Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Speaking to the World

In this unusual journey of Transition I have had to worry about a lot of things regarding the process of changing from one gender to another.

If I showed you a picture pre-transition you would simply be amazed at how an overweight scruffy boy became the girl I am today. There was weight loss, hair removal, hair growth, HRT, and still more that has to be done.

Most of those have just taken time and money. Putting myself through some intense pain or just being diligent in my daily life.

One thing, however, was eluding me.

My voice.

Some people might disagree with this but I am a rather talkative person. When I am comfortable with my surroundings and who I am with I sometimes don't shut up. Though I also love to listen. Often I just want to gather in what others are saying and process it before I actually do say anything.

However with regards to transition I never liked my voice or was very comfortable with it. Which meant I didn't always talk very much. So I often got(and still do) labeled as shy.


Because I was quite terrified that once I opened my mouth any thoughts of who or what I was would instantly be dispelled, confirmed or whatever. I was fearful of the reaction.

The one I was most fearful off was having cis girls suddenly realize how different I was and...well...being shunned because of it.

I felt the acute sting of that a long time ago in middle school as girls stopped including me in things or just treating me as a curiosity and not a friend. Sad, but true. I didn't fit into their dynamic because well I was supposed to be a boy.

Back in present day the problem was changing my voice into something that, while might not be super feminine, was in a range of vocal patterns so that people wouldn't question anything.

So very early on this became one thing I started working on whenever I could. For over two years I tried everything I could to find. Self help CDs, online video guides, general guessing and playing with my voice.

Not one of those seemed to work.

Not a pleasant thought when I started to realize I did indeed needed and wanted to transition.

I was really rather stuck on this issue. Surgery was an option but that certainly wasn't high on my list of things to do. There are enough horror stories out there about this already. The was to be the option of last resort.

Fortunately right around the time I was feeling this frustration I headed down to SCC for a few days in 2009. While there I sat in on a seminar presented by Kathe Perez of Exceptional Voice.

The moment she started teaching some of her techniques I was hooked. Not only did what she taught mesh with things I had learned about speaking in a theater, but they also crossed over into the musical training I had when I was in public school.

It just worked in my head.

The issue was that she lives and works in Colorado, while I was over a thousand miles away in the Midwest. Not exactly conducive to working together.

That is until she mentioned that she was now able to conduct sessions over the internet via Skype software. (Think free video conferencing if you are not familiar with it.)

With that in mind I contacted her shortly after I got back to discuss working with her. Discussed costs, She isn't cheap but she wasn't overly expensive either. I would just need some time to work it into the budget.

Thus in December of 2009 I start her basic six session course, meeting every other week for several weeks.

Almost immediately I loved working with her. The instruction and techniques she taught me were even better then what was hinted at in the seminar.

She is also a wonderful person and very considerate along with amazingly sweet. It just made it a joy working with her.

Even when She was critiquing what I was doing.

This is the one reason I found her help so invaluable. The constructive feedback I received about what I was doing helped massively. Especially so from someone trained to listen to a voice. That and she adjusted what she was teaching me during the course to get me moving further along, She didn't get too advanced but as she discovered how quickly I was picking some things up she challenged me with new things, usually taught in her secondary course.

Taking the information and exercises she gave me at the end of those six session I renewed my practice routine, hardly missing a day, for several months on my own.

When I got in touch with Kathe again after all that work even she was surprised by how I sounded and how much progress I had made. Still I scheduled two session with her in the middle of summer to discuss some issues I was having and to introduce me to some very advanced exercises to help my voice.

I am not kidding when I say she had me doing some vocal gymnastics to improve on what I had already learned and help make my voice more natural.

So here I am ten months later. How have things turned out. Well I will say I am pleased with the amount of change I have heard in my voice. I have several of my friends compliment me on my voice and how natural it sounds. Even my therapist has told me I sound far and away better than I ever did before.

Though I am aware that more practice is needed along with just using it. Plus I still fret over if someone will read me when I open my mouth. Yet when I think back to the cookout and the bonfire and how my voice never got me question. Especially at the latter when MK viewed me as competition even after I had been speaking to her throughout the night. There was even my recent call booking my HRT appointment with the doctors office. When she ma'amed me through the conversation and assumed I was calling on his behalf. Not actually him calling to book it for himself.

I even learned at SCC this year that the more I used it the easier it is for me to just use. I actually had a hard time finding my old voice on the return trip back home that Sunday. It was also great to actually talk to Kathe in person, because she had a lot of good things to say about how I sounded.

Obviously I am doing something right or at least much better then I ever did before. Along with the fact that having someone to work with me rather than trying to guess at it myself made a tremendous difference.

