Still feel like I'm pretending sometimes. The new name's a weird thing to deal with. When we were at San Diego, a friend of mine from college ran into us. She introduced me by my old name and I didn't know how to react. I guess it's no big deal AT ALL to say "Oh! I've got a new name now!", but for whatever reason, I just get awkward about it. I don't feel like there's anything more GENUINE about my new name any more than I've ever felt my old name was genuine. Names don't feel meaningful to me. Maybe they don't feel meaningful to anyone.
These days, I feel like I'm living in a weird dreamworld, where everyone respects this weird bunny costume I'm wearing but I don't feel like I'm actually a bunny and then the self-doubt caves in. It's stupid! My balls are gone. I've been on hormones for years. I don't DOUBT my transition, 'cuz living as a dude is a MORE alien notion to me.
I guess it's just the name-tag strangeness chips away at the confidence I have that I have ANY right to do all of this. About seven, eight years ago, when I applied at a company, they asked if there's anything about me that they should know. Being unsure of the nature of the question, I responded with "Um, well, I cross-dress... So hopefully that's not a problem. I don't mind dressing up for publishers or biz meetings or whatever, but I sometimes wear gender-inappropriate clothing". I was told it wasn't a problem unless I thought it was going to become a problem (which I don't entirely understand). I felt as though they had every right to tell me I can't do that shit at the office. Because that's playing around. That's pervert shit. And I can do that on my own time, but you don't do pervert shit at work. None of this was EXPLICITLY stated (well, my sweetie-pie put it to me more or less that way when arguing against my wearing skirts at work, but no employer ever did)... but that's how I felt. And I felt okay with that, because I UNDERSTOOD what it meant to be a "pervert". I could own that. That's always resonated with me. So much of the transgender stuff is "Oh! Here are some answers to my shit, but even if they don't all totally fit, it's better than what I had before." So I'm left partially LEARNING what kind of woman I actually am... partially fabriating a new identity for myself in order to inhabit a "lady-space" that society would expect of me? I don't know. I never really resonated with "Travis", but at least it had precident. Had history. "Josie" is gonna take some time to grow on me. Gonna take a while before it's not jus' WEIRD comin' out of people addressing me. I know that hearin' my folks continuing to use my old name bums me out. Dunno if that's just a symbol or if that's reinforcement that this is really where I should be going.
Someone recently called me one of the most unashamedly authentic people they knew. I wish I felt that way about myself.
A note on the interesting downsides to getting everything you think you want.
When my transition began, I was at a complicated and low point in my life. There were any number of reasons, but they all conspired to form a turning point in my life. This turning point was so significant, I was prepared to upheave almost everything I was familiar with in my life. Thankfully (EXTREMELY thankfully), the transition and associated novel developments have been folded into my pre-transition lifestyle pretty smoothly.
Thing is, Because I determined that the transition HAD to happen (which it did), it empowered me to consider what OTHER patterns could do for re-assessment. It's a strange thing. Any conviction worth having should be scrutinized and re-assessed, I imagine, but yeah. The thing with me is that it's hard to know where to stop. Being in a committed relationship involves compromise and self-sacrifice. it kinda has to. And I KNOW that. I've been in a committed relationship for 13 years. It's just that now, I'm in a position where I'm exploring new stuff and feeling out new territory and it's hard to re-draw lines. Why compromise ANYWHERE? I can just live for myself and do whatever I want! Part of this attitude is fired up by all the hormone rush making me super emotional (read: needy) and part of this is fired up by the dopamine rush of novelty. I tried THIS new thing, and it's awesome! What other new things can I try?
And that's all fine and good... I jus' need to be super-mindful of my sweetie. She's not driving this stuff. She's along for the ride, and there's a certain amount of powelessness that comes from that. I didn't drink before my transition. Didn't smoke. Didn't drug. DIdn't non-monogamy.
Life is amassive. I'm not usedto being the responsible one, but I need to be more exceptionally careful.
So, Comic-Con came an' went. Overwhelming, as it usually is. My first time as a lady. Truth be told, I was a little bummed out when some-a my old friends stopped by... Not 'cuz they used my old name, but because they didn't skip a beat. No "You look different" or anything. Jus' sayin' hi and catchin' up. Such mixed feels! 'Cuz I want SO BADLY for stuff to be recognized, I feel kinda lame. All ths time, money, stress, hormones, surgery... And nothing? But at the same time... it's kinda badass that old friends don't react. I'm SURE they process the changes, but maybe they don't react because it seems like something I'd logically do. Anyone close to me knows I've fucked with gender stuff a lot. I dunno. It was interesting.
