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

Posts tagged ‘friends’

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.

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.

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.

Day 24: I FAIL. Hard.

Yeah, I think it was pretty clear about 10 days ago that I gave up on the 30 day challenge.  Not only does my lifestyle make it really hard to get on the computer every day these days, but I’m also perpetually lazy.

Plus, I started getting blog backup.  It happens every time I start queuing up a list of topics to write about- for some reason, if I ever have more than 3 things I think I could write about, I can’t make myself start to write about any of them because I can’t pick which one is more important to write about that day, or something.

Anyway, with all that out of the way, I think I said a few blogs ago that I was going to write about something really embarrassing, and since I’ve forgotten everything else I was going to write about, it’s about that time that I get around to writing about that.

***

Have you ever had a quirk about yourself that you couldn’t decide whether it was a comedy-relief type human foible that could be applied to any other guy, or something that threatened your sense of masculinity so dangerously that maybe it was time to rethink your gender status?  I don’t like that everything about myself is now shaded by that “is it male enough?” filter, but this really stretches the boundaries of anything that is believably male, and I’ve been understandably uncomfortable about it for a long time.

See, since I was little, I’ve had this issue with… (oh boy, here it comes, my first time really putting it in words…) the textures of certain fabrics.  Euch, just thinking about it kinda makes me want to throw up.  My first memory of a fabric that made me want to cringe was pantyhose.  My parents made me put the things on to go to church every Sunday and stretching that nasty material over my hands so I could squirm into it just gave me industrial strength goosebumps.  Other textures bugged me from an early age, like most rough upholstery, just about any kind of carpeting, terry cloth, etc.  I spent a lot of years just putting up with it and trying not to touch those things with my hands.

It got worse as my childhood progressed.  I discovered that one of the few ways to desensitize my hands enough to deal with those kinds of fabrics was to keep my hands moisturized, through water, lotion, milk, or whatever was around at the moment.  One of the more shameful tidbits of my childhood is the technique I used to get around this problem when I couldn’t find anything wet to put on my hands- I would spit on them.  Euch.  It’s hard to admit to, but the god’s honest truth that often the only thing that would keep me from going bonkers was whether I could produce saliva.

Of course, when I was exposed to polite society, I realized that this practice was unacceptable, and thus began my dependence on lotion.  I had to keep some with me at all times to deal with the increasingly horrific textures the world had to offer.

I’d like to say that I eventually outgrew this problem, manned up, learned to deal with cloth without gagging, and ditched the lotion, but sadly this is not the case.  If anything, my aversion to textures is worse than in my childhood (though probably it just seems worse because I’ve been focusing on getting rid of it due to the anxiety it causes when compounded by my gender issues.)  My biggest problem with it right now is that I can’t really go more than a couple hours at best without finding some dark corner to dissolve into and rub the lotion into my hands hopefully without someone noticing.

It’s shameful, because lotion seems to be such a feminine things, and I’ve become nothing short of dependent on it.  If it were a better world, my friends wouldn’t know about this- they pick on me for it sometimes, which I try to brush off, but I know it makes them take me less seriously when they see it.  One of my friends was even present once when I couldn’t find any lotion in my entire house and… aw jeez, I mean, I guess I have to be honest about this, right?  Well, I’m not really prone to panic attacks, but I had one right then and there in front of him, and I’m sure he doesn’t see me the same way after that.  I mean, I was having an asthma attack of epic proportions and I couldn’t really talk and there were tears and all kinds of horrible things, and the worst thing was that my logical mind was saying that it shouldn’t have been happening, but I couldn’t stop, and I seriously flipped out.

So yeah, that’s the biggest skeleton in my closet, and I just wish I knew there was some way to fix it.  I tried searching online for answers, and the closest thing I could come up with was sensory hypersensitivity, and the worst thing about that is that every single site teaches you how to recognize and deal with it in your children.  There is absolutely no evidence out there that it ever happens to adults.

Ever.

So I really should have grown out of it by now, and it just disgusts me to even bring it up.  It’s a really humiliating thing and it’s taken me a year to even bring it up on this blog, and god knows I’ve tried before.  But, it’s finally time to bite the bullet and hit submit, because I think someone out there may have an answer, and as trivial as it seems, it almost seems like something that would endanger my chances of getting on T if I bring it up to my gender therapist.  So, yeah.  Here I stand, naked to the world.

