Monday, November 12, 2012

For No One

It was six years ago this coming Friday, November 16, that I had my legal name change and became Cynthia  full time. It's been nearly five years since my life changing surgery. Though my physical healing was unusually delayed, things are back to normal, other than wearing jeans, which still hurt me due to rare nerve damage.

The common 'normal' person would think life would go on without thought at this point, but I still need to seek advice on a regular basis. So much to learn in so little time. But it also becomes harder work, because even after all of this time, I'm still under the spot light. Granted sometimes I'm guilty of putting myself there and sometimes I'm being judged even without my knowing it.

I still dress conservatively casual at work, but yet at times too dressy for some of my co-workers, hence setting myself up for comparisons. Just recently two mid thirty year old women where discussing clothing options and  I entered the room for two seconds to drop something. Immediately they stopped pointed to me and said "Ask her, she'll know!" Ummm ladies you've had many more years experience than me, you should know this. But I gave them my honest answer, which was one they hadn't thought of and both agreed without hesitation. A great compliment.

But even at work, where it's rare people comment on another's attire, I'm usually getting some form of comment, 99 out of 100 times positive, but it just shows that all these years later, I'm still under the watchful eye of the 'normal' people. It just makes me have to work harder at preparing myself. But the compliments do make my day.

This past weekend I had to attend a banquet, where being the "it" to a lot of people that don't know me personally, so I knew I had to make sure I was 100% on my game. I couldn't be seen as weak and I had to put my best foot forward. I had to be proud and strong, because I knew there would be more foes than allies in attendance.

I found a new make up look I loved, found a YouTube tutorial to teach myself, spent much time researching different make up companies for exactly what I wanted. Thankfully Ulta had exactly what I was going to need, but yet I still had to ask a good friend's daughter for advice and possible lessons. This girl does amazing make up work. Thankfully she gave me some advice, but I never had to use her training or application services. I tested at work to unsolicited but yet rave reviews.

Even the night before the banquet, despite having many dresses that would have been great for the event, I had to buy a new one to make absolutely sure everything was just right. I pulled out a pair of black patent heels I hadn't worn since the 2008 Oswego Speedway banquet. I was surprised when I opened the box to see they were four inch heels. I couldn't believe I had purchased them for the Oswego banquet but they matched the description on the

Even the day of the banquet I had a dumb question that I hadn't thought of in six years. Yeah, the answer was semi-obvious but not concrete. I had to ask one of the Mod Chick Mafia her advice. Her advice was perfect. There was no proper answer both options I chose would work fine, but she then added a very key piece of advice. "Wear whatever is going to make you feel the sexiest." Damn, she was spot on. So I did. And I believe it helped me carry my head high, even if no one knew what the changes were  but me.

Amazingly even though I've been living six years as a female I still got comments with genuine positive tones and looks "Oh my god, you're wearing a dress!" But quickly followed up with a sincere "You look great!"......The words were sincere and meant a lot to me, but I'm still under the looking glass though. Not to mention I wear dress or skirt to work four out of five days. The fifth day being my volunteer day at the animal shelter, right after work.

That night and the next day I did get many great compliments, all from friends of course. But I did everything I wanted to accomplish. Which was nothing but put my best foot forward and be the myself I always wanted to be. Of course, I naturally left the house twenty minutes later than I had hoped, typical broad

As I put away the four inch heeled patent shoes the next morning, I found the box with the more conservatively one and a half heeled black patent shoes. Those were the ones I had bought for Oswego.........oooppps.

If I pulled everything off perfectly and I should be really happy, even after all of these years, why I have spent the past two days depressed and wanting to cry at even the slightest things??????

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Whole New World

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Transgender surgery led to whole new world for Cynthia Tebbetts

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Cynthia Tebbetts has settled into a comfortable routine. On weekdays, she wakes up and feeds the cats, Lola and Skippy, before heading off to Cummings Printing, where she works as an estimator, crunching numbers all day.

On Wednesday nights, Cynthia volunteers at the Manchester Animal Shelter. On Thursdays or Fridays, she might grab dinner and drinks with the girls. Saturdays are often spent at the racetrack, socializing over one of her favorite sports.

Life is good now. Happier, calmer, more predictable. Cynthia has traded jeans and T-shirts for dresses and skirts. She gets her nails done and wears more makeup. She no longer thinks about suicide.

Nearly five years have passed since Cynthia underwent life-altering surgery to say goodbye to her old self – her male self. Cynthia, a transgender woman, was born John Jay Tebbetts. John spent most of his life wanting to be a woman, and much of that time trying to hide those feelings.

The Telegraph chronicled Cynthia’s transformation from male to female in early 2008 as part of a series of stories on New Hampshire’s transgender community. Now, she has been highlighted in a new book from Transgender New Hampshire, and The Telegraph caught up with her to find out what life is like after gender reassignment surgery.

