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

Archive for the ‘Hormones’ Category

1 year on T!

As of yesterday, I’ve been on T for one year.  Hey,  I’ve been growing a little facial hair, you know?

invisible hair

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s not much, but you know, it’s there.  Time to shave, it looks ridiculous.

I’ve been struggling with depression.  There’s nothing there that I haven’t been over a million times, so yeah.

I don’t know what else to say.

I’m tired, and kind of sad.

It’s always a good idea to write a blog when you’re in a good mood and have a positive outlook on the world.  You’re putting good energy and advice out there, and probably writing something that might actually be a pleasant experience to read.

It rarely happens.

When you’re in a good mood, you just ride the waves of your current awesome events and experience life.  You don’t necessarily feel the need to sit in a darkened room with your fingers alternately resting on the keys and on your temples, pointing your examination inwards and pontificating on page what exactly went wrong.  I find it’s only a depression that makes me slow down and take stock.  Necessarily, that makes the majority of my writing dark, negative, boring and awful.

That’s not to say that I’m a dark, negative, boring and awful person.  I spend a lot of my time on the upper end of the scale, going around doing positive things for my community and fun things with my friends.  Just last night, I went out with a couple of friends, wore some seriously anachronistic hats, chemically altered my perception just a smidgen, and had a rousing time on the town.  How can a pirate and a repressed englishman from the 1890’s not delight?

But you don’t write about these things, you just do them.  Well, unless you’re that irritating facebook sort that feels the need to update whenever you’ve successfully completed laundry, or made it out of the DMV in one piece*, or woken up, or are going to bed, or stumbled across a particularly impressive bowl of onion soup.  (*There are some allowances for the DMV thing, as making it out alive is sometimes an impressive accomplishment, and also there are some fertile joke breeding grounds there if you don’t mind your humor a little warmed over from the 90’s.)

The point here is, I’m sorry.  I have a lot of guilt and shame attached to dumping out my negative shit on the internet because there is already so much of it here, and I just don’t like adding to the landfill.  Furthermore, I’m an adult now.  My prefrontal lobe has developed, and now, it’s easy enough to distinguish the difference between

1) an emotional/spiritual apocalypse of doom and depression and angst, and

2) my brain chemistry being kind of temporarily fucked due in part to my hormone levels and in part because my meds are being adjusted.

Like, I get it.  Logic is engaged.  I know in my brainmeats that this isn’t an eternal state of ugly feels, despite the fact that the depression is inherently just engineered to feel like it’s going to stretch out for an eternity and there’s no hope of ever recovering.  That’s why it’s called a depression, that’s why it’s so effective at being the horrible thing that it is.  If I could see the light at the end of the tunnel from where I’m standing, it wouldn’t be a depression.

As far as facts and figures are concerned, I get that I’m feeling icky, due to physiological factors beyond my control, and it will pass.  I understand that this isn’t the end of the world and eventually I’ll swing right back on up to feeling like that superman who can handle eighteen thousand things at once (for better or worse).  I understand that, until that happens, for the meantime, the best I can do is ride it out, hope it’s not my meds doing this to me but some other factor (so I don’t have to switch my meds AGAIN) and try to not to anything destructive.

But fuck it’s hard to keep some perspective when I’m like this.

It’s like being in a house of mirrors.  The state I’m in means that my energy is very, very low.  That doesn’t translate to “I’m feeling lazy”. What it translates to is, “I don’t have the capacity to process very much without getting immediately burnt out and ragged.”  What it translates to is “it does not take very much to overwhelm me right now, and overwhelm is very very bad for a mind that is teetering dangerously close to suicidal and self-harm kind of thinking.”  What it translates to is “too much stimulation and input very easily leads to panic attacks and uncontrollable lashing out.”  What it translates to is that I need to be very gentle with myself and take a lot of things off my plate.

