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

Posts tagged ‘friends’

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.

Onslaught.

So I’ve been feeling really great about everything.  Last night, my lovely boyfriend and I finally managed to pull enough money together to order a good binder so I can stop using the backbreaking one I’ve been using, my insurance is about to go through so I can see about getting a gender therapist, everyone’s been seeing me as a guy, and people are slowly but surely figuring out the name.

I feel like I’m sitting on a go-cart that I’ve been trying to make go for months now, and finally some deity descended from the heavens and gave me a gentle push and now I’m finally, slowly, starting to roll down the hill.  But suddenly, my stomach is lurching because I’m looking forward and the hill gets a lot steeper from here, and I’m just about to pass that point where, if I wanted to, I could stick my legs out and grind to a halt without any major injury, get up, and walk away.  Things are About to Happen, and if I don’t stop before the Point of No Return, then there’s absolutely no going back and I’m going to have to ride this cart for the rest of my life.

It’s unbelievable, because I never thought I’d have these feelings.  I know it’s only natural to have a little bit of apprehension before the point of no return, but now I’m having this internal critic hit me with a real onslaught of all the really hard questions, things like:

– “Everyone’s going to look at you and say, ‘Why did you even transition, if you’re a gay man?  Gay men are basically just women anyway, wouldn’t it just be easier to stay in a girl’s body?'”

– “You never fit in as a girl, but suddenly you think that if you transition, you’ll fit in as a boy, and you KNOW that’s not true.  If anything, you’ll fit in less!”

– “You’re using this trans thing to explain all your boy tendencies, but once you cross over, how do you explain away all the girl ones?”

– “What if you’re not really a guy?  What if this IS just another phase, another obsession with being different, one that could get you KILLED?”

– “You say this explains everything- the abuse, the dissociation, etc., but what if you’re just making connections that aren’t there so that you can make your life make sense, and when the novelty of being trans wears itself out, it’s just another layer of fuck-up on top of the pile?”

These are the kinds of questions that have been killing me, the ones that have been keeping me up at night, really personal questions that only I would know.
I have answers for all of those questions, and when I remember the things that can’t be explained away with a “what if” scenario, like how only wearing a strap-on makes me feel complete and how being on top is the only sex act that entirely works for me, or how I really only feel attractive and not-deformed when I bind up and have a flat chest, or how I’ve been lusting after facial hair since I was six, and how I’ve always felt gay with boys and straight with girls, even long before I knew I could possibly be trans-

When I remember all those things, and how being trans makes my life complete, and how my mind has been at more peace in the last 6 months than it’s been the entire rest of my life-

When I remember how accepting that I was trans made the voices stop, made the dissociation fade and made me stop seeing things at night, and made my mind finally healthy, and some semblance of normal-

When I see how my friends and family are finally more happy that I’m less crazy and upset and irritable and generally screwed-up these days than they are sad to see the old me go away-

Then I know that everything’s going to be alright, and I can keep going.

My little insecurities and fears are not nearly enough to turn me away from the one thing that has made my life finally worth living.  I have been more afraid to die in the last six months than I even was when I was a child, and I take that as a good and healthy sign that I finally love life enough not to want to leave it.

A nearly rhetorical question:

Why is it that, if you cut your hair, particularly if you don’t give them at least two weeks of preparation, people in your life tend to take it as a personal insult?

On the note of people being blockheads, there’s too much drama going on in this house right now to write a proper blog, so I’d just like to update with that, say that things are generally going good, real good in fact, and wish you all a happy New Year.

Also, before I forget, coming out to my extended friends at the New Year’s party went very smoothly.  They took well enough to my hair (unlike my stepmom, who kept telling me I “look like a boy”, which I’m sure is meant to be an insult but was instead full of win.)  At the Resolutions announcements (after everyone made their satirical resolutions like “ruin the environment and give Micheal Moore an aneurysm” and so forth), I resolved to “become a Man before the world ends in 2012!”  After everyone had their giggles, I said, “But on a more serious note, I do resolve to be on testosterone before the end of the year.”

You could have heard a pin drop in the silence that came afterwards.

It was pretty intense, but after a while, I started getting the questions, and everyone was really getting into it.  They seemed actually really gung-ho about it, which I was glad for.

