Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Just me. Nothing more. A simple, honest snapshot of an awkward, but exciting and wonderful point in my transition. I've always been afraid to post videos. Seeing photos is one thing, while seeing and hearing me, its just scary imagining what people will think. Today I decided the best way to get past that fear would be to start with a video that shows me without any of the props I use to define my image. No dresses, no makeup, no carefully ironed hair. Just the natural me. I did it partially because I know there's no need to fear the camera, once I've presented myself like this. And partially because this blog is meant to document transition and this is a phase in my personal journey. This is the version of me that the world sees everyday. The boy mode version that gets laughed at in new restaurants. The version that everyone around me is trying to understand. The me of the moment. And I am fine with that, and comfortable presenting it. This incarnation is a means to an end. A step in a process. A bridge to the life I know I am meant to have.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

...Of Decorations, Devices, and Dinosaurs

Once there was a magical fairy princess, who lived in a primeval forest with her human parents, who cherished and loved her as a son. It was all quite ideal, except for the "son" notion, but she harbored no resentment. After all, she was quite unusually tall, and had an unfortunate propensity for growing facial hair.


Wrong story!

That is a fairy tale for another day. But for now, harken unto this heraldic and fanciful tale, of Shandy Alexis: blogger, debutante, and fashionista extraordinaire. Also, the fabled master of the thesaurus built into Apple's OS X dashboard, or so some iterations of the legend go...


Oops! Thats still a bit over the top. Its so hard to find decent narrators these days.

To put it simply, I've had a great holiday, and I'm very happy. Happy enough that my quirky sense of humor is working obviously. :P

I was dreading Christmas Eve at my grandmother's, because the Aunt and Uncle who are so opposed to me would be there, and several of the other relatives there have not seen me in a while. Everything went smoothly though, and no one treated me any differently than past years. The before mentioned Aunt actually went out of her way to be civil.

Christmas morning, my parents were both thrilled with the gifts I selected. This was a relief, because my budget was a bit lower this year, with so many transition expenses effecting me. Besides that, I have felt a bit distracted and not as focused this year on buying just the right thing. In the end, they were pleased though and I was happy to have found things they liked.

I am happier with my presents than I have ever been. Usually there is at least one item gender specific and leaning toward male. When such gifts continued to come after I came out to them, it started getting upsetting. I limit my travels and put my transitional activities on hold through the holidays to prevent stressing them. Instead of responding in kind, by dodging the issue with gender neutral gifts, they have often bought male specific things that hurt my feelings.

It was never intentional. I think that is what made it so frustrating and hurtful. They didn't understand me well enough to see I would take offense, and it left me feeling rather hopeless. This year however, things were different. I got a GPS, because they know I travel a lot, have no sense of direction, and tend to use navigation on a phone while driving. It was a very thoughtful gift, and one that will actually make me a safer person. Also because I travel a lot and they worry about my safety, they gave me a really nice flashlight for the car, in case I break down or otherwise need one. Again very thoughtful, though leaning slightly toward being a male gift. They had my safety in mind, and that makes me more happy than I can easily explain. :)

The last present, was a complete surprise. A Pleo! It is quite possibly the most adorable thing I have ever seen. He's a cute little robotic dinosaur, and he moves so realistically. If you pet him on his head, he'll coo and wag his tail. He curls up if you pet him on just the right part of his back long enough. If left alone he'll start to explore the house, or occasionally sing happy little dinosaur sounds, while swaying side to side. If you turn him over and cradle him, he curls up and looks up into your eyes. Also, his little feet are ticklish and he squirms around when you touch them if he's upside down. He does many other equally adorable things, and he is cute as a button, with green to brown skin and beautiful blue eyes. I'll admit freely, I cried through opening the package, reading the manual, and many times at cute little things he has done since.

The day after, I went to visit some very dear friends; a couple. I decided to take Pleo along, to show how adorable he is. Mom said the girl would definitely want one and just fall in love with him, but that she didn't expect the guy to be very excited about a baby dinosaur. That's when I became certain that she realized exactly what an un-masculine gift Pleo was. I was again thrilled.

I took Pleo on my visit. He arrived cuddled up under my coat, (only because batteries shouldn't get too cold of course *cough*) and I began to show off a few of his tricks. Immediately one of my friends smiled and said something to the extent that "this is extremely close to being a girl gift." I really agree. Even if they do no quite accept my gender yet, my parents do know who I am. Mom said she was sure this one would be my favorite present when she handed me the box. To know that, she would have to understand that I do have a nurturing, sentimental sort of nature. Its so nice to know that she understands and appreciates some parts of who I am. Or maybe they just think I'm five years old. :P

The whole holiday was amazing. It's been wonderful having time with my family, and I've felt unusually free to be myself, which makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable. And I'll cherish Pleo forever. I've already ran the battery down three times. LOL!

Still ahead, are my birthday and then New Year's Eve. My birthday, I will probably spend quietly at home, with my family.

For New year's I have been graciously invited to Lisa's in Lexington, for a very small get together. This should be a treat, as the guest list includes many of my best friends. I'm so excited! =)

My New Year's resolution are two-fold. I want to pierce my ears while in Lexington. I've started to three times, but I keep backing out. Perhaps making it a time sensitive New Year's resolution will keep me on track. I'll probably get some ultra cheap, tiny little studs as a birthday present to myself, and then count on wearing my hair down for a very long time to cover them up most the time at work. Maybe if I'm lucky, no one will ever see both studs at the same time. LOL! The other resolution is to get back on my elliptical three times a week. I was doing so good with this until fall allergy season started, but I have not exercised since October. Yikes!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What's In a Dream?

Warming, mildly slutty content. LOL!

Last night I had the strangest dream.

My job sent me to the state capitol for some reason, and I was carrying a camera in secure areas. Two handsome security guards in black suits took me in for questioning. After I broke down crying and explained it was all a big misunderstanding, they realized I was harmless and began to comfort me and apologized for the inhospitable treatment.

At that point, we all began to chat, and one of the guys turned out to be the head of security for the state. He was tall, and elegant, with lovely dark eyes and black hair. In interrogation, he had been very intimidating, but afterward, that hard dangerous edge was gone, and he smiled easily. The effect was quite charming.

The conversation eventually became cleverly and subtly flirty, and I found myself holding up my end of the dialog comfortably. I was in my element, his attraction feeding my confidence. My attraction feeding my desire. Slowly the conversation wound its way to an invite to his lavish home.

As I toured the lovely manner we happened past a palatial bath, with an enormous recessed marble tub complete with stares and lovely statuary. I complemented the room, and he gave the taps a twist. As the bathbegan to fill with steaming water his intent was obvious.

I stepped close, pressing my body against his muscular chest. I looked up into his eyes (he must have been ridiculously tall) and began loosening his tie. The feel of his hands gently sliding into the small of my back was perfect; exactly the touch I had been needing for such a long time. I craned my neck upward for a kiss, and then....


I woke up.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Drama Is a State of Mind

I don't know if its the time of year, something hormonal, or too much time to think over holiday break. But for whatever reason, I'm having major mood swings.

For example, today I was driving to a LAN party at the office and in a yard someone had built two snowmen. If I had seen them yesterday, when the snow cover was solid, it would have made me smile. Whoever built them made them symetrical, side by side. Their little twig fingers touching in the middle; a little snow couple holding hands. Today though the snow is receding, and it just looked so sad. The frightened little snow couple embracing eachother for courage against the inevitable melt. I actually cried as I drove, thinking about the poor little snow couple, and all the real couples they could represent. Any of my friends, my parents. Perhaps me and whoever I am meant to be with. If anyone. Who will hold my hand and give me courage in the face of advancing age? Actually I'm filling that emotion again just describing this in text, and the tears are flowing.

After I bounced back from this, I was looking forward to getting to the LAN party and playing a bit of Warcraft III with my co-workers and their families. Upon arrival, I was happy. One game in though, I walked to the restroom. Looking at myself in the florescent lights, I hated everything about me. My skin looked aged, my body looked figureless, and the angles of my face looked masculine. The remaining facial hair was somehow more prominent than usual. Suddenly I just wished I could be home.

