gender, identity, transgender

How to Snore Like a Girl

Phew, times flies in such a way it feels like being strapped to the front of a ruthlessly chugging train. Sometimes it can feel like the train was left at the depot.  Already it’s that time to reflect and look forward, the past is done and a hard year can still be a good year.

I had my first full laser appointment at a clinic last week. I’ve decided to pay for this myself rather wait for NHS treatment which could begin around the same time as RLE and hormones, which would be unacceptable for me. I’m not sure which it hurt most, my face or my purse.  Who am I kidding, it is flipping painful!  This was an Alexandrite laser to compliment my light skin and dark hair, not even electrolysis so we’re not even at full scream yet.  Imagine an elastic band with a drawing pin through it constantly snapping: it’s a sharp, immediate, very annoying pain.  However, the hurt only lasts for a second, then it’s gone forever, so what is most important in this situation is to just take it, because one minute after the 50-minute treatment, I felt ready to go again.

I got my hands done as well, as a comparison I can see how truly resilient male facial hair is.  My hands have shown about 2mm growth only in a week with some nice closed follicles, whereas there is barely a noticable effect on my face, though it is growing slightly more slowly as a whole.  Upper lip is the biggest killer and the most important, visualization techniques can help…imagine a nice soft face. Ok, it doesn’t help, but an hour of pain every few weeks is better than a lifetime of moustache.

Second GIC appointment was an interesting back and forth which left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied, yet more resolute.  I’m not trying to play devil’s advocate with my identity, I know there is little true certainty, but I need to be challenged.  It doesn’t satisfy me to say ‘I’m trans’ and have it so easily accepted.  I’m not being transphobic, I’m just saying, if you are the doctor for this case, maybe try to seek out reasonable doubt?  The potential effect on individual well-being is too enormous take it so seemingly lightly.

She’s playing her game though (i.e. doing her job), and I wonder if she is trying to help me or if I’m seeing things wrong.  Something did make a big impact on me though, when discussing transition, she asked ‘What’s stopping you?  What’s holding you back?’

Uh.

I don’t know?  Everything and nothing?  Looking into it, the things I think are holding me back are life issues, not trans issues.  Fear of lonliness is rightfully exacerbated but it is still more a life issue than a trans issue for example.  My problem is not how the outside world may view it, but how I view myself.  Maybe you know what it’s like, some days it feels like the most natural thing in the world, other days moods get in the way.

I have a sense of embarassment, but only because I didn’t have that female upbringing; I don’t know what goes with what or what looks good together yet, and that makes me feel more like a fraud than the worries of public presentation. Sometimes I sense those ingrained male traits, but it’s important to not be too harsh, this is a learning process with a steep curve.

So, nothing really is holding me back.  Still, transition for me is a process, not an event, I’ve decided to take another big step forward.  I’ve told my mother and friends that they can call me Amy exclusively and use the pronouns, and that I appreciate their efforts.  Comfortable as this is for me, I have to continually present an acceptable image for us all to progress, no aesthetic gender-flipping. Especially with a male voice, it’s not fair to present as male and expect to be referred to as female, because of my body – this is not an afforded luxury as it is for cis-folk, and is probably the most difficult part about being trans.  Many clothes are needed.

When I go back to work I’m going to inform my manager that the transition is on, then tell my grandparents and that will be that, the first in a new series of intensifying anti-climaxes.  I’ll transition at work, but I’ll still be just as busy so no-one will have time to make a big deal out of it.  Indeed, it’s something I discussed with my therapist, what is the big deal?  Like many things trans, a dangerous dichotomy exists.  It’s as big of a deal as you want it to be.  Just please don’t drown me in a toilet, or cook me and place my body parts under the floor boards.  I used to be offended through my ignorance of trans issues, but just because I’ve gotten over it, doesn’t mean there aren’t nasty bigots out there waiting to ruin lives.

