If you’re sad; if you don’t like the life you’re living, because you feel trapped by others’ expectations, this article is for you. This goes for trans girls but really, all LGBT people, and … why stop there? If you’re human, and you feel boxed in by pandering to standards that aren’t yours, I hope you find inspiration in my “postcard from someone who broke free.” Come join me. It’s nice. Integrity is a wonderful thing, as in: — A) Choose good ideals and then B) Pursue them.
Mentoring Trans Girls
I mentor trans girls, and I used to be SOOO tempted to become a cheerleader or more: to go solve others’ problems for them. That hardly ever works. Here’s why:
A brilliant friend of mine was in the process of getting her Master’s in counseling, which is her chosen career. We lived together, and we chatted often about what she’d learned about psychology that day. I tried to learn from her wisdom, and there was a lot of it. One principle she learned is to never work harder than your client. To apply that to my situation: if, as a mentor, I am more enthused than the girl I’m mentoring, then I need to back off. Most people know full well what to do, to improve their lives. They just don’t think they deserve it, or that they can pull it off.
As a result, I see SO many trans girls trying to live by the standards of those who are negative about trans girls. Meanwhile, the trans girl’s one precious life is ticking away, one sad day at a time. She’s living in the shadows, when she could be thriving.
Nowadays, I overcome the urge to cheer-lead (or prod, or badger) by instead trying to be an inspiring example, and then writing about it.
So, here’s an example of how nice things can be, even for a trans girl who came out only a few years ago, and still looks very androgynous. It’s an example based on the most recent 24 hours or so of my life. My hope is that it inspires you.
Celebrating a Good Day
Frankly, I’m writing it down for another reason too — I’m proud and glad that things are going so well with me in contrast with a few years ago, when I really didn’t care whether or not I was going to be alive much longer. To put it mildly, I didn’t like myself. To put it less mildly, as my counselor friend informally opined: I had self-hatred. So when, by contrast, I have a really nice day, maybe it’s good to stop and write it all down, and have a little ceremony like people do when they graduate — for similar reasons.
Yes, I had a great day but its style is not vastly exceptional relative to how my other days nowadays are. Even so, it was extra nice. Here’s “My Day, by Tanya Charbury” along with the segues that my mind makes as it processes the events of the day.
It’s probably the least-structured piece I’ve written in a long time. I’d call it “stream of consciousness” but even that might be too much of a compliment. My tenses are, or were, all jumbled, and the style is horrible. Still, I enjoyed writing it and in my defense I’ve been up all night after driving a pickup and auto transporter for 600 miles over the Sierras and back — and then being at, arguably, three separate wild parties. And yes, I did drink a lot: water.
Legal, Formal Sex Work, Maybe?
A friend of mine was asked in high school what she wanted to do as a career. She replied “a stripper” and she meant it. Indeed, she became a stripper, a.k.a. exotic dancer, and then later a sex worker in a legal brothel. She makes good money doing what she enjoys and she is, I gather, very good at her job. I’m happy for her.
Part of my own racy fantasies involve doing similar work. So, at 2 or 3 a.m., I spent maybe two hours thinking it through as to how that might work. Part of it was wondering if I could attract enough clients. I logged onto a website specializing in trans girls, and uploaded some recent photos. I make a point of wearing minimal make-up (e.g., just eyebrow pencil, and maybe lip gloss) plus I avoid Photoshopping my pictures. Bottom line, my look seems to be very popular, yay! So, that was a nice feeling for someone who until a few years ago considered herself hideous. I used to avoid being in pictures. On average, I was in maybe 2 pictures per year. Nowadays, I take a dozen or two every day or so, and I learn how I’m progressing, and what styles and postures work better than others.
A Fellow Writer
I enjoyed reading an article and skimming some other headlines as to a fellow author whom I might be meeting at a party in the evening. I enjoyed saying hello and kudos, via email and Twitter. I like that I’m a writer too, including professionally.
A Good Start and Good Place from which to Start
I went to bed and woke up without an alarm clock. That’s a good start already.
I exercised and ate a healthy breakfast, packed various things I might need, and left my apartment.
It was built in the 1930s. By Nevada standards it is very old — but it’s comfortable, safe and spacious. I hear no noise from neighbors, and I can listen to music as loudly as I like yet it bothers no-one.
