RB – Book – “Left-brain, Right-brain and the Soul”

The below link is to a pdf of the draft book as of 5/22/18. Significant changes will be made but click on the below link for the draft to get a feel for the book. Copyright 2018 Fran Sisco and Future Dollars.com Corporation. All rights reserved.

LBRBAndTheSoul_051315pdf

Fran’s book “Left-brain, Right-brain and the Soul” is in draft form (about 1,300 pages) and after the editing process is complete it will be self-published as a first step.  After the sale of 500 books and analysis of the accumulated critical feedback garnered from readers and people at various book-signing and speaking engagements, then the book will be edited again and published through a noted publishing house, with an agent and an upfront advance.

From time to time, selections from the book will be excerpted and shown on this webpage.  Readers are encouraged to send Fran comments to FrancisSisco@aol.com.

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Section A – Essays about transition from male to female:

Essay #14 – “Me, A Model. Why not?
Photo and video shoot and related essay, from T Project, a nonprofit project sponsored by Transmission.
Copyright 2013 Fran Sisco. All Rights Reserved.

There I was on stage.   Bright lights shining on me. Nick is focusing his camera on my face and my body, repositioning the spotlights, making suggestions to his assistant, Danielle.   She is asking me to turn to the side, to smile, to raise my legs.   Later she is blowing the fan on and under my dress for effect.   Ben is to the side, videotaping it all.   Rhyrus, Annie, Joe and Connie are watching, smiling.

Wow, was I happy.   I never thought it would be this thrilling to be the subject of a photo shoot (stills and with video). Nick took 134 photos, some of which are below.   Ben’s video is 18 minutes, also below.   I had nearly forgotten that dream years ago of being the subject of a photo shoot when at that time I resigned myself to remain a man for the rest of this life.   I had convinced myself that the only life in which I’d be a full-time female would be the next one, if that. But now, here I am, having lived the last two years fully as a woman, ever grateful and knowing very clearly that life has pleasant surprises.   So, just keep dreaming, just keep praying, and adventures like modeling in a photo shoot can actually happen.

I was invited months ago by JeanMarie and Annie to be in   “The T Project” when the nonprofit grant funds were applied for.   The T Project is funded, in part, by Arts Westchester and has been organized by members of Transmission, a program of The LOFT LGBT Community Center, located in White Plains, NY. I never had expected the extreme boost to self-esteem that I experienced that Saturday in September at the Reilly Studio in White Plains.

Below is a videoclip (unedited) from that day and a few of the photos.   I know I’m no hot model, and that I am decades too old for magazine layouts, but I think my true self shined through that day, on that stage, in a way that I absolutely loved and would like to experience again.   During the shoot, I heard the lyrics of R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe’s song “Losing My Religion” that include “All these fantasies come flailing around.”   This time, on that stage, my fantasies of being a pretty girl, with all eyes on me, became real. Came flailing around, but not controlling me but instead me controlling them.   Enjoying living out the fantasies. Enjoying myself as the woman I’ve become.   And having more dreams yet to live.

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For more information about the T Project and about this essay, videoclips and photos, please contact Fran Sisco via email at FrancisSisco@aol.com or visit her websites at http://www.FrancisSisco.com, http://www.VideoVoom.net, or http://www.VideoVoom.com.   Copyright 2013 Fran Sisco.   All rights reserved.

Below is a videoclip of the photo shoot referred to in the above essay:
http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/CeAngouxy64
Below are 10 photos from the photo shoot referred to in the above essay:

 

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Essay #13 – “Every Night Should Be Like This”
“Night of a Thousand Gowns” – on 4/6/13 at the Hilton Hotel, NYC, by the International Imperial Court of New York
Copyright 2013 Fran Sisco. All Rights Reserved.

Have you ever attended an event that was way more than you expected? A night that lingered like the sweet smell of rain for days after? Recently I experienced that — as I attended my first Night of a Thousand Gowns.
I was dazed all night; i moved through a blur of excitement, color and extravaganza; a pomp and circumstance that has resonated in my mind and pyche since: like a great movie or song you can’t get out of your head.

That’s what happened to me April 6th at “Night of a Thousand Gowns,” held at the Hilton Hotel just off Times Square. On two occasions during the night, I almost left the event. But somehow, magically, I was pulled back in and then experienced another level of excitement.

As a transgender woman with a lot of transgender friends, and involved in many LGBT organizations, I’ve heard about
“Night of a Thousand Gowns” as well as its sponsoring organization the “International Imperial Court System (IICS).”
Too fancy for me, I thought. Lot of pomp. Kind of surreal. Well, before I attended this year’s Night of a Thousand Gowns (NOATG) with a press badge as a columnist for this magazine (tgreporter.com), I did some research — including a quick review of wikipedia.

I was I enlightened in many ways. The event is certainly regal and royal. There is a grandure to it all, and people dress to the nines. Yet it’s not just about showing off. There is care and pride put into all details and design of the night. Moreover, in addition to the fun, the strutting, and the entertainment, it extends beyond that — and the celebration of LGBT concepts — to become a homage to living life fully; the giving of yourself to others charitably, altruistically. Not only does IICS rank as one of the world’s oldest and largest gay organizations, but it also a powerful and successful international force for good.

Beneath the glitter and charm of the event is an important mission to help make real positive change in the world. A friend of mine, who is a member, told me that many members at their own expense travel [throughout the U.S.A and abroad], to carry out charitable projects, passionately.
As with going to new events in life, NOATG was an eye-opener for me. The festive mood and many activities and performances kept me smiling and enjoying the good cheer. On a deeper level however, I was developing a profound respect for these individuals who dedicate so much of their time and money to make things better.

The sense of community and fellowship was so strong, that I had the urge to join the organization several times during the night. Perhaps in due time. For now, I felt that I should do my part to provide the outside world with as many glimpses into the NOATG as possible. Through thsoe efforts, I hope, perhaps the mission and objectives of the IICS will be furthered. Varied glimpses, from the red carpet interviews and posing, to the performances of talented stars, to the speeches, runway strutting, dinner and dancing, wonderful conversations, the random group of mothers and daughters from down south who made the 1,000 mile trip that day after seeing a cable TV profile of NOTG, to the awards ceremonies, and more was overwhelming. I will try my best to convey it all.

So, in addition to writing about the event, I videotaped many sections of the evening, and then rough-edited the material to insert these quick videoclips into my column, so you the reader can feel that you are there, and perhaps revisit the evening by revisiting this column.
And perhaps just as importantly, so you can share this column and the video material with your friends and associates to help broaden the awareness of the good acts (and the fun!) of the IICS and the Night of a Thousand Gowns. If you like what you read, see and hear, please “like” it on our Facebook and/or G+ page, or retweet it.
So here’s the evening in sequence and sequins

up my pink gown, and made the short trip by car from Westchester (video below).

A. Getting Ready to Go. I felt a little out of place without a great gown, so I used Modonna-isque gloves to fun-up my pink gown, and made the short trip by car from Westchester (video below).
http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/8QNJWYmHQP4
B. Going there:
A beautiful clear day driving down into Manahattan from Westchester County enhanced the expectation for an amazing evening.
http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/XVdGRfVKnCM
C. Arriving at the Hilton Hotel: The lobby was abuzz. People everywhere dressed to the nines. Excitement is building (video below).
http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/SfrvzARlg20
D. The Red Carpet (3 videos below): How fabulous meeting several celebrities close-up. Who would have guessed that Chad Michaels, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is so spiritual? Or that Taylor Dane is so health conscious? And how beautiful they all are, even under the intensely bright lights! Very creative outfits and masks! Watch the videoclip and take a listen to the interesting conversations.
http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/6AWhThJa9Rk
http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/kfSfDcaLrcE
http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/C1lWX_xpwdw

E. The upstairs lobby (see video below): People were entering the main ballroom for the dinner, dancing and awards ceremonies, but I was advised that my press pass did not get me in. I was a bit surprised and very disappointed but resigned myself to take some video from the second level looking down into the ballroom and then leave. But as you will see in Part 2 of this column, I was pulled back into the event to have even more fun!

http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/0EbZWVtYo5o

See Essay #14 for PART II.