That kind of self care is very, very difficult for a Type A personality. You get crippled by the shame.  People like myself constantly have a tittering demon on our shoulders telling us that we could be using our time more effectively.  That’s good on most days, because it means a lot gets accomplished.  On the (rare) depressive days, that leads to panic, guilt, shame, anxiety, frustration, and suicidal thinking.  If you had an overbearing schoolmarm breathing down your neck 24-7 telling you what a useless lazy sack of sludge you were, and if one day you got exhausted enough to slow down enough that you felt like the words she was saying might actually carry a grain of truth, you might lose your will to carry on a little too.

I think that’s the word I’m scared of more than anything.  Laziness.  Just about that second that I realized how fast life goes by,  I realized that I had such a limited amount of time in this life to actually accomplish the things I want to do.  On the days when I have the energy to go out and make things happen, that’s a motivating kind of thought.  On the days where finding my shoes is a task that crumples my resolve like tin foil, it’s a sucker punch to the gut that sucks any and all life, positivity, motivation and enjoyment out of anything that I could be doing at any given moment.  It’s a mind-shattering realization, one that makes you feel futility in any endeavor, from going back to school to drawing your next breath.

So, my conclusion here is that manic depression is a really dangerous disease for Type-A sorts to have, because the downtime days are just so much more devastating to handle for someone who is so driven that absolutely almost nothing can stop you.  When something as simple as your own brain chemistry trips you up, and there is nothing you can do to fight it that doesn’t put your mental health in serious danger, it’s a real kick to your self-esteem, and that deepens your depression further.  It’s an exponentially folding, billowing well of tarry black darkness and shame that encompasses everything, chokes your air supply, snakes down your nostrils, tangles your limbs, and commands every sensory input until the only escape is sleep.  (Hey check out the imagery in that last sentence, I’m a depressed 17 year old with a livejournal.)

I think what I’m saying is, if I could relax for five minutes, maybe this whole depression thing wouldn’t be so fucked.

Day Fourteen: Lark-Inn and America’s Got Talent; Slums and Fame.

I can’t believe everything that’s happened so far.  I haven’t had time really for blogging, vlogging or anything under that umbrella, because I’ve been wildly sick, suffering from a potentially slipped disc, and also staying in a place where I really have no internet access. HOWEVER, you all deserve to know that everything on the whole is well and good.

First order of business:  I am no longer couch surfing.  I got into Lark Inn!!!

It’s terrible.

Naw, just kidding. It’s actually pretty okay.  There are three hot, delicious meals every day, free laundry machines, showers, and of course, a warm (if noisy) place to sleep.  The hoodrat culture there is a little jarring after growing up in a place where the slums are mainly populated with hicks, skinheads and meth addicts; there’s a pretty intensive culture shock.  I think I’m one of about four or five white kids there, mixed in with a vast rainbow of other ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and cultural heritages.  The one thing everyone has in common- even the flaming gay kids- is that they’re all unquestionably tough as nails.  There are some truly incredible individuals surviving in there.  It’s kind of neat to exposed to such a melting pot.  I guess I’m adapting pretty okay, cause nobody’s giving me any shit.

That said, it’s a bad idea to leave any of your stuff lying around because it seems the walls are made of sticky fingers.  Being a forgetful sort of person, this has bit me in the ass a couple times already.  Between last night and this morning, my favorite yellow sunglasses went missing from my bedside, and one person stole my phone a couple days ago (though they owned up to it pretty quickly.)  Nevertheless I’m adapting.

Wait- I left my shampoo and toothbrush in the shower this morning.  DAMMIT.  (God have mercy on the person that decides it’s a good idea to use my toothbrush, I’ve got a pretty nasty fever.)

Speaking of showers and personal space, they put me in the male dorms, for which I am forever grateful, but it’s a little weird to have to shower in the men’s room.  Thank god there are stalls, but I get weirded out by the thought that someone could, at a whim, very easily pull the curtain aside and see my alternative anatomy in all its glory.  If there wasn’t the threat of being kicked out for harassing fellow clients, I’d be a little more uneasy.  Apparently there are a few transphobic clients being housed there, and it gives me the chills to think how easily and quickly something could go wrong in that bathroom.

