Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The truth about my parents (a Star Wars revelation)

“Do you know the truth about your parents? Or have you always known? You’ve just hidden it away. … Say it.” 
“They were nobody,” she says, fighting back tears. 
“They were filthy junk traders,” he says. “Sold you off for drinking money. They’re dead in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert. You come from nothing. You’re nothing....”
So I finally saw the new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. It was entertaining, had action and plot, and relatable characters. But of course, I was struck by the above fore-mentioned lines when Kylo Ren and Rey are talking about her parents. (spoiler alert)
There's a lot to unpack there, relatable sentiments and inversely relatable ones too. Rey was unfortunate to be born to parents who didn't want her and didn't deserve her. As Kylo states, they sold her off like she was only as good as the price she could get. 
My parents didn't sell me off, especially not as a kid. I had a pretty good life growing up but it has come to my attention that maybe they did not really want kids and maybe in truth, they never should have had them. What kind of parents reject their child and dismisses them, never wanting to see them again, especially after 28 years of life together? 
It's been 8 years now since I transitioned and I have to admit, I'm completely flabbergasted that these people I call my parents refuse to change; refuse to adapt with the world.....even for.....especially for their own child. 
Oh I've been in contact with my dad. If you've read previous posts, you know how well that has gone. Recently I also reached out to my sister and offered her the same scenario as my dad and mother, she can gladly keep in touch with me if she simply uses my name and female pronouns. Her response was about praying so she didn't respond in anger and then I never heard another word. Shortly after that, my father decided to stop calling me by the nickname he had compromised with too.....after he re-stated that I was still male to him and always would be. Yes, you've made your point, Dad. He's still blind to the world, blind to life, blind to happiness and unfortunately it has had an effect on his own health and happiness too. 
In 8 years, my parents have missed out on me finding myself, living my new life, adapting and learning how to be me and navigate this world as I've created a new reality around myself that better fit me, including my body, voice, career, friends, hobbies, romance, relationships. Through all of that, I've found happiness and contentment and even had the pleasure of being adopted into several families too. You could almost see me as Rey, using the force, transforming my life around me.
Unfortunately, my parents will never even wish to see the life I've carved out for myself. They wouldn't dare even take a peek at who I am now. Some would blame religion but in fact, they use religion as a crutch. The truth is, if their church had told them to 'buck up' and accept me, they would have tried. But because their church supports their complacency, they will never change; never adapt. Why? They just don't want to. They don't care enough about their child to understand what she wants or to even try to respect her with simple human decency. They'll never see how happy I have been these past 8 years and going forward.
And because of that, they've become nobody. And you know what? I've made something of my life and become somebody....somebody I'm proud to be. A friend told me recently that they loved how I was 'unapologetically myself'. It really struck a chord with me. They are right. I am. Some might call it entitlement and I definitely have had my share of privilege in this world, but I have also still had to fight for who I am and where I am today. And even though it's true, I worry about being 'outed' sometimes, that doesn't stop me from being me. I wear what I want, I act how I feel, and I live the way I think I should. 
Rey and me, we go way back, let me tell ya. We could even be sisters....and we left our parents in the dust in the Jakku desert. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It never gets easier

It never gets easier.
After 8 years, you'd think you'd be over it.
Heck, you'd think I'd be over it.

I go weeks, months, without being confronted
by even a memory of you
let alone your selfish indulgence
of your own fantasies
while the rest of the world looks on
shrugging, uninterested.

Saying you still consider me to be male
to an obvious female face
in fact, so female
you can't even stand the sight of me anyway
so full of contradictions
well full of something anyway.....

Why did I ever reconnect with you, Dad?
What's even the point?
All you ever do is bring me down
or give me false hope
that someday you'll come to your senses.
I've tried texting, email, polo
and you won't even try to meet
in person anymore.
You're a waste
a waste of my time, my energy
my love.

I was better off cutting you out of my life
and yet I can't do that again
or I risk regrets.
When your life is over
I will have said to myself that
I tried.

