Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pardon the Interruption

I apologize for the lack of posting. It isn't like I haven't wanted to or had something to say.

I have.

However, Life has gotten in my way, repeatedly.

Pesky Life.

And it has been a combination of things. Home, being an adult, dealing with transition, and a disaster of biblical proportions at work.

For real.

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, MASS HYSTERIA!!!

And it was because someone turned off the power.

No kidding.

Things are settling down a bit so the posts I've been working on should get completed. Now that I actually have some time.

I'll trying to get them out as soon as I am able. Which should be soon.

Unless the bus of Life decides to run me over a few more times.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Altering Reality

So if you have been following along you will know I want to make some surgical changes to myself in an effort to not only allow the outside world to see me as a woman. I also need to do this for myself. As much as I am slowly seeing myself appearing in the mirror.

I still see too much of him.

psychologically that is not going to work for me.

Confidence goes a long way in getting the rest of the world to see yourself. If you are not confident then you will be read frequently and often.

My nail tech even noted this the last time I was getting a pedicure. Even though I am usually there in boy mode I let go of my checks and it is obvious to her how well I now know who I am.

She has even had other clients refer to me as 'her' while I am still there and dressed wrong. But it is a location that I am comfortable and confident being myself no matter what my appearance is. Thus my personality is carrying me even though my presentation is incorrect.

They are all seeing the changes not only physically but mental in me. Mostly I feel it is because I can relax there.

The point to all this is establishing that level of confidence and ability to relax and be myself everywhere else.

No easy task, even though I have done a lot of public exploration. I still worry that people see him.

So I know I need to make some changes, hormones, eating right, exercise, proper clothing will only go so far.

Knowing that, and knowing that you have seen a somewhat recent photo of me, you know that my facial features are somewhat workable. The one thing you don't know, because you could not see, was the hairline.

Now even at the rip old age of 35 I still have most of my hair, though I do have to take care of it, along with the fact I am on Propecia to help halt what hair loss I was experiencing. Still I did loose a bit but not too much. I would take a guess that I have still have 90-95% of my original hair.


You knew there was a 'but' there.

I do have a rather tall and square hairline. When you pair that with the bit of hair loss on top it is a little tricky to style it to cover the shape.

Which means I have to change it.

Basically the hairline will have to be moved forward and some hair will have to be transplanted to round the shape a bit and fill in the areas that have lost.

Now initially I was going to have it moved when I had some other facial feminizing things done. Try to do everything all at once regarding that.

Right now I am having second thoughts about that.

Why, you might ask?

Well from what information I have gathered doing the above has to happen in a specific order. The hairline will have to be moved forward. Then allowed to heal before you can transplant other follicles. The issue is twofold. First changes to the scalp can and will affect the transplanted hair if you do it prior. Having it wrecked and redoing it doesn't sound like fun in my book. Plus it would incur added cost.

Second the transplanted hair will need an adequate blood supply to recover from being moved along with starting to grow. Meaning I have to wait three months before I can move some of the hair around. That way the scalp can support it.

Add on top of that transplanted hair can incur shock loss, which is where the follicle experiences too much trauma during the move and temporarily stops growing hair. Often ejecting the one in there and eventually starting anew.

If it is one thing that takes the longest to deal with in all these changes it is your hair. You simply cannot make it grow faster then it will. I also feel having my own hair is of great importance to living full time and allowing other to believe you about who  you are.

Not to mention I hate wigs. To me they have been a necessary evil and I really cannot wait to get rid of them.

Now the original plan was to have FFS done all at one sometime around September of this year. Well the finances are not co-operating enough at this point to pull all of it off at once this fall.

In addition I have run smack into an issue with work. We have a large project that falls squarely onto yours truly. Now these project are why I still do what I do. I don't mind the responsibility or the challenge, but I have been informed that I cannot take any vacation during the months of October, November, and December. This obviously causes issues when you consider I might be able to afford it by then but then unable actually have the time to have the work done.

Which then pushes me into next year, late winter or early spring. Which only delays the hair even more.

I was kind of thinking to actually have FFS first but give myself time to heal and repair hair this year while not going full time until after the first of 2011. This would allow me to appear as myself on day zero without needed to much help to do that.

So waiting until early 2011 for getting work done takes me into summer for full time status.

You can imagine this isn't sitting well with me. As that is over a year away.

That and it doesn't make sense for them to do the scalp advancement only to have them reopen that cut again to do anything else I want.

Totally not enamored with that idea.

So was thinking about this over the weekend. What do I do, cause I am starting to see positive signs with my hair having gone to the salon Friday after work for a trim.

The thought that occurred to me was this. Why would that need to open the forehead? Well to access the bone structure of my forehead and orbital area. Nose, jaw and Chin are all accessed differently. With that in mind I pulled up the two quotes that I have gotten so far to see what the individual cost were.

