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!


caroline said...

I have lived inbetween for decades, it is survivable.

Caroline xxx

Amy K. said...

This is really exciting stuff! Look at the negatives this way: If people are beginning to wonder whether you're male or female, even with no makeup and such, then you're stradding the fence. All you need is that little push over to that greener grass environment. You'll be seen as female to anyone you don't know well, and the only lingering looks you're likely to receive, are those from rough rogue types. ;)

You're on your way. I loved reading this post, as it mirrors quite a bit of my first couple years on HRT. Keep up the good work!

Melissa said...

So nice to hear from you again, Shannon! Sorry to hear your satellite connection is still on the fritz. Have you ever considered a wireless USB modem? You can see some here:

I use one, because I can't get cable where I live, and even though I have satellite TV, I loose service in the summer when the leaves come out on the trees that surround my property.

If you have guys holding doors open for you, even though you are wearing heavy shirts and baggy jeans, and no makeup, then you must be looking pretty good girl! And don't discount that woman at work referring to you as her, either. That's probably how she see you. Have you ever considered that the word has gotten out, that you are transitioning? Maybe she knows, and just wanted to subtly let you know she supports you. At any rate, it seems with that last bout of laser, that the worm has turned for you! Congratulations!

Melissa XX

Leslie Ann said...

My, that's a lot of news, Shannon. You are going to have a tough time convincing people in boy mode. Maybe if you add a third shirt? Your mannerisms are all girl. And that's to your credit. Maybe you can start the next school year as a woman!

Sylvia gave me a full report on your outing with her. You wore her out! Maybe I'll get to do a Debbie outing with you one day. That would be awesome.

Looking good, babe!

Tina Jenson said...

I'm trying to think of a good IT person who could help you with that modem. LOL So glad things are going your way and you are comfortable with the changes in your transition. Sounds like a fab weekend too. Wish Lisa and I could have gone with ya. The Sat nite at the Fox with the band was fabulous tho...maybe you can make that with us sometime. Ciao for now, T

Anonymous said...

If that guy held doors open for me (and they have) there would be no doubt he considered you female. You said you slipped by him to go to the's or women's?...and did he take notice of which one you entered?

You're such a natural beauty, I can't imagine him thinking you're a guy...I don't care how many shirts you're

I'm so glad you were able to have the interaction with him...eye contact counts...holding doors counts. Seems to me he was more or less smitten. Carry on beautiful lady. :)Suzi

ms.shandy said...

Thanks for all the kind words! =)

@caroline I agree, its very possible to live in between. I'm enjoying life much more than I ever did when I was perceived completely as the wrong gender. It does require thick skin, in the proverbial sense, but really its good for anyone to learn not to dwell to much on the opinions of others. Transgender people just tend to get more practice than most.

@amy Lingering looks from tall, dark and handsome rogue types. I like how you think! Actually I daydream about that a lot lately. LOL!

@melissa I'm still not exactly sure what that guy saw when he looked at me. I really, really wish he had called.

On the wireless connect card, I'm lucky to get one bar of edge signal at this house. It seems I'm just too far off the beaten path for anything except satellite.

@leslie I'd so love a trip to Louisville with you. If you can get your wife too approve such a venture, I'd be happy to have your company. You would really like Debbie and the Sienna girls! Its all safe, innocent fun, but you have to be prepared for a very, very long day. When I drive 6 hours round trip, I intend to make the most of it. :P

@tina Ha! That's mean, the IT comment. Actually it infuriates me that I can't even fix my own satellite modem. The weird thing is, it will connect with certain computers attached directly, but suddenly does not work with any of my 3 wireless routers. Researching it a bit more tonight.

@suzi Thanks sweetie. :) I like to think he considered me a girl. I do know though that the girl with him knows I'm genetically male, and currently living as a guy. So by the time he sent her over to drop off my number, he had to know. Plus, I still have little patches of dark facial hair. Yuck! I'm a work in progress though.

At any rate, I have no idea whether a guy flirting with another guy gets that cavalier. Somehow I can't imagine it. It felt like he was considering me a girl. Felt so nice! :)

Jerica said...

Wow girl, lots of things going on. It was exciting to read about. I happened upon your blog from another blog.

Isn't it funny when the smallest female pronoun can make you beam sometimes? =)