Things I’m Not Good At

I’m not good at being shallow.

I can do it, I can operate on the surface, skimming through conversations and interactions but I’m left cold, empty, unsatisfied, drained.  I can’t imagine the people on the other side of that equation feel any better about it.

I’m not good at being a player.

I dabble, I can talk the game, I can write it in a story, in slick dialogue meant to dazzle and drop panties but it’s not me.  I play the long game, I swim in the deep end. I dive in and taste the current and get into the flow.  I’m about patience and endurance and building foundations.

I’m not good at one offs.

I’m sticky, I take root.  I’m hard to get rid of with my taproot snaking around the concrete of your foundation.

I’m not good at being cold and mechanical.

I’m an emotional person, I feel deep and my feelings have a lot of power in my life.  It’s hard for me to have a good time sexually unless I’m feeling something emotionally.  That’s not to say I need to be in love every time, but I need to feel something more than ambivalence.

I’m not good at cheating.

I don’t hold lies well, whether they’re mine or not.  I’m not good at fudging the truth when it matters, much less holding up a bald-face lie.  I will keep secrets, I’m very confidential.  I don’t tell the story that isn’t mine to tell, I’m not into gossip.  But I can’t go deep where lying is the norm.

Some things I am good at:

I am good at being easy.

Easy to like, easy to talk to, easy to hang out with, easy to kiss, easy to love.

I’m damned good at sex.

You’ll just have to trust me on that.  Unless you know.

I’m good at being open.

If I’m getting involved with someone, I’m doing it intentionally and transparently.  What I have is good and deep and tasty and I’m gonna give it wholeheartedly and honestly. I’m not good at half-way, I go all in.  I want to make connections, strong and deep like tree roots.  I want to be the deep pool that’s good for reflecting and a refreshing place to sink into.

Now that I’ve written all this, I’m not sure why.  I guess it hurts my feelings when people accuse me of being a player because I am really a very honorable person who values agency and consent and honest communication.  I’m really not good for one night stands and connection free sex.  Kind of the opposite.  I’m into investing, taking my time, waiting for sex until it feels right on both sides (granted, sometimes that’s not very long).  I want connection, I want attraction, I want to enjoy the non-sex times as much as the hotwetnasty times.  As much as I like discovering new people and new places, I also value consistency.  Once I’ve found someone I really like, I want to keep them.

And maybe that’s the real threat, maybe that’s what the problem is, maybe that’s why people who are insecure in their relationships get nervous and defensive about me.  It’s not that I’m a player who’s gonna love ‘em and leave ‘em.  It’s that I’m not.  I stick around, I make an impression.

I’m a keeper.

 

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Trans*date: 2014.07.13 … About Boobs

I’ve been searching for a while for a way to describe how I feel about my breasts.  For a while now, I’ve felt somewhat apologetic about my lack of hatred for them.  I’ve never hated them in the way that so many other trans men – or even butches – do.  No, I don’t hate them, I have received great pleasure through them.  They provided sustenance for my newborn daughter.  Though it’s true that when they appeared during adolescence, it felt as though everything was turning against me, as an adult, I came to a place of peace with them.  I even liked having them for a while, as obvious signs of my butch and female identity.

Until that wasn’t my identity any longer.

So what do I feel now?

I don’t like how they look.  No, I hate how they look under my clothes.  I don’t mind them bared, but I don’t walk around bare breasted that often, sadly.  In my day to day life, under t-shirts and polos, button downs and tank tops, they aren’t working for me any more.  I wince at their reflection in the mirror and I’ve deletes selfies that seemed to emphasize them too much.

So what has changed? Is this true dysphoria or am I adopting this sense of rejection from the outside.  Am I pushing them a way because of my transition, because I feel I’m expected to?

I still don’t hate them, I don’t loathe my body as it is or has been but i feel like it doesn’t fit me as well as it could.  sometimes when we feel that way, we go on diets, or work out more or go in for cosmetic surgery.  Is it just vanity to want these ever-more-sagging blobs of fat removed?  Maybe it is, but more and more I feel that my path forward leads through top surgery.

And still, I feel a bit guilty about that.  It seems that I should be more emotionally damaged about my female chest, that the existence of my breasts should be driving me harder.  I don’t bind because it’s too inconvenient and uncomfortable.  I’d love to have them be less prominent and more controlled but I haven’t wanted it enough to bind, so why does surgery look like such an appealing prospect?  I feel guilty that I am not suffering the kind of pain that others do, the pain that leads them to bind and damage their bodies in the pursuit of the physical profile they need to feel whole.