Go easy on me.

Day Twelve: Intrapersonal progress.

(I’m probably going to keep this short because the exhaustion of the funeral and so forth in the last few days has drawn me out.  Nonetheless, I intend to keep on track with the challenge as much as possible.)

Some time last week, a friend and his family took me out to go bowling.  Naturally, when he put my original name on the electronic scorekeeper readout, I had him change it to Tommy because the discomfort of seeing my old name announced across the entire casino made me want to rip my own guts out.  Now, to understand the complexity of the situation, let me explain that my friend is gay, and his parents are very conservative Christians.  To say that he’s used to keeping secrets is an understatement- his mom does know but she’s somewhat uncomfortable, and even she had advised him not to let his dad in on it.  So when I went to change my name on the readout, my friend almost stopped me.  But I told him, “I don’t need a reason not to like my old nickname.  Let’s just leave it at that for now.”

Now, I figured the delicacy of the situation would involve him explaining to his mom at a later date when his dad wasn’t around, because even as open as I’ve become about it, his dad does make me a little uncomfortable.  But what he told me later bothered me somewhat.  He said that his mom had guessed dead on the nose, saying, “Is she becoming a boy?” and he’d “explained” that I just liked the nickname and the barber had screwed up my haircut and made it way shorter and butchier than I wanted.  (For some reason, that was a satisfactory answer- I don’t know about you, but I’d still be suspicious.)  Maybe a year ago, I would have been grateful for him covering my ass, but now I felt as though he were ashamed of me.  I am now at the point where I’m coming out to respected adults and parents of friends in my life and expecting to be taken seriously, and it’s no longer a game to be hidden from the grown-ups.

To be fair, he said that she’d decidedly stated that she didn’t like transsexuals, so I was at the risk of not being welcome in their home if I’d been outed, therefore, he’d taken measures.  But damn it, I’ve come to the that place in my transition where, if somebody doesn’t like it, then it’s up to them to decide whether the loss of me as a friend is worth it, because I’m not going to change myself to fill people’s expectations just to keep them around.  I spent the first two decades of my life wasting time on that.  Frankly, if you don’t know I’m trans by now, then I either don’t respect you or don’t trust you.

Good things.

After my latest episode with very difficult issues (which I may or may not go into eventually), it was time to get away and get my head on straight.  SO, with my sister begging me to come down and see her for some time now, I decided to use my savings to go down and spend a couple weeks with her in Los Angeles.

It was seriously the best idea I’ve had in a long while.  First of all, my sister didn’t even recognise me at the bus stop when she came to meet me, so I’ve obviously been changing.  She was thinking at first, “who’s that random guy waving at me?  Oh my GOD!”  It was the first sign of a couple of good weeks ahead.

She hasn’t had any trouble with pronouns since I’ve gotten here.  I think it’s been my voice.  It’s finally been dropping a little due to the voice lowering exercises, not so much that it sounds unnatural, but enough that I at least sound like a guy going through puberty, so nobody questions it when she introduces me as her little brother.  It was the coolest thing last week-

We had a cosplay picnic to go to on Saturday, and I wanted to help make her a cosplay that looked good on her.  It was a little hard to find a dress that could accomodate her figure, so we decided to go and make one.  Ironically, I was the one inborn with that particular artistic skill.  So, gritting my teeth, we went to a fabrics shop that she knew had sewing machines.  I was prepared to be among another group of people who would be calling me by the wrong pronouns all over again, but when my sister introduced me as Tommy, her brother, the ladies fawned over me and said how neat it was to have another guy who knew how to sew!  The manager of the place named several men she knew who sewed as a hobby, including her husband, and many guys who had to take community service classes who wound up becoming interested and kept coming back for more lessons!  Not only was it cool that I learned how common it is for men to do this traditionally female task, but that they never even did any double-takes on whether I was a guy or not.  It seems like I’m in that androgynous place where all it takes is to have one person say “he’s my brother/friend/whatever” to tip the “male scale” and have people seeing me as the right gender.  And I’m pretty happy about that- not to say I don’t want more, because without introduction, I’m getting about a 60/40 ratio of people seeing me as female/male down here, so I’m almost perfectly androgynous, but I’d like there to be no question in people’s minds that I’m male.

What I’d frankly like would be to wake up, first thing in the morning, and look and sound like a guy without having to spend an hour trying to make myself look that way.  It would be neat actually to have to spend an hour trying to make myself look like a girl rather than the way it is now, because I want to look female so ridiculously rarely. 

