Thursday, December 1, 2011

Obligatory 2 year HRT post

Just thought I'd make an obligitory 2 years HRT post. Wow what a 2 years! I know somewhere in my head when I first took these 'magic' pills, that I would end up where I'm at today but I don't know if I could ever really fathom all of it back then. I suppose that was part of the process though, living in the moment and trying not to think too far ahead.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Halloween 2011 Experience

For Halloween this year, I only attended one costume party. It was this last Saturday at a club with a bunch of friends I know well. It was actually a fundraiser event too and I helped setup as well as sell raffle tickets.

For setup, I arrived early and helped put up a bunch of decorations. We zip-tied a bunch of branches together, hung them up in the beams, and strung lights and fake cobwebs on them. The place looked really cool when we were done.

I had been unsure if I would have time to go home to get ready so I actually had come prepared to change into costume and "do up" my makeup but we ended up finishing with 3 hours to spare before the party.

The last two years, I tried to dress more conservatively instead of giving into the sexy/slutty ways of the holiday but this year I went all out. I wasn't sure what I was going to be at first and then I happened upon a cute pair of heels that were purple with pink stripes and a pink bow on them. They were a bit over the top for everyday wear but I figured they would be ok with a pair of boot cut jeans and the right top.


I took a picture of them and posted it on Facebook and among the comments, someone said they looked quite 'Cheshire'. And suddenly I had a costume idea. I searched around and found a coupled different 'sexy Cheshire cat' costumes and settled on one that would go just perfectly with the shoes. I added much more to my makeup than I'd do on a normal day including deep purple glitter eyeshadow. I also added some cute whiskers with an eyeliner crayon.

I arrived early to the party to help with any last minute preparations and the party started soon after. I received so many compliments from people about both my costume and my shoes alone. I felt very pretty and sexy the whole night. The costume came with a tail and I tried to wag it as I walked lol. I ended up selling raffle tickets to people throughout the night too and that helped with socializing.

At one point, I approached the DJ and asked if he wanted to buy raffle tickets and he said he'd love to but he didn't have cash and hadn't been paid for this gig yet but he still wanted to talk and ask about the prizes and stuff. I didn't pay it much mind but wandered off after we finished talking. I visited the photographer and he took a picture of a couple different poses....I hope they came out nice! If so, I may post one or two on here.

Anyway the night went on and about 12:30am, I decided it was time for me to go home. I hugged a bunch of people goodbye and grabbed my coat and purse and headed outside. As I turned the corner, I saw the door behind me open and a guy run out but I kept walking. He got to the corner and said something like 'hey!' to get my attention, I forget what it was exactly. I stopped and I have to admit I was a bit wary....it was dark out and I was dressed scantily except my coat and nobody else was around.

He walked up to me and I realized that it was the DJ. Our conversation was something like this:

Him: Hey, do you have a boyfriend?
Me: *smile* no I don't.
Him: Oh well um could I have your number by chance?
Me: Oh....sure. lol

We traded numbers and he went back inside and I went to my car and drove home, smiling all the way. We texted some the next day and he said I looked so beautiful that night he couldn't take his eyes off of me. *blush*

Tonight I'll probably wear my costume again for any trick-or-treaters that I get but other than that, no other plans. But anyway that was my Halloween experience.

Edit: Added a pic my mom took on Halloween for a better view of my full costume. I'm practicing a pose lol.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Worth it

A good friend of mine, Lori started a new website that's similar to the idea of "It Gets Better" but more trans-focused. The site is called It's Worth It and it has already started featuring stories from those who have transitioned or are going through transition to communicate a special message for those that are too afraid to transtion, are contemplating taking drastic actions, or even those who have begun transition and are still facing difficulty. The goal is to show through other peoples' stories that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I gladly shared my own story and it's currently featured there today. Thanks Lori for organizing this site and I really pray it provides a much needed hope to many out there who are feeling so lost.

Friday, September 2, 2011

One lonely morning two years ago....

Two years ago today, I tried to commit suicide because I didn't feel like who I am as a person fit into the world I lived in. While it hasn't been all butterflies and rainbows these past 2 years, it has definitely been an amazing journey I never would have embarked on if I had been successful with my attempt that lonely morning, two years ago.

If you feel you can't take it anymore, or that nobody cares, or that transitioning could never work for you, or that death is the only answer....please please please know....it gets better.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stone Turning to Sand

I went back to my home church this last Sunday. I have stopped attending as often as I used to because it's such a far drive. I have attended some other churches nearby but some Sundays, I just like to sleep in.


It felt good to be back in a familiar environment and to have everyone greet me and ask how I was doing and that they missed me. A lot of things are going through my head nowadays but I wasn't quite prepared for the sermon to touch me in a particular area.

He preached on a few things but the one that stuck out to me was forgiveness. One of the quotes he mentioned is often said to have come from Mother Teresa but I've heard claims that that is not really true. Even still, it's very touching.

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." -Mother Teresa

I am familiar with this quote and have it on my facebook but the first line still rang true especially on that day. He also told a short little story that was touching.

Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:

TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The other friend replied “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

By then, I couldn't hold back the tears anymore. What does forgiveness have to do with me, you might ask? My parents.

It's been a long two years and while my life has been very happy, there have always been points where I have felt deeply saddened that both of my parents no longer desire to be in my life. I tell people often that it has been easily the hardest part of my transition. I've cried many nights over them and even now, though thoughts of them don't enter my mind as much in daily life, they still exist.

Their actions are out of my control and yet there is something that still is in my control and that is forgiveness. I cried in church that day because I feel so hurt by them and I cling to that hurt so tightly....that I don't want to let go of it. The idea of forgiving my parents for hurting me like they have is overwhelmingly difficult to process.

Part of it is that I know by forgiving them, it does not mean they will change their ways or opinion of me and I will most definitely still be hurt by them in the future. But as the quote said, I really need to 'forgive them anyway' knowing full well that it was never between us really. It's something I need to do for me.

I have spent a lot of time and energy in expressing my hurt over my parents. I've blogged about it, video-logged about it, and talked with friends about it. I've imprinted it on many people's minds. In that way, I have written it on the stone instead of the sand. In fact, I've made it so personal that I've written it on my heart...in blood. And I need to let go. I need to wipe the slate clean, even if it is to only be filled up again. I need to do this for me, not them. Holding onto the hurt, the grudge against them and their actions, is only eating me up inside and adding negative energy to my life, even if subtly.

So on this day, Mom and Dad, I forgive you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Sun is Shining

The hem on my skirt
is coming undone
and my parents still refuse
to be in my life.

But the sun is shining
I have ample clothes to wear
and supportive friends and family
that love me for who I am.

It's been two years now
since I started growing my hair
it's still not even close
to where I want it to be.

But the sun is shining
the body I have and the life I lead
are things many would give anything for.

Debts hover above me
I'm living month to month
building cashflow seems
almost impossible.

But the sun is shining
I have a job that pays the bills
an amazing car that gets me around
and much more than a roof over my head.

Sunburned face today
my skin isn't looking so great
and the bra I picked
makes my boobs look too small.

But the sun is shining
I'm a girl in the world
and guys still seem interested.

The sun is shining
my life is so amazingly good.

Monday, August 1, 2011

20 months on HRT


20 months of HRT: $820
~14 months of counseling: $460
22 months of laser: $5,000
Divorce and Bankruptcy costs: $1,700
~5 months of surgery and recovery and expenses: ~$31,000
New wardrobe and shoes: ~$2,000

Peace of mind from being the right gender finally: priceless.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Present drive, Past meandering, deferring Future

Today is one of those days where I find myself at home with no real plans to go anywhere or do anything. It's a day that doesn't happen very often anymore because I usually cram my calendar full with social events.

I sun-bathed in my new bikini and read a book for a while, finished some minor chores, and caught up on movies and tv shows. All in all, it's been a pretty relaxing day and yet I have to admit that I felt a little lonely.

I went out to dinner with some friends last night, a married couple. We had a good time but seeing how they interacted and reminisced about times spent with each other reminded me of what my ex-wife and I had for our 8 years together. The word that keeps coming up in my mind is simply: companionship.

I've been a single woman for just over a year now and I definitely have to admit that I miss the companionship of someone special in my life. That's not to say that in the last year, I couldn't have had that with somebody. I've gone on many dates and encountered some men who could have been my boyfriend for a time but I chose to not take things further because I didn't feel what I needed to feel: a special kind of connection and chemistry.

That being said, at least two of my suitors I did feel a certain connection with and yet because of their own circumstances or hindrances, they decided that taking things further with me would not work for them.

