Author Topic: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl  (Read 15146 times)

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Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #120 on: February 26, 2018, 03:18:43 pm »
Jan 18 2018, 08.44pm
Surprisingly comfortable
Just this evening, I was thinking about what I have going on for work tomorrow and trying to be mindful of where I need to be and at what time.

Then, it hit me.

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to get up, do full (tastefully subtle) makeup, do my hair and put on the skirt suit I bought for myself last month. Later that morning, I'm going to be in a room full of people who are in public sector IT and/or law enforcement to attend a presentation by DHS on emergency communications.

It's something I've kind of looked forward to for several weeks now, and I only just now stopped to think about it. I, a transgender woman, is going into this largely male-dominated group, to join and interact with people on a professional level.

I have to wonder,
Where is the fear I'm supposed to be feeling?
Where is the anxiety that should be crippling my mind?
Where is the doubt about if I can even walk into that room?

It's not there and I'm not sure exactly when it went away. This time last year, I would never have believed anyone if they told me what I'd be doing a mere 366 days later.
I can't say when my comfort zone got this big or even where the boundary lies, for that matter. I guess I'll have to keep going further out until I find it and greet it like the old constant companion it was for so many years.


Jan 20 2018, 10.15pm
Wedding day.
"I" and "S" got married today.

With the upcoming trip to Phoenix, I was a bit rushed in getting ready for the wedding and as a result, I got there late. It was too late to get the audio gear set up and get my laptop set up on the projector, so neither of those happened. "I" was already grouchy when I got there and even more so as time for the actual marriage approached. The energy in the room was rather chaotic and I didn't want to further exacerbate things, so I just sat down with "W" and "R" and essentially became part of the scenery.

"I" had asked me to start the music when the ceremony was about to start and I had asked him if he was going to signal me or what. He said he would. When he and "S" looked like they were getting in place, I saw him raise his arm. I guess that was the sign because after about three seconds he got this exasperated look and marched over to where the laptop was plugged into the sound system. Well, pardon the hell out of me! I'm sorry I didn't react instantaneously to a rather vague arm movement. I'm still annoyed about that but, whatever.

A bit later on, I noticed two guys who were wandering in and out of the room - presumably, for frequent smoke breaks. One of them looked suspiciously like a bearded version of "D". I asked "I" if that's who it was and he said yes, and the guy with him is "L", whom I didn't recognize at all. I asked him if they knew about me transitioning and he said, "I think so".

Well, great. As with many of the things in my new life, I had to take a leap of faith. A small one, to be sure, but a leap nevertheless. I walked over and sat down with them. They knew who I was and even "D" said, "Congratulations on your transition." That made me feel better and the mild tension flowed right out.

We talked about some of our cars we had back when Nightmare Racing was a thing. "L" asked me how Puck (my cat) was doing and the conversation took on a somber note. I told the brief story about how I lost him about 7 years ago.
They had had a pair of photographers moving around the room, taking random pictures of the guests and there was a moment I was laughing at something one of my nearby table neighbors had said. I suspected that one of them took my picture from across the room at that exact moment but wasn't sure. Well, I was right. This was another of those moments of which I had not even conceived the possibility. Not back almost a year ago when the wedding had been mentioned to me. Yet, there I was, perfectly at ease in heels and the dress I had bought for the occasion.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #121 on: March 01, 2018, 02:18:05 pm »
Jan 21 2018, 10.46pm
Flight into Phoenix.
After the wedding and subsequent rushed packing back at home, I made my way over to Steph's house fairly late in the evening. Later than I would have liked but right around the time I had estimated.

In the wee hours of the morning, we all woke, went through our morning routines - however abbreviated they may have been and we were on the road, bound for the Tampa airport.

In spite of the minor trepidation at the prospect of flying on a commercial airline for the first time as Cassandra, that fairly new sense of the 'New Normal' asserted itself and we went forth into the process of checking our luggage, solving one problem after another as would any other seasoned air travelers. I thought I might have had more to worry about due to my ID and the boarding pass still having my original name on them.

As we approached the check-in area, Stephanie and I stared dumbly at the bewildering array of self-service baggage check terminals scattered about, as though we were a pair of slackjawed luddites. After shaking off that brief moment of confusion, we quickly caught on to the process that was being carried out by other nearby travelers. As if in Rome, we decided to follow suit after eyeing the terminals with a measure of suspicion - the geek parts of our brains already spinning into high gear to tackle this latest challenge.

