Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Interesting, and true

It's been a pretty uneventful day, but a good day for doing some thinking. I've spent most of it reading Questionable Content, through the almost-1200 of them. I'm fortified by Chipotle and Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate, and I've been thinking about CandiFLA's newest video.

In it, she talks about the fact that basically everybody in her life knows either "her" or "him", and she doesn't really switch back and forth for anybody. It's confusing for them, and it's confusing for her. She's trying to become "her" all the time, so I guess there's not much point for her to be "him" unless she has to.

Even though I've spent comparatively little time as "her" so far, that's becoming the case for me too. Most of the time I spend with C and E now is as "her", so much so that it's kind of awkward for me to visit with them as "him". I just feel out of place when I try.

Since I haven't made much progress with my voice yet, there's not a whole lot that I do differently between the way I present "her" and the way I present "him", other than the fact that "she" has boobs, and wears makeup, and perfume, and heels. But even with those superficial differences, it just feels different to be "her". My manner is different, and I carry myself differently; it's not really something I do consciously, but I can feel the difference, even if I can't put my finger on just what's different.

Recently, E was out of town for a couple days, and C was on-call so he was stuck in town, so I thought I'd invite him to meet for dinner. At this point, I'm in no way ready for girl-mode in public, so I met him in boring-guy-mode. I've been out in public as "him" with C literally hundreds of times over the almost-decade we've known each other, but the fact that I've interacted with him for the past couple months almost exclusively in girl-mode, that still made it extremely uncomfortable and awkward for me to try being a boy with him that one time. So evidently in my mind, I'm a girl with them now, and it's difficult for me to switch back.

This past Saturday, I went over to their house, as "him" again, to watch stage 20 of the Tour de France, since I don't have cable. It was early, and it was just a casual thing. It was slightly less awkward, but it was still a little strange for me. E remarked that it was interesting to hear me switch from talking about the guy topics C and I usually discuss, to talking about girl topics with her, just like it was no big deal. Which it isn't, since both sides are parts of me; for a nice illustration, I mentioned that sometimes when I work on my racecar, I get upset when I break a nail (or few). As we were saying our goodbyes, C gave me a kiss, which I was not expecting, and said something along the lines of "you don't need to have a dress on, to get a kiss from me." So I feel like I'm basically at a sort of impasse, some limbo state, where I need to be this other person, and I'm getting used to being this other person in some situations, but I'm not anybody new, exactly. That made absolutely no sense. I know how I feel, but it's hard to get down in words.

When I'm just around my house, it's just me there, and I know how I feel inside, and I don't spend a whole lot of time looking in the mirror, so I usually don't go through the trouble of putting on a dress and all that. I'm "her", all the time, inside. I'm not sure if C and E are starting to see only "her" when they are with me, or just what their thought process is. C once said that if boring-guy me went away, and I was only Trinity forever after, he wouldn't be upset at all. Which totally rules, of course, since that's the ultimate goal.

I really hope it will get easier, both as I become more comfortable and develop the skills to be more passable in my new social role, and as I come out to more people, and am able to present that new role more often. No, I'm sure it will get easier, it will eventually become as natural as breathing. But it will take time and work.

Well that was fun

Since I've got a couple weeks until I start my new job, and I'm just bopping around the house cleaning and doing laundry, I decided to play with my makeup some more, and have some girl-mode time today. I ended up pretty heavily made up, but you know what? I had fun, and since nobody else was around, that's all that counts.

I need to get a lighter, more pink lipstick. All the colors I have are a bit, shall we say, dramatic. They're fun, but a bit heavy for normal daily wear.

I'll definitely try more tomorrow, and maybe aim for a bit more subtle look. I have some new eye shadow, in shades of purple, so I'll see what I can do with those.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ready... set... stop!

My hands were shaking, my mouth was dry, I was totally nervous, but I was all ready to get out there and go. And then I couldn't find the address of where I was supposed to be.

I'm referring to today's meeting of TATS - the Texas Association for Transsexual Support - which is to meet in about 15 minutes at the shiny new Houston Transgender Center. My therapist has been prodding me to go, to meet some of the local community, and I thought "what the heck, might as well." Except that the address is nowhere to be found on their website. Google Maps doesn't know about it either; it's probably too new.