I’m within a two-mile radius of my insurance agent, the post office, late-night convenience store, police station, sheriff’s department, every courthouse I need, the place where I go to vote, my computer hardware fix-it guy, my two car business’ locations, my mom’s house, my favorite hardware store, the DMV, my rental agent, my bank, CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, my favorite car fix-it shop, two movie theaters, my two favorite car-wash places, NAPA auto parts, Autozone, half a dozen fast food places, and a 24-hour Safeway.
My rent is not controlled by the government, but by private negotiation — and it’s so low I almost feel guilty since my landlady is also my friend. The living room has a bank of 7 computer screens and eight separate computers are always humming. I like that I am confident enough to understand computers well — well enough to have taught private classes, worked at Microsoft and founded several software companies.
I can write software and deal with hardware too, though I prefer to hand the latter off to a vendor. I like feeling that I control the computers, not vice versa.
I have a great security system even though the neighborhood is also ultra-low-crime. I go for walks in the evenings and I am, and feel, safe. Bottom line, I like where I live even though it’s humble.
Truck and Trailer Rental
I drove to a nearby equipment rental place to pick up a rented truck and trailer. The owner and his wife are super-extra nice to me and try to give me as much leeway as company policy permits. I transferred my items from my 1991 Volvo 240 station wagon to the rental truck.
Volvo & Its Predecessor
That’s another thing I like to control: what I drive. As to the Volvo, I understand this car. I can fix it when something breaks although I prefer to hand some of the work over to a vendor. It’s not the only car I drive but I like it.
It’s good with fuel economy, it’s a pretty metallic light blue, it’s indestructible, it’s safe, and it’s vastly spacious. It’s engineered to be immensely reliable. For example, it has TWO belts for the alternator, fan and water pump. If one snaps, I continue to drive whereas with another car, it’d be tow-truck-calling time.
I bought it for $800 from a nice lady who was intimidated by the items that needed fixing. I wasn’t intimidated. That amount is what one monthly car payment used to be for the hard-top (press a button and the roof is gone) convertible below, that I bought almost-new in 2007.
I like that I used to make a lot of money at least once so far. I like that I survived the economic crash without killing myself. I like that, even though I have a lot of business debt, I’m paying it off. I like that I’m living frugally and yet I’m happy.
Finally, Somewhat Curvy
Back to my day: Thanks to hormones, my boobs have grown.
I don’t like how a bra constrains me and gravity isn’t a problem, so I don’t wear a bra often. I’d guess mine look like the boobs of a 16-year old genetically integrated girl.
I like having boobs, so I wear t-shirts without a bra, often. Not everyone makes eye contact, unless they think maybe my eyes are on my chest.
I used to think I’d have to get implants. Now I don’t. So, that’s nice too.
I wore a pink top and a pretty skirt, today.
Coffee …. I drink five or six cups every day. I co-founded a biotech DNA company some years ago. I’m proud of that too. As part of the work I had my own DNA sequenced, so now I know what serious issues I don’t have, and what might become issues for which corrective action is possible.
For my weird blend of DNA, it’s good that I drink so much coffee. So, I do. Besides, I like it.
I stopped for coffee and a healthy breakfast sandwich along the way.
I like being able to walk into a fast food place in a small town in Nevada and order breakfast without being held back by me being fundamentally shy (which I am, but I overcome it most of the time) nor too self-conscious about how I sound or look or walk.
I like knowing where and how to park a massive truck and auto transporter in a small parking lot without inconveniencing anyone or wondering if I’ll ever get it out of there again.
I like driving through Reno and its benevolent culture. I like taking highway 80 further west, near the state border, where the countryside is so lovely that it looks cheesy, like an artist painted it and then overdid it. It’s a classic Western scenario, complete with mountain, pasture, river, canal, old rickety railroad, new modern railroad, quaint roads and a transcontinental freeway that I’ve driven for vast distances in either direction. I
like that highway 80 feels like an old friend.
I like the garish Nevada casinos near the state border.
I like the “Welcome to California” sign and the way the road winds next to the Truckee river. I like how the freeway crosses over the river sometimes. I like that I’ve kayaked that river in the middle of the winter. I like that I can kayak well.
I love the Sierra Nevada. I like that I know how to baby the truck so that the transmission doesn’t overheat.
I like that I understand how transmissions work. I like owning a shop that works on transmissions. I like being strong enough to pick up a BMW automatic transmission and carry it around. I like knowing which transmissions go into which cars, and what interchanges, and what doesn’t. I like that I figured out a particular BMW and Volvo transmission are essentially identical, made by the same vendor, so when my gold-colored BMW needed a transmission I went to the junkyard and removed a transmission from a Volvo personally, alone. It’s still working well, in my BMW: I love this shape of BMW. I love that I own one. I love that I own more than one.
