Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for August, 2009

No Geek Cred

So, I often describe myself as a geek, and I really do think I’m pretty geeky. Sometimes, though, I realize that while I have some geek tendencies, I’m certainly not the geekiest person I could be.

My boyfriend runs rings around me in the area of geekiness, as I was reminded of yet again this past Saturday. He plays this game called Munchkin. It’s sort of a role-playing card game. My boyfriend and I played a couple weeks ago after we spent our first night together – he taught me how to play. It was fun. So, he goes to a weekly game on Saturdays at Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, and this week I went with him. There was a Munchkin tournament on Sunday so he wanted to get in a little pre-tournament warm-up. I didn’t have other plans so I figured I’d go with and play.

I had never been to Pandemonium before (which, right there I lose tons of geek-cred), and I was amazed at just how much it fit the stereotype of “geeky game store.” As soon as I walked in the door I knew I had entered a whole new world of geek.

An interesting thought occured to me – this is a place of community. One of the things that’s become clear to me is that when I was younger I had very little community. I’d say my drum and bugle corps was really the only place I felt any sense of community, and even there I often felt pretty isolated. I’ve said in the past that when I was little I was such an outcast that I was even isolated from the geeks. Being in that store confirmed to me that I was right – geeks ~do~ have community. I was ~alone~ when I was younger. I would have loved to have been part of any community, and it was neat to enter into a community-space for geeks.

(Oh, and I wasn’t even the ~only~ girl there – I saw one other girl. But I think it was even more “mostly guys” than the music store is. Wow.)

So, we got some snacks at 7-11 and then settled in downstairs to play Munchkin with a couple other folks (including one of the guys who works at the store). It was fun. We played “The Good, The Bad, and The Munchkin,” which is a Wild West version of the game. I liked it more than “Super Munchkin” (super heroes), which is the version that my boyfriend and I had played a few weeks ago. My boyfriend won the game at the store, but I came in second [hooray]. I had been a little worried before we got there, because I had only played once before; I was worried about looking like a noob. But the guys were very chill and there was someone else that had only played once before, so I felt very welcome and had lots of fun. It’s a fun and twisted game. I would go again sometime.

After the official game, my boyfriend and I played a game of “Munchkin Impossible” (spies) by ourselves. I didn’t like “Munchkin Impossible” nearly as much as “The Good, The Bad, and The Munchkin.” It seems like each different version of Munchkin has a slightly different flavor – some seem more fun than others.

We also played a card game based on Zombies with another guy who works at the store. It was silly and fun. We used a die to represent the “brain,” and the guy who works at the store kept putting it on his head.

After gaming my boyfriend and I dashed to the theater and saw District 9. It was really good, but it was very challenging to watch. I steered us away from Inglorious Basterds because I wasn’t in the mood for something heavy. Well, I bet this was (slightly) less gory, but it was very tough. I probably would have been better off at Inglorious Basterds. The way the aliens were treated was just very difficult to watch. People can certainly be awful to minorities sometimes. I’d highly recommend District 9, but just go in with eyes wide open – it was really heavy.

Yet another super-fun night with my wonderful man. Yay.

I’m dancing on the ceiling.


Lobsters and Bowling

I ate lobster last night. This might not seem like a big deal considering that I live in Boston. But I haven’t had lobster in probably 25 years. I don’t dislike lobster, I’d just pretty much always rather have something else. I certainly do not understand the “lobster as delicacy” mindset that seems to have become the norm nowadays. It’s okay, but I’d much rather have prime rib, or a bacon cheeseburger, or salmon.


A few weeks ago my boyfriend mentioned that he’d like to bring lobster over for dinner, so I figured I’d give it another try and see what I thought. My opinion has pretty much stayed the same: it’s okay, but certainly nothing I’d write home about. It was fun, though. There’s something about sharing a primal act (and eating boiled lobster is very definitely a primal act) with someone that is just so bonding. He brought the lobsters and made us a salad. It was lots of fun.

