aidenonymous: (gender)
I've had a roller coaster of a week and really didn't want to write this, but I'm hoping I'll feel better getting it out.  tl;dr I've once again blown an opportunity to have gender not be a big deal in every aspect of my life and am not happy about it.

cut for abusively negative self-talk )

I did a lot more self-care today though.  I cooked two (vegan) meals for myself with enough leftovers to get halfway through next week without spending too much money and eating things I said I wouldn't.  And I got a new binder that's a lot more comfortable for long days and looks like an undershirt so I don't need an extra layer under my grown-up clothes in the heat.  I'm going to go to work tomorrow because I know being a badass at science will make me feel better about myself.

EDIT: update )
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.)

Ketchup

Aug. 4th, 2014 01:38 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
I haven't been posting much, but things haven't been as boring as they were a couple weeks ago.  I upped my dose of T to 20.25 mg daily and am pretty happy with it.  I'm going to start posting T updates again this week to document new changes.

The most important news of the week is that I did not get a kidney infection. TMI )

Anyway, I missed all my important meetings last week and need to catch up.  I feel terribly about it and need to enforce some kind of normal sleep schedule so I do enough work.  But, I'm also hella distracted by concerns about moving.  I am successfully selling off lots of stuff I don't want to take with me to NYC, but there's still so much more.  How did I end up with all this ill-fitting clothing in the first place?!  I used some of that money to buy myself some grown up clothes on the internet but chose the wrong sizes, so I need to play the returns game.  I thought there was a decent chance of that happening, but it's still a hassle.
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)
So I convinced myself that I was okay with shaving for the long and short term future and would teach myself after this week, when there's a break.  I planned to start T again on Friday. . . and then I didn't.  I got into the loop of "but I don't need it" and got stuck.  I miss feeling sure of myself.  I've been so swamped with work because I'm unable to set priorities and get anything done.  I can't seem to get out of it and don't like the idea that T will help.  On the other hand, I remember that feeling of calmness that I got when I first started T, like all the noise in my head of panicking over every little fucking thing was finally silenced.  (I can't even focus enough to write, here or in my paper journal.)  I've been feeling really terribly about my body for the past week, in part because I'm bleeding, although I like to think I usually handle it better than this.  I want that peace back, but I can't seem to make a decision about the cure for my indecisiveness!  If I'm not enjoying this break from T (and I definitely am not), why can't I just end it?  I'm gonna go hate myself offline now.

Fear

Feb. 15th, 2014 04:17 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
I've got far too many half-written posts to be starting another, but I guess this is kinda important.  I pulled an all-nighter on Wednesday-to-Thursday and forgot to apply my T the next day.  That was actually the first time I forgot to do it at all.  "No biggie," I told myself.  I got home late and decided to apply it at midnight and let that be the dose for Thursday and Friday.

Last night, I looked at my face in the mirror and saw dark hairs growing on my upper lip and got scared.  When I woke up this morning, the dark hairs were still evident in the mirror.  I didn't want to dose myself, so I didn't.  I haven't had T in my system for about 18 hours.  Since 7 May 2013, I haven't spent more than 12 hours without any added T in my body.

Apparently I really, really don't want to shave my upper lip.  I know there are women, plenty of them, with more substantial mustaches than what I've got, and some of them shave, too.  That's not what this is about though.  I don't care if other people see my facial hair and make assessments of my gender that are in any way influenced by that.  I love having sideburns, but I'm somehow deeply afraid of both shaving my upper lip and having a tween's 'stache.  This is one of those internal dysphoria things that's independent of what anyone else thinks, and I'm more comfortable heeding those feelings than those I know are responses to something external, like how people interact with me.

What does this mean?  I don't know if I'm taking a break or stopping or what, although I suspect I'll cave and apply a dose for Saturday and Sunday at midnight tonight.  I'm sorta glad my partner's out of town right now because I don't think talking to him would clarify anything for me.  While I think it's important to leave evidence of my doubts where I can't deny them, I don't think this is something for which I should make myself accountable to others, especially those who are invested in my choice.

