Year 1

Today (March 13th) marks the year anniversary date that I came out to my husband as trans. While all the signs told me that it shouldn’t be hard, it was one of the hardest things in my life and one of the things that improved my life the most.

In the last year I have lost 110lbs (and slowly losing more), I have quit two jobs, been fired from a job and started three new jobs (well actually 1 new job and then two older jobs I had before) in an attempt to find some place accepting.

I have come out to my family, my husband was incredibly supportive, after all he called me “his little egg” for years before I knew what that meant. My blood family’s response has ranged from tepid to no response or acknowledgement of me living at all.

My friends have almost all universally been supportive or disappeared (and the number that disappeared were very small and mostly just ‘online’ people that I didn’t know that well). The vast majority overall have proved to be loving, accepting and caring of me.

I started hormones 11 months ago, but in this last time my transition has been slowed by my testosterone production. “My little buddies” haven’t been removed yet and they are fighting like hell to stay and to mess up my hormone levels. That is ok though, they are off the island within 2-3 months and life will be better.

I like the way I look way better than I ever have. It isn’t just the weight loss, it is feeling more comfortable about who I am. This is the first time this year in my entire life since I was a little kid that I enjoyed shopping. The husband is still in awe sometimes when I pick something out on my own.

Of course there have been no surgeries or heavy medical inducements other than hormones yet. That all happens this year (well next 6-9 months at the longest), so my second and third year will be harder then the first. Although I suspect my appearance will change even more drastically then it did this year, so my pictures up to now aren’t even half the story yet of my journey coming up.

There are still a ton of details and chapters I haven’t talked about yet, those will happen. I just wanted to wish myself a happy birthday/anniversary of coming out to my husband… who already knew and was waiting.

I love you my little rat.

 

First Day

I finished my first day of work as 100% out and to be honest things went far better than expected. Of course I am not holding my breath and expecting it all to be good, but it was a lot more pleasant experience then I had anticipated.

It started at orientation when I talked with two HR reps. They were incredibly supportive when I asked them details on how changing the name, getting a new badge photo, etc when I got back from FFS surgery. In fact they immediately had me change my birth name to the name I use on our little signs we each had at our desk so people knew our names.

Not all was perfect though. I sat at a table with two people and neither woman looked at me for the entire 4.5 hours of orientation. One was younger (on my left) one was older (on my right) and while the other tables were chatting away with each other, our table was silent. Now, it is true that could just be they aren’t talkative, but my mind always goes for the worst option.

Overall though, that part didn’t matter. These people I would probably never see before and so they had zero effect on my future life, just a small day annoyance.

I got to my action department, met with my boss and our department HR rep. Both went out of their way to be nice, asked how I was doing, what could they do for me. That was a bonus. It would be nice if both my HR rep and my boss could maintain this. I will watch out over it.

My office mate (two of us share an office instead of living in cube land) Tom was an incredibly nice guy when I worked with him before, and he was just as nice now. He didn’t even hesitate, give me weird looks now that I was dressing feminine, nothing. He did apologize once. In mid sentence he had once said “him” towards me, but immediately changed it. That never bothered me at all, obviously he didn’t mean anything, and the last time we worked together six months ago I was a him to him.

I should clarify for people, intent matters to me. If I get misgendered but it was obviously by accident, and not intentional, I am ok with that. The fact that people try is what is important. Don’t get me wrong, doing it steadily for a year I wouldn’t accept either, but in normal conversation it happens, especially if you are talking history (I still every once in awhile ever several months might say ‘her’ to my husband when referring to a story when he presented as female, it happens to all of us).

A few other coworkers came over and said hi. They seemed happy to see me, and these were the nice people from the first time. There were several people of course that were talkative to me when I worked here last that didn’t come near me. We will have to see how that pans out. Maybe they don’t know what to say, maybe they just had a busy day, or maybe they are transphobic, it’s like a mystery novel.

So overall my first day went fairly well. I am not going to hold my breath it will stay like this, but also I am going to work on not judging this a bad situation before I have reason to think that way.

Starting new job tomorrow, so much stress

I start my new old job tomorrow and I have been on high alert all weekend.

I have an advantage that I know what the job does (I even wrote the policies/procedures before I left last time), I know the goals and I know the people for both good and ill. So I am not expecting a surprise from my duties. I am worried about the surprise from my coworkers.

This time is different then when I worked here before. With a last minute decision by me, my supervisor is reintroducing me to everyone with my real pronouns (she/her) and so I am fully out. While that is first time at a job for me for 100% out, it isn’t the most stressful thing though, this is the first time I will be dressing 100% feminine at a job. That is stressing me out for an unknown reason.