But really the overriding feeling I have about my breasts is indifference.  Maybe I’m distancing myself from them because I’ve already made the decision somewhere in my mind, to have them removed.

Maybe its just that they’ve done their jobs and it’s time to retire them.  I’m feeling so dispassionate about them that it’s a bit concerning.  Shouldn’t I be feeling more about this?

I think about two of my closest friends and how strongly they feel about top surgery.  These are people who identify as genderqueer and they are as unhappy with their chests as any trans men I’ve heard from.  And the stories I’ve read about trans men and the torment they suffered because their breasts and the huge sense of relief they felt once they’d gotten through top surgery.

Will I feel that?  Will I have a sense of relief, of homecoming into the body I intentionally construct from the one I was born into?  Can one feel great relief from indifference?  I’m not there yet, perhaps I’ll feel something more by the time I get there.

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Singing Voice

I recorded myself singing Unchained Melody today.  I’m now thinking of this as my pre-T voice, even though I’m on T now.  It just hasn’t changed yet.

I’m remembering something Nick said after hearing me sing for the first time, that my voice was great but that it didn’t seem to match my appearance.  Watching this video, I totally agree.  I know it’s my real voice but after watching the video, it doesn’t seem to fit my face anymore.

 

 

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Oh The Hornies…

I’m stuck at home being parental but what I really want to do is hook up with the hot cis-guy who’s been flirting with me and sending me dirty pictures.  And enjoying the pictures I’ve sent him.

Damn, sometimes being responsible sucks.

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Trans*date 07.01.2014: Coming Out Letter

I sent a letter to family and selected friends of the family, telling them about my transition and upcoming name change.  This is the beginning of me being able to be a lot more open about my identity and what I’m doing about it.  My name change will be legalized next week.  I have my second T shot tomorrow.

So far the responses have only been positive.

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Trans*date 06.23.2014: Day to Day

Most of transition is not spent accomplishing big things that you can celebrate and note in your journal. Most of transition is spent just doing the common, normal day-to-day tasks of life.
And this is where I find myself now that I’ve started T. My next milestone will be a legal name change, which I will probably file for later this week. After getting my legal name changed in the places it matters, my transition task will be to stay on my schedule of T shots and keep going to therapy. And waiting for something to be noticeable to happen (also know as ‘transition obsession’).

I guess there are some other tasks in these initial weeks related to tracking changes that are on my to do list. I want to take some more pictures for my ‘before’ collection and I want to do some more voice recordings.

But changes come slowly, which is good and right, and a conscious choice. And the slow pace of change means that there are actually multiple moments, even hours were I’m not thinking about transition these days.

So what am I thinking about? My job, which currently combines a little coding work with a lot of writing and managing proposals, considering projects we should bid on and evaluating candidates. I’m also spending a lot of time in my garden, which is bursting with beautiful lettuce and peas, beans, squash and potatoes. I’m getting up every morning at 6 am for a bike ride – anywhere from 6 – 10 miles – using most of an hour to do it. Opening my day with calorie burning means I’m hungry most of the day while trying to manage my intake and eat healthy. When I get restless (which is happening more and more), my previously common impulse to eat is now being replaced by a craving for movement. I try to indulge that craving if I can with a brief walk, or more often, a big of yard work (working from home has so many advantages right now).

More activity burns more calories means more hunger… and the cycle keeps going. I’ve lost only a pound in the two weeks since I started this routine, but that’s not a very good measure of how I feel. I feel really good, energized and strong, fired up for the day after my morning ride. Sure, all this activity also means I’m tired in the evening but often all I need is a cat nap to keep me going until sometime after 10. My next goal is to integrate a regular schedule at the Y for weights into my week. I live a 5 minute bike ride from the Y, so it’s easy to get there. I took on this increased activity level consciously because I knew I’d need positive ways to deal with the restless, sometimes anxious feelings I assumed would result from entering into transition. So far that restless anxiety is more about waiting for changes to appear and not as much about having additional testosterone in my body. As far as I know, that is.

What’s not happening right now:  writing and blogging and thinking about what I want to do with writing and blogging.  My novel is gathering dust and my characters are so pissed off at me.  My muse is probably off tormenting other writers, not sure how I’m going to get her back again. I feel a little apologetic about all of that neglect, but it is what it is. My priorities right now are my transition, my family, the relationship with my wife, work, friends, lovers, community activism.

Ahhh… lovers…. yes, there are some and I should catch you up sometime, shouldn’t I? I mean, I’m assuming you want to know.