Approaching at a different angle, it's interesting to me that I only feel this way when I'm at home alone with nothing to do and the fact that this doesn't occur very often. I think I've tended to fill up my calendar with so much so I can drown out some of the lonely and sad feelings that are on the edges of my emotion. I often say that I don't mind living alone because I'm so busy with friends and dates that I don't ever feel truly alone. Maybe that's not a very healthy way to handle feelings I still need to process, batting them out of the way so I can get to my next event unscathed.

Sometimes I guess I need to take a step back and look around. I've made huge changes in my life over the last two years and I've barely given myself time to breathe and catch up. I don't know what my passions in life or even who my role models are anymore. That's something I find nagging at me and yet I wave it away and concentrate on the business of life in its present state.

Maybe I need some long term goals for my life. The ones I had in the past have either been removed or checked off the list. And I should probably try to schedule more days like this where I can breathe and relax and let the many feelings I've been pushing out of the way, wash over me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Divine Marigolds!

I'm going off-topic today to talk about a new upcoming tv show that has my major support. =)

It's called The Divine Marigolds and it's about a big Irish family that lives in Seattle and all of their dysfunctionality. It proves to be entertaining but also if it ends up on a network, it will bring a lot of jobs and opportunities in the Movie/TV industry to Seattle.

Check them out and support the local industry! =) Even just LIKEing their facebook page will help.

Divine Marigolds Website
Divine Marigolds Facebook Page
Divine Marigolds Twitter

Oh and I should probably mention that I'm biased because my brother plays a major role in the show ;) And he's both awesome and supportive of me =)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Second Blogiversary: The need to cry

Today is my 2nd blogiversary. Two years ago, I started this blog, unsure of how much of myself I wanted to share with the world. Last year, I was much more open using my full legal name and feeling the freedom of being myself.

It's amazing how much can happen in the span of a year. Last year around this time, I had a surgery date scheduled, broke up with my boyfriend, and was continuing the struggle and happiness with transition. It's funny now, looking back, seeing where I was back then and comparing it to where I am now. I've had surgery now and in fact am mostly recovered, I've been dating off and on, unwilling to settle, and taking on a positive attitude despite adversities.

That being said, I recently was reminded that despite all my optimism and positive thinking....I really need to cry still sometimes. I do have hurts inside, hurts from my parents, hurts caused by boys, even still hurts about the limits of my womanhood.

Embarrassingly enough, I found this out the hard way the other day when I choked up a few different times while on a first date. Wow, how much of a "girl with baggage" cliche did I give off there? He was really nice about it but still it reminded me that I hadn't cried in a long time.

It's been a common theme on my blog and throughout my transition that there are many ups and downs and that this journey is not all butterflies and ice cream. My surgery experience was really no different, with a lot of complications that most girls don't seem to necessarily face. At some point during recovery, I HAD to put on a positive face about the whole thing and of course, it wasn't hard, given that I already have that optimistic view.

But the fact is, despite the wonder, the love, the joy, and the freedom of my transition....there will always still be hurts inside me, things I cannot help or fix, things I have no power to change...and sometimes there just come times when I need to cry or express that hurt in other ways.

And that's ok.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Last Silver Nitrate Treatment

I haven't written about my surgery in a while so I thought I'd write an update. I went to my family doctor once again today for a silver nitrate treatment. He found one very small area left to treat that was visible. I also had the joy of a first time experience with the speculum. It actually wasn't too bad but mind you, I had dilated close to an hour before. Apparently everything looked good inside except for another small spot of granulation tissue. With both of those areas treated, my doctor was pretty sure this would be my last treatment. I am so excited and happy about that!

Sensitivity has been coming back and therefore more achey pain. I've been back to taking ibuprofen regularly. Also some of the swelling has finally started to go down more and that is very welcome. The last little issue to work through is the fact that my labia minora is still slightly stuck together in the middle, completely covering the clitoris. My surgeon has prescribed a silvadine cream to use on the area and my family doctor actually confirmed that the use of that should help. He said that they sometimes saw similar issues in young girls and the cream helped.

Also, my estrogen levels are stable with my current injection dosage. All in all things are mostly back to normal at almost 4 months post-op.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Levels of Activism

I've never been an activist. I have my own opinion and beliefs and I'm definitely liable to express them on my blog or when asked but I don't usually go out of my way to make them known to all around me. That being said, before having surgery, I was much more involved with the trans and LGBT community. I went to support meetings, I blogged and vlogged using my real name, I frequented online trans community forums, I outed myself to people I met, and I even agreed to speak in front of a class at a college.

Going into surgery, I kind of expected to be less active in the trans community and my desire to out myself or discuss trans-related issues had already come down from its peak. I was already beginning to just live my life without any more worry of what people would think but soon after my operation, it started to become even more apparent. I changed the name I blog/vlog from, I stopped actively attending support meetings, and I stopped outing myself to people I met.

I don't consider myself stealth but in a lot of ways and to a lot of people, I am just another woman now. The professor who had asked if I'd like to speak in front of her class contacted me a couple months after I'd recovered and was hoping I was still willing to come speak in front of her class. I expressed to her my change of heart and instead pointed her towards a resource, a good friend of mine, who does this kind of thing all the time. She was both supportive and grateful.

Most recently, I had a PFLAG member ask if I could present some of my videos and possibly answer questions at some sort of small convention. I politely told her that I didn't really feel comfortable doing that kind of thing anymore but that I would love it if she used my videos for such education. She seemed to understand as well.

Today was the Gay Pride Parade and my adopted mom and other friends attended but I did not. It's never been my thing to march in parades. Maybe I view it as another form of activism that I don't care to take part in, I'm not entirely sure.

The dictionary defines 'activist' as someone who is vigorously active for a cause. While I definitely still support civil rights and many other causes, I guess I'd just prefer to work from behind the scenes and in a way that doesn't involve me directly outing myself as a transsexual woman. My preference is still and will always be to be seen and treated as a natal woman. That's how I'd like to live my life.

With that being said, I do admit to feeling a little guilty but I still talk to many transitioning girls I've met online and I still seem to have an audience for both past and present blog/vlogs. I could definitely do more for the trans community if I worked as an activist but I prefer to keep things to my little corner of the web as well as something in my pocket that I can pull out when the time to educate may arise.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Different Angle on The "Trans" Debate

There's a debate that's been going around the blogosphere for a while now. I've opted out of the conversation for a while. I was of course busy recovering from surgery and my blog has generally been more about my journey and less about politics. That being said, I thought I'd add my two cents today.

First you should know up front that I don't care to argue. Yes I have strong opinions but whenever an argument ensues, I try to back down and fade into the wall, for the most part. I'll even often jump in to settle an argument between friends....or stay neutral when hearing someone's side to a story. I've always seen myself as sort of a peacemaker.

The debate I'm speaking of is a difference of opinion for defining the labels transsexual and transgender. When I started my transition I understood that transgender was an umbrella term and I didn't quite understand why some people took issue with being under that umbrella. A couple months ago, I read some more descriptive definitions for Transsexualism vs. Transgenderism and they made a little more sense to me.

The way they were defined was that a transsexual individual was someone who felt a very binary gender but was not born with the matching sex that went along with society's idea of that gender. On the flip side, a transgender individual did not necessarily feel one gender or the other all of the time....but feels the need to express themselves in more of a spectrum without actually altering their sex.

While these definitions make total sense to me, I put myself on the other side of the argument and I can understand why those who may not be seeking a surgical fix may have problems with it. I'm sure there are plenty of transsexual individuals out there who don't want to have surgery for reasons like lack of financing or lack of surgical functionality, etc. Just because someone doesn't seek surgery does that invalidate their binary gender even if they weren't born with the right sex? I wouldn't think so.

That aside, I think the primary concern by all of the people arguing for keeping transgender as an umbrella label is that they feel because they are not as understood as transsexual individuals, then they will not receive the same rights. It seems to come down to that issue mostly: rights.

Just a quick note about where I feel I fall in this spectrum of labels. I feel like I was born female with the body of a male mistakenly. After many years of trying to conform to that body and finally realizing there was another way, I took the steps to transition my body to match my sense of self, at least as much as science and medicine would allow me to. I feel I always had a female gender but now have at least what is closer to a female sex. It has made me a much more 'open' person. The mantra I find myself repeating to everyone is: "Just because you don't understand how somebody feels, it does not mean their view is any less right or valid. Everyone is different and the only way to fully understand them is to walk in their shoes." Given this and the definitions as I understand them, I consider myself a transsexual woman.

Now, given all of this, my opinion is simply this: These are all labels. Whether you are transsexual, transgender, crossdresser, genderqueer, or even if you don't find any of these labels fitting you......you still deserve rights. We all fall under the label of : Human Being and should be treated as such and be allowed to express ourselves.

