Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Catching up with Kim



Fair warning – some of you may have developed a picture of me in your head as a happy-go-lucky and upbeat person, always up for the challenge, and always heading out into the real world no matter what people may think of me. If you want to keep that picture in your head, you might wanna just go ahead and hit the “back” button on your browser now. I’ve always been upfront and honest in my blog, and am not about to change that now just because it is not a happy story.

As I am sure that you have noticed, my blogs are coming few and far between these days, and that is for an assortment of reasons. I have been very busy for my job, and am doing quite a lot of travel, but not much of it is as Kim. Nope, these days I am doing most of my travel the old fashioned way – as a tired and old man.  

On the few trips that I have recently made “as Kim” (as if I am ever not Kim at some level) nothing worthy of writing a blog has occurred. I don’t know if people are changing and becoming acclimated to folks like us, or if my own perceptions have changed, but it seems that only rarely does anything terribly amusing or interesting happen these days when I travel.  So, with nothing interesting occurring, there is no point to try writing a blog about it.
“Today I took a trip – nothing happened.”
The other considerations are darker I am afraid. I can’t recall the last time when I traveled pretty and actually felt like it was worth the time and effort. Worse yet, I’ve actually begun to feel like a bit of a freak myself.  I can handle knowing that other people may consider me a freak, but when I start to feel that way about myself, we have a bit of a problem I think.

 When I first started out on this little adventure, that is exactly what it was – an exciting adventure! It was also more than a little personally fulfilling for me. After a lifetime of hiding, of wishing, and of wondering what it would be like, I was at last out and about in the world as a woman, and it was a wonderful thing!  I felt great and at peace with myself and at peace with my own personal demons.
These days? Not so much. I feel like nothing more than a chubby old man in a dress. . .
 I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being a chubby old man in a dress, but that is not what I am after, what I want, nor how I wish to be perceived.  Screw what others think, that is not how I wish to be perceived by myself.
What I have felt for the last six months or more is not at all flattering, and I am talking about far more than just my vanity. True, I am getting older and showing the wear and tear of those years on my face these days, but that is not the driving force here. This is far more about the way I feel about myself and how I perceive myself. We can debate all day long about the rationality, or lack thereof, of my seeing myself as a woman when I traveled pretty, but rational or not, that is how I felt.  
I felt like “I am Kim – I have a right to be here, I’m pleased to be here, and I am honored to be here. It feels right that I should be here.”
I just don’t know how to state it any clearer, but I don’t feel like a woman when I travel pretty these days.
I feel like a guy who is strutting around in skirts and making an ass out of himself.
I feel like a husband that has put his wife through pure hell.
I feel like a father that has let his children down and done wrong by them.
I feel tired . . .

Despite all of this, I still make the effort here and there, sort of hoping that maybe this is a temporary thing with me that will work itself out; hoping that maybe the wonder will return to it for me. We shall see. . .




SO! What else has been happening with me these days?
To start with, I had a second floor bathroom rot out from under me. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Yeah, the previous owners of our home did a half assed job when they remodeled the bathroom off of the master bedroom. They didn’t use the appropriate drywall to back the shower stall; they just put the tile directly onto regular drywall that is not designed for high moisture or getting wet. Of course our first clue of this was when a tile literally just fell off of the shower wall, exposing the rotted and water damaged wall behind it. Even at that, we had not realized just how bad the damage was behind the tile, and we just stopped using that shower. Well, I finally got up the courage, or got desperate enough, depending upon how you look at it, to tear the shower stall down in preparation for putting up a new one. What I found shocked and devastated us – far more than just the drywall needed to be replaced. Every bit of structural wood behind and under the wall that tile had fallen off of was horribly rotted. Much of the wood was flat out gone – long since turned to dust and fallen away. Some of the wood remaining was about the consistency of Styrofoam – so weak and brittle that you could put your finger through it easily. What had started out as a one or two weekend job to replace a shower stall had morphed into two months or so of rebuilding an entire bathroom, to include the structure of the floor and the exterior wall. You just haven’t lived until to see your home with a gaping hole through the exterior wall up on the second floor. We have the scary part done now – the structure of the floor, sub floor, and wall is once again sound, strong, and complete. Now all we have to do is come up with a lot of money to buy the things required to do the “finish” work and install a proper floor and interior wall surface. We are going to use a “wood-like substance” for the floor (something that looks like wood but is designed to tolerate water) and we are going to put wood up on the walls. Once that is out of the way, we will install a claw foot “slipper” tub IF we can get the damned thing up the steps. At four hundred pounds, getting it up there is going to be a significant challenge.

