Expanded View

Wheat-Field-WomanBack when I was still living as a guy, I would often pick up my girlfriend Amy at her front door for weekend dance nights, and she would come out the door looking exceptionally beautiful and sexy.  Her fashion sense was impeccable, highlighting her artistic expression, coupled with her happy personality and desires to please me visually.

She would even smell like a million dollars, exciting me the moment she entered my car.  We would kiss and embrace, and look forward to an evening of dancing.  She was so gorgeous, so free flowing and comfortable in her own skin, that she left me feeling incredibly bitter and jealous.

She wasn’t who I wanted to date.  She was who I wanted to be, though I couldn’t yet acknowledge that, even to myself.

Needless to say, that jealousy often showed in my behaviors.   The women closest to me, especially my mom and my girlfriends, got the most wrath from the ocean of internalized anger that surrounded my suppressed feminine heart.

Although I apologized and made the amends I could after I transitioned my gender, the memories still bring back painful times from my past: a past filled with fear, wounds from being raised as a boy with hetero-normative expectations placed on me, resulting in digestion of the environmental stigma that fueled the clenched stomach pains caused by internalized transphobia.

The first few months of our relationship were used, unbeknownst to her, to fuel and stroke my ego.  I was running out of fingers as the Dutch Boy trying to hold the dam to hide my feminine heart, but I nevertheless tried relentlessly to quiet the gender chatter going on inside my head and use the glances she got all night from horny men to vicariously satisfy my suppressed heart.

The fact that people were staring at her meant I had good taste in women.  It meant my inner, authentic, feminine self, was relating somehow to the external women I was chasing and dating.  Often times, I was very aware of the fact that the physical nuances I found attractive in my girlfriends were the very same traits I wished I myself had the courage to express to the outer world.  Hence, I treated the actions of other men and women being attracted to and complimenting my girlfriend as some sort of indirect and secret validation for me.

When the excitement of puppy love ended after a few months of being together, I began to treat Amy with manipulative insults and guilt trips.  I would send her a smokescreen of mixed messages, always keeping her emotionally off balance, trying to let her guess my mood and what I was upset about.  I started “dyke” drama with her constantly, and she even told me on a few occasions that our arguments felt like the same ones she had with her best friends when they were upset with each other.  On one particular evening, after she had had enough of my mysterious behavior, she finally stopped me in the car and demanded we talk.

I pulled over, shut off the engine, and looked at her coldly, with no expression.


Then, she blurted: “I don’t get you anymore!  It’s like there is a huge gap developing between us these past few weeks,” she said with a hurtful tone.

“What do you mean?” I said, trying to play it cool and act nonchalant.  I was deathly afraid that showing any truth of myself, my heart, would cause the whole dam to crumble, shattering the façade I held so delicately and reveal my true feminine heart to her, resulting in a shaming experience I thought I could never recover from during my lifetime.

“You tell me how much you love it when I dress up, but then lecture me and tell me how slutty and classless I am, and how I probably just want attention, like something is wrong with me!” she said, quite observant.

“I just think you should tone it down when we aren’t going out dancing, you are showing a bit too much,” I said, quickly defending myself while hoping the argument wouldn’t affect if I got laid that night.

The real issue was, though, that I was incredibly jealous she got to wear everything she did, and be who she was on a daily basis, while I chose to suppress my real self and live vicariously through observing her.  I was also seething at myself, knowing that I could be just as powerful as her if I just allowed myself a chance to be me.

I had finally reached my limit, my soul depleted.  Merely looking at endless amounts of food was never going to serve as an adequate substitute for actually eating — and my soul was absolutely starving.  I had no internal nutrients to sustain myself anymore.  I had to be me.


No sooner had we broken up for good, I started seeing a gender therapist and transitioned my gender presentation, living as my authentic womanly self since 2011.

After living authentically for three years, traveling to Shanghai to conduct a business meeting with clients on behalf of my job, and being accepted and seen regularly as one of the gals, I now viewed women from a totally different perspective than when I was chasing them.

I really appreciate the connections, the receptivity, the way women look after one another, and share their emotions on a deeper level.  There is a playfulness and participatory factor that is unlike that for men, where threads of life are so elegantly shared and interwoven with other women.

The real treat has been to be around women when they weren’t defended and guarded like they were in the past when they saw me as a man who perhaps wanted to sleep with them.  Instead, I am now seen as one of them, my feminine heart being witnessed and validated instead of my biology, distinctly clarifying that I am one of them, and that I am safe to share and open up to, participating with mutual reciprocation in socializing and sharing our emotions.

What a treat, to have chased after the women who wore high heels to now being the one standing in the same pair of shoes, experiencing the world from a completely different perspective, receiving gifts of incredible insight and wisdom.

These fresh experiences contain interactions that I’ve always had with women, but now in a completely new dynamic, resulting in me feeling reborn, as these new social perspectives color my life with newness.

I now see so much more to what women offer to the world.  To be blessed with having my heart broken open through the gifts of death of my former self, by experiencing loss on such a profound level that I could be reborn with new vision and perspective so that I could be receptive to the gifts of the feminine world, which now allows me to see a side of women that most men never truly understand or get to see at all.

How fabulous.


I got my name change and received my court order in the spring of 2012, and promptly celebrated at one of my favorite restaurants in the San Fernando Valley with my friend Susan.

“You now realize you can no longer legally marry another woman,” she said.

What she said hit me all of a sudden. She was right, on account that Proposition 8 was still in effect, and the moment my legal gender marker on my documents was changed to “F,” I could no longer marry another woman.

“That sucks!” I said with sudden realization of the ramifications. “As of yesterday, I still could have married a woman.”

“Shows how bullshit it all is,”” she said.

“We instead focused the rest of our afternoon on the bright side: that I had legally changed my name and gender, and that we were here to celebrate that important milestone.

We got seated at a table that was actually two tables joined together, and sat on the right side of the pair. As we ordered, the restaurant filled up rather quickly.

All of a sudden, a couple sat to our left, and moved the table about a foot over to create separation. The waitress followed suit and divided up the condiments for the now two separate parties.

I casually glanced over at the commotion as the couple sat down, literally a few feet away from me.

I jumped back in my seat, in shock that it was Chris and his girlfriend sitting next to me!

Both of them had attended my brother’s wedding reception in 2010, and Chris and I shared countless childhood memories and activities together. Our families were very close, and we grew up together playing basketball, camping, and attending Chinese school together.

Strangers we certainly were not.

“What?!?” Susan asked perceptively, noticing I was quiet. “You look pale, like you’re freaking out!”

I couldn’t even talk, I was so nervous all of a sudden.

