A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Archive for the ‘30 Day Challenge’ Category

Day 24: I FAIL. Hard.

Yeah, I think it was pretty clear about 10 days ago that I gave up on the 30 day challenge.  Not only does my lifestyle make it really hard to get on the computer every day these days, but I’m also perpetually lazy.

Plus, I started getting blog backup.  It happens every time I start queuing up a list of topics to write about- for some reason, if I ever have more than 3 things I think I could write about, I can’t make myself start to write about any of them because I can’t pick which one is more important to write about that day, or something.

Anyway, with all that out of the way, I think I said a few blogs ago that I was going to write about something really embarrassing, and since I’ve forgotten everything else I was going to write about, it’s about that time that I get around to writing about that.

***

Have you ever had a quirk about yourself that you couldn’t decide whether it was a comedy-relief type human foible that could be applied to any other guy, or something that threatened your sense of masculinity so dangerously that maybe it was time to rethink your gender status?  I don’t like that everything about myself is now shaded by that “is it male enough?” filter, but this really stretches the boundaries of anything that is believably male, and I’ve been understandably uncomfortable about it for a long time.

See, since I was little, I’ve had this issue with… (oh boy, here it comes, my first time really putting it in words…) the textures of certain fabrics.  Euch, just thinking about it kinda makes me want to throw up.  My first memory of a fabric that made me want to cringe was pantyhose.  My parents made me put the things on to go to church every Sunday and stretching that nasty material over my hands so I could squirm into it just gave me industrial strength goosebumps.  Other textures bugged me from an early age, like most rough upholstery, just about any kind of carpeting, terry cloth, etc.  I spent a lot of years just putting up with it and trying not to touch those things with my hands.

It got worse as my childhood progressed.  I discovered that one of the few ways to desensitize my hands enough to deal with those kinds of fabrics was to keep my hands moisturized, through water, lotion, milk, or whatever was around at the moment.  One of the more shameful tidbits of my childhood is the technique I used to get around this problem when I couldn’t find anything wet to put on my hands- I would spit on them.  Euch.  It’s hard to admit to, but the god’s honest truth that often the only thing that would keep me from going bonkers was whether I could produce saliva.

Of course, when I was exposed to polite society, I realized that this practice was unacceptable, and thus began my dependence on lotion.  I had to keep some with me at all times to deal with the increasingly horrific textures the world had to offer.

I’d like to say that I eventually outgrew this problem, manned up, learned to deal with cloth without gagging, and ditched the lotion, but sadly this is not the case.  If anything, my aversion to textures is worse than in my childhood (though probably it just seems worse because I’ve been focusing on getting rid of it due to the anxiety it causes when compounded by my gender issues.)  My biggest problem with it right now is that I can’t really go more than a couple hours at best without finding some dark corner to dissolve into and rub the lotion into my hands hopefully without someone noticing.

It’s shameful, because lotion seems to be such a feminine things, and I’ve become nothing short of dependent on it.  If it were a better world, my friends wouldn’t know about this- they pick on me for it sometimes, which I try to brush off, but I know it makes them take me less seriously when they see it.  One of my friends was even present once when I couldn’t find any lotion in my entire house and… aw jeez, I mean, I guess I have to be honest about this, right?  Well, I’m not really prone to panic attacks, but I had one right then and there in front of him, and I’m sure he doesn’t see me the same way after that.  I mean, I was having an asthma attack of epic proportions and I couldn’t really talk and there were tears and all kinds of horrible things, and the worst thing was that my logical mind was saying that it shouldn’t have been happening, but I couldn’t stop, and I seriously flipped out.

So yeah, that’s the biggest skeleton in my closet, and I just wish I knew there was some way to fix it.  I tried searching online for answers, and the closest thing I could come up with was sensory hypersensitivity, and the worst thing about that is that every single site teaches you how to recognize and deal with it in your children.  There is absolutely no evidence out there that it ever happens to adults.

Ever.

