Family Drama (dream)

Last night’s sleep was a bit rough. I ended up waking up just before midnight and then fell back asleep to have some weird dreams. A lot of them I can’t remember, but the one I woke up from I do mostly.

I dreamt that Wolsey, myself and some other people were rummaging around an abandoned shop or restaurant. It might have been a fire hall now that I think about it. With us was someone who in the dream seemed to be my uncle on my dad’s side. He looked like a bit younger Sam Elliott (fifties or so) which is funny because my dad and Sam Elliott himself had a lot of similar looks to them… especially the ‘stache.

We had gone into one of the back rooms and found some bronze wall hangings. At some point in time, someone said it belonged to us and we shouldn’t lose it again. I told them I didn’t think it belonged to us, it belonged here in the place we were in. It matched with the same decoration and dedication as a photo that was hanging on the wall (for the life of me I can’t remember what the photo was, but it was important).

We dug around the abandoned place for a while and found a room with a large king-size bed. I was tired and was frustrated about something in the dream and I just fell on the bed and began to drift off to sleep… yes, sometimes I dream about going to sleep…

I wasn’t fully asleep, just listening to everyone when my uncle sat down on the bed and started grumping about me being in the middle. I was trying to regain enough consciousness so I could move over when he leaned over and started spinning me around in a circle on the bed to try and make more room. The whole time he was complaining that I probably wasn’t even asleep and that I was intentionally being a dick to him.

I opened my eyes in the dream almost immediately and he used that to exclaim even louder than I was intentionally fucking with him. I wasn’t. But for some reason, him doing that flipped me the fuck out and I shoved him off the bed. He stood up and I was on him shoving him up against a wall. I remember there was a little shelving set behind him that came up to almost his butt level. I was shoving so much that he was braced against it.

He wouldn’t look at me and he had shut down. The whole time I was screaming at him “Fuck you, I was sleeping you, fuckhead, I wasn’t lying.” I then shoved a couple more times but didn’t get any more physical with some intentionally thought. He did stop saying stupid shit.

It ended with me telling him that I might not be on testosterone anymore, but I sure as fuck would kick his ass with my weak ass arms (or something to that effect).

I woke up amped, angry and still not feeling bad I had lost my shit on a family member. It was also when I realized that it was the first time in a dream that I can remember that acknowledged my current life, that I was trans. It wasn’t wish-fulfillment where I thought I was a cisgender girl, and it wasn’t the old dreams I remember where I was either a guy or a monster. It was me as I currently was.

I don’t remember a lot of my dreams over the last couple of years. I posted about a couple of them but the last one I talked about and wrote about was in December 2018. I do know with my new injectable estrogen regimen that there have been a lot of physical changes, I suspect there has been a lot of mental changes as well (well chemically influenced at least). I also am finally feeling like this is my body.

That is one of the two important things I took away from this dream. That for the first time in my life, or at least since I was a teenager, I feel like I am in my body. I don’t feel like my body is done, it has a long way still to go, but it’s the first time I feel connected to it in my dreams as well as in reality.

The second important thing to take away from this dream is I have some unresolved family angst/drama/anger that I haven’t worked through. That is the only reason I can think of to have a fictitious uncle in the dream and why I was so angry at what really wasn’t that big a deal.

Honestly, I miss remembering my dreams, even if they can be incredibly bad nightmares (not this one). I hope this means I might start remembering them more. I like recording them and then looking back on them in future years.

Music and the lack thereof as a child

Growing up super poor was beneficial to me in a lot of ways. It taught me how to deal with little to no food, how to push off the lights getting shut off or being evicted and how to minimize my belongings. The one thing it didn’t help was owning my own music during childhood.

We did have some music, my parents would buy some of it (or usually get it from friends) but it was never under control of me or my siblings (at least until I hit teenage years and got my own job. What that meant was we had to make do with our own ways of capturing music. In this case, it was with one of those old, large cassette recorders placed next to the tv as a song was playing.

looked sort of like this

The two different songs I remember most recording that way were vastly different. The first was a song from one of my favorite movies as a child, “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon”.

