Dysphoria

Today I wanted to talk to you about dysphoria and myself. Growing up I have always hated the way I look. I mean absolutely, truly hated it. No physical reason for it, I know I was considered attractive enough that others showed interest in me, and personality can only make up for some of that.

I never associated it as dysphoria though. I always thought I was just too fat, my chin was too big, etc. I even felt differently about the typical male role I played intimately with others. Didn’t like it, but didn’t identify it as a gender related issue.

The hubby tried to get me to buy clothing, to care about myself, a variety of ways to show me that there was nothing wrong with me. I didn’t have the words for him at the time. All I could put out there was that I was fat, stupid, etc. I just marked it mentally as mental health issues because logically I knew I wasn’t that bad, but the emotion would never stop.

That is to say until I transitioned and as my features slowly change I found I really starting to like what I look like. The emotion has gone away mostly. That is until Saturday and it is getting harder. That is because I have to grow my beard out for electrolysis. It is the first time in a year I have had a beard, and while I have had my biker/office chops before, I never liked it.

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Me, Circa 2016/2017

I find now I hate it even more. I am fortunate, laser hair removal has gotten rid of almost all my dark hair, so all that is left is white hair with some dark hair above my lip. So I don’t look quite so viking like. I also don’t think logically that I look badge even with the beard coming out. I have more of a David Bowiesque guy look going and logically it is fine. Inside it is a thousand times worse.

I am so close to where I want to go body wise, and now the beard has to be done and the feel of stubble and beard on my neck and face just eats at me. Sadly this needs to be done, the electrolysis will get rid of this problem, it is just a small trial I have to go through before I get my facial surgery.

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Beard doesn’t look like much yesterday, today is way worse (no photo of that yet).

Of course I have had negative thoughts as well looking at myself in the mirror, worrying as I drift away from masculine that the husband will be left wanting something I wouldn’t have to give him. He has never said this, he has made clear he is attracted to me, but that is a huge difference already. I have lost weight, I look fairly good already (the best I have looked in our marriage) but I feel like now that he gets the best look for “his husband” it will be disappearing soon.

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That is its own post, but I wanted to get an intro on what I am feeling and dysphoria along with worry my husband will not be as attracted to me. I am sure those are all interrelated to my beard growing out. Let’s hope it only takes a few weeks to do this.

Don’t worry, I will be back with more stuff soon!

Transition Consult Stuff

Lately I have had a deluge of things happening, the biggest thing was my first Facial Feminization Surgery consult. It was with a well known/renowned Seattle surgeon and it went fairly well.

This is me in the consult room, I am trying to train myself that I don’t look bad so you are all stuck with lots of pictures for me.

The first pro is I think he knows what he is doing. He has the typical smarmy “I know it all” that almost all surgeons have, but he comes across trying to be friendly. His office is gorgeous when you walk in, very high class, and he is very well known for soft work (muscles, fat, hair, etc). He talked about some of the facial bone stuff I need, and agreed to do stuff for me. He would do it in 2 surgeries to minimize how much it hurts.

Unlike the quick review I got by Ley, the local doctor focused more on my fat placement and face lift use as opposed to bone work (Ley wants to do a jaw shave, and more in depth brow work). I know it can be done multiple ways so that didn’t bother me.

The first con is his price. I got a partial consult back in May from Dr. Ley/Meltzer and it was super quick. The “quick” assessment was about $20k in a single surgery (plus 9 days recovering down there). This Dr’s price was almost three times that, close to $60k. That is about what I owe on my student loans. I think this doc is a little more money orientated, no shame in that, but the first thing he did was try and sell me on a nose job, whereas Ley/Meltzer both dismissed the idea of a nose job as a waste and mine was great.

I figured it was going to be more expensive because of locality costs and the fact that this local doctor likes to show off the famous people he works on. I assumed closer to 30k… but the almost 60k was a shock. There was no cut deal for combining several procedures together (Dr. Ley/Meltzer’s was a lot cheaper because they were already there working on me and the other procedures were just “time on the table”). He quoted me the same total price as if I did each procedure separately.