A plethora of thoughts ran through my head: Would speaking in my newfound voice give me away? Was my pitch convincing enough? Could they clock me through all the makeup and clothes I was wearing? Surely, they must have made me already! Who did I think I was fooling?!?

Instead of noting that they glanced right at me and kept on eating without skipping a beat; instead of cherishing that I clearly passed as the woman I was inside and out; instead of prolonging my celebration of my legal name and gender marker change, I chose instead to momentarily focus on my fear of being clocked by an old childhood friend sitting two feet from me.

When our families had gone to China in 2000, Chris, my brother, and I were all hitting on girls in our tour groups. Each time we arrived in a new province, the group members would change with respect to each family and their travel itinerary.

Upon arriving in Xian to see the Terra Cotta Warriors at the tomb of Emperor Qin, the 3 of us 20-year olds were more interested in the two new Vietnamese girls that were new additions to our tour group.

I kept noting the beauty of one of the Vietnamese sisters, and my brother acknowledged I had great taste. Chris, however, disagreed.

“I guess I have really high standards,” he said nonchalantly. “No one has piqued my interest on this trip yet.”

And here we were, sitting next to each other at a restaurant, where he had made eye contact with me but retained his attention on his girlfriend.

I passed. I passed as myself, a woman, in his eyes. He didn’t recognize me, despite knowing my old presentation for the better of 20 years. With “high standards” regarding beautiful women, I looked like one in his eyes.

“Well?” Susan implored.

“See that couple there?” I pointed out to Susan.

“Yeah, not the first one I’ve seen, so what?” she said sarcastically, easing the mood for us.

“I’ve known him for 20 years. Our families are very close. I’m freaking out!” I whispered.

“No way!” she said with a smile. “You know what? We can have some fun!”

She then hunched over the table and playfully whispered back: “So you want me to tell him for you? I’m sure you have his cell phone, you should text him and say you can’t believe you are sitting next to him at this restaurant, and watch him look around for you, all confused.”

“No! Just let them leave, I don’t want to do this now,” I said.

She jokingly reached over and leaned towards their table a few times, but eventually, they left and I filled Susan in on all the back-story.

She laughed, and was in disbelief. She also promptly congratulated and shared her elation with me on how far I had come, physically and emotionally to pass with feminine appearance and energy.

“Now will you believe it when all of us tell you that you pass and have nothing to worry about? You have proof now.”

My feminine appearance withstood the scrutiny of a friend who spent his childhood and adolescent years growing up with me, and I had passed.

If Your Uncle Jack was Stuck on a Horse, Would You Help Your Uncle Jack Off?

My uncle visited my mother’s house the other week on his way to LAX. His goal was to bring some vitamins and clothes back to China for my dad, but he didn’t expect to see me there.

uncle jack

Uncle Jack

Although he knew about my transition since 2011 when I had informed the entire family about my fulltime status of living as a woman, he had never seen me in person……and I knew it was going to be very difficult for him, to say the least.

From the moment he walked in, he kept looking down or away, never making eye contact. He briefly waved at me and said hi, and quickly resumed packing and rustling through all his baggage. He was flustered and had “ADD” the whole time, and kept shifting conversation topics towards Taiwan politics or other issues my mom felt passionate about so that she would chime in and help him avoid being stuck talking only to me.

I was a bit disappointed that he never really acknowledged me or listened to what I had to say the entire time he was there. I wanted to pout, and politely and firmly finish what I was saying before I was interrupted in mid-sentence each time, but I let it go. I recalled my newfound receptivity and feminine tactics and social graces, and I further reminded myself that I could learn from the experience and do better next time. The goal, I realized, wasn’t to fix the situation and penetrate further with insistent conversation, but rather, to let him take it all in, the new me, the regendering of me of which he needed time to process.

I was proud of my response, as I could see the recent growth I was owning.

But after he left, my mom said with a smile: “He found you attractive, and didn’t know how to react!”

I agreed with my mom and we both shared a laugh.

My uncle certainly had his way with attractive, tall, well-dressed and sexy Chinese women in the past, and the thought had crossed my mind while he was there that my looks played a big part in his discomfort.

But I didn’t fully believe in it. Part of me resisted acknowledging to myself that I could possibly be in the same category as his ex-girlfriends. After all, they were all cisgender women, ready to settle down and start a family with him, and the only thing that stopped that from happening was my uncle not being ready at the time, still womanizing and playing the field.

So was it possible? Could I have really measured up to those other women? Did I dare compare myself to other attractive cisgender women? Could I transcend all the shit and stigma and shame from being trans, and just see myself for who I was, just another woman who was worthy of being seen as beautiful, inside and out?

It was troubling to me that I had so much difficulty accepting that I was seen as attractive. I just didn’t have what it took that day to fully believe in myself, and my shortchanging of self was very disconcerting.

As a woman, feeling attractive oscillates: some days come easy, some days are just brutal. I have had countless days where I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum: going to work where I felt like a million dollars, and my energy radiated out to compel other coworkers to compliment me, contrasted with the days where I felt hideous and my nervous energy drew negative attention towards me before I even gave myself a chance to breathe and start the day. But what bothered me this time was that I chalked it all to being a transgender woman, and my internalized transphobia got the better of me before I even started my interaction with my uncle.

It was one of those moments where I didn’t trust in my feminine heart, and paid the price of missing what was right in front of me: the beauty and awesome feeling of being seen as a pretty woman and being appreciated for it. And nothing more.

My initial reaction after he left, was that I wanted to power through the uneasy feelings with my old outdated methods with brute force and avoidance, being more adamant, fighting my way through without even considering surrender and serenity.

How quickly was it that I completely forgot about all the times I’ve turned heads and gotten compliments from all sorts of women in public, and the amazing question of “are you a model from the USA?” asked of me when I was in Shanghai just last December.

It was these types of scenarios that clearly reminded me that I had the power to choose what aspect of each scenario I wanted to focus on, and how I could let the lessons and blessings from my Mother In The Sky increase the size of my vault of wisdom.

It reminded me of the fact that surrendering to the situation was where my true power was; that I couldn’t speed up the regendering process he was going through; that my uncle needed time to examine the new me, and that he had to relinquish the old image he had of me that was associated with all the precious times he shared with me during my childhood; that it was a great moment for me to show him compassion and patience as he regendered me in his head; that he needed the time to see me flow and interact as a woman to provide him new context in which to see me.

And most fun of all amongst all the craziness, was that he was flustered because he found me attractive.

That was definitely worth the price of admission!

Second Set of Balls

I was talking with TBB a few weeks ago, and we were discussing tome transgender topics that took courage and thick skin to endure.balls_of_steel

“I had to grow a second set of balls,” she said.

I couldn’t stop laughing when she said that.