Well darn. I was actually looking forward to it a little bit, and I'm a little bit disappointed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wait for it...

Sure, I get everyone all excited with my talk of coming out to my oldest friend, and then... nothing. There was nothing nefarious about it, I assure you. It was a lukewarm response at best, and there was other exciting stuff that happened, which I wanted to focus on more.

Since I've written coming-out letters to a couple people, and they were materially the same, if not identical in places, I think I've gotten the set of talking points down pretty well. I managed to say all the things I wanted to get across, and only ventured into teary-land once.

As for his response, perhaps room-temperature to slightly cool would be a good description. It seemed like at first he just didn't believe me, or maybe didn't want to believe me. He also didn't have much of a foundation for what the heck I was talking about; it seemed like he had most of the stereotypes running through his head, and no real facts. And of course those stereotypes are pretty bad (thank you, Jerry Springer). So he was somewhat resistant to the idea. No, that's an understatement; he was rather resistant to the idea.

I also gave him permission to out me to his wife. I thought for a long time about this; I really don't know her all that well, but what I do know, does not inspire me with confidence for a positive response. He knows her a lot better (of course), so he might know how to frame things in a way that she would (a) understand, and (b) accept. The big stumbling block: she's a preacher's kid. Not only is she a preacher's kid, but she's one of the goody-goody preacher's kids. You know, the ones who are daddy's perfect little angels, never do anything wrong, are extremely religious, all that stuff. When the subject of his wife came up in the conversation, he said "expect reduced interaction". As in, he expected that she'd freak, and disallow him to talk to me much, if at all. Which I half expected anyway.

I suggested that he do some web searching, and learn something about what it means to be transgendered, since it was pretty obvious that he didn't know much about it. I'm a big believer that education can solve a lot of problems - it's easy to hate somebody when you don't know anything about them, but once you know someone, and have a better idea just what they're going through, it's a lot more difficult to work up a bunch of nasty for them.

So. Lukewarm at best. I halfway expected this to be like driving into a minefield, and I'm just waiting for the kaboom.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yaaaay!!!

I just got home from my consultation appointment with the hair removal clinic, and my first appointment for treatment is on the 7th of August. I'm so excited, I can hardly contain myself!

They said it would take around 10 months to do the complete course of treatment, with approximately 3 months between each individual treatment. There will be periods a couple weeks after each treatment when all my facial hair just falls out (yaaay!), followed by a period of no hair growth (yaaay!), after which the hairs which haven't been killed will grow back (awwww!). After it's all done, all the dark hairs will be gone, and what's left will be blonde. Blonde hairs on the face don't make much of a shadow; C has a blonde beard, and he shaves once a week, and even then it's hard to tell on him. I'll be able to get those blonde hairs removed with electrolysis after that, which, by all accounts, is extremely time consuming and painful. I can't say that I'm looking forward to that a whole lot, but that's further down the road.

Enough of that tech talk. Yaaay, yaaay, yaaay!!!! Hugs to everyone, since I'm just so excited!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some up, some down

So I've been avoiding making this post.

I went to see my sister on Wednesday. We had the Big Talk, and she seemed like she was doing ok with everything. But on reflection, she wasn't doing very well with much of it. I think she might be fighting harder than my mom to keep her brother around. She didn't like my name, she didn't want to think about any of the changes which I'm excited about making. In retrospect, it was a weird confluence of happy, and terrified. I've been feeling awful for the past two days about this, and I decided today that she was shocked, and didn't know how to react, and once she's had some time to think about things, she might be, well, not so hurtful.

My mom is making some progress to being able to handle my impending transition. I didn't really have a lot of opportunity to talk to her about it, as I was in a bit of a hurry when I last talked to her, but she said some good things, and didn't have quite the same stricken face she usually seems to when the subject of my transness comes up. So at least that's something.

And the big excitement: I finally got a hair removal place to answer my phone call, and I have an appointment for a consultation this Saturday (hey, that's tomorrow). I've actually been trying to focus on this as much as possible, because it's something that I can control, and it's something that's awesome, so I think it's much better to be excited about things I'm doing, than depressed about things that other people are doing. Unfortunately, the depressed part tends to overshadow the awesome part.

