Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Writing is on the Wall

Well, no, not actually.  Really the writing is on the label on the lid. 

A year and half ago or so I realized that I was going to legally transition and most likely end up fully transitioning.  It was sometime around then that I realized it was time to start working on my handwriting again. 

It's interesting to see what transgender people end up not liking about themselves.  For many of us it is obviously body parts that we don't like.  That is probably not something that even really needs to be mentioned.  Gender confirmation surgery kind of confirms that many trans people have a very hard time existing with bits that they don't identify with.  But, sometimes there are other things besides body parts that bring about grief. 

Maybe surprisingly, my handwriting is something that I have always hated due to my perception that it has always been extremely male.  Male handwriting you ask?  Yes, male handwriting.  I understand that it may appear to be weird to think of handwriting as exuding a gender, but it does.  Well, maybe it itself does not, but we as a society interpret handwriting as having gendered characteristics.  Do many men place little hearts as dots above letters such as i?  No, most do not.

My personal issues with my handwriting began very early in my life.  My mother would describe my handwriting as chicken-scratch.  Which is apparently a very common way to criticize handwriting.  Anywho, possibly more damaging were various teachers who would examine my handwriting and then calmly explain that it was clearly not something I could do, because I was born as a male.  Having been born with a male identified body, meant that while I had good gross motor skills, my body lacked the appropriate muscles to perform fine motor skill tasks well.  Thus when I went home, I was not really motivated to practice my handwriting. 

My issues with my handwriting began before I was ever told that it was something I would never be able to do well.  It was simple, I never actually practiced.  Yup, that simple.  Handwriting is an art form that I never cared about.  I was lost, confused, and alone.  My household was a classic 80s dysfunctional mess.  Practicing my handwriting was not high on my priority list.  Hell it wasn't on my list at all. 

When I began teaching and seeing massive amounts of other human beings handwriting that I began to finally understand that people's gender was irrelevant to the quality of their handwriting.  Actually what I noticed was that people who practiced more had better handwriting.  So practice was the key.  And occasionally I did practice.  But they were all really half-hearted attempts.

It wasn't until I chose to transition that I began to attack this problem in earnest.  The first thing I had to learn was a new signature.  That was weird, but cool. I super enjoyed creating a new signature.  What has been harder is learning the intricacies of this art form, such as letter spacing, letter size, slant, staying on the line, and going from line to line.  All those little lovely pieces of things that combine together to create good looking handwriting. 

I'm not done.  I think I am somewhere in the middle.  I have improved, but I have improvements that can still come about.  With time, effort, practice, determination, and persistence, I know that I can get it to be what I want it to be. 

Sometimes to change all that is needed is practice.  Not a medication, not cognitive behavioral therapy, not hours of pondering, not being born in the "right" body, just simple practice. 

I'm going to go continue practicing.  I know I can do this.  I know this is possible.  I believe in my ability to learn and change and grow. 

What do you believe in?

Love you!

Love yourselves!

I hope you believe in yourself.  I really do.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

To Shade or Not To Shade

Apparently that is the question.  Confused?  Possibly.  Well, the other day on Insta I received the following message:

When you pose in a car, may I ask a favor? Please shed the sunglasses for the time to take a selfie. As a lesbian, I want to see your whole face.

I went back through my Insta feed and noticed that there are probably about 35 or so pictures with me with sunglasses on and about the same with them off.  So.... it is about even.  But this issue of sunglasses or no sunglasses and the public's reaction to me with them or without them has also been an issue with this blog.  A few comments that I have received over the years:

Love your cleavage and really like the picture without your sunglasses. You do have pretty eyes and a pretty face. 

I know you're reluctant to take your pictures outdoors without sunglasses, but these photos are proof positive that you certainly don't need them in the shade. They are a lovely testament to the woman within.

Its so nice to see your eyes.

