time Administrative Assistant that I think went quite well.
  • Wearing a hoodie to block the 72 degree wind, I spent hours on the beach one night with a handsome guy who brought me wine. Eventually I didn’t need the hoodie.
  • After three months I finally made a significant Oklahoma connection here in Key West.
  • And then last night I worked my first paid Key West shift, a catering event.

Those are good things.
But I’m feeling the earth move under my feet.

  • My back is against the wall; nothing is certain and the tension is causing cracks in my paradise. I’m not depressed over it. I’m resolute and focused on becoming gainfully employed somehow somewhere.
  • And then guys and disclosure… I had to do it this week because I’m in a relationship that is becoming serious and I don’t want it to go any further unless he knows. He would be making a serious investment inside me and he deserves to know! He took it well and says I’m still “so beautiful” and my “kisses are very soft.” 🙂 He’s sweet and sensitive.
  • The disclosure has turned out to be very painful in other ways. To lessen the pain I recall my words, “I have four children and have never been with a man!” He asked how that could be and I said, “My sperm did it!”
  • But now I don’t think I want this relationship to continue. Yeah, I know… I could have saved myself a lot of…
  • In fact, I’m short circuiting another male friendship because we might come to the same place and I don’t want to go through this again. Why shouldn’t I disclose, you might ask? Because this is a small island…

Until next time,

We’re not faking it. We’re the real deal.

I was thinking about when we’re read. Typically the proudly astute gender police person looks disgusted, like “How dare you violate my senses by trying to fool me into believing you’re a woman!”

But it’s really the opposite. It’s those who think they’re spectators at a zoo who are actually the aberration of a sincere heart and soul.

It makes me want to pull my hair out but I’m no longer wearing a wig! It’s like if we “blend” (i.e., “pass”), everyone is sweet but shame on us if we don’t blend. Then we are judged with scorn. I’m sorry but we’ve invested everything and we’ve sacrificed everything to leave our confused selves behind. How can we contribute any more honestly to the circle of life?

As I write this I’m sitting beyond a Cuban refugee-inspired freedom archway of bamboo poles and barbed wire that I passed under to reach the relative comfort of a rough wood bench. I see it as symbolic of the transition experience for us… We pass through the demands of a society requiring us to perfect our presentation. The barbed wire attacks that we endure, most of them quietly internalized, are unpredictable. As we pass through we become wiser and stronger for the experience.

~ The week ~

W invited me to the Key West MLK Day program. Because of my work in Africa and years of inner city ministry, I’ve been inspired for years at these gatherings. We shall overcome. Let my people go. We know something about freedom themes.

My younger daughter’s birthday was Tuesday. This genius package is poised for biochemistry greatness as she is also working to make sense of this gift of life.

F visited BL for a week and I had a wonderful time with him!


Confidence, stealth & the natal mind

Experiencing the “knowing” that I am a woman is life’s fullness in a personal sense for me (finally!)… That knowing is what I see as “the natal mind,” i.e., the mind of a genetic female, a “natural woman” as Carole King wrote.

In our M2F (male-to-female) gender presentation, being stealth is a tremendous effort that becomes less so as time goes on. During confident, autopilot moments I have no second thought how I present (my gender) to others. I’m then living with the mind and heart of a natal woman. This is when the river that is me flows most freely. Usually I have “the natal mind” of my female tribe but I’m in a never-ending process to occupy it 24-7!

M2F “blending” (passing) successes are tied to the confidence of the natal mind. Natal women don’t “think” about whether they’re being “gendered,” they simply “are.” Likewise with us in our TG community when we have the knowing that we are anatomically and psychologically women.

Let’s explore this… What do you think? Let me know!

On a related note, I had difficulty New Year’s Eve because I went to our first of a few parties smashed and it wasn’t on wine! It was like stepping into a 1950’s holiday gathering hosted by my mom… The atmosphere, Christmas decorations, jazz music, china cabinet, and even a display of shot glasses were reminiscentally beautiful but I was not prepared to engage the hosts and wonderfully eccentric guests. After a short time of being awkwardly social I was okay.

So I feel I blew my stealth cover, which is an issue whenever I lose confidence. The resulting fear and cotton mouth made early New Years Eve difficult. I’m not sure if I quelled all the doubts by the time I left that first party but I did connect nicely with nearly everyone. I had fun talking with a sweet woman Mom’s age who has been asked by her daughter’s family (the hosts) to move here to Key West. It was a hard decision because she’d have to leave her friends!

So what do I do when I’ve created suspicion about my gender? Carry on with grace, sweetness and kind words… from the heart! A touch of elegance also helps. None of that goofy syrupy insincere stuff! In fact, at the second party, an art gallery, I was the focus of a man’s romantic intentions so I know I recovered!