After dinner we went bowling (candlepin, my favorite kind). I haven’t been bowling in I can’t remember how long. I was in a league for years when I was little. I miss it – I had a BLAST! Of course, on my very first throw I broke two nails (one really bad – it’s very painful), but that’s the price we pay to have fun. My boyfriend had never candlepin bowled before, and he was so cute. As he approached the lane with the ball it was as if he was marching off to war (it’s impossible to describe – trust me, it was adorable). I was very happy because in two strings I got one spare and one strike (YAY!). I am so out of practice. The first string I got something like 77 and the second I got 90. Whew. Maybe I’ll join a league again. I had so much fun – I could have bowled much longer than we did.

We wandered over to the arcade after bowling and found the air hockey table. My boyfriend and I love air hockey. If I ever have any sort of arcade game in my home it would be a legit air hockey table. My God, that is so fun! I won’t say who won, but I will say that the male ego is cute. 🙂 We also played some skeeball and I played Pac-Man and this basketball game. It was just all sorts of fun.

We ended up having dessert at IHOP. I had a hot fudge sundae. Yummy.

What a super-great day.


Illuminate Me

A bit over a month ago I asked my mom if she had any free days she could get at the Foxwoods hotel. She did, and she booked a few sets of dates. This Wednesday & Thursday were the only two that I was able to go. I really needed to just get away from my house and all the stuff around me. I needed to take a breath and recharge. Here’s the one good thing about my mom gambling too much: free vacation for Penny.

When I got here we went to one of the high-rollers rooms for free food and drinks. I ate too much and had four White Russians. Yummy, and as my mom would say, we were feeling no pain.

So, we went to see the Cirque production called Illumination this evening. It was great. We had seen Pandemonium last year, and I loved that, but I think Illumination was even better. The acrobats were great, as always. There was a very funny comedy bit in the middle using four audience members and one of the members of the show acting as the “director” of their scene. I laughed a lot. Towards the end of the performance there was a man/woman couple tandem. The man kept dunking himself in a tub and then spinning and climbing on two straps hanging from the ceiling. It was a very romantic setting and scene. I found myself wishing I was here with my boyfriend instead of my mom. 😉

It was a great show, I’m really glad we went.

Tomorrow I hope to go swimming in the pool and get some work done (see, I said I was busy – even here I have to work).

Now I’m off to hop in the tubby for a nice bath after watching Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

Six-Month Post-Op Update: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

You’re kidding, it’s been six months already? Wow. It’s funny, because my mom was just saying that it seems like over a year since I had my surgery. And in some ways it does. But at the same time, when I think about it, it’s amazing to me that this surgery that I had hoped for my whole life is six months ~behind~ me. It’s just astounding. I have never felt so good, so relaxed, so just flat-out normal.

Which brings up the first point, I guess. I still have some residual issues with the word “normal,” because for so long it was used as a cudgel against me, but I’ve been very surprised to discover that I’m actually a lot more normal than I ever expected. It’s been a weird process of realization, and I think it’s only been possible because I had surgery.

There’s fun stuff to talk about. I guess the first way to approach the subject is that everything seems to be working fine. I have orgasms and I’ve been having sex with my boyfriend. It took a bit longer to have my first orgasm than I had hoped, and their was more numbness in my clitoris and clitoral hood than I was expecting for longer than I had been prepared for. But the sensation has improved dramatically and there is very little numbness left. Orgasms still are an interesting adventure, which makes me feel very typically female, actually. There’s more than just the physical involved in a way that’s new since surgery. Sex has been amazing. I mentioned to one of my friends that I think I’m having the best sex I’ve ever had and she basically said, “Well, d’uh, you’ve got the right parts now.” It was a point very well taken. I guess I knew I had the wrong body before, but I wasn’t prepared for how right things would be after surgery. It’s amazing to just be able to enjoy intimacy with no hang-ups about my body. [Well, not ~no~ hang-ups, I mean, I’m still fat and all. But my hang-ups about my weight and such are miniscule compared to how much my brain used to hurt while I was being imtimate with others with the wrong parts.]