So I really should have grown out of it by now, and it just disgusts me to even bring it up.  It’s a really humiliating thing and it’s taken me a year to even bring it up on this blog, and god knows I’ve tried before.  But, it’s finally time to bite the bullet and hit submit, because I think someone out there may have an answer, and as trivial as it seems, it almost seems like something that would endanger my chances of getting on T if I bring it up to my gender therapist.  So, yeah.  Here I stand, naked to the world.

Go easy on me.

Day 14: Name time, part two.

Last month, I discovered it’s a bad idea to try and live with a name given to you by someone who you might wind up hating down the road.  I’m glad that I didn’t get anything done legally about it and all I have to do is change it on places like my blog.  (I’d almost forgotten that even needed to, except I clicked the “Random Blog Post” button for a blast from the past year and some inspiration, and found the post where I talked about how I decided on my name.)

Anyway, my ex was the one who decided on the name Calvin, and I kept it in my name even though I never really used it.  Now, any time I see that name, it reminds me of him and what he did to me, and a whole sequence of bad feelings come rushing back, so I’ve decided to drop it, move the “Thomas” back around to the first name spot, and go with my legal last name.  Now my name will read Thomas Jack H______, and it’s considerably less clumsy and more comfortable.  Besides, now that I’m becoming a lot closer to my dad, I’m a lot more comfortable with sharing his last name.  I kind of wanted to change my last name originally because I was afraid he might not want to be associated with me, but he’s become a lot more accepting of it all since then.  Now I’m ready to get my legal name change when that’s ready to happen.

***

I’m also thinking about starting my youtube channel soon.  The computer with the camera doesn’t really work all that well and it doesn’t have much in the way of editing programs, but I figure if I don’t start now then I never will.  I’m having a hard time coming up with an opening topic, though.  I’ll keep looking and when I get it posted, I’ll put a link up.

Peace!

Day 13: I have defeated sleep.

Just felt like informing you all that this is the first time I’ve ever gotten on the computer after a long day, sat down and stayed on it until the sun came up the next morning. Feels weird, man. Without the sleep in the middle, I feel like I’m still in yesterday.

In 21 years I’ve probably never gone 24 hours without at least 5 hours of sleep, and that’s skimping- my usual runs somewhere around 9. And yet, I really don’t feel tired- I just kinda feel like I’ve somehow crossed the threshold into the Twilight Zone.

***

Seeing as that’s completely unrelated to gender and I promised I’d spend this entire month forcing myself to talk about gender every day and hopefully get it out of my system, I guess I’ll go into what happened yesterday.

Um, I got to hang out with my dad a lot.  And there was, like, father-son bonding and shit.  This has happened a lot recently and I find that it’s very cool that I don’t have to go to someone else to learn how to be a man.  Yep.

What else.  Uhhh…  I guess the lack of sleep is making me more likely to spell out what I’m muttering as I try to come up with something.  We’re now going to try not to do that because it looks stupid.

…I actually just had to delete an “Errrrrm…”, which is brilliant.  It’s like I’m on chat or something.

Anyway.  Oh, yes.  My sex drive is definitely returning.  For a few months there, I was completely turned off the idea of sex in general.  I was really worried when it became the case that pictures did nothing for my libido.  I was getting to the point where I’d be looking for something, anything, to turn me on and I couldn’t find anything online, even the sort of stuff I knew used to get me going.  It all kinda just looked like art to me.

But then tonight I happened to run across a little gay porn in the forum I frequent, and I felt that old familiar sproing.  Maybe I’ll be able to enjoy sex again in the future.  Meanwhile I have to deal with wanting it and not really having the option…

…Which somehow seems like it’ll be easier now that I have all these new things along with my genital dysphoria, such as shame and anxiety.  All I really want right now from anyone is a bj, I think, and it’s not going to feel quite right until I get at least a little growth going on.  It seems like sex with other people might just serve to screw more with my dysphoria, so it’s easier not to rush into things and appreciate the solitude.

Still, though, I do miss the intimacy.  That’s one thing that makes me feel like less of a dude.  I ALMOST, not really, but almost like snuggling better than the sex itself, and it’s hard to ask that of someone you’re not intimate with, for some reason.  Hell, it’s hard even to admit to.  Sometimes I feel just… hungry, though, and physical contact of any sort is enough to start filling the void- the more skin contact, the better, in that holding hands is like a granola bar and naked snuggling is like a buffet.  It’s like sleep and food and water all at once and I feel so energized and yet relaxed afterwards- just replenished, I guess is the word.

