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 )

Bizarre

Apr. 6th, 2014 11:40 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
I think I just got hit on by a guy as a guy for the first time.  I don't really have any hard evidence, but I'm pretty sure that's what happened.  I didn't like it any more than being hit on as a girl to be honest, but maybe it was the context.

In other news, I've been applying my T on an every other day basis since Thursday.  My voice was really ridiculously low on Thursday night, so I didn't apply it Friday.  I did apply it Saturday, and both Saturday and Sunday my voice felt really strangely deep.  Have I said "really" enough yet?  Anyway, it's not that I don't like where it is, but I'm kind of concerned about it changing so much at the inauspicious time of ten-ish months on T after previously seeming to settle down.  I know there's no "right time" to come out, but it will be a significantly better time once the semester ends.  I've already reached the point at which I can no longer pass for female at work, and my voice going into overdrive is not going to make the next month any easier.  I am not, however, considering taking a break again.  That was no fun at all.  So, ummm, awkwardness?

About Time

Oct. 12th, 2013 01:17 am
aidenonymous: (gender)
Today (okay, yesterday) was a day I'd been anticipating since I started T, the first time someone I didn't care to come out to with no knowledge of my gender identity noticed a physical change.  There wasn't anything awkward or uncomfortable about it, although I didn't really say anything that would have made me feel awkward or uncomfortable.

I had a brief meeting with a professor for whom I grade, who for the record has heard plenty of my voice pre-T and throughout the past five months.  As soon as I started the conversation, he interrupted me to ask if I was okay.  I replied in the affirmative and asked why he had asked that question.  He asked if I was sure I was alright, and again I responded in the affirmative and gave him a quizzical look.  He said my voice sounded like I was sick (a cold was implied).  Smiling, I repeated that I was fine and got on with the meeting.
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.
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. 

A-muse-d

May. 16th, 2013 10:39 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
Wow, I was surprisingly distressed about LJ being down for a day or two.  I've been feeling so strong a need to interact with other people who share my experience.  I don't know if it's because I was starved of it for a year and am just soaking in a year's worth of community all at once or if it's because I just started T and am feeling all kinds of uncertain, not about my decision, but just looking for anchors when things are changing so I don't get swept away.

Change, however, is good, at least to me right now.  I've been feeling a lot more creative; I wrote a poem yesterday and recorded it on video today, sort of to celebrate being ten days on T, but mostly because I'm rin utter disbelieve about how much my voice has changed in just ten days.  I am so grateful to myself for making the last-minute decision to record this.  I still sound female on the phone (how many times do I need to be addressed as "ma'am" in one conversation?!), but I'm rapidly approaching an androgynous range.  I'm pretty glad I decided to halve my dose, because this is a good pace for me, even if a part of me (okay, a lot of me) wants more changes and faster.  Anyway, send me an e-mail if you want to see/hear the video, since I'm reluctant to actually upload anything publicly.
aidenonymous: (sulu)
I spent today in San Francisco and was consistently read as male.  I was "gentleman" when buying lunch, "lad" when I looked lost, and "man" when talking with strangers in a bar.  In San Francisco, where people are pretty used to differentiating between butches and men!  I feel pretty damn accomplished about that.  (-:  Oh, and I wasn't binding, and I didn't make any effort to keep my voice deep (although at least the first two instances of being correctly gendered were before I said anything), and I was wearing what are technically women's shoes (but they're Tevas and look pretty unisex anyway; I just bought them because my old ones are extremely worn out and I couldn't find my size in boys'/men's).  Anyway, still feeling like a success here!

In other news, my Frog Bra replacements from Les Love Boat arrived and leave something to be desired.  The size S of this is too big, enough that the elastic doesn't hold it in place and it rides up in the front.  I'm trying to exchange it for a different item, since getting it in a smaller size isn't an option, but if anyone here has a ribcage that's about 30"-32" around (and an overall chest measurement no more than about 36", I'd say) and has been looking for something like the Frog Bra for "lite" binding, definitely let me know.  Meanwhile, the size S of this is too small, though not unworkably so.  I was hoping it would be more forgiving like the Frog Bra, but actually it's pretty damn tight, like a real binder. . . not exactly what I was trying to get, but it will still be appreciated.  *sigh*

EDIT: Bah, the Extra Comfort Sports Bra is tighter than any other binder I own, including the Wide Coverage Short Binder I outgrew when my lats expanded from rock climbing.  If they don't let me exchange the High Performance Sports Bra for a different model, I think I'm going to try to exchange the Extra Comfort Sports Bra for a size M and hope someone will buy the High Performance Sports Bra off of me.  )-;  This is going to be expensive, and I'm moving so it's also going to get real complicated real fast.
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.) 

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