gender, transgender, Uncategorized

When dysphoria calms

Finally the hormonal malaise seems to be settling down.  I’ve gone a few weeks without major ups or downs, I feel ok, I feel….normal.

I feel now for the first time as regular as I did two years ago before my life situation and mental health rapidly deteriorated, before I even realised I was transgender.  Dysphoria is again a background noise rather than a thudding hammer in the fore of my consciousness; because I’m aware of it and accept it, because I have taken the medical steps I believe necessary, it cannot do the same damage.

Of course, it will change, and this game is far from over – dosages will increase and planning for surgery will become a reality rather than an abstract ideal.

It is around this time that some transwomen may consider that HRT is no longer necessary. After all, the symptoms feel as though they are dealt with so much as they can be.  However, often enough these women may stop treatment and dysphoria will make an unwelcome return as the wound up springs of hormonal change unravel and testosterone attempts to renew its’ mighty hold.

In feeling ‘normal’ again it is somewhat juddering to my gender identity.  Since I feel as I did when I thought I was a man, does it mean I am male?  Does it mean that the consciousness I experienced my entire life has been female?  Or, what I believe more likely is that I feel more balanced as an individual and gender doesn’t come into play quite so much, which was my initial hope from this process.

I can’t deny the possibility that someone assigned male at birth could experience gender dysphoria, remain male, but be on HRT anyway, simply as a way of dealing with mental incongruity.  After all, there are plenty of men in the world flooded with an over-abundance of estrogen.

As such, my goals are being realised, gender is much less of a concern than it has been for the past 18 months. Truly now I reclaim my old clothing even though my jeans barely fit over the growing mound of fat on my hips.  I have a sense of calm identity that is privately my own, and anywhere I can take the sting out of residual dysphoria I will do to my own standards.

I figure I must be polygender.  My experience of gender is like letting a three year old play with a dimmer switch.  I can totally understand why some might think my gender experience is based on a conscious whim, but in fact it is controlled by unconscious whim.  I cannot describe how my gender changes because gender cannot be described as a concrete form of being.

The testudinal pace of physical changes has slowed even further to the point where I feel my features are remasculinizing.  With an ever more finely toothed comb, masculine aspects seem more especially prevalent – my facial hair seems to be growing in stronger, I feel my face looks less feminine, my breasts hurt less.  I feel now is the time to up the dose, yet it has been nearly six months since my one and only endocrinologist appointment and still without the results of initial blood work, or a date set for my next appointment.

The temptation to up my dose is the same as the temptation to start HRT without medical consent, and the results would be the same because I would still be cut back to square one.  The system sucks, it doesn’t feel safe, but I’m still accepting it is as my best bet for a successful medical transition.


 

Sexuality

My sexuality is becoming more of an annoyance to describe.  I know I am still in a pupal stage, and I claim myself to be on the asexual spectrum without being fully asexual.  I call it ‘Notsosexual’.  For my entire life I have very very rarely been sexually attracted to anyone, nor have I had an explicit need for sex.

Yet at the same time, I have physical needs which can be totally crippling when not met.  I believe strongly in touch as a necessary connection between humans, and I find it strange that affectionate/intimate non-sexual touch contemporarily can only come within the territory of a sexual relationship.  Most common relationships are seen as the only status where affective non-sexual touch is ‘allowed’, yet touch is a hunger like food, water and sleep that must be sated, and I believe it is this lack of touch that makes so many monsters and failures out of people, it is a damaging conflation.

We live in a society where one night stands and friends with benefits are not seen as particularly morally offensive, yet having a cuddle-buddy may seem taboo.  I feel asexual because I find it hard to make that connection where intimate touch between two people leads to the mashing together of genitals.  I get it, we are a rutting species under the yoke of survival mechanisms, but I don’t accept that sexual urges must be acted upon simply because they are felt and the senses compel.  Sometimes sex isn’t what is necessary, it just feels that way.

This personally helps me; I spent a lot of time as a male feeling ashamed about the behaviour of other men, and of my own natural physical sexual desires.  All I ever wanted for was a woman to see me and to not think I’m some slobbering beast trying to get into her pants when I’d much rather touch hands.  I still suffer a little of that shame, however with my sexuality as it is, I can safely deign that any sexual inference whether by words or actions in my liaisons with other human beings is totally on them, not me.  This notion gives me so much safety and relief, because I know I’ve never been the threat, in fact, it has been the amorous nature of others that has hurt me.