What did I find?

I can afford those procedures right now. So having them done in early September like I was hoping to do everything would be possible. On top of that hair transplantation is an out patient procedure so I could arrange doing that late this year around a long holiday weekend which will give me some time to let the scalp heal for a few days before I go back into work.

Then I could save the rest for shortly after the first of the year and still be back on track to my full time target. The biggest thing is my hair should be in pretty darn good shape by then and I can finally get rid of that hated thing that shall not be named.

I see another surgeon in mid May who also specializes in hair. I plan to ask him what he thinks about this idea at that time.

I am also going to email the other two Doctors I have my quotes from and see what they say.

Now I know I will look differently after this, but really I am getting more stares as a man now then when I am a woman. In fact I am finding out most people are starting to assume the latter when they see me.

I will also have some added expense with splitting the surgeries what with possible additional travel costs and hospital stays, but looking at the numbers that won't be too bad. Most likely another 5-8% to what I am already looking at spending.

I like this idea, I am excited about it and feel that it will be a big step to moving forward.

And my hair is that big a deal to me to consider this. I am loving what I have now and I want to improve it. I also get a lot of compliments on what I do have.

Besides I still need the time to talk to an Otolaryngologist (ENT. Ears, Nose and Throat) to find out exactly what is going on with the nose. Along with tell me if I need to find a doctor who can perform Septoplasty along with Rhinoplasty at the same time or is the issue not that extensive allowing me to only do the later. I really don't want to have the nose worked on more then once.

I have time to sort this all out but I think this is what is going to happen.

Anyone have a hammer and a chisel? ;)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Building Momentum

In all my travels, reading blogs, talking to others. One thing never seems to be discussed.

It feels to me that not many people discuss or mention the awkward period of pre-transition.

At least for those of us like me who need some time to build momentum to break free of who we were to become who we are. We are also unable to perform the super fast version of transition.

Maybe it is just me.

Now I know some people talk about all the things they have thought about, their process to get to this point. I get it, I have done that myself on this very blog.

Kind of still doing that.

Others cover the transition journey. First day full time, first day at work, surgery's, document changes, etc.

All things that take place and are important. They are at the core of the journey.

However not a lot of people talk about that time beforehand. Where you feel somewhat like you are trapped in limbo.

Case in point, it was a little over two years ago now that I finally accepted something was askew. (I don't like the word wrong.)

Notice I said 'accepted'.

I always knew something was off kilter, I even knew what it was. I, for a long time, refused to accept it, acknowledge that it was there, or flat out tried to ignore it.

But on that day I fully accepted what was wrong and for the first time felt the need to do something about it other then what I had been doing.

Because that wasn't working.

I was starting to break down.

It was at that point I started looking for a gender therapist.

Things at that point had to change. I was not sure how or when yet, but I needed to start working it out.

I wasn't even sure I was going to transition or if it was even an option.

This was the point I also start to let myself change physically. I worked on loosing weight. Getting in better shape (I was always fairly active so was still in better shape then most my age.). I also stopped cutting my hair. I was never overly masculine nor was I ever really feminine.

I knew that I was stuck somewhere in between, I felt if I let myself start changing I might be able to see who I really was.

I knew this process was going to take time. I mean I still had to work on the mental accept of it, but some of my reasoning was if I didn't like the physical change, which I felt was going to be necessary to transition, that might help with the whole mental aspect.

This really was my logic at the time. I knew this wasn't a simple undertaking. I understood the ramifications of changing ones gender. I guess the first year was my process of exploring it as much as I could both physically and mentally. Before I actually started telling people and making larger changes.

And I certainly didn't want to take making any type of decision lightly.

It was as this first year passed and I pushed myself out into the world as best I could, allowed things to happen as fast as nature allowed, but I still reached a stopping point.


I had reached the point were I physically could not change much more other then continuing to grow out my hair and remove what was on my face.

What surprised me was right around this time my therapist tells me that if I wanted to I could start them and she would provide the letter to do so.

After thinking about it for a few months I agreed to do so. I was feeling stuck and wanted to move forward more.

Plus I wanted to see how I responded to them. I mean really if I felt terrible, off, or just had a bad reaction to them. I would know that I couldn't be able to achieve what I wanted.

I am solidly in month ten and I feel great. Plus I honestly feel like my body is starting to be mine. It is really difficult to describe this but I never liked it before. I tried to accept it but always felt disconnected from it.

I no longer feel that way. I like how it is changing and I want it to change more. Don't know what I'll get but I love the fact I am starting to see myself in the mirror. Not as much as I want, but I am starting to emerge.

Which bring me back to the point of this point.

There was a point remember.

I still have issues and things to deal with prior to fully transitioning. I do need time to resolve these things. I can accept that, even though I am really starting to feel the push to get on with the transition.