I do dress in feminine clothings and I go out in public with the hubby and friends, I also went out partially dressed femininely at my old job but this is the first time 100% from my underclothes to my jacket that work will get to see me in my feminine form.

It is a little sooner than planned. I originally was going to wait until after my surgery in April, but I decided I didn’t want to start as male at this new job and then have to come out again and try and correct people after being there only two months, so I am pushing it early. So here I am, full time woman.

I don’t have any super super feminine clothes such as dresses that are ready to be worn, that will wait until after surgery, but the tops, pants and shoes (and two pretty cool blazers) will fit for now. Let’s not even count first time makeup at work (just foundation and mascara but still something).

So here I am nervous as hell, rambling as I go and wondering how my day will go tomorrow.

Liberty, WA “Ghost Town” (gallery)

Type: Ghost Town/Abandoned location
Location: Liberty, Washington
Date: September 9, 2017

We ended up driving through Liberty, WA on our way home from Leavenworth and stopped. I had read it was a ghost town, and there are some remnants of buildings.

However, it looks like a lot of the buildings I had seen pictures of online were removed, or at least not visible. There is a community people live at just up the road and I walked as far up as that community, I didn’t want to interrupt them.

So my first so called abandoned/ghost town. It is a good start on this project of abandoned places. Going back and looking at these photos I think I have learned a lot on what to do next time.

Oh and the pictures are of me about 20 months or so before transition started :).

 

 

I went back.

It is official, I start back at the job I left in September for concerns about transphobia next Monday (March 4, 2019) . The straight up reason is I need to make as good a money as I can, I can’t put my husband through this debt if I don’t have to.

Don’t get me wrong, he is completely supportive of my transition and of us taking on the debt. He makes enough to support us without that debt, with the debt is enough to drain our resources that we have stashed away. Within 10 months to a year we wouldn’t be able to make all the payments for 120k in student loans, plus the car, plus the 40k for my face.

We are starting to barrel down at the magic age of 50 in a couple years and I need to get him a place of his own to buy and it won’t happen if I am unemployed.

So I got the offer to go back and I will. They know fully about the transition now, so maybe that will change things for the better. They know I have four surgeries between now and probably October and they said they would work my schedule around that. I can’t say no at this point. I have to give it a try.

It is very possible that I am freaking out about something that may never happen. They may turn out to be decent employers, and at the very least they won’t be able to stab me in the back like the last place I was at. I am expecting problems, so at least I will see it coming.

I have had a whole ton of stuff to write about, but this event has been nagging and stressing me so much that I have shut down. I figure I need to fix that. I have a few days before I start. I will get my shit in order, focus on my husband and enjoy this damn it!!! If its the last thing I do HAHAHAHA!

Besides I get half an office to myself, no one really knows what I do (or at least how I do it) and I am mostly in charge of my own life as long as I meet the needed audits. So maybe this is a good thing and I am freaking out about nothing.

Crossing my fingers.

Officially Published!

The book that Wolsey and I were writing called “Accidentally Gay: The True Love Story When a Wife Becomes a Husband” is finished and has been fully published. We are excited by it!!!

So here is the official press briefing: AGPRFinal.pdf

Here are some links to electronic distribution, hardcopies are being printed as we speak I even found there is a placeholder for hardcopies on BN:

Amazon
Barnes and Nobles (digital)
Barnes and Nobles (hardcopy)
KOBO Books

This story is based on a blog I had started after Wolsey came out to be as transgender. It was written during his transition and I had assumed I would never be able to follow him, so I decided to do what I could to be a husband.

I didn’t have any resources on husbands staying with their newly transitioned husband, and in fact it looked like at that time I was the only one doing so (that I could find, I have no doubt I am not the only one period).

The almost five years of that blog were intense. I got interviewed by numerous publications, and we even were approached by TLC for a special (we turned that down). We were then approached by our publisher Riverdale Avenue and they asked me to write about it.

I had the idea that I could take a good selection of my blog entries, then write up my responses to what they were about now that Wolsey was fully transitioned, and then also get Wolsey to write his perspective for each post and what he saw and felt. I think working with Wolsey so we could give both sides was a much better approach, besides I like working with Wolsey.

The publisher really liked our idea and here we are almost three years after signing our contract with the book out. I figure I will also list below where the other publications were, including one publication I actually wrote a story about our story in a shorter and much different format (MELK).

Funny enough, the very first blog entry I wrote I said I thought I was in the wrong body as well, but that I didn’t foresee ever being able to transition… Evidently my foretelling doesn’t work so well.