This blog has kind of taken a weird, non-gender related turn, but whatever, it’s all about keeping it real, I guess.  The point is, women are “supposed” to want intimacy and so they trade sex to get it, and men are “supposed” to want sex and therefore trade intimacy for it, and right now I guess I’d trade a certain amount of sex if it meant I could have someone to hold.  I’m getting lower on energy by the day, and paradoxically, sleeping at night gets harder because of it.  You’d think I’d sleep more, but no- well, unless it’s during the day, I guess.  My sleep schedule gets all screwed up…

So, I’m starting to feel that my pride may have to take a back burner to my health, because I just feel like my eyes are becoming sunken and gray.

Or maybe I just to finally go to bed.

(Im’ma write about something REALLY embarrassing tomorrow!)

Day Twelve: Intrapersonal progress.

(I’m probably going to keep this short because the exhaustion of the funeral and so forth in the last few days has drawn me out.  Nonetheless, I intend to keep on track with the challenge as much as possible.)

Some time last week, a friend and his family took me out to go bowling.  Naturally, when he put my original name on the electronic scorekeeper readout, I had him change it to Tommy because the discomfort of seeing my old name announced across the entire casino made me want to rip my own guts out.  Now, to understand the complexity of the situation, let me explain that my friend is gay, and his parents are very conservative Christians.  To say that he’s used to keeping secrets is an understatement- his mom does know but she’s somewhat uncomfortable, and even she had advised him not to let his dad in on it.  So when I went to change my name on the readout, my friend almost stopped me.  But I told him, “I don’t need a reason not to like my old nickname.  Let’s just leave it at that for now.”

Now, I figured the delicacy of the situation would involve him explaining to his mom at a later date when his dad wasn’t around, because even as open as I’ve become about it, his dad does make me a little uncomfortable.  But what he told me later bothered me somewhat.  He said that his mom had guessed dead on the nose, saying, “Is she becoming a boy?” and he’d “explained” that I just liked the nickname and the barber had screwed up my haircut and made it way shorter and butchier than I wanted.  (For some reason, that was a satisfactory answer- I don’t know about you, but I’d still be suspicious.)  Maybe a year ago, I would have been grateful for him covering my ass, but now I felt as though he were ashamed of me.  I am now at the point where I’m coming out to respected adults and parents of friends in my life and expecting to be taken seriously, and it’s no longer a game to be hidden from the grown-ups.

To be fair, he said that she’d decidedly stated that she didn’t like transsexuals, so I was at the risk of not being welcome in their home if I’d been outed, therefore, he’d taken measures.  But damn it, I’ve come to the that place in my transition where, if somebody doesn’t like it, then it’s up to them to decide whether the loss of me as a friend is worth it, because I’m not going to change myself to fill people’s expectations just to keep them around.  I spent the first two decades of my life wasting time on that.  Frankly, if you don’t know I’m trans by now, then I either don’t respect you or don’t trust you.

Day Nine: a haiku.

i use men’s restrooms

it’s just a room, more or less

we all need to crap.

*****

(Also, I found my binder.  :D)

Day Eight: Enter the rat race.

As you may or may not know, I live vicariously through my Youtube subscriptions.  One of them recently posted a video about having on the job harassment issues, etc.

As much as that sucks for him, it’s actually helped me to form a game plan for when I start to really go through transition.  This is from my response to the video:

“…I actually have a plan to get a shitty little job of some sort, food service or something, to get me through during transition, and then, as soon as I’m passable, I’m going to look for another job and drop the first one like a hot potato.  I don’t want to get into something I’ll enjoy doing if it means I’ll have to leave it as soon as I transition.”

I mean, it’s a pretty sweet idea, and it pretty much follows what I was planning to do career-wise anyway- take whatever crappy little job I can get, and then build from there.  I’ve heard it said many a time that it’s much easier to GET a job when you HAVE a job, so if anything, all my strategy really does is stretch out the time I spend in my shitjob a little longer, probably.

