Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for September, 2007

Planning the Renovations


So, I just, um, sent an email to the clinic where I hope to have my gender surgery. It may seem trivial in some ways, but it’s a mother-fucking gigantic step. I’m hoping for next April/May, but y’all can start praying now. 

My new Pal Marv

I drove to NYC yesterday for yet another gig with Bryan. It seems like we’re doing a bunch of gigs at this point. It’s so awesome. This was our first Saturday night gig in Manhattan. Things are happening. As always, life as a musician is almost as valuable for the stories that you get to tell as it is for the music itself (I’m only slightly exaggerating). Come, let me regale you with my latest installment of “wow, the world is an interesting place.”

I often drive down and back solo, but on this trip I had the pleasure of having not only Bryan for company, but our wonderful and ubiquitous Holy Roadie Mike. I expected an entertaining ride, and I wasn’t disappointed. Mike is a sort of new friend, so I got to tell him many of my more colorful stories, some from my deep and distant past, some from a more modern vintage. Mike and Bryan held their own as well, and we just had an amazingly enjoyable ride down with lots of laughing.

We arrived in Manhattan a few hours before the gig, and, as usual, I scored a pretty decent parking spot on my first time around the block (Mike calls it my “Rockstar Parking”).

As we were by Tompkins Square Park I heard some jazz cats playing in the park. I walked over to them, hoping to hear something truly special. They were okay (it was a trumpet, sax, and drummer), but nothing special, so I resumed my trip to the club and quickly caught up with Bryan and Mike.

We got to the club and went downstairs, which is kind of the “green room.” I ended up taking a little nap. When I woke up, I was soon joined by a man I had never met before.

As he was walking over to me he asked why I was downstairs. I told him I was a performer. He sat down and started talking to me. He was pretty drunk. He asked how long I had been performing, ended up asking how old I was. I told him that was rude, but I can never say no to a question (why do I care if people know the truth?), so I answered him.

Then the real fun started.

He came right out and asked if I am a transsexual (so much for thinking I pass flawlessly always  ). Me being me, I said yes (if I had it to do over again, I think I would say no – it’s not in me to tell some one that something is “none of their business” – but I apparently will lie  ). Anyway, my conversation with “Marv” was very interesting. It went from him asking if I found him attractive (when I was non-committal he wanted to know if it was because he was fat or because he was black {“um, it’s because you’re totally fucked up” – thought only, not said}), to him asking if I minded if he did a bump (I honestly told him that I didn’t know what that was – I’m so innocent) to him asking if I had male genitalia (I honestly don’t really know how to answer that question anymore – and god bless me, I tried – look at me, trying to do outreach to a drunk moron trying to get laid – I crack myself up) to him asking if I’m promiscuous (“um, no”).

Bryan left me alone with Marv for a little while, but then Mike came back downstairs, which lead to another interesting chapter in Marv’s brain. He wanted to know if Mike was a cop. This triggered a great story from Mike about when he had been mistaken for a cop in the past.

Then Bryan and another of his friends came downstairs, and Marv was further distracted from me (though, he did say to Bryan: “Bryan, did you know that Penny is a transsexual?” to which Bryan answered, without missing a beat, “What!?” it was kinda funny). Eventually we had to head upstairs to get ready for our set, but I’ll have ~very~ interesting stories of Marv for quite a while. It was funny, because I had just told Mike on the drive down that being a transsexual makes you develop a thick skin for rude, impertinent, presumptuous question. So he got to see it first-hand.

I must say, Bryan and I have been playing some screaming shows lately. Last night was no exception. We tore the place down. I was so happy with just about every aspect of our performance. We were just really on. I love playing good shows. The crowd was awesome as well. It was just an awesome trip to the Sidewalk (as they almost all seem to be).

Right after our set Mike and I took the cymbals and guitar to my car. While we were on our walk I mentioned that I was a little annoyed that Marv read me. Mike, who knows a couple other trans women said that when he met me there was a question in his mind, which actually made me feel much better. I can live with people having questions (hell, I’m 6’2″ for Pete’s sake). I do think if someone I don’t really know in the future ever asks if I’m a transsexual again I’m going to react the way plus-sized women do when morons ask when “the baby is due.”  In some ways it just goes to show that NYC is very accepting, but that’s also ~really~ hard to pass there, because people are so used to seeing trannies that they have more of a sense of people that are more in the middle of the two polar genders.

When Mike and I got back to the club we all hung out for a while (my new buddy Marv left ~before~ our set – you know, if you’re going to be rude you can at least listen to some of my music), and then went out to dinner.

We ended up at the Odessa Diner (I wanted a diner). The waiter was another character (as Mike said, he “belongs in New York”). He came over to our table and started with “ladies first.” Of course, I wasn’t ready to order, so I had to have the guys go first. When I did order the waiter asked me if I was British (?!?! – does anyone I know think I sound remotely British?). I said, “No.” So he said that he liked my voice and that it was very “romantic.” What the hell was with me last night? I must have been wearing my “bizarre people magnet” or something. He was nice enough, but the food was mediocre.

After the food, and some hemming and hawing about whether we should head right back or not, we started our drive back to Boston. I was tired enough that I asked Bryan to drive for about half of the drive home.

And then I was home at 5:00 this morning.

