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

Posts tagged ‘testosterone’

Day 13: I have defeated sleep.

Just felt like informing you all that this is the first time I’ve ever gotten on the computer after a long day, sat down and stayed on it until the sun came up the next morning. Feels weird, man. Without the sleep in the middle, I feel like I’m still in yesterday.

In 21 years I’ve probably never gone 24 hours without at least 5 hours of sleep, and that’s skimping- my usual runs somewhere around 9. And yet, I really don’t feel tired- I just kinda feel like I’ve somehow crossed the threshold into the Twilight Zone.

***

Seeing as that’s completely unrelated to gender and I promised I’d spend this entire month forcing myself to talk about gender every day and hopefully get it out of my system, I guess I’ll go into what happened yesterday.

Um, I got to hang out with my dad a lot.  And there was, like, father-son bonding and shit.  This has happened a lot recently and I find that it’s very cool that I don’t have to go to someone else to learn how to be a man.  Yep.

What else.  Uhhh…  I guess the lack of sleep is making me more likely to spell out what I’m muttering as I try to come up with something.  We’re now going to try not to do that because it looks stupid.

…I actually just had to delete an “Errrrrm…”, which is brilliant.  It’s like I’m on chat or something.

Anyway.  Oh, yes.  My sex drive is definitely returning.  For a few months there, I was completely turned off the idea of sex in general.  I was really worried when it became the case that pictures did nothing for my libido.  I was getting to the point where I’d be looking for something, anything, to turn me on and I couldn’t find anything online, even the sort of stuff I knew used to get me going.  It all kinda just looked like art to me.

But then tonight I happened to run across a little gay porn in the forum I frequent, and I felt that old familiar sproing.  Maybe I’ll be able to enjoy sex again in the future.  Meanwhile I have to deal with wanting it and not really having the option…

…Which somehow seems like it’ll be easier now that I have all these new things along with my genital dysphoria, such as shame and anxiety.  All I really want right now from anyone is a bj, I think, and it’s not going to feel quite right until I get at least a little growth going on.  It seems like sex with other people might just serve to screw more with my dysphoria, so it’s easier not to rush into things and appreciate the solitude.

Still, though, I do miss the intimacy.  That’s one thing that makes me feel like less of a dude.  I ALMOST, not really, but almost like snuggling better than the sex itself, and it’s hard to ask that of someone you’re not intimate with, for some reason.  Hell, it’s hard even to admit to.  Sometimes I feel just… hungry, though, and physical contact of any sort is enough to start filling the void- the more skin contact, the better, in that holding hands is like a granola bar and naked snuggling is like a buffet.  It’s like sleep and food and water all at once and I feel so energized and yet relaxed afterwards- just replenished, I guess is the word.

This blog has kind of taken a weird, non-gender related turn, but whatever, it’s all about keeping it real, I guess.  The point is, women are “supposed” to want intimacy and so they trade sex to get it, and men are “supposed” to want sex and therefore trade intimacy for it, and right now I guess I’d trade a certain amount of sex if it meant I could have someone to hold.  I’m getting lower on energy by the day, and paradoxically, sleeping at night gets harder because of it.  You’d think I’d sleep more, but no- well, unless it’s during the day, I guess.  My sleep schedule gets all screwed up…

So, I’m starting to feel that my pride may have to take a back burner to my health, because I just feel like my eyes are becoming sunken and gray.

Or maybe I just to finally go to bed.

(Im’ma write about something REALLY embarrassing tomorrow!)

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.

Day Three: Freewriting.

I knew this day would happen pretty quickly- I’d hit a day in the Challenge where I had to sit down and write something gender related, and I wouldn’t be able to come up with something that I haven’t already beaten to death or that I don’t want to think about, etc.  So I think I’m just going to freewrite and see where it goes from there.

I feel like I’ve finally crossed that threshold- that I’ve gotten as far as I can without taking testosterone, and it’s taken me almost a year.  That must be why that seems to be the standard unit of time they make you go through before they usually put you on T.

I’ve gotten to where I can actually walk into a men’s room, use my STP at the urinal without any trouble or even any nervousness, within a few feet of someone else, walk out and not see a single sign of questioning from any of the guys.

I’ve deflected my first “Are you a guy or a girl?” without missing a beat.  I’ve gotten my voice (with some straining) to sound semi-natural, at least, like a guy going through puberty, and not like a chick trying to sound like a dude.  And essentially, I feel like I’m about to go through my real puberty.

