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Life...

I went to a concert with friends, all of us approximately the same age. The band, The Tubes, much older than us. One friend, whom I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic (we all frequented many concerts), now using a cane to get around. The place was filled with elderly people and I realized I am one of them. I no longer feel good anymore. Now please understand, I am not complaining, just observing. Many have much more difficult lives than me. The morning when I wake up is spent coughing, a runny nose, aches from my daily battle with trying to sleep comfortably, walking off stiffness and this goes on most of the day. Arthritis leaves my hands less functional than they used to be, often in pain at night. I am also undergoing physical changes, some welcomed, some make me nervous. The medication I am on for my prostate has begun making physical changes in my body. Does this transgendered woman welcome these? Yes. Body hair growth has slowed significantly. My skin is definitely softer, much more feminine to the touch. And the girls…they are indeed growing, to the point that I do need to wear support. Needing to wear a bra vs. wanting to wear one are two different things. I did not chose this path, and it initially did not bother me, but sore and tender areolas are a reminder that I am morphing. Welcomed? I ……..think ……so……. As the great Stone Temple Pilots once said “I’m half the man I used to be”.

I do not have anything significant and for that I am thankful. But Father Time has certainly started defeating me for as we all know, he is undefeated all-time. BTW, anyone who can tell me what the title of this post means wins a free subscription to Kandi’s Land (which you all know is gratis anyway).

Setting aside my issues, my wife is struggling. I won’t go into great details but something definitely is wrong and as of yet, the health care system has either found nothing or outright failed her. She has had significant GI issues now for a while. Also one of the side effects of her hearing loss is heightened anxiety. She has always been anxious, but the hearing loss made it worse and now the unknown issues have rendered her a wreck. Except for her job, she sits on the couch, little energy, napping but never getting a good night’s sleep. When a loved one hurts, you hurt. I don’t complain to her about my issues because they would only further feed her anxiety. Plus our daughter is getting married in June and of course, that creates another source of anxiety. One diagnostic procedure after another comes up with no issues, medications to deal with the problem do not work, the GI issues are prevalent.

Why tell you this? Because it has me feeling blah as well as down right guilty about getting dressed. I am in my annual stretch of many Kandi activities, followed by a stretch of a Kandi shutdown. Finding the motivation to do the work necessary to get out the door has been difficult. Now, that said, once I am out the door, I still feel that joy. That further feeds the circle of guilt. The usual investment of 3-4 hours of prep, drive, drive home and getting everything cleaned up and put away is taking its toll. While my wife is 100% accepting, I try to respect that by always getting my stuff put away after an outing.

December 1, 2023 Mix at The Cleveland Museum of Art, the holiday party. The Tubes show was the evening prior and as such, I was exhausted squared (I am now generally always exhausted, I yawn all day long, every day). I am well aware my on-going battle with the bottle is a major contributor to this. While I appear very confident on my posts, I still have that brief feeling of uncertainty, those WTF moments when I look at myself in the mirror. On top of that, my inability to know what to do for my wife and the fact that she has to work to provide us with benefits, leave me feeling like a failure as a husband and a provider. Without going into personal details, this year has been a brutal year for us financially. My retirement date now seems certain: my death. I will work until I die. This all has weighed on me.

Don’t feel sorry for me, I certainly have it much better than the significant majority of human beings on the planet. Much of this is my own doing, my mistakes. All this said, I am a fighter. I have recently begun allowing myself to take a breath every so often, acknowledging I am somewhere on my back nine. Hopefully on the 12th fairway and not chipping on the 18th green.

I work out daily and used to be a competitive runner. Now I only do so about 30 minutes a day, often lightly, and my runs are now often walks. I am encouraged though that I have accepted that three miles is actually a sufficient distance to run and have done so well of late. I have mentally acknowledged that I am no spring chicken any more and am taking the steps to try to stay healthy.

I am now working more than four jobs (which includes seasonal and part time work), but I see a path to success. I have hired an internet marketing expert to help me build an online platform for my apparel business, including branding and SEO/advertising to grow the business. Last week, we set up the bones of the web site, created our brand and I am very excited about our launch!

I am now the social media coordinator for one of the apparel lines I represent (the most recent job). If my plans succeed, I will then be able to “tend the garden” so to speak and not physically work as hard by creating a revenue-generating process. My main strength, beside my force of will, is my ability to create a process and doing so successfully. My education was a process. That resulted in an MBA. My career, a process. That resulted in my need to be self-employed. Now my truck business, a process, providing food on our table. Even how I parented, a process. An actuary and a pharmacist, professional and financially independent daughters, resulted. So I go about taking four different apparel lines, all synergistic fits, and weaving them into one marketing machine.