A working solution has been physical therapy, massages etc, chances to share and revitalize energies and auras in a professional setting with experts.  No fear of lust, no complications of romance.  In fact, it was a massage two weeks ago, the first in a long time, that has spurned this more positive attitude.


 

Self-Love

I have to leave 2015 behind.  It was too intense and I lost my way.  I leave my failures and hurts behind like the old life that it is.  I’m not ignorant or delusional as to the effects they still have, but I leave the past where it belongs.  A heart can be raw and vulnerable yet still whole, and that’s where I am.

Most mornings now I wake up and feel my body, because it is soft and comforting.  A few days ago as I was contemplating how female-like my lower back feels, a term popped into my head: ‘Self-appreciation’ and I think that is beautiful.  Though I still look entirely masculine, I’m aware that I am not, and that is because of my skin.  If you feel my skin, you are feeling female skin; if you kiss me, you are kissing female lips; you may not be able to see my breasts, but if you were to feel them, you would be feeling female breasts; if you were to feel my genitals, you would know that it is a female penis regardless of how much that sounds like an oxymoron.

Although transition still takes up more points on my list than anything else, I feel finally that I can be more relaxed and playful with it, without yet fully embracing it.  Over a year full time I still don’t know what a bobby pin is, and I don’t really care.


 

Gender Theory

As my gender becomes calmer I become more perplexed about the cisgender overestimation of what gender is.  I believe from a lay point of view that the only difference between cismale and cisfemale is hormones.  I used to say the history of social constructs are also to blame, but I reduce these to be the result of hormones as well.  Aside those, the differences between males and females cannot be reduced to the extremeness of gender constructs we experience.  For non-binary individuals, while I accept I don’t have the understanding, I make the reasonable assumption that their gender(s) are no less different than those experienced by any individual that they should lead to an outcast feeling of ‘otherness.’  What I mean is, male and female are about as opposite as Coke and Pepsi, it’s the same stuff, and non-binary folks are made of the same stuff too.

Gender isn’t this big thing that cisfolks might believe we view it as because we spend a lot of time trying to figure its’ properties out, or how we see gender as a spectrum, or how we change our presentation.  It might seem extreme, but it is not, and I’ll apply what I said earlier in a different way – any sense of sexual perversion about transpeople comes purely from cis individuals, not us.

As much as general cis views on gender are overestimated, the general view on transition is underestimated.  It may seem a contradiction, because if gender is so similar, then why does transition seem so complex?  Usually it is because of the binary world of assumptions made about sex and gender that force us into little boxes that don’t always fit, it leads to repression, and with freedom comes seemingly foundational change. For example, clothing does not have a gender; it is a tool, not an objective, yet this is not seen as simple awareness.

In a world where gender isn’t a concern, not everyone would be transgender.  Men would still be men and women would still be women, and if you called yourself all, neither or in-between it wouldn’t matter.  Trans folks would still transition, and society would not fall apart.  Nor would it be confusing if we can open ourselves to understanding that people are who they are, not who they are told they must be. Our mental processes are not the result of our sexual biology.

So, here is a radical notion.  Instead of gender being a characteristic of our natal sex, how about having gender as a characteristic of our individuality?

Just remember, there is only one way to do gender. Your way.

Thanks for reading,

Amy Xx

P.S. Thank you to all the beautiful bloggers out there who share in my story and let me be part of theirs.  You know who you are, I’m so grateful and emboldened with love for your existence.

 

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gender, transgender

Estrogen makes you calm and crazy

I am sitting on an emotional swing.  Each day it gets more intense.  Genetic females have had a lot longer than me to come to terms with the rollercoaster of moods but everyone who experiences it has to start somewhere.  I can’t ‘man it out’ anymore, 40 days and 40 nights of HRT and I’m already losing subjective cognition of my testronic existence; slowly the maleness falls from grasp.

I’ve had to ask friends to remind me sometimes that I’m just going through the side effects.  Again, I don’t know if it is because I started hormones, or their actual effects, but doors are unlocking in my mind.  I’ve really learned about friendships I’ve needlessly strived for that are beyond their sell by date – I visited one of the old friends I’m having to let go of and noticed for the first time in a long friendship the light behind her eyes that process any way to avoid talking about either of our real issues.  A year after the fact I finally recognized the emotional abuse that is still a large cause of suffering from my last relationship – I told those close to me and they say they knew for a long time, they tried to tell me.