Anyway, my ability to put together a sentence in this chaotic din is obviously diminishing, so I’ll add a note here that I’d like to put my picture up of my new haircut next post and also a review of Joe’s Barbershop (I was satisfied).  I promise a more in-depth attempt, probably tomorrow morning.

Cheers!

6 months of gender EUphoria!

As of yesterday, on the 24th, it’s been 6 months since I began my transition journal, and it’s flown by unbelievably fast.  My life has been so full since coming to terms with myself, and bringing those around me to be on those terms.  So much has changed- mainly, my respect for myself and my own standards.  I’ve dropped the practice of hiding behind the wrong gender and pretending to be what I’m not just because it’s easier, or because I was afraid.  I’ve gained more friends and more respect for coming out than I would have kept by keeping it all inside.  Most importantly, I’ve gained a father who knows me- not just someone who looks like a girl verson of me- and my father has gained the son he didn’t know he had.  The richness of life this has brought has made my life an unbelievable dream come true.

Just six months ago, I probably would have still worn makeup and even female garb if the situation called for it.  Today, I wouldn’t put those things on if someone told me they would reject be forever if I didn’t.  And on top of that, I’m comfortable enough with my gender that, if I wanted to put on a girl costume just for the fun of it, I could probably do that without any serious emotional injuries.  The point of all this, as contradictory as it seems, is that I don’t wear what I wear for anyone else’s approval, because of fear, or because I believe that what I am is unacceptable.  What I look like in any given situation is now my choice and mine alone- nobody can tell me what to be.

I’ve learned that people in general are very, very stupid.  The 95% majority of them are not educated in the least on the problems that people like us have, and the ones who are usually are misninformed, ignorant of the more important subtleties, insensitive, bigoted, or just plain prejudiced.  A lot of people will go out of their way to let me know that what I’m doing is wrong, but that they still love me anyway, even though I’m going to burn in Hell.  Others will tell me that they’re very sorry that I feel the way I do and that it must be very hard, but as long as I still haven’t had surgery, still sound, smell and look like a girl, I will be a girl in their eyes and there’s nothing they can do about it.  Even the people who do accept and support me 100%, put in the effort to educate themselves, and do their very best to make people like me comfortable in a harsh and cruel world… are simply not equipped to deal with something this complex.  Most of the people in my life are not college graduate gender theorists, majors in psychology or left-wing social workers.  I have to keep in mind that even I have such a hard time sorting everything out, and I’m steeped in this information and situation day in and day out.  There is nothing about this that is easy for anyone.  I have to be grateful for the people in my life who at least don’t make a big deal of it, and certainly for the ones who don’t want to kill me.  There are certainly enough of those in the world.

I’ve also learned that people are very, very different and very unpredictable.  There’s no way to know how they’re going to react to my situation until I tell them.  Some of the people I thought would reject me, hurt me or try to fix me have turned out to be the people who are most supportive- the ones who try the hardest to get the name and pronouns right.  And sometimes, the ones I thought would be behind me 100% all the way turned out to be most resentful of my transition, if for no other reason than I “killed off” the person they thought they knew.  I’ve had to learn to accept and work through the feelings of betrayal that some of my friends have had since this started.  It can be just as hard for me to understand the way they feel about this as it’s hard for them to understand why my female aspects are abandoning them forever, but we all have to work together if we want to get through this in one piece.

I’ve learned that there are places in this world that are surprisingly accepting of people like us, all evidence to the contrary.  I’ve learned there are places that are suprisingly dangerous, all evidence to the contrary.  I’ve learned of the unbelievable bigotry and ignorance in the LGBT community, the place I was convinced I could turn, the people who should understand gender issues more than anyone.  There’s a big difference between queer and trans- in the eyes of the world, queer people LOVE the wrong gender, and trans people ARE the wrong gender.  But we all fall under that same umbrella: the world rejects us because of some relation to the wrong gender, and if we can work together to dispel the gender stigma, then we’d all be better off.

I’ve learned that my own issues run deeper then I thought they did.  Since I’ve developed a healthy sense of self respect, I’ve learned there are things I’m not okay with.  I’m not okay with being touched in certain places, or used in certain ways.  I’m not comfortable with wearing long hair while I still have the soft, round features indicative of the sex my body still is.  I’m not comfortable with being dominated most of the time- I’ve learned of the delicacy of the male ego and the paradox that comes with that.

