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I had therapy today, the first since I finally admitted I had to take yet another step forward. Passing through another door which has now closed behind me.

The first time I have done so and not felt grief for what was left behind.

The future, as always, is uncertain and I still have concerns and fears. Yet I have reached a point where my need to go forward became greater than my fear.

I am continuing to take very small steps, I have too much history behind me to suddenly do a one eighty and throw everyone for a loop. I have been at my current job for nearly twenty years. I cannot and do not expect everyone to suddenly switch their thinking and begin using the proper name or pronouns. I don’t expect to make many changes to the way I present at work and none overly noticeable or dramatic. For one thing I am not a teenager. I am an adult and I am expected to act as such. So, no garish makeup, no strange hairdos. No crazy clothing or accessories. I have long had a taste for the understated when it comes to such things. 

There is however, something which has changed and changed dramatically. I no long wish to hide. To feel as if I am being dishonest with others or myself. I want to live my life free of such things. This is part of the reason I have begun the slow transition to full time. Trying to maintain two identities is just too difficult and painful for me to continue.

This is also the reason I took our foreman aside last week and while not spelling out everything, informed him at some point in the near future I will need to speak to our supervisor as well as HR. I also let him know I am looking into the requirements for a legal name change and to have my gender markers changed as well. This is the one thing which locked the door behind me. I understood what I was doing and why. 

I’m glad I did so.

You see, to me having the option of stopping, going back, de-transitioning, (whatever you want to call it), is no longer acceptable. I’m just causing myself more pain by not removing it from my thoughts all together.

It’s the same, to my way of thinking, as suicide. Maybe not in the physical sense, but it would be killing myself just the same. For so long I kept the option of removing myself from this world as a very real possibility and all I did was torture myself with the knowledge. Once I was honest with myself and admitted it never really was an option, I was freed from the never-ending weight which threatened to pull me down into oblivion. 

Now I know I have to live and I have to do so as the person I am inside. No more running, no more hiding. No more masks or costumes. No more assumptions or expectations.

I did not ask him to keep this confidential. From his reaction, or lack there of, I suspect I have been discussed at some length by my coworkers, several of whom I have already come out to. I also expect I have been a topic of conversation in the main office as well, and if not… then I will be soon. 

So be it.

Kira At Work

So…

Last night was, as I think I secretly expected, was a non event. If anyone notice the subtle change then they kept it to themselves. I seriously doubt anyone was even paying attention which is what I really want… to be just another face in the crowd along with all the other women I work with.

 

KIra At Work

 

I took this picture during my last break of the night… needless to say I was tired after a full shift and looking out the window to see more snow falling was enough to depress a demented clown…

A Weight Off My Mind

 

Kira

(How I am going to work tonight)

 

Last night I spoke with a coworker about the things on my mind. The uncertainty, the fears. She had some very good advice and needed thoughts on the possible reactions of our coworkers. 

What came out of this was, unless I were to go overboard, odds are most people will not even notice a small chance such as wearing my enhancers at work. Most people just don’t pay that close attention, which is what I found to be true in most public places…

Part of what is on my side is working third shift. We rarely interact with very many of the professors or students and they have more important things on their minds than the custodial staff. More often than not there is just two of us in the building. My concern has been focused on when we clock in and out. It is when the entire shift is framed into a small pace, though I usually make a point of staying out of the way.

Still, I do remember the last time I thought to gauge the reactions of people regarding Trans people and I cannot say I am not nervous… However, I think back to all of the fears and concerns I have had with each step I have taken and how it has yet to be as bed as I have worried myself sick over… Besides, I know this is what I must do. Living in fear, never trusting yourself or others, is no way to live. It really isn’t and allowing internal forces to hold me back is what caused me so many problems over the years. I’m not entirely past it, but I know my need to live an authentic life now outweighs any fears I have. Trying to take the easy path, to go with the flow, to not make waves, to not stand out isn’t an answer. It isn’t living and it is being dishonest with yourself.