Even if you cannot work with Kathe herself, I do highly recommend working with a speech therapist especially one who is trans friendly and aware.

I know there is room for improvement and that I can't stop practicing it. That was something I learned after SCC this year when illness and other things gave me no time for almost a week to work on anything and I struggled with it once I start working with it again.

It just feels good to know that all the hard work payed off and I am more comfortable speaking to the world.

Maybe now I won't seem as shy. ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Hallows Eve

I love the changing of seasons.

It is one of the best parts about the region I currently live in. 

While Summer and Winter are favorites, I am simply in love with Fall.

Spring around here is generally mushy and cold teasing us with the promise of Summer. It is a nice feeling but it is just not a season I feel I can fully enjoy.

There is something magical about Fall for me. I adore the crispy but not yet cold weather. The amazing collage of colors as the foliage changes. This is something I miss about my parents small second home in the more northern part of the state. The colors were simply amazing in the Fall. 

I can tell you have had so many enjoyable nights recently taking my dogs for late evening walks with a mix of stars, ghostly clouds and a big fat mood glowing in the sky. With just the hint of chill and breeze in the air. 

I am mildly embarrassed to admit it, but walking on nights like this is an amazing aphrodisiac that the right person who came along would so get me in the mood. 

It also brings the month of October which not only has all that but it heralded the start of Hockey season. 

It also includes my favorite holiday.


Ever since I was a child I have simply loved this holiday. Better still that if fits in perfectly with this time of year. 
I love creepy but not morbid Halloween decorations. A decent haunted house or hayride is always fun. A lot try to do too much, but there are some good ones out there. I love the marathons on TV with haunted locations on the travel channel along with some of the ghost hunter stuff. There are times I can't believe everything but some of them are a lot of fun to watch. 

Whenever I travel I try to find a haunted walking tour of the city I am in, most larger ones have these. If I can ever do that around Halloween I would love it. London has several that tour many of the very famous sites and they do it on Halloween at the witching hour. 

Now I am not a big horror fan. Never have been. I am not a fan of gore and guts. I do like a good creep out or tension scare. Think The Others, the first Halloween movie(only slasher film I have ever liked), The Sixth Sense, The Ring, The Silence of the Lambs.

I also like the fun movies, I can tell you Beetlejuice, The Corpse Bride, Sleepyhollow, and The Nightmare Before Christmas all get watched this time of year. Just something about how Tim Burton does eerie that I like. I am not always a fan of his work either. 

As for the holiday itself I love a good Halloween party I have held them myself in the past. Great costumes, good food, and wonderful decorations. I have even been to a few where the whole house was decked out. 

I do take a little umbrage with the whole skanking out of Halloween it can be fun if done right but I think far too many people take it too far, too often. I prefer someone be creative about it. One year I saw a couple come as a pimp and his hooker. Nothing to out of the ordinary right? Well, the following year the same two came again only this time it was as an undead pimp and his undead hooker. The makeup was great too, very detailed. They actually had planned that the year before but decided to have a twelve month setup. 

I would love to partake in a Zombie Walk, or shuffle if that sound better, one of these years. I am just that kind of girl.

I do not, however, feel that Halloween is a Trans holiday. I know people are going to use it for that and there is nothing more I can say. I just feel that if you are using Halloween as an excuse that the issue is more superficial than what I feel. It has just never been a time of year I felt was important to who I was regarding my gender. 

Call me traditionalist I guess. Halloween has a special place in my heart I love the mysticism with a little bit of creepy and spooky thrown in. 

With that said I still implore every to go out and have fun this Halloween season. Show some creativity and enjoy. Just be safe with whatever it is that you do. 

Happy Haunting!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

32 Flavors

Squint your eyes and look closer
I'm not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
and I'm beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
cause someday you're going to get hungry
and eat most of the words you just said

Both my parents taught me about good will
and I have done well by their names
Just the kindness I've lavished on strangers
is more than I can explain
Still there's many who've turned out their porch lights
just so I would think they were not home
and hid in the dark of their windows
til I'd passed and left them alone

And god help you if you are an ugly girl
course too pretty is also your doom
cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
for the prettiest girl in the room
And god help you if you are a pheonix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying back

I'm not trying to give my life meaning
by demeaning you
and I would like to state for the record
I did everything that I could do
I'm not saying that I'm a saint
I just don't want to live that way
no, I will never be a saint
but I will always say

Squint your eyes and look closer
I'm not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I'm beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Cause someday you might find you're starving
and eating all of the words you said

This has always been a favorite song of mine. Just today the lyrics seem to fit more so then ever. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not So Fast

I spoke to my Mom last night. 