There are other revelations now that force me into a new life.  A cornucopia of general life issues coupled with constant hormonality combine into painful birth squeezes of a new life; the water broke, the contractions are more frequent, powerful – there’s no stopping it, it is coming.

My aesthetic transition is really suffering now, not just because of facial hair but because of the emotional pressure.  I spoke to a woman who apparently had GRS but lives satisfactorily as a male without heavy dysphoria, content in the knowledge she is female.  Hearing this struck a chord and she said there were only a few in many years she had met who are like this.  Again, when I was a young child I wasn’t thinking about sneaking into my mother’s room for clothes and make up, I was trying to get rid of my penis, not as a Skoptic, but because I was female.

I don’t really care often enough who knows I am female so long as I do, and the people I care about do.  It still hurts to be called by masculine terms, but I feel I’m constantly facing off between constant counterbalancing weights of dysphoria.  It’s less urgent, but I’m still thinking about and I wonder if I can ever come to peace.

After some diligent sleuthing by Mia, we found that this woman had in fact de-transitioned because she had passing issues and other issues that are her business.  I myself am not trying to cop out of transition, although it really is taking time finding my way.  There is much more to the story with this woman for another time.

The point I want to make here is that it is important to be gentle with yourself.  On top of everything going on in life, there are also the unquenchable effects of cross sex hormone therapy and trying to figure out how to transition and do it in a world that isn’t always happy to let you live your life.  Even without external grief, the internal experience is such a battle that I can understand putting oneself at risk.

I feel the level of personal risk is the same, but different in nature.  I’m just as on edge, I’m crying like crazy, freaking out, hating the world.  I was so wrong about the crying; cries feel different, more frequent, because as before I cried when I was desperate, now I cry because I need to cry.  It needs to come out just as I need to talk more about stuff – if I don’t vent, I break down.  I’m notoriously bad for talking about my issues with people, now I have to.  Afterwards, I don’t feel as bad as I would before, sometimes I just switch and I feel good again for a while.

I have less violent urges, lower sex drive, lower sexual functioning.  After a week without an erection or a real desire for release I decided to try and force it.  After a long time of distraction and confusion about what I was doing with what I was touching I got there and it was as arbitrary as expected from something so forced.  Straight afterwards I grabbed a toffee crisp from the fridge and bit into it.  The chocolate made my senses explode!  I loved chocolate and was iffy about sex anyway but the gulf widened considerably and that’s just what happens sometimes. Now I don’t have ‘morning wood’ so much as I have ‘morning tofu.’

I was naive in not listening to other women way ahead on HRT, I thought I was special, aware enough, emotionally centred enough to beat back the waves of hormonal change.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s only like that sometimes, often enough I feel as good as I ever have.

I was really worried about how much my emotions would intensify and whether it would put me in more danger, and it is hard, it is very hard.

My mind is working overtime absorbing all this new emotional information.  Sometimes I panic, other times I am just a sponge for information and beautifully contemplative thoughts that will take a long time to unravel.

Tough as it is, I rejoice in the new challenge, the new lease of life.  This is a perfect time for realisations that lead to effecting positive personal change that will fuel hopefully the release of a lifetime of untapped potential for the rest of my lifetime’s emotional strength.

This is only the beginning, it has to hurt to get better, this is how we heal.  We show ourselves now in survival so we can prosper when we come to truly thrive.

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gender, hrt, transgender

Waning of the Honey’d Moon

A thousand words for your silent thoughts.  All the things you wanted to say but didn’t and forgot, written on an invisible page.

Red moons’ eclipse shines dark, a trillion stars within the tear of a galaxy.  A thousand tears for your silent thoughts; you are Mars as a girl.

A moment not to think, so precious and unaware of it.  A thousand scars for your silent thoughts, etched into those forgotten memories.

Planets do not decide to shift or spin, invisible forces do not act on whim.  A thousand truths for your silent thoughts; you are Mars as a girl.


Let’s get straight into the good stuff my appreciated readers! (Disclaimer – Talk of sexual functioning)

HRT Update

Day 21 – Sexual thoughts could be nice.  Masturbation could be fun but I can’t actually be bothered.  The last push to erotic drive isn’t there; no flying mast exists to pitch my flag.  My sex drive feels like how it did during the terror of my revelation – almost non-existent.  I would have to force it. Use it or lose it they say, otherwise atrophy over the years is an actual concern.  Gross, but those are the physical propensities.  In coaxing an orgasm (how beautifully sentimental ;P) it felt different again, more layered rather than pointed, but to only a small degree of difference.