That slowed my roll immediately and right now I am not sure if I would do it. He does great work, however he is not quite the bone experience that Dr. Ley is (she was a cranial/facial reconstruction expert for children before doing this) and she was very informed about my bone structure. The local doctor mistook my forehead for muscle not bone (Ley knew it on sight) plus I have heard he doesn’t do much bone work, and he really pushed a lot of soft tissue/face lift instead.

However, I do need to say he does excellent breast implants. He also stated he could do them with my insurance coverage. He had me try on some implant prosthesis and I found it looks like 650cc boobs is great, but not overly huge on my chest.

 

I may very well go to him for my breast augmentation when my year has passed and insurance will pay. However, not so sure about the FFS. I am still withholding judgment until I see Dr. Ley/Meltzer for a complete/in-depth consult on December 3rd. They are wonderful surgeons and unless they stick me with another 60k bill I suspect they will be the winner. However, we will have to see.

Taking it Easy, shadowrun group (artwork, sketch, 1991)

Wraith, Spook, and a bunch of characters I don’t remember, Pencil Sketch 1991 – Shadowrun

Shadowrun Group, pencil sketch 1991

At that time in 1991 this was actually one of my favorite pictures. In it is our shadowrun group. On the left is Wraith, my combat decker. Beside her is Spook, an asian cat burgler.. sort of (it’s hard to remember). The other two characters I think were Ben’s whose name I think was Mist… maybe. The other was Drew’s and I have no idea at all the name of the character.

The game was pretty cool, the group was a lot of fun but a lot of problematic things now that I am 28+ years older. Spook… that name would have had an objection from me now, but honestly we didn’t even consider other racist commentary possibilities.

As for other characters, Spook and Mace (Weylin’s characters) were really the only ones I liked in game, considered close and would protect. Ben and Drew’s characters were not liked by Wraith (or by me), they were just sort of filler/backdrop. 

The funny part is hearing other people’s stories, and its always intriguing to hear different points of view. I am sure Wraith was annoying to other characters/players just like they were to me. Just as humans we rarely look outside our own point of view to take it all in.

It was a good set of games, well at least until we started having bad things happen… then waking up from it like it was a dream. That pretty much killed the campaign for me.

Wraith, combat decker (artwork, sketch, 1991)

Wraith, Combat Decker (before they were a thing) Pencil Sketch 1991 – Shadowrun

Wraith was my first female pc. I had run as a GM several female NPCs and they had always been my favorite to fall back on. Once I ran Wraith as a player I never really went back for male characters. After that point I can only remember three male characters in thirty years. One was Grim, an ex-FBI sorcery adept in shadowrun, one was Shaan from my most recent Battletech game, and a very short lived character in a hubby game.

This was probably the first adult indication of who I was (not her personality), and that I preferred to be a female character in a game. I knew at this time what I felt I was, but in no way did I ever think I could jump the divide so I buried it.

I think the image is based on an in-game situation when we were imitating being a special forces team, or it could have been Bryon’s “Abyss” run, a shadowrun mission roughly based on the movie the Abyss. A lot of his games tended to fully imitate movies/tv shows for missions or characters this is not unusual, every GM does it, but I try to hide the details enough that at first glance you can’t tell.

Berek Halfhand, (artwork, sketch, 1986)

Pencil Sketch 1986 – AD&D Character

Berek Halfhand, a half elven ranger from a First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I drew it when I was 15, so that would make this 1986. Sadly the art pad got pretty damaged and I couldn’t do much to save it (well I guess there is always photoshop).

I started drawing just like everyone else in elementary school or earlier. I was always in awe of a childhood friend in school who could draw so realistically (it would still be a childlike drawing as an adult, but as a kid it was steps ahead of the rest of us).