In a way, I kind of feel like a neophyte- I’ve heard it said that we all technically start out as female, and the only thing that really scientifically determines whether our genitals come out male or female is hormones.  Now, it’s obviously all far more complicated than that, and my feelings really can’t fit with the way a lot of other people feel, especially from a feminist perspective, but I feel like I’m just late on my development- like I’ve somehow become an adult without fully developing.  (Now, before anybody gets up in arms, I’d like to say that I know there are horrible implications in that thought, as if to say that women aren’t fully human yet, but that’s so far from what I’m trying to say that it’s not even relevant.)

The point here is that I feel like my body and mind were engineered to receive that boost of testosterone eventually, and as long as I don’t get it, I’m going to just hover around puberty for the rest of my life.  My looks reflect that feeling- people generally estimate my age to be somewhere between 13 and 16 years old, and I’m 21.  It’s extremely irritating that “wow” is the typical sentiment when I say that I’m 21.  I feel like my lack of T is holding me back from growing up, and when I get it and I’ve been on it for a year or two, I might even look something a little closer to my age.

In another way, though, it’s a kind of miraculous thing.  I never really got to have a boy’s childhood, and while my paperwork may say that I’m already a legal adult, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to go through my proper puberty with my body at least close to the right age.  They say that HRT is like a second and accelerated puberty, so ultimately, I’m grateful for my condition as it is because it’s so compatible with what I’m about to do with it that it’s as if I had it custom ordered for the job of being FTM.

Wow, you really learn a lot about how you really feel about things when you just sit down and start writing without any goal in mind.

About that thing… (sex)

So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how my sex issues have been working out.  Either people are having the same problems and they’re looking to me for the answers, or they’re just generally curious, but either way I’ve been wanting to make another sex-related post anyway, so here’s to it.

To start, my partner and I have just been more or less negotiating a lot on when to do what.  As I’ve said before, I have a lot of problems bottoming lately, and he just generally doesn’t want to a lot of the time.  But after I sat him down and said to him, that old classic line: “I have needs, too,” and pointed out that I really only got to top about 20% of the time, and asked him to try and imagine what it would be like if the tables were turned, he really put himself in my shoes and put a lot more effort into trying to accommodate.

Aside from that, we’ve been trying to find a natural rhythm in which to switch back and forth.  I’ve discovered something rather counter-intuitive about myself.

I have moments where I feel more or less in tune with my female side, and more moments where I’m in tune with my male self.  When I’m in tune with my male energy, I feel a lot more confident and comfortable in just about every area of life- except the ones that enhance what I don’t have, specifically, my penis.  So (and I’m assuming this will change when I get on T), when I’m feeling more male, I have a really hard time doing anything in bed that really has anything to do with the genital I have.

But when I’m in tune with my female energy, I feel awkward, overly sensitive, and generally weirded out in every area- except where sex is concerned.  I’m assuming this is because when I’m doing something that’s so basic and physical in nature, it’s better for my energy to be attuned to something that matches my body, rather than my mind.

So, to recap, I’m basically only comfortable with sex- and sex only- when I’m in tune with my female energy, and therefore with my body, but I’m far more comfortable with pretty much everything else when I’m in tune with my male energy, and therefore my soul.

I’m starting to feel that this problem could be rectified by having the full battery of surgeries and bringing my body in line with my soul, because quite frankly, the moments where I’m in tune with my female energy are far more few and far between.

Anyway, we’re trying to sync up the times when I bottom with the times when I feel more or less comfortable with my body, and topping with when I feel more male, particularly when I’m feeling very, very inadequate and unhappy about my… bits and pieces.  It works some of the time, but sometimes it’s unpredictable how I’m going to feel about it afterwards.  It can be very upsetting sometimes to try and force a stiff upper lip and take it on bottom without getting emotionally disturbed, and think that everything’s going to be okay, and then afterwards, feel completely broken and worthless, as if everything I’ve ever stood up for and fought for and every piece of manhood that I’ve built up from scratch has been ripped away, and I just stood and watched and let it happen because I loved the person who was doing it, and they didn’t even know what they were doing- god, that got to be a lot more dismal than I meant for it to be.

But anyway, it can be dangerous to think that I’m not going to feel like that and it wind up being that way, if I don’t want to be depressed for the rest of the day.  It can take every last bit of inner strength to build myself back up from something like that, and I think he’s finally starting to get what it takes out of me.  So, I get to top a little more these days.