There have been some interesting healing twists along the way, most notable of these being the ongoing saga with exuberent granulation tissue. I’ve seen a local surgeon a few times to have it cauterized and it seems like it’s making tons of progress. I think most of the external granulation has been resolved, with a couple very small spots here and there. I do apparently have some internal granulation tissue, but the local surgeon suggested that I stand pat with that as is and let it resolve on its own and I think that makes sense.

Several weeks ago I noticed that I was developing a more natural odor, which at first troubled me. It seems to just be me building up some natural vaginal flora. I saw the ob/gyn and he was unconcerned, so I’m not worried about it. Also, it seems to be less strong than it was initially, so I think it was just very noticeable to me at first as I got used to my new smell.

I still make a mess when I pee, and I seem to have some extra skin around my urethra. Clean-up is pretty easy, though, and I haven’t really decided how troubling this is. It’s possible that I might go for a surgical revision at some point, but I’m not feeling like it’s necessary right this moment.

I’ve been amazed at how much the scars have faded. Especially on my left side where the suture line split open. I can still see the scars, but I’m not sure how obvious they would be if I didn’t know what I was looking for.

Dilating officially goes to once a day as of today. Hooray! What a pain in the ass that is. It’s so boring and time-consuming. It’s a small price to pay, and I’m not complaining, but it’s very nice to reach this milestone. Oh, and even nicer is that sex counts. 🙂

Overall it’s been an amazing six months getting used to having the correct body. I am thankful beyond words. Even stupid little stuff like having my shorts fit right has just caused me to pause and smile.

A completely unexpected side-effect is that I’ve been much colder since surgery. Several of my friends think I’m nuts because I get cold so easily. I remember coming out of the operating room, which was as cold as a meat locker, and being freezing. I’ve pretty much been cold since then.

Something I had worried a little about is my weight, and I have put on more weight than I had hoped. I’m hoping to convince myself to get back on track with my diet now that I have so much of my energy back. It’s been fun to run up stairs again.

The overall thing I guess I could say about having surgery is that it was the single best thing I have done in my entire life. I am finally peaceful within myself. Wow. I waited so long to feel this way, and it feels even better than I expected.

If sex reassignment surgery is the right path for someone, I truly believe that it will change their life in ways more profound than they can even imagine. [Of course, it goes without saying that surgery ~is not~ for everyone, and I can’t imagine how awful it would be for someone to have this surgery if it’s not the right choice for them.]

So, yeah, life is better than I had let myself dare to dream. In the most sacred corner of my heart I never could have even wished that life would be as magical as it has become. I am well and truly blessed.

This will be my last specific update about surgery until the one-year mark. Wahoo!

The Fair was Fun

My boyfriend and I went to the Marshfield Fair yesterday. It was super-amazingly fun. I had never been to a fair before, and it’s been quite a while since I even went to a carnival. My boyfriend saw an add for the fair last week while we were hanging out and said that it would be fun, and I thought it sounded awesome.

So, we got there around 3:30 because I had to teach in the morning. We walked around a bit at first and saw the agricultural stuff (~big~ veggies), a dude carving with a chainsaw (very cool), some birds of prey (the crimson macaw was gorgeous), a blacksmith, and we did some window-shopping at some of the vendors. It was neat to see how rural it could be just 30 minutes from my house. I really felt like I was in a more remote place than I was. It’s yet another reason I love living where I do: I’m 20 minutes from downtown Boston and 30 minutes from the country – how awesome is that?

We played a few games. We played darts and my boyfriend won me a cute little stuffed bear. He played a couple games while I watched (he had way too much fun shooting the automatic BB rifle – I think he played three rounds with it).

We sat and watched some of the Team Penning event, which was pretty cool. Three riders had to separate out certain cows from a herd and guide them into a pen. I love skilled riding events. Horse riding is just super groovy; if I wasn’t so heavy I would probably go horseback riding sometimes, but I worry about breaking the horse’s back.