And as for worry over grouping transgender and transsexual people under one umbrella delaying civil rights, yes it will make things more difficult. I agree that it's possible that civil rights may very well more easily be accomplished for binary transsexual people separately. While society is still not quite ready for the gender continuum, they can at least partially understand the gender binary switched. But should we as transsexual people leave our transgender brothers and sisters behind because we can? No way! We already complain about the LGB community leaving us out, why would we do the same, dividing ourselves further?


I've been personally asked before how I would feel about a male coworker coming to work dressed in a dress and with a beard and hairy legs. Do I find the thought of that comfortable? Not really. Should that person not be allowed to do so? No, I don't believe so. It will definitely be a change and something I would have to get used to though.

In history, I'm sure many racist white people were uncomfortable with African-American people receiving rights at first and that many men felt very uncomfortable with women entering the workplace and the like. It's only natural for us to gravitate towards what we are used to and away from what we don't understand.

Yes this will be difficult for society and it will definitely take time to get used to some of the changes in expressing individuality. But the discomfort that needs to be worked through is merely based on tradition and should in no way be elevated to an importance such that it squashes out how others feel they need to express their unique individuality.

Just another opinion voiced by a post-op transsexual female human being.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First Trimester Post-op

As of today, I've officially been post-op for 3 months. It has by no means been an easy recovery. If I compare it to the personal stories I've heard of friends' surgeries it could almost seem to be a complete nightmare.

Three months ago today, I had a healthy "mostly" female body with one simple birth defect that needed correction. A day later, I was met with bleeding that wouldn't stop and extra stitches as a result. A week later, I found my urethra flow cut off because of extra swelling. After I'd returned home, I realized a lot of stitches had come out due to dilation and the extra swelling. This resulted in ugly granulation tissue that wouldn't heal on its own.

Near the end of my 2nd month, after conferring with my surgeon several times, I became aware that I could have silver nitrate treatments administered to the granulation tissue. I had 3 of these in May, thanks to my family doctor and a 4th at the beginning of June when I had a followup with the surgeon herself. I had another treatment today with my doctor and it will probably not be my last.

As I said before, most of the girls I know personally have not had the difficulty I had with my surgery. I won't lie. There were times when I cried and times when I was worried or scared but here I am at a pinnacle point where (hopefully) the worst part of recovery is over. I can now sit on certain seats without any special cushion, I am back to working out again, life is actively returning to my social calendar, wearing pads has become less needed (although liners are still required), and I'm medically cleared for sexual intercourse when I deem appropriate.

Despite its difficulties, the surgery was very much a success and I am very happy about the result. It's odd how a change to a part of the body that's covered by clothes 99% of the time can cause such a change in someone's life. In some ways it's such a small change and yet in others it's just so inconceivably huge. My mom and others have commented on how much I've changed since surgery and I have to admit to being surprised to hear that. I don't necessarily see it but I guess I'm just living my life now, whereas before, I was merely 'in waiting' for this big surgery event before I could go on with my life.

And what an amazing life I have ahead of me. =)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Symbol of My Transition

I mentioned in one of my recent VLOGs that I was planning on getting a tattoo. The design is a butterfly, a symbol of my transition.

Well yesterday I finally had this tattoo done and completely love how it turned out!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Becoming Accustomed

The other day, I had a slight revelation. I know, I know, you're telling yourself "Here we go again, something obvious" but it's actually not.

I realized that I'm getting used to my new life in all forms. This includes life without my biological parents in it. Sure, I have been known to cry about it and miss them periodically but on an everyday basis, I don't end up thinking much about them. They've decided to move on and live in a world they created where I don't exist and there's nothing I can do to change that.

Don't get me wrong, my heart still longs for them to call me daughter, for my mom to want to go shopping and get our nails done together, for my dad to want to go have coffee like the old days, for us all to have BBQs, weekends, and holidays together, all of that and more.

But I guess I'm getting to a point where I can finally accept the fact that they may never come to accept me. I'm coming to terms with it. I've lived this new life for almost 2 years now and they have chosen not to hold much of a part in it. And yet it's been some of the best times of my life.

I'll still try to show them love at every turn but it feels good to know that I can indeed still live with the present circumstances, knowing there's nothing else I can really do about them.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Unique Understanding Inside Us

This morning, as I was getting ready for the day, I was thinking about how happy I am now, living a completely different life than I did 2 years ago.

About a year ago, my counselor had told me it didn't matter if I really was a girl inside biologically, chemically, or medically. If living as a woman was what made me happy and helped me integrate into society better then it was worth changing.

At the time, I refused her reasoning because I believed to make this painful and lossy transition, you had to have biological and medical backing. Not simply mental, as she proposed. But as I was doing my makeup today and looking at myself in the mirror in just my underwear, I could only smile and ponder how I could have ever lived any other way.

And if I can feel like my life is so much more fulfilled even with what medical backing I believe I have, why can't someone who didn't, feel the same? Why can't we live our lives the way we as individuals, need to? Whether you believe it's medical or mental, as long as they're not harming anyone, what does it really hurt?

CNN had an article yesterday about a boy who went through repairative therapy at a very young age and committed suicide at age 38. It's an extremely sad story that struck several different cords with me. Those around him said he lived a fairly 'normal' life after the therapy but it would seem that there was still trouble brewing inside.

While reading this article, my thoughts were taken back to when I was struggling with my own identity and the solutions my parents and church asked me to consider such as testosterone and repairative therapy. Where would I have been today if I had gone along with such plans? I can only assume that if I had survived, I may have still ended up like the boy in the article, committing suicide with many years still left ahead of me.

Society has these standards that we are all supposed to conform to. Some of these standards are merely fads that fade in and out over the years and others have still only been around for a couple of centuries. As our understanding grows about the human way of life, I hope that more people can open their minds and hearts to the differences found in each one of us....even if they'll never fully understand them personally.

Every one of us is a unique human being and while we can relate to other individuals in various ways, there will always be those parts of us that nobody could ever understand unless they lived inside of us.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Passionate Careers

Even though I can play an instrument and sing, I tell people that I’m not a musician. Unlike the musicians that I’ve met, I don’t practice the art constantly or try to better myself in that area. It’s always been more of a side-hobby than anything. Yet I know true musicians live for those moments in their music....it’s their passion.

I’ve recently realized that my brother is the same way. His passion is acting. He doesn’t care if he ever makes it big or how much money he makes. All he cares about is being able to act as much as possible. You should see how his eyes light up as he tries to explain to me what it’s like. He’s truly inspiring.

Lately I’ve wondered what my real passion in life is. Growing up, it was always computers. Working on them, writing programs for them, playing games on them, it didn’t seem to matter. In high school, I knew I was going to graduate college with a degree in Computer Science and end up in some kind of job doing the same. And that’s exactly what happened.

But back then, I lived and breathed computers. It wasn’t work, it was a way of life. Even right up to the beginning of my transition, I was working on an iPhone application at home outside of my standard 9-5 work hours. But that’s where things began to fall off track.

During transition, I found a new person inside me. No longer was I content with being cooped up at home in front of a computer. Sure, I had to deal with it at work and that was fine but when I went home, I found myself going on outings, socializing with friends, joining groups, and in general being much more active. Because of this, I often had fleeting thoughts of going back to school and changing careers but it was always something I could think about later.

I’ve always thought my passion was for computers but now I just don’t know. I still enjoy working with them sometimes but it’s definitely not the same as it used to be. I find that I really enjoy blogging and in particular creating special videos that inspire emotion as some of mine seem to. The feedback I received from others who could relate to any piece of my transition was always very heartfelt.

Because of this, I wondered how I could better my community or see more to the needs of others. Cosmetology and Mental Health Counseling seemed to be interests that sprouted from that thought but I’m still unsure if either is really right for me. And then my thoughts lapse into taking the easy road and staying in the computer field. I make good money and not everyone gets to love their job, right?

Do you remember in high school when you had to take those career placement tests? They never really mattered much to me because I knew I was going to be working with computers. Now I’m finally experiencing what some peers probably did back then, wondering which path to take. The possibilities are endless but I imagine only a couple will be truly right for me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I failed you

I failed you.
I didn't end up being
what you wanted me to be.
All I wanted
my whole life
was to make you both happy.
But I failed you.
I couldn't be that person anymore
that shell, that husk
yes there were smiles
but my eyes did not sparkle
I put aside my needs
for you, subconsciously
knowing it was what you wanted me to do.
But needs rot in a bitter pile
over the years.
Yes I failed you
I have caused you so much pain
hurt, negativity, stress
I broke up the family.
I was your rock
and I broke with brittle fervor.
28 years of living a lie
I had to be my own woman
and it took the brink of death
to convince me.
I know I failed you
but now my eyes sparkle
no longer do I need to try
to be something I'm not
everything I do
is simply natural.
My life is happier than it's ever been
but inside, my heart
bears the marks
of thousands of lashes
my pillow knows no loss of tears
of nightly rainfall
knowing you are both disappointed
to the point that you've disowned me.
I'm not your daughter
because I failed you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What I want someday

I just caught sight of an article from Marie Claire magazine about another transsexual woman outing herself to show that it is possible and it does get better.