Yet at the same time I am changing I still have to maintain him.

Now let me tell you how awkward that is becoming. 

Which is what a lot of people don't talk about.

Either they start living as a woman, physical changes be left to happen during that first year or something similar.

I get a lot of stares as him. Something I am not used to. There is also a lot a confusion. I hear ma'am, miss, ladies all over the place. Along with some second glances.

Now I don't think I am that passable yet especially in boy mode, but I think I am blending with my surroundings, much like a chameleon. If I am with boys I kinda look like one. If I am with girls. I look like that instead.

I've even gotten laughed at once at a restaurant when the check was being dropped off and the waitress said: "Is there anything else I can get you ladies?"

For some reason the couple next to us thought that was hilarious. I wasn't upset or bothered by it, but I did look at them tossing out an eye roll and one of my patented smirks as if to say: "Really? You found THAT funny? How sad."

They quieted down once I did that.

But this is an odd time to be existing. Life is tricky and many times awkward.

You just don't hear a lot of people discussing this or perhaps I am just missing it.

I'll get through it because I have too.

Changing enough to break free of him isn't an easy process.

It is however a unique journey.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Slipping on the Banana Peels

Well wouldn't you know it, in trying to get that long post up I did forget to put something very important in it.

I guess I learned my lesson regarding writing a lengthy post over the course of a week and stringing together  several small topics.

Doesn't mean I won't do it again. :D

What I forgot to mention was something that was said to me during the phone conversation. Of all the things related to me that evening this one phrase stands out among them.

"I got to the point where I no longer feared transitioning as much as I feared what would happen if I didn't."

She didn't elaborate any further but I don't think she needed to. That statement and what it implied was more then enough to convey her point.

That and some things are better left unspoken.

Hard to imagine forgetting that statement but I was quite busy during the course of that week. I also usually put notes in my post as I break from writing them so I don't forget items that were in my head, but might not have actually written down yet.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Deep Thoughts

This post started over a week ago as life has gone on I have found a number of things that fit and would be well worth adding to it. I apologize for the length but these things just seemed to sit well all under this post.

"I think the mistake a lot of us make is thinking the state appointed psychiatrist is our 'friend'." - Jack Handey

Sorry I couldn't resist when I came up with the title of this post.

I kinda miss those SNL bits.

The last few weeks have been very interesting. You might recall the story I told you about revealing my function to my hair removal tech.

Add to that all the incidents happening lately where I am being mistaken for a woman. (well it isn't really a mistake, but it isn't like I am trying to present them one)

Attending therapy two weeks ago and being force to go in boy mode. (My face was simply still to raw from the laser session and I have very sensitive skin so I decided to forgo makeup and whatnot. I just didn't want to chance it.)

I didn't get the chance to warn her but that I wasn't going to be my normal self, but she figured it out right quick when she saw me sitting in the waiting area.

Her biggest question was did I go to work like this?

(note: I was in a white turtleneck, bluish purple hoodie, jeans, and outdoor sneakers. We were in the middle of a lot of snow, and work has a casual dress code. I also freeze at my desk so I wanted to be warm.)


"No one has questioned you about your appearance?"




"With the way you look, your mannerisms, your voice...."

I cut her off.

"Oh, well I turn things off or tone it down. wait."

I proceeded to slouch, uncross and spread my legs out, rain my hands in, straightened my shoulders and dropped my voice.

She got a kick out of it, watching me play him for several minutes.

I explained to her I acted like this and just lived behind my humor to get by. Her return comment was, while still kind of me, she did notice how much I shut down to achieve it.

And that Kelli was still bleeding through. Not as much as she thought but still there, but she guessed if you didn't know the truth about me you might not really see it.

After several minutes of that I stopped and relaxed to be myself again. I was informed that Kelli came out much more natural then he did. Though she did appreciate the insight into my daily life. She could not understand the amount of turmoil I am feeling but comprehended that it was there and it had to be enormous.

So those thoughts have been sitting in my mind.

That got followed up with a phone call that...well...was very profound.

Now I have a few friends that I talk to about my function one of them is TS herself. She has been very instrumental in keeping my head from exploding. That and she has become and been a very, very good friend. I can't thank her enough for all that she has done. She simply understands what I am thinking and feeling.

However I had the opportunity recently to talk on the phone with a girl who transition a few years ago. I had read her blog about two years ago. It was tremendous and struck quite the nerve with me. Since she was one of the few people who had not only a good relationship with her parents, she still does. I sent her an email requesting some addition background about her disclosure to them.

I did this since I am on the verge of telling my parents and while I don't know what is going to happen, I wanted whatever advice or information I could get. Not many girls I know still talk to their parents or have any type of relationship with them after. My thinking was she could be a good resource as to issues she encountered, what to say or not to say. Just anything to prepare myself.

