happiness...is a way of life 2-24-11
So much for the profound mantra "I'm gonna' start journaling monthly" from November, 2009, huh?. What a total crock that turned out to be. Whatever...I'm nothing, if not consistent. *Laugh*
I need to begin this entry by offering a sincere apology to anyone that took offense to my failure to respond to emails or even guestbook entries during 2010. At first, my neglect was purposeful: I needed to disengage from my trans-life. Later, it just became old habit. I got busy with new undertakings & had little time for anything else.
The upshot of this disconnect is that my thoughts crystallized. Have you ever stepped away from something for awhile & gained better clarity? That's what happened to me: a good 'ole-fashioned re-boot.
I'm back in the mood to blog more often. Before? It felt like a chore. Now? I'm feeling the need to express again. I'm hoping that's a good thing.
However...I will never again respond to direct queries or comments. It can be emotionally draining & takes more time than most would imagine. Plus, if I respond to one person? I feel compelled to answer everyone. Subsequently, my "needing response" file grows unbearably. That's depressing.
So what's new in my life?
Let me begin by saying I'm in a great place. A big reason is I'm maintaining a healthy balance between physical, spiritual & emotional vistas. Also, my ability to remain focused improved dramatically. I'm unsure what caused that final enhancement but I'm not going to complain. I would speculate that I'm "the best I've ever been" when it comes to being thankful for what I have versus fretting over anything that might be missing. I'm on a "do the best I can...find some good laughs & be thankful for every day" approach to life & living. That methodology? I attribute to older age...*Laugh*
We'll start with updates on what I consider the "big stuff". Then...we'll skim through some tidbits.
Sound like a plan?
Lets do it...
I made another trip to my hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky this past fall, 2010. Unlike my previous pilgrimage which was somewhat stressful from attending my Owensboro High School thirty-year class reunion (see previous entry), this trip was about relaxation & fun - plus I only shared my plans to visit with a couple of people.
I decided the depression following my reunion was rooted in the fact I was away from my hometown for too long versus the actual trauma-drama of the event itself. Make sense? Thus, I'm making a point to re-visit Owensboro annually. I came to realize I need my roots. Over the years I lost most connections to my past. Obviously, my gender transition aggravated things along with a series of untimely deaths.
I'm working to change all that.
You know what's most cool about small towns like Owensboro? Almost nothing changes in a monumental way. That's a source of comfort for someone that's seen too much revolution over the course of living. For example? I was able to fit in a four-mile walk during my visit and I decided to retrace the path of my old Messenger & Inquirer paper route. Along that course I encountered the same hump in the sidewalk where my old friend Rob Puckett crashed his bicycle in 1973. I stopped at the spot where my newspapers used to arrive each AM and noticed a small carving that I etched into the concrete was still in place. It was all like a time warp and I found it very refreshing.
This stopover also included an overdue visit to my family's gravesites. I spent over an hour talking, even screaming - and also wailing - so much needed tears. I have my share of good & bad family-related memories, but at the end of the day? I really miss everybody. I now have almost no contact with my extended family. Thus, I found this particular connection - however delusional - to be very cathartic.
On a more fun note, I attended an OHS football game (my alma mater) and got to witness the wonderful efforts of my dear friend Desla's son Nick - a star player at an OHS rival: Apollo High School. I even got to visit with my old friend Lisa Snyder at the game. Lisa was my first-ever "date" - a big trip to the theater & a Disney flick. Both Desla & Lisa are included in this photo from the OHS-AHS game. On Saturday night, Desla & I hooked to attend a DRAG show at Equals - an alternative nightclub in Owensboro. I continue to be amused that there's a thriving gay club in my hometown: never thought I would see that during my lifetime. Unfortunately, the regular cast was away but we still had good fun and I also visited briefly with my dear friend Monica Hillz - an Equals performer and wonderful gal going through transition. I have a special place in my heart for Kentucky trans-gals. It's a fairly tough place to be different and those who do so are especially courageous.
