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.

Lunch Visitor

From last Thursday:

Sometimes when you are stressed out about work, transition and rapid hormonal fluctuations, the universe  sends a seagull to check on you… ok to eat your lunch but it’s the same net positive.

Just a brief update.

I realize it has been awhile since I posted. I was happily sailing along post surgery, starting to talk about things and I went radio silent. The problem was I just hit a wall unexpectedly.

I assume its from all the anxiety, the hormonal shifts because we can’t get the spironolactone right, surgery push back and just a general exhaustion. It wiped me out for a month, I haven’t even got caught up on my video creation or started doing the courses for 3d art.

A lot has happened since I went dark. I am scheduled for my bilateral orchiectomy on June 14th (yes Karen, that is when they will remove my testicles). I will be out of work again for a week, no sick time, and of course my employer is ok with the time, but no offer to do the normal request for other employees to volunteer sick time. I don’t expect it, but it is typical of what they ask for the other employees and then not for transgender issues.

I have been back to work for almost two weeks and people overall have been pretty good. I am now legally female both state and federal levels. I have ID and a birth certificate with the female outlined, so that is a giant win (even though that was four days of running around, probably a big reason I hit a wall).

I do think I am looking pretty good for where I am at. I know I have a long way to go, the orchiectomy will be a godsend and I should start seeing changes quicker.

Actually feel pretty good about myself sometimes.

My coworkers overall have been really cool about it. There are lots of new things I am learning, such as how women’s bathrooms are a whole different world then men’s bathrooms. I think that deserves its own post.

My husband has been a gem overall with understanding my anxiety, and hormonal ups and downs. We have had a couple arguments but I understand where he is coming from. I just want all of this done as soon as possible, then I can move on to picking up my life and becoming who I am.

Mostly this post is to say I am alive, I will continue posting about surgery and about everything, I just hit a wall and needed a break. I may be stressed, upset, etc, but I need to make sure everyone knows that I realize I am a very lucky person and I know it. While I may have just added a little over 40k in debt, I am fortunate to have that option when so many others don’t.

I just wanted to make sure everyone knew I knew and that I should be back now :).

The Trip to Scottsdale 1 (The Flight Down)

Today will be the first of probably several posts about my trip for FFS down to Scottsdale. This post will be a general wrap up of flight down. Other posts will be about specific events, dates or things but will not include the surgery related aspects. The surgery will be handled separately so people can avoid the details if they want.

The morning of 4/24 started out pretty good. We were both wide awake and head out of the apartment, driven by our good friend Torie (thank you!). The trip to the airport was pretty quiet, I was nervous (and I assume the hubby was as well), and Torie was exhausted from coming to get us.

Once at the airport though I got the have my first experience of the week that would turn out to be frustrating, and honestly not that surprising. We were waiting at the gate for Delta when I had to run to the restroom. I am dressing femininely now but I still didn’t feel without the surgery that I wanted to cross the bathroom border yet.

Not my best look landing in Phoenix, it was a rough morning, also yes I actually do need a bra

I got into the bathroom and did my business. As I am trying to clean up, make sure my mascara is on right (eyeliner issues) and I saw in the mirror a shorter guy, muscled and glaring at me. He stepped right up behind me, maybe three feet between us and watched. I finished looking at myself, turned to him at my entire 6’2″ and asked, “Do we have a problem?”.

First, I know I don’t pass, so at no point did he think I was a girl. However, he did seem to assume I am fairly meek, and to be honest I am a lot more meek now and risk averse then ever. The hormone issues later this trip kind of show why.

He stepped back from for a second and took me in. My only advantage is height, but also probably the lack of caffeine… I hadn’t had any at that point and some of my friends can vouch that it doesn’t go well without it. I can be aggressive and they tell me a little crazy looking. He raised his hands, “no man, no problem” and continued back into the toilet area.

Unfortunately that put me in a more self-conscious mood and less angry mood. I spent the time in the airport feeling uncomfortable with myself, looking in my phone constantly at my image (using the camera). The hubby was great though, he made sure to double check how I looked for the twenty thousand times I asked, he reassured me, told me he loved me, and was pissed at the guy in the bathroom for me (by this time I was more embarrassed and less pissed).

We got on our plane and was met by the best possible incident I would have this trip and a nice thing in general.

Hubby and I

The hubby insisted we fly first class for the surgery. He would rather pay the money for me not to be squished in coach on my return trip with head surgery. It would turn out to be an excellent choice and worth the little extra debt it cost.

We got on the flight and things were smooth, the stewardess was fantastic and during the coarse of the flight. She brought us some sort of biscuit sandwich breakfast with yogurt and fruit. I found I liked the fruit a lot better than everything else (my cravings and tastes have changed so much in the last year).

