Why do I recite a litany of my aches and complaints in this Part 4? I would like to believe it’s much more than that. Rather, the intention is to provide the experiences of one Cd while in the final chapters of his life; thereby offering possible situations that you may or may not encounter but, nevertheless, something you can chew on as you approach those golden (maybe) years. I hope not to bore the reader but to present an insight for your consideration of what has befallen one cross dresser who happens to live longer than “fourscore and ten”.
Getting really scared these days for my short term memory is going to hell. Not only do I forget what I was going to do next ꟷ stand without moving until I remember where I was supposed to go ꟷ but I read a paragraph in my blog trying to avoid duplication but within seconds I forget what I just read. So now you know my excuse if you read the same wording twice. God grant me the ability needed to convey the thoughts in my heart and allow me enough days on earth to complete this final blog.
My favorite cousin, very close for some ninety years and the reason I came to Florida in 2009 had been developing the signs of Alzheimer’s before I even became aware. Now she has passed leaving a hole in my heart but so many memories – mostly great but some bad. With her gone my loneliness is now sharply amplified. Hoping to fill some of the emptiness I reached out to a longtime boyhood buddy and, also, to another chap I had met in an Army Air Corps training facility in Texas some seventy years ago. One still lives with his wife in a tiny town in the northern California mountains while the other, still a bachelor, is alone in his hill-top home in Vermont. Upon opening a phone conversation with the fellow in California I could hear his wife coaching him as to who I was and what shared memories I was talking about. I swiftly and cordially ended our conversation. Then called my closest buddy of almost eighty years. Finished quickly when it became apparent that he was repeating my words in a desperate attempt to understand them. Came as a shock to know that they were both in stages of dementia that shut me out of their memories! Sick at heart I stared at the wall of my apartment for hours. Dear God, will I end up the same way?
What if I were to slip unawares into dementia as one in three over eighty is wont to do? How does one prepare? Am I willing to share a room in a nursing home? Slowly shuffle down bleak corridors that lead me back to my bleak room? Assemble in a large room to watch TV along with others in wheelchairs or leaning on walkers ꟷ mutterings heard only by themselves. Probably sounds trivial to many though of great importance when in need but at home I make sure my bathroom is well stocked with rolls of toilet paper (due to GI problems I use three a day) as apposed to my frequent experiences in the VA and JFK Hospitals where it takes hours to find a willing CNA to open the maintenance room to fetch paper (Assuming that room isn’t locked for the night.). Laying in a narrow bed (As compared to my queen-sized bed at home.), no matter how I try, my heels painfully keep grinding into the end of the bed. Watching TV becomes my only distraction from discomfort. Is that how I want to fill my hours, my remaining days?
The fetish factor (Not evident in our prepubescent journey.), as is true for most heterosexual CDs, is a big factor in early teens and twenties when hormones are raging but start to slowly diminish as we get older. Of coarse there is a small group who are fetish dominated for their entire lives. I previously mentioned that in my eighties orgasms had become infrequent and by my early nineties very scarce and far between. Another important contributor to my limp member that I almost forgot to consider ꟷ I’m taking two medications, among many others, that are to mitigate spasms and to act as muscle relaxers. Need I describe more? As a result I often have a twinge of an arousal ─ have to settle with that! Must admit that the urge is, mentally, stronger than ever due to Autophylia ─ the pleasure/satisfaction, and arousal, when seeing one’s self in a mirror (My definition.). When one is in their nineties and the mirror reflects a seventy year-old woman thanks to globs of makeup ─ you can readily appreciate the added thrill of not only changing gender but considerably reducing one’s age as well. But I never foresaw the inability to achieve the arousal part. Recently even the above thrill has gone. No longer even wish to look in a mirror other than apply make-up. No feeling, no reaction but still go through the motions of dressing as I have all these years. What happened to the fetish factor?
Tucked 24/7 I made every effort to be Julie ꟷ helped contribute to the mental self-image. Since I always go to bed wearing an all-in-one (found it the most comfortable as opposed to getting tangled in sleepwear) you can imagine efforts to stimulate, to pleasure myself, were fruitless even with a vibrator. On occasion I deliberately forgot the futility ꟷ dreaming that this time I can climax. Only results in a very raw penis. Now, for some reason, my testes no longer easily slide up the inguinal canals. Further, my scrotum now hangs down more than an inch; thereby leaving me with a painful groin as now I have difficulty tucking as well as I should.
As my birthdays count into the nineties, it has started to dawn on me that the clothes, lingerie and makeup accumulated in recent years are no longer being used as enthusiastically as I had expected. For example, within a few hours of getting out of bed in the morning my feet, ankles and legs begin to swell (Due to poor circulation). I am unable to use support stockings due to spasms so laying down becomes the only option (Also take “water pills”.). With all the chores of living independently laying down is an infrequent activity. As a result shoes have become a problem as I had collected so many – all colors and styles. Unless a shoe style comes in flats with Velcro straps they are useless! The rest will be going to Salvation Army. To this day I envy women I see on TV walking easily in stylish high heels.