Also worth noting from this trip?
While I was driving back to Atlanta I experienced a powerful epiphany that merited pulling over to the side of the road for contemplation. I realized...I had just lived a dream. I had enjoyed a high school football game, visited with my family plus old friends, even stopped by my favorite old burger joint (the Eight Ball) - as a woman. I've been living in my new gender for so long that I rarely stop & consider such things: it's now just "my life". I had forgotten how many times I once dreamed of doing what I had just experienced. Thus, I stopped & gave thanks for that gift.
A friend forwarded this link of Holiday Inn ad that was scheduled to run during Super Bowl, 2009 - but got pulled after some Midwestern Christian-rights groups raised a stink.
Imagine that, huh?
Anyway...having recently served as a poster-child for this particular humor, I found it rather funny...
The Comedy Magic Act
One long-term project I can state with absolute certainty that will launch in 2011 is the new magic show. Please don't ask me to explain why I invested so much time, energy & money into this act - that would defy logic. Also, there's no delusions of grandeur or visions this show will become a big money-maker. Rather, it's a labor of love - I'm birthing a dream I carried much of my adult life. Such opportunities are rare, ya' know? It's also a source for pleasure in terms of artistic expression. It's all very fulfilling.
What I never anticipated was the amount of time it would take to develop all the original routines, custom props, scripting, music & sound effects, unique costuming & related accoutrements...the whole smash. I'm now a year and six months into development and expect the actual launch to be another four months from now. This...was a monumental effort. Like most novel projects, half of that time was spent going in wrong directions. I'm forever haunted by Andrew Carnegie's famous mantra: "Pioneering...doesn't pay". However, for those of us that are born pioneers? We're stuck with creating novelty as a way of life. I used to battle this aspect of my persona. Now? I just go with the flow...
A Bit of Fun
To anyone whose into magic, the ever-expanding scenery in the garage would have appeared quasi-normal...locked boxes, metal crates, long swords...all the usual mystical trappings. Of course, to the uninformed observer - steel cages large enough to hold human beings plus a cadre of knives, padlocks & chains evokes other more serious consternation. As you might imagine, my neighbors - mostly well-to-do, retired types - became a tad bit curious and the stares of wonderment grew.
Did I do anything to diffuse this misinterpretation?
Nah, you know me...couldn't pass up on that much fun. It's the little things in life, 'ya know? *Laugh*
We ended up steering away from the plan to launch with the larger illusions as the thought of lugging them around seemed overwhelming. Those routines will wait until we find a more permanent venue. The rest of the show is coming along slowly but fabulously: the magic is first-rate, the costumes and characters are unique and the routines are hilarious including constant audience participation.
While I might be the founder & producer of this mystical madness, my bestest girl friend Kristin is decidedly da' star. Her acting talents combined with a gift for creating & delivering totally unique persona's resulted in an almost endless range of options from our micro-cast. If you can name a Hollywood star or persona - Kristin can eventually duplicate their voice & mannerisms in an eerily accurate method. Simply stated: she's freaking awesome!
I'm hoping we can test via a couple of soft launches and work out the initial kinks this summer followed by a grand-opening set in the fall of 2011. Since we're still not exactly sure where this act will play best thus we're going to experiment with a variety of different locations in Atlanta during our first year. Hopefully, we'll identify an optimal locale for permanent residence later.
I'll include updates as we prepare our launches & upload the show's associated website.
It's all very fun & exciting.
From a business perspective, pretty much nothing worked out as planned since my transition. That was a new life experience. I'm certainly no stranger to failure but I don't recall ever tasting a dry-run quite like this one. Has my transition played a role in this lack of business success? Absolutely! Do I face some consequential discrimination issues? Sure: what minority doesn't? However, I suspect the real obstacles run much deeper. For example? Before - I remained pressured to forever "prove myself as a man" - that's obviously out the window. *Laugh* My new motivations are different and it's taking awhile to get accustomed to this latest equation. It's got to be something I enjoy, something I'm skilled at, and something that won't be hugely affected by my transsexuality. To date, that something remains a mystery.
