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

Archive for the ‘family’ Category

WAR!

So it’s definitely been far too long since I’ve been posting regularly.  I have no excuses.  Aliens.  Aliens, maybe.  Just insert your favorite alien abduction scenario, it’ll come to you.

I felt like making note that my existence has actually caused a minor nuclear war in the interpersonal lives of some people who are technically more friends-of-friends than anything.  This fact has prevented the whole ordeal from impacting me any more strongly than a minor passing amusement.

See, my roomie’s best friend has a hyper-christian mom (that’s how these tales of war always start, I’m finding by studying my history, with some hyper-christian figure of authority).  She was spending a lot of time at my apartment to get away from these nutcases, and was considering our house a free and innocent haven.

Unfortunately, deception had to be thrown in the mix to maintain the facade of innocence.  She decided (without asking me first of course) to tell her mom that I was a girl so that she wouldn’t think I was having sex with her.  (Not sure how that really helped the situation, as I could have been a raving dyke and I don’t think my lack of a penis would have stopped me, maybe it just would have been my decency and respect for her human right to demand my refraining from rape, I don’t know, something like that.  Point is, apparently it worked.   Christian moms have mysterious minds.)

At this point in the story, I was still confused as to why my genitals were even relevant to someone who I’d never met and never intended to meet, and she probably could have gotten a similar effect by pretending I didn’t exist at all and I would have been a bit more comfortable with that.  But at this point I just continued tapping my fingers together bemusedly and said, “Go on….”  (Hopefully this was more disarming than disconcerting, but one can never tell.  Maybe I should study my human reactions more closely, but the pleasing sound of her voice getting a lot more strained and the little beads of sweat appearing on her forehead tells me I was on the right track and she was relaxing into a nice calm afternoon.)

So, apparently one afternoon recently while my roomie was visiting their family, this friend-of-a-friend had to go take a shower, and my roomie was left on the porch, cornered by terrifying zealot-mom who started interrogating her about this mysterious “Tommy” person in the house.  Here’s where the romantic-comedy-esque hilarious miscommunication ensues, as friend-of-a-friend had not informed Roomie that she was insisting that I was a girl, and my Roomie had been trained rigorously to insist that I was male.  So upon interrogation she began declaring that I was her brother, and then that no really, I was a dude, and why would you think something like that you’ve never even met him, and why do you keep calling your daughter a dirty heathen liar, and oh shit something’s gone horribly wrong here, hasn’t it?

So long story short, my very existence as a gender-ambiguous being has caused a major rift in an already shaky mother-daughter relationship and she’s on the verge of being kicked out for “lying” about me (I’m actually kind of happy that her mom was convinced that I was a dude and that she was boning me and just telling her mom that I was a chick to get away with it, all “Twelfth Night” and shit).  It’s kind of true, minus the screwing part.  I just don’t know how to support her here- one way or another I wouldn’t just be boning her because she’s a female in my house and I’m a male, end of story.  But as far as she sees it, she DIDN’T lie to her mom.  And that sucks.  I don’t know why I can’t be trusted on the sole merit of my honor, and I have to have my vagina flashed around the neighborhood just to be “safe”.  Funny world we live in.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to dance into their living room wearing flaming horns and a strap-on dildo and howl and cavort like a devil-child just to give her mom a heart attack, because there’s no honest explanation of this that will save my image in her eyes.  I really don’t care what she thinks of me; she’s crazy by definition.  Mainly I’m just amused that I got to shatter a christian family by mere merit of my existence and I didn’t even have to lift a finger.  God bless America.

Celebratory Post!

As of yesterday, I’ve officially made it two years living full time as male.

(My family even baked me a cake!  The celebration would have been really nice if it weren’t for… stuff.)

Lots of things have changed.  I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal demons lately, a lot of shit from my childhood bubbling up, and things that just generally eat your energy and time.  On top of it I’ve been working practically non-stop.  My term with Americorps is almost up and I need a new job if I want to keep my place, so I’m back on the job hunt, and plus I’m applying to art school this spring so I have to put together a bunch of portfolios.  I haven’t had a lot of time to think about this whole transgendered thing for a really long time.
It’s faded to the back, and while I’m passing almost 100% of the time now (even without hormones), it’s just not that big of a deal anymore.  I’m sure when I finally have the resources to get on T, and the doors open, this will all get very exciting again, but for now it’s been one of the smaller aspects of my life.  That’s kind of nice.

