Friday, February 28, 2014

Transsexual Fishing: Volume 1

Welcome to the first (preliminary) edition of Transsexual Fishing with Tammy.  :)  Last year I wrote about my July 4th fishing trip with Buddy and talked about how fishing was one of the few things I wanted to carry forward, from my old life to my new one.   In recent years I have gotten away from doing much fishing but I have been wanting to get back into it, now that I can do it as myself.  Last fall I missed the opportunity to fish at the coast with my friend Lisa, as we had planned, due to other travels for electrolysis and bad weather when I finally did make it to the Outer banks.  We are planning another trip there soon but first I will to get started closer to home.  With spring now on our doorsteps, it is time to go fishing.

Last week I ordered 4 new fishing rods and reels (Ladies Spinning Combos) and opening the boxes has inspired me to get out and hit the water.  They are so pretty!  Next week I plan to get my licence and since it will be my first fishing licence with my real name I am sure that will be inspiring as well.  I think I will even get a new, more appropriate tackle box too.  Even though I will probably still use some of my old equipment and mix and match some of the rods and reels, I just felt I needed a new start as far as fishing tackle, to make me feel better about getting back into fishing.

Lots of women fish these days, so it is not unusual at all, but yet this is still one of the very few realms left during transition where I feel some anxiety.  Last year I mentioned that anxiety, which I think is more an concern over fishing alone than just being seen as a female fishing.  I also have to admit to some anxiety over getting read while doing a more typically male activity.  Overcoming these kinds of fears is part of my continuing evolution through transition, and I have to keep up with my credo to not ever let fear hold me back from what I want to do.

Most of the fishing I do here locally involves standing on the bank and casting lures, usually for American Shad that migrate up the river in spring to spawn.  Sometimes the best areas can get crowed and even in the less popular spots, sometimes people will come down and start fishing right beside you.  In the past I hated that because I was such an isolated soul I did not want to have share a spot with someone I did not know, much less communicate with them, but now that prospect seems even more daunting.

Seeing a woman fishing is not uncommon around here, but seeing one of us fishing alone seems quite uncommon.  In fact I cannot remember one instance of a female fishing alone on the river bank.  Of course, I won't be completely alone, my best friend Buddy will be with me and  some of the times my old friends will go with me.  They have told me so, but still I am nervous to go fishing alone with just Buddy.
Buddy checking out an American (White) Shad, a few years ago..
This bring up another possibility, of going with Buddy to one of the more remote fishing spots out of town to fish the bank for Shad.  The issue of safety comes into play now though, and I may have different considerations for fishing alone in a secluded spot now than I used to.  I don't carry any weapons (and I will not) and Buddy is a great friend but I don't think I can rely on him to defend me if I was seriously attacked, although his bark is definitely louder than his bite so maybe he could scare a potential attacker away.  I have probably never been able to defend myself if I am attacked but as a guy it was something that rarely, if ever, crossed my mind and the fact is that a woman alone (even with a dog) in a secluded spot can be a much more likely target than anything I faced before.

Actually I have never even thought about this stuff before, but I guess not only might I be a little more vulnerable now, women can easily be the targets of Any type of attack.  These are things I did not Have to think about before and this brings a new dynamic into the fishing equation.   I do not want to think about these things now, but common sense tells me they need to be taken into consideration, so it will be safety first, wherever I go.  Oh well, let's get back to the fun stuff, the fishing itself. 

So, I am getting some reports that Shad have started biting in the Tar River and some of the local creeks.  The next step, besides getting my fishing licence, will be to put line on all the reels and get the rigs etc. ready.  I only like to use artificial bait to fish, so I am thinking little jigs and spoons will be the best way to catch these fish.   I would take Nightingale fishing with me too, but she cannot be trusted to hang around me off the leash and I don't want to spend all day keeping track of her.  Buddy is the loyal companion that might wander down the bank a little ways, but never leaves my sight and comes when he is called.  Plus he has years of experience fishing and he is probably wondering why I have not been going much for the past several years.

I have long thought it will be cool to have a television show of my own called Transsexual Fishing.  What would Really be cool is if I had such a show and had sponsors that would fly me all over the world fishing exotic locations, taking my friends with me sometimes.  What an exciting, unique fishing show!  But for now I am just going to blog about it a little bit, take some pictures and maybe some little videos.  With any luck there might even be a fish or two in them although I release everything I catch, at least as far as the Shad.  After all, they came all this way to spawn in my hometown so I want to be a hospitable guest, just play with them awhile then let them go back about their business of producing more Shad.  So, I hope everyone will stay tuned as I open the door to a new adventure, a new challenge and the renewal of an old hobby.... 