Another slight example of weepiness, where tears fall without becoming fully fledged crying.

Day 22 – My pubic hair seems furrier, the only hair that seems to have been effected so far.

Day 23 – My tear ducts looked drier and more deeply set.  My eyeballs seemed a different shape and didn’t look as though they fit as correctly within the socket, not in a good way.  Eye changes are documented on HRT, so I will keep, er…an eye on it and consider eye drops if it gets any worse.

Day 29 – I did some heavy exercise 4 days ago and am still suffering muscle fatigue.  I literally only tapped my shin with a tennis racquet by accident and have this massive bruise to show for it (which stayed longer than any bruise I’ve ever had) – I’ve done this loads of times and never got anything other than a tiny red cut.  My upper arms look smaller when not flexed but still defined, whilst my forearm is still as big, which looks weird.

Had a few cries.  It’s around that time of the month for me anyway, although there were a few sobbing, weeping tears that were new to me.

Day 31 – My face looks much softer.  My mum says the angles of my face seem less harsh.  I can look at my face and kind of see it, even with facial hair, but only looking straight on.

Day 32 – Definitely got some back fat growing. I’ll embrace this until I get to the point where I hate it like any other bodily insecure woman…Embrace the back fat my curvy beauties!

I realise I haven’t had morning wood in a while, sexual thoughts are much less frequent, and more appropriately sensual for me personally, which I think is just an individual trait.

Day 34 – I wasn’t exactly crying when I woke up, but the feelings towards crying were new.  I felt morning sexual desire but it’s easier to turn off without having an incessant erection tripodding all round the place.  It’s slightly frustrating but it works for me because it no longer demands I take action.

Day 35 – I feel my emotional repertoire growing.  Emotional statements and events seem more powerful in how they affect me.  I was wrong about the tears.  As much as I cried and nearly cried often before HRT, now, during even simple emotional moments, I have to fight if I want to hold back the tears.

Just the pressure of putting a kettlebell against my arm when working out now leaves me with bruises.

It took a friend to remind me of the hunger HRT brings; I’ve been munching constantly without knowing why. Losing fat is much more difficult on HRT, in fact, the female body needs a lot more fat than the male body in general so it makes sense that my body wants me to eat. Now I know why women must be so disciplined and obsessive about diet and exercise to have a body they can be comfortable in.

Here is the video version of my One Month HRT update:


I have been told that the effects come in waves, and I’ve certainly noticed that in between the long periods of imperceptible change that there are moments when I know something is happening.  Living in one’s own mind and body for so long, these changes, however slight are very recognisable and welcome.  Dysphoria has become more of a physical issue rather than a mental one.

I have been spoiled by the laser sessions I paid for because I know what it feels like to have a hair-free face.  My first NHS laser appointment was only a patch test, with an IPL laser and an alexandrite laser like I’d been getting privately.  It was much more impersonal than the private treatment and they didn’t mess around.  I was told each session would be for 20 minutes every 6-8 weeks, whereas the previous sessions took about 45 minutes.  They told me it would hurt more on HRT……they were very right, it was almost unbearable.  My skin was singed for a couple of days afterwards requiring much more stringent aftercare with SPF 30 moisturizer and Vaseline rather than the pure Aloe Vera I’d been using.  Thankfully I was prescribed EMLA cream which is a topical anaesthetic, but I’ve been advised it’s still going to hurt.

The horrible thing is, whilst general dysphoria may lesson over time, incidents of dysphoria can become more severe.  Having to deal with facial hair the past two months has basically kept me at home, I hate it.  I don’t want to attempt to cover it with make up because I don’t think I can, although my trans friends say this is silly.  I haven’t presented fully nor worn makeup once since starting HRT because I hate my face hair so much and it is really putting me back.

Things have been tough recently – I almost gave up being public about my transition as I feel I’ve lost so much support in the year since I’ve come out.  These are problems relating to the relationships I have with people rather than specific trans stuff, but being trans does play its part.  Going through what is the biggest change in my life, I want to share my experiences because objectively I think they are pretty fascinating.

However, people have their own stuff to deal with, sometimes they don’t want to talk about it, often enough they don’t know what to say.  Some people have never brought the topic up, maybe because they feel it is disrespectful, that it’s none of their business, or that they simply don’t care. After a while of bringing my issues up without any response I have given up, although there may come a time when I start blurting it out again and people can deal with it, or not.

