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

Posts tagged ‘testosterone’

1 year on T!

As of yesterday, I’ve been on T for one year.  Hey,  I’ve been growing a little facial hair, you know?

invisible hair

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s not much, but you know, it’s there.  Time to shave, it looks ridiculous.

I’ve been struggling with depression.  There’s nothing there that I haven’t been over a million times, so yeah.

I don’t know what else to say.

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Facial hair (sort of).

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

herp

derp (my eyes look kinda cool in this one)

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

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

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

Halloween was fun.

Day Fourteen: Lark-Inn and America’s Got Talent; Slums and Fame.

I can’t believe everything that’s happened so far.  I haven’t had time really for blogging, vlogging or anything under that umbrella, because I’ve been wildly sick, suffering from a potentially slipped disc, and also staying in a place where I really have no internet access. HOWEVER, you all deserve to know that everything on the whole is well and good.

First order of business:  I am no longer couch surfing.  I got into Lark Inn!!!

It’s terrible.

Naw, just kidding. It’s actually pretty okay.  There are three hot, delicious meals every day, free laundry machines, showers, and of course, a warm (if noisy) place to sleep.  The hoodrat culture there is a little jarring after growing up in a place where the slums are mainly populated with hicks, skinheads and meth addicts; there’s a pretty intensive culture shock.  I think I’m one of about four or five white kids there, mixed in with a vast rainbow of other ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and cultural heritages.  The one thing everyone has in common- even the flaming gay kids- is that they’re all unquestionably tough as nails.  There are some truly incredible individuals surviving in there.  It’s kind of neat to exposed to such a melting pot.  I guess I’m adapting pretty okay, cause nobody’s giving me any shit.

That said, it’s a bad idea to leave any of your stuff lying around because it seems the walls are made of sticky fingers.  Being a forgetful sort of person, this has bit me in the ass a couple times already.  Between last night and this morning, my favorite yellow sunglasses went missing from my bedside, and one person stole my phone a couple days ago (though they owned up to it pretty quickly.)  Nevertheless I’m adapting.

Wait- I left my shampoo and toothbrush in the shower this morning.  DAMMIT.  (God have mercy on the person that decides it’s a good idea to use my toothbrush, I’ve got a pretty nasty fever.)

Speaking of showers and personal space, they put me in the male dorms, for which I am forever grateful, but it’s a little weird to have to shower in the men’s room.  Thank god there are stalls, but I get weirded out by the thought that someone could, at a whim, very easily pull the curtain aside and see my alternative anatomy in all its glory.  If there wasn’t the threat of being kicked out for harassing fellow clients, I’d be a little more uneasy.  Apparently there are a few transphobic clients being housed there, and it gives me the chills to think how easily and quickly something could go wrong in that bathroom.

Sleeping in the same dorm with eight other men is a new experience, too.  Apparently they stuck me in the bed right next to the biggest trouble maker.  BUT, all the dorms are merely divided by walls that don’t reach the ceiling by three feet, so all I’d have to do is make a massive ruckus and I’d have the staff on my dorm in an instant, so I’m comforted by that.

Also too, I’m not the only trans guy here.  There’s one other (possibly more who aren’t obvious) and somehow that makes me feel safer, even though he’s much younger than me.  I get the feeling that he’s got my back should things go wrong.

The roughest thing, honestly, has been the beds.  I mentioned that I might have a slipped disc, and my clinic was supposed to see me about it Monday, but then they pushed me back another week.  The foam mattresses, when compressed by weight, are paper thin, and I honestly wouldn’t have room to complain if my back weren’t so damaged that I can barely tie my shoes!  I wake up every morning feeling ragged and barely able to move, and there aren’t even any pillows to work around the lack of back support.  Luckily, my sweetie bought me a pillow, so last night wasn’t as tough.

Also waking up around 5am with my usual hacking cough and near-asthma attack has been miserable, especially coming down from this cold.  I’ve been trying not to wake up the whole planet with my explosive coughing fits but I’m not sure I’m doing too well, and I’m afraid everyone in my dorm is probably going to destroy me if the pattern keeps up.