I love that I took the initiative to figure out how to install Volvo front seats in it too. Notice the headrests in the picture below? They’re from a Volvo 240 – safe and comfortable.
Wonderful People Close to my Heart — Bonus if Brilliant
I love that I’ve figured out I’m polyamorous and that it works for me. I love that my girl-friends are polyamorous too. I love that one more would be welcome too and everyone would be fine even so.
I love how I can think of one person without it diminishing how much I care for another. I love imagining someone else yet being my sidekick for today, and wondering if she’d consider it a fun adventure.
I love that each of my girlfriends looks sweet as pie and is hard as nails.
The Drive There
I love how my mind explores and integrates. I love that I know so many of the stories of the Sierras, the glories and the tragedies. I love being so close to Gold Country. I love seeing the American river on which I’ve kayaked, too.
I like being nice to the people at the California agriculture inspection station even though I’m not a fan of the inspection station. I love how I overcame the mindset in which I didn’t use to appreciate people who worked in government but then I got to work with them shoulder to shoulder, at the city level, county level, State, in Washington DC and in the Navy too, as a contractor. So now I appreciate them, and I’m nice to them. I try to understand where they’re coming from.
I write this glancing at two letters for the IRS informing me that any penalties and interest from a recent misunderstanding have been resolved, and I owe them zero. I had been calm and had written them a clear, nice letter. It worked. I like not viewing government agencies as intimidating.
I like the magnificent views of the Sierras along the way. I like that I know where the speed limit is enforced more, and where not. I like knowing what the road will do around the next corner, beyond where I can see, because I’ve driven it so many times.
I like knowing Sacramento so well that I couldn’t possibly get lost there. I like that I have friends there; shy cerebral girls also.
I like knowing many fun places where, if I wanted to, I could stop, and spend an extra hour or more, and have a more enjoyable trip yet, schedule permitting.
I like knowing the many ways in and out of the SF Bay area. I like that I used to work there as a contractor and that by now I can’t get lost there, either.
Paid for the Audi, Now go Get it
I like that I’m going there to pick up a 1999 aluminum-bodied Audi A8 V8 Quattro that I’ve just bought — essentially a supercar that intimidates people with its sheer complexity. New, an Audi A8 is priced at $100K. Used, I’m getting it for $1K. Yes, the transmission needs fixing but I’m not worried. Now I’ll have two of these amazing cars. I like how much I know about them, and Audis, and the Quattro mechanism, and transmissions, and cars. I like that I can fix my own cars, and those of my friends.
I like how, even when the seller no longer responded to me trying to arrange a day to pick of the Audi I’d already bought and paid for, I didn’t get mad. I like that I dealt with being blown off by making a plan. I like that me being a computer security geek also means knowing that people are part of a security system, and that to get in and out of a gated complex, it helps to be female, nice, and to have a good dress code and good timing. I like that I got in the complex: truck, trailer and all. I like that I got the Audi part-way loaded all by myself. I like that I knew the setup wasn’t rock solid nor could I make it so, and that a strap might snap and then the car might run backward down the trailer ramps. I like that I’d made plans so nothing gets damaged in case that happened. It did indeed happen. I like that I didn’t get mad when it did.
I liked that when a stranger walked past, she and I started chatting, and she wished she could help and then did, by leading me to a faucet where I could refill my water bottles. In California it was a hot afternoon, especially atop an asphalt parking lot and with me doing lots of manual labor, using ratchets and my arm muscles to essentially lift an entire car up onto a trailer, albeit slowly.
I liked that, when another stranger walked past while I was working, I said hello, and that we started chatting. I like that he offered to help me load the Audi. I like that he phoned his female roommate to come down. I love that he explained how he’s gay, she’s a lesbian and since I’m a trans girl, he’s extra happy to help another LGBT person. I like how they told me about their local rainbow center.
I love how nice his female roommate was too me socially and that she complimented my skirt so much that I sensed she wasn’t just being polite; she really liked it. I love how I’m not self-conscious about my body, and that I stood behind the truck and stripped right there, put on jeans instead of the skirt, hung it on an elegant black velvet hanger and gave it to her as a thank-you present. I love the mutual benevolence all three of us felt.
I love how the three of us enjoyed the adventure of loading the car, and getting the truck and trailer backed out onto the road. I love how nice my two new friends were.