We stepped up to separate terminals to make our offerings of sacred QR codes and money-laden plastic cards to these miniaturized altars to the pagan gods of air travel. As though we were parsimonious heathens, our offerings were summarily rejected by these inscrutable machines. There was no solace to be taken whilst standing under the cold glare of their touch-sensitive screens. Almost in unison, we both glanced with dismayed looks at the monstrous line of people that snaked out from the airline's customer service desk. Glumly, we shuffled over to the end of that line, tugging behind us the wheeled cases each carrying a small subset of our wardrobes and necessary items. After only a few minutes, I said I was going to see if anyone in the baggage self-check line could help us, as it was a much shorter line.

Shortly after I got in that line, a friendly lady wearing the livery of our particular airline came over and asked if I had had trouble getting checked in. I responded in the affirmative and she guided me over to one of the other terminals. After I once again scanned my boarding pass, the woman flew through the menus on the terminal like a practiced expert until she got to the passenger names. Steph and I were both on there, and I suppose we could have checked both our bags at the same time. She looked up at me and asked, "Is {DEADNAME} here also?" I was momentarily confused but after a brief pause, I recovered and replied, "Um...that's me," as I showed her my driver's license. After glancing at my license, her gaze returned to me with a puzzled look and with a sheepish smile and a tilt of my head I said, "It's a long story." I had no time to savor the feeling of this brief affirmation as she continued.

She responded with a kind smile and returned to the task at hand, swiftly yielding a tag for my suitcase and a baggage claim check for use at the far end of our journey. I hurriedly waved Steph over from the seemingly inescapable gulag of the customer service line.

With a similar set of offerings and genuflections later, we and our suitcases had parted ways and we were on our way to the security line.

Once in line at the security checkpoint, we got in line for our "screening". Thankfully, our tickets had both qualified us for "pre-check" which, I found out, cuts out some of the more stringent security measures folks are subjected to. Still, there was a small percentage of a chance that I might have to walk through the body scanners and then have to explain the presence of extra bits on a body whose identifying documents asserted was female. Aside from having had to have a repeat engagement with the metal detector due to my belt buckle, we made it through security without any issues.

We did not have to wait before boarding at the gate since the intervening time was taken up by our procurement of upscale coffees and breakfast sandwiches.

After getting seated, we took the appropriate happy departure selfies to post on our respective social media sites and soon we were airborne.

Hours later, we touched down in Phoenix, Arizona - a place neither of us had ever visited before. Oddly enough, the air inside the jetway as we deplaned was unexpectedly cool.

Once we got ourselves oriented, we made our way to the baggage claim area. Steph had been in communication with Tia, who was flying into Phoenix at almost the same time as we were. She came in at a different terminal and agreed to meet us at our baggage claim carousel. A little while later, we had met up with Tia and were shortly reunited with our baggage. As we walked toward the exit door to the rental car shuttle buses, Steph and I paused momentarily to pull on the light jackets we had brought with us on the planes. Tia, however, had marched about 20 yards outside the door before realizing we weren't with her and turned around to give us a bemused smile. She had had to fight her way through snow to get to her departing flight, so this 40-degree weather in Phoenix was nothing to her. For us Florida gals, it was FRIGID! I complained to Tia that, "It's not supposed to be this cold here! I've seen the old westerns - it's supposed to be Africa-hot here!"

As we approached the shuttle bus, the driver greeted us with a friendly smile as he took our bags from our hands and loaded them on the bus for us. This kind of treatment is something I'm still getting used to but in this case, I was grateful for it. A 34 pound suitcase weighs a lot more than it used to!

Once in our rental car with the airport quickly receding in the rearview mirror, we went forth to carry out the plan that Stephanie had initiated. To the hospital we went.

Being a Sunday morning, there was a bit of confusion as to how we were supposed to gain entry to the building but the mystery was quickly solved and we headed up to the second floor. Just moments after exiting the elevator, we nearly collided with Kendra who was taking some of her first tentative steps out of bed after the surgery. Her face took on a look of utter disbelief at the three of us standing before her and for nearly a full minute, no coherent sounds came from her. This moment proved that the visit we had planned had taken her completely by surprise.