But it never gets easier.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Blast from the past: Bra Confidence

I've come to realize that as a blogger with 7 years of content, there's a good portion of that content that never gets surfaced.

To try and solve this problem, I've decided to try and highlight some older posts by doing "Blast from the Past" posts.

Today's Blast from the Past is from July 8th, 2010 : Bra Confidence:
Last night at group we ended up talking a little about "doing instead of being". The concept being that when we first start transition, we concentrate A LOT on BEING ourselves and BEING a woman. We think about how we walk, how we talk, how we look, how we sound, all kinds of crazy things going on in our head at any one moment. One of the ladies at group mentioned how she was at a place in her transition where she was concentrating more on DOING than BEING. She was able to DO or LIVE her life and the BEING part was much more natural now.

I spoke up and said that I felt I had come a long way with this in the last 9 months or so of transition but that I definitely still had a ways to go before I didn't have to be thinking about BEING me and what that meant at certain times.

The example I gave was that I rely heavily on my bra for confidence. Since my breasts are still very small, the bra I wear can severely help or hinder my confidence. Just the other day, I was walking to the gym and I had a sports bra on underneath my t-shirt. I took note as I was walking that I was much more worried about how I was walking and how I looked because of my lack of breasts. I was questioning how I stepped, my posture, even my voice at times. Everything. I was even thinking to myself 'gosh when is this going to be just natural'. At the time I also consoled myself reminding that it had only been about 9 months and I had 28 years of life as a boy in my past. It might still take a while before everything came completely natural.

As I was talking about this at group though, I realized that all of this didn't usually happen in my everyday life. What was the difference? The bra I wore. lol. It sounds stupid, I know but it's so true. I worry a lot less about these things, walking, talking, etc. when I have the confidence of my bra.

Hopefully with time, not only will my body catch up and my confidence will be less dependent on my bra but BEING me will also become more natural.

Commentary Today:

It's interesting to read about this clingyness to the bra back then because now after many years of estrogen and having had breast augmentation, I am much more confident without a bra and even 'go without' sometimes.

A few years ago I did finally make the switch from 'being' me to 'doing' things in my life. And it's been great....to finally feel like I can be me naturally and experience life without worrying too much about how I'm perceived.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

7 years later: Cute and Confident with no makeup

Yesterday I threw on some eyeliner, mascara, blush, and lipstick and I curled my hair. I had a video interview in support of why I like working for my current employer so I dressed up a bit, wearing a polkadot dress and heels as well. I felt good about myself and how I looked yesterday.

Today is my ‘dress-down’ day where I put virtually no effort into my appearance. I’m straight up casual with a t-shirt and leggings, ballet flats, no makeup and I didn’t even brush my hair. You could call it that ‘straight out of bed’ look because well…it is. 

Taking a selfie today I’m surprised that I think I look cute. How is that even possible? 

I’m in the 7th year of my transition so it’s definitely been a long time coming but I don't think I was ever sure that I’d get to a place where I’d not only feel like I look female without all that effort…..but also still look cute. 

I think 2017 has set me on this path from the beginning. At the end of 2016, I finally had FFS and while that recovery has been difficult with some interesting unexpected results, it also set me on this path of needing less effort in my appearance. 

It began with eyelash extensions (which would later cause a lot of issues ironically) and then transitioned into micro bladed eyebrows as well. For the first few months of 2017 I was over-delighted to not wear any makeup and still have gorgeous eyelashes and filled in eyebrows. My girlfriends even admitted to being jealous and while that’s not what I’m going for, it’s always interesting when cis-girls are jealous of me; because it’s always been the opposite for most of my life. 

And then a horrible thing happened. My eyelashes got infected. It’s called “Blepharitis" or "any kind of inflammation of the eyelids/lash line". It can be caused by infections or allergy. I had been getting fills for the eyelash extensions for months so I’m still unsure about the actual cause but the effect ended up being 3-4 weeks of virtually no makeup or lashes or anything. I saw various doctors and finally after using steroid eyedrops, was able to contain the swelling and inflammation. The end result was not wearing makeup for a whole month. 

