A little bit of this… and then some more of this

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fragment

Noun \ frag·ment \ˈfrag-mənt\

a portion broken off, detached, or incomplete part

Valerie Fragment

Noun \ val·er·ie frag·ment \ val·(ə-)rē ˈfrag-mənt\

a portion or broken thought, detached mental meanderings, or an incomplete selection of rumination

Its been a few months since I bored you all with some of those little blurbs I like to call Valerie Fragments, where I can talk about some thoughts or happenings that aren’t enough for a complete post on their own merit. So fasten your seat belts, I don’t want anyone getting hurt with excitement!

Oh God no… not a pink one!

I was in a store in a local shopping mall when I saw man of about 30 years asking a salesgirl if they had a particular type of item he was looking for. I didn’t hear what the specific item was, but she went to check and came back with bad news… “sorry, no”. She then said if he would write down his name and phone number, she could check around and get back to him, which seemed to please him. She went to a checkout station a retrieved a pen and note pad and laid it on the counter for him. The salesgirl then proceeded to ring up another customer who was waiting. The man picked up the notepad and went around to the other side of the station… and picked up a different pen. He then wrote down his details.

The pen the salesgirl had initially set down for him was pink. I could only assume that being the astute being that he is, he was successfully able to avoid an unwanted feminine contamination, that quite possibly could have resulted in his penis popping off. Clever man! I smirked at the whole episode, but thought it was a good example of a strange fear that most men have of the slightest appearance of feminine behavior… like writing with a pink pen.

I have now come to the conclusion that to keep the average man off something or away from something you don’t want them fiddling with, just color it pink or put a flower on it. It will be considered radioactively feminine from there on.

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Who knew?? And I have none of these in my purse!

Why are women naturally so much closer than men?

Sort of piggy-backing on the previous fragment, I wonder why men are so unwilling or incapable of showing any real emotion around each other. I have watched women who see each other after a long break hug each other with real emotion. I have witnessed three girls out for the evening pile tightly into the front seat of a car (think back to the days of bench seats). I have observed a woman grab another woman’s hand and lead her into a store to look at something. Nothing special in-and-of itself, but could you ever men doing these things? Yeah, me neither…

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I might just have a second career I never knew about.

Once again I have been doing some traveling for work and on a longer flight I had a nice conversation with a female flight attendant. (Can’t call them stewardesses anymore, but I still do.) She said she enjoys her job most of the time, but sometimes it’s a little depressing watching people come and go, moving on to exciting new horizons (maybe) and she is in the same place no matter where the plane is. Kind of reminds me of my life as Valerie. For years I have met trans* people who have found themselves and grown and moved on to exciting new horizons (maybe) and I am in the same place no matter where the closet is. I need to get my hands on a vintage stewardess outfit, makes being in a holding pattern a little more tolerable… preferably Trans World Airlines of course! Coffee, tea, or me?

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Leia and Padme have nothing on Grace.

The hype over Star Wars is on the wane now, but for several months it was the topic du jour everywhere. I did my share of reading since I grew up with the movies. By far the best article I read was on the costumes/fashions and hair styles of the females in that galaxy far, far away… Of course they talked about Princess Leia’s and Queen Amidala’s wild hairstyles and how they were groundbreaking. I suppose they were to a point, but I have seen some similarly innovative hair styles on another princess I am familiar with… a long time ago, but not so far, far away…

Funny how I have not seen any of these styles in the wigs stores…

So, what did you do?

At Christmas time I wished everyone a Merry Christmas and challenged everyone to do something nice for someone you don’t know. Well? Did you do it?? You don’t really have to tell me, but if you didn’t do it (yet) then get on with it will ya??

That’s all I’ve got at the moment… be well ladies!