A degenerative spinal condition (Mentioned ad nauseum previously.) didn’t hinder physical activities like rowing in college or playing scratch golf, although in 1957 a flight-surgeon did ground me while flying with the New York Air National Guard. But now this condition, with age, has worsened with a vengeance ─ causing a multitude of problems that force me to use three walkers (one in ealch room) while in my apartment and an electric wheelchair when venturing out. Damn it all Julian, you walked from L.A. up the Pacific coast to Carmel, near Monterey (Fell asleep on the beach there.). As a caddy you often carried two heavy leather golf bags and walked eighteen holes before the two-wheelers and, more recently, the electric cart era. And now you lurch around an apartment grabbing onto walls and furniture to keep from falling!
So picture my dilemma (shared, similarly, by some readers) ꟷ living alone with closets and drawers full of Julie’s stuff and, I might add, still untouched boxes of online ordered makeup, but unable to sit or stand for more than a few minutes at a time. Limits mascara, liner and shadow to the days that my eyelids are not too inflamed ꟷ likely allergic to some of them. In addition, applying eye makeup is now doubly difficult due to my shaking hands. I’m sure you can imagine trying to draw a thin line on one’s lids while scared that at any second you might poke eyeliner into your eye ꟷ and do that frequently! Now the hand shaking is so bad that using lipstick requires two hands to be steady enough not to paint my teeth. What a come-down!
Another downer is what is now happening with the long curly silver hair that I often crowed about ꟷ with every swipe of my comb handfuls are leaving my scalp faster than growing in! And those painted lovely long nails that I was so proud to look at have split and shattered down to the nubs. I thought it was caused as a result of fastening bras and girdles but those activities only hasten the carnage.
Eating requires using up a half-dozen paper napkins and soiling a pretty apron too as I frequently black out for seconds with food in my mouth. Food goes out rather than down my throat. Gross! Three VA doctors in different specialties all agree that my spine is causing most of these problems. I apologize for the frequent references to spine trauma. Part 4’s purpose is to enumerate many of the maladies that may, very well, develop that might screw up a CD’s final days. It’s not likely that the reader will develop acute spine problems to add to that list, so just mark it down as one complaint, most likely, unique to Julie.
More frequently now I get terrified at the thought ꟷ I might be approaching a point when independent living as Julie is ending. No way that my last days will be spent staring at white squares in the ceiling. Panic? Yes, but suicide can’t be an option as my insurance, including a bequest to a no-kill animal shelter I helped to found, would go down the tubes.
There is another serious problem, though covered to a degree in the “Four Doors” post, and that is: Will I be able to switch from Julie to Julian before I die? Will I have time to remove make-up and nail polish along with switching clothes to drab? Of course what’s left of my beyond-shoulder-length hair will probably cause a stare or two before they close the lid. Morbid, I know. At the moment, as I write this blog, there is nothing life-threatening wrong with my health according to the VA doctors, but being now 93 that health status will, for certain, change in minutes, hours or days. Does that mean I should don a drab shirt and pants and sit in my LazyBoy waiting for the grim reaper to arrive? Wouldn’t such a negative mind-set only hasten my demise?
There are some reading this post that are steadfast in their belief that they have no problem being buried en femme. Most, however, have determined that it would be too traumatic for their spouse, family and friends to be presented the way they would like. Some, sadly not many enough, have already made a pact with spouse or partner to re-dress their remains before others view it. I dread the thought that while living alone I die without warning in my sleep. Are any of us exempt from heart attacks. clots or stroke while sleeping? Brrrr. That’s assuming that the circumstances of my and your ending is at home ─ might not be.
The greatest fear, according to the statistics, is that of falling ꟷ having done so more than a dozen times in recent years. Until recently I’ve managed to get back on my feet though it often takes hours to do so. If I find that I’ve done damage I manage to wipe off nail polish and makeup before calling 911 to take me to the VA Medical Center. But what if I were to fall and break a hip, or whatever, and can’t walk? Would I still have the ability to change to drab? A week ago I couldn’t get up at all though nothing was broken. Fire and Rescue managed to find an unlatched window to crawl in. I was dressed as Julie but no comment was made to me other than by one fireman observing, while checking my ID with my driver’s license, “your hair is longer now”. My reply was that “It amuses me”. Within days I secured a “lock box” outside my front door. A code reveals my door key – if you live alone you may just want to consider it.