Sunday, February 23, 2014


"Today I am thankful that I did not destroy my parents' lives (as I thought I would) when I  Had to move forward with my life, and I am prayerful that the one life I did destroy will be healed and made whole again one day..."            

Anytime something is built something else has to be destroyed.  This is a general rule, not universal, but I have found that it applies very well to transition.  You have to destroy your old life in order to build a new one.  That part, to me, was incredibly easy and amazingly fulfilling, but many have a major struggle with the deconstruction of their old lives.  I am just not thrilled with the fact that in the process of finding a life I could be comfortable with and a relationship I could be happy with, something had to be destroyed.  Yet that is the way of things, and I am finally coming to accept it.

My (old) life was actually destroyed a Long time ago.  I destroyed it because I hated it.  When I came home from a brief stint of living on my own in Florida, in my early 20's, I pronounced myself dead.  From that point on I was the walking dead, an empty shell where a human being used to be.  Could anyone ever live there again?

I carried on, went through the motions, and time passed on and on.  Not long after my "death" I met someone that brought a spark of life back into my hollow existence.  In her eyes I could see the childlike wonder that still existed deep in my heart.  Of course I was not completely dead, something lived on within me.  A spark remained that I would eventually rekindle when I began my journey to become whole, to become human.  She provided, among many other things good and bad, a reason for me to continue existing.  I had someone to take care of.

This week I had lunch with her and took a few candid pictures of her with my smartphone.  Joan has never taken good pictures because she always tenses up, closes her eyes or has an awful look when she knows a camera is pointed her way.  On this day she was loose and she knew I was taking her picture.  In a couple of those pictures I could see that look, that wonder, the joy of a child.  Some say they see that in me from time to time.  That part of me never died, maybe because I never really allowed myself to grow up. 

Looking at those pictures I see a light in her eyes I have not seen very often for a long time.  I actually think that all the years with me took something out of her.  Most people that know me today as a positive, inspirational person do not know the negative, troubled soul that lived here not so long ago.  The black hole that sucked the life and energy out of everything around me, is what she had to deal with during our time together.  Even before I started moving towards transition, before I started another relationship, I felt I had ruined her life, destroyed her. 

I no longer think that was the case.  We both came into our relationship, into our marriage, with major issues of our own, and to a great degree we brought each other down and were not good for each other.  Still a spark remained.  A spark inside each of us and a spark we shared together, though it was for the most part, not a romantic spark.  That spark was something I never wanted to destroy.

"no one's life was destroyed...I just hate to leave someone alone, who I had made a commitment to spend the rest of my life with...but I will continue to care for her somehow and she is still in my life now, and it is better for us both because it is authentic...I just hate to think of her growing old and being alone..."

So I see that there will be a life ahead for my spouse, after our divorce becomes final.  I see it in her eyes anyway.  What worries me is that she will be alone when she gets older.  We were never really good at caring for each other but at least we were not alone.  I know that what I have found with Mitchell is like nothing I have experienced before.  Unlike Joan, Mitchell is very independent, a strong man.  Yet still, he needs me and I need him.  I am certain we will be there for each other whenever we need it.  The thing that is hardest about separating/divorce from Joan is that I am leaving her unprotected.  Alone. 

So now, I have a confession to make....

For 14 months, since my spouse walked away from our house, I have held the notion within my head that she would come back one day.  This has not been a complete secret to those who know me or those that read my blog.  I don't mean I want her to come back to our marriage, that would not be good for either of us.  What I have maintained is a desire for her to come back and live in the guest house in our back yard, the place that I am sitting right now writing this blog and the place that I spent most of my time at home.  I still feel somehow this home is hers: guest house, main house, yard, all of it. 

She always wanted a house.  When we first got married we actually had dreams of having a house, having somewhat normal lives and being happy.  We both wanted all of those things, it just was not right and it was not meant to be.  All of the years we spent living in the trailer, I heard over and over how much she would love a real house for us to call our own.  When we were finally able to get a house, I was more happy for her than I was for me.  I felt this was her house and since she's been gone, I have kept the light on for her. 

I really have not done much with the house since she left.  The house is grieving, it misses her.  In some ways I have let it go and that seems to have gotten worse in the last few weeks.  When Mitchell comes I try to straighten out the areas of the house we spend time in, but the in the rest of it the the junk piles up.  It's like I am living here as a drug addict, without the drugs.  The house needs attention and I have not wanted to deal with it.  I've been waiting for her to come back. 