Mission accomplished!

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #122 on: March 01, 2018, 02:24:24 pm »
Jan 22 2018, 01.47pm
High Plains...er...Desert Drifters
This morning, we met up with Mariah and headed off into the high desert in our rented hybrid.

We set our course based on the route one of Steph's friends had laid out for us as being the "more scenic" - that also meant it would take more than a few hours to traverse. Out of concern for my lack of any type of winter clothes, we made a stop at a Wal Mart, though I don't remember exactly where. No such luck - I didn't find anything better than what I had brought with me. Oh well. We did load up on drinks and snacks for the ride, so it was still a worthwhile stop.

At one point during the ride through some of the more striking landscape of the area - places I had previously only seen in pictures, we all grew silent for a while and my thoughts turned inward. That's when a stark realization hit me.

The day before, we had flown all the way out to Phoenix to see a friend who was in recovery from her Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS) or "Bottom Surgery" as it's also called. It's considered by some to be a sort of "holy grail" of trans women - a goal that requires a level of commitment, sacrifice, and not an insignificant amount of money for most, beyond what any of us have previously experienced in our lives.

To many cisgender folks, it merely represents a horrific mutilation to one's own body. For trans women, it stands for a final farewell to a body part we should never have had in the first place and is commonly used by our society as the sole indicator of one's gender. A part, the presence of which, we are constantly reminded every time we have to use the bathroom which, depending on the medication one is on, can be quite frequent. It is also a prime source of the dysphoria most of us experienced over almost our entire lives, to one degree or other.

Getting back to that moment in the car, the realization I mentioned was that I had been in a room with, at one point, nearly a half-dozen other trans-women, all but two of whom had already had their GCS. I was one of the two. It hit me how my progress was being held back by a number of things - my desire to wait until my divorce was final before getting my name changed. I had to absorb a lot of self-outing during the flight there because everything had to be tied to my original, very much masculine, name. On top of all that, my wife was wanting to change some of the terms of the divorce in a way that would take away potential money I was planning to use on getting various surgeries done. Another potential setback and more delay on my name change. Couple that with the financial difficulties I had already been dealing with, I just felt like I was being pushed further and further away from my personal goals.

I started to tear up and was soon afterward sobbing quietly with my companions asking me if I'm okay. I didn't offer any details at the time but explained it all to Steph later on in our hotel room that evening. I had only just met Mariah the day before and wasn't that comfortable just pouring my heart out to someone I hardly knew.

After a time, I got past that episode, but knew inside that I wasn't quite done "letting it all out". I had held back for the sake of Steph and Mariah - I didn't want to ruin their day as well. The resultant numbness afterward pretty well put a damper on the rest of the afternoon for me. I dutifully took pictures of anything that looked interesting and tried to be a bit playful when we stopped in a town for lunch. I plucked up a handful of show hanging on an evergreen bush and tossed it at Steph's shoulder. My heart really wasn't in it though, but again I was just trying to put on a positive face for my friends.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #123 on: March 01, 2018, 02:50:16 pm »
Jan 22 2018, 07.49pm
OMG, look at her!
Tonight, back at the hotel, I was playing around with the flexible tripod I had bought for my cell phone mount. Since I had forgotten to bring the actual phone bracket, my purchase of the tripod earlier that day was a bit of a waste. Still, it's something I had been meaning to buy anyway, and what better excuse to spend money than while on a little vacation?

I set up my phone on it over on the dresser and sat down on the bed to give the camera a nice smile. When I looked at the photo, my first thought was, "Wow, I really do look like a girl!"

In spite of the implied disbelief in the success of my transition so far, I was feeling very happy with myself at that moment. Of course, I look like a girl. That's who I am. The rest of the world saw her already. It just took me longer to see her too.




Jan 22 2018, 09.40pm
Having a pint 'round the pub.
During the planning of this trip to Phoenix, I briefly wondered (being ignorant of the local geography) how far Tempe was from Phoenix. In Tempe, there is an Irish pub called "Rula Bula", which is featured in a series of books called "The Iron Druid Chronicles".

