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 )

Correction

Apr. 9th, 2014 04:49 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
Aah, another entry that I meant to post before I fell asleep last night!

cut for boring )

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. 
aidenonymous: (sulu)
I just got back from my second endocrinologist appointment.  I would have gone to work this afternoon, but I scheduled an optometrist appointment right afterwards because the offices are right next to each other, and now my eyes are too dilated to get anything done.  q-:  Good thing I can touch type and have set my screen to an insanely large font size.  Though my vision insurance is too crappy for me to get new glasses (and I have used zero benefits previously) and I still had to shell out $100 just to get lenses with my new (and still pretty weak) prescription put into an old set of frames, my appointment with the endo went well.

She immediately noticed that my voice had changed!  (-:  Okay, so I guess this is an edge case on someone noticing without being prompted, since she obviously did know I was on T, but still, I spent the whole time trying to suppress the enormous grin from taking over my face (althought that started before she said anything).  She said it sounded like it was cracking, and giggled about me being a 14-year-old boy.  Only 11 years too late!  She asked about other changes, too.  No downstairs growth, no additional body hair, still getting periods, I think that was it?  She laughed at my comparison to being a puppy (hyperactive, lots of energy, also sleeping a lot).  She didn't know anything about ADHD getting worse on T but liked my hypothesis.

I was able to be honest about giving myself half of the half dose, and she was totally cool with it.  I've got a prescription for the 1.25 g metered pump instead of 2.5 g packets, so I'll be producing less waste and getting a more consistent dose.  She asked why I did that, and I didn't have a good answer, just chalked it up to last-minute jitters about changing too fast (which isn't really what was going on, but it was early and I was inarticulate), and she wasn't critical of that at all.  I am actually satisfied with the pace of changes and am unlikely to increase my dose especially soon, but it's good to know I can whenever I want to.

Also, when I got there, the staff used my legal name, etc., but I didn't get worked up about it because I'm used to it.  My doctor however, was angry on my behalf .  Incidentally, she is trans, too, and this was the first time her new name appeared on various forms of paperwork I got.  So, the staff screwed up pronouns for us both, and she had the manager-nurse-person talk to us about it; apparently I'm the first trans person from the school to see the endo at the new site in town (last time I had to travel a couple hours in each direction), and she wants to make sure they're better about it.  We had a nice chat, and I was taken super-seriously, which felt a little funny because I don't always take myself seriously.  Anyway, I was assured it wouldn't happen again, and I felt good about helping them improve service especially for other trans*folk from my school who might be more sensitive (so, probably all of them?).  My doctor said that there would be 3-4 trans patients from my school there each time she was at that office (once per month), so that means there's about a dozen trans people currently using the school insurance.

I asked about a letter for my passport, and she said she'd get right on it but that it would take a while.  She told me that getting a gender marker changed on a driver's license/state ID is actually really easy here, and she could write me a letter for that whenever.  I'm going to make another post rambling about that because I'm not entirely sure what I want out of this and need to figure it out soon due to upcoming international travel plans and a lack of valid ID of any kind.  Anyway, I'll be getting bloodwork some time this week, and this time she'll tell me what my levels are.  When I get the e-mail about that I'm also going to ask about my pre-T levels because I'm curious.  I'll be sure to share that with the internet when I find out.  (-;

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)
It's been five days since I got here, and I have to say, I'm a lot happier than I expected to be.  I love love love the house and the people in it.  I had really high expectations, and they've pretty much all been met.  The other folks like me, too, and they're working on finding a way for me to continue living here next year. . . but I'm still not sure what's going on with my partner, whether he'll want to move here at all if he can't live in an apartment with me.

I know the town is different in the summer when no one's around, compared to during the year when it's swarming with drunk undergrads, but I've found a lot to like.  There are lots of locally-owned coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores, and the downtown actually feels like a real downtown in terms of density.

Work is another story.  After dealing with a bunch of administrative bullshit (which I believe is normal for a school this size, no hard feelings, really), I'm finally starting to run into problems with my name on departmental stuff.  I'm okay with the government, doctors, and banks knowing me by my legal name, and I thought I'd be okay with my department being in that category, too, but I was wrong; in essence, this place is too small for me to isolate work from everything else, and I don't want to have to cave and give up being myself the rest of the time.

There are still a couple social issues I need to work out at home, namely that everyone seems to have made up their mind to use feminine pronouns for me, and I'm going to have to make some kind of announcement to get them to stop.  Aah, I knew there were drawbacks to not having an unambiguously male name!  Anyway, the name itself is somewhat of an issue because two people who work in my department also hang out at the house, and I've been failing at having an actual conversation with them for a couple days.  What I want to do is ask them to call me Ilan in the house and by my birth name at work, should it come up.  The real answer, I think, is to just be open about things at work, letting the faculty and other students know that I'd prefer to be called Ilan or that I may go by either name depending on the situation. . . so I'm going to talk to the director of the Pride Club here and ask for advice tomorrow.
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)
I spent today with a good friend of mine from way, way back.  We went to the same synagogue as little kids and somehow remained friends despite not having much in common.  I'm bad at maintaining communication with people, but I consider myself very fortunate to be able to pick things up right where I left off and have my friends not mind it.  Well, since I last saw her, my friend seems to have developed a specialty in ebonics (which is culturally inappropriate for both of us) and kept using "girl" as an exclamation at the beginning and ends of sentences.  I'm not out to her and don't know when or at this point if I'll come out.  She thinks of me as her tomboy friend because that was a complete description when we first met, and I have no reason to think she has any knowledge of gender concepts.  Anyway, getting called "girlfriend" every other sentence was grating on me, so I told her that it was making me uncomfortable after the first couple times.  She mostly stopped after that, and when she said it she caught herself and apologized, then rephrased whatever she had said.  I really do appreciate that she took my complaint seriously and made a genuine effort to stop, but it still hurt anyway and gives me some doubt about the future of our friendship.
aidenonymous: (Default)
because I'm applying to grad schools and checking the "Female" box whenever it's required and even considering checking it when I'm given the option to choose something else (so far, only "Unknown").  I'm a fucking coward.  Oh, and the best part is that in my very-male-dominated field, lying in this way will probably improve my chances of admission, so I can feel guilty about not deserving any acceptances I may receive later on.
aidenonymous: (Default)
That line's been floating around my head for a while now.  I think it's got a nice ring to it.  From what I can tell, it didn't come from anywhere, and I'll be a little extra satisfied if I really did originate it.

I haven't been around lately due to being on a roll with researching grad programs and getting registered for the GRE.  I'm gonna try to catch up today though and post a real update after the weekend.  Peace!

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aidenonymous: (Default)
aidenonymous

July 2017

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