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

Posts tagged ‘Name’

Tiny blurb.

I only have a couple minutes for it, I just wanted to let the world know I’m still alive.

Since I’ve moved out (GO ME!) in early December, I haven’t had any kind of internet connectivity.  We’ve barely been able to afford the rent bills gas food etc., and the only reason I’m in town at a hot spot today is because I need to get my turn signal fixed.  So here I am.

I have to say I’m kind of frustrated with where I’m at in my life.  I’m excited to finally be in control of my destiny and to finally be the adult who is looking after me.  I’m happy to be living in a place where I don’t have to deal with hearing my old name and I don’t have to be okay with my own household misgendering me all the time.  And I really am happy to be successful, self-sustaining, and have a roof over my head that I don’t have sell-out to be under.  All of these things are more than a lot of people can say, and I’m grateful.  But at the same time-

I have a decent chunk of medical bills hanging over my head, and I don’t want to add to them until I’ve got them under control.  And I’ve barely had enough money to get by so far, so until I have money, I can’t move forward with transition.

And yet there are people out there with less than what I have, moving forward, getting on with their lives, not stuck in a perpetual state of waiting on their puberty.  They deal with the debt because it’s more important to be happy than to be solvent.  Am I just being too responsible for my own good?  When I look at my situation, I feel like I might be judged by other people for not “wanting it badly enough” to compromise on my principles.  Could I be doing more right now to get to where I need to be?  Maybe.  I’ve always been patient, but I feel like the longer I wait, the more of my life is going to pass by without me.  I don’t know what’s more important- or right- for me.

I hate putting it on the back burner.  It keeps coming like this- “I’ll start T after I pay my medical bills.  And I’ll pay my medical bills after I get my car fixed.  And I’ll blank after I blank…”  Why can’t it be first for once?  It’s my life now, I’m in a place where it’s safe for me to transition, so why can’t I afford it?

Screw the bills.  After I pay these ones, I’ll just be adding more on top of a clean slate.  Why does it matter when they get paid?  I can’t keep doing this to myself.

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 14: Name time, part two.

Last month, I discovered it’s a bad idea to try and live with a name given to you by someone who you might wind up hating down the road.  I’m glad that I didn’t get anything done legally about it and all I have to do is change it on places like my blog.  (I’d almost forgotten that even needed to, except I clicked the “Random Blog Post” button for a blast from the past year and some inspiration, and found the post where I talked about how I decided on my name.)

Anyway, my ex was the one who decided on the name Calvin, and I kept it in my name even though I never really used it.  Now, any time I see that name, it reminds me of him and what he did to me, and a whole sequence of bad feelings come rushing back, so I’ve decided to drop it, move the “Thomas” back around to the first name spot, and go with my legal last name.  Now my name will read Thomas Jack H______, and it’s considerably less clumsy and more comfortable.  Besides, now that I’m becoming a lot closer to my dad, I’m a lot more comfortable with sharing his last name.  I kind of wanted to change my last name originally because I was afraid he might not want to be associated with me, but he’s become a lot more accepting of it all since then.  Now I’m ready to get my legal name change when that’s ready to happen.

***

I’m also thinking about starting my youtube channel soon.  The computer with the camera doesn’t really work all that well and it doesn’t have much in the way of editing programs, but I figure if I don’t start now then I never will.  I’m having a hard time coming up with an opening topic, though.  I’ll keep looking and when I get it posted, I’ll put a link up.

Peace!

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.

Day Eight: Enter the rat race.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s kinda funny, actually.

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

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

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

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.

Celtic Faire.

I’m going back to volunteer again this year at the community Celtic Faire (kinda like Renaissance Faire, only celebrating  Celtic tradition.)  It’s another sort of geeky paradise, yet another thing I’ve always gone to that falls into the category of  “an excuse to dress up as a man.”  Particularly, I’ve always kind of gone as this bizarre scallywag-type character, not precisely pirate, not precisely knight.  It’s fun, because last year I volunteered there (which basically amounts to pitching your tent on the fairgrounds for four days, doing anything and everything you’re told, and getting to take part in the after-parties which run into all hours of the morning.)  I was working through an injury last year, which meant I never really got to work hard enough to earn the elusive and honored “workhorse” title, but I DID earn a Faire name, basically making me part of the family.

I became known as the Bearded Lady.

Back at that point, I actually thought it was all well and good and fun and games, but I’m not so sure how comfortable I am with it this year.  I’ll probably wear that name with pride as long as I keep coming back to participate in Faire culture, but it’s funny how things that seemed harmless a year ago have developed a knee-jerk reaction of seeming offensive.  I don’t know, it seems easier with this group to just let them believe I’m a tomboy.  I’m not sure how accepting they would really be of my being trans.  Still, Celtic Faire has always been one of those spaces in my life where I was happily known as a boy, at least to the people who visit, if not to the people who run it.

I’m wondering if they’ll even remember me this year, since I’ve gotten my hair cut and changed a few other things about myself, including the way I dress.  I’m thinking I should just go by Tommy and hope they don’t remember who I am, play along, and if they do, just shrug it off and say it’s the nickname my friends have for me lately since I am such a tomboy…

I’m going to the volunteer meeting in 2 hours.  Play it by ear, that’s my motto.

(Also, I’m considering making a kilt for myself this year.  I have a week and a half- wish me luck?)

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