Besides all that, I really need to find a therapist who specializes in Dissociative Identity Disorder.  It was gone and dormant for near two years now, and I thought I could ignore it, sweep it under the rug, and pretend it didn’t exist so it’d be easier to pass the psych eval for hormones.

Now I’m realizing this is one of the ways I’m going to dealing with severe trauma for the rest of my life, and on top of that, there are still a LOT of buried issues right under the surface that I still need to work through.  I’ve never been able to look my sexual abuse squarely in the eye before, but now that it’s doing the whole zombie act and poking its ugly smelly head from the grave, I’m going to have to.  I feel like admitting that to a therapist and finally going through therapy for it may be the only truly affective shotgun to the head.

I’ve finally come to accept and embrace my psychotic past as a part of me rather than just thinking I could slough it off and become a brand new person by pretending it isn’t there.  I need to really go through and weed it out instead of just shutting the door to the attic and ignoring it until its viney tentacles grow out of control.  I may never recover from this if I don’t face it, now.

It’s liberating to realize, though.

That said, sharing my head with someone has never been easy and it’s not easy now.

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 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 Whatever: Grandma’s funeral.

So, in the mayhem of the last few days, being stranded in various places with my computer bluescreening at me completely at random, and this new death in the family, I’ve made little progress with keeping to my challenge, and frankly, I don’t really care.

Some things are more important.

I think her funeral is going to be Tuesday, but nobody really knows for sure yet.  I was never really extremely close to her- she was the grandma on my mom’s side, and after mom died, I didn’t want too much to do with anyone attached to her.  At least, it was that way for a long time.  Not only that, but she was very religious and kinda homophobic, and frankly, I didn’t want to deal with the drama of being exiled from her side of the family for being a tranny freak.  I remember thinking, quite grimly, that she didn’t have much time left on this earth and I’d rather her go out thinking the best of things about her grandchild than to have to know the truth.  Besides, I thought, she was a relic of a time long past, someone set in her ways, someone I’d probably never have any hope of changing.  She’s been in bad health for a long time… it was best to just let things be. At least, that was how I felt until only a few months ago. Now, I have regrets.

Recently, I’ve begun to let go of the bitterness I had towards my mom, and coming with that has been a surprising curiosity and hunger to know about the person my mom really was.  All I really remember about her was that she was a crazy bitch, in the good ways and in the worst ways.  She did the sorts of things to me that people remember monsters for, and yet, at the very least, she was a very interesting person.  I’ve heard things about her from her friends, from my dad, and her family that tell me she was capable of extraordinary things. I was coming to believe that my grandmama knew things about her that I wouldn’t even be able to ask of anyone else. I wanted, for a while now, to at least have one last conversation with her- tell her things that she didn’t know about her child, and learn things from her that I didn’t know about my mom.

It seemed like we could have both gained some healing closure from making that connection about one person between us who touched our lives, for better or for worse.  But she was in such bad health for such a long time, especially after her first stroke, bedridden and sleeping every time we came to visit.  I kept thinking, I’ll be able to talk to her next time.  Now, she’s gone, and with her, things that have now forever been lost to time.

Oh, well.  Life goes on, and maybe it’s for the best.

Good things.

After my latest episode with very difficult issues (which I may or may not go into eventually), it was time to get away and get my head on straight.  SO, with my sister begging me to come down and see her for some time now, I decided to use my savings to go down and spend a couple weeks with her in Los Angeles.

It was seriously the best idea I’ve had in a long while.  First of all, my sister didn’t even recognise me at the bus stop when she came to meet me, so I’ve obviously been changing.  She was thinking at first, “who’s that random guy waving at me?  Oh my GOD!”  It was the first sign of a couple of good weeks ahead.

