What’s it Like Being a Woman? ┬áThe Good, The Bad and The Ugly!


A couple days ago I had an interesting question, what is it like to be a woman?  This got me to thinking how do you answer that in something less than the legnth of a novel?  So after a little thought I figure I’d give it a try in three parts, hence the blog post title!
So this will be the good parts I’ve found so far.  A couple of disclaimers, especially to some of my more extreme feminist friends out there, yes my actual experience has been short, but I think I have an interesting perspective, I’ve seen both sides of the fence!  Next, yes I don’t suffer through the week long torment each month that most other women deal with.  However, I do know there’s more to being a woman than just these disclaimers so let’s get started!

Since its been a while since I spoken about this, let me recap something, first off it’s been over three and a half years since I came to the realization that my life had to take a different path and I started to change my life and Rikki became officially me.  A lot has happened in this time and to be sure my life and life of any others changed.  In this three and a half years I have had to grow up a lot!  And I guess this is where I’ve learned the most about the good parts about being a woman.  Both in myself and those that have helped me to grow up, so to speak.  My doctor started me on hormone therapy three years ago and I had surgery almost two years ago.  And that’s where my journey ended so to speak!  Since then, I’ve been living as myself and have never been more content in my life.  Now that the recap is out of the way, lets get back to the question at hand.  What it like being a women, the good so far:

  • The first thing that I think women share is our compassion for others!  It was such compassion that people had for me that helped me through some struggles that I think a couple of times could have crippled me at any point.  From friends who took me in when I had no place to go, to other strangers who openly accepted me as me.  And to be sure this is not to say that guys don’t exhibit this same thait, but it’s so much more prevalent I find in women.  
  • Ok other good things, let’s see.  Ok, I love the fact that I can express myself in so many ways.  The variety of ways we can express ourselves through clothes, makeup, jewelry, shoes and a whole bunch of other ways is almos endless.  Lol, sometimes too many ways, sometimes I can’t decide.
  • Women communicate a lot with each other, through verbal and non verbal means and I love this more than anything.  I love that I can share things with my friends and they share things with me.  It means so much to us, well at least I don’t think I’m the only one who values this.  The only pitfall is sometimes its hard to hide when something is bothering us.  Usually when I try to, someone like my roommate will not leave me alone until I tell her what’s wrong.
  • Lol, ok one thing that I found is that women like to make decisions through group concensus.  In other words I like to explore ideas with my team at work and then come up with my decisions.  I find that I can find possibly better ideas from others and make better decisions.  The weird thing is this is sorta the way I’ve always managed my decisions but never realized it until lately.  For better or for worse I think this is one of our biggest advantages to being successful in the work place.
  • Chocolate, the universally amazing elicer.  It fixes my worse days and it’s AMAZING!!  Enough said.
  • I don’t have to ever wear a tie unless I really want to, hell to the yeah!
  • Lol, urinals!  I don’t have to awkwardly stare at a wall in silence when I relieve myself!  
  • Chick flicks, I can watch them and cry without being called a wuss!!
  • When someone sees me cry, I can always blame it on hormones.  But this will also show up on the BAD, post later!
  • Lol, no one can kick me in the balls, lol but getting kicked in the Vag is no cupcake either, and a titty twister hurts like heck, they really do especially during special times of the month!  Grr Haley!!
  • Ok this one can go either way, but having to sit down to pee is at least a few moments of peace during my day.  Plus carrying on a conversation with your friend in the next stall is not awkward!
  • Ok, so on a really big ship that hits an iceberg, I get to get into a lifeboat first.
  • Not having to shave our faces is a big plus.  Yes I know there are some that do but for the most part, no five o’clock shadow!!
  • Ok tightly whities, what the heck is up with this??
  • Door holding is awkward and I don’t know why guys do it, but sometimes it’s nice when a door is really heavy.
  • Oh yeah, I don’t have to sit on a wallets, that’s what my purse is for.  Hell I carry a small store of goods in my purse and there’s even a place for my change!
  • Spitting is disgusting guys, stop it, just stop it!  Ok that ones a little out of place, but I feel strongly about it!
  • Yes, dresses and skirts!  Love them, just not with panty hose.  I swear I think a guy invented them as a cruel joke.  But during the summer, dresses are just way more comfy in the office!
  • Tank tops, I love tank tops and to be honest I think girls look cuter in tank tops.  Ok, well then again a buffed out guy with an eight pack can also make ya turn your head.  Hey, women have eyes too ya know.
  • Oh heck I almost forgot the biggest plus of all, lol, sorry guys but we don’t have to worry about adjusting and tugging ourselves down there!  What the heck is that all about?  I mean seriously?