 

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Note to Self

Avoid saying things that are misogynist, sexist and demeaning to women if you don’t want people to think you are a misogynistic dick.

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Trans*date 06.16.2014: Moving Toward T

T is for testosterone, T is for transition, T is for tipping point, T is for tapping my toes with impatience, T is for … time to try.

The appointment with my NP last week went really well and I received a short list of items to collect before getting my scrip for T:  a letter from my therapist and a signed waiver form.  I emailed my therapist, asking that she have a letter for me at my next appointment, the following Wednesday.  I read through the waiver and its scary list of Bad Things That Could Possibly happen while taking testosterone and giggled at the repeated references to ‘manly appearance’  (… I don’t know why but ‘manly’ is a giggle trigger word).

~~~~~

On Wednesday, I walked into my therapy appointment and she handed me my letter.  I read it and tried not to get choked up.  I didn’t need official confirmation to know that this is something I need to do, but having it was pretty awesome.  We spent the session talking about where I was with all of this emotionally, how my parents (mom) reacted when I called to tell them about my upcoming T use and name change and how to talk to the kids about it.

I left that appointment and drove to the clinic to drop off my paperwork.  I had a brief conversation with the medical assistant.  She assured me that they were familiar with my pharmacy of choice and all I had to do was set up an account with them and my scrip would be faxed.

The pharmacy I chose was the overwhelming favorite of the trans guys I got information from, Strohecker’s in Portland.  Besides the personal endorsements I received, another positive sign was that they promote their compounding services for transgender customers right up front.  I called and set up my account and got some more information on how they ship testosterone.  [at this moment I think my scrip was faxed, but I haven't gotten a confirmation].  I should have my T by early next week and then I’ll go into the clinic for the first injection and get instructions on doing it myself.

~~~~~

I have an appointment set up for my first injection, mid next week.  My NP is going to be out of town, so I’ll be getting the first dose from her assistant and I’ll have to wait until she gets back for instructions on doing it myself.  So yeah, next week I begin this next adventure. I posted yesterday about feelings I’m having now that I know it’s only going to be a week, less than a week now.  I pulled out my phone and recorded myself talking about those feelings, also recorded myself singing Unchained Melody.  I’m considering creating an audio blog as a place to host some of those recordings as I go forward.  I’ll let y’all know if that comes together.

~~~~~

I talked to my kids about T, though the conversations were very different because of their different ages.  With the Elder Spawn, I asked told her straight up that I was going to start T and do a name change.  I asked her if she knew what kind of changes would take place and she said “Your voice will change – get lower, you have more hair on your body and face, your boobs will shrink and you’ll grow balls.”  I did not stifle my laughter on that one.

“No… *chuckle*, ahem, I will not grow balls.  And my boobs won’t shrink much but yes, I’ll be hairier and my voice will be lower and I’ll look more like a man.  How do you feel about all that?”

Her big concerns?  That I’d want her to stop calling me ‘Mom’ and that she was going to miss my voice as it is and my laugh, which apparently she loves.  I told her, again, that she could call me ‘Mom’ and ‘Mommy’ as long as she likes (at this point she inserted a creepy ‘Are you my Mummy’ from Dr. Who and we both laughed).  What she’s objecting to is not just using that title, but changing her personal narrative which is that she has two moms, not a mom and a dad.  She’s fiercely proud of being the kid who has always been open and honest about having queer parents.

For my youngest, I narrowed my focus to something she would definitely notice and have feelings about:  my voice.  I read her stories every night before bed and sometimes I like to have fun and using different voices.  Very rarely, she’s OK with that but most of the time she gets irritated and asks me to please ‘use your real voice’.  So I knew voice changes would be the biggest thing for her initially.  She’s at an age where she is most concerned about how things effect her at a very basic level.  She doesn’t know or care about how the outside world might react to my transition.  The other night, as we were settling down for story time, I asked her how she’d feel if I took a medicine that made my voice change.  She wrinkled her brow and said, “I wouldn’t like that.” I was not surprised.  I responded that I understood that she didn’t want my voice to change but reassured her that it would happen very slowly and that I wouldn’t stop reading stories to her and that we would get used to it together.  I don’t think I convinced her.

~~~~~

Today I was talking to my Sweetheart in Seattle when I went to the mailbox and found a package from Strohecker’s.  I have my vial of testosterone cypionate, syringes and needles.  I’ll have my first injection in a couple of days.

Oh my god, this is actually going to happen.