OK, so that wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. Not one of my better posts, but whatever. It's worth the price you paid.

Oh, another coming-out talk happening in a very short time. I was originally going to come out to my oldest friend last Friday, but schedules got mixed up, and wires got crossed, and plans fell through. But I'm about to walk out the door to go spend time with him. I think he's on the list of "almost certainly ok" people, but there's always that "what if" idiot in my head. Here goes nothing...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yaaaay!

I went over to J and J's last night for dinner. What a totally fun time I had! They were both worried that they'd slip and call me by the boring-guy name (which they did), and that I would be upset by that (which I wasn't), but like my first time at C and E's, they made a great effort, and they did really well. They both seemed rather surprised by, I guess, the quality of my presentation. I'm not really sure what they were expecting, but I apparently surpassed it by a good margin. So, yaaay me!

The atmosphere was very, very relaxed. We had cheesesteak sandwiches and tonka pies a la mode, and everything was excellent. Young-J (yes, they all have J-names) was pretty well behaved, even though her usual bedtime routine was a little messed up, and that upset her. Once she finally fell asleep, we were able to talk about all manner of things, and I was completely at ease, and enjoyed it greatly. They had good questions, and I tried to give good answers, and they both made some very good insightful comments. Girl-J went to bed, and Guy-J and I stayed up and talked some more. I got home foolishly late, and was very tired, but I felt like I was walking on air.

I think I surprised Guy-J a bit when I hugged him as I was leaving. We were saying our goodbyes, and usually when I'm in boring-guy mode, we give a good handshake. I really like hugs, and it felt like the right thing, so I gave him one. I had the wicked thought at the time that I should totally freak him out and give him a kiss too, but that would have just been mean. Thinking about it now makes me giggle. It did take me a couple months to become comfortable enough around C to be able to kiss him, so like a lot of things, it will just take some time to adjust.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Much ado about nothing, I guess

Wednesday went without a hitch. I mean, duh, right? I knew it would. But of course I can never let my head get in the way of a perfectly good anxiety attack. /me shakes her head. I really do hope this gets easier. I have plenty of anxiety about meeting people in boring-guy mode, but this is just crazy.

So tonight, I'm going to J and J's house, in girl mode. Girl-J is soooooooo excited to see me, it's rubbing off on me, and I'm pretty excited to, well, to be seen. We've been trading emails over the past few days, and she's been super-supportive (even more so than Guy-J, who's fantastically supportive himself), and insightful, and has even offered a little constructive criticism. She's dying to get her hands on my hair, and I'm more than glad to let her show me whatever she wants to teach me.

One comment she made that I thought was extremely interesting, was that she didn't want me to feel like a novelty item.

Well.

I must say that I had never even thought about that before. All these new girl things that I'm learning about - how to put on makeup, and how to do nails, and even how to handle simply living day-to-day with long nails, and all the rest - everything is so novel, that, if you'll forgive the odd analogy, it's like going to a circus. With all the bright lights, and strange people, and weird goings-on, it's basically just sensory overload. Moving from guy-mode to girl-mode, there are so many new sensations, never mind all the new things to learn and do, that sometimes it's difficult to take everything in.

One thing that has just completely blown me away, in all my outings so far, is the simple act of walking out the door in my halter dress. The sun was out, and there was a light breeze, and even though I was fully, decently dressed, I could feel the sun and wind on my shoulders and back. Wow! If I hadn't been quite so anxious to get in the car (it was only my second time out the door in girl-mode), I might have just stopped and enjoyed the sensation for a minute or two. Even now, weeks later, I still remember that sensation very vividly.

Breasts is another one. I wear silicone breast prostheses. They're not connected to me, and they've got no sensation of their own, other than the pressure I can feel when they're pressed up against my own chest, but it's a wholly new feeling. I am made aware that they're there - when driving, or when moving around things that are about chest-height (bonk!), or even when just sitting there breathing. It's a difficult thing to describe, but when they're there, it's just... different.

