In 1959, Alan Shepard was one of 110 military test pilots invited by the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration to volunteer for the first manned space flight program. Following a grueling series of physical and psychological tests, NASA selected Shepard to be one of the original group of seven Mercury astronauts. In January, 1961 Shepard was chosen for the first American manned mission into space. On April 12 in 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, making a 108 minute orbital flight, launching into orbit aboard the Russian Vostok 3KA-3 spacecraft. His call sign in this flight was Kedr. During his flight, Gagarin famously whistled the tune “The Motherland Hears, The Motherland Knows” The first two lines of the song are: “The Motherland hears, the Motherland knows/Where her son flies in the sky”. This patriotic song was written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1951, with words by Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky. Newspapers like The Huntsville Times trumpeted Gagarin’s accomplishment as the first man in space, he quickly became an international hero.
Less than one month later it was Alan B. Shepard Jr. On May 5, 1961 who was the first American in space. Shepard flew aboard the American Freedom 7. This flight only reached an altitude of 116.5 miles, which is below the altitude necessary to orbit the Earth. Although the flight was originally scheduled to take place in October of 1960, the delays caused by unplanned preparatory work meant that this was postponed several times, initially to March 6, 1961 and finally to May 5, 1961. He was launched by a Redstone rocket, and unlike Gagarin’s 108 minute orbital flight, Shepard stayed on a ballistic trajectory sub-orbital flight. A flight which carried him to an altitude of 116 statute miles and to a landing point 302 statute miles down the Atlantic Missile Range. Unlike Gagarin, whose flight was strictly automatic, Shepard had some control of Freedom 7, spacecraft attitude in particular. The launch, return from space and subsequent collection by helicopter were seen live on television by millions.
Both of these accomplishments are a stunning testament to what can be done if you really want to get somewhere or do something. Yuri and Alan did what many considered impossible or far to dangerous. They managed to do what so many others still to this day dream of. NASA in America and the SSP in Russia both worked tirelessly to be the winner in the space race. Sometimes in life there is simply a winner and a loser. However there are many times also in life that you can be both the winner and the loser in your own space race. I have certainly lost many races and I have no doubt that I will lose many more before I finally get into my own orbit. Can you just imagine what it must have felt like for them to communicate with ground control? To be someplace that so few have gone, to see the world with a nearly unexplainable vision? I would imagine the saddest part is knowing that no matter how much you try some people just can’t appreciate the world you describe.
Ground Control to Major Tom, take your protein pills and put your helmet on, Commencing countdown, engines on, Check ignition and may God’s love be with you…
Each month I take a few moments, which actually become hours, and before I know it several days, to chronicle the adventures of life from a woman’s perspective. Often these moments become misadventures and there just isn’t enough rocket fuel to achieve liftoff. While that’s a risk with each flight of fancy I take, it often provides great insights into a never before seen equipment failure. I have no idea how many people read my column and often without the comment’s I have an even smaller clue as to their impact. On May 5, 1961 with the launch of project Mercury nobody knew what the impact would be of that flight. Just as I have no real idea what the future may hold for the stories I share with you, my loyal reader. There are many nights that I can truly appreciate how Yuri and Alan felt though as they looked down upon us all. I have tried to relate to many of the visitors, members, and readers here what transition and womanhood is really like. I am often very critical, occasionally whimsical and positively without malice of any kind. I’m sure some who were once fans have found me wanting, some have read each missive with disdain or felt insulted in some small way. I would hope a whole lot more have felt vindicated and found agreement though or possibly insight in their own lives. The Russians may have beat the Americans in the space race but a few years later The Americans beat them in the cold war. Life has a very funny way of turning you around with some quite unexpected G-Forces if you don’t watch out.
With the hot chocolate poured and all of us nestled into these scrumptious cushions let’s get down to a few space oddities shall we.
Women are around you all the time. Meeting us and seeing us really isn’t anything new, is it? I know… I know… but Michelle you were not born female! Well honey is that the only criteria that makes someone a woman? Hardly. But Michelle… You don’t have the ability to bear children! I’m sure the millions of women who have undergone a hysterectomy will be thrilled to know they no longer qualify as a female. You see girls in just a few moments I’ve dispelled a few myth’s about womanhood, and I’ve only just begun. Getting in touch with your inner girl isn’t about satin underwear or how many times you go to Victoria’s Secret. It has nothing to do with which brand of bath oil you choose or how cute your belly button looks pierced. It’s not about pierced ears and flower tattoo’s either. Which nail polish you like and how “nobody noticed” you have it on isn’t being “girly, feminine, or cute” either. That’s all just flashing lights on the flight console. It’s the fuel and the engine that drive a rocket to space, not the paint job. Guy’s who play dress up will probably never understand this and that ladies is exactly the reason why it must be said… And repeated OFTEN!
