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

Posts tagged ‘foster children’

Some shade of awkward/awesome is happening under my roof.

I’m not sure why, because I’ve had the haircut for a couple weeks now and I’ve been binding for over 6 months now and I haven’t worn makeup in probably a year and haven’t shaved my legs in two, but for some reason it all came together a couple nights ago, because the eight-year-old we adopted turned around when I walked in the room, looked me up and down, and asked, point blank, “Are you a boy?”

Now I wasn’t sure how to handle this, because yes, it would be awesome if everyone I lived with started acknowledging my gender, and I know that young children happen to be some of the most easily accepting people out there, without any huge gender strings attached.  But I also know that they can’t keep their traps shut when needed, and also, with my stepmom who can never really accept this and her religious outlook on raising these kids, it would just be asking for trouble to come out to them.

So, hardly skipping a beat, I went with the “casual, no big deal” attitude approach and said, “Sure, why not?”

She inspected me a little more closely.  “Because you look like a boy in that shirt.”

Later that night, she started to call me Tommy.

The funny thing was, I was wearing what I considered to be about the dykiest stuff in my wardrobe.  I’d taken this attitude that, no matter what I do with myself right now, until I get on T and my voice drops and so forth, I’m pretty much going to look like a dyke to everyone who sees me, so I might as well roll with it for now, call it a cosplay, and at least be sexiest dyke that I can be.  To that purpose, that day I was wearing one of those black t-shirts with a tuxedo front printed on it (so 80’s!), a pair of hand-me-down pants I like to call the “Pretencha-Pants” (because they were factory-ripped and bleached to perfection off the rack, hence dripping with pretension, and my boyfriend frankly couldn’t bring himself to wear them since he got them for christmas last year) and also army boots, a leather jacket, and a fedora with a pinstriped band.  Oh yes, I had looks to beat the dykiest dyke out there, and in my moment where I was embracing that everyone couldn’t see me as anything but a girl and therefore I might as well look like the kind of girl I wouldn’t mind looking like, someone snapped me out of it and pinned me as a boy.

The next day, of course, I was called to jury duty.  That morning, I went relatively dress-casual, with black jeans and a grey dress shirt (no tie) and also, my leather jacket because I couldn’t find the other one in time.  I figured, if there was anything in my outfit that would pin me as a dyke, that was it, but I just shrugged and rolled with it.  I didn’t really care what people saw me as- I was just there to do my civic duty and so forth.

When I was getting ready to leave, 8 y.o. decided to make a big deal out of it- “You look like a boy again.  You look like you have a mustache.”  I leapt to the mirror to look at my tiny fuzz- not much, I’m afraid, but just enough to give me a little tiny shadow in the right lighting.  She thought I had put shading there, but I had her look real close, and she saw that it was real hair.  And that was when she really started to freak out- “She’s turning into a boy!  Quick, glue your hair back on!  Shave your mustache!  We have to stop you from turning into a boooooy!!!”  It was actually pretty funny, because I obviously didn’t want her to take it seriously, and I don’t think she was.  (Also, my dad called her an idiot.)  Mainly, I just took it as affirmation.  But at that point, I figured I still looked like a dyke and an 8 year old couldn’t really tell the difference, not having been part of queer community and whatnot.

So imagine my surprise when, going though the metal detectors at the courthouse, I had the guy who checked me say, “You’re all clear, sir.  Move along.”  It was the best moment EVAR.  He didn’t even double-take and say “Sir- I mean, Miss, sorry,” like has been said before.  It was the first unquestioned “Sir” I’ve ever gotten.

Better still, when the Judge was doing her cross-examination of the jurors and she got to me, she looked at me and said,
“Mr…”
(glance down at paper)
“…Harbor*…”
(glance back up, then double-take at paper)
“…Excuse me, MISS Harbor.”
(commence slight tittering throughout the courtroom)

My first legal name is unmistakeably female, so the Miss was understandable.  I didn’t even get bummed at being outed as female in front of a courtroom of about 80 people.  It was a pretty cool test, saying that, with a little effort (and without opening my mouth), I can be read as male, even by someone as observant and sharp as a justice of the court.  (And yes, she was very sharp- I liked her a lot.)  Everyone seemed to read me as male before she unveiled me, too, so it was pretty intense.

