Twenty-twelve...a big year for me
counting my blessings 09-04-12
I’ve been on a GREAT run since we last spoke. Counting my blessings on almost every front.
My New Business Venture
Just finished organizing my next business venture to rave reviews - after getting my ass kicked over the “trans-issue” the last two times out of the gate. That process was humbling – even humiliating – which makes my current progress all the more exciting & extra sweet. It’s refreshing knowing that if your deal is good enough? Nobody really cares if you show up to meetings in a lemon costume. (Alas, I don’t do ‘yellow’) I gotta’ tell ya: I’m very excited!
I believe this new company is perhaps the best venture I’ve ever put together. It’s got it all: a novel concept in a multi-billion market, a legitimate chance to eventually achieve an amazing market cap, patented technologies – and perhaps most importantly: my background seems ideally suited to develop this new venture.
Gearing to launch in late spring of 2013. Crossing fingers, legs, eyes & toes… J
Very blessed, indeed!
My Comedy Magic Show
Yeah, I know: everybody’s tired of hearing about this magic act yet not yet seeing a show. Trust me: you’re not alone in that category. If I had experience in theater before I took on this monumental project all by myself, I would have been more realistic on my timetables – the all original routines, a unique script, custom illusions, killer costumes, sound effects, lighting, transport – and all those departments were created exclusively by yours truly.
I invest two hours each day into magic show-related projects. Thus, it’s a “whittle-away” sort of undertaking that takes shape a bit more after each passing day. While I’m certainly gearing for this new show to make a profit, I’m not expecting it to become consequential in that regard. Thus, I’m forced to balance my dedication for its development against my new career project. Now slating a couple of soft launches for the end of November.
One big recent change? After over two months of trying to develop a decent opening dance number for this act – which accounts for about three minutes of a 1 ½ hour show…I finally just shelved that project for later to start after the show is already launched. I need “help” finishing that part of my routine. I’ll get that later.
My Life as a “Creator”
Andrew Carnegie once aptly stated “pioneering don’t pay”. I tried several times to adjust my course into a more mainstream approach to no avail. Alas: I am, what I am.
The good news? I appear to be cresting atop of what I’ve called a super cycle – where several long term projects are coming to fruition congruently. Certainly a big reason for this is how far off track my life went during my gender transition. While my mind continued to create & develop ideas – my life & circumstances prevented any trees from bearing fruit. Now that I’m past those storms a bunch of seeds are germinating all together.
ReneeReyes.com: The “New & Improved” Version
My challenges with perfectionism & OCD behavior have been readily apparent in my failure to complete a long overdue update at this website. That’s a part of my persona I so love & hate. Thus, I decided that a new & improved version of this website & hopefully at least some iteration of my art collecting website will go up by December 31st – regardless of all the unfinished sections and less than optimal content. I crafted a ton of notes & insights during my own transition I intend to share. There’s nothing spectacular – but it might help some.
Also, I scrapped plans for sharing my transgender dating guide as a published book – realized that people needing it most might be concerned about having such a book on their shelves or within their i-Pad. Also, I doubt such a book would be helpful to my new business project. It’s one thing to be “out & proud” regarding being transgender. It’s another to shove the peculiarities into people’s faces. Thus, I’m going to simply add all that new content at this website.
I’m hoping to upload the new version with my next blog update: we’ll see.
Life & Love
Life in general is going pretty good these days: feeling very blessed.
On an even better note?
I encountered a woman I find extra special. We’ll see where it goes. Our path out of the starting gate isn’t exactly a smooth course given long distance & unique circumstances. However, the rareness of our connection on many levels is inspiring.
It’s funny, no?
When you feel strongly for someone: you don’t stop to think about all that’s wrong with the equation. You just dwell upon what you feel.
Uniquely, there’s nothing about my life journey she can’t handle, usually completely understands and often had similar experiences – including the painful ones. In the case of my crazy life? That’s a rare find. I don’t recall the last time I knew a woman who could see my weaknesses, my heart, my soul – without even asking for directions.
I often feel compelled to edit my life history: most people can't handle it. Sucks getting “judged” – particularly by someone you adore who also wasn’t in your shoes at the time. I don’t want to relive my unhealthy past but it's part of who I am & how I view the world around me. I’m not ashamed of all that I am, and not.