Cynthia, now 48, has developed a new love for chocolate and ice cream – possibly a side effect of the hormones. And a half-hour isn’t enough time to get ready anymore.
But the most pronounced difference, as Cynthia and her close friends have observed, is a shift in attitude, demeanor and mental health.

“I’ve been so happy since that, I haven’t had a need for a support group or to see a therapist,” said Cynthia, who lives in Goffstown. “John was kind of introverted, kind of a loner. I’m much more secure than John ever was. I don’t have that chip on my shoulder.”

Looking back
On a recent Thursday afternoon, a tall, broad-shouldered woman walked into the Starbucks in Epping. She wore a light purple blouse and a black skirt with a purple and white floral print. Her curly blond hair grazed her shoulders. Her strides were quick, confident.

She removed her sunglasses and replaced them with eyeglasses. She ran her fingers through her hair. After waiting in line for a vanilla chai, she sat down in the middle of the busy coffee shop, ready to reveal intimate details of her life.

“John wouldn’t have been sitting here right now,” Cynthia said. “John wouldn’t have done this.”

For much of his life, John didn’t understand why he had such a strong desire to wear women’s clothes. His earliest memory of the feeling was in second grade.
In high school, John liked sports and was attracted to the opposite sex, but he also wanted to dress like the girls, and began doing so in private. Putting on a pair of women’s stockings gave him a rush and boosted his confidence. Then he felt shameful and confused, determined to keep whatever this was a secret. He’d eventually grow out of this phase, he thought.

Yet by 1982, just after graduating from Manchester West High School, John knew the truth, even if he couldn’t admit it to anyone else: He would never be happy as a boy.
The cross-dressing continued, and progressed, throughout the ’80s and ’90s. John had girlfriends and he developed a passion for racing, working as an official and traveling across the country in his free time. He watched hockey, went to Patriots game parties and had beers with the guys after work.

John kept the cross-dressing a secret from almost everyone. One of the few people he told was co-worker and close friend Nicole Garvin. It was the mid-’90s, and the two were sitting at a bar after work.

“He just came right out and said he enjoyed wearing women’s underwear and bras and pantyhose,” said Garvin, 38, who remains one of Cynthia’s best friends. “I was a little taken aback, but it didn’t scare me. … I thought John was a great guy regardless of what he liked to wear.”

Finally, about a decade later, John decided it was time to come clean to the world. He had been drinking too much and was spiraling out of control under the weight of his secret. He was battling depression and thoughts of suicide. The feeling that he was really supposed to be a she was so powerful, it could no longer be ignored.

John’s transition to Cynthia officially began in late 2005 with hormone therapy. The legal name change came in November 2006, and Cynthia began dressing as a woman full-time. The sexual reassignment surgery took place in January 2008, after years of mental and physical preparations under the guidance of Dr. Anne Boedecker, a psychologist and gender specialist in Bow.
Moving forward

Before John began the transition to Cynthia, he and Garvin had a tumultuous friendship. Both had strong, stubborn personalities. Their similarities made them fast friends and kindred spirits, but also led to friction.

“When I was John, we would have fights and would go months without talking,” Cynthia said. “Now we’re able to work it out.”
Garvin said John’s behavior back then was indicative of someone who wasn’t happy with life.

“John could be difficult to get along with at times, moody,” she said. “Cynthia is softer, not as argumentative. Cindy is just a great, great girl.”

Mike Douglas met John more than 30 years ago through racing. Douglas, 59, of Auburn, is one of the racing buddies who stuck by Cynthia through the transition. Other old racing friends started turning their heads when they ran into Cynthia in public.

“I said, ‘Well, if that’s what you want to do.’ It was a surprise, but it wasn’t that big of a deal,” said Douglas, who runs an automotive shop and owns a race car that competes in the Modified Racing Series. “Who am I to judge? Everybody is different.”

Douglas said he has the same relationship with Cynthia that he had with John. They joke around, pull pranks and tease one another. There are physical differences, of course, and Douglas has noticed that Cynthia is more confident and outspoken than John ever was.

“She’s more opinionated than she was then. She says what she feels now. There’s not much that gets held back,” Douglas said, pausing. “Maybe that’s a female thing. I’ve been married for 40 years, and my wife doesn’t hold back.”

For the friends Cynthia lost, she gained others. She stopped getting invited to some of the “boys club” events, but she has come to terms with that. These days, she said she’d rather have dinner and drinks with the girls than spend all night at the bar.

 Her friendships with women have changed – they open up to her now.

Cynthia’s relationship with her 87-year-old mother is still rocky, but improving.