Then we went and watched the Pro Wrestling. My boyfriend had never seen pro wrestling live before, and he was just adorable. He hooted and yelled and cheered. He was like a twelve year-old boy. It was very cute. I used to be too much of a pro wrestling fan, so I was explaining some of the concepts and moves to my boyfriend. My boyfriend knows kempo, so he was telling me about the proper throws and moves and such. It was way too much fun watching the wrestling with him. He’s so damn cute. In a pleasant surprise, Tito Santana was one of the wrestlers performing. Tito was one of my favorites when I was younger, and even though he’s slowed down quite a bit, it was awesome to see him in person.

After the wrestling we got funnel cakes and then went on some rides. We went through the fun-house, and the haunted house, and the house of mirrors, and my favorite, the Ferris wheel. We were like two kids having all kinds of fun at the fair. I missed out on so much in my youth because of my social phobia and depression. I never would have been able to go to a fair before and have anywhere near this much fun. I am so grateful for the chance to get these experiences now.

I was really cold by the time we were ready to leave, so I went and bought this pink poncho that I had seen earlier in the day. It’s really cool (I love ponchos), and it’s pink. 🙂

My boyfriend came back to my place and we watched Aeon Flux (the movie) together (I had never seen it). Then we went to bed and got up this morning and I made bacon and eggs for breakfast. I can’t remember the last time I made breakfast for anyone else. My last boyfriend was a chef so I didn’t really cook when we were together, and I’ve been alone at home for almost two years now. It felt really good to cook for someone else.

What a lovely day, and night, and morning.

What fun.



Favorite Google Search for Me

So, I can see the search terms that people use to find my blog. Sometimes they’re kind of wacky, sometimes they’re fairly disturbing, but sometimes they just make me smile. Sometimes it seems like the person searching was looking specifically for me, and then sometimes they were looking for something that made sense for them to find my blog, and then sometimes I’m pretty certain that I was ~not~ what they expected. 🙂 Yesterday I saw my favorite phrase that has lead anyone to my blog:

“I am God’s Penny.”

And that just made me smile all different colors of happy, because I am.


Thank you for putting the soldering iron away

So, I forgot to even mention this the other day.

I saw the local surgeon again this past Monday. He’s treated me twice before for granulation tissue at my vaginal opening and near my clitoris. This time he treated just a very small area at my vaginal opening, and instead of using the soldering iron-like implement that he had used the two previous times, he used silver nitrate. There was no pain, which was lovely, because I was getting really tired of the soldering iron being applied to my crotch.

He said everything looked great and that I don’t have to see him again unless I have a future concern. I really like this doctor.

I mentioned to him that my gynecologist had said that he thought I had some internal granulation. The surgeon said that he thought it was possible, but that I should just leave it alone and let it heal on its own. I trust this doctor a lot, so I’m going to take his advice. Whatever granulation tissue I do have left isn’t causing me any pain, so I’m not going to worry about it. There is some discharge, which is a pain, but it seems like I’m well on the mend.


Inconsistent Tranny

How the hell am I supposed to insist that people don’t use the word “tranny” when I come to a queer space and they toss it around like drunken sailors?

Could we at least decide whether it’s a horrible word or not, please?

And none of this shit about “well, we can use it but ~cisgender~ people can’t.” That is hypocritical bullshit.


It is interesting how alienated and unwelcome I often feel in queer spaces – I’m really such a normal little straight girl nowadays…

Debriefing NiceGuyStanding

I spent most of last weekend with NiceGuyStanding, and I had a really good time (we spent last night together too, but that’s a different story…). Spending so much time together, I found myself wanting to talk with him more about my history and how he felt about the way I had disclosed my history of transsexualism and such.

