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

Posts tagged ‘facial hair’

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.

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Facial hair (sort of).

I don’t feel like doing a super-long post, but here are some pictures of my facial “hair” growth since I started taking T on April 24th (I think, or was it March?).  It’s not much more than slightly darkening peach fuzz, and I don’t have any “before” pics to compare them with, but it’s definitely more than I had before.

herp

derp (my eyes look kinda cool in this one)

Mainly I’m just feeling the pull to start really documenting these things before they go away forever and I have no evidence of things I once had.  I mean, that seems desirable in one way, but I’m really feeling the sting of losing my singing voice more than I thought I would.  I stumbled across some music recorded by a transman who recorded half his vocals before going on T and then finished the song after he transitioned.  It just sucks because that’s exactly the project I wanted to do but never got around to doing, because during that part of my transition, I was struggling to stay alive on the streets and I didn’t have a spare nickel to get socks, let alone rent studio equipment.  But it burns mostly because I know that if I’d put some effort and thought into it, I could have culled the assistance and the funding to pull it off.  It’s San Francisco and someone would have known someone.

When I saw his video, I panicked and went to look for a song list of duets that I had just wanted to record for the hell of it.  I was holding out some feeble hope that maybe my range wasn’t as bad as I thought it was and I just needed some warming up, is all.  When I found it, I tested to see if I could hit those notes, and I squeaked and scratched my way through 2 songs before closing my list in disgust.  It’s really gone, it’s really irreversible and there’s no way to get it back.  I had a good voice, too.  Now I’m just this normal guy who can’t figure out what the hell pitch he’s in because his vocal cords are a little different every week.

I wish this post could be less depressing, but it is what it is.

Halloween was fun.

Tomorrow is the Big Day.

When I woke up this morning, this was the first thing on my mind.

(Well, technically, the first thing on my mind was “Oh my god, it’s Sunday and I can sleep in as long as I want!!! …oh wait.  That was a dream.  It’s Wednesday.”)

Fuckin’ Wednesday.

But anyway, as soon as I remembered where/who/when I was, the first thing on my mind was this.

“Oh wow.  Up until tomorrow afternoon at 2:00, all of this will have been a fantasy, wishful thinking.  Nothing is set in stone yet.  But after tomorrow, I’m in for the long haul.”

Yes.  My insurance FINALLY kicked in some time earlier this month, and tomorrow, I have my first official appointment with my gender therapist.

I’m actually fucking terrified.

This is the day I’ve been waiting on, uninsured, for two years, technically my whole life.  But there’s really nothing in your life before that moment that can prepare you for walking in to the one person who has the power to help you, claiming that you were born into the wrong body, and begging them to fix it.  There’s no precursor to it.  It all comes down to that moment- is my case strong enough, or not?  Are they going to try to dig up things from my medical past to disprove my psychological stability?  Is this going to be one of those therapists who thinks that if I don’t cookie-cutter fit the binary, then I’m not trans enough?  What if she thinks that if I’m not attracted to girls, then I can’t be trans?  We all know these things aren’t true, but what if that course of the training hasn’t made it out to my neck of the woods yet?

And even after all that, once I make my case and she says I need to get on hormones ASAP… now I’m medically committed to something that has thus far been an intangible.  Sure, I’ve been binding my breasts for two years, I’ve cut my hair, thrown away all my old female clothing, even tried to grow facial hair by my own means (not a very good idea.)  But nothing I’ve done has been permanent yet.  I’ve rearranged my social and professional life, but the pronouns aren’t sticking with everyone yet.  In all technicality, if I decided to drop it all right here right now and just let it go and live my life as female henceforth, none would be the wiser.

Transition is ACTUALLY REALLY SCARY.

I was thinking all of this in the bathroom, and then I glanced at the mirror and I realized something.

There’s something that definitely scares me more than committing to live my life as a male, and that’s committing to life my life as a female.  The idea of that doesn’t give me a couple jitters, some butterflies in my stomach, or a little case of commitment anxiety cold-feet.  It makes me want to crawl out of my skin, rip babies heads off, projectile vomit, and start speaking in Latin while my head spins.