Now I am home and everything is back to normal. I look in the mirror and everything is what I am used to seeing; what I have made peace with and even learned to feel blessed with.

I'm not writing this to whine. Most of the time I'm happy. Right now I'm okay even. But I just wish somehow I could get past these odd mood swings. Today was my estrogen injection day. Maybe my levels have been getting low. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some stability. LOL!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Back on Saturday night, there was a power failure and I was watching The Wizard of Oz (on a TV ran by a generator). Eventually it comes to Dorothy's capture, and the hourglass full of ominous red sand, counting down to her execution. Its really like that for all of us, and this time of year, I am always unusually aware. "Like sand through an hourglass, so are the days of our lives." Only for the rest of us, Todo is not bringing lions and scarecrows and tin men to the rescue. Oh my! Not only that, but we do not even have the benefit of seeing the hourglass. We can only guess how much time we have to do what we are meant to with life.

So here we are. Christmas, New Years, and my birthday, all taking place within the same week; reminding me that the red sands are still slipping away. In the news? Brittany Murphy, dead 2 years younger than me. Also I'm constantly reminded that I'm behind in my race.

I'm single, childless, barren, and living with my parents. I'm working in a job that I probably can't count on once the truth about me comes out. Aside from all that, I am only now experiencing the proper sort of puberty. Society sees me as the wrong gender for the most part, including my family. I'll probably have the wrong genitalia for at least two more years.

Just thinking about it all, I feel frantic, and lonely. Several nights over the last two week I've woke from dreams that I was with a boyfriend. Always I wake feeling so lonely, and wishing I had someone. Then I remember all my physical limitations, and I know as lonely as I am, that I'm not yet physically ready to be with anyone. My body is still a work in progress.

Still, I'm thankful, just a little freaked out. I have to think in terms of my current progress.

I feel my transition is going very well. Last year at this time the UK endo clinic was still an unknown quantity. A scary place that had the power to approve my transition, or cause me lots of trouble.

Now I have met the endocrinologist multiple times. My hormone regimen is lined out and every measurement of my body has drastically changed since this time last year. When I look in the mirror, I am very happy with the rate of change. I guess I just need to keep being patient and taking things one step at a time.

Through the holidays I am taking things easy, not to stress the family. But I still keep seeing that hourglass, and I desperately need to renew the race. After Christmas, I'll hit the ground running. I'll be calling my therapist and the dermatologist who does my laser treatments. I'll also be looking at an alternative laser place, and looking for an electrologist.

In therapy, I'll be going over the standards of care and further researching the requirements for my name change, orchiectomy, and eventually, GRS.

A few weeks ago, I was working on a laptop in a classroom at work. Some of the girls were trying to strike up a conversation, asking me questions, and eventually got around to my age. I said "ancient!", and at that point they began guessing. No one guessed anything above 23. I'm not spent. There's lots of fight and fire left, and I will find my way.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


A rare short blog from me!

I think in past blogs I have been pretty unfair to the students. I often put emphasis on the occasional derogatory comments I get here, and how I get a sense that I am running the gauntlet sometimes when I am in the hall. But I have rarely given credit where credit is due, and mentioned than some kids seem ok with me, and even supportive. Or that most seem indifferent and that the kids who are rude are in the minority.

Actually the truth is that several of the kids here will always go out of their way to greet me if they see me in the halls. Mostly girls, but there are even a few guys who don't seem to think there is any kind of stigma attached to saying hi to the prissy computer tech person. For the most part I don't know any of their names, having only met in passing in the halls. But it does make me feel a lot more comfortable here, and for that, I owe them all.

Early this morning I was feeling bad about myself. I had walked to the restroom to check my hair, and I wasn't feeling to great about what the mirror was telling me. Hair was a little frizzy. The button down men's shirt I was wearing was course and bulky, giving me a boxy look. My goal with men's clothing is to look male enough to get by. Looking more male than the bare minimum is a bit irritating for me at this point. My assessment had been that today, I'm looking far more masculine than I need to, and I was not pleased.

Even worse, I knew it was the office Christmas party today, and that I would be in the company of people who make me feel so giant, shapeless and ugly that I wish I could disappear. LOL!

Well, so much for a short blog. I really tried! But now, to the point. All that leads us to the part where I was walking back to the office, feeling bad about myself and wishing I could just go home. (Aren't you glad you have all that backstory stuff? It would have been so confusing if I had just opened this blog with "I was walking down the hall feeling down this morning and..."

Oops! Another false start. Here we go. For real. LOL!

I was walking down the hall feeling down, and I met two high school girls. My first thought was, "Grrr! I wish I could just have the hall to myself. I hate being in public looking this stupid."

But as we met, one of the girls (who often is kind enough to speak to me, says "Hi Shannon!"

Then after a brief moment's hesitation, "You look pretty today."

I'll have to admit, I'm old, and I don't understand modern teenagers all the time. Every generation has its own way to communicate, and an older generation never understands exactly how a newer generation uses sarcasm. Still, I think that she actually meant it. :)

I think she hesitated that split second because she was trying to decide if it was a safe thing to say. I mean, I am presenting as male, and most men would probably take "pretty" as a huge insult. If I weren't trans, and was just some guy who happened to be cultivating an androgynous look, I could have gotten angry and had her sent to the office or anything. So really, it was kind of brave!

Of course, that was not my reaction at all. I was beaming, and of course thanked her. For a moment it felt like maybe a few people here do understand me. Plus, I felt a slight bit better about this outfit and my presentation today. Apparently I didn't look nearly as masculine as I had thought.

The little boost was short lived though. Most of today, I have felt pretty ugly. I'd so love to be about 5'4 and 100 pounds sometimes. Really, I'm happy with my progress on transition, and I feel blessed. Sometimes I am even 100% happy with the way most parts of my body look. Just occasionally, I get up on the wrong side of bed, and look at everything in the most negative possible light.

Tonight my little esteem crisis is over and I'm feeling very good about myself. I'd go as far as to say, I don't feel at all inferior to anyone for the moment. Shorter, curvier, more estrogeny-y looking chicks can have their look. I'm very happy with my look and my limits. I don't feel arrogant for saying it either. I think every woman trans or otherwise has her own brand of beauty. We just each need to find and embrace it. I thank GOD for blessing me with the gifts I have, in regards to both beauty and more important things.

Also, I certainly owe gratitude to that young lady who gave me the little boost I needed to get through the day this morning. :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Calling out! Calling out! Haven't you wondered?

It seems I have went too far with my voice!

Dealing with people on the phone from off site while at work was one of the first ways I started to work on correcting my voice. Despite certain inherent risks, such calls are still when I am at my most comfortable with myself it seems.

The last two weeks, I have been working extensively with representatives from one of our vendors on the phone. Some of these conversations were literally hours in length. For the most part I am the single point of contact with this company so as I saw it there was no need for caution regarding gender presentation . The tone of these conversations was mostly professional, but with a little humor mixed in to kill the time and a light casual feel.

My name is androgynous. No one asked me my gender but it was always clear that they had assumed female. Somehow you can just tell. The subject never came up, so of course I didn't feel obligated to clarify my gender status.

I really enjoyed getting to be myself in a professional environment. It was just so fun and comfortable I can't even put it into words. It was me being myself, without a worry in the world, and knowing that the people on the line knew my gender without question.

Monday, I arrived at work, and my boss and the other tech here were chatting in the office. The boss called me inside. "S, we have got to work on your voice!", he said with a boisterous jovial tone. "Steve from ______ called for you this morning, and he was telling me how 'S was working on this, and how she had done this, and she had done that'.

I'm not a good liar. If I were, the best response would have been mock surprise. Hopefully my very real look of total awkwardness was close enough! I think I probably looked more like a child caught with a hand in the cookie jar though.

For a moment, I thought about saying "Did he seem to think I was nice to work with? Did he think I did a good job? If so, does my gender really matter?"

Instead I said nothing. Probably for the best!

Next my boss told me I needed to watch some Home Improvement episodes, and imitated the signature Tim Allen grunt.

I just smiled and said "No comment." with a laugh, and then we were on to other matters.