One thing that came out was that after our first date a few weeks ago, he had recognized that it was possible that I was a transsexual. I suppose I have mixed feelings about this. I like to think I blend perfectly nowadays, so it’s a little weird to have someone be able to pick up on my history. Yet, he said that he wasn’t sure, but thought it was a possibility, so there’s that. And, it did give him time to ask himself some questions about how he would feel if it were true before we even had the discussion.

So, when we did have the discussion about my history last week, he was a little prepared for it, which answers a lot of questions I had about the way the conversation went.

The thing he said that I liked a lot was that he sees me as a woman and he likes women, so, there you go.

I asked him how he felt about the timing of my disclosure. I felt this was especially important because on our first date we had kissed quite a bit. I’ve thought about my boundaries a lot, and I feel that kissing someone does not necessarily mean that they have a right to know my medical history. So, I did and I will kiss someone before I disclose my past. I do, however, think that if I intend on having any sort of contact with someone beyond kissing (assuming that it is more than a one-night-stand), it’s important that they know about my history before that intimacy. So, I had told him after we kissed, but before we did anything more intimate. I was glad that he said that he did not feel lied to or deceived. It seems like he recognizes my position and thinks I handled things with sincerity and respect, which is exactly what I’m going for.

It was an interesting conversation, and I learned a lot about myself and the way I see myself continuing to interact with the world. I reiterate my complete understanding and support of people who live in a more discreet way than me (“stealth”). Yet, I also know that being open about my history remains important to me. I feel like I gained a lot of confidence the way things have gone so far, and no matter what happens from here on out, this has been very good.

Life makes liars of us all


So, I have no idea what to write here, but there’s something I need to say…

Looking back through the glasses of three years of living the proper life, and five years of therapy, it might seem easy for me to say “oh, and I wanted to be a mommy so I kept my wrong parts and tried to find another woman who’d have a baby with me.”

That’s obviously not how it happened, though.

I was an incredibly depressed, repressed, and confused person in the “before time.” It’s not like I set out with a plan to keep my penis and testicle to hunt down a willing woman to have a child with. I was a mess. I was boderline agoraphobic for years. I was suicidal. I wanted to be a mommy. I did not want to be a daddy. I felt that if I was my true self that everyone in my life would abandon me and leave me completely isolated. I was struggling with my transsexualism. I had severe anxiety. I couldn’t ~do~ anything. I was a pretty broken and non-functional person for just about my entire twenties and into my thirties.

Looking back now, it might seem easy and obvious when I say “I wanted to be Wonder Woman;” “I had a crush on John Cusack;” “I wanted to be a mommy.” But the truth is that each of those revelations took tons of work and only now are starting to become clear. The realization process sort of happens like a flash – I might be talking about something and I’ll realize “OMG! ~THAT’S~ why I did that, or thought that.”

If I couldn’t even fully process my transsexualism, which is the core of every other problem, how could I have processed anything else?

And, it’s possibly even worse to think what would have happened if I ~had~ been the sperm donor of a child. Would I have ~ever~ transitioned? It certainly would have been much more difficult. I expect I would have buried everything that much further, and who knows, maybe all those suicidal thoughts would have finally become reality. It is incredibly heartbreaking for me to say that it’s probably for the best that I never managed to have a baby with another woman, but I can recognize that it is probably for the best. I never wanted to be a father.

Dredging this stuff up is very difficult work, but I think it’s important for me to process my past if I am to have a truly healthy and happy future. Trying to learn about myself and my previous trauma and issues I believe is invaluable when it comes to moving forward as an effective human being, both for myself as well as those who deal with me.

And it certainly doesn’t help trying to process this stuff while at the same time trying to live an active and engaged life. Past and present blur sometimes, and then it can really get tricky.

I think the only thing worse than knowing how messed up I was and having had to live through that is knowing that my issues spilled onto the person who, to this day, remains the person who has been the single most important person in my entire life. I wish I knew how to make amends, I wish I could wave my magic wand, at the very least I wish I could stop adding new pain.


I wish I knew how to make it right…

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