Yet, I wonder, was the therapist seeing through my pragmatism and offering me the best help of all?  In amongst our session, she said the long wait for treatment was to ensure a consistent gender identity incongruity and a consistent wish to transition.  I can argue with myself all day, and I can sneakily go see other counsellors, but this is the doctor who keeps the gates for me.  As much as I can reap the psychological benefits of these sessions, I get it now – I have to present clearly my female identity, not my doubts about it, in order to progress.  I need to help the doctor feel more comfortable, to make her job easier when she writes the reports to justify her decisions.

From now on, I will go into these appointments and say ‘My name is Amy, I suffer from perennial gender dysphoria and have done since I was a child.  It exists to such an extent that I am not able to lead the rest of my life in an acceptably regular fashion. I understand that these feelings may never alluviate unless I take steps to balance out this unconscious incongruity.  I find that assuming the female identity I have in my mind in my external life diminishes these feelings.  I wish to spend the rest of my life living in this female role, as I am female, and am here seeking treatment options, specifically hormones and eventually surgery.  I am of sound mind and I will present this case to you in each appointment until I reach the point through treatment where my dysphoria has abated to the extent that it is no longer a disabling factor in my life.’

I’ve went out presenting fully femme rather than androgenous femme more often of course, I’ve even went to the bar in heels, just casually, trying to go by the philosophy of ‘I don’t give a f***’.  I know what I look like, I know what I sound like, I get what I am.  Sure I’ll still get called by male terms, but like I say, it’s a process, it starts off at the most difficult and hopefully gets a little easier as time goes by.  Simply, I didn’t much look at strangers when I was out as male, certainly, I don’t look at people to gauge their reactions of me, so when I’m out being myself, why should I change how I view the world?  That is not the goal here.  Don’t listen to ascerbic little me though, I find the entire process arbitrary, though it can feel fantastic. [EDIT – I should be careful, as trans it can be very important to be aware of your surroundings, for safety’s sake.]

To be honest, folks were more interested in what animal my hat is supposed to be.

It's.  A.  Husky!

It’s. A. Husky!…?

If you wanted to put it a certain way, you could say my transition is tragic.  My make up is low power, facial hair shows through, I have the voice of a man, and my fashion sense leaves much to be desired.  Yet, it is not tragic, it is confident.  I am finding my own style, I am accepted by people, I feel good.  It’s easy to look and sound stupid, just talk to a few people and they will prove it for themselves too, being trans is just that large bit more obvious, and it’s from here that I think some of the biggest worries and insecurities come from.

I try not to think about being trans, my brain does that automatically, so I am a pretty cynical transitioner.  It’s too easy to over-think and convolute things, and no-one will have a more convoluted opinion of trans identites than the trans people themselves.  As much as the process moves ever forward, I find it important to keep stepping back.  In times when thoughts begin to get carried away or become too painful, the effect is pronounced and it’s no use mentally self-flagellating as punishment.

The title of this post ‘How To Snore Like A Girl’, is about limitation. Understanding of limitation is a strength, it shows us we understand our own power level and how to get the most out of our abilities, and what parts of our lives to not waste time on.

It may sound trite, but count your blessings. Each life has little things taken for granted that make big differences, things which when taken away show how fulfilling they were. Even in loss, one can understand that while not full, one need not be empty.

I deeply want to thank all my readers and followed bloggers for the kind comments and inspirational, insightful posts this year. We transfolk have our place in the evolution of humanity, for human nature is the greatest impediment to its’ own progress. Once we can move past the petty qualities of the human condition, then we can embrace the greater truths and loves of the universe.

Let’s make 2015 an amazing year! Let me see the passion in those eyes flare up once more!