Sleeping in the same dorm with eight other men is a new experience, too.  Apparently they stuck me in the bed right next to the biggest trouble maker.  BUT, all the dorms are merely divided by walls that don’t reach the ceiling by three feet, so all I’d have to do is make a massive ruckus and I’d have the staff on my dorm in an instant, so I’m comforted by that.

Also too, I’m not the only trans guy here.  There’s one other (possibly more who aren’t obvious) and somehow that makes me feel safer, even though he’s much younger than me.  I get the feeling that he’s got my back should things go wrong.

The roughest thing, honestly, has been the beds.  I mentioned that I might have a slipped disc, and my clinic was supposed to see me about it Monday, but then they pushed me back another week.  The foam mattresses, when compressed by weight, are paper thin, and I honestly wouldn’t have room to complain if my back weren’t so damaged that I can barely tie my shoes!  I wake up every morning feeling ragged and barely able to move, and there aren’t even any pillows to work around the lack of back support.  Luckily, my sweetie bought me a pillow, so last night wasn’t as tough.

Also waking up around 5am with my usual hacking cough and near-asthma attack has been miserable, especially coming down from this cold.  I’ve been trying not to wake up the whole planet with my explosive coughing fits but I’m not sure I’m doing too well, and I’m afraid everyone in my dorm is probably going to destroy me if the pattern keeps up.

There are a lot of strange and arbitrary rules here, but overall the staff has been great and they’ve linked me in with some decent resources.  I honestly found most of them before I moved in, but whatever.  Apparently I won’t get a social worker for a few weeks, but that gives me a little while to catch my breath and see what I can do on my own.

IN OTHER NEWS:

– My name/gender change paperwork is under way.  I’d already have my physician signature for the court order of gender change if my doctor hadn’t called in sick last Friday.  He only shows up Fridays and apparently he won’t be in this Friday either, so that blows, but I’ll be swinging by the clinic this afternoon to see if administration will work with me.  The paperwork process is already going to take long enough (6+ weeks!) without having to wait two more weeks just for a signature.

– I guess LYRIC here in the Castro might be able to work with me on getting an internship to generate income without having to have my I.D. first, so that’s a good thing.  I can’t do the paperwork to start my business (or even get the proper training for it, really!) without an I.D., and you really can’t survive here without at least a little cash, so it looks like my best option.  Besides, it’s doing volunteer work, which is really where I’m at home, I GUESS.  Food banking, here I come, again.   D:

– I’m going on testosterone THIS FRIDAY!!!  😀 I’ve decided I want to find some way to get the tattoo I’ve been wanting for eight years to commemorate the first day I broke my skin to get the right hormones in my body.  Not sure where I can go where they use clean needles and ALSO don’t charge an arm and a leg, but I’ll work something out.  If worst comes to worst, I WON’T get it- as much HIV as there is going around here, I’m valuing my health more than anything.  Clean blood is golden around here.

– OH!  This is the strangest thing of all.

The other day, one of the clients walked in to Lark-Inn, saying they just got back from the America’s Got Talent auditions.  Apparently, they were holding them at Civic Center, a good five blocks from where I was staying.  These sorts of shows really aren’t my thing, but I figured, why the hell not?  I’ve got a good voice, a hell of a story, and an interesting presentation.  Why shouldn’t they want me?  At least, it might be a way off the streets.

So, I went and auditioned.  At first I was nervous because I’d been sick for three days already so my throat was kinda rough, but I’ve got practice pushing through that to create richer tones, so I wasn’t too worried; I knew my throat would suffer for it and be rough by evening, but it would be worth it.