I like how, on the way home, I got to be reminded of how eloquent and brilliant my girlfriend is about political issues, as (on speakerphone while I was driving) she explained recent events and how she was educating the clueless on Facebook and winning people over — how she is outspoken even though she’s a logical girl in a not-so-logical conservative culture, plus she’s also fundamentally a shy girl.
I like how the truck, trailer and car made it safely all the way up and down the Sierra Nevada mountains at night, over 7200′ at Donner Pass and that they’re now parked safely near where I live.
Preparation and Socializing
I like how I stopped along the way to get cleaned up and put on make-up, at a gas station next to highway 80, in the high Sierras. I like how I’m conscious about dental hygiene and was brushing my teeth, just because. I like how a young lady with bright blue hair started a friendly restroom conversation by backhandedly complimenting me on being so diligent.
I like how we continued chatting while I put on make-up and how she commented on her own make-up, and how I ended up doing her make-up too, right there in the ladies’ restroom. She liked my type of perfume so by the time we walked out, we looked prettier and smelled better than when we walked in. I love how girls can begin a new friendship within a few minutes.
I like that I’m not self-conscious about experimenting and that I spray-tinted my blonde hair pink at the ends, for a party I was going to. I like that I wasn’t too self-conscious and that I changed into my party-themed shorts and t-shirt while using my pickup door as a makeshift privacy shield, with it parked at the gas pumps.
At the Party
I like being creative. The theme of the party was “medical” e.g. come dressed as a doctor or nurse. So, I decided to wear a white t-shirt onto which I’d written “Wet Nurse.” I carried a spray bottle filled with water, so when someone looked friendly I handed them the bottle and they could spray water onto my chest. That made the white T-shirt translucent. Being cold also had a certain visual effect. The result of the effect was that some girls seemed to enjoy touching me right there. I enjoyed it, and the “get me wet” approach with the spray bottle was a good social ice-breaker. There was much opportunity for sexy word-play.
One girl, whom I later learned was a professional dancer, loved the idea and brought me into her circle of friends and enjoyed using the spray bottle on me, and then on herself too. She wanted me to ride in the limo with them to the next location for this multi-venue all-night celebration. However, I had my own transportation so when it was time to leave, I said good-bye (for the time being) and I walked toward my big pickup truck and auto transporter.
I used to dislike anything masculine about myself but thanks in large part to a wonderful girlfriend and another girl who is a wonderful friend, I have done much thinking and I’ve come to appreciate the strange blend of masculine and feminine that I am, such as having a female brain and feminine style, and yet driving this big truck and trailer.
For the longest time, I was self-conscious about how I walk, whereas my girlfriends could sashay in a way that made the contrast more stark yet. Some of them could even rock some high-heeled shoes, and one girl was a professional dancer — she could spend nine hours on her platform heels and look lovely while doing so. Compared to them I felt hopelessly inept, but I kept learning how to walk better. I improved.
Tonight, as I walked towards my rig over an uneven parking lot surface, I nevertheless knew I was walking well on my 6″ stilettos. I overheard a guy, who must have been watching this from behind, saying to his companions: there was someone who knew how to strut her stuff — or words to that effect. I didn’t turn around and look, so I don’t know who said it or to whom, but I was the only girl walking there so it felt nice to hear that — very different from how things used to be.
The next venue was at a strip club also owned by the same gentleman. I parked the rig in a good spot so I could get out again — yet socially polite too.
Inside the club, a guy-and-girl couple told me I had the best outfit there, and the girl wanted her picture taken next to me. We started making friendly conversation and exchanged phone numbers.
I was wearing my black chrome-studded 6″ stilettos. That was a good icebreaker with other girls too. One professional dancer wanted hair-related advice from me. Wait, what? Wow. I’ve come a long way from having a short guy-style hairstyle that I hated. We exchanged phone numbers too and I texted her some information that I hope she finds useful.
I like having, and showing, empathy. One girl who’d been friendly with my chest earlier on was nursing her feet, her pretty mouth showing she was in pain. I approached and sympathized, and she explained she’d just bought new shoes and they had hurt her feet. She seemed to like the offer of a foot massage but didn’t take me up on it.
I like that, the night before, I had read more about the writer whom I wanted to meet, and that I’d come to know what he looks like so I could identify him and approach him. I like that I waited until it was socially a good time for me to say “hello.” I like how positive a conversation he and I had in person.
I like recognizing the stare of a guy obsessed with trans girls but not wanting to be seen staring at me, and the look of a guy who likes trans girls but is not self-conscious about it, and the look of a guy who really just doesn’t like trans girls. I like being able to deal with all three of these types of people.