I haven’t been “in love” for a very, very long time. Know the feeling I’m talking about? When your stomach weakens at the mere thought of another human being – think they call those "butterflies", no? I’m not saying I’m “in love” – but I experience those same “yearning” emotions when I simply think of her. We still face a mountain of lingering questions & barriers.
I feel vulnerable. I feel happy.
Travel & Fun
Had some great outings with friends & even a bit of “fun in the sun” since we last spoke. All in all? A very joyous social calendar. Here’s a few highpoints:
I love my hometown of Owensboro, KY. It’s such a cool little municipality & was a great place to grow up. During my recent trek back home, I got a chance to visit The Owensboro Riverpark's "Friday After 5" - what a wonderful weekly event in my hometown. I was duly impressed with everything. Saw lots of old friends from childhood & had a blast!
The Biggest highlights from this trip included:
Finally meeting face-to-face with the “other” Renee Reyes of Owensboro. What were the chances this small town would end up with two “Renee Reyes” of exactly the same age & year of high school graduation? What a classy & kind lady – it’s an honor to share monikers. Also, since we’re both pretty tall chicks: you could easily call us “The Twin Reyes Towers”…LOL
A homemade dinner at Desla’s complete with family. Thanks Desla! You always make me feel at “home”. J
Getting to visit with my dear childhood friend Robin Owens and his family at the Owensboro River Park. That meant the world to me!
The final Owensboro highlight was visiting Jackie Smith & her lovely (and VERY well decorated) home. We worked on the development of a new memorial website for her murdered son Rob Puckett – my best friend from childhood. Having once been a part of my life in a parental role – Jackie's now of the closest thing I’ll ever have to a “parent” going forward: I call her my surrogate mom. She’s a true blessing in my life!
The last leg of my trip included a dash through Nashville on the way home to Atlanta where I stopped & enjoyed a tasty authentic Persian lunch / brunch at the home of my dear friend Pamela. In retrospect? I don't keep a lot of positive memories from my time in Nashville. How ironic that my one lasting friend from that era is a cool Iranian babe I befriended one afternoon by helping her with her car after it stalled. You just never know when you'll meet someone who changes your life.
Ft Lauderdale, FL
I made a fun jaunt to south Florida after plans to attend a wedding went haywire. Scored a great deal at the lovely B Ocean Hotel situated directly on the beach & allowed for convenient morning walks along the shore. I love walking a beach in the AM: always especially refreshening.
As it turned out, I was in Lauderdale for Mother’s Day weekend and made friends with a bunch of mom’s getting away for the weekend as we crowded around the pool with frozen drinks in search of sunshine each afternoon. Made a couple of adorable new acquaintances – such fun!
I also got to experience some quality time with Jon & Victor from URNotalone.com I always consider it an honor to visit with Jon - his work developing one the first & still the largest website that helps beginning transgenders connect & maintain a presence changed many lives. I always thank him for that work with our community: as I'm proud to do publicly right now. We all enjoyed a fun-filled night of dinner & socializing in downtown Hollywood, FL. The next day, they were kind enough to take me on a trek through the Everglades – which I had never visited. We did a hike through Shark Valley Park in the Glades. After working up a good appetite amongst all the indigenous wildlife – we headed off & enjoyed a delicious lunch in Little Havana at Versailles Cuban Restaurant.
Also, I finally got a chance to visit with “Nadia” – a transgender woman I’ve chatted & advised since she first began her transition. We hooked up at PF Chang for dinner one night at the Galleria while I was in Lauderdale.
All in all?
A wonderful little weekend getaway.
Murder Mystery Fun
Since almost none of my BFF's are presently dating steady - and those who are never get out enough, I developed a habit of buying fun & affordable "date" packages off Groupon & Living Social and sharing the adventures with dear friends. Betty & I tried our hand at a local Murder Mystery combo - had a blast. You know me...any chance to wear a costume & I'm all in. :)
Chastain Amphitheater: Jackson's Unity Tour
If you know Atlanta? You know Chastain. It’s such a fun concert experience: bring your own gourmet food, wine, candles…such a lovely experience. I try to make sure and see at least one live act at this special venue each season. Most recently I visited The Jackson Unity Tour with my old friend Mike Scott.