As much as I try to make my trans experience as low key as possible, I still need to talk about it with people, I need to bounce ideas off people, so I’m learning that aside my closest friends who even no amount of education my information could prepare them for, having trans friends is absolutely necessary.  Throughout these very difficult times I want to thank Mia and Faith on WordPress for their friendly ears, empathy and support, along with the other fantastic women I’ve been sharing experiences with all over the world.

If you haven’t reached out yet, do so – knowing other people are going through almost identical experiences at points is entirely heart-warming and refreshing and plenty of us want to share it, even in very intimate details only transfolk could truly appreciate. Many exciting and unique secrets are shared when the transfolk get together.

Whilst I am it, can I ask if anyone reading this knows where Rimonim is? His blogs are beautiful but he has just fallen off the map since July and I can’t get in touch with him.  Rim, if you are reading this let us know you are ok!


Myself, I have had to give up entirely on my hometown.  Trust can be a tough sell for me at the best of times, and I’ve learned the hard way the difference between mere acceptance, vocal support, and actual help.  Being trans is not a pitiable situation, I do not feel humbled by the fact someone would accept me and use appropriate pronouns etc; to do so would make me less of a person in others eyes’.  Respect for my situation is a standard that does not need to be earned – I used to think trans activists were being aggressive when they said this but now I understand.  As much as our new trans friends help us, those who have been with us on our life journey so far need to step up and play an active role because that’s what good friends do. And good families.

Being trans seems to not only be a detector for unpalatable strangers, it is also an indicator of who is really going to stick up for you in this life; it’s seeing which people would visit you in hospital without actually having to go to hospital.  It has taken a year and a serious breakdown to realise just who is there for me.

There are big losses, but it made sense to spread my net wide to give myself a better chance of reeling in the keepers, so although I am sad, I don’t regret my courage in trusting more people than I could expect to be trusted in the long run.  I am lucky to have a couple of lifelong friends at my side, so I can say that anything else is trimming fat, even in losing friends I’ve had since I was a teenager.

I decided I would not be forced back into the closet, that I would trust others to live up to their own nature and announced my medical transition to the world.  What I decide to share is not because others ask, but because my freedom cannot be bound.

What I have learned is that transition is such a personal journey that the best resource we have by far is ourselves.  In understanding and loving ourselves we can appreciate the changes much more, we can celebrate the goals we have worked so hard for even if no-one else knows how much we sacrifice.  We can ground and connect ourselves so much more to the world around us and get a deeper meaning about what out experience on this earth is.

If there were ever a time in life to seek out those most solid and enlightening mental, spiritual and emotional resources that will help carry me through the rest of my life, this is it.

I have learned that I can stick to a task as I have been practising my voice at least twice a day, EVERY day, for the past six months.  It is very slowly getting there, I’d say I’m at about a 5 out of 10 now – my voice is gender neutral, or sometimes like a fake whiney female.  I still smoked through this process and made some ok progress but when I’m not smoking it sounds so much better.

It is a gruelling process, listening back every time to a voice that just isn’t right, but just keep going anyway.  I have ONE recording out of hundreds over the past six months where I heard MY voice;  not a glimpse of what I might sounds like, but what I intend to sound like as my ‘genuine self’.  I cannot replicate it yet but it is the single most encouraging thing so far.  Recording each session makes a real difference, because although my voice still sounds wrong I can hear the tiny little bits of progress over weeks and months.  I’ll have a new blog with lots of voice tips as soon as I can get to it.


I thought the honeymoon was over, that the initial euphoria I experienced starting HRT was forever over after having a major emotional slip.  I almost gave up on everything and everyone. I almost deleted this blog.  Instead I feel myself growing stronger, more resolute.  I am finding solutions within myself for my problems and growing closer to those who help me.  My mind isn’t necessarily clearer, but I am gaining a truer understanding of myself by hormonally being the person I was always supposed to be.  I won’t give up, because this is just the beginning of a new life, and the hormones haven’t even truly begun to work their magic yet!

Starting HRT is a brave step – it is a lifelong commitment, it is a sacrifice of all that I have been and never should, it is saying to myself with clarity and passion that I know who I am and that I will do whatever it takes to get there.

Hopefully got some real good blogs coming up soon on voice, sexuality, and all that I have learned on my first year of transition, so stay tuned. A massive thank you to everyone who has shared in my story this past year, and everyone who has let me share in theirs.