Her story was much like most others like it including my own in some ways. I found myself rejoicing and crying with her as I relived my own memories and hers all bunched together. Then when she talked about meeting the right man and how after a while, she explained it to him and he was so understanding and loving, it just overwhelmed me. Another reminder of what I want someday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Walking down that aisle

SPOILER WARNING: This blog post contains spoiler information for the Series of Finale for the TV show, Smallville.

At the end of the second to the last episode of Smallville, Lois decides that she is too much of a liability to marry Clark. She feels like she would merely weigh him down so she tells him she cannot marry him. You should have seen me, my cheeks streaked with tears crying out at the TV "NO!".

A week later, I watched the last episode and near the beginning, Chloe brings Lois Clark's vows and and after reading them, she realizes that nothing else matters but the fact that their love is forever. The only problem is Lois' dad is not in town and so he won't be there to walk her down the aisle. She tells Clark that it'll be fine, she's a big girl and can walk herself down the aisle.

Well the wedding day comes and Lois walks into the chapel, beautiful in her dress, everyone is there waiting. She looks up to the front and sees the best man and maid of honor and the preacher but no Clark. She starts to frown and looks like she may cry and everyone is staring at her...when suddenly Clark walks up behind her and takes her hand and smiles at her, beginning to walk her down the aisle.

Tears can't help but spring from my eyes whenever I think about that part of the scene and when I saw it for the first time, I sobbed uncontrollably. The reasons for my tears multiply based on how well I can relate to their situation. Lois' dad couldn't be there to walk her down the aisle and my dad probably will never feel comfortable doing that for me someday. That romantic love that Lois and Clark show so easily for each other, especially after all they've been through together throughout the show...is something I desire with all of my heart so very much. And imagining the man that I love someday loving me and understanding me enough, that despite the fact that I'm a 'big girl', he would know that I still feel very small sometimes and need his loving touch. To have him surprise me and walk me down the aisle like that, with nothing but love for me in his eyes.....overwhelms my heart with conflicting and flowing emotions.

Joy for these fictional characters that portray so much love for each other, hope at the prospect of that happening someday to me, remorse that my dad cannot be there for me in that way, and of course longing as I wonder if and when I'll meet that person.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you all. Here's a link to the video clip showing the scene that touched me so deeply: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAy4gFwieTs

Monday, May 16, 2011

Can't take the romance out of the girl

Someone commented on the last blog post saying that now that surgery was over, there was another journey ahead of me: Life. I can definitely see that starting to unfold.

It's interesting. Since I've become more attuned and satisfied with my body, I've started discovering more about myself sexually. I'm at a place in my life where I can freely admit to myself that I have bedroom desires that many people probably don't have but I may have been afraid to admit such things before because of the possibility of it being confused with the transition I just went through. Don't worry, I have no plans of going into great detail about any such things but the open and honest part of me still wanted to share this new piece of my life with you all.

Unsurprisingly, any raw sexual desires I have, I find myself wrapping in familiar packaging. I don't just want sex with anybody. I want it with someone I love deeply, like no other....and equally as important, someone who loves me just as much. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking down on anybody who enjoys casual encounters. I'm just expressing my own desire for sex to continue to only be with someone I know, love, and trust completely.

A friend of mine spent the night this weekend because he had a falling out with his roommate and needed to cool off. He left early the next morning for work while I was still in bed but before he departed, he softly kissed me on the cheek. Besides thinking that was really "sweet", I took note of how such a simple act made me feel loved. Maybe it's because a kiss on the cheek is so much more innocent than on the lips, I don't know.

It reminds me of a dream I had a couple months ago:

I was looking out of the window of a house with an unidentified but familiar man standing behind me and it started to snow. It snowed rather quickly and the whole yard was covered in less than a second or two. I said aloud : “wow I’ve never seen it snow that fast before” (This was a hint that it was a dream but I didn't notice). I stood there and took in the beauty and leaned back on the guy and he held me close. Then he ever so slowly, holding me like I was a fragile china doll, softly kissed me on the cheek. It was so intimate as his lips took a lifetime in their touch softly brushing against my cheek. I was so overwhelmed that I felt like crying tears of pure joy.

So today I found myself once again pondering when I'd find true love. I guess no matter what, you just can't take the romance out of the girl. ;)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger's Block

EDIT: For some reason Blogger did a rollback or something? This post wasn't lost thankfully because I had it as a draft before I posted it but any comments that were made on it previously will not show up now =(

I know it's been quite a while since I've actually written something instead of just gabbing via video so I thought I'd give it a try. I feel like I may be having writer's block...or is it blogger's block?

Eight weeks ago today, I was entering surgery. It seems like much more time than that has passed. Healing has been slow but I've still passed several milestones and my mood is beginning to pick up. I am receiving silver nitrate treatments from my family doctor for some areas that needed some extra help and I have a followup appointment with Marci on June 1. I'm still very happy I had the surgery and life is beginning to go on.

For a long time now, I've had fleeting memories of my life before and they oddly feel like another lifetime and like they happened to another person. Almost like an odd dream. The newest addition to that is that I cannot really remember what it felt like to have the old parts before surgery. I mean I know I had them but in the same way that the old life feels like just a dream....they feel like even less than that.

That being said, I'm still so impatient! I want to wear my jeans! I want to wear tights! I want to sit without my donut! I want to not wear pads all of the time! I want to have sex! What? I do! lol. So yeah, the healing process has a long way to go for even those things.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Patience for Surgery Results

A friend of mine, referring to the surgery, asked me today "So are you happy with the results?" and I was struck when I heard myself say: "No".

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to have had the surgery and be rid of the dysphoria but if the way my vagina looks and feels right now was as good as it was going to get, I would definitely be less than satisfied. It's the knowledge that it's still healing and may take a long time to really look and feel like it's supposed to, that keeps me going.

It's very similar to when I first started HRT. If someone were to have asked me if I was happy with the results of HRT after 1 month, I would have had the same mixture of happiness and dissatisfaction with a sense of hope that more is yet to come.

And yet another example is being where I'm now with breast growth. I happily fill an A-cup now but I definitely need more to have the proper proportions for my body to look and feel right. That being said, I've still been able to enjoy where I'm at in this moment, knowing that it's not the end-all and that I still have more time and growth to come.

So back to the surgery. It's been almost 4 weeks now and I have been through a lot. You can't really say my surgery was the smoothest around. I've had 3 complications that snowballed into each other along with a few stressful things going on in my life that sure didn't help. The combination of these things seems to have slowed down my healing by a fair margin and while that frustrates me, knowing it will get better keeps me going. Patience really sucks sometimes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Does failing in transition = speaking out?

I came across an article today regarding a woman who claims to have transitioned Female-to-Male for a time in her life and then "changed back" after she met God. She is now testifying against a bill that is trying to be pushed through California congress that would simply allow for children to learn the truth of homosexuality and transexuality in school.

I almost wanted to vomit when I read about her testimony. Don't get me wrong, I don't judge her for her lifestyle. She claims to have felt like a boy for most of her life but then "changed back" and is the happiest she's ever been. Well that's really great for her....some people are just not meant to transition. She is most certainly not alone as there have been others who have tried to transition and failed or just found it wrong for them. What revolts me so much is that she feels the need to judge others and ignore the fact that others around her who do feel deeply transsexual are the happiest they've ever been in their successful transitioned lives.

I of course speak from experience. Yes I've had many trials and it was not easy to make such a change in my life but I am truly happy at who I've been able to become. But just because I was successful in my own transition, it does not mean that I should speak out against those who have felt it wasn't right for them.

I was raised in a very one-sided world and since I transitioned, I have come across so many different kinds of people, it's amazing. Some of them I can understand what they're going through and others I simply cannot. But one thing I continue to remind myself now is the phrase: "Everyone's different.".

What does that mean? It means none of us our the same. None of us feel the same about our bodies, our identities, our lives. Sure there may be similarities but it all comes down to the fact that we are all unique human beings. Because of that, we are always going to disagree or be unable to understand something about others around us.....because we are not in their body or their life.

Trying to see from someone else's shoes is sometimes impossible but acknowledging that we are all different tends to open our minds more to the possibility that their point of view could be just as valid.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Realization Shedding Cocoons

Today is 20 days post-op....20 days since a metaphorical second birth. 3 days in the hospital, 3 days in a recovery house, 3 days in a hotel, 1 day flying, and 10 days at home.