Fran Sisco

Website: http://www.FrancisSisco.com

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Essay #12 – “Me, a Zumba Girl? “
\Essay dated 2/14/13- After editing the below, it was published on 2/16/13 http://www.tgreporter.com in Fran Sisco’s column called “A Girl’s Life.”
By Fran Sisco, email – FrancisSisco@aol.com, website – http://www.FrancisSisco.com
Copyright 2012 Fran Sisco. All rights reserved.

Above is a photo of Beto Perez and Mara in a Zumba youtube videoclip of “Crazy in Love.”   I look like the girls, only a bit older.

One hour of a roller coaster of physical activity, emotional turbulence and intellectual growth.   And all in a Zumba class.   No kidding.

Ten minutes into the class, the gravity of what I am doing hits me like a ton of sneakers.   I am looking at myself in the mirror that covers the front wall of the Zumba class at the New York Sports Club in Scarsdale, NY.   I look pretty good. My bangs not yet drenched with sweat. I still have on the three-quarter length pink thin top over my black tank top.   The thin black flounce short skirt adds the girly touch over my black leotards.   My black sneakers are sleek not bulky, I will soon take off the pink top to cool down a bit.   Zumba is a high intensity workout.   And this instructor, Elida, has to be the most energetic Zumba leader. She is usually at the front, but also moves around the room, guiding everyone to be the best they can be.

So here I am in my first Zumba class, with 23 other women, all are genetic, and one man who is the only one who is a bit stocky and hardly keeping up. I finally took my daughter Kelly up on her offer to be her guest. She takes three Zumba classes per week and raves about Elida and I got to see first hand how good Elida is.   I also got to be with my daughter, as her “female” parent. Kelly introduced me after the class to a few classmates and we chit chatted. It felt real good being accepted by the others as a woman, but more importantly by my daughter Kelly.   At 28, she is wiser, less judgmental and more accepting than most people twice her age.   Plus she is a great dancer, and has been all her life.

I was tempted to pull out my iPhone from my pocketbook and take a short video clip and a few photos to memorialize the event, but thankfully I shunned the thought. Doing so would have made several people uncomfortable and embarrassed Kelly.   To give you an idea about the catchiness of Zumba, check out Beto Perez and Mara with “Crazy in Love” in this youtube videoclip:

So here I am, dancing along with the songs such as Shakira’s “Waka Waka,” Pitbull’s “Hotel Room,” “Zumbe Zumbe Zumbe ah”or Kelly’s favorite “My Name is Sheila,”   Don Omar has a lot of Zumba hits. Popular songs like “Crazy in Love,” “Turn Up the Music (Chris Brown) and “Gangam Style” keep you motivated.   Many of the steps seem Latin, like salsa, meringue and cha cha.   I’m catching on okay, and probably following about 80% of the steps, some intricate and most very fast.   I still cannot believe how good it feels to watch myself in the mirror.   Finally, I’m living fully as a woman.   It’s been two years that I have been living full-time as a female, and my family, friends and even my clients (I am a CPA and financial advisor) accept me as Fran now, no more as Frank.   Over the last two years, I’ve been feminizing and have been through cycles of intensity of my femininity, I guess like a teenage girl goes through.   I’m finally settling into a look and feel of a person I am comfortable being.   And dancing as that person is such an awesome experience, bringing into reality many of the aspirations I had only in fantasy daydreams. I feel truly blessed.   I look over to the other girls, from 18 to one woman who is 81, and feel very comfortable being one of them.   I look like them. I move like them.   And over these many months I’m learning to think and feel like them.   Or so I believe.

At about 30 minutes into the class, I left for a few minutes to buy a bottle of water from the machine outside the room. I wondered to myself how I would be able to last 30 more minutes and nearly gave up. My vigor was waning. But I psyched myself out.   I reminded myself I did much more strenuous and difficult things in my life.   And now as my true self, Fran, I need to complete this class.   And I did not want to disappoint my daughter.   So I pushed, and sure enough my second wind came.   In fact, I found the rest of the class exhilarating, perhaps like a runner’s high.   I started to focus on my steps in order to get them right, but also I concentrated on making my moves feminine and graceful too.   My long hair that day was frizzier than I would have liked.   My black leotards, short skirt and tank top was not as flattering of my figure as they could have been. But overall, I loved the experience!   After the class, I went up to Elida and thanked her for leading so well.   Kelly came up and joined the conversation, mentioning that I was her parent, and then she said “father.” Elida was surprised and said she did not realize I was transgender.   It was a complement that was icing on the cake.   Well actually, that’s an inappropriate metaphor for an experience in a fitness center. Elida telling me she thought I was a woman was like getting a standing ovation after dancing and singing on a Las Vegas stage with Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Rhiana and Madonna.   The audience is cheering and all smiles. I’m going back to Zumba.   I’m hooked on the feeling.

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Essay #11 – “Follow the Comedy” – Draft #1 of article- 10/7/12 – After editing to be published on http://www.tgreporter.com
By Fran Sisco, email – FrancisSisco@aol.com, website – http://www.FrancisSisco.com
Copyright 2012 Fran Sisco. All rights reserved.

From left- Steve, Rockwells – Pelhm owner, comedians Joe Devito, Mark Normand, and Jason Salmon and Fran Sisco

Oh, I think I am getting hooked. A bit out of control right now. I’m running around seeing comedians and doing some stand-up comedy myself, much too frequently and at the risk of letting other things slip. Yet I follow the comedy. I’m compelled, perhaps obsessed with the freshest seductive activity since cubism painting or performing my own songs, taking videos while driving, or writing essays or poetry or whatever hobby became an addiction for me. What’s your thing you are following?   Trust me. This comedy thing is fun and funny, a super combination. And it leads to lots of other fun things, like music, meeting new people, getting creative with our intelligence and experiences, and maybe even a paying comedy gig someday.   Part of me says go with the flow and enjoy the ride. The other part screams “Be careful about letting other stuff go.   Don’t get sucked in. Remember the destructive fallout the last twenty times.   Maybe by writing about it will help. I apologize if I’m off with names or recall the jokes without the humor that had me laugh.

UCB Open Mic. (UCB’s Hot Chicks Room, 153 East 3rd Street, NY, NY 10009, 212.366.9231)

After the UCB (stands for Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre) open mic in the Hot Chicks Room on Friday night, I went with Leah, my comedy classmate (we’re taking comedy classes together at the Gotham Comedy Club – more later) to Grand Karaoke   (on 32nd Street in Korean Town) and rented a karaoke room with her and three of her friends and had a ball singing and dancing in our own private space, and videotaping parts of it.   At the UCB, our names did not get chosen to perform, but it worked out well anyway. Most of the over ten people who performed were quite good. I found Venessa Peruda (yes with an e after the v, and quite attractive) to be quite clever in her bit about wanting a specific end-of-the-world date to have something to look forward to. Her imaginings of a post apocalypse world were hysterical. Because Leah missed it, I coaxed Vanessa into doing it again out on the street corner for Leah (and videotaped it too!)

The charming and encouraging emcee Paul Oddo (who is a comedian himself and winner of the Boston Comedy Festival) kept the pace brisk at the UCB open mic. I thought the funniest impromptu happened when Ross Parsons was interrupted by the sirens of a passing ambulance during a lull in laughter about his routine. He jumped at the siren and said “Well I’m killing so hard!   Yelling to the passing ambulance “Hope you brought some body bags with you!”   Sean McCarthy faked a 911 call to police to report a white-collar crime.   Without missing a beat, he rattled off all that was being done in the building to make bad loans, securitize them, get high ratings, sell them to an unsuspecting public, be in violation of Sarbanes-Oxley, and please send police. I’m in the lobby of Citicorp.   Bob Hansen (stocky with a red beard and a smooth top) confessed he is a self-loathing redhead and that the worst thing for him after moving to New York City is finding out he is a racist. Talking about NYC, Derek Humphrey said he reasoned that several homeless men he met who looked rather fit with tight abs could be attributed to having more time and eating less.   In Jason Burke’s act he pretended to be in an interview for a corporate job and the interviewer asking “Where do you see yourself in five years,” Jason Burke play-acted a persuasive corporate type and then a real person with sharp honest images.   Another comedian (I missed his name) said he dreamt about having 45 minutes of sex, and added “in his lifetime!”   He revealed that he is envious of the couples eating in the West Village cafes, talking up a storm. He thinks, “Brunching is f—-g hard.” I’m going back next Friday and hope to get picked. If not, no problem because listening and laughing is fun.