Crossdresser’s revel in the clothes women wear, they ascribe attitudes, and behaviors to women based solely on the difference between white cotton or black satin and lace. Many cross dressers claim that just by wearing women’s clothes they somehow can “get in touch” with a feminine side that is laying dormant or possibly hidden. Often they will confer a motive to how a woman may dress and attempt to mimic that motive having absolutely no idea what it really is. The crossdresser constantly dreams of being “just one of the girls” yet they consistently act just like “one of the boys” at some frat party. Too often crossdressers pretend for some unknown reason that thigh high stockings are a true mark of womanhood. Honestly I would find those claims comical if they were not so insulting. Years ago I used to occasionally peruse a “crossdressing forum” and while there was some insight to be gained, it was buried deeply under the hundreds of posts about sexy underwear and red nail polish. The vast majority was completely unrealistic fantasy. It seemed like the more these crossdressers decried their feminine wiles the more boorish they became. They were no closer to being feminine or even embracing a feminine attitude than I am to being an astronaut for NASA.
This is Ground Control to Major Tom, you’ve really made the grade, and the papers want to know whose shirts you wear, now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare…
Many of the girls who relish in their status as “transgender” also seem to very rarely emulate women. Some believe that a set of giant implants is somehow real proof they are women. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Considering that dozens of the most well know models on any high fashion catwalk will forever struggle to fill an A-Cup that dispels that very common myth. Many trangendered strike me as boy’s who are compelled to let everyone know they are one day going to be girls. One day they will be feminine. Some day in the future they will behave as a woman would. They just need some arbitrary timetable to adapt to their new gender. If they could just convince any number of people that they really are a girl trapped in the body of a linebacker they will get this or that done on their ever growing “to do” list’s. Real women don’t put a lifetime of effort into convincing everyone around them they are one.
For women it’s just who we are, it’s not something we spend hours contemplating. Granted there are many women who don’t move gracefully and some are quite tomboyish. My closest girlfriend Michelle… YES I know it’s funny, and it’s just as strange too; is ANYTHING but feminine but that girl is ALL woman! Those things don’t make her any less female, if anything they enhance it. It’s her charm, her attitude, her vibrancy that make her a wonderful woman, not her somewhat butch style. Just because she doesn’t mince around the house in stiletto heels wearing pearls while she is vacuuming, sure isn’t going to get her kicked out of the space program. I often see other women who don’t dress well or they lack a models figure yet that has so little to do with their innate knowledge of who and what they are. No matter how attractive or plain a girl is she has the ability to look dreamy for a date, dress up for some night on the town, or be seductive and even charming. It’s in our nature as women, it’s something that’s literally hardwired into our brains. While some of this may be learned and perfected in adolescence it’s still something all women posses.
Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles I’m feeling very still and I think my spaceship knows which way to go…
Recently one of my girlfriends had some minor surgery and was unable to get out of the house. We were chatting about the operation and since her kids were to young to drive she was lamenting about a few things she needed. Well I couldn’t come by that evening so I told her I would come by the next night to check up on her. On the way over I stopped off at the grocery store and picked up a few items, just some soup and Gatorade that she had requested the night before. Little things really. It was a little after eight when I got there and after a few hugs and some mothering we ended up on her patio having a cigarette and just chatting away about our lives. I was struck by the normality of it all, the simplicity, the genuine love we had for each other. Later her boyfriend Lee came out said hello and after a few moments went back inside. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have yet to mention what I wore, how high my heels were or even if I was wearing them.
A few weeks previously I had gone to Stephanie’s birthday party. I left work, and drove across town to the Blue Fish which is a sushi restaurant in Addison. I was the first one there oddly enough and after walking around the bar area, and the dining area several times I decided to just sit there and wait. A few glasses of wine later people started to arrive. While we were sitting in the bar section another woman came in who may have actually been taller than I am. While women my height are not common it’s not unusual to see them occasionally, especially on the catwalk or in Hollywood. Admittedly it is difficult for us to find a spacesuit that fit’s. I even pointed her out to the other women I was with and we all giggled that at least I wasn’t alone there. We all had an amusing moment and went back to our conversations. We each had a few more drinks and then went to our table moments later. During dinner we enjoyed the wonderful food and had a delightful night. Several hours later we went over to Stephanie’s for a little after hours party. I met some new people there and spent most of the night snacking or just socializing with everyone. Interestingly enough, again I’ve completely omitted my wardrobe from this story also. Have you noticed a pattern yet?
In each of these little adventures I was out on the town in various situations under completely different circumstances. The people I encountered were from every walk of life. In each case I felt totally comfortable, completely secure, and absolutely invisible to any who observed me. While I will never claim that my perspective is the only one, or that I’m always correct in my assessment’s, I do have a lot of experience in the real world. Most of what your virtual vixen shares with you is based completely around my life weather I’m on stage or off. For me liftoff has commenced, I’m heading into orbit, and I’m not looking back!
I’m floating round my tin can far above the moon, planet Earth is blue, and there’s nothing I can do… Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Being a woman or feminine isn’t about the clothes, the makeup, or even how you look ladies… It never was.
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