You can only hang on to a falsehood for so long before comes apart and you along with it…

Now, as I said, beginning tonight I am taking the first steps to being my true self, but as someone mentioned, I need to maintain my common sense.

I am going to take small steps just as I have been doing. A shift in my physical appearance. I have already allowed my hair and nails to grow so another small change isn’t going to stand out. There is no need to change the way I have always dressed, jeans, a t-shirt or sweatshirt depending on the weather. A coat or jacket when needed. What I wear away from work is a different matter, but I have been out most weekends and I know what works for me. For now, turtlenecks or sweaters, blue or black jeans. Tennis shoes or low heeled boots.

I haven’t worn a wig for awhile simply because pulling my hair back and wearing a hat works for me.

I’m not big on makeup either. For work it is more trouble than it’s worth and so far I am being seen as female regardless. If there is something special, then I’ll get fancied up, but otherwise why should I? 

On a side note, A rarely wears makeup and neither do most of the women at work, so it I fit right in.

On the matter of names…

This is a little more difficult because I would really prefer being called Kira, but I have been at this job since 1997 and all this time I have only been known by my birth name. I can’t and don’t, expect everyone to suddenly shift gears and call me something else. Same with pronouns. Yes, it’s annoying, but I can live with it for the moment. The future my hold something different.

I eventually plan on legally changing my name and hopefully my gender markers, but that is for the future and I’m not going to stress out about it now… I have enough on my plate already.

What will I do if there is an issue? I really don’t know. I could think up a thousand plans but none of them would matter in the moment. I just have to keep my eyes and ears open.

Really, what else can I do?

Hopefully things will go smoothly and over the coming months and years I will come to be seen as who I am and not who I was.

Transgender model Jenna Talackova scores fashion spread in ELLE magazine

The blond beauty was famously kicked out of the Miss Universe pageant because she wasn’t a ‘naturally born’ woman, until Trump and organizers caved and let the Canadian model compete. She didn’t win then, but her recent spread in ELLE Canada, a major fashion magazine, is certainly a victory.

 

Jenna Talackova

Read the rest at NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Questioning

Questioning dog

 

No, I am not questioning myself here, more I seeking my place within the TG/TS framework both online and off.

Where I live isn’t a hot bed of activism and social decent. For the most part people here only relate to what they have seen or heard on the news or opinion radio so you can imagine some of the conversations I have overheard. I’m not an eavesdropper but some of these people are like the annoying guy in the restaurant who thinks everyone should listen to his side of the conversation. 

Anyway, the point is, there isn’t a network of people and organizations I can look up to find others like myself or any LGBT folk in general. At least none who I would be comfortable striking up a conversation with. There aren’t any PFLAG offices or other services aimed at the trans community. After doing some research I found there was a short time when such individuals and groups existed locally, but the last traces of them faded out in 2009. 

There was another group nearby, about a half hour drive, but they also have disbanded due to lack of participation. As Jodi pointed out, it’s a good sign when a group disbands because it is no longer needed, but it can problematic for those like myself who are a little late getting to the party.

It has be suggested trying to form a new support group locally. Jodi has mentioned it more than once and I am in full support of her efforts. What I’m not sure of is where I would fit in. I’m not a very good organizer, and pubic speaking, while not impossible, is difficult especially when I’m not familiar with the audience.

I am more than willing to speak to others about my own experiences and to offer what support I can. I’m certainly not an expert, but I can certainly empathize with what others are facing. 

While I feel doing things here, in person is important, indeed, vitally needed, through the internet my reach is much further. As important as sharing my own personal story is, I feel there is so much more I can do…

I’m just not sure what it may be or even how to start moving in the direction I need to in order to make any sort of meaningful impact in the lives of my brothers and sisters.

December Thoughts

I was going to write about some resources I found but I haven’t had time today to read through anything. I’ll try to get to them this week and post about it when I get a chance.