I am fairly sure this is the scene

My siblings and I played it for more than a year, a horrible tv version with just enough static from the rabbit ears to give it its own unique sound. I think I liked it so much because I would watch John Wayne with my grandparents, and my grandmother passed away around the time we recorded it. Sadly I don’t think we even had the whole song, it was just the song as it appeared in the movie.

The second song I remember the most is Eddy Grant’s version of “Romancing the Stone”. That was a really popular movie at our house, my parents had rented it for a weekend (with about 20 other movies in our traditional movie spree once a month) and we had recorded it as well. I just remember the faint tv static playing along with the song as we had recorded it.

 I wish I had considered recording the video but we didn’t have mtv. 

I think I still like both of these songs today because as a kid they were just two of a very very small number of songs we had available until I was a teenager (just a year or so after Romancing the Stone came out). Then we started getting music, a lot of music that we listened to between evictions. That is also when we lost the casette recorder but got a big box casette player (aka a boom box or ghetto blaster which at the time I didn’t realize was a racist connotation).

To be honest, I don’t recall why things had changed, our life had become a lot less stable when I was a teenager, you would think maybe it would be harder to get music. Or maybe that is when my parents stopped trying to budget and just gave up on it. Hmm… something for me to ponder on.

Shifting Focus

The last several months have been completely overwhelming. I have been running at a spoon deficit since I started to transition and it is only getting worse. The burnout is bad, and I do feel myself slipping closer into bouts of depression again.

I was talking to the hubby and he pointed out that every single hobby I regularly participate in is to please other people. As a general rule almost all the hobbies I still partake regularly are more spoons out than in. I think I am going to do some changes. I need to stop doing things as hobbies for other people.

Take for example baking, mostly for other people. I don’t like eating that many sweets, and the sweets I do want to make are generally not favored by Americans (not sweet enough, unusual ingredients, etc). I suspect I will reduce/eliminate my baking. I will expand my cooking though. I do that for me and the hubby and I enjoy it.

I do like talking about politics, but for the last couple of years, it has been more of trying to help shift people (or outright fight with MAGA shits)… which doesn’t change things when done online. I haven’t learned much new and I certainly haven’t enjoyed it. In response to this, I dumped all my political feeds today, I probably will only do anything LBGTQIA related, and then only on occasion.

I will probably mute a lot of people who do politics only. That means my Facebook will mostly be shitposting, selfies, photos of my food and random inane shit I think about.

My video game lets plays are another thing. I do enjoy it, but the stress comes about in my desire to provide content for others.  The stress about scheduling and what games to play can sometimes get in the way of having fun. I haven’t played a video game for me in a long long time other than Battlefield and I don’t know how to even do that now. I think I might continue, but at my pace and only with the games I want to play.

My Things You Should Know channel is the most fun of the youtube but that is probably because I do that at my speed. Originally it was multiple videos a week, now if I get a video a week out I am happy and that is fine.

My photography, one of my “me only” hobbies has been curtailed severely due to the spoons it takes (money and time). That will be coming back soon.

My writing has been haphazard. That is purely for me. I think that will take a lot higher focus and I need to let that be something I come home and do, instead of putting it away so I can do things for others.

Gaming… the biggest hobby I have had over the course of my life. Currently, I am not a player in any game, so there is no “me only” focus. However, as a GM I get a lot of out it. It helps with my creativity, leads to me writing stories and bonding with friends. So it will continue. I enjoy making stories, and my technical writing skills ARE SHIT, but I am really good at the actual telling of stories (insert oral joke here).

I will also be expanding world-building not just for my current games, but future games. I very much enjoy the process of building worlds, cultures and making websites on them. I realize most people don’t read the. websites for the games they are in, let alone the others and that is ok. The websites/world-building is mostly for me. Plus if the worlds are built, its easier to run them as a game.

