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Guest AllisonD

That Awful Pronoun, An Essay.

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Guest AllisonD

That awful pronoun

or

Let's face it

Let's face it, my parents are getting old. They're both 80, she has Alzheimer's, he has had colon cancer (removed successfully). Where she once was a strong and vibrant woman and he once took up 'space' in any space he occupied, they are both fading; mere shadows of the powerful people that once ruled my life. Let's face it, my parents are getting old.

As the eldest child, and only daughter, I had to fly out to Washington to visit. They greeted me at the airport, barely recognizing me with Pool bleached hair shortened because the hairdresser had to cut off all the dead ends. I've been putting on weight for years and just this year have been swimming daily to take it back off. It's been working, so I looked smaller too. It was so bittersweet to see them anxiously scanning the faces of all the women coming down the jetway, looking for their daughter. The light in their eyes when they saw me made me feel warm inside.

I stayed a week. They invited their best friends over for dinner one night, we went out to dinner for my birthday, and the rest of the time my mother and I played at playing the organ or we just sat in the sun room and talked. They have a university nearby that offers their Olympic pool to the public from noon until one. I usually swim 90 minutes, so I was there early to be sure to get in as soon as I could.

I'm used to my health club. Bright, polished, with all the amenities for upper-class suburbanites. Seeing the ladies' locker room, a square open room with benches in the center and small rusted, beat up, stickered lockers was a bit of a shock. But I was alone, no big deal. I stripped and went to find the showers. OMG, a single 20 x 20 titled room with showerheads every 4 feet around the walls. No big deal, I started taking a shower.

As I was finishing up and the clock was approaching noon I heard a gaggle of young women's voices coming rapidly down the hall.

Turning the corner, laughing and talking, they came into the shower room and immediately started stripping bathing suits and showering. Perhaps two dozen oh so young twentysomethings in perfect physical shape surrounded me as they passed around shampoo, liquid soap, and conditioner. It was deafening:

"... and then he said, where's Sherry I haven't seen her for a week... and I can't understand how I got a B on that paper, that was easily an A paper... Saturday? Yeah I think we can make Saturday... OMG is this another yeast infection?... who's got my shampoo?... and Sally's hair looks so awful the way she did it, don't you think?... they were only $10.99, I thought you'd like 'em... I hate this suit, the label's scratching me... Eric asked me out, do you think I should go?..."

None of them gave me a second glance as I continued to wash shampoo out of my hair and prepared to put my suit on.

Curiosity got the best of me and so I turned to the young lady closest to me and asked, "are you a swim team? Preparing for a meet?" And then it happened, that awful pronoun.

"No Ma'am."

Time stood still. The racket dimmed. I felt like I'd been slapped. I'd just been ma'am'd by a grown woman.

"We are all in a one-week training course to be lifeguards. My name is Ashley. You here for the public swim?"

"Yes," I said, quickly regaining my composure. "My name is Allison. I hear you have a lovely pool."

"Oh yes, it's the best in this area anyway. Well, have a great swim, we'll all be back at one to resume our class. We only get an hour for lunch you know."

"Cool, perhaps I'll see you then. And I expect to be here every day this week for the public swim. It was nice to meet you."

I went swimming. An hour later, exhausted from having pushed myself to do my 2400 yards that I normally do in 75 minutes on a really good day in only an hour, I dragged myself back to the showers. It was the same thing all over again, only this time they were already suited up and were just rinsing down before doing their warm-up laps.

"Hey Allison," Ashley said, "what did you think of our pool?"

"Absolutely marvelous," I replied. "See you tomorrow."

By the end of the week I had made friends with most of them. At least I knew their names and they knew mine. We had shared casual conversation on a number of topics and I was particularly gratified to have several of them complement me on how well I was swimming. They were very polite and made a point not to say, "for someone your age and weight."

I flew home after my time with my parents was up. It was a good trip. We all three enjoyed getting together again, renewing our bonds, and feeling loved. Donna picked me up at the airport and asked me, "How did it go?"

"Great." I told her what we did, what I had for dinner when we went out, about their friends that they wanted to have meet me, and about the pool. Thinking to make her jealous for a moment, I told her about the lifeguards in the locker room.

She wasn't jealous at all. She laughed and said, "and how did it make you feel to be nude in a room full of naked beautiful women?" I surprised myself as I thought about the answer. I can think of any number of emotions that I would've had should I have found myself in that position at various younger ages of my life. But there I was, standing there soaking wet with soap in my eyes and my hair full of shampoo and as I think back on it, aside from being crushed at being ma'am'd, my first emotion was intimidation. It didn't last long but for that first instant I thought about how my sagging boobs, sagging arms, and sagging belly contrasted so poorly against such perfection. As the intimidation passed, I felt wistful for lost youth and jealous of their toned bodies. How was it possible that that was all I felt?