We rambled on too long here, we’ll get to the Mix party tomorrow. It was not my intention to write this at all. I simply wanted to describe my feelings going into the party as well as of late. All of this just flowed out of me, very cathartic. My form of therapy (which I am sure I could use). Putting this on paper makes it somewhat overwhelming, but is me basically yelling at the universe, venting.

Know we all have struggles, we all have blessings. The key is to recognize those blessings and revel in them. Kandi is one of those blessings. The process of becoming her, more and more of a struggle. I remain a person gifted with people in my life, family, friends, my friends here and in our community, those wonderful people, strangers, that treat me so well as I navigate the world in my heels: all true blessings.

Kandi is literally an escape, a release, from life’s challenges. But she has become a guilty pleasure for me right now.

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32 Responses

  1. Kandi,
    You may share with us anytime. That is what friends and Kandi’s Land are for. You have given all of us so much, so feel free to give us some of your burden. Vent away!

    My prayers and thoughts will continue for you and your wife. May the joy of this time of year fill you both. Merry Christmas.

    Love,
    Jocelyn

    1. Thanks Jocelyn! You all were literally my therapist a week back before you even read this. Sometimes I have to yell out into the universe to vent.

      Love you all!

  2. Kandi, thank you as always for your honesty. You’re such a positive person that it’s very easy to think that you lead a charmed life without any of the challenges of life that the rest of us face. But understanding that you have had to, and continue to, overcome adversity gives inspiration to all of us and my fingers are crossed that the ventures you are now progressing bear much fruit for you as you deserve nothing less.

    And The Tubes? I saw them in Liverpool in the early 1980s – sitting on the front row too! Fee Waybill saw that he had a band of enthusiastic followers in my little group so came down to us and pointed his microphone our way while we sang along to one of the choruses. I wouldn’t like to say for certain which song it was but I have a sneaking suspicion that it might have had something to do with ‘Mom and Dad’ moving to Hollywood and needing rope. That revelation probably means I’ve won the free subscription too, I think!!!

  3. Kandi, my thoughts are with you and your family this holiday season. Having unknown (and unwanted) health issues is an enormous weight on your shoulders that impacts your entire life. With your daughter’s upcoming wedding, I can well imagine the levels of anxiety in your house!

    Making the time for yourself is an important outlet for temporary release of that stress. It should not add the burden of guilt to your stress. I know you will do what’s best for your family and yourself – we are here to support you just as much as Kandi’s Land has been a support for us.

  4. Kandi my dear friend I’m so glad you can open up this way to all of us
    You are a blessing to us and I know you are to your family
    I pray God will grant you the strength to keep going but also know when to rest
    I will remember to lift you and your wife in my prayers
    Thanks for sharing your heart
    God bless
    Rachael

  5. Kandi,
    Welcome to old age and the new meaning to ‘D’ in WPOD. Since The Tubes are a ‘local’ band, I’ve seen them many times since the late 70’s. Pre-pandemic they use to play in a summer beach concert series. I know I can’t handle Fee Waybill’s 12 inch heels.
    I would suggest trying probiotics for your wife’s gut. My friend had GI problems for years and the only thing that worked was probiotics; but it took time. (I’ll send you an email later with the brand that worked for him.)
    I’ve been nursing very slow healing ribs for the last 10 months, so sleeping has been at best an adventure. I’ve also limited my activities during this time. On the other hand, I need to wear bars, corsets, and other compression garments to hold me together while I heal. So, my inner girl is happy.
    Things happen as we age. It’s how we deal with them that matters.
    BTW ‘PUNK’, do I WIN the “free subscription to Kandi’s Land?”
    Cali

    1. Sorry, Cali – see my cryptic reply and claim for the free sub above! Thanks to my geographic location and the time difference, I already had it in the bag while you were all still tucked up in bed fast asleep!

        1. If he was wearing 12” platform boots while he sang, it’s possible that you had gone to a Tubes concert without actually realising it.

      1. Amanda,
        I was up but getting ready to work. Had to put my 1.5 hours in today.
        At least I came in second. Maybe the punk will give out two free subscriptions.
        Enjoy your free subscription!
        Cali

        1. Cali, thanks! I’m inclined to think that Kandi’s Land won’t be complete without a review of the concert – it’s been over 40 years since I saw them and an update is long overdue as far as I’m concerned!