….

I think the best thing that’s happened this week has been the cosplay picnic.  My brother-in-law Jeremy, who is totally supportive and cool with me, really helped me out with something, in that he was my bathroom wingman. 

I had decided that this event would be my first attempt to use a public, multi-stall men’s room, because frankly, even though I looked basically 100% male in my cosplay, and even though my voice isn’t 100% there yet, I didn’t feel comfortable even thinking about using the ladies’ room.  Plus, there’s a lot of “crossplay” at anime events, so even if I were questioned or outed in the men’s room, it seemed like this was a generally safer group to find my feet with.

BUT, I was still extremely nervous.  So, we came up with a plan.  He would go in, then come out and tell me how many people there were, and if there were too many, the deal was off, but if not, I’d go for it.  Plus, I felt safer having someone inside who could vouch for me as a dude in case someone called me out.

So, I waited… he came out and told me there was nobody.  Unfortunately, just at that moment someone went in who’d thought I was a chick from earlier, so I didn’t feel like having a confrontation.  I waited out a few more minutes, and Jeremy went in.  Then, when I saw the guy leave and I felt safe, I made a dash for it.

I have to admit, at least for posterity’s sake, that I was a little weirded out when I saw Jeremy using the urinal.  I kept my eyes on the floor and went straight to the stall, keeping to men’s room ettiquite, but it was a little jarring to have my brother-in-law as my first image ever of a real guy standing and peeing in public.  But then I just shook myself and thought: “Dammit, if I’m a guy and he’s a guy, then we’re probably going to use the same bathroom a lot more times in the future so I can’t let it weird me out now!” 

I’ve been using the men’s room ever since.  After that first time, all the mystique was broken, and I’ve realized- it’s just a room.  There’s nothing all that special about it.  If anything, it’s dirtier and smellier, not any more sacred, than the women’s room. 

Just this afternoon, in fact, I had a girl friend of mine confide that she uses the men’s room all the time- for no other reason than if it happens to be closer and she has to go, dammit, there’s a toilet and she’s going to use it!  She says this gets her some stares and even some catcalls once in a while, especially with her short skirts and high heels, but nobody’s ever harassed her about it.  This gives me confidence about the whole bathroom thing- if she can get away with it in her girly demeanor, then why should I worry when I’m getting read male most of the time anyway?

I’ll be using an STP when I can get together the confidence in the mechanics of it, but for now, I’m using the stall.  I’ve had a lot of guy friends tell me they mainly piss sitting down anyway, so I don’t think I’ll get any weird looks or anything, but I’ll feel a lot better when I know I at least have that choice.

On the search.

I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to ask here, but really, I just want to know where all the transguys hang out online.  I’ve come across plenty of forums, but there’s never really anyone online at the time I show up.  The most I’ve ever seen in an FTM chatroom was 4, myself included, and they were mainly idle.  Is it just that FTM’s tend to be lone wolves, or am I looking in the wrong places?  Because I KNOW there must be some place out on the interwebs where I can go to chat and there are at least a few dozen transguys on there at all times, having lively conversations about crazy things, just like every other group I’ve ever been involved with.  There’s a vibrant chat room out there for everything that I can think of.  I mean, I know there are more of us than it must seem like, so why, when I go looking, is it always so DESOLATE?

All I really want right now is a sense of community.  I want to have somewhere I can go, that when I step in the door, I feel comfortable and have a sense of communion and family- where I can look around and think, “these are my people.”  I feel like I’m a member of an endangered species.  And I’ve looked everywhere I can think of.  I’d join the youtube community if I had a camera, because that’s the closest thing I can find.  But I figure, if there’s a chat room out there for people like us, I’d better just start asking around, because I haven’t had any success looking myself so far, and I’ve been looking for a year.

I feel more alone these days than I’ve felt in a very long time.  I just want to be with my people.

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.

Testimonial of a life reformed.

To anybody who thinks that going through transition is a bad idea: think again.  I wouldn’t be getting my life on track this way otherwise.

