But assume this blog is no longer active.
I'll leave what I have written for at least a year or so. No regrets about having written here, after all. And thanks to all of you who read here. Knowing you were reading along as I sorted out some deeply confused thoughts was an enormous comfort.
All my best,
...but it's true. I was thinking about the various derogatory, demeaning and hurtful remarks that have been directed at me over the last five years because I happen to be trans. As I think I have made clear, I am extremely fortunate that these are not nearly as common as they seem to be for so many others... but it still happens, of course.
This is the disturbing part: Overwhelmingly, the cruelest and worst insults have come from others in the transgender community. And I hate to say it, but nearly all have come from transitioning/transitioned/stealth transexuals.
Now, obviously, I am not saying that all transitioners are guilty. Quite the contrary: the vast majority that I know are incredibly supportive, tolerant and understanding of the very different way that my peculiar gender identity expresses itself. But the small minority that evidently do not feel that way have been far more effective at making me feel ashamed, guilty, clumsy and ugly (in the emotional sense) than everyone else in this big mean ol' world put together.
It's actually a terribly depressing thing to have realized.
Ok, enough of that. Let's get re-acquainted with a little bit o' "What has Erica been up to?" In a word, TRAVEL. I got to spend most of October on the road, preparing to be on the road, or recovering from being on the road. Fem time, yes, but exhausting all around.
A few weeks after going to California in late September, I got to spend a few days in San Antonio. It's my second hometown, and easily the most conservative city in which I have ever spent time en femme. While I had a decent amount of trepidation, it did not keep me indoors the whole trip. Interestingly, things went exceptionally smoothly - no misgendering, precious few second looks, no stares. Maybe it's just that the people are polite. Maybe they have so little exposure to trans people that they just didn't figure it out. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and the weather was spectacular.
I barely got back and had to immediately turn around for a couple days in San Francisco. That trip was a quick one, and generally lousy all around. The only bright spot was being able to have dinner with Lena the last night. As always, an unqualified pleasure. I was also delighted to learn that the Grand Cafe on Geary Street serves a cassoulet that is as delicious as it is non-traditional. Other than some nice photos, the memory of that evening is the only pleasant souvenir from that little jaunt.
Oh yeah ... just before the San Antonio trip I went to the Hallowe'en party at Triangles, which was a terrific event. I was delighted that my friends Anna and Dev were there! I hadn't seen either of them in months, and it was wonderful to catch up a bit. Even discounting my momentary envy at how incredible both of them looked. Anna is a natural stunner, so I was prepared to be wowed there. But the last several times I have seen Dev, she was in androgynous clothing and little if any makeup. On Saturday, she was fully herself and simply fabulous - and the happiness in her expression was the best part of all.
Yes, I went in costume. The picture is on my flickr page. Go ahead and take a look. I'll be here when you get back.
And with that, I've been trying to resume a semi-normal trans life in NYC. It just seems like I never really got back into the swing of things since getting back from Texas in September. It's probably just my imagination, since I can look at the calendar and see that I have indeed been getting out pretty regularly. I've also been working with a lot of different looks to learn a bit more about my newly re-shaped body. I will discuss that in more detail soon.
And what's on my mind? A lot. Specifically, I am back to thinking about coming out. I have not magically come up with answers to some (hell, any) of the questions that were bedeviling me a few months ago. But there's still a sense in my mind that says that coming out is the right thing. It just feels like Helene and I are increasingly having to self-censor ourselves in "real life", as my fem life becomes an increasingly significant part of my - indeed, our - shared experience.
I'll try to get into that a little more when I am in a deep-thought mood. Right now, I need to get a little more work done before the weekend.
I am now at a point where I reflexively respond when someone calls out the name "Erica". It has happened twice in the last few weeks. Once it was at Starbucks with a client. (That could have been awkward if he were a bit more observant.) I don't know that I am there with Foley yet, mostly because it does not come up as much. But apparently the world really has a lot of Ericas in it....
It just goes to show how terribly self-centered I can be. Yesterday was National Coming Out Day and all I could do was moan about my own situation. To all those who took the big step: congratulations, and here's giving you all the strength and support I can give. May your path be a sure one.
There is something else to write about today.
Today is National Coming Out Day, for the GLBT community.
And in male mode, I am out to exactly zero more people than I was last year.
There are good reasons for it, and I stand by the decisions that resulted in my not being more out.
But it still feels like an admission of failure today. And I am a little bummed.
End of post.
Just kidding, though I have been pretty slammed at work. On Wednesday I also went to a benefit for my good friend A.B. Lugo, who is going to his native Puerto Rico to see one of his plays presented at an important forum there. The event was held at a bar called Pieces, where MC Will Clark puts on Porno Bingo for worthwhile causes every week. I never win at bingo, but given that the prizes consisted of gay porn (hence the name) I was not too distraught. But it was a REALLY fun evening. Lailah Lancing performed a couple songs and she was fabulous. Run, don't walk, to buy her debut! And it was lovely to see A.B. and Basil, and to make a bunch o' new friends! I'll be back for sure!
Yesterday I had a rare weekend outing. My friend Jenny is in town from Norway, along with a good friend from Sweden. As it happens, another long-time denizen at mHB was in town as well. So we made arrangements and got together for lunch, and when all was said and done we had eight people meeting up! I finally met Liz and DJ, also from mHB, and Donna - whom I had not seen in ages. That was a really good time. Felt kind of strange though because I was the only non-transitioning/ed trans person there en femme. Oh well, the world seems not to have exploded again.