My little gimmick is presenting as male, and then singing classic diva tunes.  At first, I was going to do my rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “Gotta Move” from her titular feature “Color Me Barbra”, but then around noon, I heard that Whitney Houston had passed.  The news shook me so much that I instantly chose to switch to my favorite song of hers, “There Is Music In You” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

Apparently it was a good choice.  After waiting in the audition warm-up auditorium with literally hundreds of people for four hours, watching a vast array of talents (and some crazy people), I was called up with the other a capella singers in my number set to perform.  I’m lucky I scribbled those reminder notes on my palms because my mind blanked on the lyrics more than once, and by the end of the final chorus my hands were tingling like fire and my vision was blacking.  Luckily I kept my voice steady and ended on not too shoddy a final note.  I was happy with the acoustics and poured everything I had into the stretched, full notes, opening my chest into Whitney’s rich tones.  The room echoed and filled (I almost hurt my own ears!) and I didn’t know if I was just biased, but I was happy to think that I sounded better than the other auditionists in my group who’d gone before me.

I’ve been struggling with being stuck firmly in the “Super Soprano” range (as my music teacher called it) for years, stretching my voice as low as it would go, urging it into baritone ranges so that at least I could fake an alto tone, but lately I’ve finally embraced that this is what I was born with- more or less the ability to parrot the classic diva songs.  Soon, when I go on testosterone, I’ll lose that forever, and it’s been strange to find that I’ll miss it more than I realized.  But for now, I hope it will do me well.

After I wrapped up  my audition, I took off for Larkin, as I was cold, tired, and ready for dinner, but halfway back (my phone exploding during a breathless call home), the producers called, saying they needed me back!

I screamed that I’d be back in five minutes and took off running back to the center.  Arriving breathlessly on the fourth floor, I apologized for leaving so quickly.  They wanted to do a more in-depth interview with me, so I explained my background, that I was staying at the shelter, that I wanted to maybe use this opportunity to get off the streets and make a better life for myself, and to challenge the world’s perception of gender.  I also told them I’d be going on hormone therapy later this week and throughout the year, my voice would be dropping.  They seemed genuinely fascinated.

“You said you hope to maintain control over your voice as it drops.  Can you demonstrate your soprano voice for us again, with just thirty seeconds of another song?”

I was floored- I got to sing my Barbra number, too!  I’m not so sure how well I did with that complicated bit at the end of the first verse, but I hope it was impressive enough for them to call me back.  They said they weren’t making decisions today, but I’d know within two weeks whether I made the cut or not. I thanked them and left.

On the way out, I asked the escort who’d called me back up if everyone got called back to do the in-depth interview and sing a second time.  He raised his eyebrows pointedly and said I was the only one in my group who had been called back.

“Wow,” I said. “This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened, you know.  I was in this talent show once, and I thought I did terrible, so I just left as soon as I was done performing and went for tacos.  Turned out later I won the Judge’s Choice award and wasn’t there to accept it.”

He shook his head. “You shouldn’t be so quick to leave auditions like this.  Clearly you’ve got talent.  Give yourself more credit.”

I left feeling a little starstruck.  I’d always poured so much energy into things like drawing, costuming and the visual arts that I’d never considered I might have a chance at singing.  It just seemed like such a fiercely competitive field, and talent at drawing is so much more rare (and the crowd is so much nicer!), so I stuck with art.  I’ve never poured any of my resources into lessons, choir, glee club or anything like that.  But maybe I have a more natural talent singing than I thought.

Or maybe I’m just excited over nothing.  I won’t really care too much if I don’t get called back; there were people who had clearly been rehearsing their acts for months, maybe years, and hung everything on getting in- every one of those people will be heartbroken at getting cut.  I just showed up out of the blue with a shrug on a whim and gave it my best shot.  I’ve got a million other plans for getting out of this place without them.  But still…

I’ve never considered fame and fortune as an option of mine.  I thought I’d be the costume designer backstage, making the true divas shine, smiling from behind the curtain.  Wouldn’t it be strange, and new, and awesome to be in the spotlight?

And just maybe, from there, maybe like Chaz and those before me, I can change the way the world thinks.

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
 

Trans Mission: Freedom! (Day One)

“February 1st, 2012: All of a sudden, I looked up and I was sitting in Harvey Milk Plaza, staring up at the giant rainbow flag, and my heart swelled as I realized that, starting today, I was finally a resident of San Francisco.”