They started off playing later hits by “The Jackson's” – then evolved to include their big hits as the Jackson Five from the early 70’s & wrapped up with renditions of Michael’s monster hits. By the time everything was rolling, me & most everyone else in attendance was dancing in the aisles.
A fun night, indeed.
Valerie Reynolds: Remembered
I received the sweetest note on Facebook from a childhood friend of my older sister Valerie Reynolds that brought tears to me eyes. I so miss my big sister! She was so much stronger & courageous than me. I still struggle feeling I let her down by not standing up with her regarding our childhood abuse reality. I was so ashamed & afraid back then.
Here’s the note I received…
“Hi Renee, I saw your post through a mutual friend on FB where you recently visited Owensboro. I was a good friend of Valerie's, we went to school together at Longfellow and all through school. I used to hang out at your house back in the day! We even wrote our names on the ceiling in her bedroom, went to see Love Story at the movie, and played spin the bottle at a boy/girl party in the basement (my first kiss). Wow all the memories! I just wanted to let you know the OHS Class of'77 just had our 35th reunion and we had a memorial service at church Saturday morning to remember those classmates who have passed away. All of their pictures were on a table and their names were read one at a time as a bell rung out a family member or classmate placed a flower beside their picture. It was a very touching service, I want you to know Valerie was remembered along with the others who left this world much too soon.
Also the pictures were at the reunion Saturday night for those who did not attend the service. It was a great tribute, Valerie was a special person who is missed but not forgotten.
Hope all is well with you.
"Jane Owsley Miller”
Cats Win Another Title
When you’re a Kentucky native & UK grad, you live for March Madness & college hoops: particularly when the Cats bring an A-game – which was definitely the case in the 2012 campaign. Got lucky this year: the Cats flourished at tournament time & ended up playing (and beating) Baylor at the Georgia Dome here in Atlanta. Attended that game with my lifelong pals Mike Scott & Bill Medley.
I finally visited my dear friend "Kat": in San Antonio. I helped Kat through the earlier stages of her gender transition via phone & email a few years back but never had a chance to meet face-to-face. We finally resolved that missing element of our friendship with my visit to San Antonio. She took me to all the requisite landmarks – the lovely River Walk, the Alamo, etc. Was also a special treat visiting her lovely & successful frame shop. However, the highlight was indeed a tasty dinner at the lovely home of two of Kat’s dearest friends.
I stayed at the 1908 Ayres Inn – a killer bed & breakfast owned & operated by an adorable gay male couple that cook breakfast delights to die for & killer coffee!
My Old Friend Lisa Davis
I choose not to try & add-up how many years I've known my old friend Lisa Davis. It's always a special treat to connect during her travels to Atlanta. This last time we found time to visit over a lovely steak & some "crack & cheese" macaroni at Hal's in Buckhead. So excited for her direction & accomplishments. A wonderful transgender lady & a dear friend.
Annie & Chloe
I visited with one of the greatest & most important unsung hero's of the transgender community: an accepting & supportive mother of a transgender teen. All too often, those of us in this community make everything about us - failing to recognize those loving & supportive people around us that make this journey special.
The leaders at SCC were kind enough to provide a complete conference scholarship to Annie & Chloe (mother & daughter) for this year’s gathering.
Can’t wait to visit with them both soon.
Added some really cool new pieces to the art collection since we last spoke – primarily sculptures.
My personal favorite is a clay sculpture by Atlanta artist Melinda Crider entitled The King’s Messenger. I long admired Melinda's work & am proud to add her piece to my permanent collection. I also added a traditional bronze sculpture of a seated ballerina that’s about 20” high: very nice. I don’t possess many sculptures so these additions were extra special.
In the edgy department? Yeah, you know me…LOL
I added a monumental abstract nude stainless steel female sculpture: she’s very cool and stands about five feet high. One of my old friends from high school suggested the name for her of “Steel Magnolia” – which I thought was clever & just might stick.