Press and Interviews about the Accidentally Gay Blog, and my marriage to my spouse:

Decisions Reaffirmed

Lately I have been freaking out about income. We are currently able to hold indefinitely on the husband’s wages, even with getting breast augmentation, and the orchiectomy (even a vaginoplasty if I go that direction). They are all covered by insurance and he is doing awesome supporting me.

So I am freaking out about the FFS. That has to come out of our pocket… except if I wanted a nose job or tracheal shave, those are covered, but those are the two things I don’t need right now. So I am looking at the countdown clock to accruing a debt I don’t have enough to do more than make base payments for a year and hope I get a job.

This has meant I was reconsidering going back to the DoD. Incredibly toxic environment, I would hate the job and myself, but if I could tolerate 18 months I would pay off the FFS entirely, my husband’s car and the car I would have to get to be able to commute to it.

It is also a 1-2 hour commute each way due to traffic, but I figured one year to 18 months might be ok.

So I reach out to my immediate supervisor. To my knowledge I left on good terms. I am completely eligible to force my way in with my tenure (there was no marks on my personnel record). She was excited and wanted me back ASAP. She recommended I talk to the Station Chief who is the overall manager. She even contacted him and he told her to have me call him.

In the past working under the station chief, he asked me to not take another job with the VA. He needed me as a highly qualified auditor and we made an arrangement and I did just that (this was a couple of years ago). I stayed at a job I hated because he asked, and also because the hubby was still there and in all honesty it was more for that reason.

My expectation was to dicker over scheduling and my time off for surgery… I was wrong.

I called him and his voice was weird. It had a tone I had never heard before and I was bit confused. He immediately asked if I was still changing my name from Lucky… I told him no, when I change my gender Lucky will actually be on my ID instead of a nickname (along with Lucia). He got really quiet.

I knew I was fucked at this moment. He got weird a bit about things when I confirmed I was going to have surgeries this year.

Then all of a second he thinks it might be a bad idea if I apply back. He said there were some “unofficial” performance issues and that the Regional Manager was lukewarm to the idea of me coming back.

I have never had a performance issue, in fact I was given an award 4 weeks after I left the agency in a paycheck for MY PERFORMANCE.

I confronted him about this. I asked if any of this was in my jacket since I HAD NEVER BEEN TALKED TO ABOUT MY PERFORMANCE. He backpedaled but kept saying maybe the other set of offices (the “not my backyard” excuse) would be better. If my performance was bad then it wouldn’t just disappear if I applied at a different office 7 miles away. Nope that wasn’t this at all, this was “we don’t want transgendered people here”.

I knew this was all bullshit, and I tried to retract myself explaining no worries, it isn’t a big deal to me anyways I wasn’t sure if this is what I wanted to do. He kept me on the phone for 20 minutes and it was awkward (ok, I could have left anytime but I have my own issues about being assertive).

So evidently now that I am having “surgeries” and transitioning, my performance was an issue at my last job. However these performance issues are “unofficial” and are not in my records at all.

It does absolutely reaffirm the husband and I’s decision to leave when I started my transition. It would have been hell there and I probably would come home crying every day, or in trouble for becoming too aggressive in return.

So now I am broke, worried about a fiscal cliff, but reassured we still made the right decision. So if nothing else this upsetting incident also just reassures me there are no regrets from quitting that piece of shit job.

 

FFS Surgery Consult

Back on December 4, 2018 the hubby and I went down to Phoenix to see Dr. Ley for a Facial Feminization Surgery Consult. We have been through this type of thing two other times. The first for hubby’s top surgery then for his metoidioplasty, that last was with Dr. Ley and Meltzer so we were familiar with how it would go.

She was polite, and a good surgeon with the hubby. Her bedside manner was a bit abrupt (as it was also during his surgery as well). That being said we knew we would at least get a straight estimate. We had gone to a local Seattle doctor and he had quoted more then $60,000 for procedures that didn’t include as much bone work as I wanted (he is more of a specialist in soft FFS, such as muscles, not so much on the bone).

We went in having already done that 15 minute consult last August and assumed 20k minimum. After the quote from the Seattle doc I was expecting more like 50+k because Dr. Ley had mentioned doing a lot more invasive stuff, I was prepared to not be able to get enough credit to get it all.

We arrived and got the facial/cranial x-rays which was a lot easier than expected. The people at that dental office that did the x-rays evidently do it for a lot of transgender patients and they were completely professional and friendly enough.

Then we arrived at the appointment and only had to wait a little while, it was nice compared to last time.