Ok so these are just a couple of the things that I could think of.  Yes I’ll admit some are silly.  But the bottom line is there’s a lot of good things, but to be fair there’s a lot of hardships that we do have to suffer through too.  I’ll get into those tomorrow I guess.

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How’s that Stealth Going?

Ladies and gentleman, it’s been 9 months since last I wrote to this blog.  OMG so much has gone on in these past nine months.  I’m going to be honest, I really had not intentions of writing more to the blog.  I felt there was not much I had to say that people would care to read about.  Well I changed my mind so we’ll see how this goes.  The major reason for this change of heart was well, someone I’ve met and whose opinion I’ve come to value.  She seems to think there might be value to chronicling this JOURNEY further.  Yeah I know, there’s that word again, journey!  I still feel this word is wrong but also sorta right.  

So let’s see what is in my mind today.  Well I’m going to describe something that many people like me ultimately search for, being stealth.  Stealth is a term, and a goal, to change ourselves enough so that we fit in to the societal expectation of what is male or female.  In a way this stealth is a wrong word, because it tends to denote to some that something is fake.  To me it means to just be someone who doesn’t stand out, who can live her life without fear of people pointing, talking or laughing.  To carry on a conversation with others without my past being the conversation.  Lol, I’ve come to realize that this is almost a completely hopeless cause!!  Why?  Well it’s almost impossible, impossible to loose your past no matter how hard you try.  There’s always someone that wants to drag that past out and wave it for the world to see.  And why is that?  Damn, the hell if I know!!  Well maybe that’s not so true, I have an idea.  If we go back to this bathroom crap (lol, bathroom crap, pun!) going around, there’s an example to be had.  

Amongst all the uproar everyone’s afraid!  Afraid of what?  Well afraid of the unknown, things that are different or things|people that don’t agree with the status quo!  You take your pick, my guess is all three are the reason.  More importantly there are those that use these fears for political reasons, “hi Ted Cruz”!!  They have no legitimate platforms to stand on besides the old tired rhetoric of the Reagan era.  So to gain the power they need they play on people’s fears.  Build it into an uproar and presto you get political power.  Sorta like Hitler building on the fear of the Jews in the 1940’s!  

What’s this got to do with me?  Well right now my life is pretty stealthy, yes not invisible but most people don’t bat an eye when they see me.  Likewise when I use a bathroom no one really wonders what’s in my pants or chromosomes.  But in this climate today I do worry!  What if someone does recognize me and blurts it out to the world, what will happen to me?  This became more of a concern recently as a friend of a friend was beaten by someone because they had short hair.  They thought she was transgender so took it upon himself to beat this person for looking different.  Suddenly stealth is something I and others that don’t conform to rigid gender norms have to worry about.  Unfortunately, so much so that some are even arming themselves for their own protection!

This weekend I had to have a talk with my seven year old grandson who said he was confused and upset with me.  Confused because a teacher in his school said I was still a man and would always be such.  To my seven year old grandson I had to reexplain that somepeople, including teachers, don’t always know what is true.  I had to try to regain my grandsons trust that I still loved him and that just because I was a girl didn’t change that fact.  And believe me, trying to explain the difference between a man and a woman to a seven year old is not easy.  Suffice it to say the best I could come up with was girls are lumpy and we have to sit down to use the restroom, hey don’t judge you try figuring a g rated way to explain this on the fly.  In the end, well it hasn’t ended yet!  It will take a lot to undue the damage that one stupid ass teacher instilled into my grandson and an entire class room of 7 year olds.  Funny how much damage a bully pulpit can cause.

The last instance I’ve found stealth to be impossible is in the dating world.  So I’m venturing out into meeting people, after all I ultimately want to find my better half if she is out there.  And oops, let me preface this by saying, please remember sexual preference and gender identity are two different things.

Anyway, when I meet someone I’m always wondering will my past make me undatable.  Luckily, this hasn’t been the case!  I’ve met some really amazing people, especially one person now.  But at some point in time after I meet someone, I have to have the talk!  The talk sucks so much!  Some say I shouldn’t need to disclose my past but unfortunately, if I’m going to trust someone, they need to be able to trust me and all of me including my past.

I guess to sum all this up, no matter how much I or anyone else tries, living stealth never lasts forever.  But as I said before, I’m sorta lucky that I sorta fit in.  But what of those that aren’t so lucky?  What happens to them?  I wish I knew the answer.  Who knows maybe one day people will wake up to the fact that people are people.  Sadly, I don’t see that day coming soon.

