Author Topic: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl  (Read 15291 times)

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Offline Anne Blake

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #380 on: December 02, 2018, 04:02:36 pm »
Cassandra,

The image of you and your mom dancing around the kitchen while preparing supper brings smiles & joy to my heart along with a tear to my eye. Life may not always be fair and there is a lot more pain and judgement going around than should be...….but the two of you in that kitchen is so much of what life is all about!

Thank you so much for that image,
Tia Anne

Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #381 on: December 02, 2018, 06:25:55 pm »
Mother and daughter

On the way out to our date, mom and I talked about a great many things.

...

I love her so much!
Cassie, that was beautiful.  Thank you so much for sharing that with us.  I have a big smile now.
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 Donica

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #382 on: December 03, 2018, 12:56:10 pm »
That was a beautiful update Cassie. It brought a smile and a tear to me to hear your mom tell her friend "Cassie - my daughter. She came down to visit.". I'm so happy for you and your mom. I hope the changes in the future come easily for you both.

Warm hugs,
Donica.
Rebirth June 9, 2017. Started HRT August 22, 2017. Came out June 16, 2018, Full time July 9, 2018.
Started FHR August 9, 2018, Started VFT September 19, 2018, Name and Gender change October 19. 2018.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #383 on: December 03, 2018, 11:29:41 pm »
The image of you and your mom dancing around the kitchen while preparing supper brings smiles & joy to my heart along with a tear to my eye. Life may not always be fair and there is a lot more pain and judgement going around than should be...….but the two of you in that kitchen is so much of what life is all about!

Cassie, that was beautiful.  Thank you so much for sharing that with us.  I have a big smile now.

That was a beautiful update Cassie. It brought a smile and a tear to me to hear your mom tell her friend "Cassie - my daughter. She came down to visit.". I'm so happy for you and your mom. I hope the changes in the future come easily for you both.

Mom and I were never able to connect on such a level before. I'm truly amazed at just how many similarities we have, as we get to know each other more and more. Dancing around the kitchen when the mood strikes is something I had been doing since the early days of my transition. Even the widely varying taste in music she has is so much like what I would choose to listen to.

It took 47 years to get here but I'm happy I took a chance and opened myself up to her. I'm sure she is too.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #384 on: December 04, 2018, 05:55:46 am »
Deflector shields to maximum!

Tonight was the Transgender Support Circle meeting I usually go to twice a month. I recounted the stories from my trip to  Mom's place and as we each shared something, a thought occurred to me regarding acceptance. So many of the folks who were there tonight talked about how their families or co-workers refused to accept them - in one case it was her mom who stated that she would not call her by her chosen (and legal) name.

It all made me realize that out of all of the people in my life with whom I've shared my true self, the only one to have outright rejected me was my wife. I guess, if marriage truly is "till death do us part" then that former person is dead and gone.

The last several meetings, I've been riding my bike to and from. There is a group that usually goes out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant after the meetings but it's too far out of the way for me to bike there in a timely manner, so I don't often go. This time however, it was raining so I took my car to the meeting and thought I'd join them for dinner.

When we got there, the primary organizer of this group, "S" was in a heated text discussion with someone and she was obviously very annoyed. I had made two mistakes then and there - one was sitting next to her and the other was not moving when all that was going on. As the rest of the group started showing up - not all from the support group - some were from the social group that "S" also organized. They were a rather boisterous bunch and I probably would have enjoyed my time around them.

I didn't.

I could feel myself becoming more and more withdrawn, physically pulling into myself as well as emotionally. Since everyone else was doing plenty of talking, no one noticed that I hadn't said a whole lot which was fine with me. A few direct questions were asked and I gave minimal responses, just enough that one of the more talkative ones would swoop in and take over the conversation. Just as well.