I appreciate the support, I really do..... at one point I was terrified to post any photos of me on the net as I was sure that someone would be able to recognize me.  My sunglasses were my wonder woman mask that kept me safe from harm.  Eventually they became a security blanket and I became afraid to be seen without them.  Thus it was an unusual sight to see me without them, especially in photos.  I mean at one point I wouldn't even show my face here!  Yikes!

That is so craze-balls that I wouldn't even include my head in my photos.  I went back right now and checked to see when I started showing my face but I got too annoyed trying to find it, but I want to say that it took me years to show my face.  So yeah, at one point I think I needed to encouragement to show my face without my sunglasses. 

However..... have you seen my Insta feed?  As I said, there is about half and half, sunglasses and no sunglasses.  Personally, I think the internet has now seen plenty of my photos without sunglasses.  Even here, where most of my photos are with sunglasses, I try and post up one non-sunglasses photo with every outfit post.  Occasionally you will even get a close-up of my face, like when I got my lashes done. 

But even if you are a lesbian, it is not going to sway me much to post up more non-sunglasses pictures.  Why?  Well for one, I'm a lesbian also, so I am immune to other lesbian's super powers.  And for another, who am I now trying hard to dress for?  Me. 

I have spent too many of my years on this planet wearing or not wearing items due to what other people thought I should or shouldn't be wearing.  I'm kind of over that.  Wait, back up, I'm not kind of over that, I'm totally over that!  At one point I needed support to show all of who I am, but now, not so much.  Thus I am going to wear or not wear my sunglasses, depending on if I feel like wearing them.  If I think I look cute in a photo with or without sunglasses, I will share it. 

I think the difference is at one point I wore my sunglasses to hide, now, if I have them on, it's probably because it is super frickin bright, or I'm taking photos in my dirt covered driveway and I don't feel like setting my glasses down in the dirt. 

So, um, yeah!

There ya go!

Love you!

Love yourself!

Love sunglasses!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

My Outfit - Cool Dress

Dress - Max Studio @ Amazon
Scarf - no idea - Similar @ Amazon
Shoes - Born O Concept. Schirra - Similar @ Amazon@ DSW

I wore this outfit about a week ago when my wife and I were able to go to a local college, COS, and give a talk on gender.  I am so super thrilled to be able to go to colleges and try and help educate about the transgender community.  The classroom that we went to this time was for one of my favorite teachers, Debra Hansen.  It was about two years ago now that I first contacted her and inquired about speaking in her room.  I was not able to speak for her class at that time as it was just a quick inquiry.  We connected though and the next semester there was an opportunity so I jumped at it.

Super terrifying was the way I might describe how I felt the very first time I spoke, and it was only a panel discussion.  A panel talk is when several transgender people are there, the students ask questions, and if you feel like offering up some information, then you can speak.  If you don't want to say anything, then you don't need to.  It is a super easy and relaxed way to speak with college students.

This last time though, it was a bit different, it was only my wife and I.  Wow!  Exciting.  I have done a few speeches since that first talk I gave in Debra's class, but that was with my powerpoint showing my life.  This talk was no powerpoint, no reference materials, just my wife and I, and some time.  I was a bit nervous about doing this talk as I only found out what was happening upon walking into the classroom that morning.  But, I'm an educator at heart, along with my wife, and so we totally just rolled with it.

We each gave a brief overview of who we are and why we were there to speak to the students.  After that, the students got to ask any question they wanted to.  I love answering their question, but honestly they are a bit tame.  I keep expecting some sordid taboo subjects to pop up, like how does a cis woman and a trans woman have sex!  That would be a wild question that I'm not sure I would even attempt an answer.  Alas, no student has yet to ask me anything that I have been unwilling to at least attempt an answer.

They question came, and my wife, Debra, and myself tried our best to provide good answers for the students.  We had a good time, the students seemed to respond well, and Debra super appreciated us being there to speak with her students.  What did I appreciate?  Being able to be there with my wife.  She and I compliment each other very well.  I really think that she and I should do most of the transgender presentations I coordinate. Hopefully in the future we will get that opportunity.

