A Sad Christmas … Not, or: How to Deal with the Roof Caving In

The last two weeks have been … what’s a good word … challenging. I have a wonderful romantic partner in an open, safe, loving, polyamorous relationship. Two weeks ago, I had … two such romantic partners. One checked out, thus ending a six-year relationship as such.

This lady owned the house where I was staying and paying rent at the time. And, my credit and cash situation right now is really bad. She didn’t say “and leave immediately” but instead was OK with me staying there until I found another place to live. However, the post-breakup vibe made things very awkward and soon she basically said she’d appreciate seeing me outta there ASAP.

For a transgender girl to find a new place to stay isn’t the easiest thing in many circumstances. When broke, and with less-than-great credit, it’s way harder. And, it’s hard to imagine a worse time than mid-December.

I was very tempted to start feeling sorry for myself, and then … I realized that this is always an indication that I’m indulging in less-than-healthy thoughts. So, I contacted a friend of mine who owned an ancient apartment that I used to rent for $100 a month, in 1995 when last I was super-broke. The friend explained that the little apartment has ceased to exist but they have a larger, 3-bedroom unit that’s a pain to keep heated in colder-than-freezing Fallon, NV and they keep running the water and also electric heaters and they would LOVE for me to have it rent-free until the weather warms up as long as I pay the gas company deposit and monthly heating bills. After April, if I wanna keep renting it, it’s $500 a month. So, of course, I said “yes” and I’m already moved in. I just finished moving out the last items out of the previous place today. I even have my little Christmas tree up, this being Christmas eve.

My new place is a mile or so from my shop and the rent is half of what I contributed to the previous place’s mortgage, and I get the first 4 1/2 months rent-free. I save $500 in rent, I drive 120 miles a day less for 24 days per month and I spend 50 hours a week less on driving. I’m happy.

My Christmas tree has a wiring problem, but apart from that … life is good.

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Falling on one’s butt, and getting up again

Stepping Stones, re-used under Creative Commons License courtesy of Martyn B

Stepping Stones, re-used under Creative Commons License courtesy of Martyn B

This post was inspired by a friend whom I’ve seen fall, and bravely get up again. I love that approach. I use it myself.

I see life as being like a river with some stepping stones. One can wade through the river (plod along, live life the hard way) or try to jump across on the slippery stepping stones (strive for more progress). The risk, of course, is one might fall and end up more wet and hurt than if one had simply plodded along.

And yet, that’s the approach I prefer. It’s exhilarating when things work well, and it’s OK when they don’t. Eventually, even the process of falling and getting hurt and getting up again and moving on … it becomes a useful skill.

The Red Dress, or: the Joys of Being a Lingerie Model / Stripper

This week, I was quite broke. But, there is a lot that a transgender girl can go and do, instead of feeling sorry for herself and whining about life.

Some months ago, I bought an old BMW sports car with a bad transmission. With much help from two wonderful friends, I swapped out the transmission and the car now drives beautifully.

In California, I could probably sell the car for double what I paid for it. So, Sunday night, I drove it to California, parked it at a Greyhound Bus Station and took the bus back to Reno, arriving back at 6 a.m. Monday morning.

I next prepared another car that I’d bought for $800 and might be able to sell for 4 times that amount. I drove it to California Monday night.  So, that’s 750 miles in one 24-hour span.

Next, I visited a client who wants to involve me in some custom database software work. The meeting went well. I decided to go to the mall, to buy a little “thank you” present to the nice lady who had referred this client to me.

While I was at the mall, I saw a gorgeous dress that I could not afford to buy … but I wished I could.

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I’m not busty, but I have smooth and shapely legs and this dress would show them off SO nicely. The dress is short in front, and long in the back, which style is somehow very erotic to me.

I delivered the present, and then went to a local junkyard where for the next day or so I dismantled parts off 25-year old cars so as to fix up more cars yet. I didn’t feel very girly doing that.

Then, a client responded to one of my ads. I offer private lingerie shows (essentially, private strip shows) for gentlemen who like girls like me. So, I went to meet the client for coffee. He saw me in the parking lot, introduced himself and decided he liked my look enough to dispense with meeting over coffee. He invited me to his hotel room and got to see … more of me. He enjoyed it as did I.  He wanted another session, the next day, and I told him about the dress and how it’d make a nice start to the next show.  He liked the idea.

That evening, I was back at the mall, with the purchase of the dress now being part of a good business plan. This is what I looked like, trying it on.

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I’m no supermodel or beauty queen, but I feel a little closer to that when I am wearing this dress, so I’m very happy with it.

So, here I am, back home. I’m likely to sell both cars, am likely to end up making money with database software work, and I have a lovely dress that I bought as part of a business decision so as to make more money.

Life is good. 🙂

Success at Work

Someone nice just asked, in a forum for transgender girls, how we deal with being discriminated against, in the workplace. Here’s my reply:

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I’m probably in the very worst part of the paradigm because I’m no longer a hot-looking 18-year old. I’m at an age when people are less forgiving. Let’s just say that when someone thinks I’m in my early 30s then I take it as a huge compliment.

I also look androgynous, neither totally male nor totally female. My looks and voice are all sort of “in the middle.” And, that makes many people uncomfortable. It even makes ME uncomfortable. I can hardly wait to simply look and sound 95%+ like the girl who I basically am, brain-wise. But, I can’t hide in a cave until then.

Just last week I went to a large Silicon valley manufacturing company to see if they wanted to start a new software project, for which my hourly bill rate is $5 more than what I charge when I do private strip shows ($165 vs $160). These are high numbers because I happen to be good at, and in demand for, both. That’s a key point — be good at it. As Abraham Lincoln said: “whatever you are, be a good one.”

My prospective client was a middle-aged gentleman. So, I had pretty much all the odds against me, including that I don’t keep things secret so if he poked around on the Internet he could probably see that I don’t just make software but also take off my clothes in exchange for money. I warned him up front that I’m transgender. He seemed OK with it.

We met and we focused on his software, and pretty soon, that was all that mattered. He was facing some difficult choices, and I gave him some very helpful information, and I can see that he appreciated that. He asked me for a proposal, I sent it, and he just emailed me and it looks like he’s going to proceed with involving me in the project. So, even if things seem intimidating, if we let ourselves get intimidated, we’ll fail.

Whenever I wanna feel sorry for myself I think of that scene in Saving Private Ryan when brave US soldiers stormed Normandy. If they had the guts to do that, and bought my freedom with their blood, then I have no excuse for being less brave as I go about facing the challenges of finding the few nice clients and people who are willing to deal with me on merit as opposed to being preoccupied with how I look and sound. I have objective value to add and if I find those who value me for that, I can thrive.

Another recent example was me selling a used car on a forum dominated by male subculture. I mentioned I’m a girl, someone asked for pics and I cautioned that I’m a t-girl so if they really wanna see pics, make sure they know what they’re asking for. They responded as in “I’m such a kidder” and I explained that no, I’m serious. They got serious too, and respectfully so. Others chimed in. It was mentioned that if I’m that open and honest about my personal situation then probably I’m also like that about my car and that is a good thing.

So, is it hard? Yes. But, the key issue for me is to reject those who reject transgender girls. I surround myself with those who value me. I actively avoid those who don’t like me. Sadly, that includes my own mother. I haven’t seen her in many months. But, I refuse to deal with someone who brings be down. If I do that, and I end up depressed, I deserve no sympathy.

There are more than enough nice-to-me people and those are whom I focus on. And that makes for a more successful personal and professional life.