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

Archive for the ‘Binders’ Category

Day Four: Why is life so amazing?M

Tis be the time of 1:00am, and I can’t sleep cause my sleeping pattern has been obliterated, but I don’t have the energy to edit videos, so I’m going to do a little blog and keep you all updated till tomorrow when I’m going to finalize and post my vlogs.

I’d like not to go into too much detail because the vlog is already so intensively detailed that I just think it’d be overkill, but I’ll hit on the high points here:

– After I went with my couch host to his school’s LGBTQ resource center, one of his awesome friends pointed me towards Trans Thrive, an absolutely incredible  organization in the city dedicated to keeping trans people healthy and off the streets, HIV prevention, depression, support groups, the works.  Everything you can imagine, they provide.  Long story short, they put me on the fast track to get testosterone- I don’t know how to describe how extraordinary it was that I had an appointment for gender consultation after being in the city for 29 hours.

– I GOT MY SCRIPT.  I am getting my first shot on February 17th at 4pm.  Bow taken.

– I went to this little transmen speed dating thing, and well, I don’t like to kiss and tell, but I will say that I have someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with.  (OKAY I’LL TELL HE’S AN INCREDIBLE TRANS GUY FORMER AIRFORCEMAN HE’S SO FUCKING CUTE okay done having a panic attack of HOW FUCKING AWESOME IS MY LIFE?! )

– There was free HIV testing so I did that, it came up negative, no surprise there.  Tom H., disease-free since 1988. ;D

– It looks as though I’ll be getting free dental, and get this, possibly into a program for getting my top surgery done for free as well.  I’m afraid free top surgery will make me look like frankenstein, but at least my binder won’t be destroying my back any longer, so it’s whatever.

– Speaking of binders, I got a free one from Trans Thrive that ACTUALLY FITS, now isn’t that a novel concept?

– Got a haircut, that’s boring and I’m sure you’ll see it in the videos.

– I got wolf-whistled at in the Castro today.  I feel appropriately male AND fabulous.

– Tomorrow I’m going to a transguy-run super bowl party, which is great because I’ve never had any reason to watch it before.  (I honestly kinda wanted to do my first shot on Super Bowl Sunday cause that just seemed appropriate, but that’s the point at which I cross over from being needy to nitpicky.  The 17th is almost too soon for me to take in!)

 

I’m sure I’m missing things, I didn’t ask my Puppy if it was okay to write about him yet either so I won’t go into a lot of detail till later, but MAN did I luck out, he’s the sweetest most incredible level-headed generous adventurous soul with a knack for back massage and GOD, what did I ever do to deserve all this good all at once?

I’m preparing honestly for something absolutely devastating to happen.

About Monday- there’s a sad thing, that you can’t take advantage of the food pantries around here without a proof of residence in the SF zip codes, which seems counterintuitive to trying to serve the homeless, because I’d update my I.D. if I actually HAD  an address.  ANYWAY, I’m going to the Transgender Law Center monday to see if they can help me sort my expired license out so maybe i can get food stamps.  Mmm, edible things.

Also monday I’m getting my blood work done.  There was someothing else but i literally just fell asleep at the keyboard, so i’m surre i’ll remember in the morning.  I love ALL YOUR FACES, you mean the world to me, dear readers, truly. MUST SLEEP

/END TRANSMISSION
 

1 Year Manniversary!

So, it was this day last year that I made the decision to start living full time as male.  I’ve pulled this from the first post on my blog:

“This is Day 1.  Ground zero.
Today’s the official start of my transitioning process.
Some day, I won’t be the only person who sees me as a man.  Some day the whole goddamn world will without a second guess.  And it’s only a matter of time.
Joaquin Jack, the rootin’-est tootin’-est outlaw in the Wild West.”

A lot of things have changed since that day.  The most recent change?  I’m now officially a working stiff.  Yep, that volunteer gig I’ve been talking about since April?  They finally offered me a full time, paid job with benefits.  My medical insurance starts in September, and I can start the process of medical transition this year.

Social transition started a long time ago.  Most people I know call me Tommy, even in the workplace.  Most of those people call me by male pronouns, except for family and people in the workplace.  I don’t know how I’m going to navigate that when I start looking and sounding more male, but I have a very cool and understanding supervisor who is used to dealing with people in unusual personal situations, so I’d be surprised if she treats me unfairly.