This week I should be able to get together with Jenny and Marinella again. Looking forward to that! But not to the chaos at work between now and then.
OK, have to get back to it here. Photos to follow of outfits from this week :)
Erica likes leggings.
...but Erica doesn't think so much of these "jeggings"....
Never say never, but I think this is a look I might not bother trying.
Yep, back to blogging while flying. Sorry I didn't get to post anything this week. I was in California but the trip was crazy busy. For once I was actually kind of relieved to have my usual West Coast jet lag - it's the only way I managed to avoid oversleeping every day. Anyway, we're stuck in a holding pattern now, so why not do a longer-than-usual post?
The trans side of the trip was certainly fun. The travelogue should be familiar by now. I flew in to LA on Monday, and spontaneously combusted as soon as I exited the airport. For those of you who didn't see the news, LA had an all-time recordbreaking hot day. In Century City, where I had lunch, it was 107 degrees at 1:00. Torrance, where I stayed, was probably hotter. Anyway, I had a busy afternoon, so no fun time until late afternoon when I met up with my friend Sara. Mercifully, my warm weather makeup mojo had not abandoned me, so I think I managed to look ok. Paired my floral dress with some cute sandals, didn't even consider stockings, and headed out to (you guessed it) Del Amo Fashion Center.
This time we finally got the order of operations right and STARTED with happy hour at PF Changs. We caught up a bit, talking about this and that. Sara is growing her hair out and it's now long enough that she can put it in fem styles. Putting it mildly, it looks terrific and it enhances her fem appearance immensely. (And yes, I was more than a little envious...) Anyway, we cleaned out PF Chang's bar just as happy hour was ending, and decided to do some shopping. Sara had an ulterior motive - we passed by the Bobbi Brown counter at Macy's and before you could say "eyeshadow" I was in the chair having a makeover. The artist, whose name currently escapes me, did a really nice job. So I will be trying out some BB products. Who knows? Maybe my multi-year infatuation with MAC will finally ebb a bit. Did a little more shopping, and I snagged a super cute bracelet at Coach. A little more wandering and it was time for us both to call it a night. A great time all around, and serious hats off to Sara for how great she's looking these days.
Tuesday I did not have any meetings (long story) so the day was an interesting mix of spending some time en femme and working like an absolute freaking maniac on a zillion crises that spontanouesly erupted like acne on my schedule. Got a lot of pics, though, including some really hot ones, if I say so myself, as I get used to being able to show off a lot more skin. I think I can safely say that the second attempt at cleavage worked out much better! Anyway, by late afternoon it was time to go up to West Hollywood to see Cleo. By this point Cleo must assume that the only fem clothes I have consist of a denim mini and a black top, but given the still-damn-warm weather I did not have any other casual outfits.
Cleo is incredibly sharp, and definitely has an argumentative streak (in the sense of a debater, not a pain in the ass). She had been having a rough week, as had I, and so we enjoyed a somewhat more animated discussion than I think either of us intended at dinner. It was actually just what I needed, and a great reminder that trans friendships seem infinitely richer the less they relate to trans topics. Politics, academics, taxes and music all got their fair share, as we enjoyed a terrific dinner at La Poubelle. By the way, if we had a French bistro like that near my house, I'd weigh 265 pounds and have a liver the size of Iowa. Anyway, we finished our chat, and I managed to get back to the hotel without falling asleep at the wheel. Mercifully I remembered to pack, and then got back to work until I fell asleep at my desk and decided that was enough for one night.
...only to wake up about four hours later for my flight to San Francisco. Another crazy day and I wound up in Palo Alto to see Lena. Lena, as in "I'm leaving for Hawaii in 12 hours" Lena. Not that I was jealous or anything. And honestly it was very sweet of her to take a bunch of time the night before to get together for dinner. We went to St. Michael's Alley in Palo, which is an absolute knockout of a restaurant. Highly recommended! Another great visit ensued, though we both called a relatively early night. Realistically I was just out of steam. Got back to the hotel, and then I barely managed to get my makeup off before falling asleep.
The next morning (this would be yesterday, Thursday) my meetings started at the positively ungodly hour of 7am and ran until 8:30pm. Sheesh. I just went back to the hotel, did a quick makeup job and enjoyed a couple quiet hours in my hotel room having a couple nightcaps. Interestingly, after such a long time of almost invariably going out when I take the time to dress up, I'm definitely getting back to a point where I can very much enjoy a few hours of alone time en femme. Particularly when I have even more outfits to test out :)
Which brings me to today, and my exhausted girlie ass stuck on this interminable flight to New York. I've been sorting photos for a lot of the flight, and I think a couple people in the rows behind me have been looking over my shoulder a bit. I wonder what they have been thinking :)
I know what I am thinking. It was a fun and productive trip, and now I am ready to be home.
My last trip to Macy's was like that. On Thursday I went, for the first time since I purged the remaining bits of body hair. All of a a sudden, I did not need to automatically nix cllothing just because it had a neckline that dropped below the collarbone.
Well, that means that 90% of the clothes in the world become possibilities. I was truly paralyzed by the lack of choices.
Not knowing what to do, I went up the the lingerie floor. And there, my unusual size put me right back into the world of limited choices. With a vengeance. So I had a really enjoyable hour's worth of shopping all told, but came out empty handed.
Great for my wallet, but a little more problematic for my transitional fall wardrobe. Oh well, I am off to CA next week. Hopefully I will find better pickings among the stores there!