Well folks, I’m not sure if this will be worth your read or not?  Hopefully it will be worthy of some people’s time.  But in any event thanks to Fran for putting up with me!  

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One Year Anniversary

Last month marks the first year since surgery and two years since I started the “journey”.  Funny everyone calls this a journey but I really don’t see the analogy anymore.  I mean when you take a journey you know where your going and how your going to get there, but what I’ve gone through these past two years has been nothing like where I thought I would be nor how I thought I would get to my final destination.  And maybe that’s not that bad of a thing.  I guess what I’m saying is these past two years have taken me to so many different places, so many twist and turns in the road and a couple of bumps along the way.  But here lately, the road has become smoother and the turns a little less winding.  I guess that’s one reason my posts to this blog are becoming more stretched out.  There’s not a whole lot of things that are out of the ordinary, that I think people would be interested in.  I have a few more topics I’ve thought about that I will share in the next coming weeks, but for now…normality is so much appreciated these days.  It’s kinda weird in just two years I went from wondering how I would make it through everything and now, well now, I get up in the morning and my day is like most any other persons.  You know, figure out what to wear, change my mind a couple of times.  Then change, try to figure out what to accessorize with, makeup and out the door.  But the great news is, I’ve got this down to like 30 minutes or so.  Ha, the make up alone use to take me 30 minutes to figure out.  But about as normal as I have ever imagined before.
In looking back, I also have to acknowledge everything that I have lost and those that I hurt along the way.  I wish I could say that this list was short, but unfortunately it is not.  I do regret not being able to figure myself out so much earlier in life, maybe saving some a lot of anguish.  Worst of all the list is not complete, others will be added and I wish there was a way to avoid that.

In contrast I also recognize a lot of things I have gained.  Some great friends, a new perspective about life, I’ve learned to cherish the differences that people have, I’ve learned how hard many other people have it compared to me, but most of all I’ve gained the ability to look forward to tomorrow and all the mystery and challenges that will come.  I know I am a strong woman and I can handle much more than I ever realized.  The most important thing I have gained is the ability to look in the mirror and see myself, I mean really see me.  My mind and my body now make sense and both are on the same page.

As to my future, well, who knows how that will wind up.  I want to finish my MBA, I want to relocate somewhere on the east coast, I want to find my perfect job and with a bit of luck and I want to find someone to spend the rest of my life with.  Someone to fall in love with, grow old with, someone who will care about me and all my quirkiness!!  Most of all, I’d like to find my happily ever after!!  Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she??

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Life Gets Intense

  
I keep starting out these post with “it’s been a while” and this time it’s been a long while.  Life is moving quickly for me now, sometimes so fast I think I’m going to get sick.  

My last post was about my divorce starting and it continues to this day at a snails pace.  I’m not to happy, as I really want to get this chapter of my life over and move on I guess.  I’ve unfortunately had some other dramatic events that have or is hitting me hard right now.

The biggest one is the hardest to even talk about to this day.  My dad passed away, now about a month ago.  It’s was the hardest time of my life so far, starting with a frantic call in the middle of the night to come to the hospital quickly.  A week later we had to say good bye to my dad.   It’s was hard doing this for so many reasons.  Growing up I didn’t always see eye to eye with him, but he protected us, taught us so much and showed us how to work our asses off to get ahead!!  A month later I was in the kitchen and saw the remains of the flowers from his funeral, I just lost it.  A month since I’ve heard him talk with me on our weekly call home.  A month since he asked me how’s work, how’s the kids.  Over a four or five year period before his death, he battled that damn Alzheimer’s disease.  I watched my dad go from a self sufficient, I can do anything man, to a person who struggle to remember the basic things.  He grew so frustrated because he remembered how much he could do before but but he just couldn’t remember how to do those things anymore.  The one bright spot to my recent memories of him, was the last real conversation we had before he really started forgetting things.  That conversation was about what all I was going through and I remember I was so afraid.  I guess I was most afraid that he would reject me or that I would disappoint him.  But what he said was that if I had to go through my changes to make me happy, then I needed to do it.  Although he didn’t say he would still love me, I saw him cry for only the second time in my life.  That conversation is the moment I will always remember and hold on to for the rest of my life.  I expect that I will always have this empty spot in my life, when I really need to here him tell me what to do, I’ll have to just think of what he would have said if he were still here.

I’ll catch everyone up on another event that will be changing my life and marking another mile stone in my starting over.  Till later, just remember, when life hands you a lemon…throw it a someone…forget about lemonade!!!

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The Last Challenge…I hope!!