$3 Tavern Open Mic. (613 2nd Avenue, just south of 34th Street, NY, NY, 646.455.0813. http://www.thethreedollartavern.com

At an open mic at $3 Tavern on Tuesday night, everyone got picked and performed plus one obnoxious high heckler, who thankfully left midway.   Three other members of the Gotham comedy class were there (Yvette, Aaron Sm and Aaron Sc).   I think we all did reasonably well.   The emcee Jason announced at the start that the microphone was not working and that scratched part of my plans to use a prerecorded half of a telephone conversation, with my iphone next to the microphone for amplification.   It worked out anyway because of the lesson I learned to anticipate changes at the event. I think the evening’s funniest times were when a comedian, Lafayette, responded to the heckler’s taunts by calling him up to the not-working mic and then traded insults about each other’s clothing.   The comedy whistle was whetted and I hung around afterwards and performed a few lines for four of the listeners who by then were mostly wasted and could not really be trusted to give me worthwhile feedback.   Having a taste of the comedy drug at $3 Tavern, I was ready for more and drove down to Penny’s Open Mic where I have not been for several months due to usual schedule conflicts now on Tuesdays.

Penny’s Open Mic. (Every Tuesday night starting about 8:45pm, At “Under St. Mark’s Place,” located at 94 St. Mark’s Place, NY, NY)

Penny’s Open Mic is quite eclectic, always packed in the small underground theatre called Under St. Mark’s Place, and allows people 7 minutes each to do songs (about 60% of the people), do comedy ( 25%) or anything else including theatrical skits, dance acts, spoken word and even puppetry and ventriloquists (15%). When Penny pulls names from the bowl and writes the listing, you practically pray for an early number, or else you can get stuck at the end on a reserved list with 4 minutes instead of 7 and playing to a much smaller and more tired, though loyal, audience.   I was fourth from last and didn’t get up on stage until about 1:45am. I trimmed my plans but still told a few stories, funny I hope, about transitioning from male to female, including the one about being called “Miss” several times at CVS. My head swells every time someone calls me “Miss” because it conjures up a self-image of a 25-year old cute girl rather than “Maam” which is a middle aged woman in her 50s and looking it, or the dreaded “Mr.” not accepting my being a transgender woman, which shoots a photo into my cerebrum of a man with thinning hair, bent posture and a sort of dreary look in his eyes.   Do you see why “Miss” heightens my mood?   Anyway, I tried out my comedy idea of presenting a poster I had made at Staples of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the clothes and hair of their wives, comparing the two Presidential candidates, and helping to spread the rumors that videoclips of both of them would be released soon. My conclusion was that Barack made a better woman than Mitt, and the citizenry would vote for him preferring not to face an ugly female Mitt for 4 years.   The joke went okay but led me to retool it.

Gotham Comedy Club. (208 West 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, NY, NY 10011. 212.367.9000. http://www.gothamcomedyclub.com)

These three open mics follow two evenings at comedy club events.   The first was on the prior Tuesday night at the Gotham Comedy. I received a late-afternoon email that, as a student in the Gotham’s comedy classes, I could attend at no fee the performance that evening called “New York’s Funniest Stand-up Comedians.” How could I refuse? I had a million things to do, but I dropped them, rushed out, drove down from Westchester County, and made it in the nick of time.   I was very impressed and told Ed Cavanagh, a friendly manager, so afterwards.   Vince (missed his last name) was an energetic emcee who had many terrific jokes of his own that got triggered after each comedian’s performance.   He was excellent at establishing rapport with the audience, smaller than usual, probably due to it being a Tuesday. Talking to a Latin-type audience member, he segued into a joke about the Puerto Rican day parade and how crime went down in the Bronx while they were at the parade in Manhattan.   The two comedians who stood out that night for me were Frank Liotti (who I found out was a student of Jim Mendrinos years ago) and Pete Davidson.   Frank, a fast-talking good-looking Italian guy who looks like he can handle himself, told about his grandmother waving a crooked finger at him saying “If you every bring home a black girl, then that will ….” followed up quickly with something like “Good thing she died before I brought home Tyrone.”   Pete is 18 years old, lanky and is either a black and white mix or a black-looking Caucasian. Very funny and likeable. When he talked about the disadvantages of dorming at college, he said they ran out of toilet paper but didn’t get any.   He said his mom is getting old – she just turned 40.   Pete explained that she still works and still drives. She just joined a cult – Zumba. Several other comedians had me liking them, including Sheba Mason, Richie Redding, Kyle Frenchman and a pretty blonde smart girl who looks like Scarlett Johansson and John and Aaron (I missed their last names).

Comedy classes at the Gotham Comedy Club. (208 West 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, NY, NY 10011. 212.367.9000) http://www.gothamcomedyclub.com

Since I started taking classes at the Gotham Comedy Club to be a better stand-up comedian, I’m hooked on comedy and watching it and doing it all over the place, like some type of out-of-hand habit like an exaggerated twitch.    It’s an 8-week course a the Gotham on Sunday afternoons, given by the very funny very experienced comedian and comedy writer Jim Mendrinos (check out http://www.jim-mendrinos) and his assistant Lorii Sommer who is a comedian and actress and quite funny herself.   Instead of getting caught up with my work, I’m going further and further behind as I flit about town going to comedy clubs and open mics.

Here is what happened in the past 2 weeks. Two Sundays ago I took Class #2 of 8. Each of us had three minutes to present to the other fifteen students. After each act, Jim, and Lori, made insightful and helpful comments. A lot of encouragement, a good amount of constructive criticism and once in a while a remark that hurt.   But all done in a very positive, learning way. Of course, I asked a classmate to videotape me with my camera, as back-up to the video Lori took, and that evening I uploaded it to my site at http://www.FrancisSisco.com. Who cares that it was not polished or perhaps even worth someone’s time to watch. I felt good about it, and it belongs on my site with other cinema verite so-so stuff, along with a video of me singing one of my songs at Penny’s Open Mic months ago with 2 two guitarists and a keyboardist backing me up, doing it along with a CD playing of some beats and instruments I did with imovie, with very little if any editing.   I say cinema verite while others call it rough or incomplete or something else.   This Sunday I will try out some new material.   We stretch our act from 3 minutes to 4 minutes.   We report on our experiences at the open mic.   Jim not only teaches very well but inspires us to be the best writers and comedians we can be. Sounds corny but true.

Comedy Night at Empire City Casino (Good Time room every other Wednesday evening at 8pm at Empire City Casino, 810 Yonkers Avenue, 10704, 914.948.4200, http://www.empirecitycasino.com)

Last Wednesday, I saw an ad in a local newspaper for the comedy night at Empire City Casino in Yonkers, NY and went to it with my daughter Kelly. I went there a few times before and had very enjoyable evenings. This time kept the record going and since that night I recommend it each chance I get.   Admission with casino membership (which is free) is an unbelievable $5 with a free drink ticket.   Kelly and I got a few finger food items to munch while we laughed along with about 150 others.   Jay Nog emceed and did the first act.   He’s a sharp young guy who looks, in his words, like Joey Fatone (of ‘NSync” boy band fame) without Down Syndrome.   Jay said that as a teacher, he believes that some kids really suck. In order to exercise some control over or punish his students in a world that hamstrings teachers, he would walk by them and fart, and linger there.   The next comedian up, Chipps Cooney, had me roaring. After inserting a CD into his on-stage player and pushing play for the music, he began a series of magic acts.   All bad and obvious magic acts, but so funny I was surprised I never saw the routine copied.   Chipps is probably in his 70s with longish blondish/grayish hair and I thought would have been a hip pre-hippie, maybe even a beat poet in the day.   He placed a small snow globe in his left hand, placed over it a big cloth napkin, shook both up and down, then removed the napkin and voila the globe’s snow was flying around inside. Then he put a tape measure under the napkin and commanded it to retract with the other hand in the air, and it retracted, of course because he pressed the button under the napkin.   Chipps performed the amazing feat of holding a shining piece of thin tubular metal vertically above his mouth and then brought his hand closer to his mouth, magically making it look like it was going down his throat, although everyone in the audience knew it was a telescopic car antenna and easily collapsible.   At some point he changed the CD to “It’s Magic” by Frank Sinatra.   After several hysterical bad magic acts, he told a few jokes. My favorite about Alzheimer’s which he set up by asking the audience “When you die, your life flashes in front of you.   But what if you have Alzheimer’s?” After telling another Alzheimer’s story, he repeated it word for word. He closed with a Chippendale-style strip dance, which defies description.   The headliner Jay Larson, a married man in his forties, told very funny descriptive stories, with excellent punch lines.   Stories about domineering controlling but helpful black women, about confident handshakes, about punking someone on the phone due to mistaken identities, and of making certain provocative body gestures to passersby.   More of his stuff is on itunes podcasts called Crabfeast .

