aidenonymous: (gender)
I've been having pretty bad chest dysphoria since starting my new job, and I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and do something about it, even though I'm hoping to get top surgery some time from mid-December to mid-January.  Since I'm probably going to be able to get top surgery at a hefty discount due to good health insurance, I should be able to affort to give away all my binders when I don't have breasts anymore.

The nature of the dysphoria is making this challenging.  I feel like I have to bind harder than I should because I'm androgynous but trying to be seen as male at work where people don't necessarily know I was ever anything else, so I need to make first impressions that are unambiguously male.  I'm not having breathing problems or pain so bad that I can't work, but I've been known to hurt myself with binding so need to be careful not to do that.  I'm having dysphoria when I unbind at home due to my chesticles having less volume but the same amount of skin.  I'm worried they'll deflate to the point that I will no longer qualify for peri with Dr. Fischer, which upsets me quite a bit.

I did some experimenting in front of the mirror, and in an oxford shirt, I can get away with the Extra Comfort Sports Bra in size M, although I have a problem with things not staying put because it's so big on me, and the feeling of uniboob is sickening.  I do get pain in my ribs if I wear the size S ones for too long, plus I still need to re-adjust with one of them because the material is so slippery.  EDIT: I do wonder if I'll grow into the M if I actually start working out again, or if a new one would be okay because mine's old and stretched out.

Even though I'm disinclined to try another bra hook closure binder, these look promising both because of their price and because they have elastic on the non-hook side that I think will make it less harsh on my body.  Plus, colors are fun.  q-:  I'm not crazy about the binding material basically just being a strapless band-type thing attached to the inside of a tank top though because I'm afraid I'll bulge out the top.  I'm not sure whether I'd need a size M or L either.

[livejournal.com profile] cobwebsinwhite suggested this, and it looks like it might be just what I need.  I have no way to measure myself right now but think I'm about 32" around, yet I'm still inclined to get the "youth" size from their other storefront because of a couple reviews saying they run big.  I like that it could look like a regular white undershirt under a lightweight dress shirt, too.  This seems comparable except twice the price.

Part of me wants to keep getting sportsters, and I need to remind myself that they really aren't any safer in terms of my criteria.  I'm really tempted to get another one of these even though I have to re-adjust a few times a day to keep the chesticles from getting too close to each other.  If I do it, I need to move quickly because they're no longer in production and there aren't many left.  I'm also considering this one, especially because the reviews compare it to other Underworks binders.  (Side note: I hate that the model in the photo is wearing a padded bra though (you can see it from the back) and isn't the guy in all the other photos on their F2M storefront.)
aidenonymous: (gender)
That's me alright.
I made a decision today. )

I also picked up my inhaler from the pharmacy today.  My endo sent the script electronically because albuterol isn't a controlled substance, and I didn't see until today that I'm supposed to use it four times a day.  My previous inhalers were either for emergency use only or twice a day, so either this is a different concentration or my asthma is way worse than it was before.  Also, I used it and didn't feel immediate relief.  I'm still coughing up mucus all damn day and apparently making a wheezing sound when I do it.  I'm going to try to make an appointment with my GP just in case my endo was wrong about the congestion, since that's a problem I'm more familiar with.  I guess I have trouble believing that the feeling of not having enough air in my lungs is caused by constricted airways rather than fluid build-up just because that's happened more to me over the past four years.

I chickened out on picking up my prescription for T.  I have about a month's worth of 1% gel left in the pump, plus over a month's worth in packets.  When I got to the pharmacy, I asked if I had refills on the 1% pump and they said yes and started filling the prescription.  My insurance apparently thinks one box with two pumps is a 60 day supply (when it's actually a 120 day supply), so they won't let me fill the prescription for the higher dose until late August, after I move.  I should be excited about starting the higher dose, but I'm actually really nervous.  I feel like I have a good thing going here and don't want to fuck it up by increasing the dose.  I can fill one and then have the other mailed to me in NYC but haven't yet decided which to fill first.  I've had enough difficult decisions for one day so will deal with this one tomorrow.