How does it feel?  I haven't been really self-conscious about my voice or unable to interact with people socially.  I don't think I can go a week without T, not now anyway, because I'm starting to feel anxious about all the stuff I have to do this week.  I have some public speaking lined up, among other things, and just feel like I need T in order to face the world.  But I'm going to need to get over my fear of shaving my upper lip first.  I don't know who to ask for help.  I really wish I had a big brother right now, preferably a non-binary one.
aidenonymous: (chekhov)

Who's spending eir evening drinking and grading?  This guy, that's who.
why )
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)
It feels really good to be writing this now.  I've had a rough few days.  I've spent so much time on the phone sorting out things for my upcoming travel that I haven't gotten anything done for work.  My passport was finally mailed out today and should arrive tomorrow, and it will have a male sex marker.  And it will expire in two years, giving me that much time to get my name changed and update it without any additional fees, and I'll have at least some ID to use for everyday things in the meantime.  When the State Department called me to give me the update, they referred to me as "Mr. LastName," something that's never happened to me before and hadn't come up in previous conversations with them or anyone else in this process.  I was happy but unsure exactly what I was feeling at first.  Even though I write about it a fair bit, it still took some thought to determine it was recognition.

I've been considering whether this will be my last T-versary.  My plan was to stay on T through the summer and re-evaluate things before classes resume in the fall.  I'm not entirely sure what I was looking for, but I wanted to check in with my mental and physical health, my partner, and to what degree it was needed, because I delayed starting when it was only wanted.  It took a couple months before the novelty wore off enough that I could focus on other things again, my health has if anything improved aside from the acne, and my partner's had no trouble going with the flow.  The last thing I wanted to check is a bit more complicated.  I'm so pleased with the changes so far.  The biggest thing is obviously that I hear my own voice when I speak (though I still hope it keeps deepening, ha!), but there's more to it than that.  In my daily voice recordings, I've described it as stability and steadiness -- it just feels right.  For the most part, I don't think about changing my dose anymore, and at this point, I can't imagine discontinuing T in a month -- that would definitely be more of a disturbance than quitting when I'd vaguely planned to (derp, wrote the reverse of what I meant) continuing even when my ambient stress level increases.  I don't care whether that means it's needed or wanted because I've finally internalized that I am free from that condition.

Blur

Jul. 1st, 2013 12:03 am
aidenonymous: (gender)
I rudely walked out of playing games with people today because I couldn't handle them referring to me by my birth name (there are exactly three people in this town who do that, due to meeting them before I decided to go to school here) and making jokes about me not having a dick.  I am in a weird place right now where I'm wallowing in isolation, but taking every action to isolate myself further.  I've been having recurring dreams about my dead friends.  Why are so many people I cared about dead?  I'm sleeping a lot but not really aware of feeling depressed.  I feel a lot of pressure related to my research and a lot of fear of having to teach again, but I can't identify other sources of stress in my life right now.  I'm just more interested in escaping real world problems than facing them head on.  It's like the better I feel about my body, the worse I feel about everything else.  I got drunk two nights ago, for the first time ever, just to see what it was like -- a balance between fun and uncomfortable -- and am glad no one but my partner was there to see it happen.  That was the day after I made the conscious decision to indulge irresponsibility and flake out on a commitment without reason or warning; no one called me out on not cleaning the kitchen on my assigned night at the house, but I apologized today nonetheless.

EDIT: I can't honestly claim I was drunk, just drunker than I've ever been before.
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. 

Ranty rant

May. 1st, 2012 05:36 pm
aidenonymous: (Default)
Blah, my knee is fucked, and I'm not handling it well because I haven't been working out, which is generally how I keep my head level.  Plus there was a lot of irritating misgendering at the doctor's office, and I felt really powerless to stop it.  I have Kaiser, which means every part of the system knows everything every other part does.  Every time I went to a different office (primary care physician, minor injury clinic, radiology, etc.), they'd print out a sheet saying whether I was up-to-date on various tests/immunizations and who my doctors are.  First, it reminds me how fucking pissed I am that they wouldn't let me opt out of being assigned a gyno., as it lists one so I can't forget that my insurance wants to be all up in some dumb organs I don't want in the first place no matter what I say.  Second, it says that I've refused to get a Pap, so every single doctor, when looking at my chart, asked me about it before even inquiring as to why I was there.  I sought medical attention for a knee injury, not because I was suddenly interested in having someone inspect my goddamn crotch; if I'd wanted that, I would have made an appointment with the gyno. they fucking randomly assigned me against my will, not with the minor injury clinic with a note explicitly stating I had a knee injury for fuck's sake.  I hate that they reduced me down to a jar containing some precious reproductive organs and didn't care that one of the jar's essential joints wasn't working right.  Oh, and after all that, there's nothing they can do, because the next available appointment for an MRI, the test that will actually determine the degree to which I tore the damn ligament they aren't even fucking sure I tore, is after I move across the country.  So I'm going to have to move with a worthless knee and then immediately start this whole process from scratch again, but in an even less faimilar place.
aidenonymous: (chekhov)
I've been meaning to check up on my body fat percentage since I outgrew two binders from upper body muscle gains, and I finally got around to it today while playing hooky.  The Internet tells me pretty consistently that I'm at about 20% body fat right now (which is considered "athletic" for a female but only "acceptable" for a male).  In December, I estimated it was about 25% ("acceptable" for either sex), so I feel pretty accomplished; I'm about half way to my six-month goal in under four months.  I was feeling badly about losing weight while trying to gain weight, but even though I'm underweight for the second time since I turned 18, I have something to be proud of.  (EDIT: Upon further research, it looks like gaining 10lbs in six months was rather unrealistic to begin with.  Given my female hormonal situation, it should take me twice that long to gain that much weight, and that's if I pay a lot more attention to what and how much I eat.)