Comedy Night at Rockwells in Pelham (Every other Saturday night in the Downstairs room at Rockwellls, 105 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, NY 10803. 914.738.5881)

On Friday night, right before going to UCB, I saw a front-page ad on the local Pennysaver for an Open Mic at this popular restaurant in the next town over from where I live.   Oh, no. Another temptation to go to comedy and leave behind what I planned to do (e.g a few client tax returns as their CPA).   Okay, I tell myself, I will go tonight, and then my comedy class at the Gotham tomorrow, Sunday, but that is it for at least several days.   Enough!   But I had to go. While driving there with my daughter, I kind of hoped that the acts at the local open mic would not be that great, perhaps even a little disappointing and this would blunt the edge of my comedy addiction for a few days.   I was so wrong. It turned out the place was packed with about 125 people, the comedians fantastic and I even got to talk with them and open up possible conversations in the future.   The headliner Joe Devito told me, after the show when I approached him, that he knows Jim Mendrinos at the Gotham Comedy Club and in fact Joe said that he was appearing Sunday night in the below smaller room at 7pm (the same room I am in for classes that same day from 4 to 6pm) doing a show with 4 other Italian-American comedians called “500% Italian.”   I’m going! There goes my Sunday night.

The emcee and first act was Jason Salmon, a mustached guy in his 30s once from Dallas Texas.   He talked about the benefits of eating meat, especially bacon and wondered whether all the troubles and fighting in the Mideast could be because they never eat bacon.” More bacon, more peace.”   The second comedian, Mark Normand, is a single 28-year old guy, not very manly by his only assertion.   In his stories about women, he said he was living with a woman who asked him to rate how hot she was on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as the highest. He told her 8.5 and she was very upset that she did not score 10. Mark said she should not blame him because he was just delivering the news and it was not his fault she wasn’t a 10.   He said “I wanted you to be a 10 also.”   When talking about prostitutes, Mark confessed he never paid for sex but declared that prostitution should not be frowned on.   Paying for natural activities should not be frowned upon.   After all, Mark said, you don’t go up to someone who just bought groceries to eat, a natural activity, and say that they should not spend money on food but instead become farmers and grow their own food.   Mark dealt well with the bunch of obnoxious loudmouths to his front left, with one man even taking incoming cell calls on his out-of-date flip phone.

When Joe Devito stepped on stage you sensed he was good. Confident even though short with glasses. Italians from Long Island seem to know how to handle a disruptive table and he did it quickly and cleanly.    His material and timing was outstanding. His cadence built through the act, and my every-5-seconds of laughing turned into a continuous laugh by the end. No matter what topic he covered, such as being single and online dating, Italian family of overeaters, untasty Irish soda bread that comes out of the oven stale, getting mistaken for the nerdy geeky employee when going to Best Buy, and the suction cup problems with Tom Tom GPS.   I loved the joke about his Italian grandmother giving everyone loads of leftover food, so much that when he got in his car to leave and put his box on the seat next to him, the seat belt alarm went off.   I roared at his sharing a story about problems with his aging father’s driving. From a house window, he watched his father back up from the garage with lots of speed right into Joe’s car. When Joe ran out and asked his startled father why didn’t he look behind him, his father answered that he didn’t expect a car there because Joe never parks in that particular spot. Joe said, “Dad, it’s not a good idea to drive from memory!”   As Joe was holding the audience captive to his wit, I thought back to Jim Mendrinos in my first comedy class relating the feeling, like waves of elation, when the crowd is laughing and appreciating your material.   I looked at Joe and saw him smiling and felt him smiling inside too, as each wave of laughter filled the room, looking around seeing all the happy faces. Addictive waves.

Crisis Help Radio Show (www.CrisisHelpRadioShow.com, and broadcast the first Tuesday of each month on WVOX from New Rochelle, NY. 1460 AM and live on http://www.wvox.com including video. Call in number 914.636.0110. Business number 914.636.1460)

I’m hoping to arrange that several of the people covered in this article will call in (914.636.0110) with a minute or two of humor on Tuesday night, October 10th, between 7pm and 8pm on my once-monthly radio show called “Crisis Help Radio Show” with my fantastic co-hosts Tom Sullivan, Ken Kline and Kelly Sisco.   Prior shows are on http://www.CrisisHelpRadioShow.com. This Tuesday’s show will be “Follow the Comedy” that hopefully will help listeners deal with whatever crisis they may be facing. Am I going over the top yet?   Next week I start uploading videoclips from various venues.   Please write me at FrancisSisco@aol.com if you can suggest some therapies to control my newest addiction.   Is comedy my newest way to deal with crisis in my own life? You think?

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Essay #10 – “At the Salon” Copyright 2012 Fran Sisco.

By Fran Sisco (also published on www.TGReporter, as “Blow Me” starting 6/11/12 – Click here.

It seems that the more “female” the activity is, the more female I feel, and the happier I am.

One of my favorite things to do is to go to the salon. Oh, it makes me feel so feminine and beautiful. And the girls at Salon Atelier in Eastchester, New York are so friendly and helpful. I’m always lifted into an exuberant happy feeling from the moment I arrive, lasting throughout the appointment.

I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to blow-dry my own hair, but it always comes out the same: a wiry, frizzy mess.

This past Saturday afternoon, I was in a rush. I had a “roots, wash and blow” appointment and didn’t want to be late. The rushing seems to be about the only thing left over from my “other” life. But I’m working on it; ladies should float, not rush!

I parked near the salon. But I needed change for the parking meter, so I leaned back inside the car. Bam! I hit the top of my head on the car door opening. I wear a small hairpeiece on the front of my head [to provide me bangs and thicken up that portion of my hair], and felt the front clip pull on my real hair. Rats, I can’t afford to lose any hairs.

I took a deep breathe, remembered where I was headed, and quickly calmed down and returned to my good cheer. There was a woman of about 40 years old standing there, probably waiting for a ride. “Love your cut and auburn color,” I said, “Who did it?” She answered” Melanie,” with a smile that indicated to me that I had just made her day. Melanie was one of the co-owners (along with Maria).

So I walked into the salon and Grace, an upbeat haircutter, says “Hi Fran! Then Noel (a Pink-looking adorable young woman who was on my Crisis Help radio show a few weeks ago talking about her appearance on “What Not to Wear”) also offered greetings.

Maria offered me a smock, but hard as I tried to slip my left arm into it, I got stuck. “I guess I’m not really ready for you” laughed Maria. “That’s very okay,” I assured her, “Even I’m not ready for me!” She chuckled and walked me back to the hair color section, me smiling the whole time from all the nice greetings I’d been receiving by all the girls.

I was offered coffee and a cookie — and of course I accepted. Veronica came by to ask if I wanted anything, and a few minutes later Grace asked me too. Nothing like feeling liked!
Quina greeted me with her great smile. She has been my excellent hair stylist for years, and is also one of the sexiest woman in Eastchester, if not all of Westchester county!

When I asked if I should remove my hair-piece, I also let Quina know about my head-banger-event. And because of that, she decided not to color that small section where I sustained the cut. So while Quina left to mix the color, Veronica attended to my cut with some creames, and then applied the freshly mixed color to the rest of my head. Veronica is always made-up beautifully, well-kept and even better looking than the Kardashian girls; she is also full of sweetness, with finesse and class. Plus she is a loving mother of a 4-year-old active boy.