On the subject of topping, I have a personal question for any of the guys out there who have had the problem of not having a member where they felt one was supposed to be.  This could be graphic, so speed away if you’re bothered by that sort of thing.  It’s also a pretty weird subject, even for this blog, so I don’t know how easy it will be for most of you to suspend your disbelief…  anyway, the point is, proceed at your own risk.

Sometimes I really have this feeling as if there’s one there, and it’s just… invisible, and untouchable.  The feeling of wanting someone to be able to touch it has been so strong in the past that I’ve actually had the experience of… well, I don’t know if there’s a word or a phrase for it, so I’m just going to call it “sensation transference.”  In other words, if there’s a part of my body that resembles the shape of said member, specifically, a finger, that is touched, or stroked, or even sucked in an erotic way, it can almost feel like the part that’s missing, to the point that if I close my eyes, I can even forget for brief periods it’s not there.  So… basically, for the time being, any time things get hot and heavy, my right pointer finger has inadvertently become my penis.

That can become awkward.  I’ve noticed a particularly strange characteristic in these last couple weeks- I think it’s subconsciously programmed itself due to my behavior over the months, but whenever I’m aroused, it feels really, really bizarre to try and bend my finger.  Not painful or anything like I’d suspect it feels to bend a natural one, but it’s sort of strange, like trying to watch a contortionist… or feels weird in that way that it’s odd to move your toes when they’re asleep- you know you should be feeling one thing, but you’re feeling something entirely different.  So, when I’m aroused, my finger’s default position is to be pointed, and I CAN unpoint it if I focus on it, but only when I notice and really pay attention to it.

Long story short, I get finger boners.

But on the other hand, we got some finger cots and I keep my nails cut short, and it feels REALLY, REALLY amazing when I really get in the zone and penetrate my partner.  It can almost be enough to stave off the dysphoria on most days.  Sometimes, though, the mental disjunction of the distance between where my finger attaches to the knuckle of my hand and where my penis should attach to my body can snap me back to reality with the weirdness of it, and sometimes even make things worse if the illusion breaks hard enough.  It all depends on how focused, or unfocused I am on any given element of the situation.  It’s all jumping through mental hoops.  But hell, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the face.  On some days, I can be satisfied!

So, does anyone else experience this strong penis-finger connection, this “sensation transference,” or am I the only weirdo who has this thing?

Random bits and pieces.

I’ve developed this weird little rash on my neck where my Adam’s Apple should be.  Yesterday, it looked like a hickey, which is weird because nobody’s been kissing me there.  Today, it feels bumpy and weird.  I don’t like to make a big deal out of unrelated events, but it just kinda tickled me- as if my body is going, “Look here.  You see this?  This here?  This is where this lump should be, and it’s not.  What the fuck.”

Also, I’ve been pumping, so “little friend” (as I call it) has been growing, I think.  I don’t know how much bigger, to be specific, or if anyone out on the interwebs needs to know the details, but my partner said it looks bigger, and he’s not the sort to say things just to make me feel better.  So that’s kind of exciting.

Insurance is being a dick.  I keep doing something wrong, or sending something in the wrong date, or etc. etc., and all I really want is to be able to go talk to a doctor about getting a T prescription.  I’m not asking for insurance to pay for it, I’ll pay for it myself, cent for cent.  But this is taking FOR-FUCKING-EVER, this red tape.  Plus, social services screwed me over for food stamps last year.  They said that when I was trying to cancel food stamps, THEY made a mistake, some sort of clerical error, and need ME to pay them back $200.  Are you kidding me?  I’ve been trying my damnedest just to hold on to $200, let along the $500 I need to get my car fixed- and yes, I’m in a situation where I don’t need help with food, but I AM ALSO in a situation where I DON’T need to owe people money!  This sucks azz, bro.

It just seems like the world is trying to hold me back from medically transitioning, because it’s taking forever to get this freaking ball rolling.  I’m going to be filling out the paperwork, AGAIN, hopefully for the last time, today.

I think my body’s catching on, though, in lieu of the ability to get testosterone in my body.  For instance, I’m noticing hair growing on my back and shoulders and all kinds of areas where I never really noticed any before.  Also, apparently my voice is deep enough for me to at least pass as a 15 year old boy.  I think it might be more of an inflection thing, and some of the voice stretching exercises.