The one hobby that is for me and is new is makeup. I have gotten a pretty good basic foundation on it, but I think I want to get better. I want to include dressing up,  hair, etc. It is dual purpose though, the better I can do, the closer to passing I can get. This means my public life gets easier overall.

End result… I am dropping politics/news, and baking, while cutting back on video editing (but not stopping), increasing writing and makeup/girl stuff and staying the same on my gaming. Photography I will come back to eventually, just not enough spoons with the surgeries and travel for transition. So that is how I am shifting focus at this moment.

Don’t mess around with razors

Lately my hormones have been coming more in line. The HRT has been causing the feminizing changes such as larger boobs, hips and butt shifting, lightening hair (except on face) and most especially making skin softer.

The skin softer has also made it a lot more sensitive. This is mostly good, except for when it comes to shaving.

For more than 30 years I shaved without really caring about the razor. I was more interested in saving money then a “good razor”. My skin was fairly resilient and it wasn’t painful. Then I transitioned, my skin is soft and sensitive and HOLY FUCKING SHIT BAD RAZORS HURT.

I even tried “women’s razors’ and to be honest those are a complete joke. They are on the level of bad razors, but more expensive. Just because they are pink and say “for sensitive skin” they LIE!!!

Today I finally got to use one of the good ones from Costco and it felt so much nicer. I cannot tell everyone enough, if someone has sensitive skin, buy them the damn nice razors. Trust me guys, you have no idea how much more it hurts with estrogen ridden sensitive skin. Don’t cheap out on that person.

Definitely worth the extra 20% cost.

Contrary to what I have written lately, I am happy

I realize a lot of my posts have been negative lately. The grief of the anniversary of my father’s death, the stresses of family, the transphobia on a regular basis. This might make it seem like everything is just doom and gloom. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am happier now then I have been since I was seventeen. To be honest I am much happier than even then. This morning I was in the shower and I saw in our little hanging shower mirror the girl I am. It only lasted until it steamed up again, but I caught a glimpse, something I never saw my entire life before my transition.

In other mirrors I sometimes catch it, or maybe just in the way sometimes people react. Sometimes I even feel it inside, sometimes for a brief moment I forget all the stresses and I just feel like me. It is the greatest thing ever.

I definitely see it a lot in the eyes of my husband. That is where I see myself the most, and the most often I feel whole. Not specifically that I wouldn’t be whole without him, but I see the confirmation of who I am. Not just as a transgender girl, but my creativity, my intelligence, and emotional capacity. There is a validation there.

I just wanted to clarify to everyone that while a lot of hard things are happening, I have never been happier before, and so unhappy as well, evidently when the depression leaves, I don’t get access to the ability to numb the bad parts, but that is ok it means I feel the good parts too.

I just can’t tell my friends and family enough how much I love them for their support in allowing me to be who I am. I especially can’t tell my husband enough how much he means to me.

Things are great in my head, I promise!!!

Workout Weirdness

In the last couple of weeks, I have started working out at Planet Fitness again. I have surgery coming up in 7 weeks and when the surgery is over I will have significantly larger breasts, meaning possible back concerns.

So I have started weight training (mostly focused on core, legs and back, just to handle the changes and to be a little healthier) plus bicycling. I want my 22-year-old bicycling butt again, in a girl’s body, it will be awesome.

So last week I went to the gym three times, A Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, all at 4am or earlier (might as well do something with my insomnia). The place was empty. Fast forward to today, I went in on my first Monday and it was packed with guys.

Me in the car
Here I am leaving the gym.

I was a little uncomfortable, I hadn’t shaved or put makeup on and my boobs are noticeable now. I figured what the hell though, my face looked dirtier then unshaven and why would they bother? By the end of the workout, I realized how much male privilege I had before my transition.

No one would look at me back then, no one cared. During my 45 minutes in the gym today, all four guys hovered around the machines I was using, instead of the same exact machines that were open.