Oh, right, this is supposedly an outfit post! Crap! I totally got sidetracked! I just love my wife, presenting, and educating!  Okay, well, anywho..... I love this dress!  It is super light and flowy, a perfect dress for these hot Central Cal summers.  What else?  Well the sandals I have on are some of my faves.  I have two pairs of them.  A dark brown pair, and a black pair.  I think they are still available and have provided some links for them.  I highly recommend them.  They are super cute, comfy, and I have gotten many compliments on them. 

Okie dokie, that's about it!

Love you!

Love yourselves! 

Love, love, love!

Friday, July 5, 2019

2 Year Estro-Versary!

Wow, really, it has been two years?  Hmmm..... how did that happen?  In many ways, it is surprising to me that two years have passed since I first changed my hormones.  It feels as though the time has flown by and that it can't possibly have already been two years.  I have felt great and it has done nothing but cement in my mind that this trans stuff is totally real!!  I know, little Mrs. me, forever doubtful of the reality staring back at me in the mirror. 

Something that has made it seemed as though the last two years have super dragged by though is the few amount of physical changes I have bee experiencing.  As I am becoming much more clear on my realities of actually being a woman, I am also becoming far more aware that my body is not that of a typical woman's.  It's a hard thing as I don't hate my body, I don't feel as though I was born in the wrong body, and yet, I'm not thrilled by having a more typical masculine body.  Clothing makes me feel awesome as I can use it as camouflage. Nudity, yeah, not so awesome feeling.  Not horrible feeling, just not awesome feeling.

Though..... having changed my hormones has for sure affected my brain and my body for the best.  Mentally the changes have been profound.  My life finally makes sense to me.  Okay, maybe not entirely, but enough so, that it has allowed me to feel the best I have ever felt.  Being able to look back on things that have occurred and finally understanding them is so empowering and relaxing, I love it!

I also do love all of the physical changes that I have experienced.  Few as they may be, they are all super appreciated.  What sorts of changes have I experienced?  Drum roll please......... well, can we chat about the photo at the top of the page?  Wow!  I could not tell you at all  what has happened to me, but something sure as shit happened!  I am shocked to see those three photos together.  Okay, so in my opinion at least, I think that my face is appearing more feminine, and for that I am eternally grateful.  I really am.

Okay, what else..... small amounts of breast growth.  I definitely have breasts, though they are little.  That is the word my wife and I have decided on for their current descriptor.  It is hilarious though as back in 2015, I was actually able to create better "fake cleavage" than I am able to create real cleavage now.  It has something to do with how breasts sit on the chest wall compared to pectorals muscles.  Yeah, funny.  Well, I find it kind of sad funny, but hey let's stick with funny!  That'll be more fun, right??

Other than that there has been some fat redistribution to my butt.  My butt is currently the largest it has ever been.  And yes, I know.  I have been keeping body measurement records since I was about thirty.  Weird huh? Maybe.  However my wife and I lost quite a bit of weight back then and I stuck with measuring my body ever since.  It has been super handy in being able to see if any physical changes have actually been occurring.  So the measurements don't lie, and blue jeans don't lie either as they are definitely to fit my butt into!

Hmmm...... anything else I can think of??????   Uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmm......  oh, skin softening and less body hair.  My skin is slowly becoming thinner and softer.  It is also drying out a bit.  It has always been super thick and oily, all over, but that is no longer the case.  My chest hair is basically gone.  That could be due to the home IPL I used for a bit, and I know that some of it is from my most recent electrolysis appointments, but I think most of the loss was from changing my hormones.

In asking my wife, she reminded me that I have had muscular changes also.  My muscles are far less defined than they were before.  And they are far less capable!  Maybe it is just me and my lack of knowing how to properly work this new endocrine system, but wow! I really notice the lack of testosterone acting as a steroid upon my muscular system.  My muscles are less big, less strong, they have less endurance, and a longer recovery period.  So, yeah, that happened.