I did have time to think over some things while getting some work done around the house and this is what I am going to speak about.

There was a time when I despised this time of year, when I refused to actually observe the holidays, only spending enough time at family get togethers to not seem rude, though I could have happily skipped the entire mess.

I could never really understand what the big deal was… for our family it was nothing more than a time to show off. It seemed to get even worse after Grandmother was gone. Whatever thin veil of Christmas spirit had been spread over things was gone and it was all about material things and bragging rights. 

After getting married I had the chance to see another side to things with A’s family, but by then it was really too late. I was disgusted with the entire notion of family… it rang hollow in my ears and all I could do was sit back and watch without really being engaged.

One would think having children of my own would have given me a different perspective, but all it seemed to do was drive me into deeper depressions. To withdraw even more. I cringe to think how this has affect them over the years… I hope we can make better memories going forward.

Looking back is painful and I still find the tears fall just as easily now.

This began to change in 2011, though I couldn’t have seen it at the time. These would be the last holidays I would see before the world was changed forever. You see, for me now, this is more than the counting of days. More than all of the craziness of shopping, family dinners, and gift giving. 

Now it is also an anniversary.

It was between Christmas and New Years when I finally broke down to the point I was able to see beyond lies, assumptions, and expectations to have a glimpse of my true self which had been buried and nearly forgotten. It was when I finally had no choice but to accept who I was…

When Kira was finally released into the light. 

So it is I approach this time with a different outlook than I ever thought possible.

Of course, the first year and even last year, things were bitter sweet. I was still trying to find my place in this world, to understand what everything I was learning about myself really meant. 

This will be my second anniversary, a second birthday of sorts and as I have mentioned more than once, it is hard to believe how much has changed. Not out in the world in general but inside. My whole perspective on who I am and where I fit into the world has changed to the point where I sometimes feel as if I am a different person…

Though in truth, this is who I have always been.

Looking at this year I can see how if this is not the last one I will celebrate as “Him”, it is the beginning of the end. The time when I will be seen only as Kira is no longer a misty future maybe.

Several things have brought this to mind. For one, my Mother-in-law noted I seemed much happier this year than ever before, despite my being somewhat sidetracked in trying to figure out what to do about my Brother-in-law. Part of this was my showing her the pictures from Halloween. She didn’t get to see me then as the weather kept us looking for indoor events to attend.

Another thing was in talking with one of ladies from work last night. I told her about my trip out last Saturday. We spoke of a number of different things when she asked why I didn’t come out at work. As she pointed out, Illinois has laws against discrimination based on gender expression, so odds are I wouldn’t have any problems from them. I noted being worried about my other coworkers and she seemed surprised, though I doubt this was something she had ever really thought about. As I have found out, we often don’t really know how someone is going to react… 

Oh, and one other thing; Jodi asked me if I was considering having my name officially changed as a way to begin coming out at work. 

Is it just me r does it seem things are pointing in an unexpected direction? I never once considered seriously the possibility of being 100% full time including at work, but now it is certainly something I now keep in the back of my thoughts.

Okay, I’ve rambled along long enough, I’ll save any other thoughts for a different post. For now it is finding something to eat, then off to bed. I still have to work tonight.

How Not To Be A Pirate

Pirate

Let me apologize to all of you who may not be interested in this sort of thing, I know it isn’t what you normally expect from me, but it is something I am interested in and I felt it was a good thing to share.

For as long as I can remember, certainly since I was middle school, copying and sharing was just part of what everyone seemed to do. Back in those days it was copying music from vinyl records to cassette tapes or recording off the radio and sharing with my friends. When I became aware of computers, it was much the same. The difference was, with software it was an accepted practice, in fact there magazines dedicated to providing the code for different uses especially games. The music side was different, with songs being copyrighted, but as long as we weren’t selling anything we thought we were fine. Of course we know now this isn’t the case and getting music without paying for it is theft.  Which brings me to the point of writing this. Unlike those early days, much of mainstream software is intended to be paid for, thus the whole End User Licensing Agreement or EULA. If you have ever had to reinstall Windows on your computer then you are at least aware of this. Commercially available games are the same and if you use a computer for work, then odds are all the programs are licensed.