Food came. I ate. It wasn't very good. At the earliest opportunity, I paid my check, stood up with my purse slung under my arm, said a hasty goodnight and walked briskly out the door to a chorus of voices saying goodbye. I knew what was coming if I didn't get out of there quickly. Sure enough, it did as soon as I got in my car. I frantically dug through my purse for the pack of tissues as the tears started to fall. It seemed to subside and looked like only a brief storm. I realized I was mistaken when wave after wave of sobbing hit me as I drove down the street. The idea of pulling over for a few minutes was an attractive one but I just wanted to be home.

I drove on, crying and wanting to know why this had happened. I'm this new, outgoing person now. Why is this still happening? Everything should be better now! Then a revelation hit:

Aside from the tears, it's no different from how "he" would have reacted. Being this new person, I realized that unlike "him", she doesn't walk around with her defenses up 24/7. She's more open and empathetic to the people around her. Sitting down in proximity to that much anger and negativity caused those old shields to reflexively snap into place and stay that way for the rest of the evening until she removed herself from that situation - arguably something which should have been done long before it got as bad as it did.

As much as I had worked to shed those unpleasant fragments that used to comprise "him", they keep coming back. Realizing that this is what had happened did at least put these feelings of distress into some kind of perspective but on the other hand, I noted that this is one of those which I can't just pay someone to remove. This is all on me to work through. I only hope that next time I'll be able to recognize it before it has a chance to take over.

EDIT: I wrote this last night but held off on posting because of not wanting to induce undue stress in a certain special someone who is near and dear to my heart. I think it's safe now.

Offline Anne Blake

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #385 on: December 04, 2018, 12:58:25 pm »
Hi Cassandra,

I can fully say that I understand, feel your pain and share your tears. A lot of words could be put here but in all, only virtual hugs and telling you that you are loved is what I can offer you.

Hang in there girl, you know that your heart is strong enough,
Tia Anne

Offline Steph2.0

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #386 on: December 04, 2018, 04:12:24 pm »
I noted that this is one of those which I can't just pay someone to remove. This is all on me to work through.

No it isn’t. It may be yours to work out, but you won’t be dealing with it alone.


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 Jessica_Rose

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #387 on: December 04, 2018, 09:37:26 pm »
No it isn’t. It may be yours to work out, but you won’t be dealing with it alone.

This statement brought tears to my eyes. Steph, I can't imagine the greeting you will receive from Cassie upon your return. The love you two show for each other is inspiring.

Love always -- Jessica Rose
My journal thread - Jessica's Rose Garden
My National Coming Out Day video Coming Out - Jessica Rose
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Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #388 on: December 05, 2018, 12:39:39 pm »
I can fully say that I understand, feel your pain and share your tears. A lot of words could be put here but in all, only virtual hugs and telling you that you are loved is what I can offer you.

Hang in there girl, you know that your heart is strong enough,

No it isn’t. It may be yours to work out, but you won’t be dealing with it alone.

Thank you both for your kind words! Fortunately, the distress only lasted a short time and, if nothing else, serves as a learning experience. I'm still getting to know myself as well as all of these new feelings and how they all interrelate.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #389 on: December 05, 2018, 01:20:02 pm »
A gift for her daughter

While I was visiting my mom, she gave me one of her jackets. She said it was too big for her and looked good on me. At one point, she had asked me if I had a decent jacket to wear and I mentioned the one I had had which I'd been hanging onto since about age 16, even in as poor shape as it was. My hung-over brain that morning didn't make the connection between the question and the wonderful gift she gave me until much later.

I said I'd take a picture when I put together an outfit with it:


Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #390 on: December 05, 2018, 01:38:41 pm »
The Medical Middle Finger Redux

I'm trying a slightly different approach with my insurance company to see if I can get my GCS covered. It was mainly just for fun and to see what answers I get, using different terminology.

This time, I pointed out that their own document lists the criteria by which they consider that surgery to be "medically necessary". That seems to gained a little bit of traction as I was given a rundown on how the review process is initiated for anything that falls into the "not on the plan but medically necessary", and took detailed notes.

