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.