I also added one noteworthy painting: a German Expressionist oil by Hans
Breinlinger. Here's a link to the museum bearing his name in Germany
I find early European expressionist works especially compelling: you can literally feel the emotions of those who survived the ugly reality of a world war on their doorsteps. I suspect my inherent attachment to these works is rooted in my own brutal journey through a gender transition - having likewise witnessed some of the best & worst of humanity.
Finally, I completed a new work built from my own hand with mosaic tiles glued to a nude female torso mannequin and topped off by steel hoops trim. I envisioned this work last year after witnessing similarly styled pieces at the Decatur arts fair.
I’ve got a few additional personal art projects I hope to undertake in the years ahead. Glad this first one’s done – pleased with the results!
Until next time....
and so it begins 02-23-12
It's my nature to tackle projects requiring months - even years - to bring to fruition. As it turns out, several of these long term projects are congruently germinating in 2012 - a new business venture, my book on transgender love & relationships, the magic show - plus a number of smaller projects including the comprehensive update of this website. I've come to know these XL projects as my "sculptures" - I chip-away at their creation each day, week & month - carving my vision of what will become. My path is often maddening since I have so little to point towards in terms of tangible daily accomplishment. However, as I'm now finally witnessing these births - it's exciting
A dilemma I discussed in my last blog entry regarding what to do about a large new business opportunity is resolved. I decided to shelve this new venture for six months. That was difficult since this is perhaps the best business I've ever crafted & there's little doubt it could become a monster play. However, all my life I put my business projects ahead of personal endeavors. In this instance? I decided to make personal projects a priority.
I'm forced to embrace the fact that I spent much of my life simply chasing my tail when it came to developing the never-ending ideas that spewed from my odd cranium. At this juncture? I'm very grounded & focused. Has wisdom from older-age finally taken hold? I doubt it. I've yet to be accused of anything but child-like behavior. Alas, perhaps I'm finally learning from past mistakes: that would be novel. *Laugh*
I'm privately pounding away at completing the new design & fresh content for sections here at reneereyes.com on my IMAC. It's a monumental project akin to restoring a decrepit old home full of lots of old rooms requiring extension renovation plus plans for lots of new square footage. The most challenging aspect is to simply complete a better version versus striving for absolute perfection...my eternal nightmare. LOL
Hope to have the better version up in late spring. It's definitely much easier to navigate & find what you're looking for...
My Dating Life
Is it just me or is everybody else also finding it harder & harder to find a decent loving mate? So far, every time I found someone worthwhile they're almost always geographically undesirable or relationship encumbered. One thing I made friends with is that most of the women sincerely interested in developing a relationship with a trans-woman are usually younger. That reality forced me to sort a variety of personal questions and insecurities so that I might move forward with my best options. Met one gal that seems extra special but I'm still struggling with the age difference. Keep reaching for my fave' motto: "Remain the river, not the salmon". :)
Know what I miss most about a loving, committed union? It's not the sex (although I definitely miss that). Rather, it's having someone wish you well when you leave the house & hug you when you get back home and actually give a damn about where you were in between that time. Call me weird but I really miss that.
I still find myself reaching back to a certain past love: was it really as good as I sometimes recall? Would it still be today? Nah...I know better than that given my gender circumstances. Why is it harder to love more deeply as we grow older? Am I wiser now or sadly, more aloof? Like so many people, my heart carries a love-lost that sometimes causes me to lose my breath over specific memories. Ever noticed how such feelings are inevitably triggered by a particular song? One recent hit: "Here Without You" by Three Doors Down has the eerie effect of causing me to recall my greatest long-lost love like it was yesterday: I can literally taste her lips & feel her skin against mine by closing my eyes & hearing that song. I miss that woman so much.
Whatever...at the end of the day?
I'm blessed with a healthy lifestyle, killer projects, financial stability, a fun routine, great friends, a stunning collection of art, success in my preferred gender, a wardrobe to die for plus a decent pair of legs.
And so we move on... :)
A Glimmer of Light at the End of a Long Magical Tunnel
I'm now realistically targeting early May, 2012 for a launch of the magic show. The core performance is complete but I'm still facing several months of practice & rehearsals. Also, I have a bad habit of constantly trying to incorporate new additions - which only complicates an already fully convoluted project. You gotta' give me this much: at least I'm consistent when it comes to applying my neurotic behavior across all my projects. *Laugh*
I'm probably the first bozo on the planet to craft a meticulous business plan including detailed market analysis, strategic visions & comprehensive financials before launching a new DRAG act. *Laugh* Alas, such is life for the neurotic obsessive compulsive types. Still...this is one really cool act & I can't wait to share it with the world.