Her mother came from a generation when the kind of feelings John had were never discussed, let alone acted upon.

“On a rare occasion, she’ll floor me by saying, ‘You look nice today,’ ” Cynthia said.
Just this past May, Cynthia decided she was finally ready to date.

“I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin first,” she said.

Cynthia is still mostly attracted to women – 98 percent, she said – but she recently started to consider dating men, or “boys,” as she calls them.

“My next goal is to get into a relationship, hopefully long-term,” she said. “Of course, you can’t force it.”
The advocate
As Cynthia has transformed over the last five years, so have cultural attitudes about the transgender community.

More states are revising their anti-discrimination laws to include transgender people, and a growing number of Fortune 500 companies are providing health care coverage for treatments related to gender dysphoria. But equal-rights groups say there’s a long way to go.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a legal group that also fights for the rights of the transgender population, recently released a book profiling transgender people living in New Hampshire. Cynthia was one of nine people featured.

The goal of the publication is to promote education and awareness, and to eliminate some of the fear surrounding what it means to be transgender, said Janson Wu, a staff attorney for GLAD in Boston.

“We also wanted to highlight the stories of success,” Wu said. “Cynthia’s story is a wonderful example of that.”

Cynthia, armed with her bolder personality, is pursuing her own advocacy and outreach.

She speaks to a class at Southern New Hampshire University once a year. She jokes with the students, tries to level with them, and explains that being transgender doesn’t necessarily equate to being a flashy, drag queen, Cher look-alike.

“I love educating the masses, teaching people that we aren’t freaks,” she said. “I like hockey and punk rock.”

Cynthia has taken several trips back to Montreal, where her surgery took place, to reach out to other patients. She visits those who are recovering in the same convalescence home where she stayed.

“I’m a graduate of the class of 2008,” she tells them.

During one visit, she came across a transgender woman who had made the trip alone. The woman had lost most of her friends and family members because of the transition.

“I took her under my wing, gave her a hug before the surgery,” Cynthia said. “She was so thankful. I was a complete stranger.

“I love doing things like that. I can’t let anyone go through a major surgery alone.”

Cynthia looks back at her life as John with a few regrets. Maybe she could have spent a little more time with ex-girlfriends and a little less time at the racetrack. But there were plenty of great times, and she hasn’t thrown those memories away.

Today, Cynthia is simply happy to be alive. Five years after the surgery, she remains convinced that suicide was the only alternative to becoming the woman she has always wanted to be.

“I’m lucky,” she said. “Really lucky.”

The video (that was found on top of this page) was moved. It can now be found on the immediately above YouTube link

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Look Inside The Operating Room

The below is an article by Karen Lovett that was printed in the Nashua Telegraph on March 30, 2008 along with the "Surgery Completes The Transformation"article. I never posted it here because I didn't have an electronic copy and hence it's only been read by those that had print copies or before it was removed from the Telegraph website a few years back.

The three main articles that dealt with me have been reposted on the Telegraph website, with the Corey Perrine photos, as with the release of the GLAD publication, the Telegraph has decided to do a follow up article on my past four and a half years.

A look inside the operating room


There is a particular rhythm to this place. It starts with the dance of preparation, as scrubbed nurses circle around, grabbing bottles and boxes and scissors of steel.

Later, there is the whirring of surgical tools. The steady beep of the heart monitor. The smooth jazz songs, crooned in French and English, escaping a speaker high up on the wall.

This is operating room No. 1 at the Centre Metropolitain de Chirurgie Plastique, a small hospital just outside Montreal. But at the same time, with some imagination, it may also be someplace else.

To Dr. Pierre Brassard, a plastic surgeon, what happens here is not all science.

To him, surgery is also an art form.

“It’s all in the design,” he said. “It’s all in the subtleties.”

Brassard performs many kinds of plastic surgery, but this idea of art shows itself especially in sexual reassignment surgery, during which the patient’s biological genitals are reconstructed to those of the opposite sex.

Though there is a widely accepted method for performing male-to-female surgery, some of the techniques are nuanced, Brassard said - the design of the incisions, for example.

The work starts with fluid strokes to clean the operation area and ends with the glides of final stitching.

Brassard’s movements throughout are smooth, calculated.

It’s no wonder, though, because in each of the last 12 years, he has performed more than 100 such surgeries - both for males changing to females and vice versa. Brassard estimates he has done 1,300 sexual reassignments in all.
Even so, he said, it isn’t a simple procedure.

“The surgery is very difficult technically,” Brassard said while performing the operation on Cynthia Tebbetts, of Goffstown, in January.

There is a long list of potential complications, including infection or contamination if, during a critical phase, the doctor makes a wrong move.