I know an awesome future awaits me and I'm very excited about it.  The prospect of Mitchell coming here to live eventually and bringing his kids, at least on weekends and possibly more, has my mind spinning with ways I want to fix the house up, organize it, rearrange it and bring it back to life.  I am probably coming to that turbid moment where the future meets the past, as least as far as my house is concerned.  Strangely, I have maintained an imagine in my mind of Joan living in the little house, Mitchell and I (and possibly his kids) living in the big house, and us all being one big happy family.  At least Joan would be like a roommate, if not a member of the family.  Sadly, or happily, I just confirmed this week that this is not going to happen.  The sadness I feel right now will soon be turned around to happiness, you can bet on it.
Deep is the Night

As I have stated here before, nights are by far the hardest times here at the house.  When Mitchell is here it is all good, I can relax, go to bed at a reasonable hour, feel good about being here.  Maybe its just that I am lonely and being in this house alone is too much for me.  I know that is going to change one day, maybe not too far into the future, and I know I am incredibly lucky to have someone extremely special in my life and to have that to look forward to.  Still, when I think about Joan being alone, I do not like the thought.

Perhaps this goes back to the lessons I learned from having the Little Dog in my life, back in 2012.  I learned (hopefully) how to let something I care for go.  I never had to do that before, except when elderly loved ones like my grandparents died.  I found that Little Dog a good home and I gave her away, even though it was very painful.  Maybe it is hard to let go of my spouse because I have had so few people in my life.  I don't have brothers or sisters, the extended family was very small and is now nonexistent and I have had very, very few friends throughout my life.  My family is just my parents and I, and now Mitchell, and perhaps his kids later on.  I think that as far as family I would much rather add to than subtract.

Soon, it seems, my divorce will be final and the destruction of my marriage will be complete.  I am going to say that is a good thing.  As far as Joan is concerned, people tell me I am going to have let her take of herself, after the settlement.  I know she will still be in my life as she is now, a very close friend.  Something tells me that I will still be taking care of her in certain ways for as long as I possibly can, even though I do hope she can become more independent and maybe even find someone else to care for her one day.  I just know now, for sure, that she is not coming home........

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fabulous Thursday (and more)

Clinique Haul Today:

I was at Belk's today with my ex and I wanted to stop by Clinique to get a new lipstick color. I have been wearing L'Oreal lip gloss most of the time but I got some Clinique lipstick in one their bonus packages last fall, started using it recently and liked it a lot, I just was not crazy about the shade. So when I saw they were running another Bonus (6 products in smaller packages, valued at $70), I decided to buy more so I could get the bonus. I had decided next time they had a bonus I would buy enough product to get Both shade packages (they always offer 2).

So I bought one one tube of lipstick, one chubby stick and a tube of my old reliable BB cream, that I use every day. The chubby sticks apply product like a large lip pencil, but have more creamy properties of a lipstick and the long wear property of a stain. I have one from another Clinique bonus and one from Sephora bonus points. Yes, I make use of bonuses to acquire and try a lot of new products. Buy the products I know I will use a lot, and get to try new products and shades with the bonus.

So, the first picture is the #2 BB cream in center, with the chubby stick and lipstick. On the right and left sides are the 6 product Free bonus kits (with cases). One of them is missing the Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream, because I let my ex have one of them. She says she has more wrinkles than me, so I let have one...

The second picture are the 4 new lip colors I got today. The first two are the Free bonus chubby sticks (notice they are a little smaller than the $17 chubby sticks they sell, like the one on the end). Colors are (left to right ) roomiest rose, curviest caramel, rose taffy and mightiest maraschino.  I bought the last one, a nice, creamy red, because Mitchell loves seeing me in red lipstick.

The preceding post is an example of some of the posts from the Facebook group, Trans Beauty Network, which I started this spring.  We also have current threads on fashion, voice therapy, hormone therapy, hair and wig styling and more.  If you are trans and on Facebook, please send me an invite if you would like to join our group...

Fabulous Thursday

Shopping with Joan was only part of the Fabulous Thursday I had last week.  The day started out with an 11 AM appointment with a voice therapist in Durham, NC.  Last year I graduated from the Transgender Voice and Communication Group at UNCG and it really helped me a lot, but I feel like I need more voice work to achieve the ideal female voice that I want.  I do pretty well now and am able to pass on the phone, which is a good way to test your voice, but I still know I can do better, and I want to. 