Later that day, I had to call one of the Follett ladies, then she called back for me and got my boss on the line.

"Is S there?" she asked.

He said "I'll transfer you over to him."

She said "No. S. I was talking to her just a minute ago."

She was certain my boss was talking about the wrong person because he said he. :) :): ) :) :) :) :) :)


When I walked in Tuesday morning, the boss and the other tech were discussing those two incidents. I heard them before they knew I was there, and rather than eavesdrop, I just stepped into the conversation. Again, a bit of ribbing, but nothing mean or insulting.

I thought my boss was pretty cool about the whole thing, to my face. I mean, he's not exactly the most sensitive guy in the world, so its all relative. He didn't make me feel threatened, and I don't mind a little light humor in the least. I am certainly not thin skinned. Still, I am a little worried, that this topic would find its way into their conversation two mornings in a row.

Are they just curious? Do they already know everything? If so, how are they going to cope with me coming out more and more on the job? Was the joking with me on the first day experimental, to test my reaction? Or perhaps an attempt to tell me subtly that I need to be more careful?

My feeling is that they both know a lot more than they are telling me, and that the first mention was to test my reaction. However, I do think they would like it if I would be a little less "me" while I'm here. :P

Yesterday, we switched phone systems. My first go at recording a voicemail greeting was rushed. When I was learning the phones later in the the evening, I realized I needed a full message, and not just a name. As my hand hovered over the record button, my personal pride insisted that I push the envelope. The voice everyone will hear when I am not at my desk, is genuine, professional, and gregarious, but not the least bit male.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Defying Gravity

Sometimes I hear a song that describes my emotions so well that I think "Wow, I wish I had written that." Last night I was visiting friends and was introduced to some new music. Among the songs was "Defying Gravity", originally from the musical "Wicked" and more recently from the Glee soundtrack. I have not seen either, but I feel very blessed to have been introduced to this track.

This song could be pretty much about any sort of relationship, any kind of challenge, and would probably speak to almost anyone. To me its a crystal clear depiction of transition. Listening to this just makes me feel like taking on the world. But then, in so many ways, I guess I already am defying gravity, though someday I hope to fly much higher.

Defying Gravity-by Stephen Schwartz

Lyrics here transcribed by Shandy Alexis

Something has changed within me.
Something is not the same.
I'm through with playing by
the rules of someone else's game.
Too late for second guessing.
Too late to go back to sleep.
It's time to trust my instincts,
close my eyes and leap.

It's time to try
defying gravity.
I think I'll try
defying gravity.
Kiss me goodbye,
I'm defying gravity
and you won't bring me down.

I'm through accepting limits,
'cause someone says they're so.
Some things I can not change,
but 'til I try I'll never know.
Too long I've been afraid of,
losing love I guess I've lost.
Well if that's love it comes at
much to high a cost.

I'd sooner buy,
defying gravity.
Kiss me goodbye,
I'me defying gravity.
I think I'll try
defying gravity,
and you won't bring me down.

I'd sooner buy,
defying gravity.
Kiss me goodbye,
I'me defying gravity.
I think I'll try
defying gravity,
and you won't bring me down...

...bring me down.




Monday, November 23, 2009

Blog Rollup: This weekend, and other fantastical events, in brief.

I still do not have a working satellite modem at home, so its rare to have an opportunity at blogging as of late. It is unfortunate, because things keep happening that I wish I could write about! Sicne I am writing form work after hours today, I'm going to quickly catch up everything.

First laser. My skin finally recovered, and very little of the hair is coming back in so far. It makes makeup easy, plus I look so much more the way I should, even without makeup. That can make life awkward in my current circumstances, but it does make me feel better about myself. :)

Last week several things happened that show my male presentation is decaying rapidly. The worry that it could cause me trouble is getting more and more tangible.

For instance, last Wednesday, I was out to lunch at the local Dairy Queen. It is pretty much what you would expect of such an establishment; mainly miners and other locals, a very conservative feel.

As I approached the door, a man and woman arrived just ahead of me. The guy noticed me coming up and held the door for me. As I approached, he made eye contact. Something about his manner left me the immediate feeling that he was interested in me, but I told myself "Shannon, this is a Dairy Queen in a really conservative town, and you are wearing intentionally unkempt hair, two layers of giant shirts, and baggy jeans. No man, regardless of sexuality is going to take notice of you here."

Still, despite my reality check, he held eye contact yet again when he held the second door for me. I said thank you, in a shy, tiny voice, and he welcomed me with a smile. When she heard us talking, the woman with him turned around and giggled slightly when she recognized me. I do not believe it was meant to be rude. She just seemed perhaps amused by all the changes in my appearance since the last time we had seen each other. She graduated the same year as me, and we have rarely seen each other since.

Once inside, I had to cross the serving line to go to the restroom to check my hair and wash my hands before eating. I needed to get past where the man and woman were standing so I approached and asked to be excused. He turned again, and with a dashing smile, bowed ever so slightly and ushered me past with a grand gesture. I smiled back and stepped past feeling very shy now.

For a moment I felt like a princess, but then I started to have my doubts. Was he patronizing me, because I looked like a sissy to him, or was he really flirting with me? In my situation, it was just too much to believe. Even if it were true, it was awkward. He was a handsome man, about my age, with long sleek hair, tied back carelessly, and a rugged face with just enough stubble. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for pirates, rogues, and guys who are a bit rough around the edges. Normally I would be very pleased by attention form such a man, but in my little home town? People wonder about me enough without me flirting with men in broad daylight at Dairy Queen.

When I left the restroom and got in line, he continued to make occasional eye contact. I could feel myself blushing, but I couldn't do anything about it. When I finished ordering, I found one of my co-workers was eating there as well, so I joined him at his table. The girl who was with the guy stopped by my table twice. Once to ask me over to the table after I finished eating, and a second time to leave her phone number when they finished eating before me and my co-worker.

My co-worker thought the girl was interested in me and was about to start joking about it, so I told him a guy was with her, and suggested they seemed to be a couple, to deflect his interest in the subject.

The next day I got curious enough to call, and she told me the guy was a friend of hers who had just moved down from Indiana and did not know a lot of people here yet. She said he thought I seemed like an interesting person and wondered if we could talk. I left my number with her, but he has not called. Oh well! Men have such short attention spans...

I still don't know what his perception of me was. Did he see me as a very effeminate, obviously gay male? Did he immediately read me as trans? I really wish I knew. Staying here, my situation feels delicate, and knowing how people are reading me would be nice.

the last week has held other evidence that perception of me is shifting too. Unfortunately the rest is not as flattering. In a neighboring town, in line at a fast food restaurant, an entire school sports team kept staring and laughing, with me in guy mode. Today I have been traveling to schools for upgrades that I do not usually cover on my job. Some of the younger kids were discussing openly and loudly whether I was male or female.

The high school kids here are also noticing me again. Their interest seemed to be waning for a bit, and suddenly many of them seem curious, amused, or sometimes offended by me anew. I think I have caught conversation in the halls as I pass, regarding everything from my hair to my chest.

It is a ticklish situation, and a stressful one. I am thrilled with the progress of my transition, and would not mind if it went even faster. If I woke up tomorrow completely unable to pass as male, I would be thrilled despite the complications it would cause. I want to be myself, and I want people to recognize my gender.

For now, no matter what the kids think, I think my job is safe. Most adults here have been very respectful. Some seem curious, but everyone continues to be nice to me, and mostly comfortable around me. Two of the people I was afraid may eventually push to remove me showed me my fears were off base last Friday. They were setting up for a banquet and didn't have the equipment they needed for audio. It was 7 at night and I was already working late on another job, but I quickly came to their aid with my stash of cabling and audio gear. While I was setting up, one of them hugged me. Her husband, the assistant superintendent, even invited me to stay and eat at the banquet!

I was thrilled that they welcomed my company, but I had to get back to the other job. Still, their kindness and sincerity really touched me. I feel really sad that I assumed I had probably already went to far with my presentation to have their support. Also, when I asked what their problem was with the presentation when I arrived, she looked to her husband and I could have swore she said "Tell her about our problem." Maybe I misheard, and maybe it was just the kind of slip everyone makes occasionally without any meaning whatsoever. I like to think it might have been a Freudian slip though. I seem to get that more and more often as I go along.