Peace and love,

Amy Xx

P.S. Here’s something a little extra I recorded, hopefully a little uplifting and affirming….or just weird and stupid 😛

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gender, holidays, transgender

Trans Adventures in Barcelona!

Story time!

This is less of a travel guide and more continuing evidence that one’s own fears often go unrealised.  There are a lot of pictures, so I apologise if I destroy your computers 😛

So what happens when a stressed out, Irish, rainbow-haired, obviously trans woman filled with trepidation goes on the holiday of a lifetime?  She has the holiday of a lifetime!  I was with the two men in my life, amazing friends who have supported me through thick and thin, I knew I could rely on them.

I had spent months getting ready for this trip, eyeballs deep in transition with hardly a clue of how to prepare.  The days leading up to the trip were filled with the stresses of packing whatever I needed into one small rucksack and getting it right.  I finished packing literally at the very last second before I left for the airport.  Trying to fit all the cosmetics I believed to be necessary into one of those little plastic airport security ‘bomb material’ bags was a nightmare.

I wore a new dress out, something that usually creates anxiety over how I look, especially when I’m not known for wearing dresses.  It was going to be at least 30*C so jeans weren’t really an option.


Day 1 – To Barcelona!

The first trial was of course airport security.  I didn’t want to get pulled over, patted down, or put through the body-scanner so I did all I could to ensure I had no metal on my person: earrings out, belts off, shoes off, my denim jacket with metal buttons off.  As I stood in line waiting to pass through the metal detector I thought ‘Crap, bra clasps! Aren’t they metal?’  I had dressed as ‘femme’ as possible to avoid awkward questions or pat downs, and while I didn’t panic, I expected the alarm to whoop, to have all eyes on me.  I passed through the detector…….not a sound.  I grabbed my luggage and moved on.  Phew!  The holiday can begin.

Actually wait, I need to use the bathroom before we get on the plane.  I was still copping out so I joyously used the disabled toilet as an alternative, no fuss, no muss.  Time to go to Barcelona!

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We arrived at Barcelona airport around 8:30pm.  I’m a nervous pee-er, so as soon as we got off I had to go again.  I wasn’t sure what to do; I was all dressed up and had never used the women’s bathroom before.  Another disabled toilet, thank crumbs. (FYI: Please keep an eye out for any actual impaired person who may be on their way to use the disabled bathroom; it’s made for their requirements after all.)

Stepping out of the airport we felt the Iberian heat and crushing humidity instantly.

Outside Barcelona airport

Outside Barcelona airport

We hopped in one of the taxis and made it to our apartment without incident, taking in the wondrous sights.  The apartment was beautiful – for me, it was safety.  I wasn’t on edge, but to have that private space helped keep me calm.  We had our own private patio with all modern decor, a home away from home.

Lads :P

Lads 😛

My boy Sean

My boy Sean

My boy Chris

My boy Chris

Blah

Blah

Our living room. Sleek :D

Our living room. Sleek 😀

Our mission for the night was simple, go check out our surroundings, get food, get beer.  The whole time leading up to this trip I figured I would have Catalonian bigots shouting ‘él es transexual‘ and chasing us at every corner, but no.  We found a little cafe just before closing time; they served us beer and free croissants with warm smiles and friendly chatter.  On the way home we met a couple of young American backpackers, invited them back and got wasted late into the night.  What a good sign for things to come.


Day 2 – Exploration and beach

I woke in bountiful spirits, saved from a deserved hangover thanks to the heat.  I had to get up before the boys to get ready for the day of exploration.  I nervously got dressed and applied my make up to the best of my ability since I rarely wear make up.  For all the intensity of the heat I had to be covered head to toe, I didn’t want to show off my man skin because it would make me feel very paranoid, very dysphoric.

Not bad :) Time to explore!

Not bad 🙂 Time to explore!

The plan for the day was simple, embrace Barcelona!  The boys went out briefly bringing back breakfast and beers (what alliteration!) then we made our merry way just after the noon sun had passed.  We walked for hours, stopping regularly at cafes and bars.

I had my eyes open the whole time, aware of any dangers to my obvious transness.  I observed the Barcelona women, mostly wearing conservative tops, denim shorts, and bare legs.  I had to laugh, my problem wasn’t passing for a woman, my problem was passing for a tourist.  It was a style blending fail but I could not care less, rather a badly dressed tourist than an obvious transsexual for all the dangers I invented in my head.

There are so many amazing, intricate monuments in Barcelona.

There are so many amazing, intricate monuments in Barcelona.

Saaaannngrrrriiaaa!!!

