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Brave? Absolutely Not!

An essay from the old blog, written during the pandemic, every word still resonates.

I have been told in many different forums that I am brave. Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am by no means brave. Brave is running into a fire to save someone’s life. Brave is being a police officer, risking your life. Brave is protecting our country. Brave is becoming the person you are inside. Brave is coming out. Brave is donating an organ to save a life while you are still alive. Brave is not dressing comfortably and having fun doing so.

I wear a dress and go out in public. Usually doing so, I am in a happy place, a celebratory situation. By following my rules, I am never in any more danger than anyone else. I do acknowledge that what I do is not the norm for many like myself. But I am simply living my life. This is a fairly riskless “hobby” of mine.

Really, stop and think about it, I am a human being wearing clothing. What on Earth is brave about that? I am simply a representative of those that choose to dress as I do. Nothing more, nothing less.

I appreciate the praise that I receive. I won’t lie, it pleases me greatly. Walking around, being positively noticed, it’s wonderful. That’s just human nature. But I certainly am not a brave person. I wish I were. I am persistent, I am sweet, I am kind, I am a hard worker, I am a survivor, I am athletic, not a bad writer if I must say so myself, I am a pretty good husband and father, I am deeply, deeply flawed, I am not perfect, I am a work-in-progress, I am impatient and I am a lot of very positive things. One thing I certainly am not is brave.

So to anyone who has complemented me, I thank you. But please don’t assign what I do any real importance. Just use what you learn here to find ways to express yourself in a means you find comfortable. I wish I could articulate how this all really just fell together for me, I rarely had that “okay, here we go” moment. It just evolved, happened. Wish I could explain it. In these days of masks, social distancing, closed this and that, my evolution has stepped up a bit.

Be smart, be appropriate, be confident, be visible, be you, get out there!!

BTW, the photo has nothing to do with this essay, I just love it…

Today is our daughters wedding. I will look nothing like you see above and will be very, very happy about that. “This” (Kandi) will haunt me, thrill me, please me, disgust me, draw me in, make me feel odd, complete me, make me proud, fill me with joy, exhaust me, and I will never, ever understand it. I will not comment on this post as I have to get my tux on, walk our daughter down the aisle, bawl my eyes out, make sure the event comes off smoothly, give a what I have termed my pre-eulogy eulogy speech, bawl my eyes out, dance with my daughter (to Tom Petty’s “Wildflower”), bawl my eyes out and then….it will be a forever memory.


12 Responses

  1. I’ll tell you something, Kandi, in those 122 words in bold at the end (no, I didn’t count them, just copied, pasted and used the MS Word word count!), you’ve pretty well summed up our whole existence – the highs, the lows, the absolute joy we feel one minute and the downers that plague us the next. And above all, no matter how comfortable we may feel in our feminine persona and no matter how much others may feel that we’re denying our destiny by not accepting who they think we really are, there will always be priorities that make us put all of this to one side, not because we have to but because we want to.

    I hope that you, Mrs K and, in particular, your daughter and new son in law have a wonderful day.

  2. A very proud day for Dad.

    Congratulations to your whole family.

    Enjoy this very special day, father of the bride.


  3. Hi Kandi,
    So much of life is challenging in a variety of ways, but one, (maybe the only one!) of the virtues of getting, ahem, older, is that if one is a thoughtful and aware person, an understanding of what the hell is going on in life, and in the world around us, can be achieved. To understand what is happening to us, around us, is useful, and important. Your expression, description, of what you do and what you are, is absolutely beautiful. It presents the well considered, rational, often happy, and sincere person that you are.
    Enjoy your daughter’s wedding and the celebrations that come with it.
    Onward for all of us!

    Best to you,
    Marissa in Ohio

  4. Kandi,
    There is no more a prouder moment then to walk your daughter down the aisle , of course we fear the planning falling apart but most people’s fears are short lived the day is one to enjoy . I did my duty as a father but my daughter and her husband now respect the choices I’ve made thankfully I didn’t lose them .

    I hope your day is one never to be forgotten .

    As for the ” bravery ” lable , does it really apply to us ? I guess we relate bravery to the risks taken or the sacrifices we make to achieve something in life . I still feel my friends who had to surgery to align their mind with body very brave , they stepped into the unknown but sadly they didn’t resolve all their problems . For those who know my history I’ve been called brave but then I’ve also been called stupid , selfish and worse . It’s a fine dividing line beween self belief and recklessness because we always push ourselves for something more its’ what makes a CDer or transgender person tick , it’s not always clear what drives that need .

    Kandi , I do consider you brave for establishing Kandi’s Land , you give the strength to many members to be true to themselves .

  5. Kandi, congratulations to your daughter and new son-in-law on their wedding day. Enjoy every moment and cherish every memory that you and your families will experience.

    As for being brave, each one of us has been brave in our own way. Some see your actions and adventures as being brave because they aren’t yet able to express themselves freely. Some are brave enough to open up and tell their own stories, complete with pictures and showing nothing but love and acceptance. All of us are brave when we say “I’m a CD” or “I’m transgender”, even if we only say it to ourselves.

    1. Tina,

      So true. Coming out to yourself is very hard and requires some bravery. In my personal experience, coming out to myself as TG was so much harder than coming out to myself as CD. As a CD person, I could pretend it was all about the presentation. What’s a little harmless dress up between friends? Plus, I could always tell myself I could quit when I had enough fun. As a TG person, I had to admit to a truth about my fundamental identity, and thereby admit that I was one of “those people” Jerry Springer would make fun of. So, there was a certain bravery in confronting that fear. But I live largely stealth and am not out in the workplace or to the extended family or to my neighbors. I still fear that sort of outness very much. So, I suppose my bravery quickly has devolved to cowardice.

      I will go on record as saying that Kandi is brave in that she lives fully, even chaotically, in two genders, not letting her fears stop her.

  6. One of the few advantages of being a male is walking your daughter down the aisle. It somewhat makes it worthwhile to spend the day in an uncomfortable, crappy looking tux. Enjoy it.

  7. Thank you all for your kindness and well wishes! The wedding and everything surrounding it was quite memorable. A day I will never forget and that is saying something as someone whose memory is somewhat lacking. 😊

  8. Congratulations on your daughters wedding. It is such a wonderful feeling walking a daughter down the aisle. I hope you enjoy the day.

    Kandi, having so many people love you for who you are speaks volume about you as a person. You are not afraid to be the person you are, so I think that is being brave and true to yourself. There are degrees of bravery and I agree there are people who define the term brave, and they have my admiration.

  9. Thank you Kandi and I’m glad you had a wonderful day. Whether it’s brave or not, you’re certainly a wonderful example to many of us who wish we could live openly the way you do. I’m glad to say I’ve taken a few steps in that direction and it’s largely because of you and Kandi’s land that I was inspired to do so and that really means a lot to me.

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