Yo-Ho Yo-Ho, a musician’s life for me.  


It occurred to me the other day that this was my first summer without a partner since 1993 (I got together with my ex directly out of my previous relationship).

No wonder being single feels so foreign. (not really “bad,” just really weird) I guess I’m very out of practice at being on my own.

Another thing that I’ve been realizing gradually is that I don’t think I know anyone that I’m really attracted to. (I’m starting to think maybe I am “picky,” as someone I used to know dubbed me.) I know no one that I get that special vibe about. I was probably very lucky to go right from one special person to the next eleven years ago. It does seem kind of weird to look around and not see anyone that tickles my fancy, though.

It’s a very strange realization. I do wonder whether I’m being unrealistic or just overly fussy. Maybe seeing no one as the right fit for me is just a way of protecting myself and giving myself time to be on my own for a while.

Perhaps I’m just still in a healing mode. I know that I’m a little leery about letting myself get into a serious relationship before I have surgery. It seems like a big change to ask someone to ride through with me (I have experience with changes in this area creating problems in relationships, so … ). Of course, I do believe that the truly right special person would be able to handle that particular change.

This is also the first time in my life that I feel pretty okay being on my own. It’s not my first choice, but life totally rocks. I am not worthless simply because I’m single (a belief that I held for most of my life). It is taking a little time to get used to that feeling; it just feels so different. I would like to share my life with a partner, but my life is full and valuable and amazing right now as it is. Having someone to share it with is much more about something I would like as opposed to something I need (whoa, that’s heavy).

One thing I have been doing, is having little crushes on people that I do know. The interesting thing is that these crushes are on people that I have laundry lists detailing why a real relationship with them would be a bad idea. I’m kind of looking at these crushes as practice. Another point worth noting is that it’s always a guy friend, I have yet to have a crush on a girlfriend. Hmm… Sometimes I catch myself flirting with these guys, and I wonder if they notice it and if they realize that I’m flirting with them. I don’t think so, as my flirting style tends to be pretty shy and subtle, but who knows. Maybe I’m clumsily and obviously flirting with my friends and leaving them wondering what the fuck is going on.

The crushes seem pretty short-lived, which sort of seems to reinforce the “they’re just practice” theory.

I guess I’m still a little defensive with actually letting my heart think that way, too. I’m sort of feeling like it makes sense to let someone else make the first move (my “flirting” notwithstanding), for lots of reasons, not the least of which being that I’m very bad at picking up on the signals that people give off when they’re attracted to me. I’m also kind of feeling like a relationship would complicate my life right now at a time when my life is already pretty confusing and even more chaotic than usual.

Though I am meeting new people all the time (I’ve never met so many new people in my entire life as I have this one year), so I feel pretty confident that I’m doing the right things to find that next special person in my life. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll even notice them, though. I guess I will when I’m truly ready.

None of this is bad or making me feel sad, it’s just kind of stuff I wanted to write about to kind of work it out in my head.

I feel really good, and I feel really proud of myself for being in the headspace that I’m in. The relationship thing is just something I do think about, and the crushes (which have been on mildly surprising people to me) have just sort of confused me a bit.

I feel like I’m brand new to relationships, and like I have to learn all the rules all over again, and like I have to figure the types of people that I’m attracted to all over again, and like I have to decipher when people are or aren’t into me all over again, and like I have to grasp the physical aspects of relationships all over again.

For the most part I’m finding it fun and challenging and exciting as opposed to terrifying.

Damn, but life is an interesting ride, eh?


364 days, that is…

I’m kind of not sure I even want to mention this, since the actual day has become identified in court papers as the date “on or about which” my marriage suffered its irrevocable breakdown, but I guess I should at least point it out. (please, no one say “happy birthday” – I only have one, and it’s in March)

So, um, yeah, tomorrow, September 5th is my one -year anniversary of living as myself.


Like most human experiences, part of me feels like it was only yesterday that I set out on my new path, but on the other hand I can barely remember the life before.

I remember being so scared leading up till the day last year (it’s ironic that the one negative thing that I was the least scared of happening was the one negative thing that did happen – hmm, so much for predictability). It took months before I realized that no one was going to show up and kick my ass, or make fun of me, or kick me out of public restrooms. Now it seems so silly to have been afraid of anything at all. I believe the word is “normalcy.” My life is more normal now than it had ever been in my entire time on the planet previously.

I had no idea it would be this way. Everything has gotten better. I am happier and healthier, and it looks like I’m only going to continue moving in that direction.

Yet I don’t really feel celebratory. It’s just kind of matter-of-fact. It is what it is. It’s a year since I finally opened my eyes with the proper perspective, but the day itself feels like nothing at all special.


And so, tomorrow begins day 1 of year 2. It is pretty cool, even if I don’t want to celebrate.

Have we met?

So, hanging out with some friends last night, some old, some new, I had a ~very~ interesting experience.

Steve showed up with a friend that I actually jammed with years ago and had hung out with many times in my way distant past. Probably the last time I had seen him was at least seven years ago, and I’m guessing it’s been more like ten or fifteen years, so it’s been a while. Steve said, “Penny, you remember Chris.” I said something to the effect of, “Hi, how have you been?” To which Chris replied, “Have we met?”


I’m unrecognizable. Not too shabby.

[Steve explained, and all was well.]

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