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

Archive for the ‘The Sex Change’ 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.

Cleaning and building.

Days till Manniversary: 22

Today I’ve cleaned my room, which is always a major event for me even though I don’t really let it get as bad as I used to.  Also, I went through my entire computer and organized everything into one major file that I can back up when we go get the computer debugged next week.  This means I spent an entire day going through files I’ve saved on this computer all the way back through 2005, which was a pretty exhaustive tour of the last 5 years of my life.  I got to relive all the embarrassing phases I’ve gone through in my latter teen years.  It’s hard to believe the sheer volume of crap I wrote about myself, and it’s kind of embarrassing to see how self-absorbed I was, but at the same time, it’s kind of a good thing because I can go back to almost any given date and see what my mindset was at the time.  After I finally gave in and accepted that I was a guy, and after the alter thing ended, it became almost a chore to write about myself because after so many years of trying to figure out who I was, I was so tired of thinking about myself and done with introspection in general.  This blog has kind of been a way to force myself to keep cataloging things.

Anyway, today has been a very productive day, because along with organizing and straightening and doing my laundry and so forth, I’ve been inspired to do a couple other things for myself:

1) assemble the playlist I’ll be playing at my Manniversary with songs that are relevant to my interests, and

2) finally put together that really awesome STP/packer with the harness that I’ve been wanting to make for so long.

The playlist includes the following songs which I consider FTM inspiring and empowering (and also amusing):

1. I’m Still Here- Johnny Rzeznik
2. Changes- David Bowie
3. I’ll Make a Man out of You- Mulan Soundtrack
4. A Boy Named Sue- Johnny Cash
5. Pork and Beans- Weezer
6. Half Jack- Dresden Dolls
7. I Can Make You a Man- Rocky Horror Picture Show
8. Rebel, Rebel- David Bowie

The one song that I REALLY wanted to add to my list, Guy Named Joe by Coyote Grace, isn’t yet on Project Playlist, but I’ll have to figure out some way to rectify this.  I’ll also be adding more songs as I come across songs that I feel are relevant.  If you like this list, feel free to use it or suggest songs you’ve found to be inspiring over your transition.

I’ll probably write about the stp packer next time, because I used techniques from a lot of other sources that I’d like to link to get the device I wanted.  I may even include pictures if I can.

I’m feeling very inspired to get things done, which is good because my new goal is to set up my first appointment with my new gender therapist by the 24th, and I still don’t even have insurance.  So it’s time to get on that.

Day Eight: Enter the rat race.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s kinda funny, actually.

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

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

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

Day Three: Freewriting.

I knew this day would happen pretty quickly- I’d hit a day in the Challenge where I had to sit down and write something gender related, and I wouldn’t be able to come up with something that I haven’t already beaten to death or that I don’t want to think about, etc.  So I think I’m just going to freewrite and see where it goes from there.

I feel like I’ve finally crossed that threshold- that I’ve gotten as far as I can without taking testosterone, and it’s taken me almost a year.  That must be why that seems to be the standard unit of time they make you go through before they usually put you on T.

I’ve gotten to where I can actually walk into a men’s room, use my STP at the urinal without any trouble or even any nervousness, within a few feet of someone else, walk out and not see a single sign of questioning from any of the guys.

I’ve deflected my first “Are you a guy or a girl?” without missing a beat.  I’ve gotten my voice (with some straining) to sound semi-natural, at least, like a guy going through puberty, and not like a chick trying to sound like a dude.  And essentially, I feel like I’m about to go through my real puberty.

In a way, I kind of feel like a neophyte- I’ve heard it said that we all technically start out as female, and the only thing that really scientifically determines whether our genitals come out male or female is hormones.  Now, it’s obviously all far more complicated than that, and my feelings really can’t fit with the way a lot of other people feel, especially from a feminist perspective, but I feel like I’m just late on my development- like I’ve somehow become an adult without fully developing.  (Now, before anybody gets up in arms, I’d like to say that I know there are horrible implications in that thought, as if to say that women aren’t fully human yet, but that’s so far from what I’m trying to say that it’s not even relevant.)

The point here is that I feel like my body and mind were engineered to receive that boost of testosterone eventually, and as long as I don’t get it, I’m going to just hover around puberty for the rest of my life.  My looks reflect that feeling- people generally estimate my age to be somewhere between 13 and 16 years old, and I’m 21.  It’s extremely irritating that “wow” is the typical sentiment when I say that I’m 21.  I feel like my lack of T is holding me back from growing up, and when I get it and I’ve been on it for a year or two, I might even look something a little closer to my age.

In another way, though, it’s a kind of miraculous thing.  I never really got to have a boy’s childhood, and while my paperwork may say that I’m already a legal adult, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to go through my proper puberty with my body at least close to the right age.  They say that HRT is like a second and accelerated puberty, so ultimately, I’m grateful for my condition as it is because it’s so compatible with what I’m about to do with it that it’s as if I had it custom ordered for the job of being FTM.

Wow, you really learn a lot about how you really feel about things when you just sit down and start writing without any goal in mind.

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?

Sex.

So, to put it bluntly, I’m having a problem I didn’t think I’d have.  Not only am I having issues with my given unit whilst in bed, but I’m having trouble letting myself be on bottom, period.  I don’t really want to go into all the gory details because I’m sure I’d manage to offend someone out there, but let’s just say that this has led to a lot of heartache and tears for both parties.  I can’t enjoy being in bed anymore unless I’m on top, which basically means I haven’t had sex in a week, because my partner and I are clashing on who gets to dominate.

I never thought I’d be that person who would let those sorts of problems get to me so much that I’d start having feelings of worthlessness and depression, panic, general inferiority and anxiety about it all.  It got bad.  I started tapping out whenever we’d start to do something- down there- and recently I nearly threw up, immediately after which I lost consciousness on my floor next to trash bin.  I spent so long trying to accommodate him and let him know that he wasn’t losing the person who could once upon a time be anything and everything for him, but I pushed it too far, WAAY past the point of being comfortable, to where it seriously started screwing with my mind.  I haven’t felt such a disjunction between my identity and what I was trying to be in a long time.  There’s a lot more going on in my sex life than I care to continue going on about, so let’s just say it’s not going well.  I feel like I’m coming apart at the edges again.

Anyway, I’m starting to feel less lenient on the subject of of bottom surgery.  Last night, I dreamt that I went to a prison, and was told that if I was everybody’s love slave, then I could eventually grow my own penis.  It was horrific, and symbolic in ways that I don’t really care to point out.  I really think that I should pursue bottom surgery if I want these disturbances to stop.

Transmen Haiku

A haiku about my perspective on the beginning of transition-

We are all young boys

Fighting for our puberties

Held back as children.

~

I’ve been feeling more like that lately than ever.  It seems like my childhood was stolen from me, and we have to fight the whole world, at every step, tooth and nail for our rights to have that experience.  But when we’re going through it, we’re gaining back our boyhoods, day by day, at an age that’s way too late, along with having to deal with the responsibilities of being adult.  At best, I’d say it’s a unique perspective through which to see life.

(I’d like to point out that I don’t mean this to be offensive- I don’t view a state of femininity as a childlike state in any way!  I just feel denied the hormones that I should have gotten around the age of 13.)

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