As I think I mentioned on my last blog, my oldest son is going through a divorce. I don’t know any details and wouldn’t share them here if I did, but let’s suffice it to say that it is a hard time for him. My little boy, my first child, is in the US Navy, far away from home, hurting, and there is absolutely nothing that I can do to help make it better for him. What little I hear from him makes it clear that he is not doing real well and is clearly depressed. I just hope that he handles depression better than I did when I was his age, but I’m kind of doubting it. I turned to alcohol and pretty much drank like a fish, and I suspect that he might be doing much the same. I call and text him often and let him know that even if he is far away, he is never alone – we are always with him and will always have his back. I make sure that he knows that if he needs me, I can and will be there in no more than a day or two – no longer than it takes to either get flights or drive there.  It sucks but it’s all I’ve got to offer him.

Do you remember those huge and painful bruises that I used to get on my legs for no obvious reason at all? We thought that we had that licked as I had gone almost two years without them, but they have once again graced me with their presence. Even as I type this, my lower left calf is a pretty shade of red and swollen to half again its normal width. It feels and pretty much looks exactly as if someone had taken a blow torch and burnt the entire lower calf with it. It hurts and it hurts bad, but in over 15 years, the dozen doctors that I have seen for it still can’t figure out what is causing it, nor come up with a treatment to make it go away. I just try to grin and bear it, except that I can’t grin and I can hardly bear it. Gotta feed the wife and babies though, so I keep going even though I can hardly walk first thing in the morning until it swells up so bad that it can no longer transmit pain. There are people out there with MUCH more serious problems so I will try and keep mine in perspective.

And at work?  The only other field service engineer in my company that understood one of our more prolific instruments as well as I do is about to be fired. It seems that he has been fabricating receipts for things and expensing them to the company. Eventually, he got over confident and got so blatant that he caught the attention of our accounting department. They started going through his expense reports with a fine tooth comb, and then started reviewing his old ones, and have clear and unambiguous proof that he has been committing fraud and stealing from our company. There is no question that he is going to be fired. Now the question is, will they prosecute him? All questions of integrity and honor aside, I find it hard to imagine being stupid enough to risk a job that pays well and offers a lot of freedom, just to steal a hundred dollars here and there. It just doesn’t make sense to me. This guy lived in New Jersey, with-in driving distance of a LOT of our customers, and so now someone is going to have to pick up the slack when he is gone, and I expect that it will be me.
It’s ironic aint it? Now that I am no longer delighted to travel, it is almost a certainty that I will be traveling a lot in the near future. Sigh . . .

25 comments:

  1. Kim - I hope things start getting better for you and family, especially your son.... What you told us about your son was just enough to understand some of your grief. May he find a good mental health practitioner before he makes the mistakes you made in your life, if only to break the cycle of pain.

    Regarding work - I hope you can get someone trained for east coast work, so you don't have to travel far or often.

    And... I hope the tub you want makes it up into that bathroom.... you could use a great tub for a relaxing soak....

    M

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  2. Kim, you are one of the finest people I have ever known and a true inspiration. And a dear and true friend.

    I wish I had words that could help. I really do.