Sitting in the chair last month, I got lost in my own look – long slender legs, crossed and showing from beneath a cute loose fitting black dress. My face was fresh, skin clear, lipstick just so, warm brown eyes — with just enough black mascara and eyeliner for a day look. I watched myself in the mirror and thought I was a fairly attractive woman (Hey! I’d date me!). Sitting there getting my hair blown dry by a beautiful blond woman, and chit-chatting about our lives, was just perfect — a dream come true for me. Finally, I’m a full-time female!

This day, Melanie did the blow-dry. She is smart, caring and gorgeous! So she and I caught up on each other’s lives, including how it has been for me to be living as a women each and every day.

The two hours at Salon Atelier carried my uplifted spirits throughout the weekend, including seeing some old friends on Memorial Day for a barbeque. The more I looked at myself in the mirror, the better I felt.
Usually after a salon visit I don’t wash my hair for two to three days after a blow-dry, in an attempt to sustain the improved appearance as long as possible. But on Tuesday morning I showered and washed my hair. I tried my best to blow-dry and style the hair like Melanie showed me on Saturday. But, it turned out looking wiry again.
Then, when I went outside into the rain, and even with an umbrella, the wiry bob turned into an another unruly mess. I’d have to try to get it right tomorrow. Today I had errands to attend to.

After leaving the hospital where I was visiting my mother, I entered the fourth floor elevator, conscious of my frizz. Into the elevator walked a fellow about my age who looked familiar. Suddenly it came to me: he is the cousin of two of my oldest friends. The four of us had known each other since we were eight, or perhas a little younger, and we did everything together. Then you go your separate ways and lose touch and I hadn’t seen them in about 25 years.

Understandingly he did not recognize me. So after stepping in, he turned to face the doors, with his back to me. I was about to tap him on the shoulder and introduce the new Me. On second thought, I pulled my hand back. My first thought was “My hair’s a mess! Let the opportunity go, and perhaps I’ll see him again.”
As the elevator doors opened and Johnnie walked through the lobby and out onto the street, I followed ten feet behind him. My opportunity had passed, and I reflected on how I had let my vanity affect me so, for better or worse.

At that moment I realized, that if my new feminine vanity had that kind of sway over me, and knowing that I can’t go to the salon everyday, then I had better learn how to blow dry my own hair!
I’ll keep you updated on how I do.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141219161830if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/SzsZQeXt4cs

Some footage at the salon. You can see other clips on YouTube.com under Salon Atelier

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Essay #9- “It’s Fran not Frank!” Copyright 2012 Fran Sisco.

By Fran Sisco (also published on www.TGReporter, starting 5/21/12. Click here.

Even going to the launderette is more fun as a female. Doing errands never seem like a chore for me any more. They represent stepping stones toward reinforcing my femininity, and frequently giving me the chance to meet new people or meet old people and introduce them to the new me.

This morning, after I washed my bed sheets and pillowcases, I packed the two comforters into my car to drop off later at the local launderette.   During this first year living full time as a girl, I was only at the launderette three times and each time the owner, Rob, who I know was not there.   On those three occasions, his manager, Isabelle, who knew me as Frank recognized me as Fran, and commented on how good I was looking.   I had assumed she would tell Rob.   When I entered the launderette, Rob was standing near the front. I said, “Hi Rob. Haven’t seen you for a while.”   He squinted his eyes, looked me over, and I could almost hear his brain’s engine doing double time to figure out who I was.   I could tell from his face that he remembered me, especially my voice, but he could not place me exactly.   Then I said, “Sisco?,” offering him my last name.   He replied with a beaming smile, “Oh Wow!   Very different!”   I said “Thanks!” putting a compliment in his mouth, to which he said, “Yes, very good,” making me feel like ten million dollars.

After we chatted a bit about websites and advertising, he entered my order and asked if I wanted to change my name in his computer database or if I just wanted this order to be entered under my wife Lorrie’s name. I said I’d rather use my own account but to change my name by dropping the “k” off “Frank” to make it “Fran.”   One backspace and voila! I’m my new me in an additional place.   Rob asked how my gender change has been so far, especially when meeting people I knew as a man. I asked if wanted to hear a quick story, triggered by my hearing my wife’s name a minute ago. He said, “Please tell me.”

I proceeded to share a short version of a story about meeting my friend Jack for the first time as a female five years ago.   As a financial person, I attended annually a broker-dealer three-day conference, held by the firm with which I was associated.   That particular year, I decided it was time to out myself to the 700 people in attendance, and so I drove down to Washington, D.C. with no male clothes on me or in my suitcases.   While driving to the conference, I called a few contacts whom I thought would be there, to set up appointments and perhaps dine with in the evenings.   I left a voicemail for Jack that I looked forward to seeing him again. I did say it was “Fran Sisco.”

Jack was a partner in a law firm I rented space from, several years earlier. He and I had adjoining offices and got quite friendly. We talked a lot about his problems dealing with an upcoming divorce and my issues with my daughter.   Anyway, Jack was now a senior executive in an oil and gas drilling company that was exhibiting at this broker-dealer conference. When I arrived, the evening trade show was already underway. I looked for Jack’s booth, and there he was standing with three others and talking to attendees.   I held back for a few minutes until he was clear, then walked up to him smiling and said, “Hi Jack. How have you been?”   Hi smiled back, cocked his head, and said, “I’m sorry, do I know you?” I replied, “Yes!,” almost forgetting that I now look very little like I did when we last saw each other.   Then, realizing that Jack never knew me as female, I said, “Jack?   Sure you know me.   Sisco?”    Jack then blurted out, “Oh, of course!   You’re Frank’s wife!”   I nearly choked with excitement that he thought I was my wife, who is a beautiful blond and very feminine.   After all, for many years she has been for the woman I’ve tried to emulate.   Then I said, “No, Jack.   Not Frank’s wife.   I’m Frank!   Well, now Fran.”   Jack’s eyes almost popped out of his head.   He looked at the others around him and said, with a broad smile, “Meet my old friend, Fran!   I could feel the top of my head brushing up against the twenty-foot high ceiling.

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Essay #8- “The Photo on My Drivers License.” Copyright 2012 Fran Sisco.

At the kitchen counter, I am opening mail.   So, here it is – my new drivers license with my new photo.   I saw the image on the computer screen at the Department of Motor Vehicles when I had it taken two weeks ago, but it was only for a few seconds.   Now taking the license out of the envelope, examining it closer and longer, I think it is good, given the usual poor quality of many drivers license photos. I am glad that before going into the DMV office, I had remembered to freshen up my red lipstick and black eyeliner, and that morning blew dry my long hair so it did not look frizzy.   Not a bad likeness, actually.   At least it looks like me now.   The “me” I’ve been for the past year.   The “me” I was only occasionally before that.   Much better than the male image, with its short thinning hair, at least to me, although both faces look genuinely happy.    In my wallet is a section with a clear plastic window.   I place the new license on top of the old one and slide them in, so the new one can be seen when my wallet is opened.   Funny that I kept the male one. Why didn’t I just toss it or put it away in a drawer. Perhaps on a deeper level I’m trying to hold on to aspects of my prior male self.   What aspects? My analytical skills?   My assertiveness?   My get-things-done way?   My creativity? No, not really. I don’t feel these traits have faded, perhaps even improved as a female.   Less frenetic.   A better listener.   More expressive of my sensitivity.   Maybe keeping the old license represents a way to hold onto some relationships with loved ones and certain friends who may be slipping away.   The thought fades.

Back to the mail on my kitchen counter.   Yet, I keep thinking of my transition, symbolized by these licenses, and of my not removing the one of Frank when I put the new one of Fran on top of it.   Perhaps I’m okay being two-spirited, as the Native Americans call it.   After all doesn’t the term “transgender” encompass not only the transition from one gender to another but also being in two genders at the same time?   I leave the mail and move to the center hall and look at myself in the mirror, fixing my hair, turning my head to see myself from different angles.   I say “Hi, there!” to myself, testing my voice and watching my lips.   Lately, I’m trying to suppress my masculine side by layering on extra feminine gestures, girly clothes, and a more delicate way of speaking and communicating.   At the moment, my ambition is to be always taken for a female.   Currently, it is about 90% of the time but within the 10% are a few occasions of “Yes, sir”, especially over the phone,   which are a bit jarring. I must say, though, I am getting many ” Hi, Miss, can I help you?” which is sure better than “Hello, maam.”   Back in the kitchen, I look at the older photos on the refrigerator, including me as a male with my family and with my friends.   I note I look better now, even younger now, at least to myself.   Maybe it’s my youthfulness of spirit that is causing me to look younger and be mistaken for a woman at least ten years younger than my actual age.   There are many positives to be a M to F transgender person, and feeling and looking younger are two of them.