Although I quit the minoxidil a little while back (read the comments on “Quick update: Minoxidil” for the reasons why), my eyebrows have been growing in a more male shape, which may or may not be due to the minoxidil.  I’ve been shaving my face a lot more often lately, too- it was kind of hard to let go of the tiny bits of peach fuzz at first, but then reading that it can actually incriminate more than having a clean shaven face (because men either have stubble or nothing and only women have peach fuzz), I reluctantly picked up the razor.  I’ve read both ways- that it’s an old wives tale that shaving makes your hair grow in darker, or that it’s just because the ends are more blunt when you shave off the tips, but either way, I think it’s been growing a little faster.

In order to give me more incentive to shave it off, I went to the store and bought this totally badass razor that has all these metallic bits and functions, and it came in a set with a bunch of guy-smelling soap and deodorant, all for $8, too, so I felt really good about that.  I was getting low on my shampoo.

All these little things and everything else coming together, plus just relaxing into a male identity and being more confident about it, I think is contributing to the amount of people reading me as male lately.  It was funny- at Faire, that group who initiated me, they were first a lot more awkward trying to tell me that they’d decided amongst themselves that I looked way better as a dude than as a chick.  They couldn’t imagine how epic it was to hear that!

I think it’s when you travel back, you can see how far you’ve come.  Last night, I was practicing one of my theatrical makeup techniques (specifically, how to make your eyebrows disappear without shaving them off) and it worked so well, I wound up turning it into a celebrity impersonation photoshoot for my makeup portfolio.  If you’ve ever heard of Amanda Palmer, you know it’s necessary to have no eyebrows to dress as her.  But you’ll also understand why, dressing as her, it was the first time in a long time I felt that comfortable wearing a dress.  She tends to defy gender boundaries, and that makes me happy.

Anyway, I noticed something in the pictures that jarred me a little- I didn’t look female when I put on makeup anymore.  I looked very distinctly like a drag queen!  That tells me how far I’ve come- I can’t look completely female anymore, even when dressing as one.  I knew that day would come, but I didn’t expect it this soon.

Family issues- my dad’s was trying at first, I think, to be accepting, but something’s going wrong here, because I don’t think he’s taking me seriously.  I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m going through a phase, and his latest hobby has been dropping little hints to remind me “what I really am.”  I think that he thinks he’s doing me a favor.  It feels like shit.  Like, every single little time I let my front of masculinity down the slightest bit, he’s there to catch me and remind me that “men do this and this,” or “you wouldn’t get it, it’s a guy thing.”  I have to conform to every single binary to get my dad to take me seriously, and it sucks ass, because I know he thinks I’m fake, and the way it’s going, he’s basically making me act fake so he’ll think I’m real.  He’s the only person who has power over me this way.  With everyone else, I can flaunt the gender binary and laugh when they look confused.  I don’t much care what people think.  With my dad, I really, really want him to think of me as his son… and he’s making me jump through hoops to get it.  It doesn’t help that I’m going out with a guy, either.  I’m sure that if I’d been born completely male, and if I were going out with a guy, he’d think I was a sissy-boy, too.  I don’t know how to resolve this.  He needs to understand that I’m not a traditional, cut-out male, but I’m not female, either.  I’m just his kid, hopefully his son, and if I’m not perfect, then too bad, because I’d be really boring if I were.  I’m doing the best I can to reconcile the two sides of my gender, and he’s not making it any easier.  In fact, he’s making it harder than anyone else, because I actually value his opinion.  I wonder, if he saw that, would he try to hurt me like this all the time?

Transmen Haiku

A haiku about my perspective on the beginning of transition-

We are all young boys

Fighting for our puberties

Held back as children.

~

I’ve been feeling more like that lately than ever.  It seems like my childhood was stolen from me, and we have to fight the whole world, at every step, tooth and nail for our rights to have that experience.  But when we’re going through it, we’re gaining back our boyhoods, day by day, at an age that’s way too late, along with having to deal with the responsibilities of being adult.  At best, I’d say it’s a unique perspective through which to see life.

(I’d like to point out that I don’t mean this to be offensive- I don’t view a state of femininity as a childlike state in any way!  I just feel denied the hormones that I should have gotten around the age of 13.)

My voice just cracked.

I’d like to do a really short update and let you all know that I’ve been on a voice exercise regimen that I basically created for myself from the Rent soundtrack (cheesy, I know).  It’s about an hour of singing and stretching my vocal chords down as far as I can (I’d really like to try and create a guide eventually, because it goes in a rather specific way with warmups and so forth, and it’s quite fun).