Okay, so.... I am thrilled at what changes I have had thus far.  It is way better than I could have ever hoped for by simply changing my hormones.  But...... did you feel the but coming????  I have some concerns.  I actually already stated that I have some doubts about what's been happening with me physically.  Not doubts about transition, gads no, doubts about if something more might be able to happen.

I explained my concerns to my therapist and coincidentally she happened to have lunch with a well known hormone providing doctor in Southern California about a day or two before.  I actually got my initial doctor because of my therapists referral, the two of them are friends.  And while my therapist and I both adore my current doctor and consider her to be a friend, she describes herself as a baby-catcher.  Meaning, she is first and foremost an OB/GYN.  Secondarily she also enjoys and is knowledgeable with working with the trans community.  My therapist and I both came to the conclusion that maybe it might be best to try and work with a hormone provider who has that as their primary focus, and are not quite so distracted with baby-catching.  She suggested that I call the doctor she had met for lunch and just see what she had to say.  Thus it was that I setup my appointment towards the end of June.

The doctor was great and had easily garnered my trust within the forty five minute appointment we had.  I basically told her my life story, I know, how did I manage within a 45 minute period?  It was rough! Especially with Jodie in the room to color the story as well.  Anywho...... by the end of the appointment I had decided to change my hormone provider to her.

She had a couple of appointments to do online and asked us to wait around, to which we gladly agreed.  Within about thirty minutes, her appointments done, I was laying down on her exam table with my hip exposed.  She was preparing to inject estrogen pellets under the flesh of my butt.  Scary!  Well, for me it was terrifying for sure!  But, I had just had my orchiectomy at the begging of this month and talk about a pretty terrifying and major body modification! Ha!  With the pellet implants I will eventually only have them injected 2 to 3 times per year.  Which is far better than replacing an ineffective patch every four days.

Oh, did I say ineffective?  Yeah, I did say that.  Well....... in my new doctors opinion, I have been a bit estrogen, and progesterone, starved.  For one, I have not been on progesterone.  This doctor's research is that it will either help, or not, but you don't need to wait more than a few months to begin taking it after starting with estrogen.  Speaking of estrogen..... her preference, what has been shown to work best with her vast number of trans clients, is to have estrogen levels vastly higher than what I have had thus far.

She suggested that all of the physical changes I have had thus far could possibly be due to simply not having testosterone.  It is a fascinating thought to think that maybe everything that has happened to me has had nothing to do with estrogen.  Her suggestion is to basically give me about five to six times the amount of estrogen I have been getting.  Which is a huge increase and quite intimidating to someone who has been listening to her previous doctor extol the vertues of a low estrogen treatment plan.  But over the last two years estrogen has become my best friend!  Which is why, I allowed her to place the estrogen pellets into me.  At the very least, I won't have to remember about patch-day anymore, and at the most....hmmmm...... who knows?  I do know that right now, a week later, I feel great! And I have no patches on!

I find myself, on my two year Estro-Versary, happily reflective and thoughtful about the future.  Two years ago, I was not ready to be where I am today, I had not learned enough.  Now, I'm thrilled about the choices I have made, and I am a better person because of them.  Regardless of what does, or does not, happen, I am thrilled with who I am.

As well, I am so thankful to my community.  At one point that was only my wife.  Through putting time, effort, energy, persistence, and dedication into myself, educated me about who I really am.  That knowledge gave me the strength to be brave, despite my doubts.  Bit by bit, person by person, I slowly came out, and lovingly, my community grew.  Family, friends, acquaintances, therapists, doctors, bosses, coworkers, students, parents, college professors, total strangers, and vast groups I am sure that I am forgetting have all been folded into my community.  The level of support I have received from all has been shockingly amazing and I will forever be eternally grateful.

So, uh, yeah, there ya go!

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Love each other, it matters!