When a caterpillar goes into its cocoon to become a butterfly, it can take as long as 5 instars before it blossoms as a new butterfly. An instar is the period of 2-4 weeks between sheddings of "skin" of the cocoon. Each time, the shedding happens, the pupa's new skin gets bigger allowing for more room for growth.

I feel like I'm experiencing the same thing. I experienced the hospital and all its pain and torment, even a fearful complication, headache and nausea and some rest at the recovery house, dilation for the first time at the hotel, other possible complications, over-exhausting myself on the day of flight, coming home and dealing with the beginnings of a new life, all the time while continuing to heal and dealing with physical pain. Each new experience is like another instar of the process. And I know at some point soon, I'll be able to shed that last cocoon and spread my wings.

Remember when I said there would be a lot of firsts happening? Well that is definitely the case. Two days ago, I had one of those stupid revelations I've spoken of. I realized that I would never....have to tuck.....again. Stupid right? I mean is Captain Obvious speaking here or what? But it really finally hit me and I couldn't help but smile.

I have a feeling more of those revelations are going to happen. Everyday that goes by, my heart becomes a little more grateful, more joyful.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Transitioning Past a Past of Transitioning

In the coming days, you may notice some changes about this blog and the connected youtube channel. The names and titles and even domain names are going to be changing again.

The reasoning behind this is that I would like to be able to live life without worrying about who can google my first name and find out that the 4th link from the top leads directly to the inner depths of my soul and my past on this very blog. I'd rather be the one who eventually tells people (when I deem necessary) about such things instead of having them find out on their own.

Mind you, the changes I am making will not only take some time to take effect but they are also not foolproof. I don't plan on changing the content of any of my past videos even if they do mention my name and of course bear at least a similarity to how I look now and will in the future. But it will at least provide a certain comfort level for myself not only when dating but also when meeting new friends.

I hold on to the fact that my past is just that: my past. And not everyone I come across needs to know about it. At the same time, I've been told countless times that my story and all of the documentation that goes with it has been an inspiration to many and so I refuse to take it all down.

I do plan to continue to keep up this blog and the attached video logs but I have a feeling that with time, how often it gets updated will slow down as the updates transform from a transitioning woman to just the life of a woman.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Letter to a Mother

How can you be so cruel?
How can you go through feeling what it's like to lose a mother
and then not even begin to see from my shoes?
Do you realize that every time you send me an email
my heart is filled with such grief
and my eyes with such tears
that I want to cut my throat to make it stop?
And yet instead of cutting you off completely
I leave myself open for you to stomp on my heart again
only because I want to love you somehow
through your hate, past your vindication.
Do you wish that I was dead?
Would that be any different than what it is now?
Can you ever understand that this has been life or death for me?
The problem isn't that you refuse to understand
it's that you're too afraid
to even try.

The 12 days of Post-op

So today is 12 days since my surgery. I have experienced some amount of boredom being stuck at home (for the most part) so keep that in mind when approaching the following "12 days of post-op" I wrote up to the tune of "The 12 days of Christmas". It's very tongue and cheek.

On the twelfth day of post-op, my surgeon gave to me:
twelve kindle books, eleven baby wipes, ten bathroom breaks, nine hundred airmiles, eight ibuprofen, seven hours of swelling, six yards of packing, five headaches mean....four bouts of nausea, three new stitches, two percocets, and a catheter with which I could pee.

But in all seriousness, things are going very well. I'm still trying to contemplate the change, let it wash over me like a new morning....and it just hasn't quite happened yet. There are several reasons for this, I think. One is that I don't have quite all my feeling down there yet and it's not fully healed and pretty yet (although it's definitely getting there). Another is probably because the change really isn't all that different, it doesnt make me pass more, etc. Thirdly, for some reason going through surgery, I was mostly very calm and almost emotionless. My mom commented on it several times and I'm not sure if it was the testosterone in my system or what.

So yeah, I'm still waiting for it to hit me. =)

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Journey

My mom gave me a gift after I had my surgery. It's a Journey Ring.

What is a Journey Ring? eHow.com says:
A journey [ring] is a relatively new kind of jewelry that is used to commemorate and recognize special moments, dreams, adventures and journeys that occur in life. These [pieces of jewelry] can either be presented as gifts to loved ones or they can even be purchased for yourself to commemorate something special you plan to do.

Mom said it was a symbol of my own journey, this transition I've made in my life. And what a journey it has been...and still will be....for many years to come.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Home"

The last three days were spent at Gwen's Post Op Recovery Place. Recovery has been slow but steady. We left this morning after saying goodbye to Gwen who gave us big hugs and kisses and told us what street to not work. I, in perfect consistency, immediately got on the free way heading away from San Mateo and had find a place to exit and turn around. Traffic on 101 was back and forth good and bad, but we finally got back to the hotel. At first I thought I had misplaced some of the items she needed for her appointment at Marci's be we found them. Dr. Bower's office was running behind and it was long wait. She was finally called back to get her packing out, the catheter out and be dilated the first time. She came out with a small smile on her face but looked tired. We were both hungry and glad to get back to the hotel. I fixed her a couple of simple things and then went to the store for more food for the next couple days.

I forgot to bring in her pads that she needs to lay on while she's doing her dilation and she had to wait for me to get back. I did finally quit lolly-gagging around Safeway and came back. I brought in the pads and she laid one out on the bed and did her first dilation herself. I watched her close. I did not see any pain or discomfort on her face. And she got 6" of depth. Really good start!

She has done just amazing through all of this! The headaches and the nausea, the bladder discomfort, the bleeding.. She's come through it all with a calm I can't fathom. I just can't.

-Shannon

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday Evening

The last two days have been a little bit hectic.  Yesterday [Friday] Dr. Bowers came by, looked Debra over, removed the drain and gave her some instructions for the next three days.  I went to the airport in Oakland and picked up her Auntie Korine and Uncle Dave.  Debra and I were texting back and forth and she told me Gwen, the lovely, fierce woman who runs the Post-Op Recovery Place [http://www.postoprecoveryplace.com/] was on the way to pick Debra up and Auntie Korine, Uncle Dave and I headed for San Francisco and the Post-op place.  Our plan [plans never survive contact with the enemy!!] had been to find the house, and grab something to eat and then go back, hoping that Debra would be there by the time we finished.  We got to San Francisco and I lost all confidence in where I was going and got off the freeway -- turns out, just one exit earlier than I was supposed to.  Then we really got turned around trying to get to where we were going.  We finally pulled up to the house, just as Debra and Gwen were shutting the garage door.  We tried to stay out of the way and still help her get settled. Then Auntie, Uncle and I went down to finally catch lunch!

When we got back, Gwen let us know how things go here at the Post Op Recovery Place.  She has a way about her I can only call fierce!  I should try to define what I mean by "fierce."  There is no gray with this woman!  She is positive and energetic!  And she takes no shit of anyone! She won't answer the door in the morning before 11AM and we have to say goodnight by 8PM.  She is intensely interested in what Debra can eat and pumped me for everything!  But to say she works with her clients is such an understatement I cannot begin to describe it.  She is fierce for the women that come here! Fierce for their rest! Fierce their privacy! Fierce for their well being!  I have NO reservations about the health and well being of my girl here.  If come back next year, this is the place I am doing my recovery!

Debra was looking really gray yesterday and her anemia is a real concern to all of us.  Auntie Korine, Uncle Dave and I went to Trader Joe's and picked up some food we think she will eat and brought it back.  Yesterday she was still having real problems with pain and nausea, so eating was not her most favorite activity.  She didn't sleep well last night due to her pain and a severe [8 out of 10] headache.  The percocet/oxycodone is doing very little for her pain and is a source for her nausea. The doctor told us she should try some ibuprofen and today that seemed to help. She got up this afternoon and took a shower and felt and looked much better. The doctor prescribed a sleep aide to help her get some rest.

She had visitors today.  Sophia and Zoe stopped by on their way to Washington and visited for a couple hours.  Auntie Korine and Uncle Dave visited with her a couple of hours too.

I cannot say enough…  It really makes me choke up to think of Auntie Korine and Uncle Dave giving her the space to be herself, and to spend the time out of their busy lives to come up here and give her support.  And it was important that Sophia and Zoe came by for a little bit.

After Sophia and Zoe, and then Auntie Korine and Uncle Dave left, Gwen gave her the sleeping meds and she was out hard for almost 3 hours.  She came up to eat with the other post-op woman here and had a very good conversation.  She ate all that was given her including a second helping of salad!

She's gone back down to bed.  I am going to close up here and go down and give her a good night kiss and then go back to the hotel.