Hopefully later tonight I can post pics of my transition progess and haircut.  I’m just glad I’m becoming visibly male.  The next step is a proper binder, which my partner is actually offering to pay for because I’m so strapped for cash lately.  The other very vital step, to me, is getting on T so I can fix my voice.  Everything else feels secondary- I’d just like to be able to communicate without being read.

*name changed to protect the not-so-innocent

I came out to my dad last night.

It was unexpected, unplanned, and exactly the way it was supposed to be.

Well, sort of.  It took some weird complications to make it happen, but I think if it weren’t for those, it wouldn’t have gone as well as it did.

See, last weekend my dad and I went up the hill to shoot his shotgun and hit a couple golf balls after I’d had some serious relationship issues (more about HIM later.)  My dad seems to think it’s great therapy to blow off steam by blowing up paint cans, and he couldn’t have been more right.  It was the golfing that got me.

On my last swing, I lost track of my form and swung not just my arms but also my back, throwing something out of alignment.  It wasn’t a HORRIBLE injury, just enough that I was done goofing off.  But all that accumulated in my back seriously giving out on me last night.  I was trying to get the baby in her high chair when my back went SPROING, and all of a sudden I couldn’t move my arms, couldn’t lift my head, and I was completely immobilized and panicked.  Good thing my best friend was there helping me watch her or it would have been me stranded and helpless with a screaming 2-year-old for 2 hours.

Anyway, I tried to get comfortable, took my last two Vicodin from my old knee injury and waited on the ‘rents to get back.  I won’t go into the gory details of those two hours, but let’s just say that 1000 milligrams of hydrocodone should have worked better than they did.  I was in humiliated tears before the night was up.

And when they got home, things just got better.  My stepmom the nurse gave me another 1000 milligram and said that was enough for the night, which did little other than to make me drowsy and nauseous, but hardly touched the pain.  My dad, pious believer that he is, decided to get out the holy anointment oil and try to pray the injury out of me.  He sent everyone else out of the room, and I just sat there, with nothing to say.  When he asked if I was alright, I looked him square in the eye and said, “Do you really think I would still believe in a God who would make me this way?”

Once I started, I couldn’t stop.  Everything just rolled from there, but even in my drugged stupor and excruciating pain (probably the reason I didn’t have any reservations about saying what I said,) it couldn’t have come out better.  Everything I’ve been struggling with figuring out how to say for months flowed out like water, and at the end of it, my dad said he would love me forever, no matter how much I decided to surgically mutilate myself.  Well, it was funny at the time.  You have to get my dad’s sense of humor.

No matter how he put it, I knew he was behind me 100%.

Whole new worlds have opened up to me.  Of course, I’m still stranded here at the house with my back busted and it’s going against my better judgement to even be sitting here at the computer instead of lying down and resting, but I had to share this.  Yesterday, it was 2 weeks until my birthday and I still had the burden of trying to figure out how to tell him before I turned 21.  Last night, all of that went away.  Today, I’m free.  My dad still cares about me, he won’t try to change me or preach at me, and he knows everything there really is to know about me.  I feel like we’re really friends now.

One other thing- as soon as I can afford it, I really want to get on Minoxidil (or Rogaine, see the minoxidil discussion on the Beard Board for details) for my facial hair growth.  I don’t feel nearly so awkward about it now that my dad knows I’m FTM.  Everyone else can just figure it out for themselves, but now that I have my dad’s blessing, I feel free to express my gender and really start the ball rolling towards true transition.

It’s time to start planning my coming out party!

Sometimes things do work out.