Let’s face it, no matter what I’m committing to, I do have a fear of commitment.  It’s just my nature.  The job I’m in right now is possibly the best thing that could happen to me, ever, and my first instinct is to abandon ranks because it’s a year commitment through Americorps.  I’m in perpetual fight-or-flight mode just because committing to it makes me feel claustrophobic.

But what I’m doing right now is finding my way out of something that I had been committed to, without my permission, since the day I was born.  I’m breaking free of that, and if I damn well don’t feel like fitting the binary once I AM growing facial hair, well then, there are ways out of that too.

So, screw cold feet.  I’m moving forward, because dammit, if 21 years of gender issues don’t speak to my need for this, then I don’t know what will.

Still in the closet?

I wanted to crosspost this over from a reply I made to a thread over at TQ Nation this morning.  It wound up running way longer than I intended, and it seemed like it’d be a shame and a waste of time if I didn’t record it in my blog.  I feel like this post pretty much sums up how I feel towards my gender these days, even though it’s not the update on my life stuff that I’ve been promising.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get to that this weekend.

In the mean time, sexy crossdressing goodness.  😉

*****

When people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl, I answer, “Yes. I am certainly one or the other.”

If you want the long answer, here it is. I know in my heart of hearts that I was meant to be a dude- to have a male body, a male voice, and male hormones interacting with my male brainwaves (male patterns of thinking + female hormones = not the most stable of situations, psychologically.) But if you were to ask me what KIND of guy I am, that’s where it gets confusing, because I know that if I had been born with all the right fixtures, I would crossdress a lot of the time.

I like the feel of a female presentation interacting on top of a male base. I like theatrics and big musical numbers and drag- I like the feel of foundation smoothed over the closest possible shave, just barely concealing the stubble waiting to apring up underneath; I like the sound of a velvety female voice coming out of male vocal chords. But when there’s not a physical male base beneath these things, it all just feels pointless. I don’t know if this makes me a horrible person, but there’s nothing about female presentation that feels attractive (at least, on me) if it “passes”, if it doesn’t have at least some physical maleness lurking around underneath. In any case that I feel people would look at me and say “that’s a chick” and not “that’s a gay man in a dress”, I would rather just present as male.

So, I have been. I’ve been presenting as male for one and a half years, 24/7. I’ve been trying to get on testosterone, waiting for my voice to drop and my stubble to start coming in. I’ve been a closeted crossdresser for all this time. Where some people in my situation (still stuck, living with my family) would be more inclined to hide their transgenderism, I proudly display my Axe body spray, my Old Spice deodorant, my suits and ties and all the trappings of maleness that visually root my surroundings to my identity and say “A Man lives here.” And in the background, I stuff away all the old flowy scarves and lace gowns and mom’s old jewelry and makeup and I hide it away in my closet and I whisper to myself, “Some day.” I become mortified at the thought of my dad stumbling across it all. It’s another gender paradox- my dad would be thrilled to find out that I still entertain thoughts of dressing as a girl. I know it pains him to see my hair cut short every couple months and see me go to formal functions in that old suit I stole from him and not that Easter dress he got for me the last time before he gave up on it. I beg to go fishing with him, follow him to the garage to get him to let me help work on the car, try to keep up when he’s talking sports, knowing all the while that each little thing like this might be helping to build my “male cred” with him, but at the same time wanting nothing more than to be on that stage in the spotlight, dripping with jewels and lipsynching “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

I know it would destroy my chances of ever being seen as his son- even little things, like expressing pain when I get a papercut, earn reactions like “A boy wouldn’t act like that.” For him, my every action is now filtered through whether or not it makes me a man. I know if his best friend Monty got a papercut, my Dad go “Ow man, that sucks.” Is it just because he can grow a beard, Dad? Is this where the difference between commiseration and discrimination lies? The ability to cultivate facial hair?

It goes deeper, it gets more complicated. I hide my relationships from him. I know that if he sees that the guy who comes over all the time is not only my “best friend”, but also my lover, he’ll have that same reaction that everyone else has. “If you’re dating guys, then isn’t it just easier to be a girl?” The answer is no, because the guys that I like to date don’t go OUT with girls. It’s the cross any gay son has to carry, if maybe there’s a little more at stake for me (because no matter what most born-male people do, their parents still probably use male pronouns- to some people’s disadvantage!), but all in all still the same- the status of your masculinity is threatened if your dad finds out you bone other guys. I don’t feel alone on this one.