Once we went back the first thing we noticed was that Dr. Ley was incredibly friendly with us. She was open and warmed up the room verbally before going into the questions. She had no problem interacting with me physically, touching my face and giving me a very intense look over and comparing what she saw, to what the x-rays showed.

The first thing I noticed is she said unless I absolutely wanted it, she wouldn’t recommend a rhinoplasty (nose job). She showed me the x-rays and evidently my nose is already at a feminine angle (angling up slightly). She was clear that for a face to be seen as feminine has a very broad spectrum and my nose was already comfortably in that place. This was a relief as my experience at other consults pushed a nose job. It meant she wasn’t in this just for money.

She went over the rest of me and it came out mostly like I expected. She is going to try and lower my hairline slightly. She was honest, she doesn’t think it will go more than half an inch (maybe a little bit more if she can push it). I have a good hairline, but contrary to what other docs say, she was clear it would help, but wouldn’t be as far forward as some try to quote.

The next part was raising my brows. She can do that easily at least half an inch, that will also help with the lower hairline because between the two my forehead will be at least an inch less than it is now.

Also dealing with my forehead is she will be doing some work on my brow ridge, basically sanding it down to be less masculine, while basically filling and shaping the forehead so it doesn’t just become flat. Her experience as a facial/cranial plastic surgeon with infants reassured me she has the skills.

In addition she will be adjust the orbital area of my eyes (I believe this is the facial cranialplasty level 3, intense but it should open my eyes up a lot. It will make them look bigger, and give me more real estate to use makeup on above my eye. She thinks this will also be a big help with feminizing my face.

We got down to my cheeks and recommended cheek implants. I wasn’t so sure on this, we hadn’t considered it but she was right. My 100lb+ of weight loss has gotten rid of any cheeks, they have sunken in a bit and implants wouldn’t go away, they would give a feminine cast. I talked with hubby and we decided that is good. So it is now going to be more surgery then expected so the cost went up.

Then she went to my jaw and surprisingly enough she recommended that she doesn’t shave it down. The angle is good, it isn’t super masculine or thick and unless I really wanted it she would leave it alone. I was surprised, and happy that once again she recommended against a procedure she could charge a lot of money for.

Then we got to my lips, I wanted a lip implant to lift my lip from its typically flat masculine look to a feminine look. She said that is easy and while she was there she could reduce the space between my lip and my nose giving it even more feminine look. The hours added on to the rest of the surgery (including chin below) was too much for one day so she recommended I do that as a second trip down. That would be an ‘in office’ procedure and I could go home the next day. We agreed, I am getting it, but probably not until three months after rest of surgery.

Finally we got down to my chin, and she fully agreed that it needs to be reduced (thinned/shaved down). She goes in through the mouth for that part so it won’t leave a scar on my neck. She was skeptical of plastic surgeons who would go up and under the neck, leaving a big scar since you didn’t need to do that. This is nice, considering when they due the brow ridge they will have to pull the skin back from my skull and do the bone work underneath, at least it won’t be pulling skin off my full face, just my upper half… ya that is a gross image.

The final result, about $39,000 quote. It is a good chunk more than I originally thought, but still more than $20,000 less than Seattle with more of the procedures I want. Here is the breakdown:

Procedure                                       Fee    
FSCP w/ Brow Burring (6.5 hours)
Genioplasty (2 hours)
Malar Aug with Implants (1.5 hours)
Lip Lift w/implants 7025 (in office)
2 Nights Hospital                                     
$19,878.00
8,319.00
6,038.00
3,500.00
1,248.00                                    
Total $38,983.00 (still 20k less than Seattle)

I am very fortunate, we cannot afford to pay this but my credit is good enough to cover this with Care Credit and regular Visa. It means we are deferring student loans as we can, and we are going to be “going to school” broke but we can make the payments if necessary.

I am even more fortunate that my husband loves me enough to do this. When I saw the bill, even at 20k less than the other doc my initial response was to not do it. I didn’t want to tank his finances. He made it very clear he wants this for me, it is something that is going to help me in the future. I don’t care about passing in theory, but it will be easier to get the level of jobs I have the education for if I am not stuck in the middle according to society. So we are going to do it. Surgery is April 26, 2019 and the lip portion will be probably by August of 2019 depending on how my face will heal.

I will have a lot of future posts about this going into a lot more detail of the procedures and what we are going to do. I just wanted to get this out there as the basic what happened and how much. I will post examples of the procedures later as well.