Funnily enough, my attitude towards pronouns has gotten a lot more lax lately, mainly because I’m just so tired of seeing people struggle with it.  I’ve even had a few people who have been trying their damnedest break down and cry over it, even when I wasn’t pressing the issue.  I can tell with these people, they genuinely want to say the right things around me and it really gets to them when they don’t, and it’s gotten to the point where I frankly don’t give a shit anymore.  I mean, it’s awesome when I get sirred in public, but there’s nothing I can do right now about the fact that I look, sound and smell female, and asking people to do mental acrobatics around it is a little unreasonable until I’ve been on T for a while.

That’s not to say that I let people walk all over me, though.  Recently a few friends and I were hanging out, and I was telling this story from back when I was still doing the whole “chick” thing, and one of my brodudes said, “Hey, FYI, you’re still a chick.”

I punched him in the face.

It was kind of awesome.  His head slammed the wall behind him and he came up dizzy and checking if all his teeth were there.

He got the picture.  We were cool from then on.

***

What else has changed since last year?  Hm…
– My car works again, feels good to have independence.
– I’ve finally gotten back into the habit of showering and brushing my teeth every day- I care about my body now that it might actually belong to me one day.
– I’ve been eating less junk food and soda and crap and staying active, and I’ve gained some muscle and lost 23 pounds worth of spare fat.
– I’m on my way to quitting smoking (which I’ve never really mentioned on here because I don’t want to make any of my  former smoker transbros start jonesing, but I feel it’s worth bringing up at least on my manniversary.)
– I finally got together the balls to cut my hair last year, feels awesome not to have an extra blanket of heat coating my neck and back in the summer.
– I’ve become an expert at using an STP at public urinals, and have broken the fear of using the men’s room.
– I’ve come out to my dad and we even talk about it at lengths these days, and he (sort of) accepts me as his son, off and on.  It’s all I can ask for at this point.
– Have been wearing a real binder, not an improvised one that could distort my ribs, for probably about 9 months now.  Of course I’ve been binding off and on for a long time, and every single day for a year now, but using one regularly that doesn’t hurt my back has done wonders for my self-esteem and general health.
– Since having them compressed every day, I’ve lost at least a cup size.  I used to be a full C, and now I’m kind of a saggy B.  Not as attractive with my shirt off, but much easier to bind, and sometimes I can even wear a baggy shirt without being self-conscious.
– I’ve pumped off and on all year, and let’s just say my microcock is a lot easier to see these days.
– A lot of other smaller things that I don’t feel like recounting.

The only negative thing is that I’ve become a lot less comfortable with sex these days.  Since being with someone who doesn’t neccessarily find my trans situation attractive and kinda made me feel like shit about myself in several ways, and becoming more and more wary that any guy I’m with will want to do me in the manhole, I’ve lost my sex drive almost entirely.  This has led to even more anxiety about it, since, as a general rule, “males have a bigger sex drive”, and since last year, mine has only shrunk.  Of course, it’s all a performance anxiety and self-consciousness issue.  But it’s kind of positive that I’m less desparately, widly depressed about how small my dick is and more generally just not interested in sex right now.  I’m sure when I find the right person, all that anxiety about my genitals will go away, and having my sex drive boosted by T won’t be as soul-crushing.

Anyway, my manniversary celebration turned out to be a lot less exciting than I originally planned, but then, I originally planned to be taking my first T shot right about now.  I’ve basically only had my best friend over today and we’ve surfed the internet all day and listened to music.  That’s it. It just seemed superfluous to make a big deal out of “Hey, I decided something this day last year!”  I’ll probably go buy a cake or something when I actually get on T.

***

I think the biggest point of all this is, I held my own Real Life Test, just to know for sure, for my own purposes, that this was what I wanted to do, that not only could I handle the societal pressures of being male, but the problems that come with living as one gender when the world percieves you as another.

It went far better than expected.

I’ve been living with genuine peace of mind in myself for a year, despite the storm raging all around.  I’ve come to know who I really am, and that person wasn’t as cool as I originally thought he would be, but I’ve settled with being a big dork, and I’m happy with that.  I haven’t been experiencing any delusions or hallucinations, the dissociation has ceased, my emotional turmoil has settled considerably, and since having a cool and sane head, I can see that a lot of the world wasn’t as big and scary and dramatic and bad as I thought it was.  I’ve developed a sense of responsibility to myself and others now that I have a cemented sense of identity and I don’t feel like a visitor to this world operating an expendable avatar.  I’m comfortable with myself and my friends tell me that I seem happier.  There’s no more being constantly on edge for fear that my own mind will revolt and I’ll have to account for yet another day lost to someone I don’t know.  I’ve gotten used to what it’s like to be the only person in here, and it’s surprisingly simple, even if at first it was a little claustrophobic.  I feel much more real, I feel connected to the consequences of my actions, I feel in control.  I feel… normal.

