The last few days have been hectic, and while I haven’t left the house much since the Tuesday before Christmas (it is now Sunday after), I had two distinctly different experiences being read as a woman.
You heard it right, it seems like twice I have not been clocked, at least not in the beginning.
The first time was more expected by me. The hubby and I were in the grocery store trying to pick up the last bits of food for upcoming Christmas Dinner (on Xmas eve, that is when we celebrate it). It was a wednesday and it wasn’t packed so we hurried on out to Safeway.
As we wandered the aisles, the hubby stepped away to get some cheese I believe. Meanwhile, I was bent over and crouched down reading the different egg nog labels in an end-cap, near a group of Safeway workers who seemed to be hauling stuff from the warehouse.
I couldn’t tell you what caught my attention, but I heard one guy (turned out to be an older, shorter guy) talking to another. I heard him say “Check her out.” I am not sure what made me start to turn and stand up, but I did.
As I turned to stand I could hear the guy start whispering harshly, “Don’t turn around, don’t turn around, don’t look.” Just as the older man finished speaking I had stood up and turned around to see what was going on, just in time for a young man, maybe in his early twenties who was standing next to me, to turn around towards me and bounce off my boobs.
The older man fled, I swear he was almost jogging to get away as I bounced back. I had seen that the younger male hadn’t even heard the older male’s words, instead his face had been fixated on my chest (I forget they are 38H, probably dysphoria) and had been so fixated on seeing what the older guy had done that I think he literally had taken a step forward, not realizing how close I was, or that I was standing up and moving towards him.
The young man’s faced became incredibly red as he quickly apologized and retreated back into the warehouse. Part of me was annoyed, I had never done that as a guy and I found the hubby to bitch about it.
It wasn’t until I was talking with him that I had assumed wrongly. I thought they were checking out the “trans girl”, but he pointed out that no, I probably wasn’t clocked in that short time and they were just acting like guys seeing boobs.
I was both weirdly annoyed and pleased about the situation. No guy should act like that, and being objectified sucks. However, it did help reassure me that maybe someday I can pass more fully. Part of me likes that objectification because it somehow proves my efforts.
The second time happened a couple hours ago when I dumped a couple of bags of garbage and a small light that died. I had gotten out of my car at the garbage area. A small meth-ridden homeless man stopped me and asked me if he could have the light. I had no problem and after talking with him I gave it to him and moved back to my car.
That is when I caught behind the garbage area (it is a walled off area) was a guy that lives in the complex with a large pit/mastiff type dog. He had been watching carefully, and it wasn’t until then that I realized as he smiled and walked off, that he was watching out to make sure I was safe.
Both the hubby and I are pretty sure he hadn’t clocked me, and that he was just making sure that the woman wasn’t harassed by the homeless guy. I almost argued with the hubby that it couldn’t be that, but the hubby was right, I wouldn’t have waited around if a guy was dumping garbage, when I was still a boy, unless something was really wrong.
Evidently the guy with the dog either thought I was cisgender, or maybe he was still worried about my feminine appearance enough that he stayed around anyways to watch over it. Either way I found it strangely nice that he had registered me as someone that needed to be watched over.
Don’t get me wrong, at 6’2″ I don’t think I was in any danger from the homeless guy, but there is something about that treatment that reassures that at least people see a feminine person when they see me. I will undoubtably get tired of the staring at my boob thing in the store, and maybe of the watching over me, but either way, that was twice this week that I was at least partially treated like someone who I feel I am would be treated in this society.
I will completely admit that I found it amusing a few weeks ago when gay men started posting pictures of themselves holding hands, kissing, being intimate, and tagging it Proud Boys. I noticed though sometimes it bothered me as well, I couldn’t place it. It wasn’t the gay men that bothered me, it was the cis-gendered straight white dudes, but I didn’t realize that at the time.
Fast forward to yesterday when I was on Facebook and a good friend, who absolutely had no ill intentions, posted an image of two men holding hands. I completely admit it, yes I love to watch Proud Boys members squirm. I think they are ridiculous, and I also admit that isn’t the high road.
I have been really quiet for the last five plus weeks since surgery. Mostly because it has been a real emotional rollercoaster, and also because I wanted to see how it turned out before I posted about it. The very brief TL;DR of it, IT WAS A RESOUNDING SUCCESS, even though there might have been some crying along the way (or more than “some”) I feel it was all worth it.
Here is the Too Long Didn’t Read Comparision before surgery and after.
The day of surgery was actually really good. We ended up getting up early, prepping and heading in. The traffic was extremely light and we got there in record time. I will admit that I was a bit more nervous about this then I was the first surgery. The first surgery I didn’t care how well they did in Scottsdale, it would be better than where I was at. This I was a bit more worried, not only that something might go wrong and I will have to take a step back, but that it won’t have any effect at all.