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  3. Dear Kim,

    I am sending you all of my warmth and my heart for such a wonderful and inspirational person that you are. I know that everyone who has ever read your blog, seen you on FB or met you face to face would all be wanting to be there for you if there were a way. The clothes you wear don't change the person you are and I have you to thank for giving me the strength and realisation that I can also be who I am inside and dress how I want to dress. The conversations we have had on facebook have really helped me and the fact you took the time to talk to me shows just how special you are. I wish you all the best and really hope things work out soon.

    Kindest wishes and many hugs..

    Courtney xx

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  4. Hi Kim,

    thanks for sharing this story.. yes.. it's a depressing one, but I have also read all your happy stories when travelling... and I hope these happier times will come back. I tend to view life like a sine wave.. just a lot more erratic.. still I expect that line to cross the x-axis upwards at one point!

    All the best with your health.. and your sons!
    Tassia

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  5. The only words I can come up with are - my prayers are with you in whatever decisions you make.

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  6. Kim, I've been reading your blog probably over a period of years now, without ever making any comments before, but I felt that I ought to say something now. I've always felt awed and maybe envious of your drive and ability to get out and about en femme, Your actions have been pretty (literally!) inspirational, and it's people like you who have helped to persuade people like me that they should make the effort to come out, which I am going to do at a conference coming up soon in the northwest. I do hope that you can cast aside your current self-doubts.Maybe your comment about "nothing happening" on your trips when dressed is simply an indication that you are mellowing gracefully into an elegant older woman without even realizing it.
    With best wishes for speedy resolution of your current difficulties,
    Davina Liffey

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  7. I am a woman and you look better in pictures than I do! I have been so jealous of you! I used to look good in a dress and I had great legs. I am am now a chubby woman in a dress and I hate it. I have gained 60 pounds because of stress eating. Family stress, work stress, and weight gain really affects how we feel about ourselves - just try and stay positive and it will get better (things are slowly getting better for me with regards to health and money though not work.) I have been worried about you since you haven't posted in months. Even if you don't feel like traveling pretty - let us know you are OK now and then. You seem like a very decent guy and your wife is lucky to have you! In fact, I am jealous of her also. M.

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  8. I am so glad to see you post something. I have enjoyed your posts, whether about traveling pretty or not. I'm glad to hear you are taming your bathroom. sorry to hear about your son. that sucks, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for him.

    I think I understand about the magic. I've noticed that most of us reach a point where we must go on to a next step, whatever it is. There must be a challenge in what we do. Being the women "we are" can lose it's charm, especially when people don't notice. I also think you're right about society. They are more accepting or less afraid.

    Keep posting about your life, You've become part of my family, and I care about you.

    good luck with the increased workload. God bless.

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  9. Hi Kim
    I've followed your blog for what seems like ages via the old CDC site, Femulate and now here. I've totally admired how you sailed through travelling pretty. I never flew but felt fantastic when I caught the train! I've gone through a similar loss of motivation myself this year but I know why. I've been on estrogen and anti-androgens for nine months. The anti-androgens have dropped my testosterone to zilch and I figure that has reduced the drive and the willingness to risk-take. Are you sure nobody is slipping pills into your cups of tea?

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  10. Hi Kim,

    Glad to see that you've posted again. I was bery concerned about you...you are an inspiration to many.

    Sorry to hear of your travails...that job thing is really sad...just when work should be easing up, someone else's greediness gets in the way, and your world is seriously affected. But rest assured, Kim is gorgeous...she certainly doesn't look like "a chubby guy - or girl - in a dress!"

    Hang in there...we're all pulling for you...things will hopefully improve now that we're out of the depths of a bad winter...

    Mandy

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  11. Kim like many others here I think of you as a friend and in many ways a "Fellow Spirit" I am sure that you will get more comments like the ones above offering sympathy, compassion and support, I add my voice to theirs and will hold you and your family in my prayers.