It was two weeks ago when I decided I should finally get my drivers license photo updated for my new gender.   This time the trigger was an upcoming professional examination requiring a photo ID.   In the past, sometimes when I presented the Frank license, I’d get a smile or a questioning look, possibly wondering why I was holding on to a prior self. Each time it happened, usually at security check points in Manhattan office buildings or airports, I would promise myself I would take care of the changes that should be   part of my transition.   Another thing I need to change is my legal name.   In most communications and on many records, I have already lost the “k” and went from using Frank to Fran. But there is stickiness to “Frank.”   My friend Paul reminded me that my automatic outgoing short name is still Frank on my AOL account, and no matter how I played with settings I can’t seem to change it.   Are recipients of my email thinking that I am not serious about the permanence of my transition? And several agencies and companies like the IRS and banks have me officially as Frank but with some addressee info is as Fran or Francis.   More todos on my transition list.

Two women and a man helped me at the DMV when I got my photo taken.   All three seemed extra friendly and helpful when they realized I am in transition.   Two gave me internet printouts on the simple steps for transgender people to change genders on their license.   In one set of steps, a psychiatrist or psychologist needs to certify in a letter that the person is now the other sex.   In the other case, the language is less restrictive by saying that the person has to be mainly in the gender being claimed.   I think if the DMV, not usually known as progressive and efficient, has simplified the process, it may be a sign of an increasing acceptance of transgender people.   I surely in my first year as a full-time female have been amazed at not only how caring and accepting people have been, but also helping and generous. Perhaps it’s a sign that fuller expression leads to fuller acceptance leads to better lives for all.

For now my license’s photo is correct but it reads Frank and M (for male).   Before long, it will be Fran and F (for female). What is ironic it that gender has been such an important facet of life for me, yet now I can envision a day when licenses do not display it.   Although very important to the person, of what real importance is it anyway to others with what gender a person identifies?   I can see the need of the name on a license being a person’s legal name to prevent scams and false identifications and I can understand birthdates to screen for minors and prove aged-based entitlements.   But why gender? Now that I think of it, perhaps I won’t change my license for my gender but rather leave the M.   After all, I once was a cute energetic baby son, a handsome loving groom and a sensitive caring father.   Perhaps, on my license I should just add an F with a black fine-point Sharpie and make it “MF.”

 

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Essay #7- “In Transition to Full-time Female – A Magical Christmas Season.” (Also called “Transitioning Through the Holiday ” when published on 12/23/11 on the following websites by editor Brianna Austin: http://www.tglife.com and http://www.tgreporter). Copyright 2011 Fran Sisco. Click here for the link to this the webpage on that site:
Photo of Fran Sisco in front of Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on 12/15/11 (by Debbie B.)

At this time last Christmas I was mostly in a man’s world.   For my 2011 New Years Resolution, I pledged not to wear any men’s clothes anymore. Cold Turkey myself into fulfilling my life-long dream of living full-time as a female.   Not only has there been an abundance of positive events since 1/1/11 (what a magical number) but it seems there is even a positive multiplier effect of being transgender.   The recent chart of my life’s happiness shows a dramatically rising curve.   Somehow, expressing my femininity is a catalyst working in tandem with my burgeoning spirituality and love of people and life.

As a guy, I certainly loved the many aspects of the Christmas Season (Holiday season if you prefer).   The focus on spirituality and God.   Seeing more family and friends than usual. The festive atmosphere all over.   Houses filled with lights. Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree and hundreds of people smiling and snapping photos.   Sachs’ window displays.   Snowy streets.   Carolers. The Christmas songs playing everywhere.   Oh, I love Christmas songs.   A real connection with holidays past, and the people. The beautiful melodies and lyrics.   The timeless orchestrations.   The heartfelt messages in the songs.

But this year in many cases the songs seem to bring about a context in which more magic happens, or at least coincidences get me to stop, reflect, and be thankful for such an amazing life.   My magical transition.

1. Straight hair and Anthony’s party:

Last Sunday afternoon I was getting ready to go to my friend Anthony’s gala house Christmas Party.   The Christmas CDs (“Now That’s What I call Christmas” were playing downstairs, near the lit decorated Christmas tree in the living room. One classic song playing after another.   “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (Frank Sinatra), “The Christmas Song – Merry Christmas to You” (Nat King Cole), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helms), A Holly Jolly Christmas (Burl Ives).   I was upstairs getting ready for the party and then realized I did not leave enough time to blow dry my hair, which had grown quite long over the past year.   I’m in my bra and panties with damp hair and getting nervous about my hair. I so wanted to have it sleek and with no frizzies to go with my classy outfit.   Black dress two inches above the knee, gathering in the midriff area, a v-neck to show enough bosom, which incredibly has been blossoming without hormones, black lace three-quarter sleeve bolero to cover the top brown and black laced portion of the dress, and a thin light blue scarf to make it pop and to match Anthony’s amazing blue-themed Christmas decorations throughout his newly renovated house.   There were over 10 Christmas trees throughout the house, including petite ones, perfectly decorated. I thought about seeing the Rockefeller Center tree a few days before with my friend Debbie and my daughter and her friend John.   Carols playing, the air warm and sky clear, everyone smiling and helpful with one another.   A perfect scene. Anthony’ took the house, in serioius disrepair, and fully transformed it into a showcase. If only my hair was perfect too!   If I could be an example of full transformation. When many of the people to be at the party saw me at last year’s party I was just starting my transition.   I wanted to show them my progress and look as cute as possible.   John Lennon and Yoko were calling out (from “Happy Xmas – War is Over)” “another year over, and what have you done.”

I looked in my spouse Lorrie’s bedroom next to mine and I summoned the guts to ask her.   “Will you blow dry my hair for me?”   Her quick retort was as expected.   “And now you want me to help you to be a girl?   No thank you.”   Although she delivered it without malice, her words were clear, straightforward, and conclusive. Then as I murmured “Okay,” reaching for a large hair clip and turned on my dryer, she entered my room. Surprisingly, she said, “I’ll help you get started but I can’t do your whole head.” I smiled, “Fine, that’s great. Thanks for helping me. I really want to look my best for the party this year.”   With that, my wife stood behind me, both of us facing the large round mirror at my old art-deco vanity table (which was once hers)   Two women, her standing and blowing my hair while I was seated, mesmerized by her helpfulness and comforted by the Christmas music wafting up from downstairs. My dream was coming true. So many nights I prayed to be like her. Not only to have her looks but also the gentle soft alluring way about her. Now I am open at wanting to feminize as much as possible, and wanting help from friends and relatives. And she is on the top of the list!   I truly want us to stay together. I don’t want to be singing Elvis’s “Blue Christmas.”

She was quick but did not rush through the job.   It turns out she did my whole head. She sectioned my hair and gave me tips as she used the large brush to roll my hair out straight from my head and place the protective tip of the dryer right on the hair pointing down and then she moved it towards the ends.   I said, “Hon, you are so good at it. What a difference in my hair.” She responded, “Don’t turn away. Sit still.   I’ve been doing this for so many years.   You’ll get there.   Practice makes perfect.   You just need to keep on practicing.”   Her guiding words were almost like an endorsement for me to continue my transition. To become as much a woman as possible.   That’s what I read into her practice quip.   Her words are still ringing in my mind.   Practice makes perfect.   At least that’s what part of my mission is in 2012.   Practice being as feminine as I can be. As convincing as a woman as possible.   I must admit this first year as a full-time female has been a lot easier than I ever could have imagined. Sometimes it’s been even a bit surreal like Dean Martin’s “Marshmallow World” when meeting new people as a female and them getting to know me in only that way.   And people who have known me by and large have accepted me as a new being with many different aspects, heightening and enhancing on the male person they knew before. They emphasized their respecting my desire to become my “true self.”    Perhaps next year will also exceed expectations.