-ValS

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Simply a-muse-ing; or another graceful day…

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My blogging routine is not what it used to be, and that is largely due to my work schedule. I have been traveling quite a bit and when I’m not the work routine can easily eat up 12 hours a day right now. A lot of the things I love (female and male) have been taking a backseat lately, and it is starting to wear on me. Add to that I have been on a new medication which has had some side-effects that are less than desirable, and I have begun to wonder if a change of career is in order.

One of the not-so-unpleasant side-effects of the meds, I have mentioned a few times already, is that I continue to have some wildly vivid dreams. I have already begun to write them out and will post some of that soon, but I am finding that as I write I tend to remember more than I initially did. This is so completely opposite of my usual experiences with dreams, and I can tell you I am enjoying it. Not so sure it is worth all the unpleasant side effects, but I’ll take what I can get.

However, none of the above is what I wanted to post today (imagine that… Valerie off on a tangent already). Today is the anniversary of my muse’s birth, and I wanted to add some more images of her beauty in celebration of her life. So happy birthday Grace Patricia Kelly, born Nov. 12th, 1929. She would have been 86 today, but unfortunately she passed away at age 52. One of the few benefits to not aging fully in public is that the vast majority of photos preserve her younger image of beauty. However, I find that even in her last photos she was still an absolute beauty!

You can call this “filler” or you can call this post whatever you like. I call this a visual expression of who Valerie is deep inside. Every time I see her image, I sigh and think that is the image I would love to achieve. She still takes my breath away and likely always will…

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-ValS

That “gray” time of year again, or… fragments are all I’ve got

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It is now mid-March and for my existence that means it is again that dreaded time when I begin to return to some semblance of male form, in preparation for the spring and summer seasons. I have talked about Valerie being a part-time winter girl on many occasions, and also discussed the general confusion I go through when my mind is still feminine but my body becomes more and more masculine. That is the state I currently find myself.

The body hair is the worst thing. There are few things as repulsive to me about my own body than the body hair coming back. But without it in the summer months I would simply reveal too much of my feminine lifestyle to effectively remain in the closet. While I think I have out-grown caring largely what others would think, it is my concern for my family and career that keep me in there.

I am now in that ugly “gray-fog” period again, and true-to-form it clogs my mind up. I am just in a totally “blah” mood, and had difficulty completing the post I started writing last week. It really isn’t coherent and is much worse than my normal rambling. When I reread part of it I thought “what am I trying to say here??” If I don’t know, then no readers would stand a chance. On top of that, I have been traveling a lot for work and unable to devote any real time to anything Valerie. So until I get my head and schedule sorted out again, I think it is already time for some more Valerie Fragments. They are quick and easy and don’t require too much thought (and unfortunately that is most of my material… 😉 ). So here we go with round two:

I’m the best option? Really?

While I am truly honored, I find this to be ironically humorous and one of those things cosmic forces seem to hit me with on a regular basis… I was asked to be the Best Man at someone’s wedding. I wanted to say that I’m don’t think I really qualify, or that if I am the “best” man available, then the world is really in trouble. I did say yes and thank you for the honor, but what I really wanted to say was could I possibly be a bridesmaid instead?? Alas it is not meant to be, and such is life when you live two lives. Maybe I should start saying “such is lives” going forward.

Searching for something, and found something else:

My recent posts about about music topics have lead some unsuspecting visitors to So Very Deep over the last few weeks. That’s fine with me as I welcome any and all. It made me wonder what some other people were searching for when they found me, so I dug into the stats a little bit… No surprise that the most common search terms were “Valerie South”, “ValS”, “So Very Deep” etc. Those are the people who come looking for the blog. Also at the top of the list of search terms were the generic “cross-dresser”, “1950 cross-dress”, “cross-dresser in petticoats” or many variations of those.

What did surprise me were the number of search terms that were centered around the “forced feminization” or “sissy” themes. I get it that there are many persons searching for those topics, but I am surprised they found me since I am not in that genre. Although it does explain some of the comments and emails I have received. To those people I say sorry you didn’t find what you are looking for (or maybe you did). On a more positive note, I was also surprised by the number of searches for “Grace Kelly” that found me. I love that this led people here, but again… probably not what they were looking for (I am no Grace Kelly!).