It’s only been a couple weeks since I recovered from that and I’ve experimented with eyeliner, eyeshadow, and even strip false lashes and have noticed my eyes are much more sensitive to just about anything now. It’s not unbearable but they definitely seem to get red and slightly inflamed sometimes. 

So despite throwing some eyeliner on once a week and maybe a full face of makeup for a photoshoot here and there, most days, I end up like today with virtually nothing on my face to enhance,  contour, or cover up.

And surprisingly I feel just as confident and cute.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Excerpt: "I wish I was a girl"

Note: This is an excerpt of an 'autobiography' I've started writing. I have no immediate plans to release it but it's been interesting to try writing about what I remember from my experiences growing up. 

When 4th grade came along, we changed schools again because a brand new elementary school opened up that was closer than the one I had attended for the last bit of 3rd grade. I don’t remember a whole lot about friend groups but they definitely changed. The one friend I do remember was my best friend Amie. We met in fourth grade and were close through 6th grade until we went to Middle School and she suddenly seemed to realize that our friendship was plagued by my secret crush on her.

But let’s back up to 5th grade. I didn’t spend a lot of time out at recess on the playgrounds instead helping in the library but once in a while I would go out. One such time, I was hanging out with Amie, not by the playgrounds but all the way across the school campus by the basketball courts. It was a windy, cloudy day; the kind you expect in Seattle. We must have been bouncing a ball against the wall or something and casually talking. She was wearing her iconic grey hoodie and her dirty blonde hair was cut in a boyish bob haircut. 

“You know what?” she asked without pausing, “I sometimes wish I was a boy.”

“Oh yeah?” I asked, surprised.

“Yeah, “ she answered, “I mean they get more chances to play sports and stuff, I guess.”

“Oh..gotcha.” I thought and then blurted out, “Well I wish I was a girl.”

There was probably more shock in myself than in Amie’s face. Why had I said that? It had been almost a foreign thought from completely left field, maybe straight from my subconscious. I don’t think I'd even really shared that thought with myself before, let alone anyone else. 

“Why is that?” she asked, curiously.

“Um, er — I….don’t know really.” I stammered, my face feeling hot with embarrassment, “I just do.”

When it comes down to it, how else do you explain something like that? I mean there are benefits and disadvantages to both sexes and Amie had expressed one of her own but I wasn’t expressing a desire as much as a feeling. Somewhere, deep in the very core of who I was I felt 'female’ despite being told for the first decade of my life that I was a boy. And unfortunately, I was stuck. That was the lot that life had given me, no matter how I felt inside.

Amie shrugged and we continued bouncing the ball off the wall. In that moment, there was no judgement between us, just a mutually satisfiying moment of silence as our adolescent brains absorbed this new information about each other and about the opposite sex in general. 

Later on, I would justify my statements to myself saying I had simply said such things to compliment her own sentiments as a part of my ‘crush’ on her. Yet shouldn’t I just have agreed with her about boys and been happy that I had the privilege she was hoping for? And I would then go further with it trying to convince myself that I didn’t want to be a girl because of things like pregnancy and periods…..I mean who would want any of that anyway? I would learn to take on the attitude that I was 'lucky to be a guy'. It’s amusing to me that I had to put so much effort and thought into it though. The lady doth protest too much.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

FFS: 6 months Post-op Update

Wow it's been 6 months! It's hard to believe that just 6 months ago, I was struggling with recovery and couldn't wait to get the face mask/cast off. If you've followed my other posts on forums, you know that the recovery has not been easy. That being said, the first week or two was way easier than I thought it would be and way easier than a lot of surgeon's recoveries (from what I've seen). But I did experience a few unexpected issues. Anytime you touch something so complex as the face, there is a lot of potential for dissatisfaction and/or nit-pickiness. I mean we look at our faces in the mirror everyday.

What did I have done? Forehead reconstruction and rhinoplasty with Dr. Deschamps-Braly in San Francisco. I essentially only did upper face. It included a slight brow lift and not really a scalp advance as much as a 'keep the hairline in place' (which may as well have included some sort of scalp advance to make that happen). For the rhinoplasty itself, I asked for a 'cute' nose with a slight turn up at the tip.