  
Its been way to long folks and a lot has happened I guess since last I posted here.  Things go great for a while then a good helping of reality drags me back to remind me of everything.  So since we spoke last I’ve had a most excellent trip to jersey for my surgical follow up, all is going well, and had my first interview as Rikki!  All good things but then upon my return, reality catches up and so do divorce papers!  Yeah…what?   I’ve been expecting those bad boys for a while but as usual the worst possible time to get them, while I’m flat broke!!  Needless to say I have known a lot of people that have gone through divorce and not fared well, throw in my unusual past and my worst nightmares keep playing in my head.  So for the past month or so I have been working my second job to the max, back up to 102 plus hour work week to afford my lawyer.  Needless to say, having a life hasn’t been something I’ve had lately.  But I did get a bit of happiness in being able to spend a week end the past week with my daughter.  And to think of it, it’s the first time in almost a year I’ve been with my kids alone, there’s a bit of mistrust in the air I guess.

Anyway, I’ll get to that later.  But the main point to anyone reading this who finds divorce in their future, get a lawyer, some how, some way get one!  The worst thing to do is to go on the cheap and assume that everything can work out.  Maybe I’m being overly cynical, but when I get a document saying I haven’t been involved in raising my kids for the past 5 years, it’s time to get help!!  We’ll see if it helps me in the long run, but I need to make sure I can at least afford to live later on.  

So back to my weekend with my little girl!  We had two days together the first of which was spend going to a not do great zoo in Ohio.  But, even with that I had my daughter with me and my friends and a great day was had by all.  I’m making arrangement to set up a spare bedroom for her when she visits me, I suspect every other weekend.  The room wasn’t ready yet so I ended up sleeping in the floor in a sleeping bag, not the most comfortable night sleep, but it was at least something.  Our next day we spent doing a little shopping, playing video games and then, getting ready to take her home.  Every time I think about that I still start crying.  My daughter and I have always been really close and now I have to take her back to a home that I built and am still paying for, yet one I can’t be at with my kids!!!  It’s so unfair all of this Trans shit!  So many changes, do many people get hurt, especially if your unfortunate enough to deal with after marrying and kids.  And worst of all, you can’t help it, damned if you do nothing, damned if you do something.  And yes folks, if anyone’s reading this and makes the snide remark about “my choice to do this” I might have to reach through the Internet and slap you silly!!  

Oh well, I guess I can’t cry over spilled milk, although give me time I’ll probably be crying over that too!  Lol, yes, I’m still getting use to all the moods and how quickly they change.  I so hope one day soon I get that under control.  So fir now I’m still getting geared up for life on my own!  I’m still only half heartedly looking for my next job somewhere near where I grew up on the East Coast.  I’m a city girl and that’s where I really want to be!!  Soon I’ll get to the point where I can survive on only one job, really soon I hope, I’m burning out quickly on these 90 plus hour weeks!  And I guess most of all, I’m still trying to discover myself and who I really am, and folks, that ain’t no easy task.

Till next time folks, be safe, be true and hug a duck, they need it too!!

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Returning to the Scene of the Crime

  
A most curious title don’t you think??   Well, yeah, but it’s been a most curious week for me.  The title references my return to New Hope Pennsylvania, the place where in July of last year I went through the final physical change to complete my transition to my new life.  I struggle to think of it as a second birth, but in a sense I guess that’s sorta true.  In looking back it’s been an interesting time since my surgery.  I’ve faces so many struggles from medical recovery from surgery, getting use to not having my kids with me 24/7, adjusting to life with a different anatomy, adjusting to life with so many bigots and other assorted butt holes telling me how horrible of a person i was.

This trip is also the first Time I’ve interviewed for a job without the security of any sort of male privilege.  And to tell the truth it was just as nerve racking an experience as I thought it would be.  I spent the weeks preceding the interview getting a whole new wardrobe for a professional interview.  Studying everything I could find about the instution I was interviewing with.  And I guess a whole lot of dreaming of what I would do if I was offered a job there.  

The institute was in Maryland and a very large academic medical practice.  The job was so perfect, there is no doubt in my mind that I am so qualified to do that job and do an unbelievable job at that.  But the nerve racking part was, how in the hell do you interview and not fall into any of the typical male interview mannerisms??  I doubt any of you folks think about is, but as a manager of people, I interview many many people.  And I can tell anyone that the gender difference in interviews is so weird.

Start with the hand shake.  Men, a firm confident hand shake is a must.  Don’t do it an you scream “lack of confidence”.  Women, that handshake is not as firm but it is confident non the less.  Go over board with that hand shake and people will wonder about you from the start of the interview.