My Dad drove my Brother back to the airport, just the two of them. 

It wasn't good

Seem to be that the two of them have come to the conclusion that it is the doctors who are pushing me to do this. 


My therapist has even told me that a long time ago she learned that I will do things at my own pace, if at all. She has never pushed but when she makes suggestions or gives her opinion I take my time with them. 

She also didn't stamp my forehead 'Trans' as soon as I walked in. I have been seeing her for nearly three years. 

I never asked her for anything or push to 'get approved' in fact she is known in the trans circles as a tough letter. So she has had fewer trans clients recently because of that. 

This is exactly what I wanted when I first was seeking someone out. 

I needed someone to talk to, to vent my feelings and frustrations. To explore what was going on in my head and just get a valid opinion back. Nothing along the lines of 'you must do this'. She has let me come to my own conclusions but offered guidance and thoughts along the way. 

She really has been the ideal therapist along the way. 

Honestly I think my father and brother are simply looking for someone to blame. 

And there isn't.

This is simply an issue that has been inside me for my entire life and though I tried to suppress it, hide it, or whatever. I simply failed and it began to consume me. 

That was when I sought out help before it completely destroyed me. 

Every decision I have made I have done so of my own accord. It has taken a lot of time, energy and thought, but I know how much happier and content I am when I can just be me. I get little glimpses now and again. Yet that is enough to know how important it is for me to finally be me. 

Though, it appears that in the immediate family I only have my Mom as an ally.

I knew this could happen. I realized a long time ago that I might have to separate myself from the world I knew and create a new one. That people who had been important to me in the past might abandon me. 

Not easy or painless but it can be done. 

Though I was aware of this, it does nothing to lessen the sting of hurt. 

I am just thankful that I have some wonderful friends. One who had me laughing though the tears last night and simply reminded me that there are people out there who do care about me. 

Even though she will claim I am a better friend than she is. 

She couldn't be more wrong. 

I just need to get over the pain and move on. My life it seems will no longer include what I have known. 

Today is a brand new day and life. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

Transition is a very interesting process.

I am starting to really learn that first hand.

It really is rather surreal too. I have read a lot of accounts of other trans women and what happened during their transition. It is an odd feeling to be experiencing these types of things myself.

Now I am sure you all want to know what happened with my brother.

It was interesting and I am still not sure about it myself. I got a reaction I couldn't even have fathomed along with I am not sure exactly how he feels.

It wasn't bad just different.

As I mentioned he was in town and staying at my parents for the weekend. My Mom and I got him to agree to dinner Sunday night with the plan to be me telling him afterward.

This took an interesting twist in itself.

When I got to my parents they were attempting to but a winter cover over their new camper trailer. Quickly I got volunteered to help out.

Not a big deal as it was obvious they could use a hand.

Once we finished that little endeavor we went inside to clean up a bit so he and I could leave.

So while I was getting an explanation of where to go for dinner(as neither of use were that familiar with the area) my parents made the astounding suggestion that instead of just the two of us going, we would all go.


Quickly my Mom figured out the look on my face and quickly suggested that we take separate cars so they would leave after dinner and let my Brother and myself be.


Thus off we went.

For the most part dinner wasn't an issue, we discussed rather mundane things and events. Chatting like a family with no issues.

There was one problem though. The waitress kept ma'aming me. Three times to be exact.

"Can I get you two gentleman another beer? How about you two ladies anything else?)


"Miss would you like another iced tea?"


I would just ignore it and answer her question but I could see out of the corner of my eye Dad wasn't happy. Though thankfully he never said anything.

We finished up dinner without any major incidents and said goodbye to my Mom and Dad as we went down to the local waterfront to have a little chat.

After a few short minutes chatting about some more things. When after a moment of silence he looked at me as asked what was going on.

With that I started into my non-discloser message, covered the fact that he didn't have to understand it, like it or accept it, it was just something he had to know.

Then I explained what it was, cover all the basics and finish with a general statement about what was going to happen of the next 18-24 months.

At that point he was rather quiet.

He looked out over the water, looked back at me and quietly said that is wasn't up to him to tell me what I should or shouldn't do. That I felt that if this is what I needed to do and is what was going to make me happy then I needed to do it. Yet I was to remember that blood was thicker then water and that in his mind there I was always going to be, in part, his little brother.

Not at all something I would have guessed from him.

I can't say that was complete acceptance but it wasn't the end of the world either.

We did continue to talk about things me, my transition, even some things I learned about him. Something that surprised me since he is a notoriously private person.

