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

Archive for the ‘hair’ Category

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.

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’.”

A nearly rhetorical question:

Why is it that, if you cut your hair, particularly if you don’t give them at least two weeks of preparation, people in your life tend to take it as a personal insult?

On the note of people being blockheads, there’s too much drama going on in this house right now to write a proper blog, so I’d just like to update with that, say that things are generally going good, real good in fact, and wish you all a happy New Year.

Also, before I forget, coming out to my extended friends at the New Year’s party went very smoothly.  They took well enough to my hair (unlike my stepmom, who kept telling me I “look like a boy”, which I’m sure is meant to be an insult but was instead full of win.)  At the Resolutions announcements (after everyone made their satirical resolutions like “ruin the environment and give Micheal Moore an aneurysm” and so forth), I resolved to “become a Man before the world ends in 2012!”  After everyone had their giggles, I said, “But on a more serious note, I do resolve to be on testosterone before the end of the year.”

You could have heard a pin drop in the silence that came afterwards.

It was pretty intense, but after a while, I started getting the questions, and everyone was really getting into it.  They seemed actually really gung-ho about it, which I was glad for.

Anyway, my ability to put together a sentence in this chaotic din is obviously diminishing, so I’ll add a note here that I’d like to put my picture up of my new haircut next post and also a review of Joe’s Barbershop (I was satisfied).  I promise a more in-depth attempt, probably tomorrow morning.

Cheers!

Finally getting it chopped off.

My hair.  What did you think?

Anyway, I’ve been running a discussion over on the TransQueer Nation forums (which, if you don’t have an account, you need to register for because it is an absolute wealth of information, support, and fellow Tguys).  It was based on good haircuts for heavy guys, and after a lot of… well, what I considered to be slightly… off suggestions, I finally owned up to having something completely different in mind:

Well, I’ve taken all your suggestions under advisement, but I’m going to roll with my gut and get this classic cut:

I wanted something conservative, but not too short, and I think Ewan McGregor has enough of a round, innocent face to sort of mimic and give me an idea of what I might look like with this cut, especially after I get on T, but before I start growing facial hair. I know how fast my hair grows and it should be past my shoulders in about a year, which, if anything about my what my genetics tells me is true, should be about when my facial hair starts to darken and come in. I want to have long hair again once I have enough male gender cues to indicate that I’m a guy with long hair and not just a chick with long hair and some facial hair problems. 😉
Anyway, I did a little research and found a barber’s joint in San Fran that I really want to visit- I’ve read TONS of reviews and 98% of them gave 5 stars, and on top of that, I read a few by trans guys who said they felt welcomed there!
LET ME REPEAT THAT:
I’ve found a barber shop that’s friendly to trans guys.
Joe’s Barbershop

Apparently the rate is $25, which is pretty damn good for a safe experience with nice (and talented!) barbers. Spread the word; I know I’ll be crossposting this to my blog. I’m probably going to be down there getting the cut the morning of the 28th; I’ll be sure to post some before and after pics and my own review of the place.

Wish me luck!

So yes, I feel that making this find may be my biggest contribution to the trans community so far- at least, the trans community that lives in the Bay Area and wants their hair professionally cut by someone they don’t already have rapport with.  Wow, that’s actually kinda pitiful.  Oh well, we do what we can.

In other news, I’ve just told my dad tonight that I’d prefer to be called by Tommy.  After he realized the significance (a hint: “The dog was called Indiana!”), he actually said that he’d be proud to call me Tommy.  I told him I’d give him a lot of leeway and not get dramatic if he forgot to use the right name, because my friends who have known me less than 4 years now have trouble, and he’s been calling me by my birth name for 21 years in a row.  He seemed to really appreciate that.

In fact, he made a hell of an effort just this evening- he was talking to someone and said he was “proud to have K_____ as my daughter.  No, proud to have Tommy as my daughter.  As my CHILD.”  I couldn’t help but beam with pride at his obvious efforts.  He’s taking this more seriously than I ever could have hoped, and catching on real fast.

Finally, about that San Fran trip-

We’re going on the 27th and it’s going to be a rabble rousing, gut busting two-night affair of escaping the humdrum, pretend-to-fit-in existence of living in East Jesus Nowhere.  I plan on going in drag EVERYWHERE, the first night Sunday the 27th, we’re going to a techno club or something-whatever and that’s when I’m having my Severance Ball.  Then on Monday morning, I’m getting my hair cut, and I plan on going as masculine that day as possible, possibly even to the point of costume.  Not sure what we’re doing that night, but we’re leaving for home some time Tuesday afternoon and I’m sure we’ll find something to do.

So, if any of my fellow transguys live out the Bay Area and know a good joint to hang, hit me up and maybe we can meet up and have a drink or something.  Frankly, it would just be nice to know I’m not the only one that exists.

Severance.

I’d like to say right now that I’ve passed a milestone.  Just a few minutes ago, I had the first female in my life ever to tell me to put the toilet seat down.  Aside from the slight embarrassment (and huge flush of relief that came to realize that she saw it up before her mom did), I felt a sense of… becoming– not quite pride, but accomplishment; the feeling of passing on into being not just a boy, but maybe even a man.

My 21st birthday is in 3 days.

I’ve been thinking about it for about 5 months now, and I’ve finally decided that I am, in contradiction of everything I’ve said before, going to cut my hair.  Yes, I’ve said before that I don’t:

1)  go around wearing what I wear or looking what I look like just to make things easier for everyone else.  I do this for ME.
2)  follow gender stereotypes, because if I think that’s what makes me a man, then I might as well just pack up and go home.
3)  want to go through transition for the sake of being a man, I do it for the sake of being MYSELF.

I still hold to those standards, but the funny thing is, I feel like a completely different person today than I did five months ago.  I feel that short hair would suit me better as I am, that I’m really not trying to live up to that scruffy biker/metalhead image anymore, that I want a softer, shaggy, more boyish cute faggy look as I settle into my male self.  (Plus Hilary Swank looked awfully cute in short hair in Boys Don’t Cry.)  In fact, I could go on listing a thousand reasons I’ve changed my mind- it doesn’t matter.  I will never abandon my resolution to be myself, and if I tried to hold to an image that I was before but not now, just to prove something to anyone else, then I’ve lost sight of that.

This cutting of my hair will also mark the passing of another landmark, no matter how I try to downplay it.  I’ve had long hair for my entire life, as long as I can remember, and losing it will almost be a point of no return.  I may grow my hair long again, in the future when my features have masculinized again, but for now, this is my aggressive visual act of manhood to those around me.  It says, “this isn’t just something I’m saying, or a phase.  I’m serious about this.”  If nothing else, I hope that it will be a constant reminder of what pronoun to use.

So, I’ve decided that, the night before I get it done, I’m going to make almost a ceremonial gesture, an act of severance to the female life behind me.  My friends and I are going to go out for a night on the town, and I’m going in full drag as a female.  There will be nothing questionable about it- I’ll be gussied up in every way possible, from corset to makeup and hairdo, head to toe.  It will be very symbolic as the last time I ever don the female garb, and at the end of the night I’ll remove every piece and say goodbye to the life behind me.

I’m calling it my Severance Ball: my rite of passage from a female body into a male one, and I feel that at the end of that night, I will have no regrets and will never look back.

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