I, my wife, and our friend "D" had grown to love those books, and when the opportunity came to actually go to Rula Bula, have a pint of Guinness, and find out for myself whether or not they have the world's best Fish & Chips, I could not pass it up. I made that one of our mandatory stops during the trip - especially since I found out that Tempe is just one of the suburbs of Phoenix - oh happy day!

It turned out that Rula Bula was less than two miles from our hotel! Tonight, after the emotionally taxing day I had had in that drive into the high desert, I was going to have that pint and enjoy those fish & chips!

I have to say that Kevin Hearne was right about the fish & chips. They were truly the best I had ever had!

I made sure to get T-shirts from the pub for myself, "K", and "D" before we left. That made the bill a bit on the steep side but hey, we're on vacation!

Cheers!

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #124 on: March 06, 2018, 02:22:41 pm »
Feb 13, 2018
Momma's got a brand new ride!
This past Tuesday, I bought a car.

In a decision that mirrors some of the more radical changes I've experienced in this past year of transition, I traded in The Behemoth and got myself a hybrid. This was quite a departure from full-size, lifted 4-wheel-drive pickup truck to a fuel-efficient, eco-friendly hybrid sedan - about as much a 180-degree shift as I could have made.

You know what? I'm a lot happier with the car. Not only are all of the reasons for having that truck completely out the window, but as Steph pointed out, that truck represents shedding a significant part of my former self. "He" originally bought that truck with the intent of using it on "his" property up in Kentucky, both before and during the planned retirement up there. Since none of that is going to happen anymore, all the truck was doing was costing me a lot of money in fuel alone, not to mention the maintenance it was in dire need of.

I knew I had a choice to make in the days leading up to that evening, but my mind was plagued by thoughts of the stereotypical car buying experience - sleazy polyester-suited fifty-ish men sporting gin blossoms and smelling of Old Spice and Grecian Formula. Given my experiences around those types...before, I was really not looking forward to going into this now, not just as a woman but a woman car shopping by herself. I felt it almost a certainty that the sharks would smell blood in the water as soon as I stepped foot on that car lot.

Still, it was a choice I had to act upon soon - either trade in the truck on something new or newer at least, or put over a thousand dollars into rectifying those issues with the truck and still be spending over $200 each month on fuel alone. The choice was pretty clear though, on the way to the dealership, I had to ask myself , "Cassie, are you sure you can do this?"

My answer to myself was, "Yes, I can!"

I pulled into the Hyundai dealership not far from work, and with my purse slung over my shoulder and a confident stride, I walked into the sales office.

The first guy who noticed me walk in definitely fit the sterotypical car salesman I had described above. He gave me a very obvious visual appraisal, top-to-bottom and called over his shoulder to someone I couldnt see back where the office cubicles were. "Here we go," I thought, "Into the lion's den."

Much to my delight, a salesLADY came out of the office area to greet me with a warm smile and introduced herself as "Liz".

"Hi Liz, I'm Cassandra" I replied, shaking her proffered hand.

We talked briefly about what I was looking for and I told her I was interested in the Sonata hybrid. In our discussion, we narrowed it down to two possibilities - both fairly high-end trim levels but I figured I would start there and see how the numbers work out. Contingent to the test-drive, she asked for my drivers license which I handed over without hesitation. She glanced at it briefly and asked me to have a seat while she put it in their system. Shortly thereafter, we were on the road in what turned out to be a really nice car. My interest in this type of car had been piqued back when Steph and I took that trip to Phoenix. A Sonata hybrid is what we rented for the time we were there. Though it was a base model, it was still a very nice car and I would have been totally fine with one of those instead of the Behemoth.

After a brief but satisfactory test drive, we were back in the office going over the paperwork. It was at that point that I decided it was time to out myself and get it over with so we could move forward. I spoke up and mentioned that she probably already noticed that the name on my license didn't match the one I gave when I introduced myself. She just gave a smile and a casual wave and said, "Don't worry about it. I have a friend back in Kenya who is going through the exact same thing as you."

After I breathed a sigh of relief, we talked about that a bit more - how things had changed for her friend back in Kenya since she moved to the U.S. years ago. She told me about having gone back there a year or two ago and her transgender friend was marching in a pride parade being held there. It was a peaceful event - no violence of the kind one might expect in a third-world country.