~ The week ~

I met W, a writer recently retired from her northern college department chair. She lives here most of the year and we did a few things together this week. W is my first female Key West friend who I’ve done things with alone who doesn’t know of my transition. Do I feel like I’m hiding something? No, not really, because of the natal mind! (Male relationships are different! More on that another day…)

So my writer friend sat with us Sunday night at the live jazz garden. Then we met her on Tuesday night at the foremost Key West cabaret where a talented pianist entertained. On Friday I met W alone at a comedy fundraiser for the high school LGBT group. We then went to see her reggae friend perform at an open bar on the wharf. While visiting with us, he gave the following advice:

Love like you’ve never been hurt
Live like you’re going to die tomorrow
Laugh like no one can hear you
Dance like no one can see you.

We finished the evening at an Irish bar close to home. Everywhere I met interesting people and had fun!

Monday night, I attended a wine tasting on Duval where I was sitting next to the food and beverage director of a restaurant to which I had just applied. Small world! We shall see if a job there is meant to be.

On Thursday I had an appointment with a Key West job services program. I was immediately considered for a web development position but it is a 120-mile commute, round trip. I’m not too interested in that unless I can telecommute. We shall see…

That evening I volunteered at the Waterfront Playhouse, voted best community theatre in Florida. “August: Osage County” was a heavy play (Oklahoma’s Osage County touches Tulsa County!) but it was such a neat experience to dress nicely, meet people, seat patrons, and see the entire play.

On Saturday, a friend drove a car full of tennis-playing friends to Pigeon Key to visit the workers’ island for the long-closed Florida East Coast Railway built by Henry Flagler, the Eighth Wonder of the World. It connected the Florida mainland with Key West in 1912 and we celebrated this 100th anniversary. What an amazing history day!

Until next time…
~ Jane

New posting schedule and RFI (Request for Ideas)

It’s a new year and time for an Emergence publication frequency change! From now on the plan will be weekly, each Sunday.

One of the reasons for the change is to encourage feedback from all since there won’t be as many posts to read. Also, I am soliciting ideas from “the community” (read TS) for dialog consideration. In these cases, I would frame the topic for open-ended discussion. In a sense, it would be like a blog version of the great Dr. Laura Arrowsmith’s weekly group meetings. She frames a topic and there is wonderful sharing and learning. Above all, I desire that this blog touches lives WITH HOPE as I capture heart snapshots of my amazing transition.

I’m writing this while listening to Sunday night live jazz around an outside pool and tropical garden setting at a quality Key West inn. The owner and other women have commented how nice I look in my LBD and ME’s “New Day” silk scarf. Talk about a dream come true? 🙂 I love life!

~ The week ~
LB and I went to the Green Parrot, one of the top 10 bars in America. We got there early and had the best seats for Donna the Buffalo’s jazz-rock fusion, ala facon Grateful Dead. I was smiling all night (they played until 3 a.m.) and was a magnet for guys! One in particular nestled in behind me, his bar stoll up against mine, straddled me and was quite pleased as he held my slim waist and I swayed rhthmatically to the music. He was allowed to do this as long as he bought me wine!

The next night, LB fixed a wonderful Indian meal for some friends and I helped, including making my classic Caesar Salad! We went to an art show opening the following night. Then came Saturday.

Beginning in the warm early afternoon, I wore my pink halter with a pink peasant skirt and a new pair of aqua OkaB sandals a Vera Bradley-type playfully colorful bag. I first went to the independent film theatre to look for the brother of a friend. I missed him but connected with his staff. I’d like to volunteer there.

Then I felt like I should walk down the beginning part of Duval I haven’t yet explored. A kiosk owner stopped me, said I had elegance and beauty, and as a gift, tatoo-painted a heart on the top of my left breast (my choice of location). Then he brought me a bottle of wine after he closed last night! We talked and kissed for hours.

Back to yesterday afternoon, I continued on my wandering way towards the wharf, feeling good about myself at this moment… I have numerous good and bad moments in a day! I thought, LB brought me here last night because of an ESPN area on the wharf nearby that was roped off and she pointed out a restaurant she recommended as a good work match for me. It’s been three months since I came to Key West and my savings are drained. I need to find work to get back to Tulsa and rent a place to live. Now it was 4 p.m. on Saturday… a good time to drop in and say “Hi!”, I thought. I walked up the steps and into the restaurant. No bosses were there so this wonderful bartender took me outside and down to their office in vain and then out on the pier to a high bar table where she found the manager and GM.

So here I am, this bubbly, confident cutie with a freshly-painted heart on one of her prominent breasts, graciously and suddenly entering the lives of these two men. The manager said, “Your timing is impeccable. We were just discussing adding another server by the holiday.” Uhh… I think this was a set up! I gave my resume and cover letter to the GM and encouraged them to hire me in the next couple weeks before someone else does. I mentioned that no one has a greater desire to serve than I and I also have technical and writing skills to where I could help with web site maintenance and editing. “Use me!”, I said. It was like we were all so pleased to see each other! As I sashayed off the pier with my young-spirited peasant skirt dancing around me I felt like I was walking on air.

