Musings: I See Red. (And Teal.)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hi all! Hope you're all enjoying your weekend.

We here in the frigid Northeast are simply grateful we are not being subjected to yet another snowstorm this winter. We had 14 inches (35.56 cm) here on Wednesday, with more predicted for Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Sigh. At least baseball's spring training camps open in Florida and Arizona next week...

On to some ponderings about the last two or so months, and what I am doing as a result of surviving that dark stretch. Hint: it's all good. :D

Follow along below the fold!

I am happy to report that it seems the black cloud that was hovering over my mood for far too long seems to have lifted - hopefully for good.
I don't expect my life to be perfect or trouble-free, needless to say. But I *do* have a feeling that the bleakness I was experiencing is a thing of the past. Several dear friends offered what turned out to be prescient advice.

What I was enduring in the time before and after going full-time just before Christmas, they said, was not a continuation of the darkness to which I was all too accustomed. It was, rather, the end of that part of my journey.

In going full-time, I needed to confront, once and for all my family's hostility, either covert (in the case of my parents) or overt (in the case of my brother and sister-in-law).

I knew it was going to be extremely rough; however, I think I underestimated the toll it would take on me. It is one thing to know on an intellectual level that they do not support you. It is quite another to force the issue, as I needed to do, and understand their revulsion a visceral level.

I am proud of the fact that I took the high road the entire time, as I had vowed to myself I would. I wanted to begin my life as myself knowing I extended them every opportunity to be part of my journey, right up until the bitter end.

The door is still open to my parents - with the caveat that it is now up to them to initiate things. They will not. They cannot. It requires more of them than they are capable of giving. I think this has always been the case. Now I know that the responsibility for that lay with them, not with me.

As for my brother and sister-in-law, I am done with them. There is a difference between forgiving someone and allowing them to get away with inexcusable behavior. They crossed that line, willfully and repeatedly, knowing full well what they were doing and its implications.

Actions have consequences. I have decided people who are intent on hurting me are no longer going to be part of my journey. They feel I am not worthy of them; the reality is the exact opposite. I can see that now. And the fault, and loss, is entirely theirs.

I do not believe in karma; as far as I can see, good is punished and evil (or inexcusable behavior) is rewarded on a pretty consistent basis. Other friends, though, feel differently. And they say that my brother and sister-in-law will reap what they have sown.

Quite honestly, whether they do or do not is irrelevant to me. They chose their path; I chose mine. Let the chips fall where they may. All I know is I can sleep with a clear conscience. And that is all that matters.


I will have more to say about this part of my journey in the days to come. I have focused on the negative fallout for the most part in this post. I can now focus on what is truly important: the people who supported me when I needed them most. :c) Stay tuned.


I'll wrap this post up with a few words about how I spent the past week. In case you are still wondering how the title relates to this post, read on!

I vowed at the beginning of the new year that I was going to focus on myself this year. Not in a self-obsessed way (I hope! <lol>), but rather by embracing the fact that at long last I am being true to myself, and all that this entails.

Well, it turns out that in my case the new year begins in February, not January. :D January was, well, less than fun. But that's OK; it's over and done with now.

Again, I will write more about what embracing my new life means to me in the days ahead. For now, suffice it to say it promises to be a great deal of fun.

I worked very hard to get to where I am now. I am proud of what I have accomplished. And now I get to begin to enjoy being myself. For the first time in my life.

I took the first steps towards that in the past week.

Last Sunday I got together with my friend and co-worker S. Our original goal was to get pedicures - my very first.

I was an inveterate nail-biter in my pre-transition days. In fact, it was realizing I had *stopped* chewing them - completely unaware - that led literally hours later to finally admitting I needed to transition. (Someday I will write a post about that day, in fact.) Anyway, long story short - I broke all five nails on my right hand in short order once we decided to get pedicures.

Instead, we went to another item on Cass's Cavalcade of Changes: getting my ears pierced.