We talked some more and then she had me fill out the credit application on her laptop. As I worked my way through all of the questions on it, one of their techs was going over my truck to assess the trade-in value. We both finished at the same time and walked over to where the tech had keyed in all of the pertinent information about The Behemoth. I corrected her with one piece of info about the wheel size and that added a bit more to the value. She showed me the offer amount and I was honestly shocked that not only was it more than "break-even" on what I still owed but it was almost double!

I accepted their offer and we moved forward with the sale. The next stop was the office of their finance manager, a decidedly non-sleazy gentleman named Patrick. He was very friendly and made no issue out of any aspect of my name. In a small act of rebellion, I did sign each and every one of those signature boxes with my best "Cassandra Bradley". The same went for all of the little boxes I had to initial. "CB" went into those.

At the end of the whole process, I came away with the keys to my first brand-new car ever in my life, and bid a final farewell to The Behemoth.

Out of all the choices and decisions I've made over the years - many of which were impulsive and/or not really thought out - I think this was actually a smart one. Part of me is still in disbelief at the notion of having signed a 6-year loan for a car that was that expensive and I'm still saving myself money as opposed to spending even more. My brain can't seem to accept as a good thing the fact that I am paying a few dollars less each month on a vehicle that will cost me hundreds of dollars less to run and will be extremely low-maintenance for the next few years while it's still under warranty. Hopefully I'll get over that feeling and get on with enjoying my new car.

I suppose that feeling is kind of similar to when I bought my BMW all those years ago. It was such a nice car that I just couldn't wrap my head around how a dirtbag like me (there's that low self-esteem talking) would even deserve a car like that, let alone be able to afford one!

Maybe now that I've finally accepted and started to like myself, I'm also willing to do what is necessary for me to have a happy future. Just the realization that I want myself to have a future has got me in tears right now.


Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #125 on: March 06, 2018, 02:46:35 pm »
Feb 28, 2018
Atomic meltdown
Today started out with lots to look forward to. Steph had her appointment downtown and we were going to go and have lunch together, then in the evening we were going to meet up again at the T-Network gathering downtown.

I had been under a bit of stress both from work and personally lately. One of my big worries was that I had stopped working out as much as I used to and was starting to feel the effects of the backsliding, mainly in my level of physical stamina. It was another one of those feelings that represented (in my mind) a horrifying return to the former me - overweight, unmotivated, less-than-happy, and worsening on all three fronts. Conversely, I wasn't feeling motivated enough to get out to yoga class, go bike riding, or even go for a walk, thereby exacerbating the feelings of losing ground.

At work, I had been beating my head against a brick wall in one of those situations where, no matter what I did, I got pushed further and further away from a solution.

I had hoped today would be a nice day, and it was. We even got to meet up with a friend for coffee and share with each other what has been going on in our lives lately.

As the day wore on, the notion had crossed my mind to just blow off the T-Network thing that evening and go home, but I knew Steph was going to be there and I had missed the last one as well. It was at a place downtown that I had never been to but had an idea where it was. With about a half-hour to spare, I left work and headed downtown. That's when things started to go wrong.

My first mistake was letting the map app on my phone be my sole guide to the location. It took me to completely the wrong place. Of course, I was close enough to downtown to be trapped in that particular urban hell, the levels of which are marked with numerous signs that read, "ONE WAY", "NO PARKING", "NO STOPPING OR STANDING". The stress started building.

The app on my phone started malfunctioning, which meant it probably needed a reboot, though I couldn't stop anywhere to sort of regroup and get my bearings. More stress.

No matter which way I was pointed, all the ONE WAY streets might as well have been marked WRONG WAY. More stress.

I got Steph on Messenger, voice-only through the bluetooth in my car and found that she just got parked over by where we were going. Then, I almost ran head-on into a truck that was going around some other cars. Even more stress.

My voice started to crack and eyes got moist. I told her that this is probably the last one of these I'm going to go to downtown, though I was thinking I wasn't going to make it to this one at all. Stress upon stress upon stress.

I pulled into the entrance of the library parking garage, trying to find a place to get my bearings, only to find out it was $10 to park there. That's when the dam started to overflow. I told the lady at the ticket booth that I didn't want to park, I just wanted to get out of here and now I have cars behind me, blocking me in. She gave me a special ticket and, in a bored voice completely oblivious to any evidence of my distress, instructed me to go up and around and down to the exit on the other side. At the other side was an equally bored parking attendant who took the ticket I silently handed to him and after a few seconds the gate went up and I was free to return to the rest of the cars being squeezed almost involuntarily through the city streets like so much sludge through a digestive system.