Donna said, "You're a woman. How else would you feel?"

Yeah, I thought. She's right. I'm a 56 year old woman comparing myself to young beauty. How else would I feel? AND I was Ma'am'd. Let's face it, I'm getting old.

Allison

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Sally

Ma'am'd is so much better than sir'd!

See here comes Pollyanna looking on that bright side and playing the glad game.

Sounds like you had a great time, Allison.

Love ya,

Sally

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Guest N. Jane

Strange ..... I had the same experience figure skating a couple of years ago. The only difference was that the girls were a lot younger and were AMAZED someone older than their mothers still skated :o Thanks, I think......

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Guest nymphblossom

Thank you for sharing, Allison. It tore out my heart when my father died. I was 30 and he was my best friend. But watching my mother and in-laws get old, as you say shadows of who they were, is even harder. It seems so unfair that good people have to end their lives by simply fading away. I feel cheated that my father died so young, but the last memories are bittersweet. It's a good way to end this life. I hope I am so lucky.

I felt like I was standing in the locker room with you. The thoughts running through your mind as you saw their perfect young bodies, listened to the conversations of youth, knowing you were no longer one of them. It is hard enough coming to grips with the fact that we are aging. And nothing stings quite as much as polite honesty.

But you adjusted, you made the leap, you found the common ground of mutual friendship and respect of a locker room of girls who were old enough to be your daughter. And you held your dignity like the woman they can only hope to grow up to be.

Blossom

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Paula ult

Oh my you got ma'am'd, it could have been worse they could have called you sir. I'm 57 not full time yet and i get ma'am'd all the time, at least for me it is confirming that I'm on the right track in my transition.

Sounds like you had a wonderful visit with your very accepting parents and nobody thought you were anything but what you are, a woman, i hope to be there in a few years too.

Paula

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Guest Keiichi-kun

Ma'am doesn't necessarily mean they think you're old. Chances are they noticed you were older than them and wanted to show respect. It's just a stupid word, don't let it get to you

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Guest AllisonD

Thanks so much Keiichi-kun. I like the idea it was just respect for being a fellow swimmer, and not homage to the ancient one. Paula and Sally are correct, ma'am is better than sir, but then there was no danger of that. I still get sir'd on the phone, but not face to face, and besides, when you are showing off your primary sexual characteristics as I was that day, that super-trumps all the secondary ones that might otherwise cause a person to wonder. There was no way anyone would have sir'd me.

Thanks to Nymphblossom and N Jane for also being able to relate. I just felt like writing an essay (you know how you get inspired to create and/or relate every so often) and I am pleased there were some readers.

Thanks

Allison

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Guest Elizabeth K

Allison

Yes - you do write in essay fashion and it is lovely! Don't stop!

Yes - you are well past the "sir" that we less transitioned get. And that is a wonderful place to be.

And as a 62 year old? And living in the deep south? "Yes ma'm" is common for me. Yes Allison,honey - you are apparently in GREAT shape - and it is a pleasure to be with your parents, I know.

It was fun reading your account. I too really miss my youth - especially as it was spent in the other gender role. But we take what we get... sigh... consider the alternative, I always think.

So post other experiences when you can!

Lizzy

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Guest Zabrak

Hmm whats wrong with ma'am? I'd MUCH rather get sir! But adults call my "kid" still. :(

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Guest Kacee

Like Lizzy, I'm a southern girl. I was brought up with "Ma'am" & "Sir" I call women Ma'am even if they are much younger than me. Just habit I suppose, but it was taught as a lesson in respect. Of course, it works so much better with that slow southern drawl!! LOL

I get "Ma'am'd" on the phone all the time. Personally, I love it!! Unfortunately, in this day & age,(or at least where I live) there is a severe lack of respect & proper etiquette amongst the younger generations, so I don't get too many "Ma'am's" in person. I get quite a few "Lady's" and "Miss's" tho. The "Miss's", I like!! hehehe

So don't fret darlin', it's a good thing!!

Love

Kacee

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Guest Donna Jean

Allison.....

I grew up in Georgia and Ma'm and Sir is just a term of respect for anyone that is equal or older than your self...

It's also used to someone in a position of authority...I've called a State trooper half my age Ma'm when I was stopped for a burned out tail light (no ticket).

Please don't take it so hard, Dear....

HUGGS!

