Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 2011 Update

Stephanie with her natural hair and LBDAlmost three months into the new year, and I am beginning to see some turnaround. As usual, it occurs at a snail's pace. However I am making progress towards both the person I want to be and the person I'm intended to be. Call it maturation, an opening of the eyes, a clarity of purpose. They all apply. Just a few short stories to flesh out that idea...

I recently celebrated my 41st birthday. Yes, I'm still counting. The outpouring of love particularly on Facebook was humbling. All the kind words and notes were said and written by friends that I never would have met if I had never come out as Stephanie. My birthday was culminated by my Charlotte contra dance group singing Happy Birthday to me. This was particularly special as the words "dear Stephanie" were part of the annual rite for the first time in my life. I cried tears of joy on the way home. It is moments like these when I know I'm on the right path. Even with all the difficulties of life as a transgender woman, there is a place for me in this world as the real me.

Continuing on the dancing theme, the Charlotte Dance Gypsies held their annual dance weekend, Gypsy Meltdown, at Camp Thunderbird in Lake Wylie, SC this past weekend. Dance weekends are an intense experience on a physical, mental, and even emotional level. I'll have more to write as its a blog post unto itself. Friday night, I went with my usual reddish blond wig. Saturday afternoon, I decided to experiment with my real hair which I've been growing out for about three years now. I liked it so much that I didn't wear the wig the rest of the weekend. The hair still needs some work, but it's a big step to take away the protection of the wig and show more of your real self. I am thankful for all the compliments. I am my own worst critic, but I do finally see a feminine style developing.

Finally, I will be presenting a program called Gender Pioneers at the Southeast Regional Unity Conference at UNC-Chapel Hill on Saturday, April 2 at 3:30 pm. Gender Pioneers is an offshoot of Transgender Adventures in History with more of a focus on the stories of the historical characters. It will be an emotional experience as I have never stepped onto the campus of my alma mater presenting as Stephanie. I have shared the story of being caught cross-dressing by a roommate back in 1992. It was one of my darkest times as I had no idea what to do with my feminine identity. However it was the catalyst to deciding some years later that I would never give control of my identity to a group that did not have my best interests in mind. To come back to UNC and present one of my passions is truly beyond what I would ever have imagined at that time.

A couple of Youtube videos from Gypsy Meltdown. I filmed the first one Sunday afternoon. The second one is from Saturday evening by Michael Simpson. See if you can spot me in it :)