I would catch them staring at my boobs in the mirror, and after a short while, they started trying to look at my face (my hair was in front of it a lot). I think they were all confused for a while, the boobs were obvious, but I don’t pass so the confusion was there. Also, my hips and butt are starting to feminize pretty nicely.

So I spent the workout uncomfortable, being stared at by 4 guys and trying to not have them notice that I noticed. I bailed on the bicycle today. I think I can’t go into the gym without makeup now, I realize it doesn’t really help but it does help me mentally put a barrier up. I also won’t be doing Mondays again.

I mean the whole point of working out at 4am is to not be looked at. If they are going to look at me I will probably just go in the afternoon. At least then I will already have makeup on and be shaven.

The hubby explained even if I pass I will get stared at like that, and I cannot apologize enough to the women of the world. It never dawned on me as a guy that everything is inspected. I have to admit I am sure I checked out every woman in the gym when I worked out as a boy. I don’t remember doing so, but it was natural as a guy, and I never considered how the women might have felt… agghh I hate learning I was doing asshole things after the fact.

Blood Bank Shit Show

I had wanted this week to write about the stresses of the passing of my parents. I also wanted to talk about music. Instead, I went to a blood bank drive put on by my work (through a third party) and instead had one of the worst at work experiences for my transition.

This resulting in me officially filing an EEO complaint against the company. I figure I will just copy and paste my complaint here… enjoy (I will post later about my personal feelings/reactions/etc). What I submitted will be in blue.

Hi AWESOME HR PERSON (Will talk later on why she is actually so awesome):

Here is the situation as it unfolded. I apologize, I didn’t know what the rules were when I went there, so I didn’t advocate for myself very strongly because I was feeling pretty vulnerable, alone and with no idea what I was allowed to do. Especially since it was through work I didn’t want to rock the boat too much. Thank you for the supportive call, the county themselves have been great.

Some important facts (not sure if you need them but they help):

  • I am a transgender woman, I have been on HRT/Medical transition since March 2018, but only legally changed my gender in May 2019 (including birth certificate).
  • I am recognized by medical practitioners, along with local, state and federal government as female. This isn’t just a presenting as a woman, I am female in all legal classifications.
  • I have been married for 28 years. My husband is also transgender (he was my wife when we got married in 1992, and was my wife for the first 21 years of our marriage – he transitioned in 2013).
  • These details will be important when we get to the second issue.

I sat through the initial intake and the lady that was responsible for that was great. She referred to me as female and never blinked. She, however, wasn’t sure how to answer the gender-based sexual interaction questions and advised that maybe I should wait for the person who scores the questions to get how to handle it. This was totally satisfactory, with no concerns.

I sat down with the lady in question and the first thing I noticed is she looked like someone had slapped her in the face. She had a very surprised look. I was not offended by this, it appeared she had never been this close to a transgender person and, to be honest, that is not an unusual reaction. I said nothing and she started going over the questions.

My first concern though is the use of my pronouns. She referred to me as “he/him” more than seven times (I stopped counting after that) in the next ten minutes. At no point did she refer to me as she/her to others in this whole conversation. This whole thing was over in less than 10 minutes. I corrected her every time. She did apologize every time, but then she referred to me as male every time thereafter. This was even with the other blood donation workers who came in to help, and the tiny room was on the back of the bus with the door open, so it could be heard by the county employees that were waiting as well.

I understand sometimes people slip up, the frustrating part is that she never once got my pronouns right, it was loud enough for everyone to hear and she used it with other people and me. I was very embarrassed. I am incredibly aware that while sometimes I think I might not look bad, I don’t “pass” at this moment. It really did make me want to slink away after the first three or four times.

The worst part was I was dressed in a nice skirt, blouse, I have breasts and had makeup on. I was dressed more femininely then probably anyone in my department (and definitely more so then everyone on the bus).