Although I don’t plan on having GRS in the foreseeable future, I couldn’t help but marvel at the strength and courage us transgender people go through (surgery or no surgery), in order to live our daily lives.

Some of us are clocked visually every day, and need to have enormous resilience and strength to endure the baggage of other people thrown upon us, due to our very presence triggering their own shit that they refuse to deal with and blame us for causing them to feel.

Some of us have families and spouses prior to our transition that come along inevitably for the educational and difficult ride.

Most of us have to face the hassle of legal document changes and coming out to work and old bosses for professional references.

And further yet, some of us are assaulted or killed when we are out shopping for food or on a date.

So yes, despite TBB “losing” her balls due to GRS, she absolutely hit home with the statement: “When I grew my second set of balls…”

Kudos to all the transgender people out there who have the courage and stamina to face the world as their true selves every day.

Yes, it does take balls of steel, sometimes even a second pair are needed.

My Inner Woman and Growth Reflected by My Enjoyment of the Movie “Keith”

KeithI saw the movie “Keith” starring Jesse McCartney as Keith and Elisabeth Harnois as Natalie, two high school adolescents trying to graduate and to find their way through life. Only, Keith is dying of cancer, and not only is the audience unaware of that until late in the movie, but he also uses his attitude towards his illness as ambition towards accomplishing one goal: having fun with the most popular and prettiest girl (Natalie) in school before time runs out.

Initially, Natalie finds Keith’s antics bewildering, as his behavior is the absolute antithesis of hers: she is granted a tennis scholarship to Duke, is in Key Club and Yearbook, and flaunts an amazing GPA right alongside her boyfriend, Raphael, the most attractive guy in school. Keith, on the other hand, drives an old yellow Chevy truck, is constantly late to class or school, is lackadaisical about assignments, and never stops being sarcastic. However, unbeknownst to Natalie, Keith deliberately chooses to be Natalie’s chemistry lab partner to insert himself in her life and spend time with her, and in the process, makes her laugh, takes her out to odd places, and authentically exhibits his uninhibited attitude towards life.

He is not afraid of what others think of him at school, and his humor, gentlemanly conduct, charm, and mysteriousness, eventually wins Natalie over as she is determined to “figure him out.” He sends car parts to Natalie’s home with instructions on how to repair them; he takes Natalie bowling, only to buy multiple bowling balls and have her put them on the lawns of their teachers’ houses so she will have “stories to tell her family when she’s older.” He takes her up to a cliff where they talk about life and their aspirations while lying in his truck bed, only to have the slight incline of the cliff send the car slowly rolling towards the edge very slowly, freaking Natalie out. As he stops the car last minute, Natalie wonders is he’s on a death wish or if he’s mentally ill, but also can’t help the attraction she feels towards him. She had been saving herself for that special someone, and they make love, and Natalie assumes now they are dating and that his mysterious behavior will change. Instead, he tells her she’s better off with Raphael, and to leave him alone, angering her in the process.

When she finds out he has cancer, they spend the remaining time Keith has left together, and the movie ends with her adopting many of his endearing qualities, such as working on the truck, taking the vehicle to an auto show in London, Canada, and her spending time pondering while the truck is rolling towards the edge of the cliff, with Natalie stopping the car last minute, mimicking what Keith did in the past.

Upon finishing the movie, I saw all these people online commenting below.

To me, the movie was unbelievably romantic, touching, and inspiring, all with a touch of humor and an immense heart-tugger.

Yet, it was unbelievable how many people trashed the movie, saying they “wanted their two hours of life back,” and how Keith had “ruined Natalie’s life” and was a “bad influence.”

As I reflected on the movie by myself and with a friend on the phone, I realized there are 3 responses to this movie:

1) Why is she throwing away her own life?

2) Oh I’m so needy, I need the same sweet guy to rescue me as well!

3) That’s awesome she found her heart’s calling and path, regardless of her original “plans.”

I realized that the old me, the me from 2011 or earlier, the me that carried so much masculine energy and held together the manly façade and approaches towards examining myself and the world, would have said the same thing as the negative commentators did.

The old me would have felt Natalie wasted her life, threw away Duke, popularity, Raphael, and her tennis, all to work on a truck like a blue collared grease monkey and have nothing to show for herself. Throwing away her rigid and well thought out plan wouldn’t have boded well with me in 2011.

The slightly older me (let’s say between 2012 to 2013), would have saw the romance and how awesome Keith was towards Natalie, and wanted the same for herself, and would want someone to rescue her from her clinginess and loneliness.

The me of yesterday, who watched the movie and saw it for what it was, thoroughly enjoyed the movie, rooted for Natalie all the way, and found the ending to be touching and inspiring: she found the barriers in her path lifted and a new path formed, and she took it with grace, dignity, and pleasure. She found her heart’s calling and followed them despite her original plans. Keith catalyzed in her an awakening, the romance and love was there, and yet she was the one to rescue herself and choose her own path.

What an epic ending to an epic interaction of finding her calling and womanhood and independence, all while genuinely expressing her love for someone without letting them do the work for her.

I realize as well that likening my reaction to choice number 3 indicated I’ve come a long way with my own growth out of my second adolescence. What an amazing journey…just like that yellow truck driving on the state highway at the end of the movie, I’m going about my life not needing to know all the answers, but to merely trust in my heart.

What woman wouldn’t like a coming of age adolescent movie like that?

Oh right, youtube commentators who thought she threw her life away…


gratitudeI have so much to be grateful for, but I have rarely stopped to acknowledge that in the past.

Now would be a good time to note the many things I am grateful for:

My parents, for being so accepting and supportive of me, especially during the past couple of years during my transition.  They’ve been patient, loving, caring, and empathetic….and above all else, they’ve been good listeners, without ever judging me.

Despite how hard it has been for them to lose their son and gain a daughter, they never judged me and were always and still are supportive.

And of course, there is no way I could have done this without support from friends and mentors:

Garrett was there for the first year of my transition, spending literally hundreds of hours on the phone with me, sometimes 3-4 hours at a time, per day, during the earlier stages, when I was constantly struggling with talking myself down from emotional ledges.  He was generous enough to offer enormous amounts of time to patiently help me sort through my old traumas and unprocessed emotions.

And of course, Callan, the current person who shows me endless patience and empathy, helping me daily with my ego, shame, and struggles.  She has somehow managed to put all of our conversations in perspective, constantly galvanizing the work I’ve done in the recent months into legible bits for me to digest and hence grow stronger and own my own story.

From Katie Kaboom videos to Brene Brown tapes, she has given me so much, and shared so many tools and techniques she had acquired in her years with me in such a generous manner.  I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for all the time she spent with me on a daily basis on the phone or through email exchanges in the past year, guiding me with her wisdom and helping me see the obstacles that block me from my own happiness.