After a bit it was getting late and I had a total of an hour an a half to get home. Part of which included getting him back to Mom and Dad's. We continued to talk on the drive home and when we reached the driveway, before we got out, he just told me I was still family but it would take him some time.

Overall I don't know if I can truly say it was positive but it definitely wasn't negative.

I had a long drive home after that which I then discussed a lot of this information with a good friend of mine while in the car.

I think that this point all I can say is I have gotten it done and can breathe a sigh of relief. As this one worried me more then others. Now I can continue moving forward with more steps that need to happen. They are a happening too, I just have had very little time to write about them.

Still knowing my Brother and his personality his calmness about it so far surprised me. It was indeed the unexpected.

All I can do know is see what the future holds between the two of us.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When It Rains It Pours

It has been a rough couple of days. I had a couple of outages at work do deal with regarding my project.

Bad luck really, though I at least managed to recover things quickly without too much fuss.

I also received some very disappointing news that is impacting my transition timeline quite severely.

I am just hoping I can find a creative solution or a different approach to make things happen. Just being told no regarding something I didn't see as much of an issue bothered me a lot.

It also didn't help that I was having my cycle. I know how can I have a cycle if my hormone levels don't change for an actual period. I can't figure it out either, yet over the last eight months I get crabby, moody, depressed and feel fat and bloated for a few days around the 10th of each month.

Weird but it happens, I didn't think much of if the first few time it happened. I thought most likely if was just something that happens. It was the consistency of when that caught my attention.

Plus I have confirmed taking my brother out to dinner this Sunday night and trying to find a park or something afterward to sit down and tell him. Doing this at my parents house make me uncomfortable, as he is staying with them while in town.

Far too much for one girl to deal with in a twenty-four hour time period.

I am just thankful for having some wonderful friends that care so much. It was nice to talk about other things and be silly. She brightened my mood immeasurably. She doesn't even know how much crying I had been doing prior to talking to her. She is one of the best friends I have ever had.

I have too much on my mind all at once right now.

Oh, and did I mention it has been actually raining the last few day? Nothing like a gloomy outside to brighten ones spirits.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why I am a Sad Panda


"B!" (Think SQUEEE!)

"Hey Babe, you sound awful excited to hear from me."

"Well you are one of my favorite people. I love hearing from you."

"Haha, well with enthusiastic greetings like that maybe I should call you more often."

"Hehe, maybe you should, it isn't like your calls will be ignored."

"So what are you up too tonight?"

"Awe I am stuck home tonight sweetie, I am working every weekend for a while. Plus I have been getting little sleep lately so I need to get my cute butt to bed early tonight. Why do you ask?"

"Well, I was having people over for a bonfire again tonight, and yes I am telling you this time so you are not over dressed."

"LMAO well how considerate of you. B, I really would love to go as it is a gorgeous night out but I will have to say no this time. I really do need to be up early for tomorrow."

"That is ok I understand."

"I promise I'll make it up to you when my time frees up again."

"No big deal babe, I love having you as a friend and I like hanging out with you. So will make something happen very soon."

"Thanks B."

I chatted with him for a little bit longer as he wanted to know how I was doing and what was happening in my life.

I have discovered some wonderful friends in this journey and B is one of my favorites. I hated saying no to him, but I really need to get this project done and be successful with it. I might need to use it as leverage next February.

Can I have my own life yet?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Plot Twist

Dun Dun Dun...

I might have mentioned that I needed to tell my Brother soon.

I think I also mentioned I am completely in the dark on this one. Anything can happen here.

Plus I covered the fact that he does not live close. At all.

Thus the plan was to have my letter to him written so I could tell him over the phone and not lose my nerve or forget what I had to say.

That may have just changed.

My Mom sent me an email last night. My Brother is coming down next week, staying over the weekend and returning Monday.

[Ducks the lighting bolts, and checks the seas for boil!!]

I am not kidding either. This will be the fourth time in ten years he has left his fortress of solitude and returned to this part of the state. One of the others was earlier this year for his oldest son's graduation.

So yes, I check for signs the world is going to end when I hear something like this.

I already responded to Mom saying yes to possibly trying to tell him this ,face to face. It is as of yet unknown if we will be able to make it happen. As he is in town for work reasons so I don't know what his schedule will be like not to mention I am working Saturday most of the day.

With any luck it will happen. Though I am almost more terrified of this disclosure then my parents.

Crazy but true.

I'll post once I know what is going to happen but I am already nervous.

Odd as he might be, he still is my brother and I have some fond memories of him.

Talk about a plot twist I didn't see coming!