If he isn’t working in exactly the right area, Brassard said, “Your patient is in trouble.”
After Tebbetts’ three-hour procedure, however, Brassard said he was “very satisfied” with the result, adding that the surgery “went over very smooth. Easy. No problems at all.”

Brassard said he took interest in transgender people “by accident.” He remembers first seeing one as a patient on a television program and being intrigued. “When I was young, I learned to be open-minded,” he said. “Growing up, I was confronted with nature’s variety.”

He later studied medicine at Laval University and eventually decided he wanted to be a surgeon. He liked using his hands. Liked the human anatomy, and “being able to influence health.”

Brassard did a fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and his residency in the same focus at the University of Montreal.

When Brassard started practicing in Quebec City, he took care of some transgender patients.

“I realized they needed surgery - good surgery,” he said.

Brassard eventually met Dr. Yvon Menard, who specialized for many years in sexual reassignment surgeries. Brassard joined Menard at the Centre Metropolitain de Chirurgie Plastique, and has been there more than a decade.

Surgeries in the hospital have increased by 100 percent during the last five years, according to the hospital’s Web site, with patients coming from America, Asia and Europe.

In recent years, Brassard purchased the building next door to the hospital,
renovating it into a rest home for patients. It was important to him that they be close by and receive immediate nursing care if needed.

That’s part of what sets the center apart, Brassard said. In other places, patients stay in hotels during the time around surgery and don’t have access to on-the-spot help.
Brassard said he has occasionally run into former patients at conferences, which is when the best part of his job can reveal itself.

To him, that is “seeing a happy patient and hearing them say, when I ask them, ‘Do you like the result?’ They say, ‘Oh yes!’

“Then, it’s mission accomplished.”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lost & Found

Unfortunately one thing that comes with getting older is that we lose the people around us much more often. Just one of the lousy parts of life.

The longest running employee at the printing company I work at, had a fatal heart attack while camping. though I've been there for twenty five years, I don't believe we ever said twenty five words to each other, combined. Within a week, a recently retired co-worker past away from complications from surgery. Tom I knew quite well. I worked in his department for a short time before defecting to sales. Tom even remained in my Patriots pool after his retirement. a real nice man that will be missed.

While looking for Tom's obituary, I stumbled upon an obituary for a co-worker from my days at Caldor in the mid 80's. Ken was a year younger than me but passed away from cancer. A real nice kid, kinda geeky and goofy at times, but definitely a bit of the different sort. A shame to see him go so young. People could be a bit rough on him back in the day, I'm very glad I always treated him with respect.

Within days, I found out a good racing friend developed an aneurysm in the brain. He had an attack and it left him in a non-induced coma. He did come to, two days later, but he was blind. The tumor was in an inoperable area. The hope was to control it with medicine. Three days later I was doing cat care for the animal shelter and the text messages started arriving. Mike had passed way. Again another young man, a year younger than I.

I had known Mike since 1981, but really got to know him well in the later 80's and especially when I went to work for ISMA in the mid 90's. As nice a guy as you could ever meet. Everyone knew Mike and I've never heard a person say a bad word about Mike at all. A true good guy. Mike was one person I always sought out at any super modified race and was always happy when he checked in at the Douglas 23 modified when he had a free evening.

When I was working for ISMA, I didn't have to work at Sandusky, OH one year, so i went out to spectate and consume large quantities of adult beverages. I left an out door gathering late one night, only to find out the cops showed up much later and of all people, Mike was detained by the local friendly officers. I highly doubt Mike did anything wrong other than having an open container on the side walk. But the entire pits were in disbelief, that it was Mike of all people.

ISMA also had a hastily added race in Concord North Carolina. Mike rode down with me and shared the driving. Despite the fourteen hour trip each way, Mike is probably the only person that didn't drive me crazy. He could travel with me anytime, anywhere. The plan was to leave the race, drive as far as we could and find a hotel and finish the trip in the morning. Sounds like a great plan, till the further we got along, we drove square into the heart of an area with a big NA$CAR Winston Cup race the next day. No rooms available. Anywhere. We parked at the next rest area on the Virginia border and slept for the evening in my Lumina. Only to wake in the morning daylight to see we were camped directly underneath a sign that said "No Overnight Parking" Opppps.

I found out this story in hindsight. In the summer of 2006, nine months after I started my transition, very, very few people knew and almost no one in the racing circles. No one. But at Stafford, Mike and the Vic Miller/Chris Perley crew saw me heading to the grandstand after a NEMA race, and Mike noticed something no one else had. Mike remarked to his crew "Is it just me, or is John Tebbetts getting breasts?" LOL Mike, always the observant one. I love that story and I'm glad it came from Mike.