More of my cosmic iPod:

I continue to randomly pop up songs on my iPod that seem so fitting that I am sure some cosmic force is driving it. First of all, Boston’s “A Man I’ll Never Be” finally played (I blame this on Ruth for her mentioning it). Not long after came Def Leppard’s “Make Love Like A Man”. I keep feeling like the the universe is trying to influence me somehow, but I am not giving in. I’m pretty sure that if I had (which I absolutely don’t) The Village People’s “Macho Man” on my iPod, then that would have been up next. But instead, then the cosmos tried to piss me off by playing Kiss’ “Beth”. If you read my last post, you’ll know whey that one has significance. So it was then that I decided I should just switch to the radio. Again, I know there is nothing more than coincidence and my mind making the connection, but it sure feels like there is some kind of influence there.

Can you picture this?:

Many of you transgender bloggers, and even more of the bloggers of other genres, are comfortable enough with yourselves to display your pictures on your blogs. I have always really stayed away from that as I thought it conflicted with my “closet dwelling” needs. Instead I post a lot of vintage 1950s era fashion related photos that represent Valerie’s personality. Lately I have had several emails asking about photos of Valerie, such as do I have a Flickr account or will I ever post any of myself on the blog. Well, I don’t have a Flickr account, nor a Facebook account for Valerie, but I will give you this… I am one of the pictures already posted in So Very Deep. So if you have read my posts, you have met Valerie… sort of… well not really… But see, I am loosening up a little.

A tale of two titles:

I have also been asked on more than one occasion why I sometimes title my posts with two different titles, such as “The nagging void of why, or just simply the end of the line” or “Lost in trans-lation… or, what a long strange trip it’s been”. One asked me if I did it to “represent the duality of my personalities (or something like that). While that seems like it could be a creative reason, the truth is much less clever… It is actually a nod to the classic cartoon “Rocky and Bullwinkle”, which used to split the episodes into halves and at the end of the first would say… “tune in for the next exciting episode” and then then give a title and then an alternate (or very bad pun). A good example would be in a Christmas themed airing where they said “tune in for the next exciting episode: Claus and Effect; or Yule Be Sorry”. I always found it funny when they did this, but no one seems to remember that detail but me. Must be another one of those vintage Valerie eccentricities.

So that’s it for now, more general mental ramblings from my head to the to the inter-web. Que Sera Sera and “such is lives”… that’s all I have at the moment. I will be back when I get over myself a little more. Until then… “Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat… oops, wrong hat” (sorry, another bad Rocky and Bullwinkle quote… 😉 )

ValS

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Sophistic desiderata… filling the voids

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A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I have a “thing for Barbie dolls”. It was a topic on my list that I knew eventually I would blog about, but I didn’t think it would be anytime in the immediate future. Then I read a recent post by my friend Kirsty, where she described the overwhelming joy she felt as she dressed in a formal gown for a recent event. When I read her account of how seeing herself in her true form symbolically allowed her to “fill in” some events she was denied in life, it really touched me.

Silly as it sounds, Barbie dolls do the same thing for me now. They are one of the things that I really wanted as a child and simply could not have because I was a boy. I have always been mesmerized by the elaborate ball gowns and fancy hair-dos that Barbie had, and I so wanted my own Barbie. I knew I could never ask my parents for one, so I just continued to envy every girl that had one or what seemed like twenty (no girl I knew had just one).

One year I did ask my parents for a Batman “action figure” for Christmas. For all intents and purposes, it was a doll. A boys doll, but calling it an “action figure” made it less doll-like. I got the Batman and a Superman “action figure” for Christmas that year and liked them. But both Batman and Superman came in costume and that’s where it ended. There were no gowns or jewelry, and they didn’t come with a brush to comb their hair (Superman’s hair was hard plastic and Batman had a permanent mask on). They both had boots and Batman had a utility belt, but they weren’t the shoes and belts I was interested in. They were nice, but they weren’t Barbies.