The problem comes in when someone decides, for whatever reason, to make otherwise paid for goods available for free without the permission of the people who created it. This is know today as Piracy, though to be honest, the name doesn’t quite fit. Still it is the point behind it which matters… getting something which would otherwise cost you money for free when it isn’t your right to do so. This has been an ongoing issue for both the music industry and software companies. Despite all of the rhetoric, it really is a serious problem especially for small developers and independent artists who simply cannot afford the lost sales. It may not be as expensive as providing physical media, but making a product available online still cost something and the money has to come from somewhere.

On the other side of this is us. The consumers. Some can afford to pay for all the things they want or need, some of cannot. In fact, with the global economy the way it is, many cannot afford even the smallest of budgets for anything that isn’t a necessity to live; food on the table, a roof over our heads, clothes to wear, and a way to and from work…

It is true, there is more to life than just surviving. Anyone can do it but it isn’t much of an existence. We need something more, an occasional distraction, a way to lift our spirits, something to make life enjoyable. That is the purpose of entertainment. Add into this the tools someone may need to compete for a job, or to try and better themselves, or to learn something new and you have a market for for “Pirated” goods.

Most people aren’t out to make a statement, or to cause harm, though those people do exist; they just wish to share in something they otherwise could never afford. I’m not making excuses, just being realistic, unlike the majority of corporations and their lawyers but that is a different argument for a different time.

The question then is, can people find the things they want, and/or, need or at least a product which will provide it to them at a reasonable cost or free and do so easily?

The answer is “yes” though maybe not as easily as clicking a “Buy Now” button.

Truthfully, it takes a little motivation and perseverance, not to mention time, to scour the web to find things which are worth the effort, but it can be done and in the end you have something your not ashamed to have sitting on your hard drive.

Now before I go any further, I want everyone to have a safe experience which means taking some precautions. First, look for reputable sites such as NoiseTrade for music, SourceForge for software, or YouTube for video. Also be sure you have a Firewall and antivirus software. If your careful and use common sense precautions you can find what you need safely. There are many, many places out there in cyberspace where you find dishonest people who will do some very nasty things, so taking the time to do research and due diligence is key.

A Free Ride

Technically, nothing is free. You had to pay for equipment, an MP3 Player, a computer, a DVD/Blue Ray player, television, etc., etc. You also have to pay for an internet connection or phone line. Yet it is possible to reduce your costs to as near to free as possible.

Everyone’s first stop should be Google. Say what you want, but odds are, if your looking for something, you’ll find a link to it with a Google search. Use search terms such as “Free (what your looking for)”, “Copyright Free”, “Free Download”,  “Royalty Free”, or even “No Cost”. There are also any number of reviews and opinion pieces out there where people have taken the time to do the hard work for you and tracked down some very good sites, artists, and software available for free or little cost. For those use, “Review Free (your operating system)software”, or “Freeware Reviews”, or anything similar.

Oh, there is another cost associated with going this route… your time and effort learning something new. So far I have found it to be well worth the investment…

So, need a jumping off point? I’ll share some of the sites I use the most.

Music:

NoiseTrade

ReverbNation

Software:

SourceForge

Cnet

Television/Movies:

HULU

YouTube

A note about YouTube. Clicking the link will take you to the main page, if your interested in movies, Google “youtube movies” and it should take you to their movie page. You will find there a lot of pay per view titles, but if you scroll down, there is a listing for “Free Movies”. Most of this is old, cheesy flicks, but there are some fun and interesting things to be found.

Another note… about software. More often than not you can find direct links to developers sites, the harder part is finding the type of software you want and then finding something free of cost which will do the job you need. I recommend doing a review search first for the type of software you want then doing another “free alternative” search.