She hasn’t had any trouble with pronouns since I’ve gotten here.  I think it’s been my voice.  It’s finally been dropping a little due to the voice lowering exercises, not so much that it sounds unnatural, but enough that I at least sound like a guy going through puberty, so nobody questions it when she introduces me as her little brother.  It was the coolest thing last week-

We had a cosplay picnic to go to on Saturday, and I wanted to help make her a cosplay that looked good on her.  It was a little hard to find a dress that could accomodate her figure, so we decided to go and make one.  Ironically, I was the one inborn with that particular artistic skill.  So, gritting my teeth, we went to a fabrics shop that she knew had sewing machines.  I was prepared to be among another group of people who would be calling me by the wrong pronouns all over again, but when my sister introduced me as Tommy, her brother, the ladies fawned over me and said how neat it was to have another guy who knew how to sew!  The manager of the place named several men she knew who sewed as a hobby, including her husband, and many guys who had to take community service classes who wound up becoming interested and kept coming back for more lessons!  Not only was it cool that I learned how common it is for men to do this traditionally female task, but that they never even did any double-takes on whether I was a guy or not.  It seems like I’m in that androgynous place where all it takes is to have one person say “he’s my brother/friend/whatever” to tip the “male scale” and have people seeing me as the right gender.  And I’m pretty happy about that- not to say I don’t want more, because without introduction, I’m getting about a 60/40 ratio of people seeing me as female/male down here, so I’m almost perfectly androgynous, but I’d like there to be no question in people’s minds that I’m male.

What I’d frankly like would be to wake up, first thing in the morning, and look and sound like a guy without having to spend an hour trying to make myself look that way.  It would be neat actually to have to spend an hour trying to make myself look like a girl rather than the way it is now, because I want to look female so ridiculously rarely. 

….

I think the best thing that’s happened this week has been the cosplay picnic.  My brother-in-law Jeremy, who is totally supportive and cool with me, really helped me out with something, in that he was my bathroom wingman. 

I had decided that this event would be my first attempt to use a public, multi-stall men’s room, because frankly, even though I looked basically 100% male in my cosplay, and even though my voice isn’t 100% there yet, I didn’t feel comfortable even thinking about using the ladies’ room.  Plus, there’s a lot of “crossplay” at anime events, so even if I were questioned or outed in the men’s room, it seemed like this was a generally safer group to find my feet with.

BUT, I was still extremely nervous.  So, we came up with a plan.  He would go in, then come out and tell me how many people there were, and if there were too many, the deal was off, but if not, I’d go for it.  Plus, I felt safer having someone inside who could vouch for me as a dude in case someone called me out.

So, I waited… he came out and told me there was nobody.  Unfortunately, just at that moment someone went in who’d thought I was a chick from earlier, so I didn’t feel like having a confrontation.  I waited out a few more minutes, and Jeremy went in.  Then, when I saw the guy leave and I felt safe, I made a dash for it.

I have to admit, at least for posterity’s sake, that I was a little weirded out when I saw Jeremy using the urinal.  I kept my eyes on the floor and went straight to the stall, keeping to men’s room ettiquite, but it was a little jarring to have my brother-in-law as my first image ever of a real guy standing and peeing in public.  But then I just shook myself and thought: “Dammit, if I’m a guy and he’s a guy, then we’re probably going to use the same bathroom a lot more times in the future so I can’t let it weird me out now!” 

I’ve been using the men’s room ever since.  After that first time, all the mystique was broken, and I’ve realized- it’s just a room.  There’s nothing all that special about it.  If anything, it’s dirtier and smellier, not any more sacred, than the women’s room. 

Just this afternoon, in fact, I had a girl friend of mine confide that she uses the men’s room all the time- for no other reason than if it happens to be closer and she has to go, dammit, there’s a toilet and she’s going to use it!  She says this gets her some stares and even some catcalls once in a while, especially with her short skirts and high heels, but nobody’s ever harassed her about it.  This gives me confidence about the whole bathroom thing- if she can get away with it in her girly demeanor, then why should I worry when I’m getting read male most of the time anyway?

I’ll be using an STP when I can get together the confidence in the mechanics of it, but for now, I’m using the stall.  I’ve had a lot of guy friends tell me they mainly piss sitting down anyway, so I don’t think I’ll get any weird looks or anything, but I’ll feel a lot better when I know I at least have that choice.

On the search.

I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to ask here, but really, I just want to know where all the transguys hang out online.  I’ve come across plenty of forums, but there’s never really anyone online at the time I show up.  The most I’ve ever seen in an FTM chatroom was 4, myself included, and they were mainly idle.  Is it just that FTM’s tend to be lone wolves, or am I looking in the wrong places?  Because I KNOW there must be some place out on the interwebs where I can go to chat and there are at least a few dozen transguys on there at all times, having lively conversations about crazy things, just like every other group I’ve ever been involved with.  There’s a vibrant chat room out there for everything that I can think of.  I mean, I know there are more of us than it must seem like, so why, when I go looking, is it always so DESOLATE?