After continuing to try & fit round pegs into square holes I finally just cleared the board & started anew. The good news? I've never had so little in life yet remained so content. I'm much more thankful for everything I have at this moment versus conditionalizing my happiness on some future event. My projects are much smaller than before but I don't recall ever being this impassioned regarding their development. I suppose if I end up starving? I'll do so with a smile on my face. *Laugh*
CLIMB: Leading Women in Technology Share Their Journeys to Success
One occurrence worth noting from 2010 was my inclusion in a book published through WIT (Women in Technology) entitled CLIMB: Leading Women in Technology Share Their Journeys to Success. It's a compilation from sixty different women with the spin of offering insights to younger women that are just now entering a technology-based career.
I'll be honest - I didn't think much about the invitation or spend a great deal of time crafting my own section. However, when I received a copy of the finished book - I unexpectedly broke into tears. I realized this was my first honest-to-goodness accolade not as a trans-female - but as a woman. The fact the other women were far more impressive than yours truly made that reality doubly touching.
The book is available at the WIT website. It includes some amazing stories & insights and is well worth the $29.95 price plus all the money goes to help directly in helping women find more success. That's a great combo!
10th Issued Patent
On another good note? I received notification regarding my tenth issued patent. Granted, the bulk of these are continuation efforts plus a few international IP issuances - but I thought that milestone was kinda' special. Now, if I could just figure out how to operate my cable-TV remote controls...all would be right in the universe. *Smile*
Thus...outside of hitting double digits on issued patents, being included in a killer book plus finding a few poetic revelations to my journey, I've no big biz news to share. In other words? I'm short on substance at the moment. Alas, the bills are mostly paid so I'm guessing that's a good thing.
We'll just have to see where my business future leads in the years ahead.
Love & Dating
My dating life?
I'm sorry...what is that?? *Laugh*
I'm in a strange place when it comes to dating. I don't think I've ever been better or worse suited for dating - depending upon how you look at it. On the one hand? I have a life - dear friends, fun activities, passion-related projects, my work, a fun routine, a daily exercise regimen, a church I enjoy - the whole smash. Thus, for me to invest even a small amount of time meeting a new person? I'm usually forced to take away from one of these existing commitments. Since I find my present schedule especially joyful, any new persona needs
to seem fairly exceptional to even consider the tradeoff. Alas, I don't encounter many special people.
I invested a lot of effort into improving my loving-relationship skills in 2010 via some counseling a few good books. My past failures with love were often rooted in my own issues & shortcomings. I've worked hard to improve myself in those regards. Ever heard the song by Dido entitled "Life for Rent"? That song...pretty much sums up my love life to date.
Interestingly, as my social routine evolved to almost zero "trans-related" activities or locales, I was forced to deal with the uncomfortable reality of "telling" someone I'm tranz after we've developed a connection. Since that also means I end up "outing" myself - I usually just allowed such prospects to die on the vine rather than explore the possibility they could bear fruit. So much drama from just standing here, breathing. Jeez...*Laugh*
I know almost everybody connects with new love interests via the web these days. Thus, I tried a couple of tranz-related dating websites. I even ended up visiting with one person from out of town in early 2010 - a disaster. I also met a local person for dinner...just kind of fizzled - not really sure what happened. Thus, I've come to the conclusion that I absolutely suck at evaluating people as potential romantic interests from on-line ads.
Probably the most challenging aspect of my dismal dating-career is the celibacy. I'm not sure which is worse: the fact I've not been physically intimate with another human being for over two years...or the actuality that I could go this long without sex. Neither imagery is appealing. Thus, I choose to simply ignore this shortcoming in my life - denial is an underestimated resource in times of need.