And it's shit like this that makes me conflicted about T!  If I can work hard and see results, and the process of doing so makes me feel good about my body, do I really need T?  When I look in the mirror, I don't see a woman/girl/female anymore, and, in spite of very real and fairly regular bouts of dysphoria, I'm satisfied with that.  I realize others don't see me the way I do, especially once I open my mouth, and I'm not sure if I'll handle that better when I'm on a college campus again, or if it will only worsen as I continue to age out of androgyny.  But I don't even know why I'm trying to find reasons to delay T in the first place when I know it can help me become more than just satisfied with myself.  The letter is right in front of me, but I can't bring myself to grab it!  And I'm afraid to discuss my uncertainty with my therapist in case he decides he can't give me the letter because I'm not 100% sure I want it right now.
aidenonymous: (freddie mercury)
I just wrapped up a session with my health coach, and since we talked about gender things a lot, I wanted to write something here before I forgot everything (though I did take notes, as always).  Obviously things are a lot more complicated than what I said in our brief phone conversation, but it was more than I'd gotten to say with my therapist over the last month, and I feel like it was a good start in the sense that I can now tell my therapist, "Hey, I got help from a health coach in these ways, and here's how it was useful, can we talk like that, too?"

Therapy has been going really slowly, and I find that immensely frustrating.  I initially said that what I wanted to get out of gender therapy was a decision about what aspects of transition were right for me, but upon taking that apart a bit, I think what I really want is more certainty about what parts I've pretty much already decided to pursue in the nebulous, distant future.  I think I already know what I want, but I want to be confident that I'm doing what I need to, not just indulging something optional or something that I could regret.  And I feel like I really need to decide soon, so that it's easier to just be Ilan, not Ilan who used to be [birth name] when ey registered here, when I head off to grad school in June.

We talked about what changes I want from T.  I really, really want my voice to be lower and for my face to look more masculine.  I'd also like the changes to face, body, and head hair (though I worry I might regret those later on).  Ease of gaining muscle and body fat redistribution would be fantastic, but I'm not sure if I'm even thinking about being on T long enough for that.  And we talked about changes I'm less enthusiastic about, too.  I don't know if I want downstairs growth.  What if I can't ignore things as well then and spend more time being dysphoric about my crotch?  I'm also concerned about my hormonal acne worsening. 

I got to talk a little about why I've waited so long to get started on medical transition.  I felt so comfortable at school where everyone important knew I was genderqueer that the issue wasn't really forced.  Dysphoria regarding my crotch was mostly isolated to one week a month, and as long as I didn't have to wear a bra, my chest didn't bother me because I rarely left campus.  I talked about wanting facial hair and a deeper voice, but I didn't feel like I couldn't live without it. . . now that I'm not surrounded by supportive people who will take my word for it regarding my gender, I feel like I can't be perceived the way I should be without changes from T.  The health coach asked if I wanted to pass, and I said I wasn't sure, because it just seems so impossible and far away.  If I really wanted to pass, I should have already done a bunch of things like cutting my hair, right?  It was another one of those things that just wasn't an issue when I was in college and has been painful on a daily basis since I graduated and moved away, but I haven't done anything to fix it yet.