Today LB and I went to the final sessions of the literary society seminar. It was perfect to relax in the San Carlos Theatre and listen to poets and authors read their works and then discuss playing God as they scribe. Very interesting!

Then, as I mentioned, we went to enjoy some wine and listen to live jazz. One woman, a writer, invited us to join her and a girlfriend for some dancing this coming week. That will be interesting!

LB treated me to dinner and on the way back to the car we stopped to throw some darts. There it happened again… For the third time in five days, there’s a guy hanging over me, buying me wine, telling me sweet things and touching me! My goodness… I need a strategy to gently brush these men away! I don’t want to hurt their feelings so I respond graciously yet cautiously but it just seems to fuel their goal of manhandling me! Help!

Wow… What a week!
See you next time.

~ Jane

1,300 miles away this Christmas, my son Benjamin and his and Miriam's son, Jonah Patrick. It's all good!


Generation to generation - Benjamin to Jonah

Lifting the veil

We have crossed the threshold and are in the New Year!

Pre-op, I wondered if I’d ever be free to live for myself. Because of the internal confusion about who I was, it was like I was always living for or as someone else. November 9, 2011 the veil lifted. I can now simply be.

2012 will be my first full year beyond the veil. I am finally biologically with my tribe.

The experience arriving was a lifetime comprising failed attempt after failed attempt trying to reconcile myself to the world. It was mysterious peering through the veil. “What would it be like ‘over there’?” I’d often wonder. Well, as Gary Puckett & The Union Gap are singing now, “This girl is a woman now. She’s found out what it’s all about and she’s learning to live!”

Last night, New Year’s Eve, I went with LB and her friends, a boat captain and his artistic, sportswoman wife. They collect incredible maritime art and photograph the same. One of the places we visited was an apartment that looked like an art museum! Some of the artists were there and those invited were art collectors. LB knows art and was right at home. I was amazed at the quality of the work and that I was even there.

I spent most of the evening on the balcony talking to interesting people and looking out over the Atlantic. An entrepreneur [read “wheeler dealer”!] took an interest in me and said he is going to call me. It was fun and interestingly, LB and I were in her kayak the day before looking at this condo from the water and I not knowing we’d be guests the next day!

The New Year arrived and we all celebrated and partied a couple more hours before returning to the captain’s place. We joined a party in a neighbor’s courtyard where we drank rum and tried to sing karaoke all night. That was a first for me and the veil has not lifted over my inability to sing! Our Philippine, Guam and Cuban hosts took wonderful care of us.

Here’s to an authentic 2012!
~ Jane

Note: Thank you, LB, for today’s title and nugget!

My namesake in Naples, a quality breakfast restaurant!

My namesake in Naples, a quality breakfast restaurant!

The Past? Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from A Place of Newness!

This is a great time to discuss the past being behind us. We experience newness every day; as morning dawns and its day emerges, there is freshness with endless possibilities… such as stopping to smell the roses.

Nature, people, events… unveiling themselves in a seemingly random manner. It’s up to us to connect with the life in those moments and savor the joy and beauty in the experience. I see them as gifts that encourage me to open them!

To the contrary, we can laboriously plow through our day, missing the freshness of the moments gifted to us. From my experience, wearing blinders while pushing forward was a safe place because then I didn’t have to bare my soul or be authentic.

Well I flowed so naturally as a woman it was so natural to stop and smell the roses. I had done so from the time my transition began up until my GRS and its returning, which is one big reason I feel reborn. I think and live differently. This river flows easily into and through each day’s magical encounters.

On November 9th I was physically reborn. Melody, a friend, told me the other day, “It is great being a woman and you can do anything you want to do.” It sounds rather open-ended but she’s correct… It’s so wonderful to be “right” and have life’s fresh possibilities be revealed and made possible as a woman! The river that is me is flowing and can flow where there is no resistance and where I am welcome. It is into these places I flow and do whatever my softened heart desires!

I have never been with a man but now, post-op and 60 years old, I recently had two beautiful encounters with guys, the latest Christmas evening in the home of a friend of LB’s. Both were unplanned, both were smitten with me, both wanted inside me, and both were told no (for now). I’m healing of course and the thought of intercourse is scary (on multiple levels)! Christmas night I was dressed in a cotton-laced red cami, black skinny jeans, skinny green belt, white flip flops, and a green string of Key West beads around my neck with a Trinidad ornament dangling between my 38D breasts! It was so cute and I looked good. In a beer stupor, this intense 50-year old tropical sportsman latched onto me all evening. It was fun but I had to smack him off me and I told him we’ll have to take it slow!

It’s been tough psychologically since my GRS and I’m finally beginning to
enjoy the day, savor the moment and anticipate adventure’s newness around the next bend. I was in this mindset before my operation and it’s a welcome place to return. Let’s join each other there!

All the best in 2012 with love!
~ Jane

LB's photo of the sunset we witnessed last night

LB’s photo of the sunset we witnessed last night