Knowing the right questions to ask seems to have made all the difference because the next call to them was to find out a list of surgeons who are in-network. It seems that the people working the call center at Aetna have no better tools for searching the provider directory than the patients do but working together, we found a few. Later on, I went through a list of vaginoplasty surgeons and checked several dozen against the provider directory. So far, I have 7 names, most of which I've never heard of except for Jess Ting in NYC. There's still plenty of research to be done of course, but maybe there's still hope.

I'm going into this with my expectations barely making the needle twitch but if there is a way to get my insurance to cover this, I'm willing to do the legwork.

Since I already have conversed with the folks at Mt. Sinai in NYC, I'll probably start there to see if they can get the review process started. From what I was told, it had to be initiated by a provider - either my primary care doctor who has no clue how to go about it, or the surgeon.

I'm wondering about the whole concept of having "multiple irons in the fire", by way of doing this process through multiple surgeons to see if one gets approval. I'm afraid that might trigger some fraud flag in the insurance company's system though so I'll proceed with caution.

Fingers crossed!

Offline Donica

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #391 on: December 08, 2018, 12:21:41 pm »
Great news on the possibility of getting your insurance to cover this Cassie. There are more and more Co's beginning to cover this but the process of converting them over is too slow. There needs to be people like you banging on the doors. Even the ones that do cover this need a shove now and then to provide timely medically necessary services.

In regards to your earlier post, if I may steal a quote from your BFF, and agree with Tia and Jessica's replies, "No it isn’t. It may be yours to work out, but you won’t be dealing with it alone."

Warm hugs Cassie!
Donica.
Rebirth June 9, 2017. Started HRT August 22, 2017. Came out June 16, 2018, Full time July 9, 2018.
Started FHR August 9, 2018, Started VFT September 19, 2018, Name and Gender change October 19. 2018.

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #392 on: December 08, 2018, 04:57:52 pm »
Deflector shields to maximum!

Tonight was the Transgender Support Circle meeting I usually go to twice a month. I recounted the stories from my trip to  Mom's place and as we each shared something, a thought occurred to me regarding acceptance. So many of the folks who were there tonight talked about how their families or co-workers refused to accept them - in one case it was her mom who stated that she would not call her by her chosen (and legal) name.

It all made me realize that out of all of the people in my life with whom I've shared my true self, the only one to have outright rejected me was my wife. I guess, if marriage truly is "till death do us part" then that former person is dead and gone.

The last several meetings, I've been riding my bike to and from. There is a group that usually goes out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant after the meetings but it's too far out of the way for me to bike there in a timely manner, so I don't often go. This time however, it was raining so I took my car to the meeting and thought I'd join them for dinner.

When we got there, the primary organizer of this group, "S" was in a heated text discussion with someone and she was obviously very annoyed. I had made two mistakes then and there - one was sitting next to her and the other was not moving when all that was going on. As the rest of the group started showing up - not all from the support group - some were from the social group that "S" also organized. They were a rather boisterous bunch and I probably would have enjoyed my time around them.

I didn't.

I could feel myself becoming more and more withdrawn, physically pulling into myself as well as emotionally. Since everyone else was doing plenty of talking, no one noticed that I hadn't said a whole lot which was fine with me. A few direct questions were asked and I gave minimal responses, just enough that one of the more talkative ones would swoop in and take over the conversation. Just as well.

Food came. I ate. It wasn't very good. At the earliest opportunity, I paid my check, stood up with my purse slung under my arm, said a hasty goodnight and walked briskly out the door to a chorus of voices saying goodbye. I knew what was coming if I didn't get out of there quickly. Sure enough, it did as soon as I got in my car. I frantically dug through my purse for the pack of tissues as the tears started to fall. It seemed to subside and looked like only a brief storm. I realized I was mistaken when wave after wave of sobbing hit me as I drove down the street. The idea of pulling over for a few minutes was an attractive one but I just wanted to be home.

I drove on, crying and wanting to know why this had happened. I'm this new, outgoing person now. Why is this still happening? Everything should be better now! Then a revelation hit:

Aside from the tears, it's no different from how "he" would have reacted. Being this new person, I realized that unlike "him", she doesn't walk around with her defenses up 24/7. She's more open and empathetic to the people around her. Sitting down in proximity to that much anger and negativity caused those old shields to reflexively snap into place and stay that way for the rest of the evening until she removed herself from that situation - arguably something which should have been done long before it got as bad as it did.