Saaaannngrrrriiaaa!!!

Sangria by the Ramblas

Sangria by the Ramblas

We got some tasty local seafood from a restaurant on the Ramblas, and I found a saviour in the gender neutral toilets.  Next we made it to the beach.  As soon as we sat down, getting back up was out of the question, it was just too nice.  Sure, I got a somewhat dysphoric as the women without care lounged in their bathing gear and swam in the waters, I was jealous that I couldn’t just strip off and run into the sea with no attention directed at me.  Nothing half a dozen mojitos couldn’t fix for now.  One day I will be able to wear that bathing suit with confidence, and I’ll have a better time than anyone with that freedom.

There was a line for the toilets, male and female cubicles where the signs didn’t matter and whichever door opened first, the next person went in.  When I got near the front of the queue, bursting from too many watered down drinks, a girl came out of a female cubicle and the man in front of my gestured for me to go ahead of him.  A pass!

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Chris wussed out on the sea too.

Chris wussed out on the sea too.

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When we had our fill we went to a nearby park overlooking Las Ramblas for a smoke.  A couple of French ex-pat guys came over, offering herbs of a sort.  Soon after, a drunken local came over and talked to us, he shook Sean’s hand, shook Chris’ hand, then proceeded to plant two slobbering kisses on each of my cheeks. ‘So, ah, you like boys?’ He asked.

View towards Las Ramblas

View towards Las Ramblas

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The French fellow asked if we were looking for anything else, herbs or spices, if you get me.  One of my boys wanted something special for the festival coming up, so we went adventuring with the stranger.  One piece of advice we were given was to not go into anybody’s house.  Our new acquaintance took us on a dizzying tour of the city to which point we had no idea where we were, but we were on our way to someone’s house.

My friend wanted to go in alone, but the two of us were worried and tagged along, into a dingy set of apartments.  We climbed a flight of stairs and the French guy delivered a certain knock.  A giant of a man answered the door with a threatening look.  He let us in and went to sit on a chair in the middle of the kitchen, looking intently at the door.

We went into a small living room where a slight, off his rocker looking fella got into an exchange with our French friend.  We didn’t understand their conversation, but it was along the topic of ‘Why did you bring all these people here?  I told you not to bring people here.’  Not a good place to be, especially being trans, but it was a good opportunity to use a bathroom again.

Anyways, we got what we needed and scraped back down the scenic yet intimidating alleyways back to civilization.  We drank a bunch more sangria before parting ways with Mr. French and set about finding our way home….and pizza.  I had my iphone for directions back to the aparetment, searching google maps whilst my friends covered me from potential muggers.

Soon there will be giant pizza slices.

Soon there will be giant pizza slices.

For all the fears of muggers, we rarely felt watched or threatened, though we remained vigilant.  For all the talk of snobbish residents refusing to speak English, most shop patrons were very friendly and prepared to meet us halfway along the language barrier.

On the way home we picked up a bottle of rum and somehow an Argentinean man.  Another night of heavy drinking in the 3am warmth.  At a point I was drunk lying on the couch, being purposely unresponsive.  The Argentinean asked my friends, ‘I don’t mean to be rude, but is this a man or a woman?’  My friends paused, before offering a non-committal response ‘That’s up to you, she’s whatever you think.’  More education is needed here; the best answer would have been simply ‘she’s a woman’ spoken with certainty and indignant authority.  Even with that, he was confused but didn’t care and I offered all the subtle and not so subtle cues when I came back to life, to show him who I am.

Classic Sean >_<

Classic Sean >_<

Dragging Sean to bed was an adventure of its own, too much rum.  Time to rest up for another day!


Day 3 – Theme Park!

The plan for Friday was set in stone, get the train to Salou to visit Portaventura theme park.  I dressed down because I didn’t want to be flying around roller-coasters in a dress all day.

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We lucked out in the best way, even for being the height of summer, the park was almost empty, and the longest queue had a 20 minute wait.  The first ride we came to was Furious Baco.  Chris had never been on a roller-coaster before so we made sure to get front row seats.  We had no idea what to expect, I figured it would be the usual, trundle up high on the tracks before tumbling down, but instead it went from 0 – 80 mph in 3 seconds.  It was terrifying at the start, the intensity of the G-force but afterwards I couldn’t stop laughing, however Chris was traumatised and said he wouldn’t go on anymore rides.

Chris no likey.

Chris no likey.

Furious Baco!

Furious Baco!