I made friends with the possibility of being alone for the balance of my life journey and I guess I'm okay with that. Alas, I'm a bit of a loner by nature. However, that doesn't mean I like being lonely - self-actualization just doesn't keep a body warm at night. Also, I miss sex. However, I still don't yearn for it enough to sleep with someone unless it's special - I'm just not up for casual encounters. That's the one thing I miss most about having testosterone running through my veins.
I'm figuring I'll meet lots of new people in the course of performing the magic shows (and there won't be any question regarding my gender issues after that act...*laugh*) - so I guess that's a potential source for meeting Mister or Miss Right. However, I'm done fantasizing about meeting my perfect match - them finding out and being okay with my trans-history - and we live happily ever after.
If I'm going to meet my match? They're going to have to find me - as I'm done doing the seeking.
I'm a lot of things: but Cinder-f**k-in-rella...ain't one of them!
reneereyes.com: Version II
I'm now compelled to address a monumental re-draft & update of this website. It's long overdue. It's also a tad bit overwhelming since I've been making notes and crafting new sections off-and-on for the past five years. Thus, organizing those thoughts, adding new ones & connecting the dots with old content - is an enormous project. I've also got to clean up those racy images within my old content & do a bunch of edits - including the removal of all those ridiculous quotation marks - I'm still not sure what that was all about. *Laugh*
In regards to new content, I'm starting-off with fashion & hair tips - since those will apply to both full-time trans-women hoping to enhance their look as well as assist crossdressers with achieving a more convincing style for passing. I'm embracing the whole project will take a couple of years & include a core redesign, as well - I'm started classes in that regard in April.
One interesting aspect of this redraft is noting how my views changed over the last few years. As I mentioned, I started on the redraft in 2005 and I'm surprised how much I now disagree with my prior thoughts in such a short span. I hope to craft insights from this dichotomy in some helpful manner.
This & that's - from 2010
This past year is filled with lots of fun & special memories. I had a blast on Halloween 2010 during a night on the town with my roomie Darleen. Here's a few other recaps worth noting since we last spoke:
The Regis Girls
One of the better new habits from 2010 was frequenting the bar at the St Regis hotel in
Buckhead once a month with a few of my best girlfriends. This habit was born from a need to visit my BFF Betty - whom I speak with almost every AM via phone. We came to realize that although we talk very often...we almost never saw each other in person. Thus, we began a monthly St Regis habit - usually the third Saturday night of each month. Other gals began joining in - including an old high school & college friend Susan.
It's always a good idea to make time to get dressed up a little & make time for friends - particularly when you're going through a rough spot.
I felt compelled to include this point...
Please don't take offense if I didn't add you as a friend on Facebook. Whereas with myspace & related venues I embraced any & all connections, I decided to limit my trans-friends on Facebook to those I know fairly well. Most of my Facebook connections include old friends from school & even business associates or their wives. I had a couple of bad experiences with trans-girls going down my friends list & figuring it was cool to try and connect with anybody on my list. It wasn't.
Reconnecting with my past is now an important part of my life journey. Again, please don't take offense to my reality. ((hugs))
On June 3rd of this year I finally turn the big 5-0. The most amazing aspect of that event is that I lived to see it. For anyone who knows my personal history - particularly my wildest days - it's really a surprise that I'm still around. This also means I'll be getting an AARP card. If you're aware of how cheap I am? I'm sure you can appreciate my paradox over that particular joy.
Although I continually face new aches & pains - those are now a way of life - I'm proud of the fact I'm in the best physical shape I've been in years. As any older reader is aware, improvements to fitness are a much longer affair than in earlier years.
My 50th birthday falls on a Friday - guess I couldn't script that any better. I'm planning on having fun. Maybe I'll even get laid...*Laugh*
Art Collection & Website Update
Unfortunately, the rise of the comedy magic act equated to a demise in my art collecting website. I have neither the financial resources or free time to develop both congruently. I'm hoping I'll get back to my art project in 2012. As with the magic show, it's a life-long dream & journey.