Somehow during the flight the stewardess and I talked and she asked about our trip to Phoenix/Scottsdale and we told her about my surgery. She was incredibly sweet before, but she was even more kind. Right before we landed she had put together a little care package out of first class foodstuffs for my recovery. While I couldn’t eat it, it was something the hubby could and her concern was outstanding. It totally made up for any issues that day.

Once we got to the Alamo Car Rental agency and picked up our car we were trying to decide what to do. Originally we were going to go to the Odysea Aquarium then check in, but we were already tired from the flight and had to go shopping for food for the week so instead we opted out.

We went to the hotel room and checked in, we then went to the Frye’s Signature grocery store and picked up the food we would eat for a week (we don’t like to eat out multiple times a day, and I wouldn’t be able to with the diet I had to go on with clear liquids and soft foods).

We got back to the hotel and pulled out our Apple TV. I had decided I was tired of being stuck on whatever crappy channels the hotel had and we brought it down thinking to just login to the network and plug it in. It turns out it is a little harder to do that, we had to deal with an idiot as we called the hotel’s internet people and asked them to add our Apple TV’s mac address to their network, which they did and it was 9 days of watching our own shows, only a super tiny tv screen sadly.

Ta-Da!

We then decided to eat some Mexican food from an area that should know how to make it and we were not disappointed. I knew that I only had 24 hours of eating normal before restrictions so I enjoyed some nice enchiladas and a quiet moment with my hubby. We ended up going to Habanero’s Mexican Grill and it was fantastic!

We then went back to the hotel and decided to call it a day and start watching Marvel movies. The hope was to finish them all and go see Endgame before we left.

That was it, our first day of travel down for the trip, not even any surgical info in there. Below is a general set of pictures

 

 

Awkward Questions

I know it has been a month since we talked or so. It is because a lot of things have been going on. I am preparing for surgery in less than three weeks, new job, and dealing with therapy and hormonal swings.

Work itself is going really well, more so then I would have anticipated. Most people are either outwardly supportive, or fade away. I realize some people are upset when people fade, but I would rather they self-selected out of my life then to have to deal with them.

The people around me, even when they try to fade away have all been working hard on the pronouns. I think it is a little bit harder because I worked there for a few months last summer while using masculine pronouns. However, they are really trying.

The only issue that has occurred was one morning being approached by a social worker from across the hall (I often work with them on my audits). He walks into my office and noticed I had a beard. He looked at me and asked “You use feminine pronouns right?”

I turned and said “Yes, I do. However I have an electrolysis appointment in two days and I have to grow my beard out for it.”

At that point he turned around and walked out.

He didn’t say goodbye, he didn’t smile he just walked out. My assumption is that even though he is a social worker, he doesn’t have good social skills. I am not sure if I passed whatever test he had, or if he is freaking out, but honestly it doesn’t matter.

There have been a couple of other specific things, but I think I will cover them in their own posts. The overall important thing to know is that I have been accepted in general so far, and to be honest that is far better than I had anticipated. We will see how they feel after the FFS surgery.

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.

 

Testosterone (Part 1 of many)

Disclaimer: One important note, I am talking here about my experience, everyone experiences sex and hormones differently and this post is by no means exhaustive – I am sure I will have a lot more to post but even then my view isn’t the only one.

When I was younger, long before I considered transitioning I held the standard AMAB viewpoint of sex. I was always interested in it, I liked looking at pretty people in skimpy outfits. I couldn’t keep my hands out of my pants, or if I was in a relationship someone else’s pants.

So when I got married to my spouse, long before he transitioned and he was still my wife, I was the typical guy in some ways. I am told I wasn’t too pushy, but I do know I wanted sex all the time. My sex drive was high enough that it caused some friction between me and the spouse. They had a more AFAB type of sex drive, which isn’t just hormonal of course, it also involves social acceptability and how AFAB people are raised.

We would fight when I was younger because of our differing sex drives. I didn’t understand why someone wasn’t in the mood for periods of time. I can completely admit I never really considered outside my point of view. I didn’t understand truly that others didn’t experience sex drives the same as I, and to be honest that is a pretty typical male outlook from my understanding.

If we didn’t have sex more often then every couple of weeks (or even weekly) I would feel that they were withholding or being arbitrary. I didn’t understand that testosterone is such a big influence on your sex drive, and they didn’t have the same feelings. I was ready anytime, anywhere, I could have sustained a big injury and still want to try. I am ashamed to learn how privileged I was being about it.