By then, I was in full-on meltdown mode and there was not only no stopping that, but also no stopping anywhere in the area to just have my "lady minute" and get myself together. I just chose a direction I knew would get me out of that unbearable place. "I can't do this," I sobbed into the phone, "I'm going home." I don't think Steph heard me at that point, so I punched the disconnect button and kept wailing and driving.

Shortly after, I found a place to park along the side of the road. Gratefully, I pulled over and stopped. That's when the flood really got going. On and on and on it went, with no real end in sight. I texted Steph and said, "I'm sorry, I can't do this."

She asked if I need her to come and get me and I thought about that for a brief moment. I'd considered saying "no" because I didn't want to ruin her evening, which is what my previous self would have said. Instead, I replied. "I don't know how good company I'd be. I'm a total wreck right now. If you're okay with it, I think I could use a friend. I don't know what's wrong with me."

The reply I got was, "On my way. Eight minutes. Galaxy Girl to the rescue".

I sent her my rough location and continued to dampen tissue after tissue, wondering briefly if passers-by on the sidewalk could hear my wailing. I don't think I've ever cried this much in my life and really couldn't understand why I was doing so now.

I realized afterward that I had had another worry about backsliding into old habits and behaviors. Specifically, the way my old self was so antisocial. I thought about how I really knew very few people in that group and tended to just talk to them - a sort of comfort zone I suppose. Maybe this far along, after all I've done, after all the boundaries I've pushed past, falling into this sort of comfort zone is one of those things that subconsciously terrifies me. I can see myself falling back into those old habits because they were easy. They were comfortable enough. I think that's what really wrecked me. I was so determined to make it to this social gathering that as I got more and more frustrated, my physical state deteriorated rapidly to a point where I didn't feel at all presentable to folks, many of whom I had perceived as "rockstars" of a sort - who were already successfully transitioned back when I was just dipping my toes in those waters. I couldn't bear the notion of presenting myself to them in such a wretched state. Of course, that only made my state worse, in self-replicating, ever-increasing cycles.

Minutes later, Steph arrived and sat in the car with me, and with a gentle hand on my shoulders and the loving concern for her sister, she helped pull me up out of the pit of my own making.

She's my rockstar!

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #126 on: March 06, 2018, 02:51:25 pm »
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we've finally caught up with the real-time "me". Any subsequent posts will be in the present (at the time) and no longer italicized (to differentiate).

I hope any of you who've made it this far have found some benefit to reading my story and might come back every now and then to check on me. My story is still being written and has a great many chapters yet to come, hopefully with some insights, epiphanies, and happy times ahead.

Thank you for reading!

Online KathyLauren

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #127 on: March 06, 2018, 05:11:30 pm »
Thank you, Cassie, for sharing your intimate journal with us.  That was very generous.  Spelling out the struggles you have gone through will help a lot of people trying to deal with their own struggles.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #128 on: March 07, 2018, 04:14:43 am »
Thank you, Cassie, for sharing your intimate journal with us.  That was very generous.  Spelling out the struggles you have gone through will help a lot of people trying to deal with their own struggles.

Thanks, Kathy. I hope it does help some of the folks who are just starting out. I'll keep sharing the significant events as they happen, but I'm starting to settle into this life as the "new normal". The world still has much magic yet to be discovered!

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #129 on: March 07, 2018, 04:33:09 pm »
Today, I had a training class to go to downtown and I was once again going to be around a lot of folks in the law enforcement field, so naturally I had to dress my most professional.
As has become the norm around strangers, I was addressed and treated just as any other woman. When I got back to my office, one of my co-workers walked by my office door and said, "There she is..."

It wasn't what he said so much as how he said it - with no hesitation, no stopping to think about it, and no misgendering/immediate correction either. It was as if it were just routine.
This may not sound like anything terribly significant, but he's one of the guys who has been here several years and had gotten to know...the old me.

The idea that people who know both versions of me are also getting into the "new normal" around me...well that's huge!