This, happily, went much better. My ears stayed attached the entire time, and I barely cried. (I didn't want to look bad in front of S, after all.) Just kidding; it was fine. I told the girl doing the piercing I was fine as long as I didn't watch, which she thought was funny. <g> I knew better, and looked in the opposite direction as each ear was pierced.

I chose teal earrings - of course. :D And I lovelovelove the fact that my ears are now pierced.

How do they look? Glad you asked!

In a few months, I can start to wear something other than studs. I cannot wait!

So, that was the first step. For the second step, I made my first visit to the salon since getting my hair done the day I went full-time.

We went with strawberry blonde during that visit, as you can see from the pictures. In the weeks since, I learned through trial and error (mostly error) about using the special conditioner I purchased to take care of my new locks.

For a few weeks, I was a bit apprehensive about using the conditioner. And in short order my hair turned into that of a mutt - some strawberry blonde, some light brown/dirty blonde (my natural color), depending on how well I did, or usually did not, do in rinsing out the conditioner.

Not to be deterred, I promptly went in the other direction and began using more conditioner. A *lot* more. You can guess how well that went. I quickly went from two-toned to being qualified to play the long-lost sister of Heatmiser (you know, this guy, from The Year Without A Santa Claus):

This look, needless to say, was NOT going to help find Mr. or Miss Right! Luckily, help was on the way.

In seemingly no time, I was due for my next visit. I'm not cutting it, other than trimming the split ends. I want to let it grow as long as it can, with the caveats that it a) looks OK and b) is manageable. (Wish me luck!) Instead, this visit was a coloring touch-up.

Much to my surprise, everyone at the salon loved the more-strawberry-than-blonde look. My stylist, J, told me the red hair complemented my normal post-cadaverous skin tone, and suggested we play it up.

"Red hair is a cute look," she said. "And when summer is coming, we can go blonder."

I am in what-the-heck? mode right now with most things in my life, basically, so I said sure.

Really, I have no preconceived notions of what will or will not work for me, or what I will or will not like, so why limit myself? If it sounds like fun, or at least interesting, try it to see what happens.

If I like it, great. If not, no harm done; just move on to something else. That is the attitude I am trying to take with pretty much everything in my life right now. I spent most of my life inside a tiny box; I am done with that. It's a big world out there; I want to experience it. Or at least what looks interesting and fun. :c)

But I digress. It was, as before, a lot of fun getting my hair done. This was something I never dared allow myself to imagine I could experience. So now I am sure I enjoy every moment of it.

The end result, I am happy to say, was worth it, at least to me:

This isn't the best picture (why is the lighting in salons so unflattering, anyway?), but you get the idea. :-p

Also, as you can see from the earring photos above, we did my eyebrows as well. That seems to have made a difference, oddly enough. And how do I know that, you ask?

On Friday night, several women sitting several tables away from me kept glancing my way. I wasn't really paying attention, as I was listening to music using my noise-canceling headphones. They weren't being rude, or hostile, just curious.

(When people do cross the line into impolite staring, I have found that a friendly, sincere smile will almost always disarm them - particularly with teenagers. I had a genuinely fun chat with several teenaged girls a few weeks ago when one came over after I smiled back at her. We wound up talking for about 45 minutes, and not just about me being trans. I've seen them several times since; they make it a point to say hi, as I do when I see them first. Score one for civility!)

Anyway, a moment later one of the women came over with a wide smile. She told me they had been admiring my pocketbook when I came in, which made me laugh; teal really does rule, as I told her!

She then complimented me on my hair, and told me it really made my eyes stand out. I did not turn quite as red as my hair... but it was close. :#)

We chatted for a few minutes while I tracked down whether the nearby department store from which I had purchased the bag still had them in stock. They did, so they happily bid me goodbye as they raced off to pick one up before the doors closed. I couldn't blame them; hey, we are talking teal here!

All in all, it was a fun week. My next adventure is tomorrow afternoon. A full report shall follow forthwith. Promise!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks!