Also interesting was hearin' a lady talkin' to Kelli and idly mentioning "Your husband". Kelli hadn't SAID anything... She just assumed that Kelli was married (Or saw the ring and assumed she was married to a dude). Never wouldve noticed someone making that assumption. Or if I DID notice it before, It'd seem logical. "Well, I'm here, so obviously we're married" or some such. But it ain't. It was just an assumption. Weird to no longer be part of that majority so secure, folx can just idly throw that shit around.
I didn't correct her. Didn't wanna make things awkward or whatever. Neither did Kelli, really. But it didn't get either of us down. It was just interesting.
SO many adorable queer kids at the convention, and so many ladies who might have been trans, but y'know. Hard to be sure and I know better than to ask. Still, it SUPER warmed my heart to see a lady who MIGHT Be trans*, so I'm makin' mental notes to increase visibility at stuff like this. I want to be a chick who ladies can see and feel less alone.
Preparing to go to San Diego for the Comic 'Con with my sweetie pie. First time I've attended as a woman. Part of me WANTS the experience to be somehow different, but considering all the potential horrible ramifications of "my experience is different now because I'm a woman", I should hope that everything feels the same. It's that old validation thing creepin' in again, I guess. Part of me wants things different just to remind me that YES, things have changed. It's jus' kinda weird how they haven't. This entire process has just made me more ME. I'm still into the same shit I've ever been, still make the same jokes.
Weird to use the same bathroom as my sweetie in airports and whatnot. I get that "passing guilt" when nobody harasses me. I want to take one for the sisterhood! I want to be a teaching moment! *sigh*
Nice to see my "I'm new to this" enthusiasm still poking through when I'm trying to pretend I'm old hat at this gender transition stuff. <=)
Tears for Fears - Everybody wants to Rule the World
Mentoring a young transchick online... Not sure how we got to talking, but I've been doin' what I can to lift her spirits, help her throught the rough stuff. I feel kinda weird about it. Like, on one hand, it's AWESOME being able to speak with any kind of authority about this stuff. I've done the HRT thing, the name change thing, the Orchi...
On the other hand, fuck. The Orchi was a month ago! I've been through some-a this shit, but I have no PERSPECTIVE. Lookit that. I'm only on week 86 of my 110 weeks of documentation. 86 weeks ago, "I think I'm a woman" was pretty much just a twinkle in my eye! I'm in no damn position to advise ANYONE about how this shit will affect their lives or what they can expect, REALLY.
I've also had it HELLA easy. I wasn't HONESTLY expecting to have the orchi before the 110 weeks were through. Never expected to even ATTEMPT the name-change battle. It feels like anything I've tried with this transition has jus' kinda WORKED, and I'm Overwhelmed by how lucky an' privileged I am (and have been).
Then again, whatever. After all the legitimacy fears I've wrestled with regarding my transition, I'm spending a LOT of time tellin' this chick that she doesn't need to question her legitimacy, so I should take some-a my own medicine.
I'm not an expert. I'm jus' me. But I'm as legit as I know how to make myself. Hopefully that's enough to help. <=)
Healing is progressing well. Most of the time I don't even THINK about it, although I still can't cross my legs too well, sleeping on my side isn't the best. Also, when I shave, there's weird numb patches. It's all comin' along fine, I guess. I took a "before" picture the day I came home from th' hospital. Kinda scared to see it. =D
Saw this on th' Twitters, an' it jus' kinda bummed me out: "The best thing about being a transwoman? Fear of a would-be rapist discovering my dick and murdering me in a rage. Well, that, and dresses!" < Partially because that's me, mostly because that's NOT me. I don't have that fear... I've never been attacked by anyone. Never even had people be rude to me explicitly on account of my transness. I guess it's jus' privilege guilt... but I see sweet folx on twitter bein' turned down for jobs and being uncomfortable going outside jogging for fear of violence. I hate that shit, and I feel... I feel badlt for not being able to share the burden. Cuts at my feeling of validity, too, with the "THIS is what it means to be trans. It's hard and it's scary and it's dangerous.Whatever you're experiencing is an inauthentic cheat-y simulacrum" etc. And it's bullshit, and it's not helpful to anyone. If anything, I should USE my privilege to help make life SAFER and EASIER for all transfolx to feel as comfy as I am. I dunno. It's hard to know how to help. What to do with my privilege.
So... Sex. It's kinda back. Orgasms still take a long time to work my way towards and require more focus and concentration than I'd like, but the initial arousal seems much more ready. I've gotten morning wood recently, couple of days in a row. This is weird to me especially because I was prepared for that phenomenon to be gone completely! Erections hurt a little less... I think I'm doin' okay. Thinking about sex frequently, but I'm not sure if it's more frequent than it was before. But it's awesome and it's kinda nice to just have non-agonizing boners again.
Still occasionally having crippling emotional swings, but good days outnumber the bad and I'm hopin' that the chemical levels will only stabilize.