I didn’t start really drawing until I hit my teenage years though (13+). Gaming images always stoked that fire. I know I have drawn dozens of fantasy cityscapes, castle views and characters. I also know they were not very good in comparison to others but that didn’t bother me at the time.

One problem though was we were so poor that we could only afford a single artpad I had for years. I was always terrified to use up pages, which I still did slowly up until I was 20 or so. Sadly the pad didn’t survive some of our moves and I only have a few pictures, mostly half done sketches (which still will go up). Here is the oldest one to date.

What I want

I have never been afraid of dying, and I would actually say I have been (and sometimes even now) am more afraid of living. There is a whole slew of reasons for it (toxic masculinity, fucked up upbringing, and a ton of others that probably includes the trans thing). However, the one thing I always hated about the idea of dying was that all the stories in my head wouldn’t be able to get out and that so many stories I hadn’t even spoken to others about would die.

When I was young I would draw, write, and run roleplaying games. As I hit late teen/early twenties the writing and drawing slowed down to a crawl and then mostly disappeared. The roleplaying games I run are the only way I have consistently been able to express my creativity (plus it is a great socializing thing). So roleplaying games (including larping) were my only outlet for everything I wanted to tell the world.

Instead I focused the rest of my life on school, work, etc and I thought I wanted to make more money, get myself out of poverty and take care of my family. I did do a lot of that. We took care of my parents, got the hubby’s health back online and transitioned, but I found I am not happy. I miss the creative side. I can buy stuff, but it isn’t what interests me.

So I decided I am going to forego pursing my CPA. I already hate 9-5 work. I make enough now with my degree that even though I am going to be paying forever on my loans, I can get by. Instead I want to get back into art.

I want to start drawing/creating images again, so I have a few digital art programs I am learning. I have an art pad with paper and an ipad if I want to use a pen like item, and I have started to write again. I even now track my roleplaying games in in-depth websites supporting all the content so I can go back later and tell the stories on paper/in images that we told around the tables.

That means I am going to be posting my old artwork. I am aware a lot of it is not good. I am also aware though that I have to be able to let it be public. That shyness about it is one of the reasons I stopped twenty+ years ago. I need to be ok with people to see my creative stuff. I won’t get better if I can’t accept what I did before (both good and bad). This means you will get a lot of my old stuff and I will add the new as I create it. After all, that is the goal of what is in my head isn’t it?

What I want to do is unload as many of the stories in my head into the world before I shuffle off this mortal coil. 

Memory: Camp Horizon (1988)

Camp Horizon is located in Birch Bay Washington (the site of an old Air Force Station) that provides recreational facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. I was fortunate enough for two, one week sessions, to be an assistant counselor. It is something that has stayed with me for my life, or at least the last 30 years since I did it (1988). I ended up going up to Birch Bay in summer of 2017, and while I was there I decided to go back to the camp and take some photos. In addition I do have a couple of photos from that time.

The sign!

Funny enough, I had lived in Birch Bay in the fall/winter of 1987 at the age of 15/16 and I never knew this place existed. Then we moved to Bellingham that spring. There I attended Bellingham High School. When I was at the high school, I somehow got in contact with a nice young man named Russ Nelson. He was the stage/videographer for the high school. To this day I can’t remember how he got me interested, but he talked about Camp Horizon and I should volunteer as an assistant counselor.

This was a new thing for me. I had just gotten done being homeless for a year+ and then living in Birch Bay (once again I didn’t know this place existed). I thought this wouldn’t be bad to start with on my resume. I believe it paid $50 for the first week and if I went the second week it went up to $75 (although I could be off a bit). So I agreed to it. Russ was kind enough to drive me to the camp (which was about 30 miles from my home).

I got to the camp, met several other assistant counselors (and a couple of college aged counselors) and began my short lived career as a camp counselor. We were there for five days each session I believe and our days consisted of bunking in the dorms, getting up, running classes, movies, gym activities, and most importantly just being there for the campers.