It sucks that so many people still link preference to gender identity, but such is life and we all have to deal with the ugly truths. But since so many people still judge based on the kind of tail you chase, and how people in the real world judge me factors into how I feel about myself and interact with others, I might as well go into that too.

Of course, “gay” is also hard to define with me. I’ve dated girls before, although none of them were lesbians- if anything, they were bi (which is cool with me, because if you’re not bi, you’re either going to have a problem with my body or my mind, and not minding either one is always a bonus.) You have to be a really special kind of girl to catch my eye, though- it’s hard to pick the pattern out of all the girls I’ve been attracted to, but I guess if I had to say, they weren’t gender binary, either. They were none of them very butch, but never really feminine- I guess you could say, they were female bodied HUMANS. The packaging was never what drew me in, but their personality.

My preference for guys, on the other hand, is very specific. They have to be willing to bottom, they have to be comfortable with their queerness to the point that they can acknowledge they are dating a guy with a cunt, and they have to have at least a little passion for crossdressing, of course. When it comes down to it, if we were to get married and I wore a tux, if he didn’t want to wear a wedding gown, then he doesn’t make the cut. It’s a weird standard by which to measure, I know, but there’s something about a guy in a wedding dress that just tickles me up and down and all over.

Of course, everything else in between is on a case by case basis. I have a special place in my heart for the transgendered, NOT because of my crossdressing fetish (because if you’re wearing what matches up with your internal gender identity, then it’s not crossdressing to me) but because we fight a long hard battle every one of us, and the idea of having a mate who can relate to that on something more than an abstract level appeals to me.

I guess I’ve been rambling, but in summation, I’m simply this:

1) A fabulous guy with a crossdressing fetish
2) who is pretty much gay but not definitively
3) and also happens to have a cunt.

[Note the order- 1) me, 2) what I like, 3) physical. The physical bits come last out of that order, always.]

In a word?

Queer.

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.

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?

Almost a month, and no post?

Sorry I’ve disappeared from the internets so long.  Celtic Faire was a blast, and I’ll probably update on a lot more of that later on, but let’s just say by the end of the third night, a group of the guys had officially initiated me into their group as a dude, and I was feeling pretty damn good about things.

For Faire, I dyed my hair orangey to get back to my celtic roots (pun actually not intended), made a kilt, and did my traditional application of theatrical facial hair.  Unfortunately, I only got one picture, and a bad one, and it was on a cellphone camera, but if I can get ahold of the person who took it and get them to send it to me, I’ll try and post it.

I got my hair back to a normal color today, and I’m feeling generally more creative and happy about things, so much so that I’m thinking about finally starting my youtube vlog.  As to why I haven’t gotten back on top of things since Faire, one of the things that happened during faire was that for five nights in a row, I was sleeping in a tent out back of the fairgrounds, which is normally fine, but we got a cold snap this year, with it snowing the first night and pissing down freezing rain the third night, so badly to the point that for the first time in faire history, they had to do a forced evac of the tents and relocate us to some of the more dry tents under the barn.  On top of all that, I worked my ass off every day from the second I got up until the workforce was turned in for the night, and all that combined gave me the worst case of bronchitis I’ve had in three years.  I was bed-sick for about a week and a half since I went home, with a fever for the first week above 100 the whole time.  I’m just getting my lungs back, the coughing is slowing down and I feel good enough to get up and move around somewhat.

I’m sick and tired of being stuck in a bed and not doing anything, so my creative juices are just bursting and I’m ready to start doing something really creative in the trans community.  I had a couple ideas for a music video, and my best friend and I want to record a dialogue on the internal warfare in the LGBT community and how we all just have to wake up, grow up and start trying to live in harmony again- or how can we expect the straight community to ever accept us?

In other news, I might be making it down to the Bay again some time in the next few weeks, which is always revitalizing.  So things are looking pretty up.

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