Again, always I guess, I really ask that you keep her in your prayers.  She is not here at the Pos Op Recovery Place for fun and games or vacation.  She still has a great deal of healing yet to do and your prayers are essential to that.

-Shannon

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feverish Nightmares

When hearing about "sex change" surgery, most men seem to respond by shuddering, cupping their own genitals to make sure they're still there, and trying to hide a slightly horrified expression on their face.

On a separate subject, they say that a certain percentage of post-op trans women experience a slight regret after they've had surgery.

Given these 2 bits of information, I wanted to share with you a dream I had last night. I was in a lot of pain last night both at the surgical site as well as my head. I didn't get much sleep but for the little time I did, I guess I had dreams.

I found myself awoken in my bed and something felt weird downstairs so I checked my underwear and to my ultimate surprise and disgust, I still seemed to have male genitalia!! I wanted to scream but no sound came out and then I woke up again. This time, I felt like there was something leaking in my underwear, which was odd because my catheter should have been taking care of that. So I went to the bathroom and pulled the underwear down only to once again find the dreaded male bits I had paid so much to get rid of. I found myself crying and screaming things like "How can this be????!?!" and "What happened?!?!?!?". Then I ran outside and saw some familiar people barbequing and ran towards them and started to see if I could jump up in the air and fly ....and I could! I was relieved. It was really just still a dream.

I forced myself to end the dream and woke up in the real world and started crying, half afraid to check my underwear again. But I did and my new female anatomy was a sight for sore eyes. I cried in relief and frustration. So much for sleeping.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Post-op: A complication and getting up


Before I go into Day 2 of being post-op, I have to cover the events of last night.

After I made the "Day after surgery" VLOG, I realized by the hoarseness of my voice that'd overdone it so I settled down with no other plans for the rest of the day. They came in to change my bandage again and within 20 minutes or so I noticed that I was bleeding through the bandage again. I told mom with tears in my eyes and frustration in my voice : "I'm bleeding again!" and she ran out to get the nurse. They called Dr. Bowers in and re-bandaged me up again until she got there. They also set this big surgery packet on my side table, it looked like the kind that has everything someone needs to perform open heart surgery. Inside, I thought "Oh no" but outside, I tried to stay calm. I still had tears in my eyes though. Mom pointed out to me the major surgery kit sitting there and I told her "I know, it's like what Dexter uses." She gave me a look halfway between wanting to laugh and wanting to cry.

When Marci arrived, she removed the bandage and saw all the bleeding and told my mom to leave the room. The nurses helped her by bringing her sutures (stitches?) and a needle and scissor like thingies that held the needle. I got to watch as she sewed me up in a few places down there...I couldn't see exactly what she was doing but I did see the needle and thread go in and out of me a few times. Thank God I couldn't feel it. But she finally stopped the bleeding and they rebandaged me up. She said that this was a little unusual but not too much, probably happens every couple months or so. Given she does this surgery 4-5 times a week, that's probably a 1 in 40 chance of it happening to someone. I got the unlucky ticket but she fixed it. If that's the only complication, I'll be thankful. Because of that though, I lost a lot more blood...not enough to need a transfusion..but still.

After that ordeal last night, I was relieved and with the help of ibuprofin and ambien, i did get to sleep and I think at least close to 8 hours of it. This morning I had a headache, however, and I began to feel a bit nauseous. Dr. Bowers came by and they removed the bandage permanently and there was no extra blood seepage! So her stitching the night before had definitely fixed things. We switched to just a maxi pad and panties. They also removed the bandage on my neck, revealing just a thin pad of gauze with a bit of seepage from what will be a scar for a while. When I looked in the mirror at my neck, I was amazed! The adam's apple was completely gone. It was so flat!

The rest of the day was mostly spent resting and trying to get rid of the headache and nausea. Around mid-afternoon, the headache had been reduced to a lull and the nausea was not as bad so I told the nurse I wanted to try to walk and/or sit in a chair. This is all part of the process. Every surgeon is different but for Marci, her patients get up after 48 hrs just to get circulation going and such. Well I got out of bed, standing wasn't too bad, walking was harder than I thought it would be and then sitting in a chair on a foam donut....was just odd. I wasn't sure how to place myself on the thing. I ended up sticking my butt into it in such a way that it left me in a half kind of reclined position. It still left me with a pain level of 3. The nurse helped me up after a little bit and I tried to walk across the room. Every step I took, my nausea got worse to the point where I thought I was going to vomit, so I turned back and laid back down into my bed. I was immediately relieved of the nausea and I noticed that my whole body had broken out in sweat. It was a workout just to walk! Soon after that ordeal, I had dinner and that helped ease my aching hunger pangs that were fighting with the nausea all day.

I've talked to girls who have been through this surgery and they always say "Don't overdo it" and they talk about how they walked all over the place and it really took a toll on them. Well I've tried to keep that in mind but what I'm realizing today is that it's not just the physically walking around that can take a toll but also the vlogging I did and even writing this blog post. It's taken me a few hours while resting in between paragraphs just to get this written out.

It would be easier if I could actually get to sleep. Because I can't, I'm stuck for most of the day laying around with my eyes closed, trying to sleep.

That being said, I'm going to sign off and rest up some more. =)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thank you, RAF

So today was my last day at work and now I'm officially on vacation for at least 1 month. This is starting to become real and yet sometimes I can still hardly believe it. I've caught myself wondering who that person was, a year and a half ago, for the 28 years prior. The old life just seems like a dream.

Throughout my transition, I've tried to check in with myself: Is this really who I am? Is this worth it? Can life really be this good? And the answer after more careful pondering was always yes. Sometimes it's just so hard to imagine ever being that awkward computer nerd most people remember me as.

I wrote an email to the managers and a choice few others at work, letting them know my status on the projects I'd been working on as well as my availability for emergency bug fixes and builds during the next month (excluding next week). At the end of the email, I wrote: "Thank you all for working with me to make this happen." My eyes started tearing up after I wrote that and I realized how grateful I am to have the employer I have, especially during this difficult transition.

So many people with similar transitions are often fired or laid off simply because they need to stop living a lie and yet for some reason I was given this blessing to be able to keep my job and even still, be accepted at work.

I just want to say thank you again, RAF Technology. Know that all of you have helped this woman find peace.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nerves?

I'm on my 10th day of re-experiencing testosterone in my system and it's been like a roller coaster. Yesterday was probably the worst day so far and even worse that night. I've been keeping a private journal regarding my days of "Testosterone Re-entry". I'd like to share an excerpt of that from yesterday:

I had olive garden salad for lunch and some home made nachos for dinner. Not much really. Still sweating like crazy and at both the hair place and at Olive Garden, I felt self conscious....the look in peoples' eyes was one of curiosity which usually means I'm not passing. After lunch, my headache came back no matter how much water I drank. I started getting cranky and emotional at work by the end of the day. I cried about something else at work but I Forget what it was now. I ran some errands and went home and tried on my goods from Victoria's Secret. The bikini tops did not fit very nicely and it wasnt the size of my boobs as much as how wide my chest is in comparison. I was really sad about that and frustrated. Then I tried on the new bras. These bras are NOT ultra-padded but barely at all, slightly pushup but when I tried all 3 of them on, I looked in the mirror and I felt myself and they fill the cup and it looked amazing and I cried tears of joy. It just felt and looked so right for the first time in a long time....like it had a long time coming. Also I think the realization: "I can fit into regular bras now!" was HUGE.

After that I watched a couple TV shows and found myself unable to hold back both tears of sadness and joy at the events in both of those shows. I really am an emotional wreck tonight. Mom thinks it may be at least partially nerves. People ask if I'm nervous and I say no, I'm not .... but I suppose there is a part of me that is nervous but the optimist side of me won't let it dominate me and cause me to worry....so maybe it's getting expressed in other ways instead.

As you can see, last night was quite an emotional upheaval. Probably because of the weird mix of hormones in my system right now and maybe part of it is really about nerves too. The surgery that's coming up in just 5 days will be life-changing and there are so many things that can go wrong outside of the mandatory and difficult healing process itself. I guess it's good to remember that and acknowledge the nerves even if I still continue to let optimism exude from me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day

So today is International Women's Day and everyone seems to be blogging about it. I figured I'd join the crowd. Today also has a couple other milestones. It's going to be my last session of yoga for a long time. I am really going to miss yoga and I will have to find out from Marci when I can start it again because I really love it. And of course the surgery is now exactly one week away.

That being said, Glamour Magazine had a couple ideas of how to celebrate International Women's Day. I picked 2 of these ideas.