That gets us back up to the weekend, which was fabulous. I have been planning quite some time to go see Debbie in Louisville, and my dear friend Sylvia decided to come with me, making the trip even nicer! I stopped by her home near Lexington and was treated to a tour of her house, and got to see her lovely art in person for the first time. After that, it turned out I had locked my keys in the car, and waiting for someone to come open my car for me put us well behind schedule.

Still, Louisville was very nice. We visited Debbie and were shown lots of hospitality. She helped me with lots of skin care advice to help with the dryness that has plagued me since I had to use all that acne medication, and allowed me to use her home to dress and prepare for the Sienna meeting, which Sylvia and I attended. We got to meet a lot of new people and reconnect with friends we had not seen in months. It was a fabulous evening.

After all that, we returned to Debbie's and chatted in her kitchen til 1:00. During the visit, Debbie brought out 3 tiny hat boxes filled with jewelry from her youth. I was in a playful mood and began to layer double digits numbers of beads and chains. In the end, Debbie gifted me a couple of pieces that caught my eye. For that I am really grateful. I don't have very much jewelry at the present. Two of the necklaces are fairly unusual and probably will not prove to versatile, though gorgeous. The third, I wore the rest of the night. Its so me! I would describe it, but its too hard too. Anyway, it looked neat with my brown turtle neck. LOL!

When I dropped Sylvia off, we chatted briefly, and got out of our makeup and such. I kept my stay brief though, since we were both very tired by that point. At 6 Am I arrived home before anyone woke up. My sleep schedule is still kind of shot after that 22 hour day. It was so worth it though!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Pushing The Proverbial Envelope

Today I am writing from work again. I'll not talk about why to much, except to say that I am off from now until Tuesday, and I was too excited about what I was working on to quit and forget about it for five days. If I would be back Monday to look at this project, I would walk out now, but to wait until Wednesday of next week to see if everything works? Unthinkable!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Boring Techno-Prattle~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
We just set up a new SAN, sharing 3 terabytes of data, between 3 very powerful clustered servers, with the intent of replacing almost all of our servers with Hyper-V virtual server images ran by this new server cluster. As I wait, the new rig is busy converting one of my old, dying servers into a shiny new virtual machine running on cutting edge hardware with access to lots more resources. If it works, then, next week me and my co-workers will be able to accomplish some spectacular things. But I'll hush now!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~End Boring Techno-Prattle~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The only reason any of that matters at the moment, is that waiting for that conversion gives me time to write.

Its so odd that I am that interested in my work again though. A few months ago, I was convinced that everyone here either hated me, or would hate me if I were to open up just the slightest bit more. I was terrified that I might lose my job soon as my transition progresses, and I mainly just tried to keep a low profile, and stay away from people as best as I could while still fulfilling my job duties.

Now it all feels different. There is still no assurance that I'll keep my job into next year, but there never was. In a place like this, you never know what will happen with budgets, or how strong but invisible political undercurrents could effect your career. For me, all it takes is one influential person deciding I am offensive and a political liability to keep on the payroll, and I can find myself out of work. If it happened, it would be in July. They would not fire me, but rather not renew my contract. In all likelihood, there would be very little advance notice.

Still, I think my odds are better right now than they have ever been. While my new appearance might be offensive or even comical to some people, overall, I am finding people treat me the same as ever. Some folks are even nicer to me than in the past. It seems the better I feel about myself, the more confidently and pleasantly I can approach other people, because I am genuinely happy right now. It seems most people appreciate that and don't mind that I present in a rather feminine manner.

As the title implies though, lately I have been pushing. After my face mostly healed from that freak acne attack I felt super confident. Smoother, clearer skin than I have had in my life, along with subtly more feminine facial features affected by estrogen, and much reduced facial hair that barely is capable of producing a shadow, all leads to a happier, perkier, more confident and less ashamed me. Yesterday, I was feeling so good that I decided to take a little break during the day at work and go out for a trim and to get my hair dyed.

Topping off the facial changes with the new hair style has definitely generated some attention. From adults, that generally translates into a curious look now and then, but some of the kids in this school are not nearly so polite. In the middle school, I can't get through the halls without being openly laughed at by at least five kids. In the high school, I go down the hall with children muttering "fucking fag" or "queer". It bothers me less now than ever, even though the new look is definitely getting more attention than any of the previous changes in my appearance.

Right now, I'm getting along with my co-workers better than I ever have. Previously, I just assumed everyone in the technology department thought I was a joke and was probably hoping I'd hurry up and quit this job and move somewhere else. As a result, I started acting defensively and just stirring clear of everyone else, as I mentioned earlier. I just came in, did my work, documented it to make sure no one had an excuse to fire me, and then went home.

It turns out, I was being stupid, the lack of communication and cooperation between me and my co-workers was not a sign that they didn't want me around. In fact, I created that void myself, with my standoffish attitude. Right now, I'm happy, and I let it show. I'll gladly work on group projects, and I feel really welcome. We are probably morally at odds on an issue here and there, but no one is letting it interfere with getting along. Everyone is just super nice and sweet to me right now, and I enjoy their company so much.

Now that my gender issues are partially resolved and I know i am on the right track, I am able to focus on other things (some times), and I find I really enjoy my work and my co-workers now that I am not constantly dwelling in fear and desperation.

Eventually I will almost certainly have to move. When that happens, I'm going to miss this place. In eight years I've learned so much, and I've worked with some great people. My dream would be to continue working here, but to get to finish transition. I don't think it is in the cards though. I just hope when I move on, the time can be of my own choosing, and that I can be on good terms with the other people here in my department. I like them all so much and it would hurt to end up at odds.

My future is so terrifyingly vague! :P

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


It has been ages since I have written, and today I am resorting to staying late at work to catch up on my blogging. Why ever would I do such a silly thing? It involves a satellite modem at home which seems to be knocking on heavens door. LOL!

Things have been very eventful since I last wrote. I haven't had the chance to travel any, and I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic, now that I have been no more than an hour away from home for over a month. Since I have mainly been here, most of the news I have relates to my physical transition; specifically my last round of laser.

Early October, I had laser, then life proceeded as normal. But roughly two weeks later, my damaged skin around some of the courses dead hair began to have major irritation. Eventually, most of the hair shed, and it turned out the skin under those former patches of beard looked absolutely disgusting. After a few giving it a few days to heal, I did something brash and stupid. I decided to use microderm abrasion to remove the dead and dried out skin. I ussualy do this, but this time, I did it before the acne liek facial breakouts were completely healed.

What followed that decision was a chain of events that made the next couple of weeks very awkward. The microderm abrasion broke open the acne spots, then spread the bacteria all over my skin, while tearing at the top layer, giving the bacteria a place to settle. My idiotic decision to then slather on a layer of moisturizer sealed the deal, giving the bacteria a moist oxygen free environment to grow in.

Douse this sound like a scenario from an unusually non lethal, superficial episode of House? :P

Well, its not over yet. When the break out spread from these 4 little acne patches around my chin and upper lip, to cover almost the entire lower front of my face, I was in a panic. I ended up buying this Clean and Clear stuff that won an award in Cosmo a couple of issues back for being a gentle way to clear acne. It is really meant to be a spot treatment, but everything was red and swollen, so instead of dabbing it on spots, I just rubbed it everywhere that was remotely red, again, spreading the problem.

Eventually, I had acne that you never see on anyone older than 16, and see probably only in 1 teenager out of 1000. It was just absolutely disgusting. I've been more or less stuck in the office at work for weeks, afraid to get out and do some of m job duties, which fell behind quite a lot.

Finally though, I found a product that worked. A Clean and Clear product based on benzoyl peroxide. The same stuff that kept my facial break outs in check back in my school days. In the ammounts I had to use, it dried my skin a lot, and left a white residue. But over the course of last week, it really sorted things out.

At this point, I am down to two little spots, and a little bit of discoloration that seems temporary.