With unquenchable hopes,

Amy Xx

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gender, identity, transgender

An end to justification

A mantra –

‘All is not lost, it’s never hopeless,

I will never give up, I am broken but,’

I had my first trip to the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).  They had me sit in a waiting room with other people at different stages of none-of-my-business.  What endured was a two and a half hour, one on one, non-stop psychological strip down by someone who introduced herself as Doctor.  In depth topics included:

  • A break down of history with parents, family, siblings
  • Traumatic events and memories
  • Relationship and sexual history
  • School and work history
  • Gender variant experiences
  • Discussion of goals, wishes and expectations
  • Explanation of services and treatment options (laser, wig fitting, voice coaching, fertility preservation, hormones, surgery, therapy etc)

I felt pretty good afterwards, but didn’t realise the toll that comes from expounding many intimacies to a stranger with a badge.  For a few days afterwards I felt totally emotionally drained with no time off work to recover, so it can be difficult even with a positive mindset.  Six months minimum of ongoing assessment for hormones and RLE, that’s not so much a goal as a time-frame to make decisions.

I met a transgirl I have been speaking to online, more a testament of how talking to people online skews individual realities.  Nonetheless we went out and had a very nice time.  She bought me dinner, which was new, so that was pretty nice, though I did feel awkward at having nothing to offer, girl wouldn’t take my money!  For as feminine as she is online, it seemed I was more overtly feminine in my action and attire in public.  Everyone has their own ways and methods, I just found that interesting since I’m more resistant to the entire process.

I’ve been asked to stop seeing my independent gender counsellor so there are no crossed wires with the GIC, though I would not be the first to skirt that advice to have an ally to bounce feelings off that may be wrongly received or interpreted at the GIC, potentially setting back treatment.  I admitted to her that I am an awesome guy, she countered that then I should be an awesome girl if I decide, and furthermore that I could be successful on whichever path I choose, reiterating the previous cases I remind her of who transitioned ‘effortlessly’.

Maybe my dysphoria is just less strong, less desperate, or maybe I’m just used to dealing with the casual betrayal of my emotional brain. It’s a tough decision to make and come to terms with. I already have a man’s everything, I could live easily enough as a man, it would just be a lie, and it would probably feel quite sucky. Or, there’s the alternatives…six months will creep up quickly my dear.

No idea, been way too busy with work and getting through to focus on the unending nagging compulsions that demand I change.

One major success worth noting, I’m no longer trying to justify who and what I am.  I’m transsexual, woopy-do, it sucks, woopy-do.  It’s a step further than acceptance.  I carry a purse, I’m not going to justify it, I just have it, even though I hate the word ‘purse’.  Yes, my posture and mannerisms are what they are now, I don’t feel the need to explain it like I’m acting strangely, in a way that me acting normal merits an explanation to people who didn’t ask for one.

Trying to justify changes takes up both physical and mental time and effort, and I just can’t be bothered.  Even if I were a man and I wanted to dress up like a woman, or like a Smurf, my balls wouldn’t shrink because someone doesn’t like it.  My ovaries don’t quiver at my own doubt.  Just accept it, good and bad, it’s coming for you anyway – doubt, fear, elation, loneliness, overwhelming love.  You don’t need to justify or validate your experience as an individual and unique human being. Even if you aren’t confident in yourself, remember you don’t have to justify it, you need that energy to achieve your personal goals, to justify days well spent!

I know first hand, still dealing with my ex- who said our relationship is ‘void’, because I didn’t tell her I was trans.  The truth is I didn’t know I was trans until after we broke up, I just thought myself a sick man, but she sees it all as a lie, and I am a liar.  I can only imagine the pain families go through when so deeply entrenched.  We had years of epic love, I don’t have to justify that they were real, I just have to accept and get over the hurt.  Love ends, at least once if we are lucky.  Once again character is how you deal with difficult situations, not easy ones! It will take time, it always does…worse things have faded away.

Whilst going through this process, I find it easiest to identify as female, but to think myself as agender, non-binary, whatever.  Just because my brain tells me to take hormones and cut off my penis doesn’t mean that’s what is necessary…necessarily.  Just because my brain tells me I am female doesn’t mean I have to do everything it tells me.  The process of change is maybe not a case of a means to an end, but part of the general eternal balance, intensified, yet still seeking that same equilibrium.

Bring on the Lasers!!!

Amy Xx

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