Friday, October 31, 2008

Hormones-Day 01

As I write, I am occasionally taking a sip of regular, ordinary water, from a rather ordinary styrofoam cup. It would be a typical experience, except I'm using this most mundane beverage to wash down my very first dose of spironolactone. And to clear the taste of a sublingual estrogen tablet I took just moments ago. And besides all that, there is a new estrogen patch on my belly, just barely off my right hip.

It is 30 minutes untill I leave work to go home, and I write with my emotions spinning. I finally have estrogen in my system, though I don't feel it yet of course. And my testosterone and dht levels will be dropping soon from the spiro. This is something I have waited for all my adult life. And I am thrilled. Even though its to early for the drugs to take effect, I already feel different. Just knowing what is happening inside me now makes me so happy. 

But yet I am scared out of my mind. I don't have prescriptiosn for any of the 3 mentioned drugs, or the fincar i plan to start a little later, or the progestin I am to take for parts of the month. As a matter of fact, I got all my dosing instructions form a shady online site. I am at a job that will fall through if I am still here when changes get to be to much to hide. I live with my parents, who can not cope with this yet. 

And when transition does force me to relocate, the economy is at an all time low, and the ob market is almost surely slow. And how will I find a way to pay for an apartment, car repair, food, counseling, and eventual endocrinologist stuff? And what will this do to my family? And when I move, where will I find a landlord who doesn't mind my crazy giant parrot? 

All that spins through my head. Plus I am realizing that I am starting 5 prescription strength drugs. Me, who has always been so cautious not to over medicate. I take antibiotics only if its the last option. Headaches have ot last several hours before I take a pain reliever better than asprin. And now I have a dosing table! It is so scary to me.

But I need this change. And waiting just hurts more and more. I'm at a point where I feel a need to just do what needs done, and then face the consequences as they come. Despite my employment, family, housing and health concerns I am happy. My body will finally be what it was meant to be. 

Whether this was the most reckless thing I have ever done, or the beginning of the most transforming, momentous experience of my life, I have no idea. I'm sure anyone who reads this will think I am crazy. Maybe I am. But wow, I feel so alive. Right now, I can imagine a future for myself, and it doesn't feel like an idle fantasy to stay sane now. I jsut hope it can really happen.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Fear Realized: Car Trip Hell

Car pooling. Isn't it great? You save money. You burden the energy infrastructure just a touch less, and you reduce your impact on global warming. I live in a very small town, and my parents both work there too, so we ride together when we can, since we all generally work a standard 8 to 4 sort of shift. 

One day last week, I showed up at 4 to drive Mom home and something happened I have been dreading for months. (Dad was elsewhere.) She confronted me on transgenderism. We have clashed in the past. And probably one of the biggest things holding me back in this world is a need for her aproval. So her insults just cut to my heart.

The whole thing started over my hair. I had not even given any thought to it all day. For the last couple weeks my sleep schedule has been off and I've not had time to even blow dry it, much less flat iron it. So I've been going to work with caveman/Einstein hair. On the day in question I had a little extra time so I managed to blow dry it. And something peculiar happened. The stars and planets must have all fallen into line perfectly, and there was this rare phenomonon, where the ends of my hair curled in various directions, looking for the world like an intenntional attempt at flipping it. But there was no time to flat iron, so I just went to work.

Anyway! When mom got in the passenger seat that evening, she was all smiles at first. But then she stared for a moment and her face just went white. And I am sure mine did to in reaction to hers because I knew what would happen next.

What followed was a 25 minute commute, with her complaining that I was probably the talk of the town. And how I was going to be such an embarrassment to everyone. How her and Dad had apparently messed up terribly raising me. And of course there were jabs reminding me that I would never have kids or a normal life. And how in her view I would never be able to have normal friends. She told me I would be damned. She told me that she would never be seen in public with me looking the way I look, and that I was going to have to "tone it down."

I stood my ground the entire trip. But I never bothered to tell her again for the thousandth time that I am a woman. I just listened to her spin the same round of arguments over and over, and continued to tell her that I must be free to be myself. And whoever wants to accept me can, and whoever does not can say what they like.

In the end, all her arguments gravitated back to herself, and it was one hundred percent "What will people think of me having a weirdo for son?" She kept telling me how selfish I was, and that I was aging her. She never seems to see that this is not a choice. I only want to be myself. And there is nothing wrong with who I am. So if she thinks I am to "man up" and spend my life living an act to protect her reputation, then who is the selfish one?

At one point I was angrily debating her and my bangs fell into my eyes. Without thinking, I raised my hand up and gave my bangs an angry little flip. Suddenly she was accusing me of INTENTIONALLY feminizing my actions. I was livid. Back when I was a child, I was free to act how I wanted. Then in grade school I got teased and ended up marching around with my hands in fists til I was 25. And now here I am, not being mindful of things like that anymore, and here is my own mother, basically implying I should start paying attention to how I move and get back to my old, quiet, anti-social, clinched fisted, male emulating self. 

The argument was getting nowhere and she saw she was losing ground. So eventually she told me she felt she was an "enabler", allowing me to have rooms at her home, and that someday she was going to burn all my clothes.

I suddenly felt outraged. It showed that from her point of view, this is all about trying to dress up and look pretty. And there was an unspoken implication that since I lived under her roof, she could tell me how to live out my life. I screamed that I would move. I hoped she would be angry enough to just say "Fine!" 

