My first Christmas

Yesterday was fascinating… my first Christmas as a biological woman. LB played the Pope’s midnight message from St Peters Basilica and it was quite inspiring. The humility of this servant in the midst of massive mind-boggling architectural ornateness was striking. Isaiah, Titus, and Luke 2 were the scripture references; peace and love with a purpose was the message I received.

Being without my family was hard but LB planned a full, eventful day that kept my focus on other things! Once again, she treated me to an oceanside first class holiday buffet brunch at Casa Marina. Later in the day we visited her friends for a rack of lamb dinner… LB spoils me! She also gave me a wonderful tool that is going to help in my next emergence phase.

You can live a lifetime and simply hope for a friend like LB. Here in 80-degree paradise I’ve been going through some non-physiology-related post-op issues. For the final part of my transition and recovery, LB has given me space, covered my overhead and so much more, and she continuously encourages me. I would not be at this stage of womanhood without her. I am honored to have such a true friend.

Sincerely,
~ Jane

Jane with dear friend LB

Jane with dear friend LB

Merry Christmas!

My mood swings lately are extreme… extremely high and extremely low. I guess it’s hormonal. Hopefully it’s that simple. I’ll vacillate back and forth between these extremes minutes apart. Am I crazy?

There are certain things I want to see coming together and the delay is so NOT easy. Add that to not seeing any of my family this Christmas and I’m struggling… when I’m down. When I’m “up,” all is well. Then I’m smiling and the whole world’s smiling with me.

But according to LB, an obvious change came over me a couple days ago. I was walking from the wharf area around mid-afternoon when this guy on a bike asked how my day was going. I was carrying my purse and laptop bag and dressed in a cream & pink cotton print skirt and a pink tank top. I had my hair done last week and am tickled by all the natural waves and curls so I’ve not been using the straightening iron. I simply separate my hair at the part and fluff it up for a wild cute look.

This guy looked familiar and I responded saying, “Ok but it could be a lot better!” He says, “Did you recently take the ferry to Sunset Key?” Turns out he is from Tulsa and was the ferry captain when LB treated me to a luxurious afternoon on a small Westin resort island with a private beach. I was elegantly dressed that day and this handsome fellow and I connected, discovering we had some things in common.

So we reconnected on the Old Town street and talked a couple minutes, mostly me pouring out my heart. I went on my way feeling there was unfinished business. A couple minutes later he pedaled up and asked if he could hug me. He leaned against a car under this tropical tree and invited me into his arms, proceeding to passionately show his affection! That was enough for me at this point… I drunkenly pulled away to catch my breath and get my balance.

I gave him my contact info and felt like I was walking on air as I gaily danced to my car, returned home, and fixed myself a Gabriel-inspired egg skillet meal. LB walks in, looks at me and says, “You look different… Better than any time since your operation!”

Amazing what the right kiss can do!!! The only experience like this was when Zach held me and kissed me four times… But that was pre-op. This was definitely a first!

Yay! It will all be ok…

Merry Christmas everyone!

As Mom’s card to me this year says, “Wishing you the love, peace and joy that the true meaning of Christmas brings.”

Love from Adventure Land,
~ Jane

Jane ensuring Santa's hammock nap isn't disturbed

Jane ensuring Santa’s hammock nap isn’t disturbed

Family

I don’t know how some members of the trans community deal with rejection from their parents, siblings, or children. My darkest panic/anxiety moments since my GRS were irrational thoughts about being separated from my children.

Irrational in my case because love comes to (and from!) me from my children and the door is open for me to be with them in the future (albeit KW-CO, KW-NC, and KW-IL trips are presently mission impossible for us!).
The love of my family, including Mom and my siblings, has been most important to me, especially during these fragile post-op weeks. I just can’t imagine living without it. So those of you suffering family rejection are in my thoughts during this Christmas season of peace and joy.

Rejection from the spouse is sadly understandable and another predictable pain in our transitions. However, when love and respect remain in the relationship after coming out, the couple can move forward as separated friends. I’m in this fortunate group; my ex is the closest of friends and towards me (and the world) continues to be all that is wonderfully lovely. She’s the best.

