Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Life in the Month of June 2017 so far

It's been quite the month! And it ain't over yet.

If you're curious to know what's been going on in our world this busy month here's a few highlights so far.

Electrolysis update: This (above pic) is what I looked like yesterday at the electrolysis office. Can you see how there's a clearing in my cheeks? We seem to have killed that patch of hair for good. The rest of the beard is less thick as well. But it's going to take a while to kill all the hair.  I won't show you how swollen and red my face became after yesterday's session because I don't want you to lose your appetite. Today I still look a bit like the elephant man 🙁

Hair Update: You may have heard that I'm growing out my hair.  It is long enough that I started putting it behind my ears. Folks at the office I work at Tues-Fri have made comments such as "wow you're hair is getting long." One dude smiled and gave me a thumbs up. The rest said with a wink "there is something different about you." But you can tell they don't really care since my hair doesn't affect their job performance 😜 If anything they seem supportive of my physical changes.

​This month marked 15 years since I made my television debut on the first season of a show called Americn Idol. A moment in my life I will never forget no matter how much Amnesia I get.

We did male-to-female make up on two girls from the West Coast and then took them out on the town for drinks. I left them alone and went to the rest room, by the time I came back a guy was trying to pick them up.

We also did a makeover and two outfit photo shoot on a new girl from Peru.

We also did make up on one of our favorite girls from Spain and then went out for drinks

Vivian and I after a few drinks in the West Village NYC

We also did a MTF makeover at Blonde and Co, then a shoot with the model at Dennis Hopper's Daughter's (Marin Hopper) luxury boutique Hayward Luxury NYC. We finished the day making a 10 inch replica statue of her femme self in her fabulous evening gown at Doob. Red Letter Day for sure! I hope to have pics for sharing in the near future!

Michele as a blonde

This month we also convinced Michele to go blonde for the first time during her male-to-female makeover.  As you can tell by the photo above, blondes have more fun

We started reading this book and it's making us question: who is in change of having an orgasm? Are each and every one of us in charge of our own orgasm, or is our partner partly responsible for helping us reach orgasm?

Father's Day weekend my high school friend Christina and her 7 month old little girl from Florida came to visit. We did lots of picture taking , laughing, talking about Life's challenges, and changing diapers all over Manhattan.

Me, Christina, and Lady V in Central Park NYC

These two ladies have opened a place in my heart I didn't even know was there. I find myself super protected of them, so much so that a security guard at the Time Warner Center today saw us and he wished me a happy Father's Day. I'm more of a Manny than a father in this situation but I'm starting to see why parenting can be so appealing. And I can see why naps are also so appealing when parenting.

Me giving Lady V her bottle

I spent Father's Day in Central Park on a picnic blanket with this little one.  What a treat!

Lady V and me hanging out in Central Park NYC

There's the family we are born into, and then there is the Family we build.  I am grateful to be part of the happy family that composes my male-to-female clients and Christina and Lady V.  

Keep the ones you love close ladies and gents.

ps - I didn't get to dress in femme in the month of June due to the electrolysis sessions but lets see what July brings.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Theater Saved my Life

Me with the Theater kids at a High School District Competition

This past Saturday I was doing a male-to-female makeover on one of my clients from San Diego when "she" began telling me that her 12 year old son wants to dress like a girl.  The boy is unaware that dad dresses like a woman on his spare time.  The coincidence of a son and father desiring to dress in the clothes of the opposite sex is one that made us both wonder if there might be something in the genes.  The boy is also into theater.  Of course we speculated on her son's sexual orientation and possible gender identity.  Mostly we talked about how young people use theater as a vehicle to explore their gender identity and sexual orientation by becoming characters.  This topic hit home for me since I credit the theater with "saving my life."

Me and the theater kids in the 90's

It wasn't until my Junior year in high school that I joined the Drama Club, Troupe 2617.  The prior two years, on numerous occasions, my classmates asked me if I was in the Drama Club since I was so "dramatic."  Up to that point I was a bit of a loner.  I spent most of the first two years of High School studying hard to get up to speed with my English.  Being that English is my second language, as an immigrant I started my ninth grade year with the reading comprehension of a second grader.  It was a tough lonely first two years of high school.  Finally, my Junior year I was a bit more comfortable with my English and decided to see what this Drama Club was all about.  So I joined.  Little did I know that it would be there that I would find my "Tribe."

At the thespian dinner 1997 with some of the theater gang

The first production I auditioned for was for the play The Outsiders back in 1995-96.  I landed the role of Two-Bit, made famous by actor Emilio Estevez in the 1983 movie version.  It was then that I caught the acting bug.  The new friendships with the theater kids minimized my loneliness.  I started to feel like I belonged.

Later that year I landed the lead role of Don Quixote in the musical Man of La Mancha.  The pressure and stress of being Don Quixote as a first year drama student proved to be too much for a novice actor/singer as myself so I quit the role and accepted a smaller role in the ensemble.  Looking back, I feel as if my theater teacher, Mrs Holland, believed in me more than I believed in myself.  I was an insecure teenager. You wouldn't think so by the manner in which I carried myself, but I was riddled with insecurities, especially when it came to owning the spotlight, reading aloud (cold readings), and memorization.  You may not believe this but I was never really hungry for the spotlight.