There are a lot of strange and arbitrary rules here, but overall the staff has been great and they’ve linked me in with some decent resources.  I honestly found most of them before I moved in, but whatever.  Apparently I won’t get a social worker for a few weeks, but that gives me a little while to catch my breath and see what I can do on my own.

IN OTHER NEWS:

– My name/gender change paperwork is under way.  I’d already have my physician signature for the court order of gender change if my doctor hadn’t called in sick last Friday.  He only shows up Fridays and apparently he won’t be in this Friday either, so that blows, but I’ll be swinging by the clinic this afternoon to see if administration will work with me.  The paperwork process is already going to take long enough (6+ weeks!) without having to wait two more weeks just for a signature.

– I guess LYRIC here in the Castro might be able to work with me on getting an internship to generate income without having to have my I.D. first, so that’s a good thing.  I can’t do the paperwork to start my business (or even get the proper training for it, really!) without an I.D., and you really can’t survive here without at least a little cash, so it looks like my best option.  Besides, it’s doing volunteer work, which is really where I’m at home, I GUESS.  Food banking, here I come, again.   D:

– I’m going on testosterone THIS FRIDAY!!!  😀 I’ve decided I want to find some way to get the tattoo I’ve been wanting for eight years to commemorate the first day I broke my skin to get the right hormones in my body.  Not sure where I can go where they use clean needles and ALSO don’t charge an arm and a leg, but I’ll work something out.  If worst comes to worst, I WON’T get it- as much HIV as there is going around here, I’m valuing my health more than anything.  Clean blood is golden around here.

– OH!  This is the strangest thing of all.

The other day, one of the clients walked in to Lark-Inn, saying they just got back from the America’s Got Talent auditions.  Apparently, they were holding them at Civic Center, a good five blocks from where I was staying.  These sorts of shows really aren’t my thing, but I figured, why the hell not?  I’ve got a good voice, a hell of a story, and an interesting presentation.  Why shouldn’t they want me?  At least, it might be a way off the streets.

So, I went and auditioned.  At first I was nervous because I’d been sick for three days already so my throat was kinda rough, but I’ve got practice pushing through that to create richer tones, so I wasn’t too worried; I knew my throat would suffer for it and be rough by evening, but it would be worth it.

My little gimmick is presenting as male, and then singing classic diva tunes.  At first, I was going to do my rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “Gotta Move” from her titular feature “Color Me Barbra”, but then around noon, I heard that Whitney Houston had passed.  The news shook me so much that I instantly chose to switch to my favorite song of hers, “There Is Music In You” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

Apparently it was a good choice.  After waiting in the audition warm-up auditorium with literally hundreds of people for four hours, watching a vast array of talents (and some crazy people), I was called up with the other a capella singers in my number set to perform.  I’m lucky I scribbled those reminder notes on my palms because my mind blanked on the lyrics more than once, and by the end of the final chorus my hands were tingling like fire and my vision was blacking.  Luckily I kept my voice steady and ended on not too shoddy a final note.  I was happy with the acoustics and poured everything I had into the stretched, full notes, opening my chest into Whitney’s rich tones.  The room echoed and filled (I almost hurt my own ears!) and I didn’t know if I was just biased, but I was happy to think that I sounded better than the other auditionists in my group who’d gone before me.

I’ve been struggling with being stuck firmly in the “Super Soprano” range (as my music teacher called it) for years, stretching my voice as low as it would go, urging it into baritone ranges so that at least I could fake an alto tone, but lately I’ve finally embraced that this is what I was born with- more or less the ability to parrot the classic diva songs.  Soon, when I go on testosterone, I’ll lose that forever, and it’s been strange to find that I’ll miss it more than I realized.  But for now, I hope it will do me well.

After I wrapped up  my audition, I took off for Larkin, as I was cold, tired, and ready for dinner, but halfway back (my phone exploding during a breathless call home), the producers called, saying they needed me back!