Once I got into the surgeon’s clinic they sat me down and Dr. Mangubat went through and marked my face and chest. I am always amazed at the sculpting ability of good surgeons. I look at those lines and it means nothing, but they can create works of art (just like people who draw out patterns). Changing something from two dimensional lines to a three dimensional form is pretty fantastic. Also, Dr. Mangubat and his assistant were awesome. I wish I could remember his assistant’s name, he was also a very skilled surgeon learning the trade from Dr. Mangubat. Dr. Mangubat himself was incredibly kind, jovial and reassuring.
To be perfectly honest I know they rolled me into the surgical suite, I remember the nurse talking with me and giving me an IV and the next thing I remember is waking up in my bed at home. What I do know from talking to the husband is that surgery lasted about 6 hours, about half the time of my surgery with Dr. Ley. He got me into the car and drove me home.
I do know from him as he tells me even now how hard I was to get up the stairs. I might weigh a 100lbs less, I still am 6’2″ to his 5’6″ and I outweigh him by 40 lbs. The stairs were evidently an issue. I am told I stopped in the middle of the stairs and wouldn’t move. Hubby had to yell at me to get going (and it sounds in the same manner my dad would when he needed us to do something).. Thank you hubby for getting me in to the house and into bed.
The next few days were sort of a blur. I remember lying in bed, the hubby feeding me and giving me pain meds and then the hubby playing video games while he laid beside me. By Monday though I was feel really good about myself. I was really liking how it was looking and things were good.
We went to the follow up appointment where they took off my main head wrap and looked over the incisions (there were a lot). The docs all seemed happy, I was happy and life was good. They gave me a wrap to put around my head and neck to help the skin heal tight.
Meanwhile my boobs were healing excellently. I had to wear a weird little maternity bra, but they were huge and somehow the doc fit 800cc implants in through my armpit, so no scarring under the boobs.
Within a day and a half though, the skin around my incisions started having a skin reaction. Much like when I have an allergic reaction to bacitracin or other antibiotics. It started getting bad and we called the doctor back. They immediately the next day had me come in to look at it. No one was sure what I was reacting to. It could be the wrap around my face, it could be the staples in my head or it could just be a normal infection.
Whatever it was, Dr. Mangubat put me on anti-fungal, an antibiotic and an antiviral. The worry was the infection would reek havoc with my healing and skin. I am glad I saw him immediately. He actually commented that it was unusual that a patient be so proactive. I blamed my hubby being a nurse, my own experience in a doctors office, but honestly it was also my anxiety. Probably mostly my anxiety that propelled me.
I will admit I was also having weird panic attacks. I felt like I couldn’t breath at night with everything wrapped around my head. I was short tempered and I did have an emotional/anxiety breakdown. To be honest nothing was ever that bad, but the rebound from surgery and just all the stress had caught up with me. Also, I do not do well with opioids. They aren’t the most effective to begin with and they wreck me emotionally, every single time.
I had one night with a complete breakdown and I was a jerk to Wolsey and lost my shit, panicking that I had somehow fucked my face up and all the work the surgeons had done. I am grateful that he loves me so much. Also things started healing up, although the breathing panic attacks still happened at night. However I was looking way better.
Later that week after things had calmed down I talked to my therapist (they specialize in LGBTQ, Trauma and Trans stuff) and they mentioned it isn’t uncommon. Both my dysphoria and evidently inability to breath at night. The dysphoria is kicked off as a delayed sort of thing. It isn’t any regret on my part, but rather just processing (and not even close to the processing I will probably be doing over the years). The other part was the breathing. Evidently it is not uncommon for trans women to be uncomfortable trying to breath laying down. The fact I have 38H sized breasts with 1600cc’s worth of silicon on my chest is a new sensation and is just my body getting used to things feeling different. Evidently trans guys go through the opposite sometimes, they feel light chested.
That did make me feel better, and it definitely made me realize I wasn’t the only person going through this.
However within a few days, with the help of all the meds, my face started healing up. My breasts were already in good shape healing wise and I had no problems sleeping after the first couple of weeks. By the time my one month had arrived I was in pretty good shape and now 7 weeks out the scars are starting to fade out. I am so happy with what happened. I can’t thank Dr. Mangubat and his associate enough, but I most especially can’t thank my husband enough. He helped me get the surgery, he took care of me, and I hope he understands how much I truly love him.
I even took some photos of me several weeks after the fact just to see what I looked like.
That is it, things are great and I attached all the pictures above plus several extra as a gallery below.
I really do mean to post more about all the little incidents, microagressions and triumphs I have on a day to day basis, but for some reason it is hard. So here I am trying to renew that.
I think I am going to need to change the park I visit on lunch for a couple of months. Not that I don’t like the park, but I think I probably feel safer giving it a break. I decided yesterday to go to it during lunch. I needed to step away from the dumpster fire of an audit I was doing so I drove down and parked.
There I listened to my music with a vague hope that the birds would be there. Sadly no birds at all, and the park was fairly full. I stayed in my car, with mask ready in case I wanted to walk around. I noticed how many people in the actual park (out of their cars) had no mask and I decided discretion is the better part of valor and I didn’t need to risk myself.