I know I need out, but I have dreaded trying to move because I know they will realize why I am leaving and what I will do. If we could just both settle my moving out while we were angry. But no, she would not let me off the hook that easily. She immediately recanted her threat to burn my things.

She can't stand the thought of having me move. Part of it is because she sincerely does worry about what will happen to me. But it is also about control. I told her I would still move as soon as I could, to spare her embarrassment. 

When the trip was finally over I was sitting alone crying, my head in my lap. I heard someone come into the room and refused to look up, thinking Mom was back to belittle me some more. But it was Dad. He asked if my hair was what started all the arguing. Without lifting my head I explained that it wasn't intentional, that I only blow dried it and brushed it out and that it came out that way. He didn't need a justification. But Mom had me feeling defensive.

I sat sideways on the couch facing away. But suddenly I was conscious of my posture. Maybe I was sitting to femme. I didn't feel like thinking about it, I just knew I didn't want anyone even thinking silently that I was faking. So I grabbed a near by quilt to cover myself from the shoulders down.

Dad sat behind me and put his hand on my shoulder and I raised a hand to his. We sat quietly for a few minutes and the stress of the confrontation with Mom just slipped gradually away. I think Dad could tell when I was settled enough, and suddenly we were talking again. Not about hair, posture, hair flips or gender. But about the latest iPhone software update. 

I found myself enjoying the conversation comfortably, free to be myself. Unmindful of whether I seemed falsely femme, or if I was coming across as a ridiculous little priss. I was just me, and dad was just dad. It was nice. Somehow he always knows what I need. its like he can read my mind.

As he let the room he asked if I would like to go with him to visit grandmother in the hospital. I said I would love to go if I am not an embarrassment to be seen with. He said I was not, and had a facial expression that clearly said the notion was incredulous. It was the answer I wanted and I knew it was sincere. 

In the end, I am just glad that I stood my ground. Used to confrontations like this damaged my self esteem and left me feeling shameful. This time I felt drained. But my self esteem remained intact and I was unapologetic about being transgender. 

For a thirty year old to be this worried about parental aproval and this tied down might seem strange to some reading this. But really I have come along way in the past year.

One other thing I must mention. As Dad left the room after our conversation, he told me he would hate to see me move. I know his reasons are unlike Mom's. Its not about control. he worries about me, and he wants time with me. And life is so short. I don't want to be 100s of miles away. But living as I am, I'm so depressed and preoccupied with just wishing I were free to be me. We would have more quality family time, if I could leave just far enough to be independent. 

I just want a town where people will tolerate me, and a few will like my company. I only want the freedom to be myself.

Friday, I straightened my hair, curled the ends under and trimmed up my bangs. The whole effect was very femme and I loved it. I carpooled with Mom morning and evening, and we carried on normal, civilized conversations. I'm not sure what she is thinking at this point. But I stood up to her and things are okay.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hope: In Dress Form

Last weekend was a wild ride emotionally, starting low but ending wonderfully. I stayed Friday night with my best friends and got to use their apartment Saturday morning to prep for my day in Louisville en femme. But when Saturday morning finally arrived it was fraught with challenges. My skin was all messed up from stress and hair removal demands. Two of the tops I was considering just looked to big for me that morning, though I felt great about each the last time I wore them. No matter what I did I felt like I looked to bad to be seen in public. Then to top it all off, I ran out of time panicking about clothes and had to rush with my makeup. Which came out so bad that I had to touch up the foundation through out the day. I ended up giving up on both outfits and settling on my tried and true black knee length, high necked maxi, which covered enough of my pitiful skin to give me a little confidence.

Once I was on the road things went great though. I traveled and conducted business, free to be myself, and without anyone saying a negative word to me, though I did get a few stares. I topped off my day by visiting a friend of mine who sells mary kay . It was a very pleasant stay. She always makes me feel so normal. She taught me some interesting new makeup techniques while I was there as well, and i got to try out some shades of MK eye makeup and lip gloss that were new to me. 

I made it back to Richmond without incident, pretty much. Some punky teenager yelling "fucking queer" at me while I was eating at the food court was the only bad thing that happened all day. No worries. I'm not on hormones yet and its ok if I can't pass until later. Maybe its okay if I never can, as long as I get to be myself full time eventually. 

Then Monday, my new dress arrived, instantly becoming my absolute favorite possession. All black lace, with a creamy silk shell beneath. I've never had such a confidence inspiring garment. The fit was flattering, and the elbow length sleeves and high neck obscured my razor burned chest and arms. I felt so femme; so hopeful. And so I decided to stay up late, do my makeup and take a few photos for a self esteem boost. 

With no timeframe and no one to judge the results but myself, makeup was stress free and I finished in record time, with the best results I have ever had. Saturday's makeup issues and getting yelled at by that loud mouth teen in the mall had shaken my confidence. Monday night, standing in my new dress, with my best makeup work ever, all that was swept away. I saw myself, the real me in the mirror. I saw the me I wish I could present to the world and I've never felt more hopeful, confident, beautiful. 

After I put my dress away I slept peacefully, feeling strong hope that maybe someday I can have the one thing I want more than anything else. Just a normal woman's life.

More of the dress photos are at:

I just love it!