Centering Myself

I have been quiet because I needed to take some time away and center myself. I talked about being fired last week, and that it caught me completely off guard. I needed some quiet time to set up for the long wait of unemployment, and to see where the finances stood for the husband and I. Mostly I just needed to work through the feeling of being betrayed.

The finances are still ok. We got both our student loans deferred (I am unemployed and eligible, he still had optional deferment available) so we can make it on his income alone, even with our car payment. So financially we are doing ok without any income from me.

I have turned in all the required paperwork, I wasn’t let go for cause and there should be no issues on my work record. I should get unemployment. However, that can take some time, since the four quarters they count my income are when I worked for the feds. The feds don’t report wages to the state unless a person requests, so it could be weeks before I get any unemployment… We can get by, but it means I can’t put money aside for the FFS.

Of course this all happened the same week I flew down to Phoenix, got my FFS, and everything medically is going into fast gear. So a lot of anxiety has been occurring. That being said, a week later I find myself happier. I truly was despising that job. Mainly the way my management team I was on would target employees they didn’t like. That put me on the other side of my co-managing team several times when I couldn’t agree to punish my auditors for things that didn’t merit that level of punishment.

On top of all this there was a lot of disdain for my transition that had been building up. There were some people that were great, but several people I worked directly with would get that weird lip pull back when I talked about it, and obviously they were uncomfortable. Evidently uncomfortable enough that after I submitted an FMLA request for my FFS surgery I was walked out of the office 25 minutes later with no disciplinary actions, no warnings, it was just cashing in on the CBA and giving me “no cause” for my being released.

The frustrating part is the reason I came here was they are supposedly open to transgender employees, that wasn’t the case in the end. Even now I am really frustrated I took a 30k a year pay-cut, my commute when from 15-20 minutes to over an hour and all because a boss I used to work for and thought was a good person turned out to be a pretty shitty person. It all kind of hit me there and then. This job was taken purely because of my old boss, and it was nothing like I was told.

This means that I am now applying at jobs as much as possible. I would like to earn as much money as I can before surgery to help offset the cost, but the odds are that no one will pick me up before April. I don’t pass anymore, and I am ok with that. I suspect job interviews in the conservative business world will not go as planned. You never know though, maybe I will be surprised.

So this week I have been meditating a LOT. Trying to sleep enough and taking care of the husband since he has a stressful job and the money responsibility is on him. I think he is liking that I cook, clean, take care of him overall. I hope it is making it easier.

Now a week later there is a part of me to be fulfilling the traditional wife roles, I have always been motherly to people (it is joked about) but now it feels like I can be who I am. The meditation and supportive family I have chosen has made this experience so far better than I had hoped. Now that I am feeling centered, it is time to prepare for the surgeries (4 of them in 2019) and to get mentally in the groove.

So there I am, more centered now that I am not working for a shitty boss. Finances are tough, but aren’t they for almost everyone?

 

Fired!

I was going to write all about my consult itself, but it turns out something more exciting happened. I got fired after submitting my FMLA paperwork for my transition surgery.

To be honest, it is more of a laid off situation, I am currently in a probationary period and within the first six months they can let you go no matter the reason (and they never have to tell you why). I assume this means I will be able to collect unemployment, the problem being is my job during the “unemployment year” was with the department of defense and there is a slew of hoops I have to jump through.

I have never received any disciplinary comments, never had any issues that I know of. I even asked my boss last Thursday how things were and she was fine. She even talked to me on Tuesday, the day before I was “separated” and was all chatty with me on chat while I was in Phoenix.

I went into work yesterday morning, and while I dislike my job I was putting 100% into it. I sent an email in explaining I am going to need to file for FMLA, that I am getting the surgeries and will need LWOP. Within 25 minutes HR had called me in and issued me a letter saying I was being separated. 

All it quoted was the Union CBA that outlines the authority they have to release me, they don’t need cause and they don’t need to say why. The letter is dated the same day as my email too so that means they ran down to the director immediately and had her sign it.

Now, I am waiting on my unemployment decision (the hard part is I worked for the agency who handles unemployment, so this is awkward) before I make any final decisions on what to do. I may just walk away if I get my unemployment and look for a better job, or I may pursue this.

ok, there is something funny about this.

While the union agreement does cover their butts and allow them to do this, there is no way that my FMLA request for transgender services wasn’t involved since I have had no personnel issues. With that information it is actually against state law to lay out retribution for my FMLA request (and in WA state transgender care is covered under FMLA, or at least the state’s expansion of it).

That however will wait until I hear back. For now I will be anxious, begin my job searches and try and get unemployment. All the while arranging for my surgery in April. It just means more debt… However, the alternative is worse.