    As we do think of you as a friend, not just a source of entertainment, we are interested and concerned over all aspects of your life, not just your "adventures in a dress". You are a full person with all manner of concerns and responsibilities and issues ~ just like the rest of us ~ and we care about all of them, we care about you. A blog can be a confidant a place to discuss the events and concerns that maybe can't be discussed anywhere else, a place to share the disappointments of life as well it's highs.

    It does sound as though life is piling up the problems on you just now, I rust it will get better, but feel free to share any aspect of the S*%t being thrown at you, we may not be able to help but at least we can sympathise and you can get it off your chest

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  12. Oh, i forgot to mention. I think the problem with your legs might be a hormone imbalance. a similar thing happened to me a while back, along with many other problems all of which, are estrogen overdose related. I don't take hormones at this time, but I've done some research and concluded I must've gotten an overdose somewhere. I thought that was impossible, until I discovered the estrogen patch. Anyway you mentioned a low testosterone count once, maybe thats giving you the leg problems.

    As alway, thanks for the inspiration.

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  13. Where do I start?
    How about the "easy" one first. Why a tub? Why a claw foot tub? They purely aesthetic , they were popular years ago for a reason, that's all there was. Today they are not very practical, or safe. And they are very messy, water everywhere, isn't that why your having this problem to begin with? And they are very expensive to buy, own and maintain. Everything that supplements the tub is expensive because there isn't that much demand.

    Sure they are cool & stylish, but it's like a nice suit, do want the trendy colorful pantsuit that's in vogue and on the magezine covers, the stars are all wearing it. It's expensive and you wear it once or twice and it's into the closet for twenty years back in style.

    A nice traditional skirt suit never goes out of style, it fits well and looks great on, and you will be wearing years from now.

    How long do plan to stay in this house? Have you considered a walk in shower?
    Sure a bath is nice every now & then( calgon take me away) I had one back in 1997.
    Too much water, the warm bath soon turns to lukewarm to cool. How many would or anyone else take a bath( after all is said and with the claw foot , you me feel like you
    "Took a bath on that new bathroom"
    Do you have a tub in the other bathroom ? Just a thought, I buy houses and have them fixed up to rent, some of the houses are Junkers", and have had to "gut" the bathrooms. Sometimes I will "rehab" a house to accommodate older folks and get assistance from the city for the costs of the bathroom.

    The other problems in your life. You feel like an old chubby man in a dress, guess what if you were a woman, you'd feel like an old chubby woman in a dress. Which is odd in it self since FEW old chubby women wear dresses. Society expects women to be slim and pretty crib to grave.

    I understand the "thrill" being gone. You fly pretty, I work pretty. I started a new job in outside sales in February, the first couple of weeks was heaven , everything I dreamed of. I got wear nice skirt suits, and "be pretty" everyday, I was living the life of a professional career woman. Going to call on customers, going to lunches, and networking lunches and happy hours.

    After a long day I couldn't wait to get home and take off my bra and those "damn" pantyhose and heels.

    The joy of getting up earlier each morning to do my makeup soon turned to mundane & necessary routine. Soon being out and about in I the world/society became routine.
    The first time I left a networking luncheon I remember walking out of the restaurant and up at a beautiful sky and saying to myself I'm out with "normal" people doing "normal" things, it felt GREAT!!! I said to myself "so this is what it like"' although I never considered myself overly religious , I looked up to the sky and said " Thanks GOD"

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    Replies
    1. Why the claw foot tub? Because that is what my wife wants.
      I agree with you and would be just as happy with a more mundane setup, but it is what my wife wants, and if it makes her happy . . .

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  15. I hope this little set back is short lived. We all go through this at one time or another but it doesn't change the fact to who we really are. My prayers are with you sis.

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  16. I am glad to see you posting again because like many others I was concerned for your well being. I am sorry, however, that your well being could be better.
    As we go through life there are many ups and downs and things have a way of evolving.
    As Scarlett O'Hara said at the end of GWTW. Tomorrow is another day. So help me God. Keep in mind the poem about "Footprints in the Sand" During times of trial and trouble you will be carried through.
    Pat

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  17. Kimberley please keep blogging. I love those inspirational stories of your experiences flying pretty but if if you are now in guy mode then I still want to hear about the cars. I haven't flown pretty yet nor do I own a Mustang but both are on my to do list.