I haven’t been back here to post in a long time, but if anything warranted a reboot of my blog, this is it.

I just went back and read my first post on this transition blog, from July 24th, 2009.  It was almost 3 years ago when I finally sat down and committed, whole heartedly, to transitioning to male.  It made me burst into exhilarated laughter to realize that, in that post, I was musing wistfully about moving to San Francisco, some day, like a person who dreams of one day getting a jetpack so they can fly.

Today, I’m flying, and there’s nothing that can weigh me down.  I wrapped up my old life, trusted to Fate that I was doing the right thing, closed my eyes and jumped.  The car ride down felt unreal- I’ve broken free, today is the first day of my real life, and I’ll never spend another day living where I don’t want to live, working towards things I don’t want, or being who I don’t want to be.  There’s no guarantee that I’ll have a place to sleep from one night to the next, no guarantee that anything will work out for me, no guarantee that I’ll even live past the end of the day.  But, wait a minute- isn’t that what waking up and living your life every single day is all about?  You take that risk every time you get in your car and run down to the corner market for milk, so why get that milk if it isn’t fueling a body in motion, aimed on a trajectory towards the galaxy you want to live in?

It doesn’t matter where or how dangerously you do the things that you know you were meant to do, anything could happen, you have to pursue your dreams and LIVE your life instead of planning, hoping, and saying “maybe tomorrow” forever.  We have a limited number of minutes on this Earth, so why spend even a single one of them being or doing things you don’t want?

God’s honest truth is that I could have stayed in Tuolumne County.  I could have gotten that daily grind job, worked my butt off to pay rent and bills and nothing else, not had any resources to go through with medical transition, not lived in an area where my way of life was acceptable, not been able to go to an art school where I could actually learn anything.  I could have survived, and it makes me guilty to think that, with the economy the way it is, I threw away a potentially stable lifestyle and flung myself on the mercy of a collapsing economic structure and the kindness of strangers to get where I need to be faster.  But the truth is, I’ve been watching my life slip away from me day at a time for as long as I can remember.  Extenuating circumstances aside, whether my roomies had needed me gone by February or not, I couldn’t make myself miserable there, flipping burgers for a future I don’t have any stakes in, working towards nothing but a desperate gray existence, quietly being a martyr because “people who throw away potential job openings in a climate like this are foolish lazy bums.”  Do I deserve to be happy?  Who knows.  I think the question here is, do any of us?  I think if people spent more time focusing on working towards the things that light up their life, rather than being dragged down by guilt, expectations, moral fallacies, societal obligations, quantifiable monetary “success”, and all the trappings that lead to the white picket fence life… we’d all be a lot happier and have much less shame about who we are.  The expectations of others based on their own twisted moral compasses can do so much to destroy people’s lives, or if nothing else, grind them to a squeaky gray halt.

I know only one thing.  My life is mine, I’m the one who has to live it, and I finally have to courage, fortitude, and will to chase my dreams without stopping for breath.  Call me back when you can say that and we’ll have cake together.

***

Back on the subject of that first blog, it’s a bizarre thing that July 24th 2009 felt like the beginning of my journey, when now, today feels like it.  I thought I was living the great adventure of my life by starting to transition, and truly, I’d like to say that those three years were a massive chapter in my life.  But they’re beginning to really feel more like a prologue than anything.  If I had to make a comparison of my life to literature, then those first three epic years were the Hobbit, but today I’ve cracked the first page of the Fellowship of the Ring.  So much lies before me, I can barely wait to start the adventure!

It’s funny to think back to that summer summer morning so long ago- I was already so far with some things, but so behind in others.  For example, even at that point, I’d already learned how to use an STP, little things like that.  But I wasn’t standing up for myself in public yet- it horrifies me to realize that, according to my blog, up until that day I was still job hunting “in costume” (or dressed as what I perceived as an attractive female, so I’d match my documents and be appealing in some abstract way.)  But, oh, I’ve come so far in those years!