I haven’t blogged since the beginning of November.  I was doing NaNoWriMo, which by the way I fully endorse, but so much has been eating up my life that I pretty much gave up on it a few days in.  I’ve been in a happy place for a long time anyway; I figure, when you don’t have time to write because you’ve been spending so much time with your friends and loved ones, doing the things you love, that you must be doing something right, so… c’est la vie.  I’ll try it again next year, if things have settled down by then.

I’ve got a lot of things to hit on in a short time, so I think I’m going to bulletpoint it again.

– The two foster kids my parents took in have been shaking the house up and making it crazy, but it does have its uppers.  This is the biggest one so far, to me at least.  The little one, a year and a half, doesn’t talk that much, but she’s started calling me something. 

Da-da. 

It kind of blew my mind at first because I’d never mentioned anything to do with my gender to anyone in the family, particularly the baby, so I wrote it off as an isolated incident and figured it was a baby’s mistake, something she’d probably never say again.  But she won’t stop calling me Da-da, which does a few things at once; makes me realize that one day, I want to be a Daddy- I always have, to some extent- and it confirms the gender vibrations I give off to people who are too young to be biased on appearance.  So that has been really cool.

– I got to change the way at least one person views trans culture.  I was riding in the car with one of my friends, and he glanced out the window at one of the pedestrians and went, “Whoa, is that a chick or a dick?”  And my immediate response (as per Calpernia Addams’ fabulous video “Bad Questions to Ask a Transsexual“) was:

“If you can’t tell the difference, then you don’t need to know.”

He looked a little shocked at me- “Well, that’s not very nice.” 

I was a little aghast.  “Since when is it our job to tell everyone else the business going on between our legs?  It’s not a matter of  ‘nice’, it’s a matter of the most personal nature.  Transpeople don’t exist to be nice, you know.  We deserve the respect everyone else deserves, too.”

He was really quiet after that, which I took as a personal victory, since he usually has a smart comeback for everything.  I think he really took that to heart and thought about it for a few minutes.  Then he changed the subject, and I chose not to press the issue.  It seemed like a damn good idea to just let it rest.  But if I can get at least one person to view gender on a strictly need-to-know basis and not as everybody else’s business, if I can avert the critical and unblinking eye of one person, and that attitude spreads, then I feel like I’ve done my part.

-And now, the big thing.  You know that gay friend of mine who I thought couldn’t see me as anything but a big, scary walking vagina?

Let’s just say things happened. 

It’s a bit delightful.  We’re kind of on a friend-with-benefits basis, which is wonderful to me.  I prefer to think that he wouldn’t become emotionally intimate with me because we’ve been friends for way too long and it would just feel odd, but he basically came right out and said he always sees me as a guy anyway.  We play video games and mess around and it’s kind of a nice guy-on-guy setup funtime type… thing.  (That sentence completely failed at not being awkward and I won’t even bother to try.) 

I almost feel weak about this, though, because I almost feel like being with a gay guy right now is less about the person and more about personal validation- “If I can be with a person who is only attracted to dicks, PERIOD, then I MUST be a guy!”  I don’t like the idea that, somewhere in my head, that’s what this is all about.  But I can’t help feeling a small amount of personal victory in this issue, either, because it does feel damn great to be with someone who couldn’t possibly see me as anything OTHER than male.

It’s also a little awkward because this is kind of an open thing involving this guy and my boyfriend.  See, at some point this summer, my boyfriend and this guy got together, and I was almost completely left out on sole virtue of having a vagina.  My boyfriend didn’t get why it hurt me so much and basically expected me to suck it up.  But now the tables have turned and this guy is waaay more comfortable with me, and is actually a little freaked out by my boyfriend, who has a lot of trouble respecting personal boundaries.  (Plus I am apparently way better at giving head.)  So now my boyfriend is butthurt, and I’m enjoying shoving it in his face just a little too much.  But it’s the first time in our open relationship that the other person actually preferred me and let my boyfriend tag along, not the other way around, and I just want him to know what the other side of the fence is like before he does it to me again. 