My coworkers like Arly and Bhavini; my friend Mel, who accompanied me to Esalen last year; my sister in law, Debbie, who shared with me how happy Sasha and Devin were after I played with them all day last weekend…and the members from my old transgender discussion group at the South Bay LGBT Center

My friends Ammie, Shawna, Ilene, Nikki, Sabrina…you girls are the best!

Thank you for being there and touching me when it mattered most….when I was so vulnerable and sharing, you guys just sat there with me in the dark and were there for me.

I want to dedicate this post to all of those who have been there for me in the past couple of years, during a very difficult and rewarding time of change in my life……

Thank you all.

Sweet and Clueless, Hence, Not Delicious

idiotI was at a bisexual meetup group a few weeks ago.  Each year they have a brunch get together which offers members and new attendees a forum to get to know each other.  These meetups, needless to say, are filled with sexual tension, as everyone there is bisexual and several of the members are also polyamorous.

As the butt sniffing and seducing intentions were being cleverly disguised as get to know you chit chat continued on, a 29 year old Hispanic guy came up to me and said hi.

He interrupted a deeply enjoyable conversation I managed to find with another woman despite being immersed in a tensely sexually filled environment by inserting himself whenever he caught a segment of our conversation that remotely related to him or his past experiences.

I finally gave him a moment of my attention, more so out of morbid curiosity rather than due to attraction of any kind.

Within minutes of talking with him I realized he didn’t have his shit together, but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact that he kept referring to transgender women as “shemales.”  He was utterly CLUELESS.

He solidified his clueless membership placard by saying: “You know, I got into shemales years ago when I couldn’t find a real girl to have sex with……so that night I hooked up with a tranny and realized it’s all the same… know?   Sex is sex…’s all the same.”

He then proceeded to stick next to me like white on rice the rest of the night, following me everywhere I went and it got to be really annoying.

So I moved away from “CLUELESS” and continued mingling with others.

Then a gentleman in his late 40s struck up a conversation with me.  He seemed quite sweet and everything went along quite pleasantly until the topic of sex was brought up.

“So are you a bottom or a top?” he asked me.

“I’m versatile,” I replied wearily.

“I top with women, but with men, I’m a bottom.  I mean, why else would I be with a man if I didn’t bottom for him?”

I rolled my eyes.

“So if you’re with a transgender woman, you’d prefer to bottom for her?”  I asked even though I already anticipated his final answer.

He gave the same answer as if he were bottoming for a guy, except he decorated his response to ensure he was considerate towards my feelings and me being transgender.

I appreciated that.  That was a sweet gesture on his part, being aware that he indeed as talking with a trans woman and it was a response he didn’t have to partake but did so anyway.

But he was clueless as well.

His MO was “Why else be with a cock unless I’m going to get fucked by one?”  And me having a penis was put me in that category of fucker and not fuckee.

And that was sad.

Because he missed the whole point and merely focused on what was between the legs of people.  He missed all the facets that make me a woman, and a special one at that.

The genitals dictated his response…..

So although he was sweet, he was also clueless as well……

Sweet but clueless is nice, but not delicious.

Little Girls Club

stairwell_hidingI had the honor of having a temporary membership for Sasha’s little girl’s club, where meetings were held spontaneously at the storage gap located between the stairwell.

My 3 year old niece didn’t care that I had trouble fitting into a tiny enclosure.  Only my torso could fit as my legs dangled out onto the stairs.  Sasha could almost fully stand in there, but even she kept hitting her head as the space was so tiny.

Aside from my occasional concerns when she did bump her head with the top of the “cave,” I was in a state of bliss, completely in the moment.  I felt 10 years younger, spending time with my adorable niece who didn’t cast any judgment, and saw me as kin, as someone who she felt was safe to share vulnerable moments.

She loves to pull her “gi” (in Sasha lingo that would mean “blanket”) up over her head and hide.  Sasha quickly noticed I didn’t have a “gi,” so she told me: “Stay in the cave Gu Gu (Chinese for auntie)….I’ll bring you a gi.”

I rolled onto my side to ease the discomfort of being coiled in an awkward position, and Sasha, despite being downstairs, saw me and said: “Gu Gu, I said stay in the cave…..I’ll be back.”  She killed me.

When our little girl cave was fully supplied with stuffed animals and blankets, we resumed hiding.  It was so cozy in there, and she rested her head on top of my tummy.

I completely lost track of time, and we were complete equals, despite our age difference.  We were just 2 girls playing, and it was so pleasant I even forgot about the discomfort of being forced into the shape of a pretzel.

Then Sasha did something that really touched me.

She went into massive detail about how her preschool friend, Rebecca, wasn’t attending school with her anymore.

“She hurt her lip, and bleeding, and I got her band aid, and I don’t see her in school,” said Sasha.

She paused for a bit….and then said: “And I miss her,” with droopy eyes and a nostalgically fond look.

She was completely vulnerable, and just laid out her feelings.  I understand kids are much less restricted than we are, and show their feelings openly.  But for me, I’ve had to work hard to reconnect with myself throughout the years, and learn to be vulnerable again.

And I had the privilege to sit in the dark with her (quite literally), and show her my empathy.  That took vulnerability on my part, and I was happy with how I prompted and handled myself.

The safe space Sasha felt was partly due to being in the cave, but I could tell she felt comfortable with me to share something personal and something that emotional for her.

I had to be in a good space, a gentle and vulnerable space in order for that to happen.

We hugged a while after.

“Awwww, it’s okay,” I said to Sasha.  “You’ll see her again.  Maybe Mommy and Daddy can set up a play-date for you to see Rebecca.”

She lit up, and everything was A-okay again.

The time spent in Sasha’s cave was the best part of my weekend, by far.

Vulnerability, empathy, sitting in the dark cave and sharing and feeling and being there with her…..

And I got a glimpse of my lost girlhood, a girlhood I never experienced.  I got to feel like I was a kid again, in the proper gender, with my preferential gender appropriate stuffed animals, toys, and friend of choice.

What a gift….to share a few precious moments with my niece Sasha in our little girls club.

Pixie Dust Exchange in the Far East


If anything can describe the meat and potatoes of my recent business trip to Shanghai, it would be Pixie Dust.


Start with curiosity, add a dab of empathy, and lend a listening ear, a touch of connecting conversation and we have our pixie dust: ready to spark the people I met along my trip.

So many people in China are living out their lives resulting from a combination of cultural traditions and roles designated and preordained from predestined necessity, landing in careers and lives that put them in “cog in the wheel” scenarios.

I intended to connect with each person beyond their careers.  I wanted to get to know the person that existed and dared to dream prior to having the imposed job label placed on them to fuel the infinite growth paradigm we have created and called capitalism.