I never really played with them much, in fact I just would put them in various poses and leave them around my room. One of my siblings would occasionally take Superman and whilst yelling their best “Up, up and away!” would launch him into flight across the house. On one such occasion, Superman was left lying in the middle of the dining room floor. When my father came home from work and saw it, he immediately told me to get my DOLL out of his sight. I could sense the disgust he felt in saying it and remember it vividly to this day.

My father was never abusive to me and never even said much about me being the least bit effeminate in my youth. I didn’t think I was then, but it is plainly obvious to me now that I clearly was. Still, even though his distaste was apparent in the “DOLL” comment, I don’t want anyone to have the impression he was anything but a good father to me. Still, it left me keeping any further “action figure” desires to myself.

Flash forward to now. My son has action figures, but they really are action figures… hard plastic molded figures and are nothing close to a doll. He has nothing close to a doll, except maybe some old stuffed animals. He never asked for anything like a doll and I am glad. Truth is anytime he remotely comes close to anything feminine, I gently encourage him in a more masculine direction. Hypocritical? Sure is, but I don’t do it to deny him… I do it out of fear that he will possibly end up like me, and certainly don’t want that for him.

As I have said countless times, I love who I am and love having a strong feminine side. I love understanding aspects of the female world that most guys will never comprehend. I love the joy and satisfaction I get presenting as a woman. Without Valerie, I wouldn’t be me. So why wouldn’t I want my son to experience the same things? Well, simply because it would be so much easier to just be a regular guy and not have to worry ALL-THE-TIME about getting caught. If he did end up like me, I would love and support him anyway, but I just don’t want to “encourage”it.

Now, back to my father… the “DOLL” comment was one of the few times I ever sensed his displeasure with my less than boyish ways. As I said, I know I was not a typical boy, because I have siblings and a boy of my own. I was never like them. I never took things apart for no reason. I never was mechanically inclined. I hated to get dirty. I didn’t really “rough-house” or “horse-play” with other boys. I wasn’t really good a sports. And yes, I loved Barbies. No normal boys I know of love Barbies (although I can’t understand why).

But ever since that comment, I did wonder if I was a disappointment to my father. He was always a good father, but just can’t help but think that was because he was a good man, and that is what he was supposed to do. Deep down, maybe he recognized what I was and as long as it wasn’t thrown in his face (or left on the dining room floor) he could live with it. On the other hand, maybe he had just had a bad day at work, and the “DOLL” incident was nothing more than a little frustration that just so happened to come my way, when no fault of my own really.

I’ll never really know. My father passed away several years ago and even if I ever got the courage to ask, the opportunity is now gone… God rest his soul (love ya Dad!).

If you have read my older posts, you may recall that I struggle with Christianity in a big way. I don’t want to get too deep into the religion argument here, but I do wonder if my father is able to look down into the world and see us. I wonder if he now has a complete understanding of who and what I am, and honestly wonder what he thinks if he has “seen” me all dolled up as Valerie (pun intended). Do souls in heaven feel disgust? Would he care that I look more like a daughter than a son? Is something so petty as gender roles even considered in heaven? I guess I really don’t think so. Maybe the departed have no idea what is going on here in the mortal world, and my secret is still safe. I guess maybe one day I’ll find out, then again, maybe I won’t.

So sometimes when I walk by and see one of my Barbies sitting on a shelf in the original packaging, I will think to myself…”now THAT is a doll, not a silly “action figure!”. So yes,I have a thing for Barbies and she fills a void in Valerie’s childhood that provides me with endless pleasure. I don’t expect anyone to understand it, but it is true. My children all think the Barbies belong to my wife, and that is fine. Soon she will likely have to explain to them why she just bought a new Grace Kelly Barbie. She’ll roll her eyes at me as she comes up with some explanation, or maybe she will tell them it is their father’s new “action figure”.