All I really want right now is a sense of community.  I want to have somewhere I can go, that when I step in the door, I feel comfortable and have a sense of communion and family- where I can look around and think, “these are my people.”  I feel like I’m a member of an endangered species.  And I’ve looked everywhere I can think of.  I’d join the youtube community if I had a camera, because that’s the closest thing I can find.  But I figure, if there’s a chat room out there for people like us, I’d better just start asking around, because I haven’t had any success looking myself so far, and I’ve been looking for a year.

I feel more alone these days than I’ve felt in a very long time.  I just want to be with my people.

Random bits and pieces.

I’ve developed this weird little rash on my neck where my Adam’s Apple should be.  Yesterday, it looked like a hickey, which is weird because nobody’s been kissing me there.  Today, it feels bumpy and weird.  I don’t like to make a big deal out of unrelated events, but it just kinda tickled me- as if my body is going, “Look here.  You see this?  This here?  This is where this lump should be, and it’s not.  What the fuck.”

Also, I’ve been pumping, so “little friend” (as I call it) has been growing, I think.  I don’t know how much bigger, to be specific, or if anyone out on the interwebs needs to know the details, but my partner said it looks bigger, and he’s not the sort to say things just to make me feel better.  So that’s kind of exciting.

Insurance is being a dick.  I keep doing something wrong, or sending something in the wrong date, or etc. etc., and all I really want is to be able to go talk to a doctor about getting a T prescription.  I’m not asking for insurance to pay for it, I’ll pay for it myself, cent for cent.  But this is taking FOR-FUCKING-EVER, this red tape.  Plus, social services screwed me over for food stamps last year.  They said that when I was trying to cancel food stamps, THEY made a mistake, some sort of clerical error, and need ME to pay them back $200.  Are you kidding me?  I’ve been trying my damnedest just to hold on to $200, let along the $500 I need to get my car fixed- and yes, I’m in a situation where I don’t need help with food, but I AM ALSO in a situation where I DON’T need to owe people money!  This sucks azz, bro.

It just seems like the world is trying to hold me back from medically transitioning, because it’s taking forever to get this freaking ball rolling.  I’m going to be filling out the paperwork, AGAIN, hopefully for the last time, today.

I think my body’s catching on, though, in lieu of the ability to get testosterone in my body.  For instance, I’m noticing hair growing on my back and shoulders and all kinds of areas where I never really noticed any before.  Also, apparently my voice is deep enough for me to at least pass as a 15 year old boy.  I think it might be more of an inflection thing, and some of the voice stretching exercises.

Although I quit the minoxidil a little while back (read the comments on “Quick update: Minoxidil” for the reasons why), my eyebrows have been growing in a more male shape, which may or may not be due to the minoxidil.  I’ve been shaving my face a lot more often lately, too- it was kind of hard to let go of the tiny bits of peach fuzz at first, but then reading that it can actually incriminate more than having a clean shaven face (because men either have stubble or nothing and only women have peach fuzz), I reluctantly picked up the razor.  I’ve read both ways- that it’s an old wives tale that shaving makes your hair grow in darker, or that it’s just because the ends are more blunt when you shave off the tips, but either way, I think it’s been growing a little faster.

In order to give me more incentive to shave it off, I went to the store and bought this totally badass razor that has all these metallic bits and functions, and it came in a set with a bunch of guy-smelling soap and deodorant, all for $8, too, so I felt really good about that.  I was getting low on my shampoo.

All these little things and everything else coming together, plus just relaxing into a male identity and being more confident about it, I think is contributing to the amount of people reading me as male lately.  It was funny- at Faire, that group who initiated me, they were first a lot more awkward trying to tell me that they’d decided amongst themselves that I looked way better as a dude than as a chick.  They couldn’t imagine how epic it was to hear that!

I think it’s when you travel back, you can see how far you’ve come.  Last night, I was practicing one of my theatrical makeup techniques (specifically, how to make your eyebrows disappear without shaving them off) and it worked so well, I wound up turning it into a celebrity impersonation photoshoot for my makeup portfolio.  If you’ve ever heard of Amanda Palmer, you know it’s necessary to have no eyebrows to dress as her.  But you’ll also understand why, dressing as her, it was the first time in a long time I felt that comfortable wearing a dress.  She tends to defy gender boundaries, and that makes me happy.