As much as I had worked to shed those unpleasant fragments that used to comprise "him", they keep coming back. Realizing that this is what had happened did at least put these feelings of distress into some kind of perspective but on the other hand, I noted that this is one of those which I can't just pay someone to remove. This is all on me to work through. I only hope that next time I'll be able to recognize it before it has a chance to take over.

EDIT: I wrote this last night but held off on posting because of not wanting to induce undue stress in a certain special someone who is near and dear to my heart. I think it's safe now.

Girl you are already doing the hard work...this stuff takes time and I personally think you are showing good insight. You have plenty of online support and plenty of people who will gladly help..me included...These situations whilst familiar are not the same as they used to be because you are not the same.

Take Care

Liz


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HRT since 17 May 2016, Fulltime from 8 March 2017, Transition Begun 25 September 2015 
GCS 4 December 2018,

Voice Surgery 01/02/19

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be – Lao Tzu

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #393 on: December 08, 2018, 07:56:24 pm »
Great news on the possibility of getting your insurance to cover this Cassie. There are more and more Co's beginning to cover this but the process of converting them over is too slow. There needs to be people like you banging on the doors. Even the ones that do cover this need a shove now and then to provide timely medically necessary services.

In regards to your earlier post, if I may steal a quote from your BFF, and agree with Tia and Jessica's replies, "No it isn’t. It may be yours to work out, but you won’t be dealing with it alone."

Thank you, Donica! I have a feeling that I may need a few shoulders to cry on or at least lean on during this period. Stephanie is finally moving forward with her plans and is being something of an inspiration to me to get up and get things moving for myself. It took lots of work and effort to get where I am now, so I don't know why I've been so reluctant to put in the work needed for these final few stages. Maybe because it's been relatively easy so far.

Ha ha, I say that now - it sure didn't seem that way two years ago! I believe the terms used were something along the line of "a yawning black chasm of uncertainty". The chasm ended up being a lot less treacherous than it originally appeared. I found a path through it and maybe helped one or two others find their path as well.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #394 on: December 08, 2018, 08:02:18 pm »
Girl you are already doing the hard work...this stuff takes time and I personally think you are showing good insight. You have plenty of online support and plenty of people who will gladly help..me included...These situations whilst familiar are not the same as they used to be because you are not the same.

You're right Liz, I'm not the same. I'm better. At least I can stop and wonder why this happened instead of just angrily walking away to stew over it for the next several months. It's easier to understand what's most important to me and what just needs to be let go.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #395 on: December 08, 2018, 08:35:12 pm »
Gone shopping

For the past two weeks or so, I'd been wanting to make an appointment to get my eyebrows waxed. I've been doing my best to maintain them since the last time but as with many things, I just needed some professional help. Unfortunately, the only appointment I could get was for 6pm - two hours after I was to get off from work. I decided to grab my laptop and join the other laptop-toting students and/or writers at the Starbucks within walking distance from the salon. With coffee and tasty (yet sensible) snack in hand, I took a seat outside and set to the exhaustive task of running down a list of vaginoplasty surgeons in the US and searching each one on my insurance company's website to see if they're "in-network". It was a time-consuming task but after 90 minutes of that while my BFF virtually kept me company, I turned up 8 names to further research.

With brows done and fabulousness restored, I considered doing something crazy. After a period of pondering that could be measured in milliseconds, I had made up my mind. The next stop was the outlet mall on International Drive - right in the heart of the Orlando tourist mecca. At 7pm, it was still pretty crazy around there but I managed to find a legitimate parking spot in spite of all the vultures cruising up and down the lanes. My ultimate destination was the Vera Bradley store. The siren-song of all the purple stuff they had on clearance drew me right in. Despite their best efforts, the hawkers of the kiosks in the middle of the pathways could not grab my attention. I was a woman on a mission. The primary goal was to pick up a tablet case for my new Chromebook but of course, I couldn't pass up a couple of other small things that were on sale.