 

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Trans*date 06.12.2014: Mine and Mine Alone

If I had a broken leg or a tumor, I’d go to a specialist and get a diagnosis and a course of action for treatment.  I wouldn’t have to research the injury or ailment and come up with a solution, there are people trained to do that, to use their equipment to peer inside us and see what’s wrong and offer a way to fix it.

For me at least, being trans* is not like a broken leg or a tumor.  No one can sit inside my head and monitor the thoughts and sift through the evidence and diagnose me.  I have to be my own expert, it’s me and my committee up there in the exclusive club of my mind.

I have everything I need.  My wife supports and loves me.  My kids love and support me.  My parents support me, though a bit overwhelmed by the upcoming changes.  I’m surrounded by a fantastic community of friends and acquaintances who are 100% behind me and any decision I make.  They’re excited for me, maybe even eager in their curiosity and cheer leading.  The women who are involved with me are supportive and excited for me.  My employers and co-workers are solidly with me, ready to support me in the choices I make.

I have access to the medical care I need, a great therapist and primary health provider, both of whom have signed off on my desire to take testosterone.  There is no one standing in my way.  No one with any authority is saying “No”.  So I feel fantastic, right?  I have all the power to do exactly as I want, that’s amazing, right?

Yes.

And, no.

It’s hit me, this afternoon, after making an appointment for my first T shot, that I am entirely alone in this.  It’s my decision, mine and mine alone.  No one can stop me, no one can tell me I’m wrong, at least no one who has any power.  And that is incredible, I am incredibly privileged to be in this position.  I’m also more than a little intimidated.  There is no one who can tell me if I’m right about this and it’s quite a gamble.  I’m poised on the the last steps before consciously altering myself in ways that will not be reversible.  There is no Undo button on some of the changes I’m about to welcome to my body.  And I’m the only one who can determine whether I’m right or not.  And I’ve never done this before, I have no experience, no special tools to diagnose myself and determine the right solution to my problem.  Just me, my mind, my gut… some kind of body-mind wisdom that seems to stretch beyond the life I’m currently living.

Am I right?  I have no idea yet.  There’s no one stopping me from taking the leap, it’s all up to me now.

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Trans*date 2014.06.03: Talking to Parents

Yesterday, I called my mom to talk to her about the next steps I’ll be taking in transition.  I thought for a few rings that it would go to voicemail and I was relieved.  Then she picked up.  She sounded tired and, for a moment, I wavered but then launched into the update I wanted to give her.

I told her that I’d decided to take testosterone, that chest surgery wasn’t imminent but a definite possibility and that I wanted to legally change my name.

That last one is the one I was most nervous about.  I told her that I didn’t hate my name – the name she created for me – but that it didn’t describe me anymore, it didn’t fit.  I told her my new name, a name that will have the same initials and same nickname.

She was quiet, she took deep breaths.  I could tell she was feeling a lot of emotions.  She told me that there was a lot going on right now with her and my dad (health stuff, estate stuff for my dad’s sister, etc.) and that she needed to take some time to think about all this.

She told me that all this change would take time to get used to, that she would always think of me as her daughter. That’s kind of a standard response for parents of trans kids, I think.  It didn’t offend me.  I told her that I wasn’t interested in rewriting my history.  She said she was glad because she wasn’t going to tear up pictures of me as a girl.  Good thing, they’re a part of my life and I was damned cute.

What I said to her and what I came to realize as we were talking is that I don’t want to rewrite my past, I want to write a different future.  A name change requires some editing in terms of birth certificates and the like, but I don’t want to erase my time as a girl/woman.  Those are as much a part of who I am as being a boy/man.  I am all these things.

She told me that she wanted my dad to call me, so he could talk to me directly and ask any questions he had.  Later she emailed me and said that Dad didn’t seem to want to talk about what was happening with me (I don’t know that this means he’s negative about it, but he’s overwhelmed taking care of stuff for his sister’s estate).  She also said that she knows this is an important time in my journey and that they appreciate how sweet and generous I’ve been with them about the changes want them to acknowledge and support.  And she told me that they would support whatever I did.

So that happened.  I think it went as well as it could given the gravity of the changes I’m describing.  I also think I’m going to give them both time to absorb and process before trying to talk about it more.

And while they are absorbing and processing, I’ve got an appointment on Thursday to talk to my NP about testosterone.  My wife is coming with me.  Once we know how that’s all going to go, I need to talk more to my wife about my name change and think about when to begin that process.  I have a spreadsheet with information on how to change my name legally in this state and all the other steps I have to take, and money I have to spend, to get my necessary documentation changed.

It’s happening people, it’s really happening and I’m starting to get really excited.

 

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