I'll go through each category of concern I came across throughout recovery and tell you what the status is.

  • Tension Headaches
    • These are still happening when I get 8+ hours of sleep. I'll wake up with general tightness/swelling feeling in nose and forehead/front of face. It seems to go away within an hour or so of getting up.
  • Scar visibility
    • The scar is doing pretty well. I don't bother covering it with concealer anymore but I am still using the scar/sunscreen cream on it daily. I'm also seeing a massage therapist still for both scar tissue massage and lymphatic drainage. That being said, I do still notice it very much in selfies with certain lighting....esp (weirdly enough) car lighting. Also after a massage, it tends to be an angry red for about a week.
  • Swelling
    • I don't feel like there is much if any swelling at this point. The tip of the nose maybe? But it's hard to tell. The only feeling of swelling I get is the tension headaches in the morning. 
  • Jowels
    • After surgery, I noticed I had some handy skin at my jaw line (i.e.: "Jowels"). After a 3 month checkup and seeing those jowels indeed exist before the surgery, I assumed they had always been there. The doctor told me that since we only did upper face, lower face shouldn't have been affected. Maybe i'm getting used to them but the jowels are not as noticable or I don't care as much.....they definitely weren't as visible before the surgery but all I can think is that setting back features of upper face may just end up shedding more light on the lower face issues. I don't think I plan on messing with fillers or face lifts for another decade if I can help it. 
  • Wide Bridge of Nose / Nose bump
    • The bridge of the nose has come down a lot but it still is very much wider than it used to be and does still pull at the skin at the inner corner of my eyes creating a sort of 'webbing' of skin in the corners. It's a different look, maybe different ethnically too but it doesn't look weird or inhuman. I'm not sure it'll come down much more and the doctor admits it's what happens when taking out so much of the bone in the brow ridge/orbital rim; the skin has less of an incline to cling to for projection so the bridge of the nose ends up wider.
    • At my 3 month checkup, the doctor pointed out midway down the nose there might be a slight bump forming. I don't feel like it's currently all that noticeable and even though he has offered to fix it without charging any fees, I want to be careful about how 'perfect' I want to try to make my face. Every surgery has consequences (this one definitely did!) at some point I need to be satisfied with what I got and what did improve instead of worrying about perfection.
  • Eyes smaller, eyelids droopy
    • The eyes definitely seem smaller. The issue is really that my eyelids want to droop more than they used to. It's like maybe they didn't get pulled up enough to compensate for the loss of bone to wrap around maybe. I've been learning to open them slightly more when taking pictures. 
  • Scalp numbness
    • Surprisingly enough, feeling is starting to come back to the scalp! I can sort of feel pressure points in all areas of the scalp. 
  • Hair loss
    • Haven't had any more problems with hairloss and now I feel like enough has grown back in that I don't experience as much issues with hair thinning , esp when pulling my hair back. Also hair is growing in and around the scar itself too.

All-in-all, I look back on pictures 6+ months ago (before the surgery) and I'm often amazed and surprised to see how much my brow ridge and nose stuck out. I guess I've already become accustomed to my new face and I definitely feel like FFS helped to feminize and soften things and I've been much more confident without it. Add lash extensions and microblading and I now wear little to no makeup on an everyday basis.

What's next? Well 6 more months and I'll be 1 year post-op. I am hoping that the nose continues to come down and that the bump doesn't get worse. I'm also still kinda hoping the bridge wideness and eyelid drooping effect will go down more too and that the tension headaches will start to fade. I guess we'll see. ;) I'm leaving it up to "Future Debra" to decide whether I'll want a nose revision but right now I feel pretty good.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Note about my Past

A year ago today, I was so fed up with the bathroom bill stuff in my state that I decided to speak up about it on my facebook, outing myself. I don't usually speak in ultimatums but I was serious about unsupportive people unfriending me.