The second issue and this is the biggest is the actual denial of giving blood after answering the questions on the intake form. The lady asked me when did I become female. I explained that I was always female, but that I legally changed my designation in May 2019. I explained however that I was on HRT longer and that my birth certificate said I was female. I also explained that I believed that established me as a female from birth. To be honest I don’t think she understood and just ignored when I said it.

From here on out she referred to me as a man before May 2019… even when I tried to correct her. She originally was going to fail me on donating blood because she believed I was a man who had intimate contact with another man (my husband) within the last 12 months. I objected to this and she looked through the guidelines book and then had to call a gentleman over. By the way, he was nothing but kind, used my pronouns and was trying to find a way for me to be able to donate.

He helped correct her that I didn’t fail that question since I am legally a woman. So we then went to the next question and she failed me on the question that asks if I had (as a female) been intimate with a man who had intimacy with another man in the last 12 months. I explained my husband had only ever been with me this year.

She said that then yes I had been intimate with a man who was intimate with another man… she was saying I was that man. This was definitely logic I didn’t understand. I was failed because she was saying I was a man in February of 2019 and was intimate with my husband and that my husband is considered to have had homosexual intimacy in the last 12 months, with me… who is considered female now.

I brought up that my birth certificate was female and asked if didn’t that make it heterosexual intimacy for my whole life with men and she said no. I was a man up until May of 2019. I even brought up that my husband was originally AFAB and when we married I was legally a boy and he was legally a girl and she said no… he is a man and I am a woman now but was a man 10 months ago.

To be honest I had kind of given up at this point. It was obvious she considered me a man legally, no matter what my birth certificate said, before May 2019. She had been misgendering me the whole time and I was pretty close to just breaking down and crying. I didn’t fight it, even though it sounded wrong. I just wanted to get out of there.

Once I had gotten home though I did some research and found where I believe they were absolutely wrong and it was discriminatory. I reviewed the FDA website along with the American Red Cross, the agency responsible for the largest amount of blood donations in the United States. I have added at the bottom here their specific details/URLs. In short, though, I should have been considered female for my whole time, I should not have to answer both the male and female sections and in fact, my husband would never have been considered to be intimate with a man since that was me and I am legally female (there is no “before your ID was updated” rule).

I was incredibly embarrassed by this, it has bothered me for a couple of days and now I am feeling fairly upset that somehow I am treated as both a boy and a girl, even though my gender is female both in presentation and legal documents. I am horrified that I had to give dates on my transition status and was treated as a man before May 2019 even though I explained my birth certificate is female.

FDA RECOMMENDATIONS TO BLOOD ESTABLISHMENTS

How do the recommendations apply to transgender individuals?

The FDA’s recommendation to blood establishments is that in the context of the donor history questionnaire, male or female gender should be self-identified and self-reported for the purpose of blood donation.

https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/blood-blood-products/revised-recommendations-reducing-risk-human-immunodeficiency-virus-transmission-blood-and-blood

AMERICAN RED CROSS GUIDANCE:

Transgender Donors

The FDA revised guidance states, “In the context of the donor history questionnaire, FDA recommends that male or female gender be taken to be self-identified and self-reported.” This change allows blood donors to register with the gender in which they identify. The Red Cross will no longer ask donors to answer both male and female questions when attempting to donate. There is no deferral associated with being transgender, and eligibility will be based upon the criteria associated with the gender the donor has reported. See additional blood donation eligibility criteria.

Red Cross staff members are required to verbally confirm demographic information, including gender, with all presenting donors. This step helps ensure donor safety and accuracy of records. If Red Cross records have the incorrect gender, presenting donors may ask staff members to make the change upon registration. Individuals do not need to tell staff that they are transgender.  Individuals with specific questions about eligibility can contact the Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center at 1-866-236-3276.  

https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements/lgbtq-donors.html

 

There it is folks, my submission to my HR. I will talk more later about my feelings, but honestly I am still really angry and can’t put it in writing at the moment.