Well it turned out she was willing to share but email didn't turn out to be the best communication device. From what I gather she is quite the busy girl these days so after several weeks we agreed to a phone call.

What happened then was one of the most profound conversation I have ever had.

Hearing her story echo mine so closely it felt at times like I was the one on the other end of the phone talking to me.

It was a little freaky at times.

Hearing how she did everything she could to forget it, deny it or suppress it. The paths that she took to deal with it. Everything. I really felt like she was telling me my story.

It was very confirming and while there is always a connection with other Trans girls, and understanding of what is happening in our head. Our paths can generally be really different. Yet here was someone who did it almost exactly like I had.

Listening to her tell me about her life now I could hear how much better she felt about herself, her life, and who she know was. She didn't say it directly, but you could hear it in the stories she told and the way she said things.

This all gave me a renewed sense of purpose. As if I am not crazy that I feel this way and that it can actually be done and I will be better for it.

The experience was extraordinary, she was simply amazing to listen and talk to, charming, funny, candid and very honest.

She might never know this but after I hung I sat on the couch for quite a few minutes letting the whole experience sink in. I even was a little teary over all of it, but happy at the same time.

Following that I read this.

Very sage words that could be read by anyone. I know they touched me.

Lastly I was out this last weekend. While out I ran into a couple of people from my old support group. I haven't seen them in about eight or nine months. I really was just finding the group depressing and honestly felt out of place. Hard to explain.

But I digress, the two I ran into were a few that I did like. One of them a FTM (I will call him C) he and I started talking, caught up about what we have done, how life was going. He was in a jeans and sport coat look. I thought he was looking rather snappy if I do say so. (He is very cute btw.) I mentioned this to him and he told me he had attended a theater event at the local art museum earlier in the evening. So he felt the need to style it up a bit. I chuckled only because you could kinda hear how proud he was in his voice.  But I did tell him that I thought he looked really good and quite handsome.

It was good to see him again and I had a lot of fun, we were even out on the dance floor for a few songs.

Near the end of the night we were chatting again I told him it was really nice to see him again. He responded in kind and followed up with some words that have been ringing in my head ever since.

"By the way, you look really happy now."

To this day it astounds me how intensely some else's words can resonate within One's self.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ghosts of Transitions Past

As I have mentioned I've been trying to blog but haven't been able to adequately put my thoughts into words.

Or at least words that I felt reflected what I have been thinking or feeling.

Not that I haven't been trying.

But as you know I don't have an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters.

I have however been reading a lot of other blogs. More so then usual.

One thing that has settled in my mind is regret.

Do I have regret?

Of course. Someone once said "Someone who has gone through life with no regret has not lived."

There is some truth to that.

Now I know I have regret. Regret I that I didn't take the opportunity to speak up when I was younger and had the chance.

Regret that it took me so long to figure all this out.

Regret that I have made some of the decisions that I have that now impact my ability to move forward.

Or at least slow me down.

There is a lot I could say about this. I could lament and whine about this for the next several sentences or even posts.

However I won't.

I cannot do that to myself. All I would be doing is beating myself up over the things I have or have not done.

There is nothing good that can come from that. I have enough issues to deal with as I get closer to going full time. Than to sit here and kick myself for not acting upon this sooner.

Sometimes we take a longer road on our journeys in life, where others seem to manage to traverse a shorter path.

One reason I don't let the regret get to me so much is I feel that there might be a reason why it took me this long to get to this point. Maybe I needed this much time to actually feel ready with what I am about to undertake and how I am going to change my life.

Maybe I had to try and live the other way just to know it wasn't truly ever me.

Now am I truly ready? I don't know but I am as ready as I will ever be. Of that fact I am confident.

I am comfortable with that.

Look at the fact that I am 35 years old. I am certainly not the oldest person to transition and also not the youngest. I just am at this point where it is my time for this to happen.

The past is the past it is unchangeable, all I can do is look forward to a future where I am living as me on my own terms. It is the knowledge that I am moving towards that point that allows me to sleep at night.

It also comforts me at time when I feel I am not moving forward fast enough. At least I know that I am moving forward. Even if it feels slowly at times.

There is the conscious thought that I will have additional regret as I move forward. Not so much in regards to transition itself. I am pretty damn sure I won't ever regret transitioning. I have this inkling that I might have some regret regarding others around me. The potential loss of friends and family. And what effect my disclosure of my function will have on them.

I come to realize that I am going to swing a large wrecking ball through life as I know it. Things are going to change not only with me, but around me.

Not to mention being fully aware that I might not tell people in the best manner or with enough thought as to whom I am telling it to. I might not always handle as well as I should. This could be especially true early on as I figure out how to tell it.

And while I may regret the loss of some I also know I will gain others. Which will help temper the pain of those loses.

No one said it was going to be easy or regret free. All I can do is move forward as myself and deal with things as the come.