Answering the questions during the interview is not so different , but again their are subtle differences.  Men, your experience and confidence needs to show, act timid and I’d even question how good you are.  Women, you need the confidence but get carried away and fall into the “what a bitch” category.  And that is almost as bad as the non-confident guy.

Now let’s add the transgender side of things.  Guys take up a lot more space in a professional meeting.  I guess it supposed to show dominance or something, but as a woman, well we are supposed to be more…actually, I can’t really even think of a good word for it.  But, yeah, you just don’t stretch out and take up a lot of space.  You act like a young lady I guess.

There are some other trans related issues that I don’t have to deal with so much, but others do.  Let’s take how well you blend in with your gender.  If you don’t have the right feminine carectoristics, then your in for a really hard job search.  This ones sad but true, if you don’t look like your target gender then you have a lot of transphobic stuff to deal with.  Those that do have the “passing privileges” have a much easier time getting through the interview with out having to explain their past.  But after the interview, then you have to deal with the background check and a whole host of other ways to be “outed”.  

I guess the point of this post is that, it’s hard enough finding a job these days.  But finding a job when your transgender, that’s just one of the hardest problems to tackle.  I’ll have to let everyone know how things turn out, I’m still hopeful, but I know it’s going to be a battle.  This despite the fact that I am a hell of an administrator!!!

 

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Things That Make Me Nervous

  

So after everything I’ve been through these past two years ahat in the world is there that would make me nervous??  And truthfully, starting ones life over from scratch, yeah there are tons of nervous moments that have come and gone and others that are yet to come.  

My latest moment that sorta could me off guard, well I have a job interview in a couple weeks.  You see, about three or four weeks ago I was having a moment, yep..I have some of those from time to time, and anyway I was just clicking around the Internet looking at jobs that were out there.  And one caught my eye!  It was a really nice job on the east coast and was like something that sounded so perfect for me!  The problem, it was a really high position in a really big institution, was I ready for that.  So after going over the reasons why I should and the reason I shouldn’t apply for it, I ended up putting an application in for it.  The only three reason that really gave me the most pause was:

  1. Relocating would mean I’d have to leave my kids and see them even less frequently.  Not something I was really wanting to do!!
  2. Taking a higher paying job would help me and my kids out financially, making everyone’s life easier.
  3. Moving to a completely new place, where no one knows me, would give me the chance to completely start over.  No past to cloud how everyone treats me, one way or the other.

Well, anyway, I applied for the position about three weeks ago.  I had forgotten about it, mainly cause I figured there would be so much competition for it, that I wouldn’t have much of a chance.  But my phone rang and the area code was from Maryland!!!  I felt completely flush all over…scared as hell!!  Answering the phone I was greeted by a really nice administrative assistant who asked me if I could do an interview.  Things got real at that moment, why??  After hanging up everything started running through my head!

  1. What the hell was I going to wear!!  
  2. Where was I going to buy what I wanted to wear!!
  3. Would I make a fool out of myself?  After all, the last interview I was on was literally like 10 years ago!
  4. Would anyone there figure out my past and not give me a chance?
  5. Could I really move away from my kids if I was lucky enough to get the job?
  6. I’d have to make all new friends and be completely alone starting over without a safety net….how hard is that going to be?
  7. And probably a thousand other ones that I’m forgetting about right now.

Now a couple of days have gone by and I’m starting to get things set up to leave on the 22nd.  Am I still nervous??  Frack YES!!  But I’ve got things in process.  I mean, I’m figuring if I don’t at least try, what kind of idiot am I??  And for those out there starting to list the kind of idiot I am, well shut up!  What have you done lately???

But anyay, I’ve got some clothes orders and on their way, I’ve got my travel plans worked out.  I’ve got my bed and breakfast reserved.  I’ve done a whole lot of research on this place so I know what it’s going to be like there.  And after thinking about is for a while now, I can so do this job in my sleep!!  I mean  this is really the opportunity of my lifetime!!  I just have to finish preparing myself and I guess let fate decide the outcome.  One way or another, I guess I’m going to move on up…to the east side…to a deluxe apartment in the sky!!  Lol, I don’t even know how I remember that TV show!!

So there you have it folks, this is the latest and greatest thing to make me nervous.  But, I’m going to get through this and if it happens, well then it was meant to be.  If it doesn’t, well, that just means the right change just has not presented itself to me yet.  Regardless, I guess I’ll update everyone that actually follows my blog..all three of you!  Lol, yeah I know there’s been like 4,000 of you all that actually want to read this stuff.  Hopefully I’ll have some good news to share later.  Until then, everyone try to stay dry…it’s raining like heck out here!!  Peace out!!

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