I wanted to get to know the real person behind what “the Matrix” created.

My Mother in the Sky blessed me with several such scenarios.

The first opportunity was a 54 year old cab driver.

He immediately clocked me as an American, despite my 100% Chinese ethnicity.  To him, I was distinctly a foreigner…..and I was more than happy to be clocked as a foreigner than to be clocked as a transsexual.

He asked me about the opportunities in America, and how life was, if at all, different in the states.  We talked about how dating was different, and how conservative tradition had given way to newer customs that he found foreign yet exciting.  We even compared the severity of the smog in Shanghai to that of Los Angeles.

We both acknowledged Shanghai had to do some work to improve the air quality for its residents.

But then I asked him what his dreams were as a child.  Did he want to be the next pop singer, or movie star/  What were his dreams prior to driving a taxi?

“I used to love to sing,” he said.

“Do you still sing now?”

“I haven’t for over 30 years.”

“How come?” I inquired gently.

“Sometimes, when you let go of a dream, you just forget about it, and don’t think about it anymore.  So I relinquished it from my mind completely,” he said, emotionally.

“Now would make the most sense to revisit it.  When you are driving around waiting for the next client to hop on board, the singing can be your accompanying passenger.  Your friend,” I said.

You could tell he was pondering what I had said.

“Can I sing something to you now?” he asked me courageously.

I was caught by surprise, but I said: “Sure, I’d be honored to listen.”

He sang a patriotic song with lyrics that contained Mao Zedong in it.  I had heard my grandpa sing it to me when I was a little kid, when he was recalling World War 2 against the Japanese and he showed me his bullet wound on his leg.  The song was always known for its courageous feel, eliciting unity and comradery.

The driver was teary eyed when he finished, and my non-Chinese speaking coworkers were utterly confused when the ride was over.

As I was paying the driver, I told him his singing was beautiful, and blessed him with a very traditional and formal way of saying goodbye to elders in Mandarin Chinese.

The next day, I went to a blind massage parlor. All the masseuses were blind.  This type of massage is very unique: the theory is that blind people have heightened senses in their touch due to compensating from their handicap, such that the massage is done very differently, with a much more exquisite touch.

The girl who massaged me didn’t say a word to me but knew my body as if I had been a regular customer who she had worked on before.

She put me to sleep the first half hour, finding every knot and sore spot with utter ease.  In the last half hour she turned me over and worked on my front side.

I looked at her and told her she was very pretty.  And indeed she was.  She had a girl next door look, very Jennifer Love Hewitt type, and flawless China doll skin.

“Thank you,” she replied to my compliment.

We talked about her handicap, and she kept saying she wasn’t normal.  That growing up “abnormal” was hard, and that “normal” kids made fun of her.  That normal kids went on with real careers and that “abnormal” people like her had to resort to being a masseuse.

I implored that everyone is fine the way they were born.  Skin color, body shape and size, handicaps.  It’s the way that society treats people who are different that gives our ego fuel to scare and skew us into thinking we are less than who we actually are.

“I never thought of it that way,” she said.

“Can I tell you a secret?” I asked her.

“Sure,” she said, while continuing to work on my body.

“I’m transgender.  I lived as a guy for over 30 years before transitioning and presenting as my proper self, a woman, only since 2011,” I said.

“I can’t see what you look like, but that must have its difficulties too,” she said.  “I can only imagine for those who can see, how much that could possibly disturb them, their expectations of how things “should be.””

“I’m one of the luckier ones,” I said.  “I have friends who are 6’4”, heavyset, who cannot visually pass as a woman, even in a Braille institute.  When I’m out with them we are usually treated very rudely and with much hostility,” I said.

“But to me and the trans community at large, gender transition is less about the physical than the psychological and emotional.  Anyone can get surgery and a new wardrobe.  The real work happens internally, through shifting ones outlook and way of conducting oneself.  The two worlds are very different in which rules to play by, and that has been the challenge for me.”

“I can imagine,” she said.  “You sound beautiful, and I’m sure you look beautiful as well.”

What she said was so uplifting and sweet.

“Thank you,” I said emotionally.  “You know I think you’re beautiful.  But you know what’s more amazing than your physical beauty?  Is what accompanies it with who you are inside.  The fact that you’re so strong, even tempered, balanced, and centered.  You seem to have such a positive attitude despite your handicap.  I think I could really learn something from you and I have much respect for how you look at life despite its challenges.”

“Thank you,” she said.  “It’s always a challenge but we always have the choice to choose what we focus on, and I can remind myself how fortunate I am to have this job and clients like you who see me for me and not my handicap.”

She paused, and then continued.  “If I may say so, you seem like a woman with a very tender heart.  From what I can feel, you just need to let go of the small stuff and focus your energy on the big things in life, the things that are really important to you.  Let the things you can’t control go.  Lessen your burdens.”

Yet another angel send on behalf of my Mother in the Sky, reminding me to surrender.  In a foreign language, nonetheless!  Awesome.

We had such a nice conversation to wrap up the massage.  It was such a valuable serving of a slice of single serving friend in this globalized world we live in….and despite the fact that I’ll probably never see her again, our intimate exchange of girl talk was invaluable.

This trip was very much a success for me on a professional and personal level.

I had so many opportunities to engage people on this trip and spark them, and get them to dream again, even if it was for a few minutes.  And I was repaid with sparks of my own.

I was so opportunistic in my social interactions that I came back to the States with my pixie dust bag filled with wholesome goodness.  It was a lovely exchange of magic, wonder, and the mystical.

I plan on filling a dozen or so jars of this wonderful stuff and throw a pixie dust themed party with my girlfriends as a housewarming party for myself.

It’s time to continue sharing the magic.

Let All The Dick-Swingers Posture. Women Can Live By Different Rules.

Liam Neeson at his best.

Liam Neeson at his best.

Several years ago, South Park came up with an episode that made fun of Pokemon, called “Chinpokomon,” where Japanese people came to the USA and pushed their toys onto elementary school kids.

A series of brainwashing camps were formed with the toys being a foundation to hoard the kids together, with the end-goal being to use America’s own children as trained pilots to bomb Pearl Harbor.  The genocidal program’s platform was carried out to perfection, despite many of the mothers protesting the Japanese toy manufacturer.  How did Chinpokomon subvert the criticism?  Each and every time the men protested to the Japanese toy company, the guy representatives for Chinpokomon would paint a picture of self-pity, claiming how much they felt they were beneath the American men in self worth because of their “small penis” sizes.

This hilarious Asian stereotype tactic was used to perfection, successfully feeding the egos of the American men and the protests would be subdued each time.