Offline Steph2.0

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #130 on: March 07, 2018, 05:23:03 pm »
.
Minutes later, Steph arrived and sat in the car with me, and with a gentle hand on my shoulders and the loving concern for her sister, she helped pull me up out of the pit of my own making.

She's my rockstar!

Oh gosh. I’d skimmed this earlier, but didn’t think I had to read it, since I lived it. But I didn’t realize it ended like that.

I’ve never been a rockstar before.

I honestly don’t know how I would have handled this type of situation in my previous life. Maybe grudgingly blast over and try a few embarrassing “buck up” platitudes.

But now there’s just no hesitation. My sister needed help. I had to go. Now. I think anybody here would have done the same thing. You certainly would have done the same for me. It doesn’t make me exceptional. It makes me a woman.

Wow. I said it out loud. Maybe that is exceptional.


 - Stephanie


Assigned male at birth 1958 * Began envying sister 1963 * Knew unquestioningly that I was female 1968 * Acted the male part for 50 years * Meltdown and first therapist session May 2017 * Began HRT 6/21/17 * Out to the world 10/13/17 * Name Change 12/7/2017 (Girl Harbor Day) * FFS With FacialTeam 12/4/2018 * GCS with Marci Bowers 9/25/2019

Offline Anne Blake

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #131 on: March 08, 2018, 05:46:47 pm »
Hi Cassie,

You tell an amazing story. Many of us have lived different yet similar lives but the way you tell the tale, connecting us so well to the emotions, the fears, the rattled chaos....wow girl. The woman named Cassie that I met in Scottsdale showed such poise and togetherness, I was in a bit of awe of her. It is good to hear that she is facing what we all face, and while occasionally shaken, comes out stronger.

Tia Anne

Offline Steph2.0

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #132 on: March 08, 2018, 08:21:06 pm »
It is good to hear that she is facing what we all face, and while occasionally shaken, comes out stronger.

Even when she’s shaken, I am stirred.


 - Stephanie


Assigned male at birth 1958 * Began envying sister 1963 * Knew unquestioningly that I was female 1968 * Acted the male part for 50 years * Meltdown and first therapist session May 2017 * Began HRT 6/21/17 * Out to the world 10/13/17 * Name Change 12/7/2017 (Girl Harbor Day) * FFS With FacialTeam 12/4/2018 * GCS with Marci Bowers 9/25/2019

Offline Cassi

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #133 on: March 08, 2018, 09:56:29 pm »
Awesome Mz Martini!

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #134 on: March 11, 2018, 10:38:12 am »
You tell an amazing story. Many of us have lived different yet similar lives but the way you tell the tale, connecting us so well to the emotions, the fears, the rattled chaos....wow girl.

I suppose that's just the way I write, especially with the autobiographical topics. Unfortunately, while writing about a very emotionally-charged event, I tend to relive the moment and the tears start falling in an encore performance of that past event. Still, maybe writing about it and having that moment is just a bit more of the cleansing which is still needed for the good of mind and spirit.

The woman named Cassie that I met in Scottsdale showed such poise and togetherness, I was in a bit of awe of her. It is good to hear that she is facing what we all face, and while occasionally shaken, comes out stronger.

I appreciate the compliment, Tia, I really do. I just feel undeserving of being viewed with such awe because I don't feel like I'm doing anything special - I'm just being me. Maybe the drive to push through all of the barriers and roadblocks and to either climb over or tear down the walls placed in front of me is due, in part, to the desire to run away as far and as fast as I can from that person I used to be. Anything that even suggests a possible return to those ways only serves to make me fight harder and be stronger than I ever imagined I could be.

Some days, I still find myself asking the question, "Why do I bother?". Those words ring hollow though. I know why I bother. In spite of all the challenges, all of the heartache, all of the doubt, the joy I've been able to experience even in the relatively short time since beginning this journey, makes it all 110% worthwhile.

Offline Bari Jo

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #135 on: March 13, 2018, 07:56:11 pm »

Just before we rung off, we exchanged I love you's, and I realized that for the first time in my life, I actually meant it. Afterward, I cried tears of joy and relief for almost 15 minutes.