I already work a volunteer job, so I have a taste of what it’s like to be unpassable and not out in the workplace- it SUCKS.  I haven’t brought it up because simply enough, it would just complicate things unduly in a workplace that it’s really not worth it for.  I’m working at the local food bank, which basically translates to working with uber conservative, upstanding, elderly white ladies who would probably have a heart attack if they knew they were working with a transsexual.

It’s kinda funny, actually.

They all really do love me to death there, because I’ve shown initiative, dedication, good people skills and phone skills, and invaluable computer experience (really, they don’t much know what they’re doing with the computers they have, so any help makes me look like a wizard.)  And I hate to put a cynical slant on things, but one of my top motivations for working there isn’t so much helping the community as racking up work experience, a good list of references and connections to the working world.  I feel like all my time there would be wasted if I alienated them by demanding their acceptance in this area, too.  So, basically, it’s turned into a big game of kiss-ass, which kind of gives me a sick feeling in my stomach.  But hey, you do what you can to get ahead, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone in the process, there’s really nothing wrong with it, right?

Anyway, that’s all a microcosm of what I’m probably going to be going through at McDonalds or whatever patty flipping joint I can manage to work at- except with less money, less hours and less gender problems.  Once I get on T, I expect the shit’s really gonna hit the fan.  I’m going to have to deal with people questioning my binding (which generally becomes more evident the longer you spend time with a certain group), my voice drop and my facial hair growth (which, if my genetics have any say about it, will be prolific, believe you me.)  I plan on deflecting as much as possible, and sad to say, I’m probably not going to do much sticking up for myself if I’m starting a job looking like this and wind up looking like my dad.  They’re going to have every right to be curious, and frankly, I can’t expect them to switch pronouns to accommodate me unless I wind up working with a real bang-up, intellectual, forward-thinking group of fast-food workers.  Not exactly the descriptors that come to mind, right?

These will be the crappiest six months to a year of my life, and it’s going to be worth it.

Day Seven: Failblog.

So, I guess I’ve missed several days of the challenge.  Two, I think.  Whoopsie doodle doo.

Like I really give a crap.

Today, I’m going to write about some embarrassing crap, just because I can’t think of anything else.  Beware if talk about nipples and bras makes you uncomfortable.

So, I’ve somehow lost the only binder that I have.  I’ve taken good care of it, washed it often and carefully, even sewn it up when one of my friends accidentally cut a hole in it.  It’s funny- it’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought to wear, and it’s become the one thing that I absolutely never leave the house with.  It feels weird that I’ve become so dependent on a single piece of cloth for my personal comfort.

So for the first time in almost a year today, I had to go out wearing a bra.

I felt like a fucking clown.

I’d lost my binder somewhere between my best friend’s house and home, so it was on the way home to my place that I was wearing the goddamned contraption.  I’d never much noticed it growing up, but bras are really, really uncomfortable.  I wound up with all kinds of red marks in my shoulders that have now become foreign to me.  It made me look like Madonna, or at least, I felt that way.  I kept getting slightly startled every time I looked down.
See, I had to borrow one from my friend, and I’d never really spent any kind of money on ones for myself so I always had the crappy little ones from Wal-Mart, but she had this full support, lacey, padded, wired, superstructured wonderbra of a thing that made them spring to attention in a way I’d never seen them look before.  I spent a lot of time with my arms crossed, but it didn’t much help.  Mainly, all I’d wanted was something that would put a layer between my t-shirt and my pointy-ass nipples.  But after wearing it for a couple minutes, I began to think it wasn’t really worth it.  This damned thing made my chestnuts look about twice the size they really were.

So, as soon as I got home, I traded it out for my old bandages- what I wore before I finally broke down and got an actual binder.  I’d almost forgotten how to wear them- how to bind them loose but repetitively for maximum durability, wrap them even, where to set them so they wouldn’t look lumpy and stupid, etc.  They don’t work nearly as well, last nearly as long, look nearly as natural or feel nearly as comfortable as a real binder, but they’re ok in a pinch.

I just hope I find my real one soon.  I don’t have the cash to get a new one.

This blows, man.

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