It was the first time I worked with people more disadvantaged than me and I loved it completely. I will be honest though, it probably helped that I had regular meals, recreational activities and no drunk parents (they were in a bad place at this time). To this day I still remember Dayleen (I am sure I did not spell that right). A young girl who was deaf, with some developmental disabilities and I believe cerebral palsy. It is because of her that I learned my numbers and letters in American Sign Language, along with the way to say “Cookie Monster” and a couple of other phrases.

My three strongest memories were waking up and hearing “I wanna dance with someone” by Whitney Houston, going downstairs and meeting up with Dayleen. I don’t remember exactly what we were working on, I just remember her being so excited about us playing and her signing “Lucky” or some variation of it when she saw me. Sadly I had a picture of her but once we started moving a lot as an older teen, it disappeared in one of our many homeless moments.

My second strongest memory was wrapping up my first session and feeling incredibly sad that it was over. It was followed up with getting home and my parents were on a run. There was loud arguments, loud music and much drinking by several people. I just remember wishing I was still at camp.

My third memory was Melody (I think her name was Melody, not Meloney, but I could be wrong). She was one of my many unrequited loves. I was very quiet as a teenager at this time, and I never figured out how to ask her out, or do pretty much anything. However, my favorite memory with her was laying under a tree, next to her and talking for a long time (probably longer than I should have since I was after all a counselor).

The two sessions went by very quickly and before I knew it I went home and collected my check for the two weeks. I believe I bought my parents an anniversary present and my brother a birthday present with it, never spent a dime on myself (I think the remaining went to house bills). I never was able to go back the following year. This was because by that time I was working full time and supporting my family.

Damn I look young.

Fast forward to summer of 2017 and we went up to Birch bay and stopped by the camp. Surprisingly there were people readying the camp for this summer and we talked with them. They are up to 6 or 7 weeks a year of sessions and they have been constantly updating the place. They were kind enough to let me take some pictures. So below is our gallery and it includes photos from my adventure and last weekend. I know we had other photos, if I find them I will add them.

THE GALLERY

Just an update

Well here I am, 2am and awake. I have been fortunate though, lately my insomnia hasn’t been waking me up this early (yesterday I slept until 5:15am which is unheard of) so it is probably a little expected I get some today.

Things are going really well honestly. In gaming I had the most productive group game in years (see the game at https://silkandspices.wordpress.com). We have three new players joining my hubby and Torie. It was a character making session with a bit of role-play, but even so I got more feedback and more submissions from my three new players in one game then I got in years from some of my older players. It felt really nice to be appreciated.

Work is still just work. My hubby might have some good news coming up, we will see. I am very proud of him no matter what. As for my work it is a train wreck (yes we work at the same place). I am watching an audit we are doing just starting to nose dive, although I don’t feel too bad because I have told management repeatedly what the problem is and they don’t want to pursue it, so it isn’t my problem.

I am getting my arm sleeve tattoo worked on, its starting to look really nice. The hubby got his done so he is good to go for now, I still have a few more sessions. This time though I think I am going to go a little slower, only a couple of hours at a time. It is cheaper in the short term, and honestly I just don’t want to sit under the tattoo gun for more then a couple hours at a time.

Personally I am doing ok. Hubby’s surgeries are over and he is recovering so that is a relief. I am starting to work on my own health but that is a bit problematic. Evidently my foot is still fractured and it is officially a Jones Break. Means it may not heal on its own. It has been since October 3, 2017 when I broke it originally, we are going to give it until the end of March and see the orthopedic surgeon again. A boot or cast won’t help so I just have to take it easy.

More health news, I am halfway done with my first crown this year, they have to put the new crown in next week. Then I have a second crown and a bridge to get, with a final touch up of fixing a cracked tooth. Also today I will be going in to have my hearing checked along with the holes in my eardrums (I had tubes put in about 7 months ago, my hearing still sucks) and we will see how that goes.