It finally took the banding of women, the very mothers of all the victimized children to team up and fight the Japanese to end the nonsense.

How did they do it?

The mothers didn’t fall for the Japanese toymaker’s penis remarks.  It was brutally obvious that they didn’t have penises, which made it easy for them to sidestep the distracting comments the Japanese toymakers were using to hide their evil intents.

The episode was hilarious and worked on many levels in terms of humor.

But in American culture, we do place a lot of emphasis on the value of the penis for men.   Manhood is directly linked to penis size and performance.  In fact, it wasn’t until I put away my penis and manhood at Arly’s birthday party that I started having social scenarios where I was fully accepted as the woman I am and present as.

The men in South Park were so susceptible to their ego being stroked when complimented on their penis size, that they were relegated and reduced to useless docile puppets.

I’ve been on both sides of that fence, where I relentlessly pursued penis enlarging compliments through racing cars, monetary accumulation and prestige, womanizing, and other dick measuring accolades and activities.  And because I was never a guy, the fuel required to uphold a guy facade was like trying to fill an abysmal pit, frequently resulting in exhaustion and injury for my former self.

However, before transitioning and living authentically, the facets and nuances required to  live successfully and functionally as a guy was rehearsed for 30 years, deeply imprinted onto my CPU.  So occasionally some outputs still come out with guy emphasis and undertones, even though I present and live as myself, a woman.

I’m still susceptible to aggressive behavior, dick measuring, and posturing from time to time.

Recently, I went out to lunch with some coworkers to get burgers at Five Guys.  The topic of Tetris somehow came up and I just had to put my imprint on the conversation.  It was a social situation I would have undertaken differently if given a second chance, but in the heat of the moment my old default behavior got the best of me.

Habits are hard to break, and for us later transitioners, who have spent decades presenting as the wrong gender, it can be a tough chore to break these patterns.

Although I’ve taken well to my transition like a duck to water, I’ve had my fair share of challenges.  Each successful and empowering story I have with compliments about my fashionable presentation to helping strangers at Macy’s with shoe purchases are accompanied by opposing occasions where I brag about my Tetris playing abilities to 2 men at work or wanting a convertible Mercedes to show off to people at the clubs with what would be the equivalent of a metal phallus.

And don’t get me wrong, it would be super nice to have the wind flowing through my hair as I drive down the 405.

But I’m working on improving my choices, choosing better.

Through time, readjusting attitudes and behaviors, I’ll get there.

I know what I choose to focus on will determine how I feel about my life, and I’m choosing the positive aspects of my experiences to recollect and reminisce.

And like my good shapeshifting friend said:

“The ability not to have to worry if you will be seen as having a tiny dick by the others around you, because they already know you have a pussy, can be enormously liberating in the process of claiming your own life.

Let all the dick-swingers posture.  Women can live by different rules.”


Fashion Consultant

high_heelsI was at Macy‘s looking at some boots yesterday.  No particular mission to accomplish, just browsing.  I would only pull the trigger on a pair if they were black, had good arch support, were comfortable, stylish, leather, of good craftsmanship, and most importantly, had a heel that wasn’t too tall and was wearable throughout an 8 hour workday.  A boot that would be versatile enough to go from lounging at a coffee shop to evening club wear without me having to bat an eye.  And the final criteria?  The boot had to hug the calf like Ugg Boots do…..

Needless to say, these boots are still non-existent in my wardrobe.  And an incomplete wardrobe or outfit set bug me to no end.  A real first world problem, I must admit, but also an important one for me as I waited 30 plus years to do this, to go after a wardrobe that not only looks good and brings out the best in me, but also brings out the real me, a wardrobe that tells my truth through glamour.

It was the weekend before Thanksgiving, and the ambiance was nice at the mall: Christmas music playing above on the ceiling speakers, complementing the decorations plastered everywhere.

I walked around to find an associate who could help, but that proved to be difficult with all the people shopping and only one attendant working.  I finally got her attention and asked if they had my size for a Michael Kors boot I had found.

“I will be right with you miss, after I help this lady,” the attendant Arcelyn said.

She then turned to an older woman and resumed helping the elderly lady with deciding between a beige or black pair of heels.  The elderly lady pulled out a dress that was predominantly black with an inner mesh lining that was beige colored.

“What color heels do you think match this outfit the best?” elderly lady asked Arcelyn.

Arcelyn turned around and started right at me with a smile.

“Why don’t you ask the Asian girl behind you?  She seems to know her fashion.”

They both looked at me, and I blushed, unprepared for the compliment and the sudden attention I was receiving.

“I love your top by the way, very cute,” said Arcelyn.

Elderly lady agreed as she immediately followed Arcelyn with: “So do you have any suggestions on which shoes go best with my dress?”

“I think both pairs go with that dress, but I would lean towards the black heels.  They go overall better with the dress.  That dress is fantastic, by the way,” I said.

“Thanks,” said elderly lady.

“What’s the occasion?” I asked.

“I’m going with my husband to Yosemite, we are attending a wine tasting event up there.  It should be fun.”

“Sounds like it will be indoors,” I said.  “If you aren’t anticipating a lot of walking, I wouldn’t let comfort be the primary deciding factor on which pair you choose.  Go with the one that makes you feel your best.”

“We might do some walking outside,” she said.

“It’s winter time, so if the ground is wet and the shoes are new, you might want to scuff the bottoms a bit so the soles will have better traction with the floor.  Also, you might want to consider a slingback heel.”

“It’s always difficult to decide,” she said.  “I’ll probably go with the black heels,” she said.

“Don’t you have a go to outfit, something you default to in case a formal event like this comes up spur of the moment?” I asked her.

“No, I usually go for comfort.  I’ve always dressed simple, and my mom couldn’t get me to wear a dress until I was 18.  You probably have no idea what that’s like,” she said in a complimentary tone.

I giggled inside, but didn’t say anything.

I was presented with a choice at that instant whether to make a big deal about my past, whether I should drag my baggage out or to take a non-affirming stance.  I could have gone into a long diatribe about my trans history and identity, but instead I just reminded myself that I have been blessed with the option to disclose or not, and that not all trans women have that luxury.  I could have even said something to the effect of: “My parents treated me like a tomboy for years, so I can relate,” but just blending in and being myself at that moment felt like the right choice.

So I simply chose to stay quiet, to just savor the moment.

I was being treated as what I always should have been treated as: a woman.  And that meant everything to me.

I was relaxed, things were in balance, in harmony, and I was present and happy.

What an amazing start to my weekend.


The Lonely Journey of a Transsexual Woman

It truly is a lonely path as a transsexual.solitary_tree_under_rainbow

Each person’s transition is truly unique from the next.  But it’s lonely because we are truly one of the last minority groups in society that have few role models, no blueprints to abide by or follow when we feel lost.