Hi Cassie, I'm still deep in your story.  I love it and identify with lots of it.  I was going to wait till I got to the end or present time before replying, but this quote had me tear up and shed a few tears.  I've had this exact experience.  My mom even stopped me after I said it saying she's been waiting for it forever and thanked me.  Now if I ever forget to tell her I love her I call right back.

Bari Jo
you know how far the universe extends outward? i think i go inside just as deep.

10/11/18 - out to the whole world.  100% friends and family support.
11/6/17 - came out to sister, best day of my life
9/5/17 - formal diagnosis and stopping DIY in favor if prescribed HRT
6/18/17 - decided to stop fighting the trans beast, back on DIY.
Too many ups and downs, DIY, purges of self inbetween dates.
Age 10 - suppression and denial began
Age 8 - knew I was different

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #136 on: March 14, 2018, 11:13:05 am »
I've had this exact experience.  My mom even stopped me after I said it saying she's been waiting for it forever and thanked me.  Now if I ever forget to tell her I love her I call right back.

Now that you've crossed that threshold have you found that there is no more anxiety every time you think of her, as there was previously?

Offline Bari Jo

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #137 on: March 14, 2018, 05:36:28 pm »
Now that you've crossed that threshold have you found that there is no more anxiety every time you think of her, as there was previously?

I do, in fact, I miss when we don't talk regularly now.  I feel like I'm closer now to my mom and my dad than I've ever been before.

Bari Jo

PS.  I'm caught up now, and will continue with your adventures.  I love how Steph is your partner in crime.  I need one of those over here.
you know how far the universe extends outward? i think i go inside just as deep.

10/11/18 - out to the whole world.  100% friends and family support.
11/6/17 - came out to sister, best day of my life
9/5/17 - formal diagnosis and stopping DIY in favor if prescribed HRT
6/18/17 - decided to stop fighting the trans beast, back on DIY.
Too many ups and downs, DIY, purges of self inbetween dates.
Age 10 - suppression and denial began
Age 8 - knew I was different

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #138 on: March 14, 2018, 09:15:18 pm »
Identity crisis.
I'm finding myself in a bit of a quandary right now. As a part of the (as yet verbal) agreement for the divorce, the plan is to sell the property we had originally bought with retirement in mind and split the proceeds.

It's been left to me to contact the realtor and make arrangements for putting it up for sale. The problem that whole plan is twofold: I haven't had any of my legal documents changed, so everything has my original name on it. Also, the property is located in south-central Kentucky, where you can throw a frisbee in any direction and be almost guaranteed it'll hit a church. Why there? It's a decision that was made by a completely different person.

I have two choices - I could either call up the realtor and basically impersonate my former self at the risk of a meltdown afterward, which would probably make for a smoother transaction, or go through the name change process which could take up to another month to complete and then out myself to the realtor and everyone else involved in the process in a place where folks might not be very receptive to the idea.

I could be stereotyping people again and actually have nothing to worry about, but many stereotypes are based in reality. In this case, it's a very real and all too common possibility for trans folks.

The actual sale can be done via fax, phone, email, and FedEx, so at least I don't have to engage in visual theatrics, though I've had the notion to go up there one last time. Such a visit might be the acid test as far as passing goes but I haven't decided if it's worth the potential personal risk.

Most of this is just stream-of-consciousness but it's been eating at me for the last few days and I know it helps sometimes to just write it out somewhere and since this story has caught up with real-time...well, here we are!

Offline Bari Jo

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #139 on: March 14, 2018, 11:54:04 pm »
I think this is just a name change.  I am not a lawyer, but I think there's probably precedent already set on this.  I'd bring it up with your Realtor, and say you have copies of all the legal name change documents to show at time of sale.  I bet it can go fine.  You just have to be prepared ahead of time with all the forms on all sides.  Go ahead and bring it up to her.  If you have an LGBT Center, I bet there's legal advice there for this sort of thing too.

Bari Jo
you know how far the universe extends outward? i think i go inside just as deep.

10/11/18 - out to the whole world.  100% friends and family support.
11/6/17 - came out to sister, best day of my life
9/5/17 - formal diagnosis and stopping DIY in favor if prescribed HRT
6/18/17 - decided to stop fighting the trans beast, back on DIY.
Too many ups and downs, DIY, purges of self inbetween dates.
Age 10 - suppression and denial began
Age 8 - knew I was different

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