Friday, May 22, 2009

Ack! An encounter with the socially retarded.

Two of my best friends are a little married college couple. One of them is a cousin to me and this summer they are staying with his mom and dad in my community.  His parents are the aunt and uncle who know about my transitions and my current use of hormones.

So, while my friends are living close by we are visiting quite a bit. Up until yesterday that was going very well. I feel a bit awkward there, because I'm being invited over by my friends, and not really by the homeowners.  My aunt has been very sweet, and is a cordial hostess.  But I don't interpret this to mean I am welcome. She is just incredibly polite and often hard to read. But my uncle on the other hand has been incredibly cold, and practically never speaks to me.  Its a very subtle change, as he barely spoke even before all this. 

Yesterday I stopped by with my friends for a visit, and my uncle was in the yard as we pulled up.  I got out of the car, and he approached me, red faced, looking very angry. Without anything remotely like a greeting he opened the conversation, "You should get a summer haircut." The way he said it sounded more like an order than a suggestion. 

I was taken completely off guard and after a moment I decided to stay nice and treat it like he hadn't stated it so harshly. Like he had meant it half as a joke. I laughed and said "No, I don't think so.", with a broad smile.

But he wasn't going to give up that easily. He looked more stern than ever. "You know it looks bad."  He waited a moment for a response that never came.  At this point I was struggling to keep my composure. Since he couldn't bait me in he decided he better try harder.  "You used to look a whole lot better."

At this point we are all making our way inside as he finishes his half wit verbal thrust.  I still don't feel like arguing.  With another light laugh, I reply "That is a matter of opinion."

Still he won't let it go.  He turns, looks me dead in the eyes and says, "Well that's MY opinion."  

My calm starts to slip.  There is obviously going to be no way to defuse this by being light.  He's only getting more angry at me for not taking him more seriously.  So I reply back just as stearn, "You're entitled to it."

At that point he finally shut his mouth. Then when we got inside he renewed the conversation by asking his wife if she thought I needed a short cut for summer.  I think she realized this conversation wasn't going anywhere productive, so much as I did, she responds all sugar sweet. She starts mentioning specific styles and such, but without that bossy confrontational edge her husband had employed, it didn't cut as much.  I just told her it was not my style, with a smile. And the whole thing was over.

But I am still angry today at my uncle. That was one of the most uncivil, socially retarded things I have ever seen done.  No one, except an idiot, would greet a house guest by insulting their personal appearance, and then try to push the matter like they have some authority to demand change.

I had been in the building where he works briefly during the day, and I suspect that summer gossipy stuff about my appearance got started up after I left and that it was embarrassing for him.  So this whole confrontation was probably a very stupid attempt to make me alter my appearance so I wouldn't hurt the family reputation.

But here is the simple truth.  There is nothing wrong with me. I am a transgender woman, in early transition.  I pretend to be male, to the extent that I need to to keep my job. I dress appropriately for the position I hold.  I am courteous, punctual, and kind in all my professional and personal dealings.  My hair is the way I want it cut. And though it is not a particularly masculine style, it is VERY well groomed and professional.

I will not make further allowances to appease this close minded element of our local culture. They can talk about me behind my back all they want. I have worked hard at this job for over 7 years, and I am entitled to be myself and keep this job, as long as I see fit to stay here.

I will be here as long as I want. I will express myself to whatever extent I feel it is appropriate at any given time.  As for my family, any rumors are about me, not about anyone else. It is not fair for me to have to pretend to be something I am not, to alleviate someone else's embarrassment, stemming from gossip that is not even about them.  I am the one who has to walk around with high school age kids occasionally snickering or, whistling, or calling me faggot.  If I can handle it, that is what counts. 

My aunt and uncle can suck up and play local politics trying to find a way to eek a few more dollars out if they wish. I'm not here to suck up or play little political games. I am going to be myself. And I will decide how to manage my own transition.  

Mom and Dad have been nice enough to let me board here. So if they do not approve, I can move. But as for anyone else, I really don't care if they approve of who I am or not. If management at work don't like it, we can go to court. Gender expression is a protected right for state workers in Kentucky.  As for everyone else, they can just cope.

There are limits on how much you can sacrifice, and giving up major parts of who you are, just to alleviate discomfort in those around you is far too much. I flatly refuse to bow to idiots.

All in all, I feel I was patient, polite, and serene. While he demonstrated  ignorance and a complete lack of social grace.  So I'm fine, especially now that I have vented my frustrations.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Laser Update

Just writing to update on the results of my last laser appointment mentioned several blogs ago.  About 15 days in, the shedding was almost complete.  My skin continued to soften and heal for a while beyond that.  And now, there has still been very little regrowth.

There are some places that were totally missed by the laser.  The machine my dermatologist uses has a pretty big head. And its apparently a bad idea for any area to be hit with multiple pulses at a single setting.  So, in the end, when there are spots left over that are to small to be zapped without overlapping on to areas already hit, you have to just leave it til next time.  

So, attached is a late evening photo of me. In guy mode sadly! Ahhhh! I hate doing this, but I do want to show what laser does.   In the late evening the contrast between the hit area and the missed areas is very marked.  This angle shows a lot of the missed spots.  But used to I had hair that dark and thick almost all the way down my neck, and thick up until very high on the cheeks.  Now, all there is are these weird looking little patches on each side. 

This is much like my experience the first time, so I expect that with this second laser appointment,  eventually quite a bit of hair will return in some of the areas that are currently bare. But for the moment, my makeup is so easy.

Still, apologize for this picture. So self conscious about having hair on my face. 

I feel like this has been very successful. Much of my face feels nice and smooth. And I'm sure that even after some hair regrows, I'll be so far ahead of where I was.  Of all the effects of a life of testosterone, I find the facial hair the most annoying.  Your face is the first thing people see.  And those transgender girls cursed with thick, dark, fast growing beards like mine really struggle to look acceptable.  I've never felt comfortable in casual clothes, because I have to wear so much makeup to hide the beard, and a meticuluos makeup job looks so out of place with a casual look.  And when I have been out a few hours, I always have to wonder whether the hair is growing enough to start interfering with the texture of my makeup.

And now, at least for the moment, I only have to worry about these little patches around the jawline and chin, and just a tiny moustache. 

Already in the morning, when I check the mirror, its so much easier than waking up to see a night's worth of beard.  So much easier to see the feminine potential of my face (as limited as that is). Anyway, I just look and feel more me, and I can hardly wait for another treatment! =)

PS:  I know this is  a very masculine looking, unattractive photo.  But I am not here to dazzle my audience. I am here to document the emotions and processes involved in my transition. So, yeh, Shandy Alexis stripped of her precious makeup is an odd looking creature. Now ya know.