Anyway, I noticed something in the pictures that jarred me a little- I didn’t look female when I put on makeup anymore.  I looked very distinctly like a drag queen!  That tells me how far I’ve come- I can’t look completely female anymore, even when dressing as one.  I knew that day would come, but I didn’t expect it this soon.

Family issues- my dad’s was trying at first, I think, to be accepting, but something’s going wrong here, because I don’t think he’s taking me seriously.  I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m going through a phase, and his latest hobby has been dropping little hints to remind me “what I really am.”  I think that he thinks he’s doing me a favor.  It feels like shit.  Like, every single little time I let my front of masculinity down the slightest bit, he’s there to catch me and remind me that “men do this and this,” or “you wouldn’t get it, it’s a guy thing.”  I have to conform to every single binary to get my dad to take me seriously, and it sucks ass, because I know he thinks I’m fake, and the way it’s going, he’s basically making me act fake so he’ll think I’m real.  He’s the only person who has power over me this way.  With everyone else, I can flaunt the gender binary and laugh when they look confused.  I don’t much care what people think.  With my dad, I really, really want him to think of me as his son… and he’s making me jump through hoops to get it.  It doesn’t help that I’m going out with a guy, either.  I’m sure that if I’d been born completely male, and if I were going out with a guy, he’d think I was a sissy-boy, too.  I don’t know how to resolve this.  He needs to understand that I’m not a traditional, cut-out male, but I’m not female, either.  I’m just his kid, hopefully his son, and if I’m not perfect, then too bad, because I’d be really boring if I were.  I’m doing the best I can to reconcile the two sides of my gender, and he’s not making it any easier.  In fact, he’s making it harder than anyone else, because I actually value his opinion.  I wonder, if he saw that, would he try to hurt me like this all the time?

Ivy, my baby girl.

Last night, I dreamed that my lover and I were getting married.  He was wearing the most amazing white wedding gown and he looked like a princess.  I was wearing a tuxedo.  When we walked into the chapel, which had been barren before, the entire place bloomed to life with plants and vines and flowers and it was as if the entire world had become a beautiful and colorful place.

His bouquet was made of baby’s breath and ivy.  When we reached the altar, time slowed and stopped, and he handed his bouquet to me.  As I gazed at it, I knew our destiny.  One day, I told him, we’re going to have a baby girl, and we’re going to name her Ivy.

When I woke up, I felt on fire.

I’ve been wanting to figure out some way to preserve my eggs so I can get on testosterone and still be a daddy some day.  The main problems I have with this are the financial implications- it’s going to take me a lot longer to save up enough money to be able to extract and preserve my eggs than it would just to fling that dream to the wind and go on testosterone soon as possible.  I know I could still adopt, or find some other way to have a surrogate mother, but more and more often lately I’ve been feeling that I want my baby to be mine.  Is that too much to ask?  Should I just accept that any baby is as precious as one that comes from my genetics?  Am I being too hoity-toity in wanting to be the biological father of my child?

Once again, no pics, but Things are Afoot.

I went fishing with my dad Friday morning.  He was to meet one of his old friends from church, Lon, so he asked me the prerequisite question- “How are you going to explain your haircut?”

(I find that a lot of stupid questions, like “What did you do to your HAIR?!”, are best followed with a stupid answer, i.e., “I got a haircut.”  Somehow, this ridiculously redundant answer- explaining nothing at all of my trans status, of the tiny black shadow on my upper lip, of my distinctly male profile (thank you, backbreaking binders) or of my starkly male dress code- seems to be enough for anyone asking the question. They shrug and go back to business as usual.  Why?  Did they really find the information they were looking for in that simple, obvious answer?  Couldn’t they have gleaned that from their own question?  Do they ever WANT to know more, or were they just asking for the sake of acknowledgment?  If they wanted to acknowledge, couldn’t they have asked in a manner that wasn’t so directly reminiscent of “OH MY GOD BOTH YOUR LEGS ARE IN CASTS, what did you DO to yourself?!”  I wasn’t in a car wreck, people.  I walked into a barbershop and paid someone to do this.  Nobody stole my hair in the night.  (Although I have considered, without following through, answering something to the effect of “I have cancer.”  It would be an appropriately dramatic answer to their dramatic inquiry.)  But why not something like, “Nice haircut,” or even “I see you got your hair cut, how’s that treating you?” instead of acting like I’m a chemical burn victim?

