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 )

Grounded

May. 17th, 2013 11:12 pm
aidenonymous: (sulu)
Okay, that really good feeling is coming back.  I just saw the new Star Trek and am feeling euphoric again.  Yes, it exceeded my expectations and was actually really good (and sufficiently nerdy), but what was really good was hanging out with someone from work that I have not been getting along with lately because I think we moved past our problems and can almost maybe be friends.  And that was enabled by me functioning socially at a level I rarely achieve.

I'm no quicker to find words, and I'm not much better at knowing when to break into conversation.  I don't exactly feel more confident, but something is different.  The word that comes to mind is "grounded," and I've never felt it this strongly before.  The last time I felt anything like this was when I stopped shaving my legs and underarms in 2008; suddenly I was connected to the immediate surroundings of my brain, namely my body.  My limbs became an extension of my head, and then I felt like I could do things with them, and that's when I started doing yoga, because I had posession of a body capable of it for the first time.

Now, it's more than just an immediate connection to my body, and in fact that's not really consciously part of it at all.  I think it might be a connection to my voice, and since hearing is an entirely different sense and making sound is its own sensation, I guess that's why I'm experiencing groundedness in a new way that's manifesting socially.  I'm not really feeling much social anxiety anymore, even though I'm still perceived as female among most people.  I honestly don't know if it's because I no longer care how I'm treated. . . I'll have to think about this more.

My roommate made a reference to me being on T to a housemate and her girlfriend, in my presence, and I didn't mind at all.  I don't know when people from work will notice my voice, since it's changing remarkably fast, but I'm not feeling anxious about it.  I mean, I should have a plan for what to tell them, but I'm not sure I want to do some kind of formal coming out.  I already go by a gender-neutral name, and I've all but disappeared.  I don't think I'll necessarily mind feminine pronouns if, if, if I'm not sure what, but I think I'm approaching it on this path, although I don't know at what distance.  I just feel right in a way I can't recall feeling before, and I'm okay with other people knowing.  How to get that knowledge to them in a way I'm comfortable with is something I really should think about, because I'm pretty sure it's not going to be easy.  But that's a problem for another night. 
aidenonymous: (Default)
I've been thinking about making this post for about a month, since cutting my hair short, and to a cut I liked, but I didn't get off my ass to do it until now, after my first trim turned into my first bad haircut.  I'm sure I'll recover as it grows out, but I have to deal with a couple weeks of hating the reflection of my own goddamn face and doubting the decision to cut off three feet of hair all in one go.

Anyway, I had a short haircut that I loved for the last month, for the first time since I was a kid.  I started being read as male pretty much all the time and felt enormously confident compared to when I had long hair.  I started feeling very strongly like my presentation was a good representation of who I actually am and something I was happy to see in the mirror.

As I adjusted to being seen the way I want to be seen, I started feeling like my name, Ilan, may not be the best fit.  I still hate being called my old, feminine name, but I'm leaning more and more toward using a gender-neutral name.  Basically, now that I feel more secure in my masculinity, I don't feel like I need a 100% male name anymore, the way I did when I had long hair and was constantly misgendered.

I'm transmasculine, but I'm also genderqueer, and I feel like I've let myself forget the significance of my non-binary identity in pursuit of passing, with the short hair, the male name, and masculine clothes.  I don't think I'm going to change the way I've dressed my whole life, and I like my hair short for reasons other than gender, but this isn't the first time I've considered going by a different non-birth name.

As I've said before, Ilan would have been my middle name had I been born with "boy parts," and my first name would have been a common, gender-neutral name.  My parents frequently told me this story as a child, and when I came out to my mom, she apologized for not giving me that name in the first place.  I guess I'm making this post to say that I agree with her now and am seriously thinking about going by that other name.

I'm about to move to a new place where I don't know anyone, so I have a good opportunity to try it out.  Awkwardly, I know there are several other people (all male, I believe) with that gender-neutral first name of mine who I'll be working with on a daily basis.  However, I'm mostly worried that I'll want to go back to being called Ilan, since I've never had a common name before, and then I'll have to navigate asking people to call me a different name, something I've almost entirely avoided in transition.
aidenonymous: (Default)
I just scheduled my first haircut in twelve years.  By tomorrow afternoon, I'll be a new man.  (-;
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: (Default)
Comment with "Come at me, bro"
• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can get to know you better.
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions.
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

Questions from [livejournal.com profile] alkahestapeiron 

1. How're things, overall?
Things are good, I think.  I just moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and haven't been around much due to not having Internet set up until recently.  It's the first time I've ever not had schoolwork hanging over my head, and I'm just getting used to that feeling.  I'm unusually optimistic about the future.  (-:

2. What does falling in love mean to you?
I wish I could remember!  I've been in the same monogamous relationship for seven years and don't even know anymore, cliche as that sounds.  I know the comfort of being in love, to the point that I forget to appreciate it, but falling into it, in this case, was a gradual process by which I slowly noticed the relationship changing character. 

3. What's your favourite food EVER?
Sushi, probably.  I like simple foods with extremely limited processing, and it doesn't get much less processed than raw, plus fish has been one of my most reliable sources of protein, getting me through seven otherwise vegetarian years during which I ended up suffering from malnutrition. 

4. How about favourite drink?
Lemonade!  Or maybe limeade. . . I have a serious love affair with sour things.  I'm told it's a symptom of a vitamin deficiency.  Sometimes, I just drink lemon or lime juice, or I eat the fruit as is.  Dentists have always said it's my one vice.

5. If you could do anything (ANYTHING) with your hair, what would you do?
If I could do anything, really anything, I'd buzz it all off (all 3 feet of it) and start over.  I wanted to do it for graduation, but my mom was around, and then I lost momentum and had time to get self-conscious about it.  I should really just get it over with.
aidenonymous: (hedwig)
I hate ceremonies (along with some fucked up things about graduation at my school in particular), so I'd planned on not going to commencement at all.  But, I do like symbols, as long as they hold meaning to me.  I've been saying for a while now that I want to shave my head, or at least cut my hair short, for graduation, since I haven't gotten a hair cut in about ten years, and all this hair feels like a tie to the past.  I've gone back and forth on it because I like having long hair, but I know it will grow back, and I think I really need to feel like next year is a fresh start.  Well, the big day is coming up, and I'm surprised at how I'm not freaking out about it.  Five years ago, the thought of a haircut would have given me an anxiety attack.  Funny how things change.

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