Now that my life is worth living, I’m finally sprucing it up a little.  Now that I’m slowly starting to inhabit an identity that I actually like, rather than one that’s foisted on me, I’m taking care of it, owning it, and learning to like myself.  I’m exercising more and eating less; I’m giving a considerably bigger crap about personal hygiene and such, now that I’ve realized I don’t have to drown myself in florals and strawberries every time I step in the shower.  I care about my appearance when I step out the door, and actually probably pay more attention to the way my hair looks now that it’s cut short than I did when it was hanging long (rather like a dead rat- I couldn’t do anything with it, so I barely even bothered brushing it).  I know the clothes that I like, and thereby don’t just throw on any random thing I find lying on the floor anymore (and believe me, my room was full of hand-me-downs that even the biggest fashion pariah would look at and go, “You’re wearing that?  Really?”)

It’s spreading into other areas.  Now that I like my life and intend to live in it for a lot longer than I originally planned, I’m taking care of my things and spaces.  For the last four days, I’ve done a super-powered bedroom cleanse where I threw out about 66% of my belongings, 75% of my clothes and 100% of the trash that was lying around from six years of living in the same house and not giving a shit where anything landed.  I’ve done away with the ancient bedframe with hearts that I never liked but used anyway because it was there; I can sleep on a mattress on the floor and be four times as happy.  In fact, I have three twin mattresses in there as my main furniture.  Now my room has the look and feel of a totally modular bachelor pad, and I actually enjoy spending time in there- it’s no longer a drop-off dump for my junk.  I’ve cleaned out my dresser drawers, washed all my clothes, folded it, and put it in there.  You’d think that becoming a guy would give me sloppier housecleaning and hygiene ethics, but I’m not sure it was possible: the only direction to go from where I was at was UP!  I’m no longer the disgusting guy who doesn’t shower and has a room full of empty cheetos bags and other questionable items.  I’m the guy who is getting his life together.

I’m applying for jobs again.  I’m saving up my money to get a new car.  I’m getting my insurance papers in order so I can get my teeth fixed.  I’m making new friends left and right instead of losing the old ones.  And I’m doing it all because I’m transitioning into the person who I want to be.  None of this would be possible if I had so little hope as I did last year.  I was beaten down, confused, and certain that I was so screwed up that I’d never fit in.  At that point, I figured my life was over, I was never going to be happy, so why not just give up?

And then, I figured out that there was a way out.  I wasn’t trapped.  Sure, I wasn’t going to get the body that I wanted (everyone wants a Ferrari), but there was a way to get into one that I could at least be comfortable with (my ’92 Chevy AstroVan).  With this, I know I can go on and make a good life for myself.

This is the testimonial of a life reformed.

To anyone who says that transition isn’t a good idea for those who feel they are stuck in the wrong body:

You can suck my cock.

New friends, new binder, new year.

Just got my first real binder in the mail, and I have to say it’s improving my quality of life by a considerable amount.  It doesn’t hurt my back, it works a lot better than anything else I’ve used, it’s very breathable (almost to a fault- why does it actually make me colder than when I’m NOT wearing it?  -oh well, it’ll be great this summer) and it generally makes me feel more attractive to wear it.  Because, as my honey said, the only difference between my haircut being a boy haircut and being a lesbian haircut is the presence of tits.

I’m being read as male about 50/50, still.  I had to pick up some deodorant the other day (I like Old Spice) and I was expecting to have to explain that I was picking it up for my dad or boyfriend or something, like usual.  But the lady at the checkout counter asked if I had a dime (so she wouldn’t have to give me 90 cents in change), my friend started to dig for a dime in her purse, and I pulled one out of my pocket, so the cashier said, “Don’t worry dear, he’s got it.”  She completely read me as male without even a doubletake- I’m wondering if I’m androgynous enough now that it’s little gender cues like what kind of deodorant I’m buying that are tipping the scale one way or the other.
I’m getting funny looks when I go into the ladies’ bathroom, but weirdly enough, now that I’m entering that phase, I’m enjoying it way more than I thought I would.  It’s kinda funny, really- I feel as if I’m entering the enemy’s camp, in a fun spy sort of way, and the double takes I’m getting when I step into the bathroom are more validating than anything.  I’m getting read male way sooner than I thought I would, so it’s like a little freebie.  I don’t know if it makes me a pervert that I feel like a spy when I’m in the girl’s room, because that’s where I’ve been all my life, but it’s a burden we all trannies bear- no matter which bathroom we go into, society’s going to see us as perverts, so I just roll with where I feel more safe at the moment.  I don’t have the balls, so to speak, to enter the men’s room quite yet.  I’d rather be sure I at least sound male before I try that.