/end soap opera

For once, I’m on top of pretty much everything in my life, and I’m nervous that I’m getting way too happy with the power.  This isn’t me.  I’m not normally a vindictive little bitch.  But for once, the universe has fallen in such a way that I’m holding all the cards, and I want to enjoy it while it lasts.  I KNOW that this won’t last long, that I’m treading very thin ice, and that everything must fall apart sooner or later.

But DAMN it’s nice to be on top. 

(You can read into that all you want.)

Anger management.

I’ve had little to write about lately- kind of been sitting in a pool of stagnation for a while- but I feel obligated to update.  There hasn’t been much change except for the fact that my life has been taken over by a couple of munchkins.  In a sense, that has changed EVERYTHING, but it’s put me on hold.

I’ve been feeling an inordinate amount of bitterness towards the kids, and it took me a little while to figure out exactly what it was that was bothering me.  But now I’ve got it sorted out, and I guess I could stand to get it off my chest.

Just before they came into our lives, I was getting to that point with my dad where I was nearly comfortable enough with him that I could have come clean with him about everything and maybe not even have to leave home in order to start transition.  We were getting really close and he was even on good terms with Jack before he integrated.  I’d just had that talk with him where I explained that integration was happening and a lot of big things were about to change.  I didn’t say what, but I think he had a guess, and I was going to give him time to figure it out and let it sink in before I dropped the bomb.

And then these kids showed up, and he’s completely moved away from me and sunk back into this weird religious hellhole.  Now I’m expected to set the best possible example for these kids, and there’s no way I could start transition with them in the picture.  He wouldn’t allow it.  I feel utterly betrayed.  I was on the edge of finally, finally having something, a place in my life where I didn’t have to hide anymore, and these kids stole it from me.

I’m having a hard time coping with it.  I know these kids didn’t do anything wrong, and I can’t take it out on them.  I know my dad is just trying to do what’s right, and my stepmom loves those babies and wants to see them grow up right.  But I don’t understand why it has to be us.  And maybe I’m just being selfish, but this is the worst of possible outcomes for my transition.

I was so close.  And now I’m back to square one.  I have to leave home before I can even think of starting transition.

Now I’m thinking about having some kind of anger management therapy or something.  I’ve been having the same dream almost every night for weeks, where I get in a fight with someone and I’m trying to hit them, but for whatever reason, my punches won’t land right.  I miss, or my arms feel too heavy to lift, or I’m too weak to do any kind of damage, but it’s always the same- I’m trying to fight some kind of enemy, and they’re just laughing in my face.  I wake up in humiliation every morning.  I’ve always had a good right jab and I throw a heavier punch than the typical female-bodied person, and having that taken away from me every night only makes me more and more frustrated.

And plus, my anger threshold keeps lowering.  I fall into a rage at some of the slightest and most stupid things, and it makes me look like an idiot because there’s nothing I can do about it.  I don’t like people seeing me as this overly sensitive, bull-headed jerk.  I used to be level-headed and logical.  Where did THAT go?
I’m crawling in my skin.  My sex life is alternately eluding me because I can’t deal with myself or anyone else seeing me naked, among other things.  My back is slowly being raped by the binder I’ve been wearing lately- I need to order an underworks binder before I warp my ribs permanently.  There’s a whole new set of people in my life who are learning to address me with the wrong pronouns and the wrong name, and hearing the occasional “Tommy” from the one friend who even bothers to use it does little enough to cool the burns.

I JUST WANT OUT.

I’m back!

So it’s been almost a month since the last time I posted.  Something happened with my writing where it began to feel like a chore, and I had 59 different things I wanted to write about, and I couldn’t pick a topic, and I sat down to write about five different times and nothing worth posting really wanted to come out, and it eventually just all logjammed to where I just didn’t want to post for a long-ass time.  But I wound up going to a convention, which somehow re-jumpstarted my creative processes.  I have all these ideas for short films and projects and things like that, and I’m really back into the manic phase of my life, which I haven’t really been in for about 8 months.  Taking that into account, along with how busy things have gotten around here, I think I’ll be getting back to posting on a somewhat more regular basis, or at least once a week.