Guidance is hard to come by, and one has to be vigilant and determined to seek out those who truly can help us.

Many transgender people are incredibly desperate, and feel an incredible urge to be seen by others and anyone else who is willing to lend a complimentary stare or comment.  And often times we are exploited by those who deceitfully portray themselves as helpers, when they are truly here to take and exploit.

Moreover, in those rare instances when we do find someone who has done the work and is functional in society, they are usually stealth, or invisible.  Or they live all the way on the other side of the country.

Transition is a long and arduous process.  It’s as if our old shell is shattered due to self realization, and we are vulnerable to all the elements out there until our new shell arrives.  It’s not like we can just order a new identity on and expect it to arrive within said 5-8 business days.

There is no expedited shipping.  Money can’t hire us the workers to provide shortcuts of doing our own spiritual, psychological and emotional work.  The work that is so vital for our ability to truly transition must be done by ourselves.

Contained in our old shell are some of the ways we used to look at the world, our own lives, and how we fit into that world with the life we had.  The habits, friends, family, jobs, and security.  Despite projecting a false façade for so many years, many transgender people feel extremely lost and inadequate in the beginning of their transition, despite finally being authentic for the first time in their entire life.

There is so much to learn, so much invested in the old shell that is now irrelevant.  We have to find new leads, new people to interact with, and do it all while presenting as someone we are sometimes quite unfamiliar with and awkward as, particularly in the beginning stages.

And the role models that would come in handy at this stage of transition?

They are nowhere to be found.

The closest thing we can find are individuals who share remnants of our story, and share in support groups or transgender clubs or through networking at transgender or GLBT events.

And despite the similarities in our stories, our paths truly are individual and unique on their own.

“Maybe I’ll just live out a simple, solitary life…it’s not so bad, many people do it,” I’ve been finding myself muttering as of late.

“No, don’t give up!  There’s someone out there for you,” a coworker recently said.  She’s been my biggest cheerleader as of late.  I’m grateful she’s in my corner.

Still, it’s lonely sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still go out and do things, and have fun.  The night before Halloween, I was at the Danny Elfman concert for Tim Burton Movie Themes at the Nokia Plaza.  It was so much fun, an amazing show.  I still go out dancing at Hamburger Mary’s, and I do still have a social life.

But I wonder: is it easier to just live a sedentary, low key invisible life, without having to explain my transgender history to others?  Or does staying invisible, and not telling my transgender story, inhibit and limit me?

Are my reasons for being alone really rational?  Is being tired of explaining myself and coming out over and over again to people a powerful enough reason to seclude myself?  Is it worth giving up on dating and meeting new people?

A good friend of mine, who I refer to as Shapeshifter, said so eloquently:

” it’s amazing how effective in the world we can be when we forget about the fact that we are trans…

…Sadly, it’s empty when we forget about being trans also…..”

I’m trying real hard not to get caught up in the matrix, where things are so neatly packaged.  I am reminding myself not everything needs to be all or nothing, black or white.  That passion is a great thing, but when overdone, can destroy someone.  I’m trying to strike a balance.

I try to remind myself that it’s going to take time to smooth out the kinks in my new life.  I’ve waited my entire life to live this way, as myself.  The three key ingredients of patience, compassion, and simplicity are critical for where I’m at right now.

Although those three ingredients are good spiritual companions, it would be nice to have someone in the flesh to cuddle with when I turn off the light at night.

My Old Guy Friends had a Dynamic with Me Resembling a Heterosexual Relationship

All my former friends were bad boys.

They were all like Tyler Durden: handsome, very athletic, and extremely multi-faceted in their competence.  Many of them were extremely rebellious, made their own rules, and were good at sports, fixing cars, and hooking up with women.  Another words, they were studs.

But the most interesting aspect of my friendship with these friends would have been the fact that our interactions were more like a relationship between a boyfriend and girlfriend than 2 men hanging out as homies.

Even though I was presenting as a guy when I hung out with all of these friends, the dynamic resembled the frequency typically found being broadcast by that of a heterosexual couple.

Other people, including my friends themselves, thought of our interactions as a very close and tight knit friendship, almost like “homies,” or family.

But I knew.  The entire time I was friends with these individuals, I knew deep down inside that I enjoyed the attention and care I got from these men.  I appreciated feeling needed, and being a good listener for these friends.  I also was caught up in guy privilege with these friends, but even in my most masculine moments of disguise, I was still aware of the man and woman dynamics, the undercurrent of their masculinity shadowing over my femininity in a caring manner, packaged and labeled as friendship when shown to the world, but visible to some of my gay and transgender friends who knew my real identity or to those who were meticulous in their scrutiny.

Take my interactions with Sal, for instance.  I knew him for many years, and we even ran a martial arts dojo together.  He was probably the closest guy friend I’ve had in my post adolescent years.  We did everything together, from chasing after women, crashing parties, sparring, working out, and doing other activities of questionable legality.

During the times we hung out, he was typically the one driving, or he’d be driving my car.  I was almost always in the passenger seat, and he almost always came up with the idea or activity we were going to do for the evening.  I was just the gal that hung onto him, and supportively stood by his side.  I was always agreeable with whatever he decided we’d do for the evening.  I was Bonnie for his Clyde .

I also constantly called him out on things he forgot, reminded him, and groomed him when he was a mess.  I would pick up specks of dirt or lint off his jacket, feed him, and take care of him emotionally.  He grew up without a mother, and the energy and support I provided for him touched him on numerous occasions.

Whenever he would argue with his girlfriends or break up with them, he would call me and we’d go to 7 Eleven and get some sunflower seeds, and loiter in the parking lot while talking things over.  The dynamic between his latest long term relationship with this girl named Patty further emphasized how much my relationship with Sal was a girl interacting with a boy.

Patty absolutely hated my guts, but she could never put her finger on why.  She just knew she hated me, and wanted me to stop calling and to stop coming around.  She wanted nothing more than me to leave him alone.  But because I was still presenting as a guy, she couldn’t outright tell me to leave, and she had no words or tangible way to explain why she didn’t feel comfortable with me around.

And despite me having no attraction to my guy friends, she was incredibly jealous when I hung out with her boyfriend.  Sal was very caring towards me, and there was a bond that I had with him that Patty couldn’t understand, that Patty wasn’t privy to.  She could never be in the circle with the boys, and I, at the time, wasn’t truly allowed to mingle with the girls yet.  But I did have more access with the girls, enough experience being myself, with odd nights here and there in Hollywood or San Francisco, and I had been Natalie long enough and often enough to know what it felt to be a girl around the presence of other men.  And I knew how to be a guy better than anything else at that point.