The blog title gives me a chance to share songs from two great bands - Split Enz and X.

Split Enz, from New Zealand, are best known in the United States for "One Step Ahead," "Six Months In A Leaky Boat," and "I Got You," one of a small number of perfect songs (imho).

(A few others, in case you are curious: "Here, There, and Everywhere" (The Beatles), "God Only Knows" (The Beach Boys), "Northern Sky" (Nick Drake), and "Spanish Guitar" (Gene Clark), a song Bob Dylan admitted he wished he had written.)

Here is a less well-known track from 1978, which marked their transition from art-rock to power-pop. It was written and sung by band co-founder Tim Finn:

Such a great song! And a hilarious video too. I admit it without shame: I *love* power-pop and New Wave! So, so fun!

The song, released as a single, also marks the recorded debut of younger brother Neil. Neil, barely 18 years old when he joined the band, quickly found his voice, writing "I Got You," "One Step Ahead," and an early version of "I Walk Away," a gem he would resurrect after forming Crowded House in 1986.
Here's a great version featuring Eddie Vedder from Neil's 2002 Seven Worlds Collide charity project:

In case you're wondering: yes, that is Johnny Marr, as well as Radiohead's Ed O'Brien on guitar and Phil Selway on drums. :c)

Neil's new solo album is out next week, and by all accounts it is brilliant. I will be picking it up on Tuesday (the day new albums are released in the United States) for sure. Yes, I am a geek. :c)

As if one great song called "I See Red" isn't enough, the mighty X recorded their own song called "I See Red" for their 1983 classic, More Fun In The World:

This is the album that contains the brilliant "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts":

Great, great band. Those really were the good ol' days...


Stace on February 9, 2014 at 2:01 AM said...

Red and Teal do, indeed, rule :)

I have to agree on the karma front. I'm also not sure how healthy it is concentrating on someone getting their karma back. Live your own life, and make sure you life it to your fullest.

I say your fullest, because everyone needs different things. I have colleagues and friends who need to be out everyday in order to have a full life, where as I find plenty of fulfilment in being in home with Mrs Stace, music, and a good book. That used to make me think I was missing out and should make more of an effort. Now I know that is not true, it's fulfilling to me :)

Look after yourself,

Becca on February 9, 2014 at 3:18 AM said...

Where on earth have you been then young lady ? Leave us all hanging around waiting for you !

And another thing ..... are you turning into Caroline with 'Toe oddness' - you talk about pedicures and then trip merrily onto discussing biting your nail. Eh ? What?

Anyway ...... you look lush by the way :). I am glad that things are settling down - not easy to do what you have done but it will get easier over time. Its still going to hurt for sure but not as much as it would do if you were continually putting yourself up to get an emotional bashing by maintaining contact. When they do come back into your life it will be on your terms not theirs.

Real rocks

Did I say that you look great ?

x x

Becca on February 9, 2014 at 3:19 AM said...

Stupid spell checker - I meant Teal rocks

Cassidy on February 15, 2014 at 7:51 PM said...

@ Stace: Could not agree with you more about living life to *your* fullest. I want to try things outside my comfort zone; I have several ideas that strike me as a lot of fun. If it turns out they are not, that's OK. I can try something else. The important thing is to *try* at this point in my journey.

@ Becca: Hmm… Something *does* seem to have been lost in my nail saga, doesn't it? I wrote most of this on my iPad, but completed it on my laptop. Looks as if some of vanished in cyberspace during the trip.

I was trying to say we planned a trip to get our nails done; in true Cass fashion, I promptly broke five of mine. lol Once S saw that, she suggested I get my ears pierced. And the rest is history!

Also: thank you *so* much for the compliment, hon! You are too kind. :#) I think I still look like him, honestly. I get some long stares at times, but I truly could not care less. I'm comfortable with myself, which is all that matters.

Enjoy the weekend! Hope it is better than here - ten more inches of snow and blizzard conditions, followed by *another* storm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sigh...


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