Last time I posted, my parents were THINKING about taking on these two foster children, which I quite unfairly ranted about like a little brat until I was blue in the face.  My feelings towards them have slowly but surely done an about face, and since those kids moved in two days ago, I’ve become quite taken with them.

The two-year-old little girl is absolutely low-maintenance and delightful for a toddler.  She’s quiet, but she talks a little and mainly communicates in nods and head shakes.  And she LOVES pickles.  She’s pretty interesting.

The eight-year-old is another story.  She seems to idolize me, which is awkward because I don’t know how to act around her.  I let her call me by my family’s nickname for me and of course I haven’t said anything to her about my trans status, but since I bind and whatnot these days whether she’s around or not, I’m sure it’ll come up at some point.  She seems young enough to get her head around the idea without judging- I’m not sure how to handle it but I think it’ll sort itself out.  She’s interesting- very intelligent, but kind of bratty and manipulative.  I get the feeling that she was raised in a low-class enough environment to not really have been taught anything about manners, but with enough money around to have a serious sense of entitlement.  She’s already asked if we can go shopping for toys three times, and we’re doing the best we can to firmly but gently reinforce that money doesn’t grow on trees while trying to accomodate her with toys we had in the garage from when I was a kid.  The old barbies my mom tried to make me play with were still almost good as new, so she seems to be satisfied.

Things are going way more smoothly than I ever expected, so I’m just rolling with the times for now.

As to my personal issues, I’ve settled on a full name that I’ll be going with when I get my legal documents sorted out.  I wanted Calvin as my first name because it sounds the most like my legal first name, and my partner was the one who came up with it.  It’ll probably be used in formal and career situations, but not my primary nickname.  My middle name, internet name and stage name will still be Jack, as that’s a huge part of me.  My nickname will come from my last name, Thomasson.  I wanted to just use Thomas as my last time (as in Jonathan Taylor Thomas), but Calvin Jack Thomas felt more like just a string of first names rather than a full name, so I added a -son at the end to give it a little more finality.  For some reason, Tommy feels like the most comfortable name to slip into with my friends and it just suits me the best.

So there you have it- Calvin Jack Thomasson, or Tommy for short.

Take that.  It takes most people 9 months to pick out a name for someone else, and it took me 2 months to choose a full name for myself.  I feel pretty good about that.

I don’t feel too much like going into the issue of integration, other than to say it’s over and done with.  Things are peaceful, and it seems like it’s going to stick this time.  It doesn’t hurt, I’m not uncomfortable and everything slid together like a puzzle- and pieces weren’t jammed in awkwardly because I was being forced.  Everything came together in its own time.

And now that everything is pointed in one direction, one goal has come out.  Transition.  Everything seems to be riding on it.  But I’m not in a hurry anymore.  I don’t need to save anyone’s life, I don’t owe anyone anything, and this is for me.  It’ll happen when it’s ready to happen.

P.S. I PROMISE I’ll get to that STP post eventually.

Procrastination and venting.

Ugh.

So, for the last five days I’ve been cleaning.

I am SO FUCKING TIRED of cleaning.

Aside from the fact that I came down with a mysterious flu-bug-type-thing that made me puke my guts all over the place and I’ve therefore been wanting to sleep pretty much non-stop lately, I’ve had to clean places in the house that I forgot existed, for people who usually don’t care that much about said places.  But when these people are in surgery, and want a house spotless when they get back, and threaten not only with the fact that there are going to be an inordinate amount of visitors in the following days, including house inspectors from Child Protective Services, but also imply that the quality of many people’s lives will depend on whether you’ve cleaned your room or not…

you have to clean.