Finally I am getting a CAT scan for the hernia/stomach problems. Been trying to get that for more then two years. Overall this year is about getting my health back in shape, that way if our job situation changes I can move on healthier.

My anxiety is also doing ok. Obviously I am still suffering from insomnia, but it isn’t as hard as it was last year at this time. the post-holidays (actually pre-holidays as well) is always  more difficult and my dad passing’s anniversary is pretty soon. All that being said though the hubby’s health has improved as has my anxiety because of it.

The rest of life is a bit slow and steady. I am reading (or listening to audiobooks) a lot, working on gaming stuff and just enjoying being with my husband. Oh and realizing how old I am getting when half my post is health issues. Is this what my future holds? LOL.

 

Food Security and Emotional Issues

I have always had a weird love/hate relationship with food resulting in some issues. I do emotionally eat, counting calories freaks me out and I have the hardest time leaving food on the table.

I grew up extremely poor (living in a car poor). This meant from the age of 8 or 9 on we were on food stamps. Contrary to what the DSHS people said back then (and the conservatives) they do not give you enough food stamps to feed a family. Nowadays DSHS  just say its only supposed “augment” someone, not be the sole food support. That is all fine and good if you are a single or adult couple, but anyone who seriously thinks its ok to only “augment” feeding a child is full of shit.

We ate well at the beginning of the month (no, it wasn’t all steak and caviar, fuck you conservatives). By the middle of the month the food was running out and we were living off of food bank contributions. By the end of the month there was donating blood and whatever other ways to scrounge up the money. All of this meant I had stretch marks on my hips and belly.

Coming back from the food bank. I have learned since then how to photograph better.

You heard me right, as a teenager I was skinny, and the weight fluctuations between the beginning of the month and the end of the month left stretch marks on my sides and belly that were there until my early 20s. The girls I was intimate with were usually disturbed by it. Even Wolsey commented on it when we started dating. I didn’t understand that stretch marks weren’t normal. I had just assumed that was normal.

We might have lived in a car, but it was a stylish car.

Food was a big deal in my family. If there was a holiday, or if some emotional trauma occurred my parents would beg, borrow or sell things to buy us something special. On the super rare times, we went out to eat, we finished everything brought to us. Hell, we finished everything at home for the same reasons. You never walked away from your plate with any food on it.

Things have been weird now for 25 years. I have always been ok with food security since I moved in with my husband, I have been in a stable relationship and within a few years my stretch marks left. We have always made enough to cover our bills and groceries and this scarcity hasn’t been an issue.However, I still fight with the following:

  1. I literally have to force myself not to eat all my food on my plate, especially when I am in a restaurant. It freaks me out that it is a waste of money (which it isn’t, and I can afford easily anyways). The thing is I logically know this even if it bothers me a lot.
  2. I can afford to emotionally eat. While it was a great internal relief as a child/teen because it was a rare occurrence, nowadays if I am upset I crave sugar, especially something like jelly beans and licorice I can buy it at will (and I do some of the time).
  3. The worst part is counting calories. I don’t know why, but it makes everything else in my life just explode. I can follow a regimen, eat the same thing every day, but I then get compulsive in checking. Then I just get aggravated, then the hubby gets my venting. We have tried it off and on for years, but counting calories, and diets in general do not work for me. The panic attacks are not worth it. I still can’t tie out why this bothers me.

I thought I would just ramble about this because I am looking at working out more. I would like to build up my stamina (and hey, losing fat isn’t a bad thing). I know that diet is more effective, but I don’t see myself changing my eating habits by a lot. So, I guess I am just explaining why a diet isn’t part of my future conversations about working out. I will try and eat a bit better, but no calorie counting, or crazy (e.g. stupid) diets.

Today was a sharing day.

Me

Off to Vince and Lisa’s wedding!