Having used VA medical services for years they not only have my medical records but also a living will and where to send my remains. Once I arrive back in Washington, a three thousand mile trip from Florida, representatives from the American Legion, DAV and VFW will, hopefully, be on hand for my burial along with a “missing plane” fly-over from the nearby Whidbey Naval Air Station. There is no point for a grave-side service for there is nobody left to attend. However I have asked that taps be played as its haunting melody still brings chills to my being. This brings up another topic that bothers me:
In addition to all the shame and guilt most CDs have to overcome while in teen-age years there is an additional influence that conflicts with totaling accepting my female persona one hundred percent of the time ꟷ my military years. I’ve only recently realized that to have a military funeral, as expected, there are so many recollections that take wing against an en femme funeral presentation to be able to equate taps, being played every evening signaling lights out in our Bases throughout the world, to the life I lead as Julie. Among those memories: TV news channels often show a classic picture of a sailor kissing a girl while throngs of people around them celebrate VJ-Day in Times Square. On that day I was briefly stationed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with more than twenty-thousand others from the Eighth Air Force ꟷ back from England and planning to head to the Pacific to fend off the anticipated Russian take-over of the Northern Japanese Kuril islands (that dispute still rages.). With Japan’s surrender our High Command decided that military action was no longer needed. So I was among the many thousands that erupted from the Air Base to overwhelm the citizens in Sioux Falls once we learned that World War II was really over. Never forget a celebrating airman pulling the lever to allow the hose on a firetruck to unwind for a block before the driver became aware it was happening. Then there were videos of shot-up bombers spiraling to earth ꟷ can you imagine the thoughts of the airmen as they watched the earth coming up to meet them? When flying a napalm mission to burn out the remaining Germans still entrenched in Southern France the B-17 in front of us blew up ꟷ the napalm, petroleum thickened to jelly form and very unstable, ignited. We could only watch in horror. These and many other distant memories are hard to equate with my CD persona no matter how hard I try. Sure, readers will offer a dozen reasons why it shouldn’t bother me any longer but it does.
Admittedly, I have a clear conscience to not “cop out” (To not being buried en femme.) for my memoire is in the public domain for anybody to learn more about me if so interested. The cover of that book, painted by former Father Nidorf, says it all. Even though a handful of VA staff know of my CDing, I’m betting that those involved in shipping my remains off to Washington will not have a clue. This last sentence needs to be updated as recently (March 2018) my VA “telephone medical assist” contact changed to another nurse. She called me for an initial talk to verify her records were accurate. At the end of answering her medical check-list she asked, “Should I call you Julie or Julian?” I had divulged my “habit” to the previous contact gal and now, obviously, it is in my records. I then crammed in ten minutes trying to explain the different hues of the TG spectrum to a curious lady.
And another way I have taken to ease my conscience in regard to coping-out is that my head-stone will have “Never Climbed His Mountain” etched in granite. True that very few might become curious and Google why those words are there. Only then will I, hopefully looking down from the great beyond, know I do have a legacy of sorts.
Meanwhile something very unusual is happening. For decades whenever I had the opportunity to go MTF I did so. In recent years, as mentioned, ad nauseum, countless times, Julie is who I am almost always. During these last several years it might be three weeks up to two months without a VA appointment. That allows me, with great eagerness, the opportunity to become Julie. Then, almost on cue, a new or an old but intensified malady pops up. Usually I try to delay calling an ambulance to take me to the VA’s ER with the belief that it might just be in my head ꟷ psychosomatic as it were. Why else am I unable to happily transform myself for even a week without my body rebelling in some fashion? I do know that when watching some emotional scene on TV I well-up in tears. No reasoning, no control! I asked a psychologist at the VA about these episodes that occur with increased frequency. She said it wasn’t unusual and happens more often as one ages. Perhaps these emotional disconnects cause me to imagine new ailments. Could be. The thought that this latest ailment is the one that will do me in is unsettling. Needless I know.
Nevertheless, when another malady, real or imaginary, surfaces ꟷ I switch the money and cards from my purse back to my wallet. I don’t paint my nails because removing gel takes longer than makeup. In those down moments I find myself skipping shaving the stubble on my face ꟷ that I normally shave off daily ꟷ to every few days. Consequently, the only makeup on those days consists of eyebrow pencil and lipstick even though I still dress. As opposed to what I usually take = the two hours or longer for the full nine yards. Then, when feeling better and a positive attitude returns (Albeit, kidding myself for time is, actuarially, running out.), I switch my things back to a purse and paint my nails. Never believed that with almost total freedom to CD there would come a time when I would abstain for a day or longer. Then again I rationalize in the thought that it’s quite normal for women to come home from work, or wherever, and kick off their heels, toss their foundation garments and bra and don sweats, in effect, to become drab for a time. So I should too without qualms or disgust at my knee-jerk reactions.
Need to add another frightening development: Now, when I dress for the day I only bother to look in the mirror to apply “schmear”. No longer find satisfaction looking at my reflection. Turning back the clock and changing genders is no longer an enticement that brings mental or physical arousal. No emotion remains, it’s just what I do.
So there you have it – a sampling of what you might expect.
Time for me to shut-up.
Extracting words from Dr. King’s last speech two days before he was assassinated: “And he (God) allowed me to go to the mountain …. I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you ….”. I would like to believe that those of us under the TG umbrella will, someday, find that Land. I, for one, Never Climbed His Mountain much less descended the other side.
With what I trust is an appropriate closing I will borrow from a Sinatra song:
“I face the final curtain but I did it my way”.
Due to technical difficulties pictures will follow – need a 14-year-old to help!
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Not able to bring in current picture so this is a drab photo when age 87