Donna Jean

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Guest angie

Gooolly,

I adore being Ma'amed.And you took it as a sign of your age.(Sigh)

Just shows how long you have been a complete woman Allison.

I am looking forward to the day I can go Anywhere as myself.Be able

to strip down and not be afraid cause everything will be right in my world.

It is I who envies all the decades you have lived whole my dear.

I would have traded the perfect body for that chance.Yeppa I would.

Warm Hugs,

Angie

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Guest Elizabeth K

Allison

I know this revives and old topic, and I re-read it like it was new... It was like I had a completely new vison of what happened. Maybe this: Two things, I was in Memphis as a woman - and I talked with you - both AFTER I had read this the first time.

I now know you - I now know myself better as a woman.

You MUST keep posting these essays!

Don't hide yourself from us!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell us more - tell me more!

I cried!

Love you

Lizzy

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Guest AllisonD
Allison

I know this revives and old topic, and I re-read it like it was new... It was like I had a completely new vison of what happened. Maybe this: Two things, I was in Memphis as a woman - and I talked with you - both AFTER I had read this the first time.

I now know you - I now know myself better as a woman.

You MUST keep posting these essays!

Don't hide yourself from us!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell us more - tell me more!

I cried!

Love you

Lizzy

Thanks Lizzy. I am happy it means something more to you now that you have been out in public enough to feel comfortable and can see the point of view. And I am happy to share, and that is why we spent so long on a videocall. I do prefer the videocalls, it helps the personal connection so much when you can see and hear the other person and you can converse in real-time, don't you think?

I cannot imagine anyone thinking I have been hiding, my entire story is here, in little bits that I have included here and there among my posts. Well, I did have a very long chat with Mia about some of my earlier experiences that haven't made it into my posts or essays here, but they are not for the faint of heart.

I am happy to chat with most any trans person, it is why I came here. But I think maybe I have posted enough for awhile. Call me. You and a dozen others know how. To everyone else, PM me if you want to chat with me. I am always happy to make new friends.

Allison

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Guest AllisonD
Gooolly,

I adore being Ma'amed.And you took it as a sign of your age.(Sigh)

Just shows how long you have been a complete woman Allison.

I am looking forward to the day I can go Anywhere as myself.Be able

to strip down and not be afraid cause everything will be right in my world.

It is I who envies all the decades you have lived whole my dear.

I would have traded the perfect body for that chance.Yeppa I would.

Warm Hugs,

Angie

Thanks so much Angie,

I don't know how complete I am, I am just me, but I have been me and have gone everywhere as myself pretty much since about 14 or so, and definitely since 18 (except for two brief periods, which I have talked about here somewhere). And no, I am not afraid of being naked in an appropriate space, such as a women's locker room. I do it practically every day; I swim at the health club to lose weight. You would trade a perfect body? All I ever did was embrace what my heart told me in no uncertain terms. Anyone could do the same - I have done nothing special, but I find that I seem to be unusual in that my path was so clear. All I ever did was do what seemed right for me, and willingly pay the costs, no matter what they were.

And congratulations for being asked to be a moderator! I would have voted for you if a vote was called for.

Allison

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Guest Charlene_Leona

I absolutely love being called mam, miss lady it is so much of an affirmation to myself that I'm following the right path for myself in life. Allison I love your stories and essays about yourself, I feel like I know you so well. If you would like to video chat with me I would be happy to do the same. I does bring one closer to the person you are chatting with.

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Guest Balista
Yeah, I thought. She's right. I'm a 56 year old woman comparing myself to young beauty. How else would I feel? AND I was Ma'am'd. Let's face it, I'm getting old.

Allison

Honestly, Ma'am has always been used between me and my friends as

either a term of respect, or a term of endearment. Like someone asks

you a question and you say 'yes ma'am'?

I dunno maybe it's just the northeast? I never saw it posessing an age

marker or anything.

Better be Maam'd then Sir'd

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Guest Donna Jean
Honestly, Ma'am has always been used between me and my friends as

either a term of respect, or a term of endearment. Like someone asks

you a question and you say 'yes ma'am'?

I dunno maybe it's just the northeast? I never saw it posessing an age

marker or anything.

Better be Maam'd then Sir'd

I agree, Balista!

When it happens to me, I wear it like a badge.

A term of politeness, respect, acknowledgment of being female...

Donna Jean

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Guest Elizabeth K

My grandmother ALWAYS said "Yes Ma'am" when answering a questin to me. (or 'no" - never "no ma'am" that I remember)

Perhaps she knew something way back then? HA

NO

It's a Deep South mannerism.

Lizzy

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