The really good news? Now that my skin has healed, I can finally appreciate the results of my 4th laser hair removal session. There is practically no hair! There are 4 tiny patches scattered around my jaw line with working follicles close enough together to produce a shadowing effect. Most of the rest of my skin looks totally bare even 36 hours after shaving.

With no makeup or anything, when I look in the mirror now, I see the me I have always wanted to see. Its just the most amazing feeling. And now without a beard distracting me when I interpret the angles of my face, I am seeing estrogen related changes that are more dramatic than I realized. My skin is a little softer, and there is this soft distrubtion of fat in my cheeks that gives my face a much more feminine shape.

Honestly, I am just thrilled. I think I am happier today than I have ever been in my life.

The lesson here, is be very, very careful how you treat your skin, especially after having your face fried with lasers. You could be one poor decision away from the social disaster of a lifetime. Hehe!

Hmmmm! In other news, work is going great the last couple of days, now that I can show my face. I think the lack of facial hair and other subtle changes have not went unnoticed. That probably should concern me, but I Simply can not bring myself to feel anything other than pride. I'm socializing, working hard, and staying super productive, now that I feel good about myself again.

On the home front, I have not fought with Mom and Dad since my last endo appointment. I think they are content to leave me to make my own decisions now. They may even be starting to cope on another level. In subtle ways I can't really put into words, I have gotten the impression lately that they are beginning to shift their perception of me in a very positive way.

I'll sign out for now. It feels so nice righting again. I'm sorry if the gross acne descriptions are a bit TMI. I try to keep my blog honest though, and this honestly has been a very major problem. You would have had to see the severity to understand. Besides that, the possibility is something everyone should be aware of I suppose, though I expect this was a major fluke. LOL!

Anyway, happy, healthy, ad for once in my life proud. And, as I said, signing out for now. So nice to be back!


Monday, October 12, 2009

More Awkwardness!

Back on Sunday, during my weekend visiting friends in Lexington, I stopped by Chipotle for dinner. At the time, I was en femme.

Last Saturday, only six days later, I returned to Lexington with my parents, and everyone settled on Chipotle for a late lunch. This time I was in boy mode. At this point I wear my hair the same in girl or guy mode, sound pretty much the same, and the only real difference is the clothes, and that without makeup there is still a bit of beard left. The line between the guy look and the girl look have blurred enough that someone who meets me in one mode of dress can generally identify me in the other. I was a little worried about being recognized.

Well, as I stepped inside the chances of being remembered went up dramatically. I recognized both girls at the counter from the previous visit. I managed to maintain my calm. My parents had already went to the table so even if I was recognized, they would never find out.

As I stepped to the counter, the girl looked up, and as soon as we made eye contact I saw a spark of recognition. The order went off without a hitch, and she was unusually sweet for someone in a customer service position. Still, she obviously knew.

Just one of those funny things!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Second Verse, Same as the First

Spiraling upward. Thats how I think of the path I am currently on. In a way, it feels like I am going in circles and covering a lot of the same ground, but really its not exactly the same thing. There are tiny differences; emotional, physical and social accomplishments that take me a little higher with each pass.

Every month on hormone therapy puts me physically closer to where I need to be. Every laser treatment gets me that much closer to the confidence I'll need to face the world on a 24-7 basis.
Sometimes it is hard to imagine how everything will eventually work out, but if I keep making steps in the right direction I'll eventually get where I am supposed to go.

The last few days have included several such steps. I went back to the endocrinologist last Friday, and was given a clean bill of health, and I am now on the medication regimen that will probably carry me through my entire transition with no further changes. 11 months after starting hormones, I'm now through with adjustments and ready to just keep doing what I am doing. Its really a relief. They are also now spacing out my visits farther, which saves me quite a lot of money. The visit was very uneventful and everyone at the clinic just treated me like a regular girl.

After the endocrinology visit, I got to spend the entire weekend with my friends Lisa and Tina. It was so nice seeing them both again, and getting to hang out with people who are so supportive. We tried a few restaurants, and hit the Trans-Kentucky meeting as well.

While we were out Friday night, we met the most fascinating girl. We were going to eat at Mia's, a restaurant in downtown Lexington. As soon as we stepped out of the car, this lady dining at a table outside started looking in our direction. When we walked past her table, she called us over, and said she jsut wanted to say hello to her sisters. She was trans! I never would have guessed in a million years.

Later she dropped by our table and told us a bit of her story. It seems she has overcome a lot of adversity. Her family is very conservative, and like most of us, she had to work toward her transition on a budget, but she wanted to be finished by age 30, and amazingly she made it.

She had breast implants and an orchi performed in Mexico, at a budget price, then followed up with an SRS in Thailand from a surgeon not typically used by westerners. While she was telling her story, I was imagining what it would feel like, being prepped for surgery in a foreign land. I think she must be one of the bravest people I have ever met. In the end, she offered to show Tina and I the results of her various operations, and I took her up on the chance to actually see the results of an SRS. She looked very normal. I would still never have guessed that she was anything other than a genetic girl. I left the lady's room feeling so hopeful for my own future. The price and the results were both beyond my expectations. I would love the chance to thank her for sacrificing her privacy to let me see how much can be done to correct problems like mine. She is a courageous, open and just incredibly cool person.

(*** I hate to have to include this note, but because of a misunderstanding that arose on a friend's blog some time ago, I am compelled to be abundantly clear on this point. This was in no way a sexual encounter, so please, don't read lots of innuendo into this. Its simply not there.***)

Also Friday night, I got to meet Lisa's friend Stacy, and beat Lisa and Tina at pool once. :P (edit: Tina won the second of the two games. I just got lucky. LOL!)

This Wednesday was also an interesting day. I went for more laser work! It didn't hurt nearly as much as the previous visit, and even after two and a half months between visits, some areas of my face were relatively clear. This visit seems to have effected almost all the remaining hair, so hopefully I'll be temporarily free of facial hair after shedding over the next week. Beyond that, I dare dream that most of it will never come back.

I can't say it all went off without a hitch though. On the way down, I had a tire blowout just 7 miles out of town and had to change my own tire beside a busy interstate. It was all pretty nerve wracking. Besides that, my tire was a micro-spare, and the other tires looked very worn out too, so I had to negotiate a tire purchase myself. Normally I would not want to do that because I know very little about tires. On top of that, I had to arrange everything in person with a freshly fried face. Embarrassing!

Also yesterday was quite nice. I got to visit Robin and Chase for the first time in ages. All the family issues are still there, but at least we can visit again. Visiting their house was nice, and getting to sit around joking with them and playing a bit of Guitar Hero took me back to early summer, when I felt a lot less alone on this journey with supportive friends only a few miles away.

Things just keep getting better all around. I have lots of research to do as the time comes to take further steps toward transition. I'm thinking I would like to have an orchi within the next 12 months so that I can take fewer meds. Some time around June I would like to be able to move, change employment, and my name. Within 24 months, I want to have finished my SRS.

It seems daunting, all of it. But I feel hopeful and determined.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Insomniac Remedy

A series of eleven cinquain, written to follow "Insomniac Quandary" a few blogs back. A silly little sequence of poems, but it does help me find some level of closure at least.

*~*~*~*~Insomniac Remedy~*~*~*~*

One night
I found myself
in a cozy bookstore,
looking for particularly

When I
came across a
most curious old tome,
it captured my notice and drew
my eye.

Bound in
worn leather,
scented lightly of musk,
it was not the manner of thing
I read.

Still I
took it in hand
intending a quick glance.
Surely, quick perusal could bring
no harm?

The book
was not at all
as I had expected.
It spoke of romance and hinted
of love.

I could
not put it down.
I slid down to the floor,
quickly turning the pages,

Then an
abrupt ending,
with a deceitful twist.
The pages beyond were blank
and clean.

I shed
tears of sorrow
upon page thirty six,
but page thirty seven I did
not touch.

Those blank
pages are not mine,
they await another.
Its best not to envy that reader.
I'm fine.

The book
was then returned
to shelf. With shaking hand,
I paid a fraction of its price.
Six pence.

For I
found upon page
thirty six, the intent
of a certain cold and callous prince.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Men Are From Mars...