People tell me often I have a lot to be proud of and that always makes me feel good, whether they point out in detail what those things are or not. It's much harder however to try to point out my own accomplishments myself. I always feel like I'm boasting or having too much pride. That being said, I gave it my best and these 5 are the things I came up with:

1. How I've been able to handle criticism of my life and path in a more mature way
2. That I've been able to keep a positive attitude despite some negative circumstances
3. How after having such a closed-minded background, I've been able to be open to other people's circumstances and beliefs even if I don't completely understand them.
4. How I've been able to be happy without a significant other currently, even if I want that to change in the future.
5. How recently I've been able to be partially satisfied with some of the changes and milestones I've encountered in my transition, even if I still hope for more.

Also, I'd like to thank all the wonderful women in my life. I'll start with my adopted mother, Shannon. I probably spend most of my time with her and she is the woman I am currently closest to. She has been the mother a newfound daughter especially needs.

I'd like to thank both of my cousins, Missy and Ashley for how they've treated me throughout my whole transition, in a very caring and understanding way, even while having to balance that with respecting how my parents feel about it. My dad's sister, Aunt Korine has also been a very supportive woman in my life but especially when I transitioned.

There are so many more women I'd like to thank but I cannot do them by name because it would go on forever. With that in mind, all of the girl friends I've had growing up, women in the work place who have supported me and respected me, other women in the family who have been supportive as well, the many many girls I've met at Trans Support Groups and Events or even online, and the groups of women that have included me into their midst so easily and with understanding: my zumba girls and crafting group girls.

Finally, I'd also like to thank my mother, grandmother, ex-wife, and sister as well. They may not be supportive of my transition but they have still been caring, loving, female figures in my life in so many ways.

Thank you all, I celebrate all of you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ten

When I was 10 years old, I was out at recess with my best friend (who happened to be a girl) and we were just hanging out talking by the basketball courts. She was a tomboy and she mentioned to me that boys had it easy and she listed off things that she wanted to do but felt like she couldn't because she was a girl. I don't know what about that conversation made me feel comfortable enough to share but the words that came out of my mouth were: "Yeah, well I wish I was a girl".

I've tried for a long time now to remember how she reacted to that. It's like the rest of that memory is blocked out forever. I don't remember her reacting negatively though, I think that might have made more of an impression. But it was still something I never expressed again in that way so who knows.

When I was in 10th grade, I had a different best friend but again she was a girl. I was over at her house hanging out and she decided she was going to paint my nails. I rolled my eyes and laughed about it as she painted each nail with light green and a purple dot. It looked ridiculous and she laughed and I found myself making comments like "what are you doing to me?" and laughing with her. Inside, I know I felt something different, a slight serenity.

Instead of simply asking my mother for nail polish remover, I went to bed that night and went to school with painted nails. All day long people looked at me weird and made comments like "WTF dude?". I of course responded rolling my eyes and saying "yeah, she did it to me" like I was helpless. That didn't completely satisfy the inquiries though. By the end of the day, I was begging my friend to take it off...and I never let her do that again.

10 years ago this month is when I met another best friend. A best friend who appreciated my feminine qualities in a romantic fashion. A best friend who became my girlfriend. A best friend who 1.5 years later would become my fiance and another 1.5 years after that, my wife.

10 months ago, I moved into my own apartment and started my own life anew. My ex-wife and I divorced amicably after 5 years of marriage. I'm no longer afraid to speak my mind about who I am, I no longer worry about what people think about me wearing nail polish, and I now date boys exclusively. You could say a lot has changed.

And in just 10 days from now, my dreams of being physically complete will finally be realized.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Joyful Union

Tomorrow is March 5th and my ex-wife is getting re-married. First of all, let me say that I am completely happy for her and her to-be husband. The fact that she has found happiness so soon gives me great joy and I know for a fact that it has helped her move on much easier than if she hadn't met him. That aside, from what I've heard of him, he seems like an excellent man so that just makes it all the better. All I ever wanted was for her to be happy and in turn, for me to be happy. It just turned out that we couldn't be happy together.

Ironically, the day we filed for divorce was March 5th of last year. We had been separated for about 3 months already by that time and I didn't see any hope of her ever accepting me as a woman and she didn't see a whole lot of hope of me ever wanting to be her 'man' again. So we amicably agreed to terms and filed the paperwork.

On March 10th, she came over to the house to get something or other and was still seriously going on about if I'd changed my mind yet and I told her: "You can't even say my name, how could we possibly be together?". She left crying and I thought she said "Bye Debra" as she left. That tiny act of respect set me off and I cried my eyes out after she left. But it made me question, could we really work out after all? So I wrote her the following email to make sure she knew what it would really mean if we stayed together:

Dearest Baybo~

I left you a voicemail but I guess it's been on my mind tonight so I thought I'd go into more detail. When you left, crying, I'm not sure what you said and maybe it was my imagination but I thought I heard you say "Bye Debra". Anyway, because of that I cried for a long time after you left. I cried because I do love you and because I DO need you to call me by my name, to use female pronouns when referring to me even to other people, to really and truly believe that I am a woman and still love and accept me as I am that way. You say you can do some of those things because you're feeling desperate but I think you need to understand what that really means.

It's not just using my correct name or female pronouns around me, it's using them around others. When my parents ask "How is J***** doing?", it's you responding "Debra is doing really well, thanks. She's been writing iphone apps again.....etc". The same goes for people at your church or anybody else at all. It's realizing and believing that I am a woman, that God allowed me to be born with a male body because of sin in the world. No matter if you believe I was born this way or that it's a product of my raising, the fact is, it is who I am and God loves me as his daughter. It also means when we have sex (pre or post operative surgery), that you are not only ok with it but embrace it...not because you consider me a man but because you love me as a woman. It would truly be a lesbian relationship.

I'm at a point where I need to be loved for who I am, as a woman. I don't want all the male roles, in fact they are painful to me. I want to be taken care of, held, loved, acknowledged, adored, etc.

I also realize that even if you really could bring your heart, mind, and soul to believe these things and be able to begin loving me in this way, that there are other things that are different now too. We go to 2 different churches because our beliefs about homosexuality differ, among others. You want to go back to school, I need to save for surgeries. Both my family and your family are speaking to you while neither speak to me.

I guess my point is, no you should not stay with me because we made solemn vows to do so no matter what. That's not a good reason in my opinion. It's a blind blanket statement that has no meaning because it simply means staying married for the heck of it without any of the love and acceptance that is needed in a real marriage. It would only be one of roommates, something I don't want any part of.

No, you should stay with me if you love me enough to really understand me and open your heart to my changes, knowing I've become a healthier, happier person and reflecting the image of God in female likeness as any other woman of God would. In all this, you'd have to love me for the person that I am while accepting that that person is indeed a woman.

Can you do all of this?

The next day, she called me up and told me straight up that she read my email and she could not adhere to all of what it entailed. And so our divorce stayed filed and later became final on June 9th. I think, for the better of both of us.

We're not exactly on speaking terms right now but to close, I'd just like to say something to both Jessica and her new husband:
Congratulations to both of you. I am truly filled with joy that you two found each other and I pray your marriage will succeed where ours failed. I hope you have the happiest years of your lives from here on out.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sunny Revival

Colors painted across the sky
remind me of a bedroom before 8
a variegation painted in love
in an unlikely place;
a desert with little rain
except for infant showers
or midnight pitter-patters
from nightmares fading.
Soap opera 'resting'
magnetic colorful alphabets
giving myself away
unable to lie.
Thoughts of the past flow
to the present schism
where an endless downpour
keeps us apart.
Future hopes must include
open, accepting, loving arms
a rainbow in the distance
before sunny revival.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Poem Resurrection: Will Somebody Look Inside?

I haven't resurrected one of my poems from my past in quite a while so I figured I'd throw one out there. I wrote this poem sometime around my Sophomore year of High School. (1997) At the time I was writing about the fact that I'd been rejected by girls for so long up to that point and I felt like I never looked right on the outside so I kept asking "won't somebody look inside?". Ironic to realize now that there was much more inside than simply good qualities and romantic desires.

Note: It was also back when I was stuck on rhyme-only poetry hehe.


Will somebody look inside and see what I’m about?
Will somebody look inside, instead of looking out?
Will somebody know me well, and also understand,
needing a hug sometimes, or to just hold their hand?
Will somebody see right through, to who I am inside,
at all the things in me, I sometimes tend to hide?
Will somebody lie on my shoulder, in need or just to sleep?
Like me, will somebody wonder, looking into eyes so deep?
Will somebody be there to talk to, each other’s secrets to share,
someone to spend some time with, and have a chance to care?
Will somebody be there to laugh at, knowing it’s all in fun?
Will somebody understand me, in all I do and I have done?
Will somebody let me hold them, and from everything, defend?
Will somebody actually like me, and be more than just a friend?
Will somebody understand my feelings, without becoming afraid?
Let me express how I feel, through poetry I’ve made?
Maybe this is a lot to ask, and too much to provide,
but still I ask this question, Will somebody look inside?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love that is "sexual orientation and gender identity"-blind

I realize many in the trans community not only do not believe in God or Christ but even more importantly, have been hurt, shunned, humiliated, dehumanized, etc....by so-called Christians. I am one of those people despite my sustaining beliefs.