I’ve grown a lot of balls (pun fully and shamelessly intended) as far as expressing my gender.  A few years ago, I wouldn’t have let a person in on my male gender unless I really trusted them, and certainly not in a professional setting.

Today, I’m not afraid of walking into a job interview (that most vulnerable of places in our current climate), with my binder and suit on, introducing myself up front as Tom, requesting my potential employer not to use my legal name as I’m still in the paperwork process of getting it changed, and then letting their deductive capabilities fill in the rest.

Today, I’m not afraid of correcting people over the phone when they say “ma’am”, and saying, “Yes, I know my voice is high pitched, it’s a hormonal imbalance,” and letting them deal with the feeling of awkward if they so choose to feel that way.  I’m done with awkward.

Today, I’m not afraid of walking into the men’s restroom and using the stall if I have to, because I know the last thing on most men’s minds is the bathroom habits of the people around them.

In fact, a few months ago I used the ladies’ room for what I know will be the last time (I was dining out with old family who haven’t caught on yet and I didn’t want to create an awkward situation by running into one of them in the men’s room.)  At this point, the men in my family are going to have to deal with it, though, because a girl in the ladies’ room tried telling me I was using the wrong bathroom.   Through the awkwardness, potential danger and confusion, some little chord in the background sang out, “YES, I AM using the wrong bathroom- and people finally agree with me.  I’ll never walk in here again.”  I had to pop my voice back into a female register I haven’t used in years so she wouldn’t get freaked out, but at the same time, I suddenly realized that, for the first time, pretending my gender was female to use the ladies’ room under false pretenses made me feel inappropriate, and even though I didn’t mean anyone harm, it was suddenly unmistakably clear which bathroom I belonged to.

It was a little chilling to realize I’d passed over that line where I could get away with using either restroom if one room or the other made me feel too uncomfortable- that now there was no safe room to run to, no net to fall back on.  I was back in that area where I had an assigned restroom, and if I used the other, I’d be in trouble, only I was on the other side of that fence, and it was jarring to realize I’d finally toppled off of straddling it.  But at the same time, it’s exhilarating to realize that, even just in one area of my life, everything is finally lining up.  Plus, I feel much more comfortable in the men’s room now anyway.  I no longer get that rush of adrenaline/sweaty-palm feeling when I realize I have to use the bathroom.  I just take care of business and trust that what I’m doing just isn’t that important to other people– I’m not under a microscope, I’m just an average Joe who has to piss.

***

It’s interesting to note the things that have changed.  But I think the oddest thing was the number of thoughts and sentiments in my old work that have stayed the same.  Through my ugly teenage years, I’d write something and then go back and read it a year later, and be completely repulsed by myself.  So, I was preparing for that familiar acid reflux feeling on going back to read my 3 year old post.  BUT, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of values that remain the same.  I’ve definitely learned more, grown in myself, and become stronger in the things that I believe in, but the core values are still the same.  What does that mean?  It scares me a little to think that I might be getting comfortable with my way of thought- through those teen years I was an ever-changing entity (weren’t we all?) who believed that anyone who settled with a given moral code or mental structure was a closed-minded bigot who was unwilling to learn, change themselves or compromise with an infinite world.  I truly felt that if I didn’t see some gaping flaw in my thoughts from a month prior, then I wasn’t growing right.

But at the same time, I feel more like maybe it’s just that I’m finally figuring out who I am, and most importantly, getting comfortable with that person for once.  I’ve never known what that was like- to like me, completely, without bullshit, and realize that maybe I’ve got one or two things figured out.  I have SO much to learn, but the things to learn in this life are infinite and we are finite beings, and maybe it’s not so bad to know where oneself starts and stops, and to be okay with that.