I also opened up about questioning my motives for transition -- am I just a misogynist? am I doing this for me or for other people? -- and its effect on my health given my other problems.  I'm concerned about being on T for the rest of my life.  I don't like being on medications, and I'm on several that will probably be life-long commitments due to chronic illnesses.  It seems counterproductive to sign up for more of that if less is an option.  But I can't see myself continuing to let my body be dominated by regularly fluctuating female hormones for much longer, and there doesn't seem to be an option to not have sex hormones.  I really don't know if starting T soon will help me resolve this.

I got some useful medical-type information, too.  Though genes control a lot of the hair distribution type stuff (face, head, and body), apparently voice isn't quite like that, because I won't be getting voice changes like a cisguy would during puberty, which makse sense because I know my voice has "matured" in some ways since I hit puberty the first time around.  This means that while I can probably count on not being able to grow a beard, my voice is not doomed to be the same as my father's bizzarely high voice.  It's also possible that my hormonal acne could improve on T, that I might have problems because my hormone levels are currently between the femle and male ranges, and my skin might stop rebelling if given the correct dose for either sex.  Obviously some testing is in order, but it's an option I wasn't really aware of before.

However, there was a lot that I didn't talk about that I would want to discuss further with a counselor.  One of the changes I'd really like from T is an end to the monthly reminder that I have female reproductive organs.  I feel bad about this because there are other ways to stop it that are perceived as "less drastic,"  and I've never pursued any of those for what seem like weak reasons, plus I might want to be on a low dose that only makes things wonkier.  I'd also be overjoyed to see my chest shrink further, so maybe I could get surgery by a method that's less likely to result in loss of sensation.  (EDIT: I just spent the afternoon looking at Transbucket, and I think I've got a real shot at peri if I ended up going for surgery at all, moreso if I get just a bit more shrinkage.)  One of my unsaid fears about starting T is that the changes will make my long-term partner stop being attracted to me.  He's not making any promises, but knowing that he's trying not to have to break a promise that our feelings will never change doesn't make me feel any more confident in possibly putting our relationship at risk. 

I also didn't go into my non-binary identity at all, which is a bigger deal than I generally let on.  I want people close to me to see me as Ilan, who isn't a woman or a man, but I want those not close to me to just see another guy, because if I have to choose, and I very much feel that I do, I need to be perceived as not-female, which means transitioning to male, at least on the surface.  I guess I didn't mention it explicitly to the health coach because I see him as being part of the not-close category, and I guess that makes sense since we've only met once and talked on the phone three times, but I feel like this is something I should be able to talk about more in counseling.  And because we didn't go into my non-binary identity, we didn't talk about my alternatives to T, namely more exercise, voice coaching, and other things I can do to be read as male and feel more comfortable with my body.

Anyway, we talked a bit about what I can do about getting T if therapy moves too slowly and I end up having to move before starting T.  I think that was really important to consider and not something that would have come up with my therapist.  I'm going to be making an appointment for shortly before I move with one of the sliding-scale informed consent clinics here in the Bay Area. If I get a "T letter" (probably just a referral to an endocrinologist?) before the appointment, I'll cancel and someone with an emergency will get my slot.  But if therapy never gets off the ground and I feel like I need to get going before introducing myself to my new department, I can still make it happen. (EDIT: I called the Lyon-Martin Clinic but got lost in a maze of automated voicemail subroutines.  I'll try again tomorrow with a script for what my message will say and a stimulant to back me up when it comes to following the instructions.) 
aidenonymous: (chekhov)
I just read something that really resonated with me.  I wanted to post some excerpts that I strongly identified with, just to record them somewhere.

emphasis mine )

my response )

*sigh*  That ended up being more depressing than I'd hoped.  Anyway, back to proofreading my personal statements.  Happy New Year to anyone who's reading this!
aidenonymous: (Default)
No, I'm not really that much of a humbug.  I wanted to write a summary of this year, because it's been a rough one for me.  But, some parts were so bad I couldn't write much about them.  Stupid emotions!  So, here's the short version. . .
lightning-speed summary of 2010 )

Anyway, the start and end of the school year is a much better delineation between years for me, so I can pretend it's not that big of a deal that I can't get my shit together about last year.  More seriously, that's actually the reason why I'm not making many New Year's resolutions, because I've already planned a bunch of big changes for when I have less on my plate during my gap year, after I graduate this spring.  I only have one resolution, and that's to get into gender therapy, because I'm a mess right now and need some outside help.  It doesn't sound like much, but with my insurance and history with therapists, it could take most of the year. . . wish me luck!

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