It seems not only did the people in my life accept me, but also it felt like they preferred me as Fran versus Frank.   When I look back, I think for many people I was too much as Frank. Always working. Always generating ideas.   Always engaged. Always questioning. Always on.   I think it was work, at times, for people to be with me.   Now, as a female, I am more often relaxed than nervous, more often smiling, more often listening than talking.   But I know there is a long long way to go. Perhaps most important is my voice. I need to make my voice sweeter, softer, higher, and perhaps having much more inflection and rhythm.   Too often when I am talking to strangers on the phone, they say “Sir” unlike in person I’m usually called “Miss.” I’ve got to get my voice to sound as female and I look (more about voice later.)   I’m also excited about physical changes coming over the next few months include electrolysis, Lupron hormones, and reducing the fleshiness on my nose.

When I got to the party, many of the people I saw at the party last year came up to me and said “Hi Fran!”   Many said, “You look good!” and asked   “Different hair style?”   I explained that last year I wore a full wig and this year I have my real hair here (as I tugged on the long dark reddish hair flowing on my shoulders) and a little piece on top to fill in my thinning hair.”   Then I added, “Oh, I can’t take credit for it tonight.   My wife spent an hour blowing it dry and styling it for me.”   Most of the people know me to be a transgender woman and know I still live with my wife, although now not romantically but as two close female friends.   Some of the others seemed surprised and a few surmised we were lesbians.   I realized how amazingly generous in spirit my wife has been to stay with me.

So as I sang Christmas carols around the piano with the other partygoers, including my daughter, Kelly, I felt the full measure of being a beautiful woman. I listened intently to the lyrics of two original songs performed by men, acquaintances with each other, in their eighties, one on piano with his daughter singing and the other on accordion with his son and wife singing along.   As the many Christmas songs played throughout the evening, I even danced around the living room.   At one point my hair brushed over my face and I caught my moving image in the wall mirror and liked what I saw. It reminded me of the salsa and ballroom dancing lessons I took at “Stepping Out Studios” years before. I’m learning to appreciate my feminine self and be more confident.   Each of the songs had a deeper richness of both music and lyrics.   More playful. “I saw Mommie kissing Santa Claus.” More hopeful of a brighter future.   Like the songs were telling me to “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light. From now on our troubles will be out of sight.”   My daughter and I stayed late – dancing, singing and having a good time with all.

Poetry Caravan:

The next day had a poetry element. I had signed up for a poetry reading at the Osborn’s Assisted Living Facility in Rye, NY.   When I arrived two other poets from the Poetry Caravan (a volunteer group of 35 poets who visit nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and senior centers – with more info at http://www.poetrycaravan.org) were already underway reading poems to a group of about 20 people.   As I read excerpts of Christmas poems by Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas, I thought about the 25-foot Christmas tree that is on the property at my house and that hundreds or possibly thousands of people would see it because my house is on a heavily-traveled road in New Rochelle.   (The thought led on Thursday to my wrapping green-wire clear Christmas lights around the tree’s trunk and setting it aglow – the first time this tree had lights in 30 years!).   When my turn came around again, I stated I would read the song lyrics from two Christmas songs.   People’s faces brightened and I saw several saying the words along with me.   The first song’s lyrics were very visual.   “Sleigh bells ring, are you list’nin?   In the lane, snow is glist’nin, a beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight, walkin’ in a winter wonderfland!”   As I read the words, I walked around the room, quite comfortable and looking pretty in my knitted dress with navy blue and white wide horizontal stripes.   Everyone referred to me as “Fran,” “she” or “her.”   Then, I handed out two cookbooks as presents to two residents who raised their hands, for them to give to their relatives to make something new during the holiday season.   I explained the books were compiled by the mother of a young man, who tragically was killed when his helicopter crashed in Afghanistan two years ago.   It was her way of healing and raising money to help returning disabled veterans.   Perhaps, my explanation saddened me inside, even though happiness followed when I then mentioned that my cousin Karen’s son (Joseph) two nights before had just returned safely from Iraq.   When I started reading “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” I could not contain my tears.   As I regained my composure, I got up to the words “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams” and several more tears fell as I thought about the many people who never made it home. I picked up my spirits with verses from “Jingle Bell Rock.”

Radio show:

On the prior Monday evening, my daughter and I created a radio ad to play on the air the next day in advance of my Crisis Help Radio Show that Tuesday night.   Also, we picked out 13 holiday songs to play excerpts on the air during the one-hour show.   During the next day Tuesday while driving in my car, it seemed no matter what radio station I turned to, there were delightful Christmas songs playing.   I spotted several other songs we had not included in our list.   On the show, my co-hosts Tom and Ken were their usual upbeat clever selves, but also expressed sensitivities about spirituality and God and love, perhaps triggered by our feature guest. (The Rev. Dr.) Rayner W, Hesse, Jr., Pastor   (called Rusty)   of St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Rochelle, NY.   Rusty spoke about the true meaning of Christmas, that God came to us to show his love and that we should all accept each other and love one another.   He said that one of the best gifts to give to another person is the gift of yourself.   To be present with them.   As a result, I’m planning to spend more time with my mother, family and friends on Christmas Eve and on Christmas.    Our call-in psychologist, Jack Jaffee, shared stress points during the holidays and possible solutions.   My daughter introduced the songs throughout the hour, sometimes us in the studio singing along.    (This show and prior shows are at http://www.CrisisHelpRadioShow.com)Among the other songs already mentioned, we played airy songs like “Run Rudolph Run” (Chuck Berry), “Little Saint Nick” (The Beach Boys), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Brenda Lee), popular songs like “Let it Snow!, Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” ((Dean Martin), “Little Drummer Boy” (Lou Rawls) and “Feliz Navidad” (Jose Feliciano), “Here Comes Santa Claus” (Elvis Presley) and three Hanukkah songs.   The show streams live on the internet at http://www.wvox.com, both audio and video.   A few contacted me and said we all sounded and looked great. Just think – thousands of people are seeing me as a woman, although my radio voice could use some feminizing.   I am very thankful that my close friends and co-hosts Tom and Ken have come to accept me, when at first it seemed difficult.

Feminization praying:

The next evening i stopped at my mother’s house to review the renovations in process and measure for doors and other materials, and to finish putting up clear lights on the outside bushes.   She asked me again what I’d like for Christmas.   The house was peaceful and calm. Christmas songs were playing in the background on a television program.   I said instead of the pink bathrobe I mentioned on the previous day, I told her that in the morning I already bought myself a gift that could be her gift to me.   A set of 3 CDs (and downloadable mp3s) on Voice Feminization I coincidentally saw in my email inbox while AOL Radio was playing “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”   She seemed to be accepting that in 2012 not only will her son look like a woman but also sound like one.   In just a few months, my masculine voice would fade and my feminine voice would become prominent, furthering my transition in a very important way.   I then noticed on the dining room table was an envelope from the Monastery of St. Clare, in Wappinger Falls, NY.   I stopped and reflected.   I attribute much of the success of my transition to the sisters there.   Years earlier, I responded to their donation plea, by sending them a completed card along with my gift.   On the supplied card in the space marked “Sisters, please pray for the following intentions,” I wrote my request.   It was that the sisters pray that my wife and daughter would accept my transition and would continue to live with me as I transition into a full-time female from an occasional cross-dresser.   At the time of the request, it seemed quite far-fetched.   But as an ardent believer in the power of prayer, I down deep knew back then that the prayers would work. I also prayed on my own frequently, deepening the desire in my subconscious. Now seeing the envelope from the Sisters of St. Clare, reminded me how important other people and Christ have been in my transition, fortifying my awe and gratitude during this Christmas season. And this year I sent out 260 Christmas cards with an note of my 2012 resolution to live more in tune with the Prayer of St. Francis which I enclosed

The Home Depot:

A little later in The Home Depot, with the store loudspeaker playing Christmas songs, I asked the salesman Dwight to help me with selecting knobs and locks.   As we walked down the isle, with him to my left, I saw ahead at the intersecting aisle’s corner, a customer about to round the bend with a large cart and two long wood planks, possibly crashing into Dwight. Just as I exclaimed to Dwight, “Watch out!”,   the song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that was playing was at the point “You better watch out. . . ” We both were struck by the coincidence.   We smiled at each other, reassured by the magic of the Christmas season.   At checkout, the salespeople greeted me, “Hi Miss,” a small but very important sign.