***

Hopefully I’ll be posting daily updates with my current situation.  For those who might be curious about specifics, I had to leave my current living situation in the hills by February due to a lack of income.  I’m on the waitlist for a bed at Lark-Inn, a shelter in San Francisco that caters to impoverished LGBTQII youth by providing counseling, helping them find jobs, and get onto their feet.  They say the wait time is 3 to 4 weeks.  I asked one of my trans communities online for ideas and help to patch up the intervening gap, and one of them responded with a site called couchsurfing.org.

I went on the site and found several people in the bay area willing to open their homes to LGBT individuals, some specifically on emergency conditions.  One such, a crisis counselor at the Trevor Project among other things, agreed to take me in for a few days starting today.  Several others responded as well, and the idea of moving from couch to couch in the bay area for a few weeks just didn’t scare me enough to stop me.  It really isn’t as if I can come up with any other options.  So, I packed my stuff and here I am.  Soon, hopefully they’ll be able to get me on an insurance and refer me to a gender therapist who can approve me for T (I think ~3 years living full time with professional and family references will go far for credibility), and I’m looking at starting my own business as a dog walker (it’s a very lucrative business down here!)

Also very soon, I’ll be posting the introductory video to my vlog of my journey and gender transition.  I’m still in editing- I just shot the primary footage with a friend’s camera over the last couple days, and thank god I have a computer savvy friend who fixed my laptop for free!  So I can do decent quality videos from down here, at least in the beginning.  I don’t know if they’re going to make me sell my laptop before they take me at the shelter, but I’m prepared for that option- my phone is synched with my youtube account so I can directly upload videos from my tracfone.  (This computer, I bartered from a friend with a laptop I won in a raffle in 2007, so that’s two degrees of working with equipment I didn’t pay for.)  Who says the poor can’t be technologically advanced?

If you’re interested in following the journey, my channel is here. http://www.youtube.com/user/atTheTomFace/videos

On the topic of webthings of mine, my Twitter account is @TheTomFace.  I’ll be sending frequent updates on my situation, so if you want to stay abreast of current events, go on ahead and follow me!  I try to keep it entertaining, I promise.  😀

To the world:

Follow the day and reach for the sun!

-Tom

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.

Tiny blurb.

I only have a couple minutes for it, I just wanted to let the world know I’m still alive.

Since I’ve moved out (GO ME!) in early December, I haven’t had any kind of internet connectivity.  We’ve barely been able to afford the rent bills gas food etc., and the only reason I’m in town at a hot spot today is because I need to get my turn signal fixed.  So here I am.

I have to say I’m kind of frustrated with where I’m at in my life.  I’m excited to finally be in control of my destiny and to finally be the adult who is looking after me.  I’m happy to be living in a place where I don’t have to deal with hearing my old name and I don’t have to be okay with my own household misgendering me all the time.  And I really am happy to be successful, self-sustaining, and have a roof over my head that I don’t have sell-out to be under.  All of these things are more than a lot of people can say, and I’m grateful.  But at the same time-

I have a decent chunk of medical bills hanging over my head, and I don’t want to add to them until I’ve got them under control.  And I’ve barely had enough money to get by so far, so until I have money, I can’t move forward with transition.

And yet there are people out there with less than what I have, moving forward, getting on with their lives, not stuck in a perpetual state of waiting on their puberty.  They deal with the debt because it’s more important to be happy than to be solvent.  Am I just being too responsible for my own good?  When I look at my situation, I feel like I might be judged by other people for not “wanting it badly enough” to compromise on my principles.  Could I be doing more right now to get to where I need to be?  Maybe.  I’ve always been patient, but I feel like the longer I wait, the more of my life is going to pass by without me.  I don’t know what’s more important- or right- for me.

I hate putting it on the back burner.  It keeps coming like this- “I’ll start T after I pay my medical bills.  And I’ll pay my medical bills after I get my car fixed.  And I’ll blank after I blank…”  Why can’t it be first for once?  It’s my life now, I’m in a place where it’s safe for me to transition, so why can’t I afford it?

Screw the bills.  After I pay these ones, I’ll just be adding more on top of a clean slate.  Why does it matter when they get paid?  I can’t keep doing this to myself.

Tag Cloud