Holiday Musings and the New Year

I’ve been trying to put my finger on when and what caused me to stop enjoying the holiday season.  I know that up through high school I liked Thanksgiving and Christmas a lot and looked forward to them each year.  Maybe it was my sophomore year in college when my mother dis-owned me and told me I couldn’t come home for Christmas because I had a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend.  Maybe it was because after high school I felt a lot of pressure to buy a lot of presents for people who only seemed to love me if I followed their rules even though I was a poor college student and had no money for all of that.  Maybe it started when I moved far, far away from my birth family to escape their tyrannical governing over my life and the pressure and guilt they put on me to travel home to spend the holidays with them each year when I really wanted to be with the people who loved and supported me throughout the year.  Maybe it is how the stores insist on putting Christmas decorations out earlier and earlier every year and the commercialism of the holidays takes over the true meaning of why we’re supposed to celebrate.  Maybe it’s because Candace loves Christmas so much and I feel pressured to enjoy it too.  Maybe it’s all of the excess, extravagance and gluttony.  Maybe it’s because I really don’t consider myself a Christian anymore.  Maybe it’s because I hate travelling during the holidays and dealing with all of the crowds and stressed out people, sleeping in someone else’s bed and being friendly 24/7 when I don’t feel like it.  Maybe it’s just all of it.  It’s all just exhausting and every year I dread it.

I’m not a scrooge, really.  I do love a lot about the holidays.  I love to drive around and look at the way people decorate their homes for the holidays.  I enjoy the parties and the cookies and the fruit cake even.  I enjoy decorating the tree and watching it light up my living room every evening.  I like to buy meaningful gifts for people and see them smile with surprise and happiness when they get something they really like or that was unexpected yet thoroughly appreciated.  I love the smells of the holidays and the delicious tastes as well.

Somehow, at some point, the magic of the season died for me.  Now, it’s just something I have to endure and get through.  I miss the simplicity of the Christmas of my youth when things were simpler.   Being an adult sucks sometimes and this is one of them.  I know, attitude is everything and I have a lousy one.  I try, really I do.  I put on that happy face and soldier on but inside, I just really want to stay home and have that simple Christmas that I miss so much without all of the guilt and stress.

But hey, I survived another year and am home again in my favorite chair now and I’m contemplating the new year about to start.  New Year’s still has its magic for me.  I look forward to it.  It means I survived Christmas and another year and get to look forward to starting fresh with new goals or maybe the same ones but a fresh start either way.  Clean slate, no more Christmas songs on the radio or decorations in my house and time to reflect on what I want to do with the next 12 months of my life.  It’s like cracking open a new book you’ve been dying to read.  What will happen in the new year?  What will I be thankful for at the end of this new year?  It’s a mystery because even with goals and plans you just never know what’s going to happen.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  What are you hoping to make happen in 2016?

 

Liebster Award

liebster-award

 

I want to thank Curious and Curiouser at Raising Orlando for nominating me for a Liebster Award.  I’ve enjoyed reading her blog this year as well as her thoughtful comments on my blog.  I always appreciate her unique perspective on life and I think O is pretty lucky to have such a cool mother.

 

Here are the rules:

the-rules

 

My nominations:

Dandelion Fuzz

Let’s Queer Things Up

Gender: Awesome

Changing Faces

11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I enjoy being with animals more than people.
  2. I feel about puppies how most people feel about human babies.
  3. I hate talking on the phone.
  4. I love Mustangs, football and marching bands.
  5. I enjoy listening to old 78s from the 1940s on my vintage record player.
  6. I am fascinated with WWII and the culture from that era.
  7. In my fantasies I fly jets and shoot down bad guys.
  8. I love to go camping and fishing.
  9. I dream of driving route 66 beginning to end.
  10. I also dream of being fit enough to take long bike excursions through beautiful scenery.
  11. I watch too much TV.