 

Photo Scanning: Scanning Print Photos (photography)

THE INFAMOUS PARENTS PHOTO SCANNING PROJECT!

Here we are back to the infamous parents photo scanning project writeup. Today I wanted to talk about scanning the photos themselves. This is part two of three, hopefully next time I will talk about how I scanned my negatives.

Some of these steps are already done on the last post, but I wanted all the important stuff together. The process itself has gone through iterations with me and I will try and explain why below. Continue reading “Photo Scanning: Scanning Print Photos (photography)”

Photo Scanning: Organization and Items Needed (photography)

 

THE INFAMOUS PARENTS PHOTO SCANNING PROJECT!

I was talking with a friend when they asked me how I handled my photo scanning project. As a little background, my parents died and they left me photo albums and negatives of thousands of photos (many of them duplicates). This was all I had left from my childhood, so I wanted to make digital copies for the future.

Initially I didn’t have any plan, and it was a horrendous project that things got lost, didn’t get scanned, etc. So I turned around and did it again in a more organized manner and had some really good results. Because of the size of this write up (I try and keep my posts small enough to keep people’s interests) I am dividing it up into three posts.

Scanning involved different container requirements, specific types of storage supplies and organization. The key factor you want to do is protect your photos/negatives in the future (there was a lot of damage to the albums over 40 years from my parents). So here are the steps I took. Continue reading “Photo Scanning: Organization and Items Needed (photography)”

Acknowledging my privilege

I am sure in the ensuing days that I am going to rant, rave and cry here about my transition. There is so much that sucks, so much that isn’t talked about that you could fill a book (and I probably will).

That being said, with the debt/transphobia/dysphoria and other problems I want to acknowledge my privilege at the outset. I am in a much better place then many of my trans and non-binary people and I don’t ever forget it.

There are multiple areas where I have privilege starting with my skin color. I am white, which starts me at the top of the privilege pyramid when it comes to transitioning concerning ethnicity. It is still absolutely dangerous for me, I could be stabbed, shot, beat up, fired, etc. However, the statistics show that out of all of my trans and non-binary people I am the least likely to suffer that hatred. It still can happen, but I start out with a weighted advantage.

The second area I have privilege is access to credit. I do not have money to pay stuff outright. I don’t have the ability to just buy things and walk away with no consequences. I do however have an education level and a professional field that gives me better access to white collar jobs, and much better access to credit.

I will still have to pay this all back. Right now we are at approximately $32,000 for my face left after paying back almost $8000 already. I have spent more than $10,000 in electrolysis on credit card that I have been able to pay back (and just dumped another $1500 today for flight down to Phoenix). There is an additional $25k I will be spending as we move forward (not counting my portion of the cost of SRS if I get it) for lip feminization/facelift/tummy tuck. I can access that credit right now if I wanted, but I really can’t afford the payments.

That being said I do have to pay this all back, but I am in a much better position then a lot of people transitioning who can’t even get access to credit. In the end maybe they are better off if their not hitting $50k in negative value, but the depression and dysphoria I suffer from is only worse for others who can’t touch it, so no I don’t think they are better off even if they aren’t in debt.

I have another set of privilege, I have insurance (this goes with the white collar work/education privilege). I still have to pay, but having the insurance gives me access to doctors, HRT treatments, surgeons and lab tests along with a very good therapist to work on my childhood PTSD.

Finally, and the most important privilege I have is my husband. I am married to someone who dedicates their life to me (as I do to them). They are devoted to helping me through transition. They are there when I cry, when I laugh or when I am just confused and scared. Wolsey is the highest point of my privilege and without him I would be dead (and that isn’t hyperbole). Too many of my trans people do not have someone else (whether they have class/ethnicity privileges or not). For this last privilege I am the most grateful and without it I couldn’t do this.

I know I have privilege, and I know even with that I am going to have hateful days of crying. I will come here to cry, just understand that I realize this privilege even if I use this platform to vent.