Oh, also, I told my Ph.D. advisor-to-be that I'm transferring and he's happy for me!  He didn't even ask me to terminate my contract.  I feel badly about spending his start-up-money when he's not getting a Ph.D. student out of it, but he didn't take up my offer, and I could really use the cash right now.  He had some advice about who I should work with, and I'm glad that it was advice I was already taking.  He actually wanted me to get started with someone there right away, so that's what I'm going to try to do!  I was actually drafting an e-mail for faculty at the new place before I heard back from my advisor, so that's a good sign that I'm not totally incompetent, right?  Okay, actually going to sleep now.
aidenonymous: (genderqueer)
I kinda fell off the internet again.  I was really burnt out and barely made it to Spring Break.  I restarted T the week before break because I was a nervous wreck.  By then, I'd been having negative effects from stopping for about two weeks, and I couldn't cope anymore.  I'm going to make a T update kind of post about the whole thing, but the short version was that it was not pretty.  I basically got to the same point I was at when I started, unable to function without it.  I'll admit though, the first ten days or so were a valuable and hardly excruciating experience (that I have no plans to repeat any time soon).

I slept through most of the break and basically got nothing done but felt somewhat refreshed at the end.  I'm pretty much abandoning the project I've been working on for the past six months, which puts me at risk of not being able to take my comprehensive exam at the end of the summer, but I don't feel like I have much of an option.  Right before break, I made an appointment to talk to the head of the grad program and explained the problem.  It's not that I don't have time for research.  It's that I have only a few hours each day of peak mental productivity, and I can hardly get anything done like that, at lest not on something so abstract.  At our meeting, he told me that my advisor had just contacted him asking if I was alright, and he'd told her to go easy on me.  It's not what I want, but it may be what I need.  I don't know if this is awkward or expected given how I came out to him, but we have not said a word about it IRL and barely a reference has been made in e-mails.  Related: I need to write a coming out letter to my advisor and have been putting it off for almost two weeks. . . another thing I need but don't want, apparently.

words about my chest )

Anyway, I don't want to go into this unless I'm confident I won't regret it, even if my regular doctor, endo, and therapist are falling over themselves to write me a letter.  I don't know what I'm going to say to the surgeon when we meet, but I have six weeks to figure it out.  Maybe the surgeon will turn out to be a really good salesperson and totally win me over.  In the meantime, I should do that work I was doing before it occurred to me that I'd think better after getting this out.  I'm hoping I'll have enough spoons to catch up with folks here a bit this weekend.
aidenonymous: (gender)
Well that was easily the most thorough groping I've ever gotten before.  I dealt with it, but there's no way they didn't know what was under my clothes.  My hopes of avoiding the scanners so that at least the results of the pat-down would be unshareable between unprofessionals were also dashed.

When I asked to opt out of the scanners (everyone at that check point had to go through them), Agent 1 asked for a male assist on his walkie talkie.  Agent 2 waited a bit and then said something inaudible to Agent 1.  Agent 1 had a brief, inaudible exchange with Agent 3 behind him and repeated his request into the walkie talkie.  After some waiting, Agent 1 waved me through the scanner and met me on the other side.  He introduced me to Agent 4, who was responsible for the actual groping.  The groping was everything I feared, lots of attention on the chest and crotch (in spite of my request that they be sensitive there), almost entirely using the front of his hands, and running his hands under the collar of my T-shirt as well as the waistband of my pants -- he could see my binder, feel that I lack male external genitalia from both the front and back, and could feel that my chest was lumpier than could be excused.  This was the first time in years that I wished I'd been packing; I don't even own a soft packer, so it's pretty significant if I feel like I need something in my pants to be male enough.  Anyway, I'm glad I asked for it to be done in the open, because the only thing that could have made it more uncomfortable would have been to be alone with Agent 4.

When we were just about finished, Agent 5, the manager, walked over and shook his head and hands and stopped Agent 4.  He asked to see my passport and asked me to pronounce my name and then started chastizing Agent 4 for giving me a pat-down, asking who authorized it.  Agent 3 was implicated -- she was the one on the other end of the walkie talkie telling Agent 1 that I should get a male assist when he was unsure.  Agents 3 and 5 argued and several times checked against my passport, Agent 5 insisting that my name was clearly female and Agent 3 countering that "she presents herself as male so she is male."  (This is actually TSA policy, despite what the manager seemed to believe, although I suspect I could have gotten out of it by pretending to be a butch woman.)  He repeatedly asked me if I was male or female, and each time I pointed to the sex marker on my passport and said male.  I offered to give them my therapist's letter but they didn't seem interested.  When they finally stopped arguing, I had to endure a bit more groping and then could leave.