Went to the doc today, gettin' some Followup action post-orchi. Dude said I was healing impressively well, and that some-a my lingering soreness is to be expected and is no big deal. Tonight, I take my first bath in a month. It's gonna be AWESOME.
Sidenote: My doc didn't know the word "Dysphoric". Teaching moments all around!
Phone convo with my folx this weekend... Dad used my new name, mom gave me some shit about "defying God's plan". Win some, lose some. It means SO much for me to see my folks come around. I've gotten shit from my buddies for continuing to interact with my folx. "If someone's going to be shitty to me and disregard my needs and struggles, I should jus' say fukkem" etc. I guess that it's a combination of factors... Mom & paps still love me a lot. They've just got backwards ideas. It's a shame they're ignorant, but if I can be a teaching moment for them, I can help reduce their ignorance while still having parents. And I guess that's a worthwhile endeavour? Don't expect 'em to attend any pride parades, but they're gonna have a goddamn diffeerent perspective if they're in a social situation and someone in their group starts talking shit about transfolks.
Mom inadvertently warmed my heart a bit... I mentioned to her thet a kid I knew growing up is trans (more on her later), and she seemed kinda flustered. I don't know what I was gettin' at by relating this info to her, but I said something to the effect of "Y'know, in case it's reassuring that this isn't an isolated incident... that this happens. Her response to me was something to the effect of "Oh, I KNOW it happens. It's been happening more and more. Today's world..." I don't actually remember whether she trailed off or wharrgarbled. It WAS reassuring, though, that someone in my mom's position is "seeing it" more and more. VISIBILITY, BITCHES. WE HAS IT.
Feelin' a SUPER rebound on the sexual tip. Erections are still kinda painful, but I'm MUCH MUCH more interested in sex post-orchi. Hoping that if I jus' give the girl enough exercise, she'll stop aching so damn much every time she gets hard. Neat to feel that self-abuse urge creeping back in whenever I'm idle. I'd missed that impulse. So! There's a chick I keep up with from Saint Simon's Island... one of the few folx from my childhood I maintain relations with. So this chick tells me about Facebook goings-on, since I abstain, and recently informed me that a kid I used to know when I was like, 6 or so back in th' Tiger Scouts is Trans! Helluva thing. Apparently, she lives on the island with her fiancee an' their girlfriend. Which, wow. Fist in the fuckin' air. I thought it was kinda weird and unsettling to transition without knowing other transfolx, but to do so in south Georgia (and alsoplus not knowing any transfolx)? That's some shit, right there. Homegirl wrote to me
I know a buncha transfolks that are poly. Wonder what that's all about. I know the plural of anecdote isn't data but It'd be interesting to talk to folks in trans* communities and see whether there's a disproportionate number of poly kids. Like, how breaking free of "gender" requirements might empower folks to break free of other social requirements they feel beholden to? And not even beholden... but y'know. To ask those questions. Any convictions worth having should withstand scrutiny, but there's a lotta stuff that it just doesn't occur to folx to scrutinize. If EVERYONE was in a queer, accepting, open community, I wonder how the social landscape would differ.
Hey, everyone? Social experiment: Let's all collaborate on an open, accepting, queer community.
Goddamn but I do LOVES me some Banana splits. Now all I need is for this healin' to hurryup an' finish and I'll be right as rain. It ain't INCAPACITATING any more, but I'm aware of it still. Bit tender to the touch. Still can't SHAVE, which is infuriating. I know it ain't gonna be much time in the long run, but pattern disruptions, y'know?
Put on some weight for the transition (wanted to maximize boobage), but even though I'm pretty heavy, I'm SO happy with my body. Seeing myself in the mirror feels pretty great now. Doubly so when I get a good angle on my boobs.
Emotionally, I've been on some ups and downs. I think that I'm more prone to steep emotional crashes after a lotta pot-use. Something to be watchful for. I've had a couple of just Right-outta-nowhere crashes recently that shut me the hell DOWN. Like, curl up into a ball and shake kinda way. Nothin' to do but ride it out and let it pass. This shit's rough enough when my life's relatively reasonably stable. Like, my rational mind KNOWS I really don't have shit to worry about. It's just hard when the darkness comes in to crush. I feel like this shit gives me a GLIMPSE of what clinical depression sufferers go through, even though SAYING that feels like I'm trivializing my dear friends who have to suffer through it. So much bad. Thankfully, the really bad low-points are brief punctuations in an otherwise decent emotional state.
Sexdrive! Feels like it's comin' back a bit. It's interesting. After all th' Spiro, I was wholly prepared to jus' start getting used to my new paradigm. I'm still kinky, still need the validation an' emotional elements of sex, just not as fixated? Anyway, some-a the fixation's coming back a little bit. I find myself thinking of sexual stuff a lot more and being motivated for sex stuff... Even getting spontaneous erections! Which I totally wasn't expecting. Pre-transition, I was pretty damn intensely sex-focused, so part of my transition involved preparing for that to go away... But it's still nice to get a little of it back.
