Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Weekend Getaway

For the first time in five weeks, I got a chance to visit my friends in Lexington last weekend.

Friday afternoon, I had my second laser appointment at the new laser place.  I had a different laser operator, but she was very nice and quite thorough.  I have always had my appointments 2 to 3 months apart, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much less painful it is to come in more frequently, as less hair has returned.  I think at this point I have quite a bit of permanent hair reduction too.

The down side to starting the weekend with laser though, is that because of my sensitive skin I am afraid to follow that up with makeup.  This time so little hair remains that I could have covered it with makeup, if I weren't worried about break outs though.  I ended up spending the weekend in boy mode, but it really wasn't such a bad thing.  The clothes have never been important to me.  I o have a touch of fashionista spirit, but really for me, the important thing has always been having my gender recognized and being able to be myself.

Despite my running around dressed completely in Men's attire, around my friend's I felt confident and was free to be myself. Not once did anyone call me a he.   They know who I am and ugly clothes or visible laser scorched facial hair doesn't change that.   That understanding means so very much to me. =)

Of course out and about, it can be a little awkward.  Two weeks after my previous laser session, I had an experience at a restaurant that demonstrated that people are starting to recognize me as a woman even in guy mode.  But very shortly after that, more hair came in on the upper lip,  and charring it with lasers Friday left that hair much more visible.   I looked masculine again, and though my friends can see past it,  the rest of the world doesn't quite know what to make of me.

Saturday we were out for a bit.  I went by Sally's beauty supply with Tina and Lisa. That was actually pretty comfortable. Everyone was so nice! I was mainly looking for a leave in oil treatment and they pointed me to some Moroccan oil that is apparently all the rage right now, but they only had it in sample sizes.  After looking around, I found something that seemed very similar to the Healthy Sexy Hair soy treatment I usually use.  While I was looking another employee came by and mentioned to another girl that the stuff I was holding was the best they had besides the Morroccan.  Its a generic soy/wheat protein oil, and much cheaper than what I used to use so I took it.   Turns out its a little heavier than the previous stuff I used, but it fights dryness just as well and leaves my hair soft, smooth and shiny after heat treatment, so I'm very pleased.

I also dropped by TJ Maxx to look for more earrings.  I think being out as a guy was more frustrating at this stop than anywhere else that weekend.  It really hurts my pride when I have to shop presenting male.  The whole experience was so uncomfortable that I ended up taking the very first pair of CZ studs I asked for out of the case.  I just kept thinking about how silly I must look to this clerk, looking around at all these earrings.  The ones I actually asked to see were pretty androgynous, but I was still so uncomfortable that I started blushing.   Awkward!

Don't think they quite knew what to think of me at Quizno's either.  The staff seemed a bit curt and I decided it was probably about my odd appearance.   .

Saturday night, I changed the earrings out with little trouble.  Seems my ears are mostly healed, which is so nice!  Lisa invited Keith over.  He is the husband of the local trans support group's president, and also a hair drresser.  We played a bunch of Scategories and Family Feud DVD edition.  Keith offered to cut my hair the next day and I took him up on the offer.

I really love the cut!  Very subtly layered, and a little shorter.   As for the styling, Keith really pumped up the volume!  He did such a great job.  I left looking so silly.  Men's clothes,  visible facial hair, and this lovely, dramatic Ms. America hair.   I wished so much the rest of my appearance could have matched the hair that day.

Sunday night I said my goodbyes.  It was just great having some time with my friends and I left feeling completely recharged.  Its been an awkward week recovering from laser, but everything should be okay by Friday.  =)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ma'am =)

I just had one of the most gratifying experiences ever, less than an hour ago and now I'm just sitting at home feeling so content.   I got off from work and went to the next town over to hit Taco Bell with Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad just wanted to eat and drive, so I offered to go in and order.  I looked a wreck. Five days behind on maintaining my eyebrows.  10 hours since a shave, and a little hair is creeping back in since the last laser appointment.  Huge Lee Dungaree jeans. Two layers of oversize mens shirts.  Giant clunky Doc Marten's and a massive leather men's trench coat. 

 I placed my order and as she handed me the receipt, I was almost certain the clerk called me ma'am.

I was wondering if I had heard correctly as I gathered up my various sauce packages, straws and napkins. Then my order came up and as I tried to find a way to carry 3 drinks and a bag, she said "Ma'am, would you like a drink carrier?"

I'm sure I was absolutely beaming.  Her words were unmistakable this time.  I was looking as masculine as I ever look anymore, trying (though not very hard) to pass as a guy, and without makeup, and with clothes that worked against me instead of in my favor for purposes of gender identification, she called me ma'am with complete confidence.

I'm more confident than ever that I am well on my way to being able to successfully go full time and consistently have my true gender recognized.

Some interesting phone things have happened lately too.  I'm being identified as female on 100% of calls to parties who don't know me in person.

Also, central office called to requeset I offer my services to one of the elementary schools for some computer stuff.  She left me the number of the girl I was supposed to help.  They had told her the tech "guy" would be calling, so she expected a man.

So when I called, she seemed a little confused. After we had talked a few minutes she's like "So, your husband is the one coming to help?" :P

I'm feeling so confident.  

Outside today the snow was melting away and the sun was filtering through the grey winter clouds.  Maybe it heralds the end of more than one winter in my life.  Spring seems filled with new hope for me.  I don't know what 2010 holds, and I'm sure there are challenges.   I am confronting my physical challenges and changing perceptions.  I'm getting to be myself, and as my body changes I'm more comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been.  No matter what happens and how things come out, its worth absolutely anything to live my life with authenticity.


Monday, February 08, 2010

The Decay of Boy Mode

*~*~Me at work today,  February 8, 2010.~*~*

The first month and a half of 2010 have been very eventful in terms of my physical transition.  The hormones are still slowly altering my body shape, my skin continues to soften, and the remaining body hair continues to lose follicle density, pigmentation and thickness.  Even my face looks a little different, especially in the rounding of my cheeks.

On top of all that, the facial laser appointment I had in mid-January has proven very successful.  The laser operator at the new place is a lot more thorough than the dermatologist I was seeing.  She carefully zaps the entire area at the setting decided on for the session, then lowers the settings and does a second round.  The result is no huge gaps like I used to experience.  As a matter of fact, it has probably been 20 years since I have had such small amounts of facial hair. Of course, some of it will grow back, but I am scheduled for 4 more treatments yet.

The old self conscious feeling that used to come with working with my new voice is also gone.  I get to use my natural inflection, which I used to hold back, and combine that with my now higher and clearer voice.  I'm pleased with the results, and the whole thing feels very natural.  So natural in fact, that it is very hard to recapture my male voice.

The end results of all of the great changes?   I look a lot less male, or at least to me I do.

The upside of this, is that I feel much better about myself, no matter what gender I am presenting as on a given day.  As my true gender, I'm much more confident.  But even in boy mode I have the comfort of knowing that no matter what I wear, I just really don't look like a guy.

The downside?  Changes this drastic do not go unnoticed. Of itself, that is not a bad thing.  I'm proud of my gender, and I want to be recognized properly, and I don't want to have to rely on clothing and makeup for props to help people make that identification.  But I still must work as a guy so there is the worry that eventually I will go far enough that my employment is jeopardized.

Right now, most people are nice to me.  A few men at the office are standoffish, but otherwise things are smooth.  Many of the kids speak to me in the halls now, and it has been months since any of the boys have shouted "fag" or "gay" as I pass by.  I'm not quite sure how much people know about what is happening with me.  As long as they continue to tolerate me through this awkward in-between stage, I'll be so grateful to my little home town. :)