I’ve been at it for a few weeks, and when I started I really couldn’t sing any lower than the tenor parts (I’ve been trained as a soprano my whole life, so that’s a hard habit to break.)  But just this morning, a few weeks later, I started off basically singing the bass parts with little difficulty, which was sort of an instant snap.

I think my voice cracked.

This is incredibly positive for me, because my voice was part of the major trinity of things that I’m sure will secure my ability to be read as male in a social setting,  (which, if you’re curious, was voice, proper binding, and facial hair), and one of two things I was fairly certain that I couldn’t get without hormones.  What this does for me, by proxy, is ensure my future fertility- I’ll explain this.

I’d really like to be able to preserve my eggs before I get on testosterone, as I’ve said before.  This really puts a kink in my schedule to get on testosterone, because I doubt I’ll be able to afford it any time soon.  Now, don’t get me wrong- I plan on getting on testosterone eventually, 100% no doubt about it, if for no other reason than to feel right INTERNALLY, even if it had no effect on my exterior.  BUT, if I can achieve those three checkpoints into being read as male without having to go on testosterone, it will make waiting to get on testosterone infinitely more bearable, and I probably won’t turn around one day and say, “You know what?  FUCK my future kids, I just want my T!”

Achieving the second point of the trinity, with facial hair possibly on its way, will definitely make my life easier.

Ivy, my baby girl.

Last night, I dreamed that my lover and I were getting married.  He was wearing the most amazing white wedding gown and he looked like a princess.  I was wearing a tuxedo.  When we walked into the chapel, which had been barren before, the entire place bloomed to life with plants and vines and flowers and it was as if the entire world had become a beautiful and colorful place.

His bouquet was made of baby’s breath and ivy.  When we reached the altar, time slowed and stopped, and he handed his bouquet to me.  As I gazed at it, I knew our destiny.  One day, I told him, we’re going to have a baby girl, and we’re going to name her Ivy.

When I woke up, I felt on fire.

I’ve been wanting to figure out some way to preserve my eggs so I can get on testosterone and still be a daddy some day.  The main problems I have with this are the financial implications- it’s going to take me a lot longer to save up enough money to be able to extract and preserve my eggs than it would just to fling that dream to the wind and go on testosterone soon as possible.  I know I could still adopt, or find some other way to have a surrogate mother, but more and more often lately I’ve been feeling that I want my baby to be mine.  Is that too much to ask?  Should I just accept that any baby is as precious as one that comes from my genetics?  Am I being too hoity-toity in wanting to be the biological father of my child?

Quick update: Minoxidil.

I know that I already posted today, but I just wanted to make a log of this.

I just got back from the drug store with a month’s supply of 5% topical minoxidil (for growing facial hair, as stated in my previous posts and here on the Beard Board).  I’ve already applied the first day’s application, and I can state that I’ve had no burning or tingling sensation.

It seemed important to me to kickstart growing facial hair, since I haven’t been able to get in with a gender therapist for some time and I’ve been hearing terrifying rumours that some of them require us to live a year full-time before they’ll write the script for testosterone.  Quite frankly, I just don’t think I should have to wait that long before I start working on something that I could simply shave off.  I’ve been committed to living fulltime for over half a year already (not to mention the several years of questioning and figuring out the gender dysphoria beforehand) and I’ve come out to my friends, family and everyone else important in my life already.  I’m living by my new name, I wear a binder and other gendered items daily and there’s nothing left about me that belies femininity aside from the things I can’t change, such as my facial shape, hips and voice.  I’ve crossed lines of androgyny with such considerable comfort and ease already that I think one more firm gender marker, such as facial hair, could tip the scales enough to where my social role of male will be set, even in spite of my voice, and my dysphoria could be minimally alleviated for the time being.  This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t still be looking to get on testosterone- there’s nothing else I can find that would fix my voice.

All that said, it seemed important to log my use of Minoxidil, as there were some health warnings on the box.  It warned women not to use it (it could cause harm during breast feeding and pregnancy, which I have nothing to worry about, and could cause facial hair growth in women, which I WANT.)  It also said not to use on other parts of the body other than the crown of the head, but I forego that warning at my own risk- other men have without any harm, AND with the desired effect.  So, as of January the 18th, 4 in the afternoon, I have started my regimen of topical minoxidil, 5%, applied to the face.

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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