So all this to say, at the beginning of Festival of Lights, that there is light at the end of our dark tunnels. Family, finances, jobs, relationships, health… there are a number of tunnels from which we must emerge into womanhood and emerge we will with time and encouragement. Thank you, dear ones, for the life you send my way. See the photo below with Gabe!

I’ll specifically address my recovery-in-process from the panic attacks in a future post.

Love,
~ Jane

Celebrating Gabriel's birthday in October just before leaving Tulsa

Celebrating Gabriel’s birthday in October just before leaving Tulsa

Bocce

LB’s teaching me to play Bocce and I played last night with others for the first time. When we were teammates, LB and I didn’t lose! That was neat… But LB is a very good Bocce player so she basically carried me!

S & Z, the guys against whom we were playing were also very good and quite encouraging to me. I know I had an arm around my waist more than once! Later in the evening LB said concerning the Darling of the Court, “Hitting Jane is like hitting Bambi!”

I skipped happily a few times as I checked closest polena distances and when we moved back and forth on the court. It tested my limits at this five-week milestone in my recovery but it felt nicely strange to have my new female apparatuses undulating rhythmically during those short runs! I think these moments will soon become pleasurable tickles-and-giggles!

Our organic farmer sales lady at Naples’ Nordstrom earlier this week had me try on the rabbit fur jacket in the photo. Feeling luxury is relatively new to me and this was luxury! Do you see LB taking the picture in the back mirror? 🙂 She’s a natural in these high-end NY-type department stores. It’s fun to shop with her and I’m learning so much!

Isn’t life good as oneself?!
Yes!

Love,
~ Jane

Just another shopping day at Nordstrom

Just another shopping day at Nordstrom

Naples, Skyline & a new do

I had not had my hair done in nearly four months. Shelli Jent in Owasso was my stylist then as she had been throughout my transition. She is amazing, finally bringing me out from under my Jane-head wig that August day with a cute bob that covered and then flipped under my ears. (Contact me to reach her.) With honey-blond highlights in my no-gray, angel-fine hair, just the right natural wave on both sides of my face, and the existing part defining the flows, I was so excited to receive the resulting encouragement from Royal and the Polo Grill staff. For the preceding few months, I only wore my wig while waitressing, which was around eight shifts a week. So after that August day I stored my quick-fix security-blanket Paula Young wig and added another layer of womanhood… doing my hair daily. It has been a joy even though I could never duplicate Shelli’s work. (That’s a familiar refrain!)

Wow… I’m writing this from a bench on the 12 Avenue pier in Naples, Florida and below me a dolphin has just graciously arched itself up out of the water! Naples is the southernmost home of Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili, IMHO the standard of Greek-style chili. So I indulged in a pasta-free lunch of chili, beans, onions, cheese and sour cream and then walked about 15 blocks to the pier through upscale clothing shops and Italian restaurants. This was great exercise for my recovering self and a lot of fun… Most of my walking was on the long, pristine, public access beach and there were such interesting people to observe! Rebecca methodically collected seashells on this beach around 15 years ago when we were in Ft Meyers for Benjamin’s select baseball national tournament!

Back to my hair…
I have a new hairdo!
Yesterday Debbie Pettit, a great hair stylist and electrologist from West Virginia who lives in the Ft Meyers’ area this part of the year, brought her tools to LB’s and my hotel room and gave me a cut & style with highlights! It was the first time we met and we connected! She is so interesting and she honored me so wonderfully! I honestly felt like royalty, to have someone as professional and gifted as Debbie make a house/hotel call to serve me! Wow…

Life is good!

Love,
~ Jane

My hair renewed!

My hair renewed!

Celebrating Christmas in paradise

Yesterday LB treated me to a tour of Key West’s historic inns, beginning with the Cypress House that was built in 1888. My favorite was The Mermaid & the Alligator, owned by Dean Carlson and Paul Hayes. Their rooms, foliage, layout and hospitality were top-notch. Jeri, their concierge, is a gem.