So I sat there for awhile listening to loud music when I noticed a park bench full of guys laughing and talking, probably 10+ years younger than me. I didn’t get the impression they were laughing at me, but they did keep looking over. Eventually one guy waved me over and I just watched him for a little while. Eventually they yelled over I should join them.
I shook my head and mouthed something along the lines of “No thanks” (I remembered yesterday the exact words, but evidently sleeping made the specific sentences disappear). They turned and gave me a little bit of a hard time. I think I was passing close enough and they hadn’t caught I was transgender yet.
They did it again and something annoyed me by it. Probably the realization that this is what women go through every day their lives. The expectation that it is ok for guys to bother a woman and that she owes them her time. I shook my head again and turned up my music. I think at this point it was that I was listening to White Zombie (specifically “More Human than Human”). I think this was a surprise because they had heard my earlier music that was more techno/nightcore like.
A few minutes later this one guy kept on it. Every few minutes he would yell over to me. At some point I am sure this became a game with them, but it didn’t truly bother me. I am not sure what he said when the voice of “John Bradley” came out (my father was incredibly witty, and antagonistic when pushed and so when an instinct comes over to do something that is completely socially unacceptable, and I do unapologetically, we call it pulling a John, or a “John Trap” or something like that, RIP dad).
I just leaned out and yelled back in my very masculine voice (no attempt at feminizing and I have a pretty deep voice) something along the lines that “if anyone wants their dick sucked, they would have to suck mine in return”. I swear it was actually more witty than that, but the meaning was clear and I can’t remember my exact words. With that I just turned the music up louder and it was Marilyn Manson.
The whole table just froze. I am sure it was a combination of my deep male voice and the reference to my dick. A couple of the guys at the table burst out into laughter that was obviously directed at the guy at the table that had been harassing me. That guy just looked shocked and within a couple of minutes the whole group got up and left.
They didn’t threaten me, although a couple of them looked unhappy (and the one guy looked pissed). I decided after a few minutes that maybe that wasn’t the best thing to yell at a group of guys and mock them that I was trans. I wasn’t scared of them at all, but there was the realization that no matter how tough I thought I was, there was still multiple guys there and I was transgender and mocking them.
So I drove out of the small park and down a couple miles towards my place. I found a cool little park on the beach further down and spent the rest of my lunch there. I like the original park and I will eventually go back, but I probably am going to avoid it for the rest of the summer. I didn’t recognize those guys and they definitely don’t go down there during the winter, but probably best if I don’t come across them if possible. I will remember to take pictures of the new park (no trees, and its kind of cramped but its was less cramped then Thea’s Park).
Here it is, another little micro aggression, this time I think it was based on them thinking I was cisgender female. That part made me happy, it was a little validating. Then it wasn’t validating and I found it annoying.
Growing up in a male body meant I was socialized and elevated to pretty much the pinnacle of western civilization (barring poverty and LGBTQIA affiliations which knocked me down a couple of pegs, but still high up). I have always heard about the male gaze, and I am sure on occasion I partook in it, the hubby does say I wasn’t bad with it, but I know I did it. That being said, I grew up not being the focus or on parade for half of the population.
I had always heard the references, jokes, and anger that people with breasts had concerning men who just stare at them. I had noticed some really bad examples in the past, but even so from my position I never really understood how persistent and just how common it was.
Fast forward to our trip to Pet Smart a couple of days ago. It was my first time really going to a store since my face surgery and breast augmentation, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I wasn’t even dressed up especially feminine, I had a t-shirt on and cut off shorts. Inside as we were shopping I saw a guy came in and his eyes just dropped to my boobs, as in laser focus, seeing nothing else. It was such an intense stare that he almost walked into one of the endcaps on an aisle.
I turned and looked at Wolsey and asked if he had seen that. He nodded and said, “Welcome to the world of being a woman, your body is on display 24/7.” Sadly he is right. I have had that kind of experience dressing in feminine clothing, but always very transgender appearing, so the stares were more for the trans part. This time I don’t think the guy even clocked me, he just stared at the boobs.
As we were trying to leave the store the same guy almost walked into me in the aisle, the whole time just staring at my boobs. I said hi to him as he walked by, but he was fixated enough that I don’t think he heard my voice (the most obvious part about me being trans).
For the last two days since then, we have had to get the cat and then go to Costco. Both times the hubby and I have noticed some guys (not all, but probably more than half) seem to always be checking out my boobs. I honestly don’t recall if I did that, but I am sure I did and that is when I felt bad about having done that. I do hope I was never as obvious as the guys I am noticing now.
It is just a little shocking at how obvious some guys are. There is a small positive feeling in the fact that evidently they don’t realize I am trans, but it also becomes gross when they literally won’t look me in the face.
I just feel guilty about my behavior before, or at least about my lack of understanding of what my breast having people would go through. I guess now I understand and will be dealing with it too.
October 2017 that includes a broken foot ambulance ride, trip to Oak Harbor, fire alarms and anniversary. This is the final installment for 2017, everything else has already gone up for that year. YAY!!!