You know what's most unique about this new magic act?
It's not the original routines (which are quite clever) it's not the costumes (which are killer) it's not the magic (which is pretty strong)...rather, it's the fact I'm being given a chance to fulfill a once seemingly impossible lifelong dream.
How often does anyone get a chance to fulfill a dream they held dear since childhood?
I first began exploring magic at the age of twelve. Honestly? All I dreamed about at that juncture was someday being able to perform illusions "as a woman". There were many times in this journey I thought I would never successfully resolve my gender issues. I did it! Thus, I've worked hard to honor this lifelong dream by creating a truly first-class magic show. That's very fulfilling.
I'll post more about the show & where we'll play as the launch gets even closer! :)
More than a Painting
Meet the newest addition to the art collection: a large oil by renowned New York-Polish portrait artist Thaddeus "Tade" Styka (1899-1954). The sitter is what makes this piece extra cool: she was a high-priced call girl that lived in the Biltmore Hotel and a favorite of Al Capone. She never trusted banks & kept her net worth tied up in cash buried about her home plus diamonds, jewelry & antiques. I've been piecing together her life history through various relatives & discovered a most fascinating persona & life journey. Thus, this particular artwork is proving to be more than just another painting...that makes it really fun! :)
Songs About Life
Ever encounter certain songs that always cause you to stop & reflect upon your life journey? Me too: guess we all do, huh? Without a doubt, one of my favorites in this regard is Dido's: Life for Rent. This song feels like it was written about my personal journey: where I am now and where I'm going. I'm not sure that's a good thing - since its essence is a bit aimless. Regardless, I always enjoy it & felt compelled to share it with you:
Dido - Life For Rent
Music video by Dido performing Life For Rent. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 553,107 (C) 2003 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (UK) Limited
A Tradition Continues
On a brighter note, my dear friend Kristin & I continued our new tradition of starting each new year with a tasty piece of meat from Bone's - one of Atlanta's better steakhouses. This year, Kristin's new girlfriend "Shayla" joined us (see photo from dinner at right) which made the whole event all the more fun & special. I'm a huge fan of building & maintaining annual traditions - even more so since my transition (as I lost many old connections in these regards). Kristin & I share many such customs and I'm honored to count her as my bestest girlfriend.
Andrea Survives & Thrives
My email acquaintance "Andrea" decided to stick around a little longer. Thank you to all that prayed & provided her that extra strength to continue. I spoke with her last night via phone & she was actually positive: working to create a new basis in her life. Make no mistake about it - a successful gender transition has far less to do with a physical transformation than it does creating a healthy & love-filled new routine in your new existence. The former seems more applicable as we begin this crazy journey but long-lasting joy and stability is mostly rooted in the latter. If I'm successful in my next business venture I hope to fund a re-launch source & safety net for gals like Andrea. It's direly needed.
Anyway...thanks to all of you a wonderful soul continues its journey. ((hugs))
The Trek to Jackson, Mississippi
Our dear friends Ron & Lu plus their daughter Sophia moved back to Ron's childhood roots in Jackson, Mississippi in 2010 and my roomie Darleen & I had yet to find time to visit. We resolved that shortcoming in mid-January with a fun-filled trek across I-20 and a visit with our beloved friends. We've really missed Ron, Lu & Sophia: they were the primary motivating factor behind so many of our fun Sunday afternoon cookouts & home parties. Life changed after they left - and not for the better.
It was wonderful seeing them again plus we made a host of new friends in Jackson. One of the funnier memories from this trip occurred when the Tranny & the Jew decided it was time to stop & go husband-hunting at a truck stop outside Meridian, MS. Needless to say the deep south will never be quite the same! *Laugh*
I was impressed by the loveliness of Jackson - a beautiful area that reminded me of my hometown roots in Kentucky although we have nothing to rival the stunning beauty of the Natchez Trace.