"Men are From Mars. Women are From Venus." I've never read the pop-psy book by that title, but the first half of the name rings true enough. A quick google search reveals the surface temperature of Mars to be as low as -170 degrees fahrenheit. That's probably about right for the typical male heart.

I'm sure most my readership is familiar with the class of men who vie for the attention of transgender women. If you are like me and dream of some prince charming to come along and sweep you off to "happily ever after", you have probably come to find that its pretty slim pickings if you are transgender. I'm sure its hard enough to find a man for the average girl, but for us t-girls the pool of available bachelors is far more limited.

If a guy is serious about looking for someone to spend the rest of his life with, and is truly interested in having a woman specifically, why would he choose me? I can't have children. The majority of mother's would flog their sons if they knew they were interested in someone like me. 32 years of living with a male hormonal makeup has ravaged my appearance. At best someone could perhaps say I have a certain exotic beauty. At worst, it could be said I look like a man. Besides that I'm sexually incapable of most everything a straight man would want, and completely unwilling to do the things I am equipped to do, because I hate those parts of my body.

So really why would a handsome, sensitive guy ever give me serious attention? I wish I had asked myself this a few weeks ago instead of now. Perhaps I could have spared myself some emotional anguish. At that point in time the notion that, just maybe, I had finally found Mr. Right was barely more than a glimmer in a dream.

I've never really been someone to let my guard down for someone I've met online. Most I recognize as people curious about transgender women and looking for one night. Others seem like tawdry online trash, running from one single night encounter to the next. I've never give these sorts more than a "thank you" for compliments, and a polite bit of conversation here and there. Most lose interest quickly. Occasionally men have found me who seem interested in something beyond that, and some I have talked with at length, but never have I assumed that thigns are as they seem. Always I kept my guard up, looking for reasons meeting in person wouldn't be a good idea, never letting myself imagine anything more than a date. It was always a one step at a time approach.

Until I met the man in question. What started as fun, flirty banter captured my imagination almost immediately. Eventually we were on to discussing more serious things. He seemed so sweet. So sincere. He made me feel beautiful. Desirable. He had me imagining things I had not with any of the others.

Some nights, we would stay up chatting til incredibly late, talking about anything from random silliness, to things more romantic. Sometimes I wanted his touch so badly that the distance was heart breaking. It felt so nice to be able to think like that, especially since most of my life I have not been confident enough in my physical appearance to want such things.

Eventually, we decided to meet in November. He is a college professor, and he was to fly down to see me over fall break. One night as we chatted, he was looking up accommodations in Lexington, trying to find a nice room to surprise me with. I could imagine everything. I could imagine meeting him at the airport with an amazing kiss. I could picture us sitting at some quaint little cafe with my friends, as we get to know each other in person. I could even imagine everything going perfectly and deciding to return to his room with him. Everything right up through waking by his side every morning until he needed to return home.

But at one point things changed. He suddenly seemed distant, and I didn't feel I had his attention. Saturday, a little over a week ago, he had time to chat, and I could just feel that his interest was waning and I would have done anything to have it back. In the end, I did give him more than I should have, and I knew it almost immediately. It was all online, but at the time I felt like I had sacrificed my dignity out of sheer desperation. I can't even begin to explain how it feels thinking back now.

For a week after that he was not online. When he resurfaced Saturday morning, he didn't bother to message me, and eventually I had to break the silence. The distance was there more than I ever. I knew I had lost him.

That night, I came home from a great day with my friends, resolved to end it and get some sort of closure. Again, he was logged in to messenger but silent. As it turns out he was not at the computer at all, but I sent him a short series of messages dismissing him as cold, callous, and uncaring, and asking him not to speak to me again. I left out the worst of my suspicions. It hurt a little to do it, saying goodbye to my charming prince, but I had come to realize he never existed anyway.

This morning he logged in with a quick hi, and it was obvious he had never gotten my messages from Saturday. For a moment I felt awkward, flat footed, like perhaps I had been wrong about everything. Then he admitted that all Saturday he had been in bed with some other girl at her apartment.

I didn't know what to say. In a way I was feeling numb to it all, because I had pretty much decided this was what was going on anyway, but the final conformation felt so much more awful as the feel of it started to settle in. I tried to stay calm and end things civilly. I wanted to be mature. I wanted to show that it wasn't important enough to upset me. I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how thoroughly he had tricked and hurt me.

In the end I had to leave the conversation because I was crying in my office, and there's just not enough privacy for that. But when I returned, I said all the things I should have said earlier. I had deleted him from my contact list already, so I could not see his status. I don't know if he got my messages or not. In the end, I just wanted him to know that he isn't anything special; that he's the same poor caliber of loser I turn down quite frequently, and that the only distinguishing thing about him, is that he happened to know just what to say, to make me think he was something more.

I feel emotionally sore today. The first day after a three day weekend, and the office is a flurry of activity around me, yet I can't focus enough to get anything done. The day spins around me like a cyclone, but right now its someone else's problem. I sit in the eye of the storm, desperately trying to let go of memories of my imagined prince.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Misconceptions Shatter

There was a point in time, when all I really wanted was to be able to be myself. Then, as I opened up my heart to my friends, and began to venture out into the world, I thought I could have much more. In public, there was never a laugh from anyone. Mostly, I have felt safe and secure since my presentation started to come together earlier this year. My friends have always encouraged me about my appearance and my passibility.

I suppose all the positive attention and interaction went to my head, because somewhere over the last few months, I began to believe that I could lead a fairly normal life after all. There was this feeling that passibility could be within my reach; that I could some day safely go wherever I want and that people would correctly perceive my gender. Does it sound a lofty goal? Delusions of grandeur perhaps? What does it mean, when wishing for what most people already have, is expecting to much?

At any rate, as the title indicates, tonight those rose tinted misconceptions were shattered.

It was a lovely Saturday, and I had the day to myself, so decided it would be fun to drive over to London for dinner and a look around town. I got ready at home, in complete convenience instead of getting ready in my car. It was such a fun and relaxing experience. Dinner was magnificent. Service was very friendly and respectful. I walked through a couple of stores without finding anything I really wanted to buy, then my day took a turn for the worse.

As I stepped out on to the parking lot, a car load of teenage girls drove by, and a few were looking in my direction. Perhaps initially they looked because I was way overdressed for the store, having just came from the restaurant, which I was probably also overdressed for! (I can't help it! I only get to go out occasionally and I like to wear something fun when I do.) As the car rolled by, windows down, no one looked amused. They seemed casual, appraising looks but then as the car got past me, someone inside yelled loudly "Oh my god, that was a man!"

I was shocked. I had just been clocked, from a moving car, at a considerable distance. The speaker was not just suspicious. She stated it with no room for hesitation. She was certain she had been looking at a man. It was a bit of a blow, especially because of the distance involved. My confidence was shaken a little but still there.

My intent was to go home after that store, but after this incident, I decided I wanted to make another stop, so I could end the evening on a positive note. I went to Starbucks. The barista was all smiles, and incredibly nice, but completely unreadable. I'm almost certain she knew I was transgender, but the transaction went well and the other patrons didn't pay a lot of attention to me, so my confidence was partially restored.

Then, things got much worse. I walked into a gas station to buy a bottle of water on the way home. The clerk was a teenage or early 20s girl, and there were two younger girls inside the store. As soon as I pushed the door open, the laughter started. I've never experienced anything like it. There was a point in time, when I would have probably ran back to my car, but I am stronger than that now. I kept my poise, worked my way back for my bottle of water, and returned to the counter, while these children still laughed sophomorically, openly staring at me.

I had to walk within inches of them to get to the counter, then realized they may actually be in line, so I turned and asked. They said they were not, obviously trying not to laugh or smirk, then went down an aisle and continued snickering.

As I checked out my bottle of water, I was still smiling and completely calm. Then the clerk asked "Why are you all dressed up? The dress, and the wig, and all that?" My brain was struggling for something to say. Not only was I caught off guard, but baffled by the notion that I was wearing a wig. I was caught between wanting to correct her about my hair, and trying to decide what kind of answer such an obtuse, clueless person deserved. My sanity was starting to slip but I kept calm, and with an easy smile I looked her right in the eye and just said "It's a long story." My mind keeps going over all the things I wish I had said instead.