That was actually not the first gender-related incident of the morning.  When I checked in, my passport wouldn't scan, so a ticket representative had to verify that the information I entered matched my passport.  She didn't notice the sex marker, although I believe it would have been flagged if my passport did not match the information associated with my ticket.  She asked me to pronounce my name, I believed because it was difficult to accept that my appearance could be associated with it.  I asked if it was necessary, and her tone changed to be more interrogative, and I grew frightened, so I just said it.  She said it was very pretty and let me go.

After that first incident, I wasn't feeling too confident gender-wise and really had to pee, so I just went to the women's, although I did hesitate in deciding which door to go into.  Luckily the restroom was totally deserted, and I didn't run into anyone.  I did use a men's room later on before my flight (stupid coffee!) and didn't interact with anyone there either.

Ugh, so that pat-down, still preferable to the scanners?  Perhaps not.  I will request a female agent from now on and ask for it to be done in private if I am originally assigned a male agent.  It wasn't so much more traumatizing because the agent was male rather than female, but the nature of the pat-down was what I had feared.  I'm grateful Agent 4 was professional about it, since he must have known almost immediately that something was up, and he didn't say anything about it to me.  At the same time, I don't know if my more thorough pat-down was an expression of the agent's curiosity about my unusual anatomy, or something sexual directed at a female, or if it was just standard procedure for those perceived to be male.  I'm inclined to complain to the TSA about it, but there's nowhere quiet in the airport and my phone won't work in Canada, so it will have to wait until I return.
aidenonymous: (gender)
I feel guilty that I haven't been posting recently.  I've been tyring to let work take over again but I keep getting sucked into mindless web browsing (mostly Reddit).  I'm feeling really unmotivated even though I'm consciously excited about my work.  I've also been dealing with my best friend outing me and trying to repair the damage to our relationship and my relationship with his parents.  That's really a matter for a separate post.

I also filed my passport application yesterday, although things hardly went as planned.  The postmaster didn't even notice that I'd checked the M box and never asked for my letter.  He also didn't notice all my ID was expired and made sure to comment on how "pretty" I am and address me as "miss" at least once per sentence.  I called the State Dept. afterwards and they said they'd contact me if anything was missing, and I'm worried that it will delay my passport application by enough that I can't go.  The silver lining is that I was approved for funding for the trip.  /-:

The past week or so has been awful for dysphoria.  I've been down on myself about my body -- I'm not gaining weight, but I am gaining body fat due to not getting out and doing anything. The rate of misgendering has skyrocketed, although that could be due to a combination of office drama (and horrible officemates who love reminding me that they think I'm female), the process of changing documentation (and interacting with godawful bureaucrats who don't even notice the sex marker I select because I'm so obviously female to them), and a general loss of confidence (which has led to a feedback loop).

I'm sure it's not helped by the fact that I haven't even had the spoons to bind regularly -- I'm small enough at this point that it can't be the biggest reason why I'm not passing, but it must contribute -- and have been going home early just to get out of having anything more than an undershirt on.  Just having anything on my chest is making me think about it too much to focus on anything else, and as long as I'm alone and not moving, I don't even notice that anything's wrong with it unbound.

On top of everything else, it's been really hot here for the past week, to the point that I'm arriving at work drenched in sweat.  If AndroGel can't be washed off for 5 hours after application in order to be fully absorbed, I'm pretty sure my effective dose has decreased.  This could explain my voice plateauing higher than its lowest so far (although definitely lower than when I started), something that's been bothering me a lot and contributing to the problems of the previous paragraph.

I ran the idea of doubling my dose by my partner, and he was really not happy about it.  He thinks I've had more emotional issues since starting T.  I was afraid he meant anger or mood swings, but he clarified that he meant my ADHD has worsened and I've been practicing more avoidance of responsibilities.  I talked with him about it and he was reasonably understanding, mostly because double my current dose is the same as the dose I was actually prescribed, but he still wanted me to wait until I talked to my therapist.

However, today was especially difficult due to having to interact with my peers in my home department, and the dysphoria was keeping me from getting any work done.  So, starting today, my 51st day on T, I'm taking the full 2.5 g.  Since today is also my 9 year anniversary of dating my partner (yeah, we got together really young, definitely not expecting this relationship to last so long), I wanted to talk with him first and make sure he could handle me doing this now (and he said he'd be okay), so the doses are about 8 hours apart.  Until it cools down enough that my sweat won't immediately wash off a decent fraction of it, I'll be applying two pumps in the morning. 

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aidenonymous

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