I’m serious, things are getting out of hand.  I’ll try to keep this short because there’s really no way of fully explaining it without completely slandering my stepmom’s no-good rotten son, but basically my step-sister-in-law is in a tough spot and needs someone to take care of her two small daughters or they’re going into the foster care system for a long time.  So they’ve turned to my stepmom, and if things turn out the way everyone expects, we’re going to have two squalling foster children running around here.  Living in a bedroom two feet from mine.

I can’t begin to explain the vast number of ways this may wreck my life.  It’ll DEFINITELY change things.  For a rather petty example, I was counting on having the house to myself again in 3 months when my stepmom goes back to work, which is an unimaginably long enough stretch for me, but it’s probably going to go more like this- when she’s at work, I’ll probably be expected to look after them.

I never wanted to be a babysitter.  I never asked for any of this.  I certainly never asked for my dad to marry someone whose son would wind up in prison and dump his children on us.  I know I’m being particularly cold-hearted and awful about this, but this is the worst time in transition for any of this to happen.  I don’t want those babies seeing me like this.  I don’t want to explain to a seven year old why I’m tying my dirtypillows down every morning before I get dressed should they walk in on me.  I definitely don’t want them to walk in on me using my STP.  I don’t want to explain any of it, I don’t want her talking to my parents about what her curious little eyes may observe should she poke around like she’s so apt to do.

Long story short, it’s time to get out before things get weird.  I can’t stand being observed like this 24-7 anymore and I don’t care what it takes.  I’m afraid I’ll have to move a long, long way from here and everyone I love just to get away from things that might wind up tearing me down.  Or at least from things that might drive me insane.

And the first thing that those girls are doing to me is making me clean, way faster and more than I ever wanted to.  My stepmom is intent on pressing the point that, if my room is dirty, they’ll deny us custody of those girls and a lot of people’s lives will be ruined, including mine.  I’m sure she’ll make certain of that.  (Whereas, if I DO clean it, the ONLY life that will be ruined is mine.)

Okay, I’m being very selfish there.  One way or another, a lot of people are hurting through this.  My stepmom has a 14 inch incision on her side where they replaced her hip, and she has to take care of them through her recovery.  No matter where those little girls end up, they’re going to be ripped away from their mother and no children deserve that.  My step-sister-in-law is going crazy without her children, and even seeing them in the hands of people she can trust, she’s being denied almost ALL visitation rights.  My dad is 50 years old and, I would judge, too old to be taking care of a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old; it’s going to be tough on him too.  He was just settling into his later years, seeing his first kids out of the nest, and now it’s all starting over again.  So many more lives are being upturned by this, and I’m reacting to it like a big, selfish baby.

But I can’t help but vent about it.  I’m just thinking about little children hanging off the back of my computer chair (the family computer, I might add, is conveniently placed in the living room where anyone can bother me if they so choose- my parents at least have the tact to not read over my shoulder).  It makes me shudder.  They’ll probably invade every aspect of my life that they can while they’re here, and the thought of it drives me up the wall.

Maybe it’s a good thing.  My job hunt was grinding to a depressed, rejected halt after getting denied so many menial jobs so many times, and this may drive me to such desperation for an income to live out of here on that I’ll find a job I otherwise might have missed in my miserable stagnation.

I think I’m mainly afraid that this is going to slow the process of transition somehow, when it’ll actually probably speed it up some.  This is happening at a time that’s rousting me out of a comfortable place of nothingness I was settling into.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that stagnation is generally a bad thing, but I really needed it right now.  In that period of few events going on in my day-to-day life, I was experiencing an intensely accelerated period of mental growth, rooting out old problems and sorting through the past, really finding the root of everything.  But now that I’ve pretty much gotten to the bottom of things, my life is picking up again, whether I want it to or not.

I feel a little bit like I’ve been standing on the side of an ice-cold pool, contemplating diving techniques, swimming strokes, the temperature of the water, and all kinds of other water-related things without actually swimming…

And then two little girls came up behind me and pushed me back in without warning.

I’ll probably be pretty pissed at them for a little while, but would I have done any swimming at all if they hadn’t pushed me in… before closing time?

Time to jump back in.

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