I'll miss him forever. The world has lost a true gentleman. R.I.P. Mike

In this time, my favorite high school teacher, Mr Maynard passed away from cancer. he was better known for being the leader of the chorus, but I had him for a Jazz/Rock class. He always wanted me to come back to West High School to give his class a lecture on the Beatles. Sadly we were never able to put it together. Another really good, kind man gone.

But here the sadness ends and finally some, AWESOME news came my way.

The Mod Chick Mafia finally reunited. All ten of us, in one location, at one time. for the first time in three years. We're ten ladies from different backgrounds, with different personalities, different needs, but we all are bounded by our love and/or involvement in auto racing. I never would have survived my transition with out the other nine girls. But between us all as a group, in out short time together we've survived a job loss and  out of state move, marriages, births, divorces, a sex change, near divorces, problem children, nasty break ups with psycho guys, you name it. But unfortunately like any other all female group, there was an internal clash between a few members and the group semi-fell apart. We still got together in smaller groups, but not like the glory days where it was all ten united.

But mention of a reunion came up and I set a date and place. Much to my pleasure all agreed and it went off without a hitch. We all got along and we all had an amazing time. I'm so happy to this group back together. I really love these girls and love having all ten together. I believe all past issues have been put aside and we will be getting back together like in the "good ol' days" again.

 I didn't think I could be happier, but I was soon proven wrong. It didn't even take a week.

The GLAD NH Transgender Storybook mentioned in my last blog, was finally released to the public and hit with a small media blitz. But a lot of GLAD supporters took to social media and plastered stories and links all over Face Book and Twitter. One local college professor posted it and it caught the eye of a woman in Virginia. This lady may know someone questioning about transitioning, so she read through some of the articles. Coming across a rare name "Tebbetts". This intrigued her so she opened the article which immediately opens with a discussion on my love for the Beatles and quickly turned to auto racing. Could it possibly be???

Wednesday, in the mid afternoon, my phone buzzes and I see it's a Friend Request from Face Book. Knowing my high school class is organizing a reunion, I dreaded looking to see whom it was. But I checked any ways. It was Diane B.

This Diane was my old boss at Caldor. I in turn, took her position when when she got married and moved half way across the country about a year later.I loved working for Diane. I loved working with Diane. I loved just talking with Diane. Thankfully we remained friends. A group of four of us drove out to see her in Indiana. including an ex I just had a recent nasty break up with, LOL. Less than a year later Diane moved to Virginia and one of us from the Indiana trip and I flew down to spend a few days with Diane and her husband. I spoke to Diane again that fall or summer but we had lost all contact after that, much to my dismay. I really liked Diane. She's a true genuine good person.

But in less than a year, I had found a new girlfriend (Elaina), changed jobs and moved, so I was easily lost. But I always missed Diane and thought of her often, if not weekly. I tried searching for her on Face Back on more occasions than I could count. As recently as a week or two ago. Turns out, I had been spelling her married name wrong.

But thanks to the GLAD article and a mystery person to me sharing the link. I'm back in touch with a dear friend. I swear I will never lose her again. Ever.

We spoke for two hours on the phone that night. It felt like five minutes. We picked up right where we left off. Any one who knows me, knows after five minutes on the phone, I'm ready to smash it. I could have talked to Diane all night. As interesting as my changes and experiences have been in 25 years, Diane's experiences were more fascinating.

I lost a dear friend for over two decades and yet I'm still on cloud nine about reconnecting to her. Yes I value her and her friendship in that high of regard.

I was beating dealt a sadness rainbow but at the end of the rainbow, the Mod Chick Mafia and Diane showered me with a pot of gold.

Diane summed it up better than I ever could. the below are her words, but I couldn't agree more

there is saying I hold dear which is “Surround yourself with the people who make you happy, those that make you laugh and who genuinely care, as for all the others they are just passing through" and I never considered you to be just one of those passing through, guess that is why I did keep looking, but don't think I can take the credit for this find....a higher power helped to lead me in your direction and you did not hesitate to welcome me back into your life. Our friendship will just grow from here....for those 26 years ...they were just on pause


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Items That Have Been 'Foster'ing

About three years ago, I was contacted by the Boston office of GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders). They had become aware of my existence when I spoke at the NH House Judiciary hearing in April 2009. They asked if they could use a me as a reference and resource in the future. I was only to honored and gladly accepted. I knew I wanted to pay my good fortune forward, but I really like educating the general public more the mentoring. 

Within a week or two, I was contacted and did a twenty to thirty minute phone interview. Basically covering my life, work, hobbies, transition and friends.

I hadn't heard  much from GLAD since, only when they were having transgender vigils, usually in November. A vigil is not my thing, especially since they were always in conjunction with a church, definitely took my participation out of the picture. but the night before my birthday I was contacted again. they were putting together a booklet of transgender people for the New Hampshire Coalition for Transgender Equality, and would I be willing to share my story again. This booklet is being targeted for politicians, lawmakers and business people for education purposes. I gladly accepted.