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  18. So glad to see you post again ... I was worried about you! And I am so sorry about all the other stuff, including your son. I completely understand the feelings of helplessness.

    Kim, I just want you to know that I think of you often.

    Reine

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  19. Hi Kimberly,

    Just a couple of things. First, those bruises. If they really are bruises (bleeding under the skin) but without injury, then the most obvious cause would be a bleeding disorder, such as thrombocytopenia (low platelets), von Willebrand's disease (platelets which don't work) or even a haemophilia (many types of which are not as dramatic as popular perceptions might suggest). Bleeding tendencies tend (but not always) to be associated with excessive bleeding after minor cuts, or spontaneous nosebleeds. Subtle bleeding tendencies may not show up on ordinary blood tests.

    If the lesions aren't truly bruises, but simply look like bruises, then the most likely cause would be vasculitis (of which there are at least a dozen categories) or perhaps a connective tissue disease (of which there are another dozen categories). Some types of vasculitis or CTD are rare, subtle, and don't show up on ordinary blood tests. The good news is that both vasculitis and CTD are reasonably amenable to treatment.

    Finally, all of us have phases in our lives. I personally wouldn't push being Kimberley if it isn't working for you at the moment. Be kind to yourself, and do what you feel is right. It sounds like there are plenty of external stresses in your life, which might be causing your low self-esteem. It is likely to bounce back, and with it, Kimberley. I recommend not doing something dramatic or audacious to "kick-start" the presence of Kimberley in your life. Take your time; see what happens; roll with it a little.

    Best wishes,

    Vivienne.

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  20. Hi Kimberley

    I have never commented before, but I have loved reading your posts, and they have in no small way helped me to come to terms with who I am. I suspect you have given thousands of girls that little bit of confidence they need to go out dressed - and inspired them to try to look as good as you, in their own way.

    Take care,

    Claire x

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  21. I've been reading ALL your postings and I too can feel that you have been slowing down this last year or so. Sometimes life gets too complicated and you just have to step back and re-assess what is important and what is not. You have been an inspiration to many of us, to get out there and enjoy our Femme side. You have many friends all over the country that are wishing you well.

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  22. It is good to be ablee to read your entire blog again.
    My 89 yr old very wise father says "our exterior is only there so that we can recognize each other but our true self is the person inside us".
    I have found that the more stress and worry I have about the welfare of a family member the less energy I have to be Diana. Remember it takes a lot of energy to be our other selves. I know because lately I haven't had the energy to be Diana in the last week or so.
    Just know that you are in my thoughts my friend.

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  23. well kim it is allways good to here from you , and as we get older things do change it is not for the weak after 4 heart operations broken pelvis a copule of herneas six kids and countless trips out as Susie I just don't feel quite as pretty as I used to but life goes on as our friends and relitavies passon we relize not all things are as they appear to be just keep smileing and remember your kids still love you no matter how you present male or female life is still good

    hugs Susie

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  24. I don't know how you bathroom is shaped etc. I like the alcove tubs with tile flanges. Very practical for waterproofing. For our bathroom the alcove is the only way to go. Most are very boring. But we like the idea of a curved front. Something like the Kohler's Expanse Alcove Baths. My wife found another tube with almost a seashell shaped front. I can't find it, but it is out there. Because of it's simple clean designs, you should be able to make it home in any type of bathroom. From country to modern.

    The regular Expanse is cheaper then any clawfoot tubs I quickly found. A fancy version comes with surface heating, a big bonus for a girl who likes to soak in the tub.

    http://www.us.kohler.com/us/Bathing-Alcove-Baths/Expanse/brand/999142/997331.htm

    Hugs Kylie

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