          Kandi, over to you!

  6. Kandi,

    You’re among friends here and as friends we’re here for the good, bad and everything in between. It’s good you vent to us once and a while, it helps your emotional state. I wish I had done it more with friends during my late wife’s long illness. I didn’t and have paid the emotional and physical price ever since. And don’t feel bad about occasionally being Kandi just consider it necessary therapy.

    Fiona

  7. Kandi, I am so sorry to hear about your wife’s issues as well as your own. I’m kind of sad because after all you have done for me all I can do is tell you that you will be in my thoughts and prayers…constantly. I had no idea you had all those age related problems and I feel guilty that so far….well never mind, I do have age related issues too but nothing as serious as what you have to deal with. The big thing is all the stress and anxiety that you must be going through doesn’t help either. But you biggest asset in all of this is that you are an amazing women and so resilient. I think I would have crumpled long ago with all you now have on your mind. Just remember Kandi, we are all family here because of you and this amazing platform you built that has helped countless numbers of us girls. You have been our rock and now it’s our turn. I love you girl.

    Trish 💖💋

    1. Thanks Trish! I know I am loved and I lean on that each and every day. Please understand, I have it better than 95% of the people on this planet, but I for those that read my posts, I want to paint an accurate portrayal of myself. Love you all!

  8. Kandi,
    It’s possible most transgender people carry extra guilt about they questionable needs , I don’t think they can be totally resolved but we can come close . Perhaps we get to a certain age where they need to be resolved , can we really enter old age with gender issues ? Some say old age is a state of mind but we often find our bodies aren’t on the same page , for most of us a lifetime of hard work and bad habits do catch up with you .
    Yiu do have so much going on and I guess it’s not always possible to burn the candle from both ends so how do you reconcile that with being Kandi ?
    Your mediaction is taking you down a less masculine road perhaps it’s time to decide if that’s the way of things go with it . Your wife is basically OK with Kandi so why not grasp the nettle and take the pressure off from alternating from one to the other . Please believe me it can and does work , day to day living as a female isn’t so hard , you just have to refine things and normalise it . Prep work comes down to minutes rather than hours , you have to create a stable wardrobe so planning clothes for the day is easy , you may not get as many compliments but your mind could be more at rest and more able to deal with the workload .
    You mention the alternative of not dressing at all , only you can say if that’s really livable , would a total male life create more stress and pressure ? I admit it screws me up for only a few hours each year , that’s why Xmas is not a good time for me .
    I think I’m a little older at 72 but even this time of life is a better , happier place for me , feeling good about yourself reaps rewards for everyone . We all carry regrets in our lives but I would have so many more for not being honest about myself .

    1. Teresa, I wish it were simple, it’s not. I love being a man, very much. Problem is, I love being a woman as well. I would lose most of the things I have and do as a man if I were to make this change. I am wrapping my bead around being old, investing my time, money and energy into what I hope will be a more lucrative and less physically demanding venture and will ease back into whoever I am going forward. Kandi will never be full time and if that happened, that would mean many bad things occurred along the way. Each and every one of our lives are very different, an answer for one is not the answer for another. As always, I appreciate your support and perspective.

  9. Kandi,
    You have been so open about most of your past which was very brave , perhaps you didn’t need to but you gained evryone’s respect in doing so .
    i have disclosed certain details of my past but haven’t revealed all but when I consider my full male life many might feel I was mad to turn my back on it . Did I enjoy my male life ? It’s hard to give an answer one way or the other , like most I did what I was expected to do and just got on with it . Looking back I feel I did too much , I didn’t consider myself transgender but I never lost the gut feeling from childhood that something was wrong so I tried to bury it by working till I dropped . This is why I have no regrets now , at some point in our lives we need to consider ourselves after spending the majority of our lives considering others . I know you have that cross to bear through a bad business decision and the influence of drink , I truly hope you find peace with those mistakes .

    The basic issue is where we want to cross the line in transition , I had to go further down the line because I realised I couldn’t make both sides work , it proved too painful . I accept it had to come at a price thankfully I’ved lost far less than I expected . To be truthful I miss very little of my male side but I also know I still have abilities and knowledge still useful to me now which I will always be thankful for .

    1. Teresa, one thing about this blog, it does put me at peace. I get to discuss things that most of us cannot in our lives. So, yes, I have issues, but I talk them through, put my head down and plow forward. I get to release stresses, frustrations, get advice, share, support and love. How great is that?

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