I had a double pass and they only had one pass.  I had more access.

So here I was, with a huge advantage that all of my friend’s girlfriends didn’t have: I was allowed to be one of the boys, to hang out, privy to all the conversations and interactions that their girlfriends were cut off from.  I always had a legitimate reason to “steal” the men away from their girlfriends for the evening, and because the assumption was we were just homies, there were no rebuttals available for these women to use against me.  We obviously weren’t going to have sex, and in order to appear as a secure and supportive girlfriend, they would have to let their boyfriend go out with the other boys and homies for a guys night out.

Eventually, when both genders were mingling in group outings, the girls usually either despised me or loved me.  They would either feel my energy and sense something wasn’t right about me, and call me phony, or they would interact and talk with me, creating intimate conversations and form a bond and deep friendship.

“You’re the easiest guy I’ve ever talked to, sometimes easier to talk with than my girlfriends!” one of them said to me.

The girls that were involved in a truly loving, inclusive, and spiritually aware relationship with my friends were almost always supportive of our friendship and really close with me.  They shared conversations with me, allowed me to stick around in their group of girlfriends during intimate conversations, and called me often to talk.  They were happy when their boyfriends spent time with me, because whatever made their boyfriend happy made them happy.

The possessive, jealous and immature girlfriends who came from their ego always despised me.  Patty was a good example of a possessive, manipulative, and immature girlfriend who wanted Sal all to herself.

Looking back now, all of it was so funny: how all of my former guy friends fit a mold and class of men that Natalie would have dated; how pre-transition MtF transsexuals can straddle both sides of the fence and benefit from having access to both teams; and how the area where the girlfriends were limited in their access to their boyfriends is how I am now limited when I’m around guy friends.

Giving up guy privilege had its price, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

At least before I gave up my guy privilege, though, I made the most of it and captured some awesome memories that will forever serve me and be with me.

Sal, Adrian, Rigo, Ryan, Alistair…

Thank you guys.

From Princess to Queen: No Sir, I’m Not Pregnant

I’ve been trying to choose differently lately, looking at the positive side of things, working hard to remind myself that I hold the power between stimulus and response, the power to see the silver lining in all situations where I am a participant.pregnant

So I’m currently in the process of finding a good hip surgeon to fix my cartilage so I can function somewhat normally again.  It’s been an ongoing injury that has taken a toll on my ability to live a somewhat active lifestyle, in addition to affecting my ability to wear those precious and sexy heels that I adore so much.  But on the other hand, where I’m at right now is a place where I have been forced to face my hip issue, and deal with it, and I think it will go well, and at least I have a chance to get back on my feet and be healthy, in less pain again.

Instead of going into old patterns of the whiny princess, I’m trying to own up to being the queen I know I can be: take responsibility for where I am and meet myself where I’m at in life right now.  Be empathetic and compassionate towards myself for the choices I’ve made in the past; you know, the choices where I overcompensated while living as a male through rough sports and abuse of my body, which is what got me here, to my current predicament today.  And trust me, despite being born and raised here in Los Angeles, the Chinese American upbringing didn’t help me, culturally speaking, in terms of being forgiving towards myself.  But I am trying.

I found myself in a good mood today despite seeing my orthopedic surgeon in Santa Monica.  I sat in the waiting room for over an hour, and finally got called inside to one of the rooms.  When the doctor finally came inside, we discussed the my biology, the geometry of my hip, and my options.  I was reassured with some of the things he said, and felt confident we can pull through this together successfully.

But the golden nugget of the day was still waiting for me, still waiting to happen.

The doctor requested X-rays and upon entering the examination room, the technician, Serge, asked me:

“Before you get on the table, I need to know: Are you pregnant?”

I chuckled, and said “No.”

I couldn’t help but giggle, as his question was so multi-layered, for obvious reasons as I do come from a background where I am a woman of transgender history.

He asked me a few other questions that were non-medical related, and I went back to the waiting room.

That made my day, and I have been giggly since this morning.

Even though my hip is hurting like hell, and I have imminent surgery lurking around the corner, at least I was asked if I was pregnant today…..maybe that’s what I will choose to focus on, I think that will be much more productive and healthy for me.

And it has been…..

……priceless ^_^

Grateful to Belong in the High School Girl’s Restroom

I have never laughed so hard in my life.girls_restroom

I was tearing up, blushing, turning red in the face, and I couldn’t breathe.

I work in an engineering building, where the women’s restroom have automatic sensors that have a mind of their own, flushing the toilets at random.  Many of the other women in the building have complained about them also, as water always squirts up and hits our bottoms.

I was washing my hands when two other women came into the bathroom and took stalls next to one another.   One of them immediately complained about the sensors, and the other one complained about how the custodian put the toilet paper in the wrong direction, and how that caused her to tear the toilet paper before she could pull out a good length of it.

Now I deliberately was stalling, behind the wall, just being another one of the girls….eavesdropping on other women who felt free to just be girlfriends in this safe space, and I was finally free to giggle like one of them, a happy freedom.   The walls of this stall were so much thinner than the walls we put up between men and women, and from here, I knew I was on the right side.

At last, after so many years, I found a place….where I belonged.

They continued.  The other girl then pulled a bunch of toilet paper out, citing that the first girl was a moron, and they both giggled.  They didn’t know I was still there, and I couldn’t help but giggle, which then opened up the portal to laughter.

“Is someone else in here?” one of the girls said.

“I think so” said the other.

Who could have thought a genuine experience in the women’s restroom could trigger such latent happiness and harvest laughter from my suppressed storage bin?  A simple visit to the women’s restroom could trigger so many good feelings inside me.

The barriers to my former male presentation, the former facade I put forth, were dissolved.

A wise friend of mine once told me that we, as humans, default to what are familiar defenses when we wander outside of our comfort zone.  I felt so genuinely comfortable at that moment, that my inner feminine self, the woman I’ve always known myself to be, really shined through and blossomed at that moment.

The two of them finished and came out of the stalls.

I was still giggling, and one of the girls asked me: “Do you like the toilet paper up or down?”

“I like it up.”

“See!  I’m not the only one!” she exclaimed to her friend.

“Whatever, you’re retarded,” said the other girl, both starting to laugh at each other.

We all left the bathroom and I had the giggles for the rest of the day.

What a wonderful experience, I thought to myself.  It immediately made me think: “So that’s what it was probably like in a girl’s restroom in high school…”

I couldn’t help but wonder what would it have been like to be in the girl’s restroom in junior high and high school?  What conversations, jokes, and silliness did I miss in those days?

And moreover, what a privilege it’s been to experience both sides of the binary, and to be able to meet these women and witness such an exchange, such a funny interaction, and get some of what I missed in my high school days.