Shopping carts of the outlet malls

After achieving my goal and walking out with a new, purple case for my Chromebook...and a travel organizer for my hair stuff...and an insulated cover for my styling wand - all of which nicely coordinated in colors and patterns of course!

While walking back to the entrance where I came in, I passed by a lot of stores selling purses and other women's accessories. A realization hit me just then. I can walk into any one of these stores and look at any one of these purses and it would be considered perfectly normal - routine, even. No one would even cast a second glance at this woman browsing around in their store.

This may sound like another one of those "new normal" posts but this felt somehow different though I haven't quite been able to put my finger on exactly why that is. These "wow" moments don't come as often as they used to but for every now and then.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #396 on: December 08, 2018, 08:46:54 pm »
Putting gender in neutral

The clinic I go to for my HNT (Electrolysis, or "Hot Needle Torture") has recently expanded their operation to encompass the entire floor of the office building where they're located. As such, they've had the door locks removed from the restrooms (which previously needed an often-absent key for entry) and changed them both to "gender neutral".

Fantastic! Progress! Onward!

...is what I feel I should be thinking. After all the blood sweat and tears over this issue of bathroom gender issues, I can't help but think of one thing: "Great, now guys are going to be coming into our bathroom and pissing on the toilet seats."

Call me a horrible person if you want but it's certainly a long way from worrying about being clocked in a ladies room.

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #397 on: December 08, 2018, 09:18:29 pm »
You're right Liz, I'm not the same. I'm better. At least I can stop and wonder why this happened instead of just angrily walking away to stew over it for the next several months. It's easier to understand what's most important to me and what just needs to be let go.

Thats great...you are clearly moving in a better direction


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HRT since 17 May 2016, Fulltime from 8 March 2017, Transition Begun 25 September 2015 
GCS 4 December 2018,

Voice Surgery 01/02/19

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be – Lao Tzu

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #398 on: December 11, 2018, 09:14:19 pm »
Thats great...you are clearly moving in a better direction

I'll admit though, @LizK that sometimes it's a struggle to resist those old ingrained responses to certain situations. One in particular came to mind earlier this evening. I'll post about it next.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #399 on: December 11, 2018, 09:53:54 pm »
The Black Wolf

This is a bit of a reaction to some of the neighborhood issues @Steph2.0 had been having of late. One neighbor in particular was clearly uncomfortable with the idea of Stephanie's transition, couldn't be bothered to get name and pronouns right and on top of that, claimed that the rest of the neighborhood was uncomfortable around her. It turned out to only be one other (guy - big shock there!) but he was using the entire neighborhood to deflect attention from his own personal discomfort.

Seeing the effect this had on Stephanie caught the attention of something I had hoped was laid to rest permanently. At one point, I noticed that I was doing as much in-depth research on this neighbor as the available public tools would allow and building a mental dossier on him. I was researching him, his businesses both past and present, his property holdings, aircraft and other vehicles, wife and family....

I had to force myself to a full stop - to close the myriad browser windows I had open with all of this information after realizing just what was happening. This was all a prelude to deciding upon which ways to push and prod so as to put the subject under stress. Worst of all, this is what "he" would have done.

I don't want to be this person. The very fact that I was even thinking along these lines still bothers me to this day.

At one point, I told Stephanie that "I'm trying very hard to not feed the black wolf."

When she asked what that meant, I told her about the story of the battle between the two wolves and whichever one wins is the one that you feed.

I said, "She just wants to protect her family."

I don't want to protect my family by potentially destroying someone else's but damn it, it's hard to let this kind of psychological bullying go unaddressed. Stephanie has been blossoming into this wonderful, vibrant, caring woman and it breaks my heart to hear about anyone trying to break her down just because of their own fragile ego.

The nature of this post gives me pause for a moment to consider whether or not to actually submit it. We post about the good and the bad here because it's what makes each of us complete.

It's more to learn and grow from, I suppose.

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