Now that I have been on testosterone blockers for about 11 months (with wildly shifting numbers, so we still don’t have it under control) and estrogen for the same amount of time I think I have a lot more understanding of what someone AFAB generally feels, and to be honest I am frankly ashamed of some of my outlook and attitudes before my transition. Not that I was a bad person, but that I just didn’t understand.

Let me crush the whole idea that you don’t like sex if your testosterone is stopped. That is not the case at all. In fact sex now has been more incredible overall (due to a whole range of effects of the estrogen and testosterone blocking that I will go over in detail later). I love being with my husband and I do have an active sexual imagination.

However, I am not continuously bombarded with the urges for sex during the day nonstop. Before I would think about it multiple times a day. Now when it is quiet, I have some time and I feel relaxed it comes up in my thoughts, sometimes. Without the testosterone it isn’t that drive, that overwhelming need that it was. It gives me time to think about other things and just relax.

I don’t think this is a bad thing, it means I can work on things without being distracted too much. I can focus on my creative works and instead of satisfying a lot of objectification in those works I feel I get more in touch with the work itself.

Another side effect is that I now scroll past a lot of ads and distractions I used to look at and find them frankly ridiculous. They used to capture my attention for periods of time, distracting me from things I wanted to do otherwise.

I didn’t realize how much advertising is placed that way, and how much culture adopts it without thinking. I know I had fully accepted it without a second thought. The good part is that now I have a lot better understanding of how it effects people with and without testosterone.

I am not saying my experiences or views now perfectly match up with people born AFAB. I didn’t have the stigma of sex laid on me (quite the opposite actually) and society didn’t treat me different. What I am saying is I believe I understand those experiences better.

I now understand why women get frustrated with the pushiness of men better. I understand why I heard the words “Not tonight, I am not in the mood” and their frustration when I would ask in a different way. When you don’t have the intense push of testosterone there are a lot of other things going on, stressors, needs, and desires.

I find now that I look at a lot of the way women are portrayed (the super sexy style) and it is not as attractive to me anymore. I can appreciate it, but its different and not really something I find interesting or even healthy necessarily. I will probably need like five posts to explain that.

If you had asked me before my transition, I would have said testosterone had a fraction of the influence that it evidently had. It is eye opening and I wish I could explain it to other AMAB born people. Get them to look outside those feelings. The problem is those feelings are there your whole life, you don’t have a reference otherwise.

I also want to make it clear that having testosterone is not bad at all. It is perfectly healthy, with needed function. I am not one of the ladies that believes it is poison. What I am trying to say is I didn’t realize as a privileged white male before transition I didn’t have to look beyond my urges because society is built around them. Now that the curtain has been pulled back with the urges and I have been shown what others see and feel I have had some realizations.

I am still working on those realizations in my head (and on here), but for now I basically just wanted to say I was amazed at the difference.

TL;DR With my testosterone blocked I found my outlook on sex and the sex drive completely different and I now understand why a lot of women talk about sex the way they do.

Some mornings are just rough

Some mornings are great, some mornings are rough. It is just the way it is.

First, let me say that I am quite aware I do not pass. I am absolutely clockable, especially depending on the clothes I wear. I am still way too masculine in the face, even with subtle makeup, but sometimes I can get close. I often times feel I look cute, or at least cute enough.

I had a good week so far at my new job. Monday and Tuesday were smooth. I wore clothing that I just got, and that have had for awhile, so I was mixing and matching. I got good responses (or no responses) all the way around. This morning I wanted to to try on some of the newer clothes as well, after all it worked great on Monday.

I came out dressed and while I am sure it was ok, and hubby said it was fine, I was definitely in an uncomfortable “clocky” way. I don’t mind being transgender, and I wholly support others dressing how they want and being comfortable. I don’t think I will ever fully be passable and I am ok with that, but for some reason this morning I came out, tried two outfits on and couldn’t do it. Self hate really does suck I guess.

So I am dressing in something that is still feminine, but toned down a lot. I don’t have to be at any external auditees places so I don’t have to have full business dress (which case I would go full feminine, I won’t ever put a male suite on again) so I took advantage of it.

Sometimes I don’t understand why I have rough mornings. I realize subtle anxiety from the constant wariness of others, the upcoming surgery, money concerns just add up. However there was no real reason this morning to be uncomfortable, especially with such a supportive spouse.

Good news, I am wearing new pants and they make my butt look good, so there is that 🙂

Some mornings are just rough.

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:

Unexpected Changes

Before I go any further I need to put a disclaimer. This post is about genital stuff, mostly about changes, some of which are unexpected. I feel the need to write about it because that is the purpose of me blogging about my transition, all the details of it. However, if you are squeamish or don’t want to know about medical aspects of my genital transition then don’t read any further, I will even put a cut here for you.

Continue reading “Unexpected Changes”