Here are my responses to Curious and Curiouser’s questions:

  1. How would you sum up 2015, in one sentence?   2015 has been a year of accomplishing goals and laying the groundwork for the next phase of my transition.
  2. If you turn around and look behind you right now, what can you see? My deck and back yard if it was day light but it’s night time so all I see is a dark window.
  3. Name something that scares you.  Donald Trump and the people that think he would make a great president.
  4. Name something that makes you giggle.  Baby goats and puppies.
  5. What is your spirit animal?  The turtle.  He has a hard protective shell but is soft and sensitive on the inside.  When he’s scared he retreats into his shell.  I relate to that very much.
  6. Describe who you will be in ten years.  Hopefully a better version of who I am today.
  7. Name and describe a place that you love.  I love to go back to my college and sit in the garden over-looking the river under the mulberry tree and listen to the clanking of the sailboats at the dock and smell the fresh clean air and fragrant garden.  It’s a great place to meditate and talk to God.
  8. What do you think your nation of birth will be like in 25 years?  Wow, that’s a tough one.  I hope it will be the great nation that it says it is today (the U.S.) but I have my concerns.  I hope that we have true equality for all people and are a nation whose leaders really do work for the people that voted for them instead of the corporations and special interest groups that fund their campaigns.
  9. What is the best thing about blogging?  Reading people’s comments and getting to know other bloggers.
  10. (optional) What do you think of Caitlyn Jenner?  I think she is a flawed human like all of us and has a long way to go but her heart is in the right place.  I wish her luck and no ill will whatsoever.  I think the more trans people out in the public eye the better even if I don’t agree with everything they say and do.
  11. You’re on your death bed. Name four people you would like to have with you.  My partner and my pets.  No one else.

My questions for the bloggers I nominated:

  1.  Name and/or describe someone you admire and why.
  2. If you could own any vehicle what would it be?
  3. Do you have a hobby and if so what is it?
  4. What do you think is the most wonderful thing about the world/society we live in?
  5. What do you think is the most awful thing about the world/society we live in?
  6. Do you think we are alone in the Universe?
  7. What is the one thing you’re most afraid of doing?
  8. What do you think is the one thing that could be done to make the world a more peaceful place?
  9. What do you like most about reading blogs?
  10. What do you like most about writing a blog?
  11. Which blogger that you used to read do you wish would start writing again and why?

 

My Two Moms

I miss my mom a lot this time of year.  Christmas was a big deal to her and she died in early December of 1997.  I’m thankful that she’s not here to witness my transition and name change.  I sometimes wonder how she would feel about it.  I think, in some ways, she would understand.  She told me more than a few times that I should have been born a boy.  I have a vague memory from college days of us talking about my desire to change my name and her telling me that I could do anything I wanted to about my name.  I think she was resolved to the fact that I wasn’t the daughter she had imagined and had pretty much given up on that dream.  There was a tone of sadness and surrender in her voice when we talked about these things.

When I was in high school I found it really hard to talk to my own mom and I would often go over to visit with my friend Shirley.  She was the mother of a couple kids I was in band with, played the piano for our solo competitions and often substituted for our music teachers in school so I had gotten to know her pretty well.  We would sit at her kitchen table and drink coffee together while she chain smoked her Benson & Hedges.  I referred to her as my second mom.  Shirley gave me advice on life and listened to my woes, told me stories and made me laugh.  I wished so many times that she was my real mom.

My real mom was pretty jealous of my relationship with Shirley and often grilled me to find out what we talked about at the kitchen table.  She didn’t like the idea of me telling Shirley all of our dirty little secrets.  I didn’t.  Usually I was really vague about what was going on with me.  I wanted to tell her more but I didn’t want to betray my mom either.  Still, the talks were healing and helpful.  For a couple of hours I escaped my reality and could be Shirley’s kid.