Jingle Bell Rock:

Over twenty talented people perform each Tuesday at Penny’s Open Mic on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village in Manhattan.   It’s an adorable small theater with stadium seating, a lit stage area and creative and friendly people, led by the young effervescent host, Penny.   Along with my daughter and friend Debbite, I’ve had the good fortune performing there on several occasions – stand-up comedy, singing, dancing, improvising.   This Tuesday I took a chance to sing and dance along with the song “Jingle Bell Rock” with Brenda Lee.   As the CD was cued up by Lucky Dave, I explained to the audience that I’ll soon be entering the second year of my full-time female transition and I plan to perform more and more femininely in the new year.   Out of my large pink bag, I took a cute small red wrap-around Santa dress/apron and put it on while talking.   I asked for musical volunteers to help me perform.   Mike Milazzo, the amazing house performer, and another guitarist, Ben, scurried up next to me, plugged in their guitars. I placed floppy soft red and white Santa hats on their heads and onmine, signaled to Lucy Dave to start the CD, and we put on an engaging performance to the claps and cheers of the audience.   I tried being cute and coy, draping myself on the men as I moved around them.   (A video was taken by a man in the audience with my camera and will be posted to youtube soon, with tags for videovoom, jingle bell rock, fran sisco).   Although I usually don’t interact with men in that flirtatious way, I do see myself doing so more in my future as I feminize.   Being flirty and a tease more often will speed along my feminization.   Why not?   Tonight I’m planning to sing in a very feminine manner “Santa Baby” at Viviana’s “Stark Reality” open mic in Manhattan, and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” if there is enough time.

Being accepted as a woman and looking ahead to becoming as much of a woman as I can be in the years ahead is such a magical feeling, made more apparent during this wonderful Christmas season.   I pray that others find joy in whatever transition they are experiencing. Just listen to life’s music playing around you and adapt the messages to your life.   See the silver linings even in a message like in the wistful somewhat sad last line in “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” that says “if only in my dreams.”   You can expand on the ending.   After all,dreams lead to wishing and praying.   Then, wishing and praying leads to reality when you love and when you strongly believe.    Merry Christmas, everyone!

Author’s Note:

I’ll write more about the Christmas season as it unfolds. If you’d like to share your thoughts, possibly to be mentioned in my next column, please write to me at FrancisSisco@aol.com and visit my website at http://www.FrancisSisco.com.

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Essay #6- “In Transition – The Feminine Magic of a Wedding and a Funeral.” (Also called “The Wedding Expo and a Silver Lining” when published on the following websites by editor Brianna Austin: http://www.tglife.com and http://www.tgreporter). Copyright 2011 Fran Sisco.
Photo at the LOFT LGBT Wedding Expo at the Radisson Hotel on Friday 8/25/11. Pictured left to right are Fran Sisco, Kelly Sisco, Jessica Tenner, and Brianna Austin.

Living as a transgender woman, full-time since the start of the year, helps me mix fantasy and reality in ways that sometimes help me grow as a person, as well as a woman. Throw into the mix a funeral and wedding, and surprising silver linings appear.

I knew I should have put at least one of my video camera batteries in my pocketbook before I left my house for the LOFT LGBT Wedding Expo.

We (the brides and bridesmaids) were scurried out of the hotel’s lounge area [that we used as a communal dressing room]; first into the lobby and then downstairs to the event’s banquet room where the 48 vendor tables were set up. My plea was to wait for me to retrieve my batteries from my camera bag downstairs before we all did our cute procession in front of the crowd, while members of the Fontana family (owners of the sponsoring bridal salon) announced details of the dresses we were modeling. “Don’t worry, Fran”, Brianna consoled me. “Plenty of people will be snapping photos.”

But I wanted to videotape the expressions on the audience’s faces as we sauntered among the crowd. Looking at me, a picture of feminine beauty and grace – or so I fantasized. After all, I had proclaimed in my bridal essay posted on http://www.TGLife.com that being dressed as a feminine bride for a day could help me in my gender transition. In the essay I stated that “As I journey into the next part of my life, now as a female, I would like to begin it with the traditional epitome of femininity, namely being a bride. Like a bride, feminine in the way I am sensitive and caring. Feminine in a softer more loving approach to the world around me. Feminine in an appreciation of beauty and truthfulness, the power of love, and the importance of experiencing, sharing and causing joy.”

That’s how I set out, a few weeks before the event. My feminine fantasies were becoming magically real, as I gathered models, arranged dress fittings and spread word to my friends to attend the expo and see me walk down the aisle in white splendor. The crack in the magical realism bubble began with my father requiring hospitalization twice in a two-week period.

His Alzheimers’ disease was progressing rapidly, forgetting how to walk and now how to swallow. My father’s days were numbering into a handful, and in order to break the stress, I fantasized about being as real a woman as I could be.

During his second 3-day hospital stay, I visited him late one evening at 10pm. The rooms were quiet. The usual cacophony of the nurses’ station was now a low buzz. When I entered his room, it appeared that he was staring at the ceiling. He was lucid. I sat close to him and talked into his good right ear, with my right arm on his left shoulder, close like when on the floor as a toddler I once crawled over his big frame and he nuzzled me, smiling. He wasn’t smiling but wasn’t in pain either. I told him I loved him very much and was so thankful he was my father. I was blessed to have someone as understanding, as giving, as sensitive as he was.

A few weeks before, he had gotten over his initial discomfort with my living as a full-time female, as his home health aide Jennifer predicted. He was always happy to see me, and made me feel special. I talked with him, reciting into his right ear the names of significant people in his life who all loved him. I added quick anecdotes of memorable times I knew about, and he seemed to be daydreaming of the others in-between, some I’ll never know about. After a hundred names and anecdotes, he smiled and said, “Good.” Peacefully, conclusively. A life review of a sort. With me in the room. With me as a guide. What a gift for me and hopefully for my dad.

The next week, under the expert loving care of Calvary Hospice at Home, my dad passed away in his bed at home, where he wanted to be. At the wake, many relatives and friends shared loving memories. It seemed those seeing me for the first time as a female were not uncomfortable, or even shocked. Everyone was kind. At the funeral service, my friend Anthony sang “Ave Maria.” A year before, he accompanied my father singing that song from the balcony of the Our Lady of Victory Church in Mt. Vernon, NY, along with another friend Domenic playing the organ. My daughter read her amazing essay about her close loving relationship with my father, called “Sunshine and Sunshine” and sang acapella “You Are My Sunshine.” Several of us gathered at my mother’s house and rekindled sparks of love. Neighbors came by comforting us. It seemed that everyone accepted me as Fran, feminine, sensitive, caring. I’m sure I occasionally slipped into my alpha male persona, but that seemed to be okay as well.

The day following the funeral, I attended the wedding expo, determined on the one hand to pull out of the sorrow surrounding my father’s passing, and on the other hand to live out the fantasy I conjured up of being in a beautiful bridal gown. To be seen as a feminine female, sensitive, caring, loving. Oddly, I have not seen any photos or videos of the procession, and close ups of me at the front. My planned video of the onlookers’ faces as they saw me never happened either.

Strangely, I was not disappointed, as I normally would be. Instead, I felt a peaceful feeling, perhaps resulting from the afterglow of being accepted as a female by my relatives and my father’s friends. Also, perhaps I felt my father’s presence and unspoken reassurance that I did not need that wedding fantasy. After all, being with him during his life review and with family and friends during the wake and funeral were quite magical and had brought out the nurturing, sensitive and caring aspects of my personality quite vividly.

For me, being an authentic loving son made me much more of a woman than being a fantasized pretty bride. I reread my bridal essay and substituted “authentic loving son” for “bride” and I discovered and welcomed new perspectives on my femininity.

And so my transition magically continues.

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Essay #5, 4, 3, 2 – Yet to be posted here

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Essay #1- “Fabulous Francis – On Being Fabulous”

Also see text below of this essay and Essay #2, Essay #3 and Essay #4

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