They were going to use the basics from my previous interview, which I was able to make some minor alterations to, like removing Newbury Comics, as I was no longer working part time there. We trade e-mails until we found mutually agreeable photos to accompany the article. Much to my chagrin, they preferred a photo from when I worked with NEMA (North Eastern Midget Association). Though I admit it is one of my favorite photos of me and is one of the two I have on file at Dr Brassard's office in Montreal.

I didn't hear from them for a few weeks but then I received notice that the online version was up and a week later I received the print version.

In that time, NEMA was coming to Star Speedway, and I had a free night. I had alternative plans, but a friend, Terri,  that I met on FaceBook via other friends, asked if I was going to Star that Saturday. We had been talking for over a year but had never met face to face. But I felt like I had known her for years. We have a lot in common and she actually enjoys my offbeat humor.

In turn, we have a mutual friend. This friend, Debbie Dore, is the mom of one of the Douglas #23 modified competitors and another really great lady. So I changed my plans and I'm so glad I did. I didn't even want anyone from NEMA to know I was on the premises, excluding Deb Marvuglio, whom I didn't even notify in advance. Upon my arrival I immediately bumped into Debbie Dore and we chatted for a bit and I was offered to sit with her and Terri.

I must say, it was one of the best times I have had at a race track in years. we talked, laughed, watched the races and just plain got to relax and have good time. No working on running to the pit area. It was everything I imagined your typical non-racing work involved female fans do at the track. Had fun. Actually it was even better than I imagined. Debbie and Terri both made me really happy that night and other than my giving some of my old racing official stories, my past was never an issue. Debbie and Terri are both wonderful and keepers. I hope I'm friends with them forever.

But it was the next day that one key thing hit me. This was the first time since my surgery that I was involved with a "Girls Night Out" type event, excluding dinners with Karyn & Diane, that involved absolutely no one that knew John personally, only that he existed. And it was never an issue. I was made to feel exactly like any other girl in the group would have felt, which is nothing. Simply 'one of us". Which is godsend  and in hindsight, on top of gaining two new friends, all I ever wanted. To be me and to belong, without the baggage of the past.

Thank you Debbie & Terri.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The First Date

Despite having more than a few first dates in my time, though none in the past decade, the recent events of a good friend have me dwelling on a subject I’ve not yet covered. Dating.

Going through transition, you do get to get a second chance at childhood, well at very least, relive puberty, good and bad.  Females to Males (FtM) get to experience muscle growth, body hair and facial hair growth, and an increased libido that rivals any generic teenage boy. The Male to Females (MtF) notice the softening skin, reduced body hair, and breast development. Those are key things to each individual and things most often thought of by the general public.

But there’s a lot of other firsts that come along after surgery, some big, some that would mean nothing to the average person. The first swimsuit appearance (yes we fear it as much as the average woman), the first orgasm, the first doctor’s appointment at a general practitioner, the first kiss, the gynecologist,……………………………………

As an adult there’s always excitement of that first date, but nothing compares to being a teen and facing the nerves, good and bad, that come along with that first date. Being on the boy side, I completely remember the nerves. But I also distinctly remember my best first date ever, July 17, 2006, spent at Salisbury Beach. I wound up seeing her for over eight years. There was even a period of time when I thought for certain I would be married to her eventually. Guess I passed the first date. Strangely on July 17 this year, I knew the date was something important but couldn’t remember what it was. Last night it dawned on me, when our dear friend Jennifer, had HER first date.

Several times, I mentioned I was living through her vicariously. It was part humor, but very much part truth as well. Jen being the shyest of my inner circle, makes me personally look really out going. I’m not. I’m just more outgoing than my old self was. But when it comes to dating, she’s miles ahead of me. She had a true first date last night. And I felt her nerves sixty miles away. The same things any girl would go through, especially on a first, first date. What do I wear? What do I say? How do I look? What if he doesn’t show? OMG what if he tries to kiss me? How do I kiss back? etc.

Without trying, it’s just like being a kid all over again, only you get to try to correct the mistakes you may have made as a kid. But this time from the ‘other’ side. Not easy. Not fun. Not sure if I’m really looking forward to it. OK, I am, but certainly not the nerves that come along with it. If the date is with a woman, I’m sure I could tough it out a lot easier just praying old habits don’t creep in at any point. But if it was with a guy, I don’t know if I’d even know where to begin to handle that stress. Who am I kidding, I'd probably spend the night in the ladies room crying, LOL

It seems so strange to be in my forties and honestly think about the intricacies and nerves for a first date. Yes, divorced people usually make the leap smoothly. But in a totally different mind and body…….The challenge scares the daylights out of me.