I screamed that I’d be back in five minutes and took off running back to the center.  Arriving breathlessly on the fourth floor, I apologized for leaving so quickly.  They wanted to do a more in-depth interview with me, so I explained my background, that I was staying at the shelter, that I wanted to maybe use this opportunity to get off the streets and make a better life for myself, and to challenge the world’s perception of gender.  I also told them I’d be going on hormone therapy later this week and throughout the year, my voice would be dropping.  They seemed genuinely fascinated.

“You said you hope to maintain control over your voice as it drops.  Can you demonstrate your soprano voice for us again, with just thirty seeconds of another song?”

I was floored- I got to sing my Barbra number, too!  I’m not so sure how well I did with that complicated bit at the end of the first verse, but I hope it was impressive enough for them to call me back.  They said they weren’t making decisions today, but I’d know within two weeks whether I made the cut or not. I thanked them and left.

On the way out, I asked the escort who’d called me back up if everyone got called back to do the in-depth interview and sing a second time.  He raised his eyebrows pointedly and said I was the only one in my group who had been called back.

“Wow,” I said. “This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened, you know.  I was in this talent show once, and I thought I did terrible, so I just left as soon as I was done performing and went for tacos.  Turned out later I won the Judge’s Choice award and wasn’t there to accept it.”

He shook his head. “You shouldn’t be so quick to leave auditions like this.  Clearly you’ve got talent.  Give yourself more credit.”

I left feeling a little starstruck.  I’d always poured so much energy into things like drawing, costuming and the visual arts that I’d never considered I might have a chance at singing.  It just seemed like such a fiercely competitive field, and talent at drawing is so much more rare (and the crowd is so much nicer!), so I stuck with art.  I’ve never poured any of my resources into lessons, choir, glee club or anything like that.  But maybe I have a more natural talent singing than I thought.

Or maybe I’m just excited over nothing.  I won’t really care too much if I don’t get called back; there were people who had clearly been rehearsing their acts for months, maybe years, and hung everything on getting in- every one of those people will be heartbroken at getting cut.  I just showed up out of the blue with a shrug on a whim and gave it my best shot.  I’ve got a million other plans for getting out of this place without them.  But still…

I’ve never considered fame and fortune as an option of mine.  I thought I’d be the costume designer backstage, making the true divas shine, smiling from behind the curtain.  Wouldn’t it be strange, and new, and awesome to be in the spotlight?

And just maybe, from there, maybe like Chaz and those before me, I can change the way the world thinks.

Day Four: Why is life so amazing?M

Tis be the time of 1:00am, and I can’t sleep cause my sleeping pattern has been obliterated, but I don’t have the energy to edit videos, so I’m going to do a little blog and keep you all updated till tomorrow when I’m going to finalize and post my vlogs.

I’d like not to go into too much detail because the vlog is already so intensively detailed that I just think it’d be overkill, but I’ll hit on the high points here:

– After I went with my couch host to his school’s LGBTQ resource center, one of his awesome friends pointed me towards Trans Thrive, an absolutely incredible  organization in the city dedicated to keeping trans people healthy and off the streets, HIV prevention, depression, support groups, the works.  Everything you can imagine, they provide.  Long story short, they put me on the fast track to get testosterone- I don’t know how to describe how extraordinary it was that I had an appointment for gender consultation after being in the city for 29 hours.

– I GOT MY SCRIPT.  I am getting my first shot on February 17th at 4pm.  Bow taken.

– I went to this little transmen speed dating thing, and well, I don’t like to kiss and tell, but I will say that I have someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with.  (OKAY I’LL TELL HE’S AN INCREDIBLE TRANS GUY FORMER AIRFORCEMAN HE’S SO FUCKING CUTE okay done having a panic attack of HOW FUCKING AWESOME IS MY LIFE?! )

– There was free HIV testing so I did that, it came up negative, no surprise there.  Tom H., disease-free since 1988. ;D

– It looks as though I’ll be getting free dental, and get this, possibly into a program for getting my top surgery done for free as well.  I’m afraid free top surgery will make me look like frankenstein, but at least my binder won’t be destroying my back any longer, so it’s whatever.