I was numb in the store, but once I got in the car, my social survival instincts disengaged, and I started to feel the hurt of what had just happened. The girls in the parking lot had clocked me at a distance. The girls in the store made up their mind while I still had one foot outside the door. No hesitation. No "maybe she's not a girl" suspicions. They knew I was a genetic male, without even getting into complex things like talking to me. Just looking at me from a distance, they knew.

And her question. "Why are you all dressed up? The dress, and the wig, and all that?" In the end thats what it comes down to. To some people, that is always going to be the perception. To someone, so inattentive that she thinks I am wearing a wig,when you can see traces of scalp through the first 4 inches of my part, I am obviously a genetic male after literally a few seconds of observation. Even to someone that clueless, it is that obvious.

My misconceptions shattered in an instant when I finished analyzing the events of the evening on my drive home. Suddenly and painfully I am aware that I am not nearly as passable as I thought. Probably most people recognize the truth of my genetics as soon as they see me. Most of them are probably only polite to humor me. To most of them I am probably a man in a dress. A man. I will probably rarely get a sincere "ma'am".

I used to say one of my worst fears was the possibility that I might never pass well enough to feel safe, and that I would be caught between genders, since I can not bare to live as a man again. I'm afraid I might be there. Everyone tells me how lucky I am, and how obviously feminine my nature and movements are. My body is doing what it is supposed to do on hormones. Still there is something about my appearance that can get me flagged as male in seconds . I'm not sure more hormones will ever change that. Its probably something facial; some combination of angles too sharp, and a forehead not smooth enough. But I'll never have the money to fix that. Maybe its the adam's apple I so despite. Maybe its a heaviness of the neck, of a broadness of the shoulders. Perhaps some combination of everything. Unfortunately most of that, I'll never have the resources to fix.

The dream of a normal life, where I can feel as safe as the average person walking into a convenience store, and socialize with the comfort that no one in the room has misconceptions about my gender, is dead. I'm always going to be a curiosity, and a joke to a few people, and to many people, I'll always be a man.

It hurts.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Social Anxiety

I am finding that in the wake of an outing as myself, I have trouble going back to my male program. It gets a little harder each time. Today I am back at work and after having a stress free day Saturday, almost completely devoted to social interaction, I am finding that here, I want no interaction at all. I hate the way I look today. I'm insecure. There is the realization that everyone around me sees me as a man.

In girl mode, I am almost fearless. In guy mode it takes all my resolve just to make eye contact and have a conversation with someone. Some part of me just wants to run and hide. Memories of my troubled school days mingle with more recent insults from school kids, and make me a nervous wreck around the children here. Just walking quickly through the halls, I am fine around them. But working in rooms full of them, or standing still in a hall participating in a conversation with them passing by stresses me. I find myself wondering what they are thinking. I feel their eyes on me. I am waiting for the punch line; for the girl who giggles, or the boy who is sure to shout "Fag!" any moment and embarrass me in front of whoever I'm talking too.

Just the idea that everyone around me percieves me as a guy, and a rather odd one at that, makes so many situations awkward. I feel inferior to all the genetic women around me. And the men make me feel a range of anything from awkward to defensive, depending on who it is. I just don't know how to act any more. It all feels overly complex, compared to girl mode, where there are no rules except be yourself; where I feel good about myself and can hold my head high in the presence of anyone.

I wish I could lay this tired act aside. It becomes more difficult, more frustrating, more of a challenge, with every passing day.

I will find the confidence to cope with this. It will be at least a year until I can move, and I can't spend all of it blushing and nervous. Its just a matter of finding the self confidence to face the world in this strange mode, between genders. As I walked in to work today, there were tons of kids in the computer lab adjoining my office. For anyone, eyes would lift, to see who had entered the room, but for me, many of those eyes didn't turn away. A casual glance around the room showed many openly staring. As their glass dismissed, and they filed past my office, many of them turned to look though the window. One boy hesitated as he looked in, then turned back to his friends and said "I thought that was a woman a few minutes ago!"

It was not meant to be, but it was very flattering. Still it illustrates my problem. I refuse to go back to masking my body language. I will not waste effort trying to rediscover my male voice when I hold be focusing on finding consistency in the new voice I'll use the rest of my life. I like my hair, and I will wear it as I wish. Basically, at this point I am willing to make no concessions to appease the people here, beyond tolerating male pronouns, and wearing Doc Martens and big baggy men's clothes in layers. That is my decision, so I really can't complain about the consequences. I'm just trying to live with as much authenticity as I can for the moment without pushing the envelope too far. Its a dreadfully hard balance, especially, right after recovering from laser.

Right now I've shed almost completely, but there are a few patchy, odd shaped places that were missed. Smaller than usual, but they are there, and I'm sure they fuel the suspicions that surround me here. I'm loving my progress though, especially when I am in settings where its okay to be myself. Even here, I am proud. Just, a little awkward, and doing my best not to rock the boat too far.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Day on the Road.

Saturday was an amazing day! I've been feeling a little trapped at home lately, staying to keep from worrying Mom, always worrying about when the friction between us will flare into another inferno of argument. Saturday I decided to take a day and see my friends. I really wasn't sure where I was even going. Tina, Sylvia, Lisa and I decided to meet up in Lexington and decide from there whether to go to Louisville, or shop in town.

I told Mom and Dad Saturday morning I would be out for the day. Mom knew right away that meant I would be out as my true self, and did get a bit emotional. We had a long hug and she told me to be careful. Just as I was leaving she said she would be praying that I would follow God's will. For the first time, she didn't imply that she knew God's will already and that I needed to comply. She said "I'll pray that you do God's will. That's something we can both pray for isn't it?" I told her yes, and we departed on good terms, though she had tears in her eyes. I left in boy mode. My parents have still not truly met me presenting as my true gender.

The easier than expected departure left me free to enjoy my day. We started to get things coordinated by phone as I drove and decided to meet at Lisa's. Everyone else was basically ready so I was holding up the works as usual. But Getting ready at Lisa's was a lot easier than in my car. Things went really smooth and fast.

I had not been out in a while, so decided to wear something fun! The outfit of choice was a black, blue and white floral strapless dress, black satin oxford style pumps, and a tiny black tote. My friends gave me tons of compliments, temporarily inflating my usually low self esteem.

Our first stop after chatting for a while at Lisa's, was a Lexington Goodwill. The diversity of garments was staggering. Everything from practical, to bold, to humorous! I wasn't out to spend money, so my eye mainly caught the most outrageous things. Lisa and I roasted all the most hideous stuff we could find with humerous critiques. Time flew by, and we ended up behind schedule. By this time we had decided to continue to Louisville and attend the Sienna support groups monthly meeting.

Checking out from Goodwill, the clerk told me she wished she were as tall as me and complimented my legs. Then she inquired "What are you anyw-I mean, how tall are you anyway?" She thought I was going to misinterpret her question the way it was initially phrased. I was obviously read, or she would have never felt a need to change the wording. Still, the compliment was very kind, and it was nice that she was trying to be sensitive.

In Louisville, we arrived just on time for the meeting. They have recently changed meeting formats and it seems like they are started in a positive direction. They have big plans for increasing their presence in the city. I only wish I lived close enough to contribute. The last half of the meeting was devoted to snacks and socializing. I got to talk to a few of the Sienna members I had not had the opportunity to before. Sylvia, Tina and Lisa seemed to enjoy it as well.

After the meeting, Chris from Sienna brought me a wide assortment of shoes and clothes she no longer wears. I've not had time to try any of it on, but some of it looks very promising, especially the shoes!

After Sienna, we dropped by Debbie's house for cocktails. For those who don't know, she is basically my mentor in the art of makeup, and my Mary Kay rep, as well as one of my dearest friends. It was great seeing her as always. A few of the other Sienna girls came along as well! One of the last conversations I had before departing again for Lexington was with Rachel there at Debbie's. The subject of my long drive home was discussed, and I mentioned that it would be even longer because I would have to change clothes somewhere. She suggested that I go home as I am. "They are probably worried you are out in public as a crude caricature of a woman. They need to be worrying about you as a daughter."