At some point, it was a sort of “if I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me up” feeling. On stage was a lovely pole dancer with whom I’d had a nice conversation previously. She was dancing well and looked lovely. I love the female physique, when the girl is dancing especially. Ballet .. pole dancing … mambo … waltz … the Frug … I like them all. On stage, and all around me, cheerful and lovely girls were dancing. Next to me stood the guy who’s probably the most legendary male porn star on the planet. By the stage stood a famous rapper with a wad of dollar bills maybe an inch thick, transferring the funds a few bills at a time to the lovely lady on-stage. Thirty feet away sat the gentleman whose domain and birthday party this all was, who’d invited me. Wow.
… and there was I, now a tall, leggy girl with boobs, in 6″ stilettos with her long, blonde hair temporarily dyed pink. Wow. What a contrast with how I used to be.
I’m a fundamentally shy girl, but I actively overcome it and so I ended up chatting with many people. Shortly before 1 a.m., I decided to go say hello to my friend, who wasn’t at the strip club, even though most of her colleagues were.
I got into my big (rented) pick up truck with the massive auto transporter and big Audi atop, and slowly backed it around in a semi-circle so as to be able to pull forward and away. Tonight I happened to do it flawlessly. A professional limo driver watched this. He would know that backing up a truck and trailer is hard. He started helpfully gesturing how much farther back I could safely go. This was very helpful.
I hopped out and walked towards him, inherently sashaying as I do, nowadays. When I was close enough to communicate without yelling, I thanked him, then smiled, turned and walked away.
As I did so, I realized how incongruous this all must have looked to him. A pink-haired leggy blonde in stilettos, short shorts, bra-less in a translucent white t-shirt … that was probably not what he expected while observing what was being driven, and how.
Socializing with my Friend
At my friend’s workplace, a legal brothel, she was busy, so I finally sat down in a quiet area and just enjoyed being by myself, for more than an hour. The main security guard noticed that, but said nothing. Later she and I made chit-chat and she commented on how the quiet spot I’d chosen was perfect — I could enjoy seeing interesting things without being seen. We had a nice conversation too.
At about 2:30 a.m., my friend was done working, and she and I said hello. We sat in the quiet area where I used to sit alone, and we chatted for close to an hour. I learned more about her line of work, and from my (former) stripper work I knew some techniques she didn’t know. I taught her some of those tonight. She seemed to like learning them, and tried them out with me watching and giving her feedback. We made plans for her visiting me, and for a road trip. She also availed herself of the spray bottle and was very thorough with it, using it on me and then commenting on the result — fortunately, in a very nice way.
Finally, I came home, and wrote this story. So, that was my day — plus many thoughts intermingled. Probably now you also have some additional insights into my life.
I hope to live for a long time, but even if I die tomorrow, then I’ll have had an amazing life by my own standards, and I’ve lived it intensely.
Fun but Serious Fun Too
My life is fun, but it’s not all simple fun, either. The Audi is part of a plan to make money in my used auto parts business. My computer business is doing well and I worked on it a lot, last week. I am also doing the accounting work for my six companies solo, and I did approximately twenty checking account bank reconciliations this past week, and I’m getting ready to file more taxes this week.
I work hard at all of this, too. And yet, when my work involves what I love, it’s fun.
Life: Better to Live it By my Own Standards
That’s an example of how life is for me, as an “out” trans girl. Or, simply an “out” human being. I figured out who and what I am, and now I’m living accordingly. It’s a principle that works well for me.
I hope it’ll work for you too, and that you give it the opportunity to do so. Maybe you’re a girl who thought you were straight. Maybe you assumed you were straight because everyone around you assumed you were. Maybe after you got married, you discovered gradually how much you like girls. Maybe you got married because you felt lonely but now you’re both married and lonely.
Maybe you’ll realize that you can be intensely happy, and that being yourself and being open about it, and happy, is more than OK.
The rest of the world will somehow manage to keep going even if you come out as the real “you.” Probably the biggest difference will be that you’ll be happier, and those who understand and love you will be happy for you. And as to those who don’t … well, how much should you really care? If you have to relocate to put distance between you and people who make life negative for you, then relocate. I did. I’m glad I did.
If my article inspires you, and you might want your journey to become intertwined with mine to some extent, please feel free to say hello. For positive interaction, it seems to me that there’s always room for yet one more nice person in my life, in one of several possible roles.