We spent the evening tonight on Schooners’ Wharf where we were front and center for 30 sailing vessels in a lighted holiday parade. The temperature was in the mid 70’s. It was incredible to see theWestern Unionand other majestic vessels float their festive stuff! This paradise island is so creative with its events and celebrations… and LB is always on top of what’s happening! We are having so much fun together.

Concerning anxiety attacks, I’m doing better. The impact is lessening and I need to guard against loneliness, which often sets off an episode. I saw some photos this morning of Gabriel that I took before leaving Tulsa and it tore at my heart and I began to have shortness of breath and palpitations. As I mentioned before, reality flies out the window with this “condition” I’m fighting… When I logically thought about it, Gabriel has been away from me for other periods of time, like when he was at OSU and when he lived in Chicago. So there, Darkness, I can live without seeing Gabriel (at least for awhile… he’s so beautiful).

Thank you for your thoughts.

Love,
~Jane

Christmas in paradise at The Mermaid & the Alligator

Being misunderstood

I’m having a good day listening to Christmas music and primping. Since I must dilate in a couple hours, there wasn’t time to initiate much that wouldn’t interfere with the second of my thrice daily rendezvous with the guys (aka stents). So I’ve enjoyed my presspot of French roast and yogurt with fruit, cleaned up around our apartment, and worked on my face and eyebrows. I feel productive, a rarity during this healing period.

Yesterday I had a significant anxiety attack during the afternoon on a beautiful day in paradise. Loneliness and fear permeated me. I was overwhelmed with being misunderstood in my past. For example, this dread, shortness of breath, and smothering darkness came over me when I was thinking about Christmas with my spouse and children many years ago. It’s like I felt I *really needed* to relive it and do it right this time… I was so upset and couldn’t shake it. I had to go outside and do deep breathing exercises. But logically this doesn’t make sense because no one can go back in time to relive holidays regardless of crossing gender barriers. These panic/anxiety attacks totally isolate me, giving a very real sense that it’s very real.

So I’ve been thinking lately about being misunderstood. No one knows what’s inside someone else’s head. Growing up, my parents and siblings didn’t know I waited for opportunities to escape to one of my sisters’ rooms into their clothing and world. This wasn’t easy in a house with up to nine people… I was not home alone that often!

At church, on the job, with friends, raising my children… none of them knew the identification struggle that was continually raging inside me. I prayed, fasted, and “cast out demons” to no avail. This thing was not going away. So I mastered sending the signal that I was a faithful, compassionate, spiritually stable soul.

But my children knew something was up. They discerned I was a phony and they distanced themselves from me. So I tensed up and tried using the Bible card to get them to line up with my way of thinking. You know, that “rebellion is sin,” “honor your parents,” and “spare not the rod” stuff. It didn’t work. My spouse communicated with our children on my behalf when I was upset, which was often. I was always a wall flower in business and social settings so it was natural to assume that role in our family. In photos and real life, I stayed in the shadows and my office unless I was in the kitchen where I was at ease!

I worked hard at producing as a dad, husband, minister, brother, son, friend, and general guy. And even though I was a touchy-feely person, I was misunderstood by everyone. I was in feminine receiver mode and avoided confrontation except when I got religious. Then I felt I was justified to use the Bible and my diminutive understanding of God’s heart to judge others. My spouse knew of my struggle with gender identity but thought, as did I, it was behind me. So as my identity-encompassing feelings gradually overtook me in subsequent years, it was quite difficult for her. But she’s the absolute BEST and gave me space.

Looking at the big picture, I feel that 2/3 of my life is behind me. So, in light of the fruit, relationships, and my family, I fulfilled my responsibilities and others’ expectations. Now my remaining years are Jane’s season to emerge and release her peace and joy. In her fullness it is wonderfully new and beautiful… The best is yet to come!

I have a soft side that is a river flowing through life. That’s my personality. It’s natural. It’s me being Jane and into which I so rightly pour myself! I simply ooze with the grace, joy and elegance that are my mom and was her mother. I am welcomed and honored everywhere. It’s so easy because it’s real!

I love being me. Finally!

Love,
~ Jane

Yesterday in front of sailing vessel America 2

Yesterday in front of sailing vessel America 2