-ValS

You haven’t seen the last of me…

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“You haven’t seen the last of me”… that was the sentiment I wanted to leave on my blog as I wandered throughout the technology landscape, trying to determine the best course of action for future Val and in-turn, “So Very Deep”.

It’s only been about two weeks, but it feels like more. I have come to depend on the various internet based outlets for my feminine persona to express herself, and cutting Valerie off from the world (albeit limited) was tough.

I have to say thanks so much to both Kate and Matt for all the advice and insight you gave. I truly appreciate your helping guide me through the multiple options and “tech talk” to help me arrive at what I feel is the best option for Valerie and SVD. Pinks stars for both of you!

But anyway, I am back… so there… “you hadn’t seen the last of me”. I thought about using the completely overused Arnold Schwarzenegger cliche’ “I’ll be back”, but obviously Valerie is nothing like Arnold, and the reference just seems laughable.

I assumed that the phrase “You haven’t seen the last of me” had to have been uttered countless times by villains in classic movies, and that I should be able to work that into the blog quite easily. But as I researched the quote, it kept coming back to a 2010 Cher song “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me”. I’m a big music fan, but not a Cher fan. That aside, the fact that it kept leading me back to Cher seems to be another small part in what sometimes appears to be a big cosmic joke starring Valerie South.

You see, about three weeks ago I came across a collectors edition Barbie doll of my favorite muse… Grace Kelly. She was wearing the classic black/white Edith Head gown from the movie “Rear Window” and I immediately thought I needed to have one of these. (I have a thing for Barbie dolls, but that is another story…)

In a bit of an awkward conversation with my wife, I told her about the doll and that I would love to have one. Without batting an eye, she said that she’s not surprised. I thought she meant because of the 50’s style, but then she said (tongue in cheek) all gay guys in denial are drawn to Grace Kelly. Then she said it was the same phenomenon that caused us “drag queens” to be drawn to Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and (you guessed it…) Cher.

At the time I really didn’t want to debate the point with her, because I’m sure she was just wanting to tease me and have a bit of fun, and also because I was caught off guard. I do love the Wizard of Oz, but doesn’t everyone? I just said Liza and Cher do nothing for me and left it at that. She smiled slyly seeing I was a little rattled and said, “whatever you say sweetie”.

Since that conversation with my wife, fate seems to have me on a collision course with all things Cher. I mean, in a normal week, just how many times do you normally run across something Cher related?? Once maybe? Twice is uncommon. More is just unheard of.

Even so, as I drove to work one day there was a commercial on the radio for a entire evening of Cher on a NPR radio station. Then a news story flashing up on a concert tracking site I frequent, about a Cher canceling several shows due to illness. Then a Cher song on the car radio as my wife and I were out driving (I waited for a comment from her, but she either didn’t realize it was Cher or was just being kind). All just coincidence I know, but it did give me sort of an eerie feeling like deja-vu.

So when this Cher song kept popping up as I began drafting this post, I really did feel like fate had me in her cross-hairs and that I must be the punchline to some big cosmic joke. So I decided that maybe I shouldn’t fight fate and just let the Cher song be the name of the post. ”You haven’t seen the last of me” is the right line, even if it does keep me spinning in this cosmic loop. I guess I am more like Cher than I am Arnold.

Anyway, I’m glad to be back.

-ValS

This blog needs some Grace

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Looking at many of the blog posts in WordPress universe, there is no shortage of tributes to Grace Kelly.  So naturally I thought we needed at least one more.

I am just mesmerized by her image, her beauty and sophistication.  I mean I have literally looked at thousands of pictures of Grace, and have never seen one that she looks anything less than stunning.  If there is a bad picture of her out there, I have never seen it.

If I set out to create the perfect image of a woman in my mind, it would come out looking like these images.  Grace Kelly was one of a kind and I’m not sure she will ever be equaled (sigh).

-ValS

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