I expect that, in time, and as my body starts physically changing, a lot of the novelty will wear off, and some of the things I'm just now learning will simply become another part of the daily "thing". And on the other hand, probably some things I'll decide are just too much of a hassle, or are only special-occasion things, so I won't do them very often. And at that point, if one of my girlfriends asked to do a make-over on me, I might feel differently about it. But I'm sure I'll meet her request with grace, and accept her offer because she loves me and wants to share something with me, or even just because she wants to spend time with me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Another new person

Tomorrow, I'm going to my friends' for dinner, which isn't necessarily remarkable in itself. Miss Trinity is making another foray into the world, which is cause for cheering. But the big deal this time, is that there'll be another person there, one who I don't know very well. She seems a pretty open person, and she definitely knows what's going on, so I'm sure it will be ok. But that doesn't seem to stop the dive-bombing butterflies in my tummy. To say that I was panicked, would be something of an understatement.

I've been halfway to tears for most of the afternoon and evening, because of tomorrow. I know this is completely in my head; I'll be with people who love me, and everything will be completely fine. But it's just that fear of the unknown, combined with my anxieties about myself, that are doing some kind of number on me right now.

It's just when things all pile on top of each other that makes me go completely crazy like this. There's so much going on in the next week: two coming-out talks, one of which is to one of my family, and one, possibly two, new people or groups of people who will see me in girl mode.

I probably won't sleep very well tonight. I probably won't sleep very well for the rest of the week.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Here comes the flood

I talked to my sister earlier this afternoon, and I'll be meeting with her next Wednesday for the Big Talk.

I think I'm much less nervous about coming out to her, than I was about my mom. They're definitely different people, and the place where my sister is coming from, she's very much open to differences. I'm not sure whether I should prepare something to possibly read, if my resolve crumbles and I start weeping (again). I can probably just adapt the other letter to something more appropriate for her. I've got some time to decide, and I can always ask my friends for suggestions. So, suggestions anyone?

Shifting gears, today I got an email back from a friend across the pond, who I had come out to back in April. I know my policy is that the coming-out talk is a face-to-face thing, but it's not likely that I'll see him anytime soon, so an email was about the best I could do. When it took a while for him to respond, I was a little worried that I had totally freaked him out, but it turns out he was just slow in replying. His response was funny, and supportive, and, well, uniquely him. He definitely brought a smile to my afternoon! Thanks P!

Shifting gears once more, I'll be coming out to my oldest friend on Friday. We lost contact for a while, but we had a really good phone conversation last week, and we've always been able to talk about really personal things like this. I was a little hesitant to spring this on him so soon, but it just feels like the right time. He's on the "almost assuredly ok" people list, so I'm sure there will be nothing to worry about.

Administrative note: I was reading a blog the other day, in which the author used initials to refer to her friends. That seems a much better way to talk about people, while retaining their privacy (what little we have left in this day and age, anyway), than simply eliminating names altogether. And I can also feel like I'm in a James Bond (Jane Bond?) story, with all these one-letter names floating around! Maestro, cue the Bond theme!

Bonus points to the first to name the title reference.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Don't be a perfectionist

It's becoming very clear to me that the fact that I am a perfectionist might become something of a handicap regarding my transition.

In my work, that's absolutely fine, and practically expected - getting it right the first time, and 100% right, well, that's what you have to do.

But in a gender transition, it takes a lot of practice, and a lot of time in general, to get to being proficient and comfortable with the new things you've got to learn. And being a perfectionist, well, you're going to want to be good at them now. And you won't be.

While I was waiting for my friend to get off work (he's on call right now, and got stuck at work a bit late) to go over to his place for dinner, I sat down with my shiny new Perl::Tk program which allows me to record from my headset, and immediately play what I have just recorded, to work with my voice. I've been watching candiFLA's voice videos on youtube, and the fact that she makes it look really easy, well, that inspired me. It sounds easy enough, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It's freaking hard! Miss Candi says it took her two years to get to where she is now. Two years! That'll surely land me in the loony bin!

So it's very frustrating, and it's going to take me a lot of patience with myself (which, now that I've started my first tentative steps down this path, is coming up in a rather short supply, surprisingly) to get where I need to be. I'm sure it will be just as bad when I start hair removal, and when I start hormone replacement too. They'll take a long time, and probably have very little payoff at the start. But I'll just have to trust that they'll work out, and have patience.

And quit being such a perfectionist.