And of course, I’ve learned all the logistical facts and skills, like how to bind in a matter of a few seconds, use an STP, shave my face, walk and talk like a dude.  I’ve tasted the victory of being “sirred” in public, being read as male at least until I opened my mouth, and being told by some people that my being male “really does make sense of a lot of things” with me.  I’ve been told to put the toilet seat down, to stop being such an insensitive Guy, and to sit with the dudes.  I’ve been called by Tommy at least as much as by my legal name these last couple of weeks, and that, I know, is a huge improvement and a sign of respect and of being taken seriously by those who care.

I have a long way to go.  I still have to get back on medical insurance so I can get consultations for getting on T, but the paperwork is in the system.  I’ve worked out that I will just barely be able to afford testosterone with the paycheck I get now, but I’m prepared to put a lot of other things on hold so I can get my life going in the right direction.  I have to quit smoking before I can get on T, but so far I’ve cut so far back that, when the time comes, it will be a piece of cake.  I still need to buy a real binder, but I think I’ll have that in the works by the time I get back from San Francisco.  I have yet to come out to any of my extended family, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out once I start showing up with facial hair.  I still look female, but my genetics dictate that the T will have a nearly catastrophic effect on my body- my father and mother both grow hair prolifically, and both had very male, broad physiques.  I’m not exactly built with the most feminine structure as it is.  Quite frankly, I can’t wait to get the stuff in my body- it’s going to feel great!

The new year will bring a lot more revelations, to myself and to the world, or so I hope.  I would hate to remain static in this state, either physically or mentally.  I have a lot still to learn.  My opinions on what I may have done surgically, for example, are not the same as they were 6 months ago, and they probably won’t be the same in 2 years.  I’m sure that the effect the T has on my mind and body will direct that.  But to put it all in one sentence:

I’ve walked further on this path than I thought I had, I’ve got longer to go than I thought I would, and over all, I’m just happy to know that I’m finally on my way home.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Severance.

I’d like to say right now that I’ve passed a milestone.  Just a few minutes ago, I had the first female in my life ever to tell me to put the toilet seat down.  Aside from the slight embarrassment (and huge flush of relief that came to realize that she saw it up before her mom did), I felt a sense of… becoming– not quite pride, but accomplishment; the feeling of passing on into being not just a boy, but maybe even a man.

My 21st birthday is in 3 days.

I’ve been thinking about it for about 5 months now, and I’ve finally decided that I am, in contradiction of everything I’ve said before, going to cut my hair.  Yes, I’ve said before that I don’t:

1)  go around wearing what I wear or looking what I look like just to make things easier for everyone else.  I do this for ME.
2)  follow gender stereotypes, because if I think that’s what makes me a man, then I might as well just pack up and go home.
3)  want to go through transition for the sake of being a man, I do it for the sake of being MYSELF.

I still hold to those standards, but the funny thing is, I feel like a completely different person today than I did five months ago.  I feel that short hair would suit me better as I am, that I’m really not trying to live up to that scruffy biker/metalhead image anymore, that I want a softer, shaggy, more boyish cute faggy look as I settle into my male self.  (Plus Hilary Swank looked awfully cute in short hair in Boys Don’t Cry.)  In fact, I could go on listing a thousand reasons I’ve changed my mind- it doesn’t matter.  I will never abandon my resolution to be myself, and if I tried to hold to an image that I was before but not now, just to prove something to anyone else, then I’ve lost sight of that.

This cutting of my hair will also mark the passing of another landmark, no matter how I try to downplay it.  I’ve had long hair for my entire life, as long as I can remember, and losing it will almost be a point of no return.  I may grow my hair long again, in the future when my features have masculinized again, but for now, this is my aggressive visual act of manhood to those around me.  It says, “this isn’t just something I’m saying, or a phase.  I’m serious about this.”  If nothing else, I hope that it will be a constant reminder of what pronoun to use.

So, I’ve decided that, the night before I get it done, I’m going to make almost a ceremonial gesture, an act of severance to the female life behind me.  My friends and I are going to go out for a night on the town, and I’m going in full drag as a female.  There will be nothing questionable about it- I’ll be gussied up in every way possible, from corset to makeup and hairdo, head to toe.  It will be very symbolic as the last time I ever don the female garb, and at the end of the night I’ll remove every piece and say goodbye to the life behind me.

I’m calling it my Severance Ball: my rite of passage from a female body into a male one, and I feel that at the end of that night, I will have no regrets and will never look back.

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