It’s interesting, as I look back at my life, though the framework of who I now am and what I have become, it is crystal clear all of the things I did to try to counterbalance the inherent push back we all have against these feelings. The feelings may be that we are “women” or the feeling (like me) that I enjoy “presenting myself” as a woman, being perceived as a woman. While apples and oranges as many of us know and understand, there are striking similarities. Many seek high risk hobbies or professions to “cure” ourselves, which is why so many transgendered are in the military. I did not chose this route, but I chose the route of trying to bury my feelings through many now obvious life choices.
I spent the significant majority of my life overweight, I clearly ate and drank too much. I always had a belly, probably since my freshman year in college. Daily exercise probably kept me from being obese. As many of you have commented and can see in my pictures, that is what my body should have been my entire life, if I would have been able to accept the reality of who I am.
Yes, I ate too much, drank too much, no question. A textbook diagnosis of someone trying to bury deep seeded feelings. Not only did I overeat, I didn’t eat that well. Now I might have chicken wings once a year (still love them), but a good dozen along with three or four beers was common. When I was home alone, maybe waiting for my wife to get home from work, two giant glasses of whiskey and ginger ale and a bag of chips (big bag, not the “snack” size) helped bide my time. Then we’d have dinner. I am certain I would have eventually pushed 200 lbs. (now 154) and become an alcoholic if I never embraced and became Kandi. Yes, I still enjoy the rare plate of now six chicken wings and I do have a drink every day, but it’s not as much and the bad food, not as frequent. I simply no longer crave them.
I had the worst porn mustache on record and I had it for well over 30 years of my life. What the f#@k was I thinking? I now look back and just cannot understand what I was thinking and I know my wife must really love me to have looked at that damn thing for so long. I don’t miss that at all, not one single time, not one single day.
I have easily taken more pictures as Kandi in any one day than I did as myself before Kandi in any one decade! Not hyperbole, a simple fact. Most pictures of me in my childhood have me ducking behind someone else or are shots of me clearing moving outside the frame of the shot. Now I am a photo whore and readily jump into a picture when not dressed. I have achieved a level of self comfort I never had before.
Having some one complement me, regardless of the reason for the complement, always landed poorly for me. I simply did not like them, always brushed them aside without properly recognizing that I may well have deserved the complement and should have thanked the person giving it. A certain reaction based on a deep self-hate.
My birthday, a day of personal recognition, was never a day I looked forward to, never enjoyed. It was a spotlight on me (a small spotlight, but one nonetheless) and I moved as best as possible to get out of the light. Now…Happy Birthday to me!!
Hugs, like crack to me now, were like poison ivy to me then. A hug from my wife, children, parents, sisters, friends, all bristled off, shortened as best as I could. Avoided whenever possible. Now total strangers, crazy enough to pay me a complement, will get the big hug, conveying a deep appreciation for them and what they said or mean to me.
I’ve talked before about how I always placed a dip of snuff in my mouth when dressing (in the half-assed fashion I did before). Like somehow this would make a proper man of me, despite the fact that I was in a dress. I generally only dipped when dressing, so it wasn’t a regular habit, but I always had an urge to dip. Always. Now, I haven’t even thought about that and if offered, would quickly pass on it.
My daily workout was me trying to get big, not to be tone and/or in shape. I had pretty good arms, but not nearly as large as I was seeking. Again, I was trying to shape myself into an obvious man’s man, not allowing me to be me.
I now love myself and as a result, am able to better love those in my life that deserve it. I now recognize that I hated myself, any type of dressing created tremendous guilt. What I will do for hours on end now would have driven me to near migraines until I could get “back to normal”.
Remarkable as I look back. It seems so obvious now, but as we all know, this may be the one thing (feeling, urge, whatever you may call it) that is so hard to accept. Rare is the man who immediately accepts this when they realize what their feelings are. Some how, above all classifications of human beings, gender is so hard-wired internally and societally, so hard for one to easily accept. I wish I could explain it, could probably make myself rich if I could.
Seek happiness always! Please figure it out sooner than I did. Life is so much richer for me now. Yes, I am fortunate to be able to get out frequently and all circumstances differ, but at least get your head around who and what you are. We have all been dealt certain cards in life and we may as well play them as best as we possibly can.
I wrote this essay months ago and forgive me the self-aggrandizement, but it’s pretty well written, really hits on so much for so many of us. If only someone would pay me to write…… I remain such an underutilized asset.