– Speaking of binders, I got a free one from Trans Thrive that ACTUALLY FITS, now isn’t that a novel concept?

– Got a haircut, that’s boring and I’m sure you’ll see it in the videos.

– I got wolf-whistled at in the Castro today.  I feel appropriately male AND fabulous.

– Tomorrow I’m going to a transguy-run super bowl party, which is great because I’ve never had any reason to watch it before.  (I honestly kinda wanted to do my first shot on Super Bowl Sunday cause that just seemed appropriate, but that’s the point at which I cross over from being needy to nitpicky.  The 17th is almost too soon for me to take in!)

 

I’m sure I’m missing things, I didn’t ask my Puppy if it was okay to write about him yet either so I won’t go into a lot of detail till later, but MAN did I luck out, he’s the sweetest most incredible level-headed generous adventurous soul with a knack for back massage and GOD, what did I ever do to deserve all this good all at once?

I’m preparing honestly for something absolutely devastating to happen.

About Monday- there’s a sad thing, that you can’t take advantage of the food pantries around here without a proof of residence in the SF zip codes, which seems counterintuitive to trying to serve the homeless, because I’d update my I.D. if I actually HAD  an address.  ANYWAY, I’m going to the Transgender Law Center monday to see if they can help me sort my expired license out so maybe i can get food stamps.  Mmm, edible things.

Also monday I’m getting my blood work done.  There was someothing else but i literally just fell asleep at the keyboard, so i’m surre i’ll remember in the morning.  I love ALL YOUR FACES, you mean the world to me, dear readers, truly. MUST SLEEP

/END TRANSMISSION
 

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.

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.

BUSYBUSYBUSYBUSYBUSY

If you’d like me to describe my life over the last few months, here it is.

1) Work.

2) Sleep.

Essentially, that’s it.  I’ve actually been so drained after work that I’ve been coming home and crashing sometimes as early as 6 in the evening.  That said, I have been waking up at ungodly hours and getting online because I can’t fall back asleep, so really I guess I don’t have any excuse for not blogging other than I’m pretty damn lazy at 4 in the morning.

But enough of that.  I have managed a couple of life updates despite my job sucking my life’s blood from me.

– For one, my friends and I have finally been getting our finances together enough to be moving out.  We’re looking at being able to go by this weekend, if all our reference checks could return their damn calls.  So, for all intents and purposes, this may be the last blog I type from my parent’s home.

– My gender therapist basically recommended me to move on to the next step and pursue a doctor who would prescribe me testosterone.  That process has been ongoing and I have yet to hear back from her, even though I sent in the paperwork weeks ago and they said they’d get back within 4 business days on the outside.  I have to give them a call.

So, that’s where I am in a nutshell.  I can’t think of much else to update.  I pass probably 30 percent of the time consistently with people who didn’t previously know me, and closer to 70 percent of the time with people who haven’t heard me talk yet.  My voice pretty much breaks any preconceptions, and it makes phone communications pretty much suck the life out of me.  If no other reason I’d like to get on T for that.

OH!  I had my first child misgendering experience the other day.  I hear of it happening all the time to other transpeople, but it seemed so cliche to happen to me.  A client with a little boy came in for an intake the other day, and I had them follow me back to the conference room.  From behind me, I heard the little voice ring out-

“Mommy, is that a boy or a girl?”

I almost cracked up right then and there.  And then she answered- “That’s a girl, honey.”  I didn’t even know how to respond- I just pretended I didn’t hear them.  How do you respond to that?  “Actually, ma’am, I think your boy was closer to the truth than you…”  How do you even humiliate someone like that, cause a scene, etc.-

And I feel ashamed for not standing up for myself.  I feel like I’m demanding so much of the people who have to deal with me every day, but I’m letting other people slide, and it’s not fair to this person or that person-

It’s all just stupid.  Why can’t people be okay with the fact that sometimes, the gender drama just isn’t worth it to me and I don’t give a shit what people call me, as long as it doesn’t become some stupid drawn out soap opera?

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