That being said, there are those of us who still believe and realize that Jesus loves everybody, despite sexual orientation or gender identity. I really found the following dream/testimony/writeup inspiring and it made me cry. So with the permission of the author, I am sharing it with you all.

Update! Lance (the author of the quoted text below) has an official interview on Gender Identity Magazine Online!


"Meeting Jesus"
I'm sauntering through my local mall one day. I'm minding my own business. My mind teeters somewhere between being consumed by my own thoughts and what's going on around me. I alert to some excitement stirring nearby, and sense an electricity rising in the air. My curiosity gets the better of me, so I move closer to see what is going on.

"Jesus is here!"
"Here? Now?"
"Yeah! Down the escalator in the main floor open area! He wants us to come on over and get to know Him!"

WOW! Jesus is here! I quickly do a spot check on my clothes, and nervously make sure my hair looks okay in a window reflection, and head in the direction I was pointed in.

I'm on the second floor when I look over the railing to the area indicated below, and am surprised by what I see. There is already a huge crowd surrounding Him! There are mothers with young children gathering around, there are people of every age, nationality and economic status crowding in as well. The press of the crowd is amazing! But I notice that whoever Jesus is talking to obviously feels loved and special as if they are the only ones in the room at that moment. From my vantage point I can see the way He connects with them, the way He looks at them, the way He LOVES them. It's undeniable and amazing!

I leave my perch and quickly make for the escalator. I don't even wait for the stairs to move me down, I jog down them, and by the time I reach the bottom I'm running. I approach the back of the crowd and notice now that I'm no longer on the second floor, I can no longer see past the crowd of people as they desperately try to get close to Him.

I press in, jump and stretch to try and see. I finally start working my way around the crowd to find a place to squeeze in. I finally find and area where there seems to be a little more organization, and figure "Hey! This will work!"

I see smiling the faces of those that are helping organize the crowd, and anxiously wait my turn! My stomach is in knots, I'm going to meet JESUS!!

It seems like forever but I know the wait will be worth it, so I stand in my spot slowly inching forward as time means nothing to me anymore. ALL I want now it to be close to Him…to have Him love on me the same way I observed He did the others when I was watching from upstairs.

I'm getting close now…I can see glimpses of Him through the crowd. Suddenly a smiling man approaches me. Ah! One of the crowd control guys! Wait…his expression is changing. He scrutinizes me head to toe. He stops directly in front of me and I can no longer see Jesus . I'm not sure what's up, but the more he looks at me the more his countenance changes to one of stern resolution.

"You're here to see Jesus?"
"Yes sir…"
"You're a female.."
"Huh?"
"Why are you trying to look like a male?"

His face gets more stern with each question. I feel my face growing hot and red. Suddenly it FEELS like every eye is on me. I glance around, the scene hasn't changed much..only a couple of people are noticing the exchange and I gulp back thankful tears that no one else really has noticed as much as I thought. I try to raise on my tiptoes to look at Jesus again, but Stern-Face-Man shifts his position and once again blocks my view.

"Do you like boys or girls?"
"Girls, sir..I always ha….."
"Then I'm afraid you can't approach Jesus. You know you'd be MUCH better suited to see Him if you took care of a few things first!" He raises an eyebrow that leaves no doubt as to what he is referring to, and that he will not give me clearance until I do those "things".

I stand there as if slapped. He stands there like a stone. I know I am whipped. I swallow and slowly turn around. I start to walk away. My heart is broken and I feel as though I will be ill…Jesus doesn't want to see me…this man had conveyed that to me very clearly.

What I did NOT (COULD not) see during the whole exchange, was beautiful Jesus. His head had snapped up from what He was doing and was staring intently in our direction. I didn't (couldn't) see Him looking right at the back of Stern-Face's head as he grilled me down. As I was walking away I didn't see Stern-Face turn around to Jesus to give Him the thumbs up for sending me away, and I DIDN'T see the tears in Jesus' eyes and the sad shake of His head as He looked back at Stern-Face.

My stomach felt as if I had been kicked. Suddenly as I was trying not to break down and was wiping my eyes on my sleeve, the entire mall went silent…I stopped, looked up with cry-reddened eyes, and noticed that everything was still moving around me. Life was going on, but I could hear nothing…

Suddenly a booming voice peals through the air. A voice that shook me to my shoes! "LANCE!" I whirl around and see Jesus standing up! He must be standing on something because I can see Him past and above the crowd, and He is looking at me with the most love filled eyes I have seen! "LANCE!!" I glance around and no one seems to be noticing this exchange…this is personal between me and Him! "LANCE!!!" It is loving and….desperate? As if my walking away would absolutely break His heart! Our eyes locked, and suddenly it was like we were the only two in the place. He glances at Stern-Face (who was oblivious and was scanning the crowd like a hawk) and looks back at me with tear filled eyes, and suddenly throws His arms open wide!

In that moment, I KNOW I HAVE to get to Him! I start running towards Him and encounter the crowd. I am sobbing by this time, but not with the pain from before, but with the love that is erupting inside me for and from Jesus. I start pushing my way through and BAM! I run into a brick wall, I glance up to see I have run right back into Stern-Face and realize he has moved SWIFTLY to block my path when he saw me returning. A new wave of fear shoots through me, but this time I glance past his head and can see Jesus still elevated and looking straight into my eyes. The love in His eye pierce me to the core, and His arms are still open to me. Strength pours through me when I realize that THIS time I can see Jesus' eyes, and NOT only that of Stern-Face blocking my view like last time This gives me the strength to look at Stern-Face with a new expression; no fear, no shame, only a KNOWING. a determination and a resolve that I want Jesus as much as I now KNOW He wants me.

I lock my gaze back on my Master, and shoulder my way past Stern-Face, and anyone else that might share his views. I no longer see them…I no longer hear them, I am going to get to Jesus.

I reach the inner edge of the crowd and Jesus jumps down from where He is standing and runs to meet me as I rush to Him. He grabs me in an embrace that erases ALL doubt about how He feels about me. I fear the end of the embrace, but realize that Jesus will hold me as long as I need Him to. After what seems like forever I relax and pull back just enough to look at His face. His eyes of love and compassion are staring straight into mine.

What I don't see is Stern-Face smugly standing back waiting for Jesus to go down the rule-list with me. I notice Jesus glance his direction, then look back and smile at me. I realize I want to do anything this man asks me. His love is so intense I am ready for what He asks of me. I don't know how I will do it..but I am willing.

He leans in, holds me tight and whispers in my ear…"Believe in Me...follow Me…seek Me." I hold Him tight waiting for the rest. Waiting…waiting. Finally I pull back with a puzzled look.

"What else Jesus?"
"That's it!"
"That's it? But he said…" (I'm pointing at Stern-Face)
"Don't worry about what He said. 'I' will change the things in you that 'I' see need changing in you. You just stay close to me and build a relationship with me…know my voice."
"But what about my clothes…my haircut…my chosen name?"
"What about them? I'm looking at your heart!"
"But I like girls! I ALWAYS have!"
*With a slight chuckle* "WOW! Like I didn't KNOW that all this time?"

Then He holds my back a little so He can squarely look me in the eyes:

"I knew you before I even formed you. I knew who you were and what made you tick. I have watched you try to struggle past "Stern-Faces" your entire life while trying to get to me, even when you didn't even realize it. I saw every time you walked away broken hearted because of the pain of people talking FOR me. I LOVE you…I always have..and I will continue to love you. I died for YOU! Not your clothes, your haircut or anything else! You just stick close to me and 'I' will take care of what needs to be taken care of."

With that, He gathered me back in His arms, and I realize that nothing, NO ONE will be able to tear me down again…I finally met the Master, and I'll never be the same again!

Author's Note:

Those that know me know that I think in situations and pictures. This story is a pretty basic story-style rundown of my return to Jesus. It has been a four year journey, loving, seeking and getting to know Him. He has delivered me from behaviors and habits. He has given me a will to live. He has delivered me from the demons of self harm that taunted me. So many things He has changed in my life since the day I turned myself over to Him. He has given me a desire for His word and a love for Him I never had before…but He hasn't UN-transgendered me…imagine that! Sorry Stern-Faces…you lose. :)

Lance/Lisa

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