On stage as Conrad Birdie in 1997

I found a bit more confidence by the following year when I landed two lead roles.  I was the lead role in the one act play "Your Life is a Feature Film" which we took to district thespian competition.  Later that year I played the role of Conrad Birdie in the musical Bye Bye Birdie.  I even played the role of Conrad at a neighboring High School when they recruited me after their Conrad dropped out.  I loved playing Conrad.  He had very few lines (I have a hard time memorizing lines), and he had three fun songs.

Part of the cast of Merily We Roll Along

My first job out of high school was teaching acting and theater to kids ages 5-12 at an after school program and summer camp.  It's during this time that I did some regional theater.  I was in productions of A Chorus Line, Merrily We Roll Along and even played a Kit Kat Girl in the musical Cabaret, my first female role on stage.

Me as Texas the Kit Kat Girl and the ensemble of Cabaret

When I moved from Florida to New York in 2002, the theater took a back seat.  However, I did a few readings of my work at open mic nights, a few cabaret performances, and even went on stage with my cover band, but I was never again in a full-on theater production.  

In 2005 I found myself on the movie set of John Cameron Mitchell's film Short Bus as an extra.  JCM is the genius who created Hedwig and the Angry Inch off Broadway and then later brought the production to a Broadway stage.  That's as close as I got to Broadway, until...

When the Broadway show Priscilla Queen of the Desert held auditions in New York City I simply had to attend.  I knew getting cast in the production would be a long-shot but I had to try.  I didn't want to regret not having tried.  The audition process was a blast.

My High School theater friend Diana and I 

Every year as the Tony awards approach (they will take place this Sunday) I start thinking about my old High School Theater FAMILY.  If it wasn't for their acceptance, their quirkiness, their creativity, and their LOVE I'm not sure where I'd be today.  Thanks to the invention of Facebook we all found each other and still 20 years later have each other's backs.  The bond is strong.

My high school theater friend Christina and I over the years

No matter how many stages we step foot on, some bonds get stronger with time.  We can play many roles throughout our lifetime, but being ourselves with each other is more than enough.

I surprised Christina at her first baby shower 

The angsty teen years can be difficult.  At times I may have thought of ending it all.  Thanks to my theater friends, they showed me that I got a lot of living to do.

The show must go on.

ps - here's to Jake and Christian.  We lost you way too soon.  Love you both to pieces.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Transitioning, It Takes a Village.

This mop is getting long. The goal is for it to get twice this long. 
All I have to do is let nature do its thing. Go nature go!

  I hadn't seen my best friend in months since he moved to North Carolina. As soon as he walked through the door of my Brooklyn apartment and saw that I had pierced my ears he said something along the lines of "oh, it's weird seeing you with earings." I must make clear that one of the reasons he is my best friend is because he says exactly what he feels, and he never candy coats anything. I love him for that.

​ Later that day he pointed out how long my nails were "for a guy." He was right. My nails these days are long for a "guy." I even put a coat of shiny nail polish on them. I love them. And I take great pride in how hard it is to keep them looking nice, long, and shiny because without-fail I am forever chipping a nail.

Later that day as we strolled through the streets of New York City, after a delicious sushi dinner, he asked me what's "going on" with me. I knew what he was asking. In a way he was asking if I was transitioning from a man into a woman. I explained. I'm one of those non-binary genderfluid individuals so I felt I had to explain the "transition" I am going through. Yes, I am getting painful electrolysis treatments on my face to permanantly remove my facial hair. Yes, I am growing my hair long on my head. Yes, there is a probability that I may start taking hormones in the future. So naturally the folks who see me on a daily bases are starting to notice the physical changes.

​ As we're walking towards the Subway I tell my friend that I've held back from telling folks about what I'm going through because, frankly, I'm still ME and will still be ME. Sure, my exterior aperance may seem a little different but the person they know is still the same. I don't care about pronouns.  You can call me HE, SHE, THEY, THEM, whatever. So in that regards I don't expect nor request any different treatment from my loved ones.

The most beautiful thing that sticks out in my mind is when my friend softly said to me something along the lines of "be patiant with me, since as you transition this is somewhat of a transition for me." That statement ment the world to me and it reenforced the reason he's my best friend. My future appearane and transformation will be something that he will have to get used to.  I get it. And that's why I don't mind him stating how he feels about my appearance in the interm. He means well. He's just not used to his male friend looking the way he does.

​ My nails are long and shiny. My facial hair is disapearing one follicle at a time. My hair on my head is getting longer by the minute. Little by little I'm starting to look and feel more like myself. I may not talk about it in length with the people I see on a daily bases but then again, some things are best left unsaid. Sometimes all we have to do is show up and let others witness the changes that are happening in our lives. After all, isn't LIFE itself a transitionional period.