I did only surface this to friends (not acquaintances) and then eventually made it private again so only I can now see it. I figured I could share it with all of you.

A Note about my Past

I don’t usually like getting political or into activism but I have to admit that all the ‘bathroom bill’ talk has gotten me a bit worked up. Such that I feel I need to air something I haven’t brought up in a long time and frankly, don’t like to talk about anymore. But here it goes: 

  I have a transsexual/transgender/‘trans’ past. (however you want to word it) 

 For those of you that suspected but never said a word or asked a single question, I thank you. That’s how I’d prefer it…even now that you know, I’d prefer it stay that way. Those of you that really had no clue. I’m glad. I’d rather that be the case anyway.

The rest of you have been with me for at least some of it. The truth is, I don’t want to be known or loved because of something so basic: simply being who I am. I’d rather be loved or praised for things that I do, such as making costumes or writing apps or being friendly and loving…..not the fact that I was born with incorrectly matched parts. I don’t consider it a secret to hide…..but merely a piece of my medical past that’s nobody else’s business. I moved on from it years ago. That being said, people always have questions so here’s some quick answers: 

 1. Yes I was born with male ‘parts’ and now have female ‘parts’. As far as the law is concerned nowadays, I was born female. (yes, that includes my birth certificate and all legal documents) 
2. No I cannot bear children, just like countless other women with fertility issues. 
3. No I will not tell you my old/dead name and it’s rude and hurtful to ask about it or intentionally call me by it. (even in past tense) 
4. No I do not want to talk about any of this so please don’t bring it up in conversation. It’s not unlike bringing up a birthmark that someone has on their face; they know it’s there so unless they bring it up, leave it alone. 
5. No I am not ‘the best of both worlds’. I am and always have been a woman. It’s just that for the first part of my life, I spent it trying to be something I was not: a man. 
 6. Yes my husband knows and has always known and doesn’t care. He’s attracted to women and loves me. It’s a non-issue….and it should be such for everybody IMHO. 
7. No I am not ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’. This wasn’t a brave thing for me to do. It was a thing I HAD to do to survive. To live. To go on. To be who I am, authentically. 
 8. Yes my parents disowned me when I transitioned and even after many years, they continue to ignore who I am and hope for the old ‘pretend me’ to come back to them; this, all based on religious counsel they’ve received. 
 9. Yes I choose to try to live a ‘normal’ life instead of being ‘out and proud trans’ because society DOES treat you differently……and I don’t want to be treated differently……good or bad, I want to be treated for what I do and how I treat others….not because I managed to work through an issue I was born with. I don’t want special treatment. Don’t treat me any different than any other woman. 
10. Yes I support the trans and LGBT movements. Equality for all. No person should have to be treated like a second-class citizen (or worse) because of who they are or who they love. It’s no different than race or sex or anything else. We’re all humans. I don’t care what your religion says, the greatest of all teachings is love for all people. Period. So all of that being said:
  • If after knowing this information, you consider me to be ‘a man’, unfriend me right now.
  • If you’re a woman who feels like with this knowledge you cannot share a bathroom or locker room with me, unfriend me right now.
  • If you’re a father or mother and feel like trans women (including myself) shouldn’t share the same bathroom as your daughter, unfriend me right now.
  • If you feel that transgender people are merely sexual predators, unfriend me right now.
  • If you support bills like i-1515 which seek to bar transgender individuals from using the correct restroom in WA state (something that’s been in effect for years), unfriend me right now. 
 Trans people die every year due to suicide and murder because of simply not being allowed or afforded the privilege to be who they really are…..something anyone born in the right body takes for granted everyday. This includes being fired for being trans, bullied for being trans, becoming homeless for being trans, and yes, using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. 

 Now that we’ve been through that, let me ask you something from the bottom of my heart: 
  Please just let it go….and know that there are many of us among the population that just want to live our lives normally. None of us are out to harm anyone; criminals will do that. If you have sincere questions and want to read more on it, this page has a LOT of resources: http://www.tsroadmap.com/family/index.html . Please don’t bombard me with questions. Thank you.

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