One day, after I was grown and had moved far away from home to escape my mother’s narcissism my mother called me up to chat.  She mentioned that she had run into Shirley at the grocery store and that she had asked about me.  They had a conversation about me living so far away and, according to my mother, Shirley told her that I would move back home after I was done trying to prove to the world that I was as good as a man.  I don’t know if this is true or not but when I heard this it was like someone punched me in my gut.  Had Shirley really said something so hurtful about me?  I couldn’t believe it and I still don’t.  I was never trying to prove anything to anyone.  Man or woman, I just wanted to be able to do what I wanted to do without the tag at the end of “for a girl”.  Like, “you’re a pretty good trumpet player, for a girl.”  Or, “you’re a pretty strong person, for a girl.”  Or, “you’re a pretty good ________, for a girl.”  I just wanted someone to say, “you’re a pretty good trumpet player.”  Period.  No need to qualify it with “for a girl”.  And, of course, the real irony in this statement is that I AM a man and always have been.  Shirley didn’t understand that and neither did my mom.  Heck, I didn’t understand it.

So I wonder sometimes how these two women, who I loved despite their flaws and still do, would feel about me today.  What I wouldn’t give to sit at Shirley’s table again sipping coffee and chatting about life.  And if I could, I’d go pick my mom up and take her out for lunch and have a nice heart to heart with her over a good meal.  In general I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about how they might react to my transition but on a deeper level I miss them tremendously and wish they were here to talk to and bounce ideas off of even if they might not have such nice things to say to me.  I’ve come to appreciate my mother over the years.  She was narcissistic and she was extremely flawed in so many ways but she wasn’t the worst mom out there and actually was pretty good in a lot of ways.  And, especially this time of year, I miss her a lot.

STP Review

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of being able to stand to pee (STP) since I first saw my brother do it as a little kid.  I never thought it was something that I would ever be able to do until recently.  Now, I don’t have a burning need to be able to stand at a urinal and relieve myself but I’d like to be confident that I could if I needed to.  Recently, I’ve discovered many products that allow someone with female anatomy to urinate standing up and a lot of them are marketed towards the female population.  These are all products that one would carry along with them in a backpack or a pocket; not something that one would keep on their body all day.  I’ve tried a couple of them and they work amazingly well but they’re not as discreet and seamless as I’d like in a STP (stand to pee) device.

Here are a couple of the better ones I’ve found:

All of these options have the disadvantage that you would have to carry them in a pocket or bag and somehow stealthily slip them in to your pants, pee and then somehow dry them off without someone seeing you do that in a bathroom setting.  If you also carry some toilet paper in your pocket or bag I guess it could be done at a urinal without anyone noticing.

The P Style:

pstyle

This is an easy to use and pretty fool proof solution.  It’s affordable at $12.00 and comes in an array of colors.  The down side is that you have to stow it in a pretty large pocket in cargo pants or in a jacket pocket.

Go-Girl:

gogirl

Very affordable at $12.50.  It’s available in this lovely shade of lavender as well as tan.  It’s made of flexible medical-grade silicone so it will fold up and slip easily into a pocket without anyone knowing it’s in there.  The downside to it’s flexibility is that it’s tough to get positioned properly through your clothing and can leak if it’s gets squeezed or pinched in your zipper.  Also, the spout isn’t very long and that makes it a little harder to use.  This is the first one I tried and I found it challenging and didn’t use it more than a couple of times even though I was always successful with it.  It was just too hard to get it in place and I got annoyed with it.

Mr Fenis:

mr fenis

For $25.00 you get a more realistic looking STP that can roll up and stow in your pocket or your underwear.  100% flexible silicone.  It’s a popular option but not fool proof without some practice due to it’s flexibility.

Personally, I enjoy packing and none of these are really very packable.  I also like the idea of things serving multiple purposes.  So I have been looking for a packable STP that is as realistic looking as possible.  There are two great options that I’ve tried as well as a few that I haven’t out there now.  New products are being introduced constantly for those of us who want to pack and pee.  There are options that allow packing, peeing and playing as well.  I think one of the best products currently available that does all three fairly well is…

The Pee-cock:

This is a very realistic looking prosthetic.  Once you move up to a true prosthetic device the price climbs dramatically.  Starting at $169 I think it’s a good value.  It’s made from high quality medical grade silicone and feels great.  It isn’t sticky and doesn’t need to be dusted with corn starch or powder to keep it soft to the touch.  It comes in sizes from 3.75 to 6.5 inches in length and a good variety of skin tones.  Peecock makes some nice, affordable harnesses for their packers that function well and are fairly comfortable for all day wear for around $25/$27.  Each prosthetic comes with an erection rod and they now offer pleasure kits that allow the wearer to experience sensation while being used for play either solo or with a partner.   As an STP it’s definitely  dependable once you practice with it.  The only time I’ve had any spillage with this is when my bladder was really full and I couldn’t control the flow so it overflowed the funnel cup a bit.  The trick with this STP is definitely controlling your flow of urine and making sure not to distort the flexible funnel cup.  If you let it go too fast you could easily spill.  Push the cup against your body too hard and it will collapse and you will spill.  No one wants that!!  Over all I think it’s a nice product.  The one down side, besides possible spillage (which is possible with any STP) is that it comes from the factory painted to look very realistic and after just one day’s wear the color on the head of the phallus was already wearing off.  Now it looks pretty weird but no one but me really sees it.  Eventually, it will even out and look fine.  There is a definite learning curve with the Pee-cock but it’s flexibility as a packer makes it a strong choice.  As a side note, Peecock also makes some nice underwear to use for packing that double as harnesses.  Personally, I prefer to use a harness so I haven’t tried any of their underwear out but I’ve heard some positive things about them.  Pee-cock is made in Singapore and ships internationally so expect it to take a good 2- 3 weeks to arrive at your doorstep in a discrete brown box.  They include a nice satin bag to keep all of it’s parts in as well.

And finally…

The Real EZP* from Transthetics:

ezp

This is a 2-in-1 pack and pee prosthetic made of high quality prosthetics grade silicone.  It sells for $195.  Pricey yes, but totally worth it.  I have not read one bad review about this product and I have to tell you that it works flawlessly every time.  I had my doubts because the cup isn’t that large but it doesn’t spill.  Ever.  I used it first thing in the morning to test it out on a heavy flow and it didn’t spill a drop.  The size is perfect for a discreet packing experience and you don’t need a harness.  The silicone feels awesome and isn’t sticky or tacky at all.  It warms up quickly and feels so comfortable in your underwear that you forget it’s there due to its light weight.  The only down side for me is that I had to change the type of underwear I use.  Because you can’t use a harness with this product you need to wear tight fitting briefs.  I’m a boxer briefs guy but I went out and bought a few pairs of briefs to give it a try.  It’s worth changing underwear styles in my opinion to use this STP.  It stays in place easily and gives a realistic, yet discreet bulge.  I wear loose jeans so that’s not a concern for me.  Mostly I just like the feel of it being there and it gives me that feeling without being distracting.  Also of note is that the EZP* does come with some painting on it but it has not worn off at all and I’ve worn it every day for a week now.  Will it wear off?  I guess time will tell.

The only one of these STPs that I really wouldn’t recommend is the go-girl. It’s just too flimsy and short to really be useful on a regular basis.  I like wearing and using the EZP*the best but I like a lot of things about the Pee-cock as well and sometimes I really want to feel it up close and attached to me.  I got the shortest one, the 3.75 inch, because I didn’t intend to use it with a partner and like a discreet packer and it definitely performs well in this capacity.

There are a plethora of packers that allow you to STP as well as ways to turn a basic $15 packer into an STP at home.  People have used coffee lids, medicine spoons, soda bottles, baby bottle nipples and any number of other creative ways to pee standing up.  I like having the option and find it fun to practice with now and then but usually I’m too lazy to mess with it.  Since finding a couple really good products that might change now.  Maybe this winter I’ll get the chance to write my name in the snow.  That would be pretty cool.

 

Truth

“So don’t be afraid of losing all the lies that need to be lost. Be more afraid of not finding the naked truth that, in the depths of you, screams to be found. 

You can’t lose what you no longer are. And what is really yours will never leave you.”
–Andrea Balt
     Founder, RebelleSociety.com