So, the first session was mostly an evaluation and we decided to do six individual voice lessons, which will start next week.  Those lessons combined with daily vocal function exercises and warm ups (which I have been slack on doing since graduating from my class last May) should get me to my goal, or at least much closer to it and in a good position to keep working on my voice on my own until I am 100% comfortable with it. 

After the one hour voice evaluation, I met Joan at Cary Mall for lunch and the shopping trip to Belk's department store, where I also bought a nice top.  Then I drove back to Durham to meet Jenny Taylor, a friend from Facebook who now resides in Nashville, Tennessee and has this You Tube Channel, among her many projects.   Jenny is really fun to be around and her vibrant, positive energy is really contagious.  

On video, shopping with Jenny Taylor...
Her videos and uplifting posts on Facebook help a lot of transgender people struggling with decisions or just the complexities of life in our situations.  Like me with my blog, Flickr pages, Facebook etc., she has a lot of people contact her looking for answers, counseling advice or just to say thank you for putting a voice and face to what they are feeling inside.  Sometimes its just a matter of showing people that it Is possible to live life and be yourself, and not stay trapped inside some empty shell.  She and I have a lot in common, so we got along great.

Wild and crazy girls having a good time out living life....
Meeting Jenny was sort of spur of the moment.  I noticed a post that said she and her girlfriend were in Durham for business, and since she had part of the afternoon free and I was already in town after my voice consultation, things came together for us to spend a couple of hours hanging out.  The timing couldn't have been better in my life, because while we were at Starbucks we talked about the technicalities of making and posting videos online, among other things.  It seems all I really need is a Good smartphone, which is something I am looking to upgrade anyway.

So, she shot a little video of us shopping at Kohl's, which we posted on Facebook.  Soon I hope to start making some videos to go along with my Tammy World blog here.  Mitchell is not real crazy about the idea, for some reason, but I have assured him there is going to be nothing suggestive about any videos I make.  I think he is just concerned about having too much exposure on the net, but I am already all over the place here on the web and very open about my life, so if having one more venue to share Tammy World with others might help some people, I will certainly consider it.

Super Saturday 

On Saturday I got to meet another long term Facebook friend who stopped by on her way from Pennsylvania to Florida.  Jacque (pronounced Jackie) came into town Saturday afternoon, stayed the night here at my house, then hit the road Sunday morning.  We went to Red Lobster for a good seafood meal and a couple of drinks, then she got to meet my parents as my Dad fell again in the bathtub (He is ok now).  It's always great getting to meet friends I have talked to a lot online and Jacque is one of the nicest people I have ever met and someone I can learn a lot from. We almost talked all night.

I had a great time finally meeting Jacque Elisabeth King in person Saturday night when she stopped by for the night on her way south.  Living right here on I-95 makes it easier to meet my friends traveling up or down the east coast, which is another good thing about living in Rocky Mount...

Mitchell came into town Sunday afternoon after spending the weekend with his kids and left this (Monday) morning to go back to Virginia.  I am looking forward to spending Valentine's weekend with him and I am also looking forward to the possibility of more snow this week in eastern North Carolina.  Last week we had a little dusting and 2 weeks ago I woke up to this...

You must know by now that I Love snow, which sort of irks my friends from the Northeast, but I just cannot get enough of it.  We have already had about 3 times out annual average of ~2.4", but it seems like everyone on the east coast is having a big year for snow. 

We will end this blog with one more post I did today for trans Beauty Network.....

Vocal Function Exercises:

Apparently the best way to to raise the pitch of your voice as well as maintain healthy vocal chords as you are trying to change your voice, is by doing daily vocal function exercises. I did them some when I was taking Transgender Communication but was not religious about doing the exercises and have not done the since the classes ended last May. We were given cd's during the semester but had to turn them in at the end.

From my evaluation with a voice therapist last week I learned that I need to be doing them every day, and 30 minutes or more each day needs to be spent doing these exercises and or warming up your voice. So, whether you work with Lauren ChloƩ Greene, from here in our group, a local voice therapist or work on your voice on your own, it seems to be very important to do these exercises. I will keep y'all updated on my progress with the therapist, as we get going next week, and nothing worth doing comes easy so we have to work at it.

Here are the links to order the same Voice Function Exercises that professional therapists use. It is the same program but one link is for Amazon and one for another site. If anyone orders these cd's or already has them, maybe you can share your experiences with the group....

My familiars...Buddy and Nightingale, lead the way into the frozen expanse of Tammy World.....