Thirty-Years of Friendship
I've lost good friends & loved ones over the years - some are gone by way of death, a few didn't survive the nuclear winter during my crazy transition - and a couple because of my shortcomings & neurotic behavior Thus, when the thirty-year anniversary of a close friend occurs in my life, it's more than special.
Mike Scott & I first met during our freshman year of college at the University of Kentucky. It wasn't exactly an association built from instant chemistry - we literally came to blows on a football field. It wasn't until our next semester in chemistry lab that we began to plant seeds that developed an important life-long friendship.
Mike's a pretty amazing guy: a successful medical doctor, a wonderful husband to his lovely wife Susan and a caring father to their two sons Michael T. & Bobby. He's accomplished most everything he planned & dreamed from when we first became friends & he shared these same visions. I'm very proud of him. We celebrated our long-term association over dinner & a night on the town in October, 2010. It was a blast recalling the fun memories over our many years.
However, to this day - we playfully disagree over who won-out in that initial row during our first-ever meeting: a near violent, on-field shoving match in a football game. You just never know when & how you will encounter a person that changes your life.
Who actually kicked whose ass in that first little spat?
Anyway you spin it?
At the end of the day? Mike's forced to live with the fact he got substantially man-handled...by a freaking chick. *Laugh*
Fun with Costuming
If you were a reader at this site from long ago you're aware I used to adorn some pretty wild ensembles "back in the day". Although I have no desire to relive the unhealthiness associated with my old lifestyle, I discovered that I missed the creative energy associated with developing this sort of fashion & expression.
The bottom line? Costuming...is a freaking blast!
Thus, I began producing some killer new costuming designs in late 2010. It's decidedly one of my most joyous pastimes: breaking up the monotony associated with my work - which tends to be very, very long-term in development.
Some of these new directions will be just for "photos" - others will be ideal to adorn at DRAGONCON, Mardi Gras, Halloween & few other festive events I attend. The themes include a couple of vampires, a killer Egyptian-spin, a hot cougar (let's face it - that's my new reality...*laugh*) a chic Red Sonja & Invisible Woman for DRAGONCON, a detailed 18th century reenactment number, my classic Marilyn Monroe, a classy pirate combo - plus a few additional ones for DRAG, Mardi Gras & fetish-based concepts.
I'll include photos of some the best combo's as I wear them to events. They're definitely a notch above any of my past creations and I'm looking forward to wearing my art in the near future. *Smile*
The Dog...in DRAG
When I reclaimed my cat a couple of years back there was a bit of trepidation because my roomie already had a pair of thoroughly spoiled female dogs & Dar wasn't exactly what you would call a "cat person" - she's allergic to them. Of course, Ringo is far from your typical cat. In short order he discovered tranquility with the dogs & won the hearts of every visitor - enthralled by his squirrel-like eating routine. In typical Jewish-mother fashion, Darleen proceeded to pamper him with fresh delights. He's now so disgustingly spoiled that he doesn't even enjoy canned cat food - only fresh chicken. One of the funnier developments is how he waits for treats - just like his dog siblings.
He's now been appropriately coined as a dog...in DRAG. It's quite hilarious and we're all appropriately self-tagged "the island of misfit toys".
What a crew ...
For those who followed my previous post, I'm sorry I didn't find time to start my annual eBay sale. I was just overwhelmed with work, etc. I finally got it going two weeks ago again & will continue posting stuff until early summer. I only have so much time per week to work eBay. Most of the old fetish, DRAG, shoes, etc. many of you inquired about will start getting posted in March.
That's about it...
I won't jinx my next update by predicting when I'll publish. Rather, I'll just wish you all a most happy spring and wonderful new year.
Thanks again for taking the time to follow this crazy journey known as...my life.
Keep the faith!