So I had myself some major surgery without emotionally processing the fact that I was about to have major surgery. It's weird. I'll catch myself Getting amped about "It's really gonna happen!" then feel a spike of pain and be all "Oh. Right". It's actually kind of scary, the rush of New. Even though I want it, even though I've been workin' on this shit for a long time... there's a nervousness you get sometimes when you're about to cross that threshold. Like when you're getting a new tattoo. Sometimes you get butterflies rigt before the needle touches your skin because now, at this moment, things are about to irrevocably change, and that change will be permanent. Sometimes that can take some mental unpacking. For this, that unpacking is still kind of happening. (The hormone change doesn't help. Things are always a little weird when my meds get changed up.) Anyway, I remember coming out of the anæsthetic... The first words spoken to me were my new name, which is sort of an amazing thing for a nurse to do. <=) Once I'd been checked up on and left there for the mind-fog to clear, I remember repeating to myself "They're gone. They're gone." And I felt a bit of panic. Something had been taken from me. Something I was intimately (very intimately, actually) comfortable with was gone and was never coming back. It's still kind of weird to me. Just because you want something doesn't mean it won't have an impact.
Part of that impact came when I experienced my first hot flash. Couple of weird things I should've expected, going from 6mg of estrogen down to 2... Eventually I might drop all my estrogen. Something about realizing that I was 35 and menopausal hit me alongside the emotional weirdness that always accompanies my meds changing. I experienced... I don't want to say regret... but I felt like I wanted to pump the brakes a little and slow down. Is this what I wanted? I made the joke to my sweetie-pie the other day "I didn't sign up for hot flashes and bone density loss... all I wanted was boobs!". As is usually the case with such things, there's an element of truth to my jokes.
New Driver's license acquired. Fukken' Legit as HELL. Changes. This shit's happening on the weekly. I'll miss all the action in a couple of entries, when there's nothin' much to talk about again. <=) Kinda lookin' forward to that, actually.
All this time, all this pain, all this annoyance, EVERYTHING running up to "Sure, let's get a surgery date / Next week / Okay, we're gonna put you under now / Time to go home!" INSANITY. I feel as though everything happened before I could emotionally digest it. Still doesn't quite feel real. I think that once all the swelling goes down and the bruises heal, I wouldn't actually be surprised to find th' beans still where they've always lived. I mean, that'd be catastrophic, but after the series of setbacks and disappointments, I'd be ready for it.
Fukkin' Lawsy, though, this pain. I don't know why I presumed that I'd be dancing around immediately after surgery, but I'm surprised at how rough it's been. And not just "kicked-in-the-balls" pain, like I presumed it would be. All KINDS of pains. Pinching, itching, aching, warm tugging soreness, bright sharp stabs. I imagine it's just all the layers all interacting differently to their particular traumas. There's a lot you need to cut through to remove sex organs from people, and the body's prepared to give ALL KINDS of feedback if you're creepin' in on that territory. Curiously (and pleasantly) enough... the one pain I'm NOT experiencing? Kicked-in-the-balls pain. That old gut-achey testicular pain is NOWHERE to be found. Its conspicuous absence is heartening.
The "Need to not think too much about sex-stuff" thing is annoying. Felt myself start to get a little aroused yesterday and it felt like a large "pain dial" being slowly ratcheted up. Reckoned I'd switch gears before I saw how THAT turned out.
Got my social security card for the new name! Ordinarily, that'd be huge news, but in light of recent events, it's one facet of a larger production goin' on. <=) Still. Wonderful progress. Now to change my name EVERYWHERE. It's been impressive how easy it's been! I guess banks and whatnots know ya as a number mostly, these days. Anyway, slowly but surely. I feel a little silly to have co-workers and friends say "Travis" or whatever then correct themselves. Like, I APPRECIATE it, but I'm not dysphoric about "Travis"... I feel silly puttin' folks through the anxiety and inconvenience of worryin'. Ah, well. Maybe this low-stress exercise will better prepare them for interacting with a transkid who takes that shit a lot more seriously. Who knows.
My parents called during my convalescence. Wasn't expecting them to, and I wasn't gonna call them, especially after that "big mistake" shit they dropped last time they talked. But they were sweet and they're showing that they love me and are trying to work through their hatred and ignorance even while fastidiously clinging to it. I'm sure it's a rough spiritual battle for them to fight, but at least they're fighting it, which is something.
Shoulda spread this entry out across a couple of entries. Not gonna be a whole lotta weeks that are this interesting, I fear. <=)