I’m one of the people that helped pulled Jen out of her shell. She had a great time last night and it went smoothly. Hope I can learn to listen to my own advice when the time arrives……..if I don’t get stood up……..

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm Moving Through Some Changes

I'm not even sure where to start this one. This is one I honestly never thought I'd write. Nor even have to.

My good friend Nicole and I have had several debates about this over the years, but much more often the past few weeks. The subject came roaring back to life in May, when I finally had that break through orgasm. My first as a female. It had been a long four plus year drought.

Nicole seems to think I was destined for this to happen. I completely disagree. She insists I've been denying it to myself. I just don't see that being true, honestly. I have no reason to lie about it, to her, to me, to anyone.

But in May when I realized I had started to slump physically and mentally and made the proper corrections to get myself out of it. It worked like a charm. All I did was get back to the feminine ways, I had longed decades for. Dressing better (dresses, skirts, heels), getting back to wearing makeup and other minor changes others wouldn't see. I also came off a natural high with a very successful two hours taking over Traci Belanger's Human Sexuality class at Southern New Hampshire University, despite stressing myself out the entire morning and afternoon prior.

But in the days that followed, I found key parts of my body coming alive but I honestly never thought much about it. But as I briefly alluded to in "Miracles Can Happen", without giving any details, strange thoughts started entering my mind. Certainly not dangerous or bad ones, just ones that were highly unusual for me to think about. Ever.

I was dressing better. I was feeling much better. I was acting much better. The slump was gone simply by reclaiming my femininity and stopped being lazy. And now my body was reacting in concert with the rest of the above.

I'm really not sure if it was the chicken or the egg syndrome. Was it the thoughts that brought me to climax or was it the climax that brought the thoughts? I honestly don't know. I just know it worked. In a major way. And has many, many times since. And I can't blame Nicole for putting thoughts in my head because they came all on their own. Admittedly scaring even me.

The thoughts have not been acted upon, nor had they ever before in my forty eight years. But Nicole, whom is correct too often for her own good (or mine) thinks it was inevitable. It was a natural progression despite my protests and verbal objections. She said "Look at you" referring to the above listed changes and what it had done for me in no time what so ever. She reminded me that I was bearing the entire package now and it was time to move forward and accept that the past was gone and not coming back.

In all of my five talks at SNHU, when asked about dating, I always referred to that in my past I had a wide arrangement of potential women to date. Since I became a "self-made lesbian", I reduced the pool down about 90%. Since I'm post op trans, I reduced that remaining 10% down yet another 90%. Slim pickings that have been and that will probably continue to be a long while for finding that long-term (or even short term) lesbian relationship. Which is precisely where my long term relationship goals reside. Nicole staunchly disagrees.

She feels I'm no longer equipped to please a woman but I'm now better suited for a heterosexual relationship. Again, we've had this debate for years. She forecast a change in my thought patterns long ago. I'm still denying them. But she is correct and to an extent so are the Montreal Four (Linda, Gaily, Carrie & Michelle), when they remind me that I did all of this hard work and spent a ton of money to make myself happy (and thereby literally saving my life), now it's time to use and enjoy the efforts to its fullest extent.

But I have to admit, the hormones have really started taking a new hold on my thought process. It obviously worked to end a four plus year drought of orgasm. Though the thoughts of romance or even kissing a male remain a complete turn off. That I can't deny. The thoughts of being sexual, especially bottoming to a male have become quite arousing both mentally and physically. That I also can't deny.

And this is all new to me, honestly and will absolutely come to a shock to all that know me. Unless they, like Nicole, saw something that I completely did not. These thoughts have not been acted upon as of this writing. But I sincerely would be lying to myself, if I said they won't be acted upon. Soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Miracles Can Happen

This blog will probably feature TMI, so you may want to turn back now. You've been warned

The year started off worse than expected, not only for me but others I've spoken with as well. I spent the first quarter with health issues (non-threatening), family health issues (threatening) and fiscals issues (always threatening, LOL)

I have not mentioned it often other than to close friends, but after my gender reassignment surgery (GRS), I was in pain for a long, long time after. Unusual pain. Nobody else I knew or even read about had that same issues. Anything on my waist hurt, pants, especially jeans, hurt, lifting anything over five pounds hurt. I went through CT scans, MRI's and a colonoscopy but in 2010 my doctor sent me back to Dr Brassard in Montreal. After after few questions, like had I had an orgasm yet (no) , and he diagnosed my problem, Neuroma. My nerves had grown 'wild' and not as they should. Very common with amputations, hysterectomies and the such. Very rare with GRS. so rare I couldn't find any info on the web about GRS and neuroma. But as soon as Dr Brassard touch the key pain spots, we both knew instantly he was spot on with his diagnosis.