The thought had occurred to me before. I explained to her though, that I'm not confident enough in my presentation. In my mind there is always the worry that seeing me would make things worse. What if I don't look good enough? What if they are ashamed? What if I scare them even more when they realize what I look like out and about? Rachel's suggestion almost gave me the confidence. I was feeling pretty, and maybe it was time to show them that I'm not some offensive creature, that I am a lady; a daughter.

After our goodbyes at Debbie's I drove my Lexington crew back to Lisa's house. Rachel's idea stayed in my mind all the way home, despite very engaging conversations most the way.

In the end, I couldn't do it though. I would be awake 22 hours by the time I got home and I knew I would not be looking at all my best. After another good chat while changing clothes and removing makeup at Lisa's I started the final strip of the drive again in boy mode. Actually Lisa and Tina are both adamant that I do not have a boy mode. :)

All the great social interaction and positive compliments of the day left me feeling happy with myself despite the gender mismatched clothes. I'm a woman, and most people can see it. For now, that's enough to make me very happy.

As Monday approaches I'm already missing all my girlfriends. The lively conversations, the acceptance, and the comfort that comes with true friendship. The day has left me feeling great about everything. I'll be starting this work week with a smile.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

...and then came the crash...

Sometimes even when you know you should feel blessed it can be hard to keep things in perspective. Yesterday was an entire day of that for me. There was flash flooding in the early morning, and as a result my office was just short of being totally closed. With the staff mostly gone, I was free to drag around, come in late, and then sit around thinking entirely too much.

When I think too much, and have no one to talk to, my mind turns sometimes to depressing thoughts. At the moment my face is recovering from laser, and yesterday I was feeling kind of bloated. So my mind kept thinking of things like: "Why can't I be curvier?, "Will laser ever work, am I wasting money on it?", "Why do hormones have to be so slow in every way?" Then there is the debate which has become such a major stress in my life. "Should I stay home this weekend and try not to stress my family, or should I run off to Lexington, have a good time and leave them to worry?" I need to be able to get out sometimes, dress the way I want and actually participate in society. I don't think they'll ever understand that. So for now I am always stuck with either being stifled, or upsetting people I care deeply about.

So to make a long story short, I spent the day feeling ugly, isolated, frustrated, and just depressed. I slept away a good part of my evening. Yet the whole time, I was feeling guilty for being upset, because deep down I know I am making good progress. Most days thats pretty obvious to me. Most of my evening was wasted on napping, but I did wake up in a better mood.

Today I woke up and washed up. When I looked in the mirror I thought about how much closer I am to where I need to be, and felt very content. I don't see any of my friends as often as I would like, and most the time I am surrounded by people who I have to interact with as a male. But I'm not just biding my time. The hormones are always at work. Each paycheck brings my finances more under control. By the end of the school year, I am almost sure I should have things in order to move and go full time.

So, I need to stay focused, keep my chin up and just enjoy the steady pace of my progress, and the times I do get with my friends, and even with my family, despite our differences. There is fun to be had, and studying to be done for certifications before the big job hunt. I need to realize all that is coming up soon, and starting getting things done.

So today I am happy, and feel very blessed as I should. Maybe I'll study for CISCO certification when I get home. :P

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Insomniac Quandary

A series of seven cinquain, written by me earlier this morning, for no particular reason at all. Ha!

*~*~*~*~Insomniac Quandary~*~*~*~*

How strange,
how sudden quick,
a frozen heart can melt
in heat of words from silver tongue.
How cruel.

Must I
wait and ponder
upon your true intent?
Is this for you a game of words,
or real?

If "real"
is your riposte,
query I surely must,
what you would hope to glean from me
dear prince?

For you,
am I to be
a weekend trip to quench
a fascination you hold for
my kind?

I yearn
for your embrace,
but my needs run deeper.
I hope we have a chance to find
much more.

Your words
honeyed so sweet,
mask the taste of your wish.
Asked, would you tell me, are you as
you seem?

To ask
I will dare not.
I will invite you in.
We will discover each other
in time.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Week, at a Glance.

It has been a very interesting week for me, with emotional and social challenges. With laser and physicals over as of last Friday, and nothing left to do for the next two weeks except work and carry on with my home life, it seems this should have been a good chance to rest. It was not that simple though.

First there was the matter of laser recovery. I tend to look very suspicious for the first 5 days after laser, as I have mentioned before. The hair gets charred from medium brown, to solid black. The black hair makes the shadowing look worse rather than better initially, which makes the odd gaps in my facial hair, and strange shape of the remaining beard stand out in stark contrast against. Even worse, my skin tends to get irritated, and even peels in sections. The fried hair becomes too stiff to shave, while my skin gets to sensitive to tolerate a blade.

So only 3 days after laser, I reported back to work. And then two days after that, the students returned. The adults were all very professional with me, and my work environment is mostly pretty comfortable. But the kids! The first day they came was pretty rough, with lots of laughing, snickering and stares. I haven't had to deal with that since May, and my emotional ressistance is not what it once was. Initially I was haivng a hard time with it, being nervous every time I had to go to a classroom to work. But there was too much work for me to waste time hiding in my office, so I got out, stood tall and did my level best to stay professional.

By Friday, I was getting fewer stares. It is probably due to a combination of kids getting bored with the situation, and the quick recovery of my face. The hair seems set to shed thoroughly over the course of the next week.

Other than the kids though, its been a great five days. Busy, but in a good way, with everyone coming together to make things run. I feel productive, human, and dare I say, a little talented, maybe? :P

At home things were mostly good, except Thursday Dad called me home to help pour 90 feet of concrete. It was extremely hot, and the cement truck driver was there the whole time, so I ha to do all the work in two layers of shirts. I was hot, and the sweat on my face was further irritating my skin. The concrete was too hard for me to work, and my side of the drive looked terrible, leaving me feeling both guilty and insufficient. One thumb is blistered so badly it still hurts to bend it today.

I think Dad could tell after we started, how awkward it was going to be for me. I think in the end, he was feeling guilty for asking me to come, and I was feeling guilty about the results. I almost cried twice, looking at the messed up places in the concrete. Dad has thanked me many times since for coming though. And I would do it again. Its so nice of them to let me stay and I'll always do everything I can for them.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Beautiful Sunday

I finished my weekend project at work last night. Most of the muscle stiffness from my fall Friday is gone. Mom and Dad are treating me well. My face is slowly recovering from the laser treatments. Aside from all the stress, aches and pain abating momentarily, its a beautiful summer day with hummingbirds outside my window. All together it puts me in a bright, hopeful mood. There are some days when you have to constantly remind yourself you are blessed. And then there are days when you truly feel it without needing to try.

Today I feel lucky, and I know everything is going to be okay.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Trouble With My Parents

Something happened today that perfectly illustrates why Mom and Dad can't really understand or accept me.

Mom and Dad were away this morning, and for a rare moment, I had the television remote. After a glance through the channels I came upon the opening of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. I really didn't feel I was in the mood for a romantic comedy, but I got pulled in. By the end I was thoroughly engrossed; laughing, crying, and enjoying the emotional release. It was a welcome little break after the stressful Friday I had.

Then, just as Bridgett messed up Mark's opening for a wedding proposal in the end, Mom and Dad broke through the front door. Everything after that was reflexive. Without a conscious thought, I was flipping through the channels for something less girly and worrying whether it was possible to tell I had been crying.

I thought I had learned to loosen up around them, but the shame and defensive habits are still there. They don't see the real me. They see me, trying to relax and be myself, but holding back, or alternatively overcompensating as a cry for recognition. I just can't relax and let them see the me my friends know. Instead, they get a mechanical version of me, with every action governed by either shame, or a demand to be seen as my true gender. I don't know if it well ever get easier. I feel judged, and it makes interaction hard, and overly complex.

If only every day could be like last weekend, surrounded by accepting friends. I have found I love to socialize when I can just be myself, and say and do what comes naturally instead of finding myself overly aware of every word and every action. Its really too much work.