Or maybe they did want to know more, i.e., “WHY did you get your hair cut?”, in which case I would be stumped for a simple answer.  But that question, “What did you do to your HAIR?!” seems to be the most common question and my standard answer is the one that leads to the least possible drama in any given situation.  Maybe the short curtness of it turns people away from asking any more, as if I were saying this- “I cut my hair off for personal reasons that I obviously don’t want to go into because if I did, I wouldn’t have said something short and stupid like ‘I got a haircut.'”  Who knows what goes through the heads of the Inquisitors.  They’ll know all too much soon enough.)

Anyway, back to the story at hand.  I was dressed in my fishing finest, my uniform since before I can remember- blue jeans, plaid flannel shirt, baseball cap, army boots.  I’d never really cared about how it was assembled before, I just threw it on and went, untucked and looking more like I’d climbed out of bed with a hat on.  But I’ve found that male dress isn’t always about what you wear, but how you wear it.  The addition of the binder made for a flatter chest, of course, and now I knew to tuck my shirt into my pants and let the belt ride below my gut, not across my bellybutton and above the rise of my hips like I’d been more inclined to do as a gut-conscious female dresser.  The short hair brought the dapper, mountain-man look all together, as though I were a 15-year-old version of my father (in spite of being the age of 21).

My dad looked me up and down and remarked, “He probably isn’t going to recognize you.  How do you plan on handling this?”

Excitement filled my limbs.  “Oh, dad, can’t we tell him I’m your nephew or something?  That’d be so cool.  I could be your nephew Tommy…”

He narrowed his eyes.  “I’m not going to lie.”

My heart dropped, and I tried to salvage the situation.  “Well, you don’t have to keep it up.  It could be like a joke.  You could introduce me, and we’ll see if he remembers me, and if he doesn’t, then we’ll let him believe it for a little while, just for the fun of it, and then tell him later, and if he does know it’s me, then obviously it’s just funny-”

“I’m not going to lie,” he repeated.

And that seemed to be the end of that.

I didn’t care too much.  I knew it was unlikely that he would think I was my own long-lost nephew or something- after all, he’d seen me in pants and a binder before (kind of a no-no for a Pentecostal follower, but he hadn’t said anything).  The only difference was the haircut.  Besides, not everything had to be a gender experiment.  I really just wanted to go fishing with my dad.

When we got to the lake, it took a little while to find him, but he came waving and all smiles up out of a boat ramp, with one of HIS friends.  This was unexpected.  My dad looked him up and down, looked at Lon, looked at me, and shrugged.  “Hey Brother Lon, it’s great to see you.  Have you met my son, Tommy?”

I looked up from the ground with lightning eyes and looked back and forth at my dad and Lon, and grinned.  Lon said, “Hey, Tommy,” and we both laughed.  I’m pretty sure he recognized me, and I’m pretty sure it was just a joke to him, but something significant had happened.

I remembered my dad saying, twice, “I’m not going to lie.”  This meant that he acknowledged me, truthfully, as his son.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  I didn’t care what anyone else thought, this was what really mattered.

My biggest surprise came later in the morning.  Lon’s friend looked over in between the long moments of silence and asked my dad, “So how old is he?  Your son?”

I think he asked something else too, but the excitement at hearing someone use the right pronouns, someone who had been in my presence for more than a few minutes, someone who had even heard me talk a little, and this someone wasn’t even thinking about sidestepping female pronouns for my sake- I was just a person, just this kid- well, anything else he might have said flew right out the window.

I tried to answer as sanely as I could.  “Yeah, I just turned 21.”  I had to to try not to let my voice jump up a few dozen octaves.  The joke had gone right over his head- I was just my dad’s son, nothing special about it.

This is saying amazing things to me.  This is like the world opening up to me and going, “Yes, things aren’t going to be as hard as you thought.  Yes, you’re actually making progress on your journey.  Yes, you’re on a downhill slant from here.  Maybe you’re even closer to the end of this particular journey than the beginning.”

It reminds me of a quote from “So Long and Thanks For All the Fish,” one book from Douglas Adam’s fabulous Hitchhiker’s Guide series.

“For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss Cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who awakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging quietly open and the savannah stretching grey and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.

He hadn’t realized that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones till it now said something it had never said to him before, which was ‘Yes’.”

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