I was going to need to see a pain specialist and probably a neurologist to get the pain down and nerves properly retrained. Dr Brassard said with nerve pain, even Oxycodin wouldn't touch my pain. I assure you at times it was crippling. It also killed any or all sexual desires, plus the key spot was a dead zone. A one in a million shot.  I can't hit Powerball but I can hit the unlucky lottery.

After a couple of nerve blocks in a sensitive area of the abdomen, I would be improved for a few months, until I returned for another round of the same painful shots. I also believe it was killing the nerves to my clitoris.

In early May this year I spent the first weekend in bad pain again. I had stopped seeing the pain management doctor, but I knew it was time to go back. My doctor at my annual physical two days later agreed. He also wondered something I had as well, could a nerve have become trapped in scar tissue. He asked my to contact Dr Brassard in Montreal to see if he any any experience with such. They say neuroma surgery can make neuroma problems worse, not better. My doctor thought and I fully agreed, it was worth the risk. I could not live with the pain.

I booked an appointment with the pain management doctor for May 25. I wrote to Dr Brassard that evening and within a half hour, they wrote back inquiring if I could come up to Montreal to see Dr Brassard. I now had an appointment for June 1. Later I realized that was kind of dumb seeing if I have the pain shots first, I wouldn't feel anything Dr Brassard touched.

But on the Sunday of that painful weekend, I was out shopping when I realized how down mentally I was becoming again (see blog "Back To Basics") I needed to get back to my happy place and that usually was when I was maintaining my more comfortable feminine dress and "priss" appearance according to friends Michelle Lavigne and Linda Kimel. I should have known, because all of my life, that's when I was my most secure, most confident and most on a natural high.

The day I spoke at Southern New Hampshire University was the first time I wore a dress to work in nearly two years. I felt great and the honest compliments were non-stop. I felt human again. The speaking engagement went better than I feared and I latter got stellar compliments from the students. Again that made me truly happy.

The next day, I kept up my improved appearance and continued on for the days that followed. Mentally I was feeling like I was back at my peak again.I also noticed my pain stopped. No meds. No shots. I was physically feeling like I did presurgery. Only happier.

Due to my mom's health issue and the concern mentioned above, I cancelled my trip to Dr Brassard's and Montreal. I love going to Montreal, but I felt this trip was a completely unneeded, fiscally and physically. But I was also getting strange feelings "down there", good feelings. I almost was getting nervous because I was unsure what was going on. But mentally I was feeling awesome, looking better in my appearance, the nerve pain without any reason was gone and suddenly sexual feelings were entering my life for the first time since I had started  hormones in November 2005. But I will admit, at first I was not even aware that the throbbing and blood rush was a sexual feeling

Tuesday May 22, thoughts were entering my mind that had never occurred to me, not at least from this angle. Ever. And my crotch was alive. Like never before alive. What the heck was going on with me, I wondered. I finally tried to go to sleep, but due to humidity outside it was difficult to get to sleep and quite honestly, the humidity in my crotch and soul was no help either. Finally, before I internally combust, I said I have to try again, fully knowing I would end up in disappointment, but something was going on and I had nothing to lose. Unbelievably, it worked, To a charm. IT WORKED. OH MY GAWD, IT WORKED!

Without warning, my neuroma was gone, my sexual being was alive and my mind was finally 100% connected with my body. 52 months later it all connected. Granted the thoughts that got me there.....kinda shocked me. I believe they'll even shock my closest friends, but they certainly shocked me. Confused me even more. I discussed them the next day with one of my closest friends, Nicole. And she said she thought it was only natural and she expected it, even if I continuously denied any thoughts. She wasn't surprised in the slightest. I was never lying but I admit I'm shocked, but there had to be some merit, because these thoughts truly worked.

Of course over the week, I've had to maintain the practice because I needed to make sure it wasn't a fluke (it wasn't) and Dr Brassard did say that the nerves needed to be retrained and since they were finally corrected, I need to make sure they maintained their current training. Of course. I cancelled the pain management appointment. There was NO way I was losing any sensation to the nerves any time soon.

Yesterday at Star Speedway I attempted something that for the past four years would have left me doubled over in nerve pain for days. I carried two tires that were already mounted on wheels, at the same time, one per hand. I made it probably 30 yards before I had to drop them. Not due to nerve or abdominal pain, but because the rims were cutting into my now softer hands. Twenty four hours later.....still no after effects of carrying that weight, that long.

As far as as the abnormal thinking......doubt it'll ever be acted upon, but there certainly is something to having a female mind and body in sync. As Linda & Michelle told me repeatedly four years ago, you paid and suffered for this have to at least try using it properly.......................Seven days ago, I would have fully

Yes, I believe in miracles.