That was something I never expected.

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 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.

Onslaught.

So I’ve been feeling really great about everything.  Last night, my lovely boyfriend and I finally managed to pull enough money together to order a good binder so I can stop using the backbreaking one I’ve been using, my insurance is about to go through so I can see about getting a gender therapist, everyone’s been seeing me as a guy, and people are slowly but surely figuring out the name.

I feel like I’m sitting on a go-cart that I’ve been trying to make go for months now, and finally some deity descended from the heavens and gave me a gentle push and now I’m finally, slowly, starting to roll down the hill.  But suddenly, my stomach is lurching because I’m looking forward and the hill gets a lot steeper from here, and I’m just about to pass that point where, if I wanted to, I could stick my legs out and grind to a halt without any major injury, get up, and walk away.  Things are About to Happen, and if I don’t stop before the Point of No Return, then there’s absolutely no going back and I’m going to have to ride this cart for the rest of my life.

It’s unbelievable, because I never thought I’d have these feelings.  I know it’s only natural to have a little bit of apprehension before the point of no return, but now I’m having this internal critic hit me with a real onslaught of all the really hard questions, things like:

– “Everyone’s going to look at you and say, ‘Why did you even transition, if you’re a gay man?  Gay men are basically just women anyway, wouldn’t it just be easier to stay in a girl’s body?'”

– “You never fit in as a girl, but suddenly you think that if you transition, you’ll fit in as a boy, and you KNOW that’s not true.  If anything, you’ll fit in less!”

– “You’re using this trans thing to explain all your boy tendencies, but once you cross over, how do you explain away all the girl ones?”

– “What if you’re not really a guy?  What if this IS just another phase, another obsession with being different, one that could get you KILLED?”

– “You say this explains everything- the abuse, the dissociation, etc., but what if you’re just making connections that aren’t there so that you can make your life make sense, and when the novelty of being trans wears itself out, it’s just another layer of fuck-up on top of the pile?”

These are the kinds of questions that have been killing me, the ones that have been keeping me up at night, really personal questions that only I would know.
I have answers for all of those questions, and when I remember the things that can’t be explained away with a “what if” scenario, like how only wearing a strap-on makes me feel complete and how being on top is the only sex act that entirely works for me, or how I really only feel attractive and not-deformed when I bind up and have a flat chest, or how I’ve been lusting after facial hair since I was six, and how I’ve always felt gay with boys and straight with girls, even long before I knew I could possibly be trans-

When I remember all those things, and how being trans makes my life complete, and how my mind has been at more peace in the last 6 months than it’s been the entire rest of my life-

When I remember how accepting that I was trans made the voices stop, made the dissociation fade and made me stop seeing things at night, and made my mind finally healthy, and some semblance of normal-

When I see how my friends and family are finally more happy that I’m less crazy and upset and irritable and generally screwed-up these days than they are sad to see the old me go away-

Then I know that everything’s going to be alright, and I can keep going.

My little insecurities and fears are not nearly enough to turn me away from the one thing that has made my life finally worth living.  I have been more afraid to die in the last six months than I even was when I was a child, and I take that as a good and healthy sign that I finally love life enough not to want to leave it.

Dreams and binding.

I’ll have to keep this one short because I only have 20 minutes, but I figured this was worth mentioning.

Last night I had a pretty intensely realistic dream that I was growing facial hair, and what’s weirder, that nobody really seemed to notice.  They just… didn’t mind, and that made me happy.  I wish it were that simple, here on the outside.  The outside of the dreamscape, that is.

Anyway, it seemed so real that, when I woke up and stumbled into the bathroom, I was slightly shocked not to see that patchy fuzz on my chin.  I guess I was still a little asleep.  The biggest thing here, I suppose, is that I’ve got direct evidence that my subconscious self-image is male, if not just yearning for transition.  I’ve so rarely had a consistent self-image while I’m dreaming, I’m usually just watching other things happen, so this is comforting and inspiring to me.  One never likes to admit to these things, but when life hits you over and over with the same avalanche vote of no confidence, one starts to have little moments of self-doubt.  It’s nice to be reminded who you really are once in a while when you start to get lost in what everyone else thinks of you.

Another little news blurb- I’ve graduated from Ace Bandages, finally.  I was getting tired of there being only two choices- moobs, or warped ribs.  So I found something in the family’s costume bag, an old bodice.  I’ve worn it before, backwards, under Halloween costumes and it works perfectly not only to flatten the chest but to arrange the fat in such a way that it gives me totally awesome pecs.  The only problem was that it had really stiff boning, which I ripped out.  It works just the same, if not ten times better, without it, and it’s way more comfortable than anything else I’ve worn so far.  The boning used to give me bruises in my ribs.