Anyway, I got to go to one of my old friend’s parties last week- actually, I really only got to meet him once before, long ago when one of my other friends took me to one of his parties, and I got a little too drunk to want to show my face there again for a while, but he saw me at the hardware store and he invited me to “Movie Nights” on tuesdays, so I guess they don’t hate me there.  The thing about this place is, almost everyone who shows up is some brand of queer, so I felt safe.  Last time they saw me, I was still trying to pass for female and it wasn’t working out, so it was really awkward.  Now I’m settled into a male-ish identity, and I was determined to let them see that I was a lot more stable now.  Ultimately, I just tried not to get too crazy with the alcohol.

I met a lot of new people at the party, introduced myself as “Tommy”, and here’s the cool thing.  Now I have a whole new group of friends who aren’t burdened with trying not to use the wrong name all the time.  Bless all my old friends who are trying their damnedest not to hurt me, but it’s just a burden off me once in a while to hang out with people who aren’t all dancing around what to call me.

Anyway, the party seemed split down the middle- the girls were in the living room watching a chick flick, and the guys were in the kitchen slamming Irish car bombs and laughing it up.

That night, I had my first Irish car bomb.

They really treated me like one of the guys, for hours.  I even clung to some hope that they were all reading me as male.  It wasn’t until way later that my perceptions became more realistic when one of the girls referred to me as “she”.  It was an unexpected little punch to the gut, and I actually felt winded and had to go sit down in another room for a minute- give me a break, though, it was the first time I felt comfortable and felt like I was hanging around with people who had no female preconceptions of me, and that rug got yanked out from under me quite effectively.  I didn’t let it get me down the rest of the night, though.

As it turns out, one of the guys who lived there was FTM, which was pretty exciting for me because I’ve never met one of my own in real life before.  I’d heard of him before from one of my other friends who knew I was FTM and wanted to hook me up with other transpeople in the community- it almost makes me feel guilty talking about him this way on here, as if he were a unicorn or something.  I have to keep in mind, he’s just this guy, but it’s exciting to know the possibility of someone out there who understands me and gets what I’m going through.

Anyway, there happened to be a moment where the guys all went out to the porch and he and I were the only ones left in the kitchen.  He said something about how he remembered the last time I was there.

I shuddered.  “That was back when I was still trying to pass for a girl.”

He nodded sagely- he knew it all, everything we needed to know about each other for that moment passed between us.  He’d already been down that road, taken the hormones, his face had the hair and his voice had dropped and everyone referred to him as he, and he was where I wanted to be when I looked to the future, and I was where he’d once been when he looked to the past.  Then he looked me up and down and said one thing.

“It never gets any easier.”

He left, and my stomach tightened.  Why did he say something like that?  Things were already getting easier for me.  His words haunted me for the rest of the night, and I tried to dismiss them as a generalization- that life gets harder in general, whether you transition or not, or maybe that his life was an anomaly- one of the few for which transition actually makes things worse in a quantifiable way.  What I tried not to think about was that terrifying possibility that hangs over all of us:

What if it really ISN’T worth it?

But I prefer to think of it this way, and I posted this on my facebook the next day:

“I don’t believe that things never get easier. I think they get easier, then harder, then easier and harder over and over again like the ebb and flow of the tide, and you have to learn to go with the flow, accept the hard times, appreciate the good ones, and over all, learn to embrace change as the one true constant.”

This has always been my philosophy, and it makes the future seem brighter.  And the funny thing is, it has been getting brighter.  I made a lot of friends there at the party, ones who accept me for who I am.  At about 3 in the morning, they popped the question:

“Are you FTM?”

They were so straightforward, I had to answer the same way- with a simple Yes.  And they were cool with it.  They had a couple questions, which I was fine with answering, and since they knew this about me, I had to know something:  when I got there, did they see me as one of the dudes?

One of them mulled it around for a second, and then shook his head.  “Not really.  Just being honest.”

I fell a little flat.  “Not even just a little?”

“Well, if anything, you seemed like one of the gay dudes.”

I felt a whole lot better now.  “That’s basically what I am, so… go me.”

I could definitely be comfortable with my identity as a gay boy.  I’m finally free to be myself with a group of people and be seen as a rough approximation of what I am.  All in all, the night was too cool.

2010 is shaping up to be an awesome new year.

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