And that’s what she said.   😉

Later!

Chest bruising and angry ranting.

I wore binding out for the fourth day in a row today.

What sucks:
– I need a REAL compression shirt of some sort.
– I currently use 6″ ace bandages, which have always worked in a pinch, but obviously not a good idea for every day wear.
– I took them off halfway through the day and noticed a weird purplish coloring, which ironically brought the “tumor” analogy closer to life. Chest bruises = not fun.
– But weirdly enough and even MORE ironically, my friend said that she heard that if you bind enough and cause enough bruises in your chest area, it can cause breast cancer (which kind of has the ring of an urban myth, but you can never be too sure.)

What’s (kind of) awesome:
– My technique has been getting better and it never really has that lumpy look anymore.
– I’m getting better at not noticing the pain until I’ve been in binding for 10+ hours.

Yeah.  It’s pretty obvious the pros are overshadowed by the cons.  Any list that has “but I’m getting better at ignoring the pain” as a positive point is pretty much the sign of a losing battle.

So, I just went to check out the Big Brothers Used Binder program.  I’ve ultimately decided I’m going to have to go on ahead and buy one instead of try to get one through the program.  Let’s face it, I may only make $200 a month, and that may be difficult to try and live on, but I’ve got a place to go at night, I’ve got a somewhat supportive parent, I’ve got food stamps… and to put the icing on the cake, I just blew $100 going to San Francisco a couple weeks ago.  The site said you can actually order a binder for as little as about $20, which I consider far worth it, even if it means I’m going to have to put off getting my car fixed for a little longer.  I’d just feel dirty and awful if I tried to go through Big Brothers.  But they’re an awesome program if you’re really falling on hard times.

Looks like, till I scrounge up the means to get my own, I’m going to be dealing with the Ace Horror for a little while.

In other news, I had my first real fight with someone over my trans issues today.  I was just trying to figure out something for my best friend to call me, because my birth name has been really getting under my skin lately, and I was trying to go easy on her and not make her call me something that would be “hard” for her, or whatever, because it’s so FUCKING hard for everyone else when us transpeople go through this… okay, I’m settling down now.

Anyway, it seemed like one of those rare things she might have a little fun with, something she could join me in and get really excited about- “YOU get to help me pick my new name, I’m trusting YOU with this,” you know?  But just like with anything else I brought up that was trans-related, she got so quiet and distant, offering only the occasional monosyllabic response.  It bothered me.  I had no idea what she was thinking- whether she hated me, whether she had no opinion, whether she thought her opinions were stupid, whether she was completely uninterested, whether she just wanted to change the subject, I had NOTHING to go on.  I’d actually been trying to stifle myself somewhat about it all, only bringing up the things that struck me as positive or funny and not really laying the issue on anyone else, but she finally blew up at me after I questioned why she always got so clammed up whenever I brought up anything.   Apparently, it’s all I’ve been talking about, 24-7, forever… Okay, now I’M exaggerating on HER exaggeration out of bitterness.  But it’s how I feel about that accusation.  Don’t we do other shit together?

I don’t know what to do.  Am I just supposed to shut it away and pretend none of this is happening?  Let her call me a name that feels like a searing hot poker in my skull every time I hear it?  Never bring up any of my current issues, no matter how relevant, awesome, or painfully lonely any of it is to go through?  This is what is going on with me, right now, and if she doesn’t want to hear it, then it’s a choice between not being with her or self-censorship.  I don’t want to make that choice, but apparently it is SO FUCKING HARD for her to see me try and figure out who the fuck I am, as long as it doesn’t comply with what she thought.  I mean, I can’t believe how hard it is for someone to use a different pronoun, or a different name, or just to accept that I can’t be in fucking public and feel like a human being if people can see these… THINGS on my chest!  I’m making myself so vulnerable to her and letting her in on all this, and she can’t see anything but how hard it is for HER to deal with any of this.

God, I can’t believe how angry I am about this.  Sometimes I feel like if I threw myself into a vat of acid and came out an unrecognizable creature, or cut and mutilated my face and chest and anything that can be seen as female on me, or even just killed myself, I’d feel free from this …thing that tortures me.  I’m crawling out of my skin day and night, but it’s SO FUCKING HARD for other people to use a different name, just to relieve a little bit of this hell I’m living in.  My message to the world:  Oblige me for five fucking seconds out of your selfish life, you assholes, and I might not hang myself when I go home tonight.

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