We walked about the park, eating and getting drunk again.  The two boys were too chicken to go on many of the rides, so thanks to the minimal queues I gleefully went on rides again and again running around like an excited lost child whilst they patiently waited and enjoyed the scenery.  After a while I managed to get Chris on one more ride, the Dragon Khan, which still haunts him to this day, and Sean came with me on the Giant Shambala.

Shambala!

Shambala!

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At a point, the dread came, I needed to pee.  Unsurprisingly there aren’t many disabled toilets in roller-coaster theme parks.  Fudge it, today has to be the day.  I walked into the woman’s toilet, I walked in as if I had been there a thousands times before, like I was supposed to be there, because I was supposed to be there.  You know what happened in there?  The big shock?  I went in, took a pee, washed my hands, fixed my make up and left.  Other women were in doing their business and they weren’t concerned at all.

We stayed late until the last train, and I was as happy as could be, loving my friends more than ever because they knew how important this all was to me, and the let me have my fun.

My guys ^_^

My guys ^_^

Best friends!

Best friends!

Too many pictures, Amy!

Too many pictures, Amy!

We went back to the cafe from the first night for custom cocktails and things got out of hand again.  Still for all our boisterousness nobody commented on me, no-one called me out, no-one looked.  Drinking in Barcelona is a chilled affair, everyone happily chatting outside, nobody bothering anyone else.  The makeup was as set as it was going to be on my face, and any touch ups were done in a drunken haze.  Too much blusher?  Fudge it.

No idea what was in those cocktails, except a LOT of alcohol.

No idea what was in those cocktails, except a LOT of alcohol.

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Tooo much booze.

Tooo much booze.


Day 4 – Festival!

Saturday is why we came, for the ‘Be Prog! My Friend’ festival at El Poble Espanyol.  The music ran from 5pm to 5am, so we had plenty of time to do more exploring.  We hopped on a tour bus, saw the Nou Camp, Casa Bastilo, Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia.  The intense beauty and design, and sheer size of the city was mind-blowing.  Our feet all ached from so much walking but we powered through.

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Finally it was time for the gig.  I wore the same red dress as our first day of exploring with all the embellishments I could muster whilst remaining still covered head to toe.

Ready for heavy metal \m/

Ready for heavy metal \m/

Disclaimer and trigger warning – recreational drug use.

We got a taxi to the venue, passing on the way the ‘Magic Fountain.’  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it, but it was a series of mind-blowingly giant waterfalls, leading up a massive array of steps to the huge ornate museum in the distance.  It was both spectacular and surreal.

After a little language trouble getting into the venue, we made it just in time for the Devin Townsend Project, followed by Camel.

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During Camel, at around midnight, the boys decided to consume the spices we got in the scary apartment a few days ago.  You’ve read this far, it was MDMA.  I was a little worried because I wasn’t really up for taking it myself, but after a few more drinks and seeing them really start to enjoy themselves, I decided to take my dose.

I’d never taken this drug before, and it took about 45 minutes for it to start affecting me.  We went and sat beside the crowd with a bunch of other people, surprisingly not being crumpled.  The come up was intense, I remember closing my eyes and breathing a lot, just trying to cope with the sheer energy of the drug.  By 1am, we were all completely banjaxed.

And they didn't run off with the camera!

And they didn’t run off with the camera!

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My confidence soared.  Any experience I’ve had with drugs since my realisation has reaffirmed my identity as female, yet this is rarely the case with other transwomen I’ve discussed the subject with.  They mostly say it makes them much more dysphoric, but I have found the opposite, it cements my identity and all but removes the aspect of feeling male.  I don’t recommend testing this out for yourself, drugs are stupid.

I got my guys to come to the bathroom entrance the first time to keep an eye out but there was no need.  I went into the woman’s bathroom, did my business, and spent a long time looking in the mirror trying to fix my make up and for a change embracing how I look.  I felt quite safe as women came in and out, cheerily standing beside me as we made our touch ups, it was wonderful.

Then the crescendo came, Meshuggah!  The concert was to run from 1:30am to 3am.  The air was hot, the lights were bright, and it was just the most amazing circumstance to party to a band we’d all been waiting years to see.  We made our way to the front and just let loose.  For all three of us, the memories of the set were fragmented, but it still all pieces together into a whole.  It was almost too much to take and was without doubt the most fun I’ve ever had at a gig.

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Can't believe I had to foresight to ask Chris to take this photo.

Can’t believe I had to foresight to ask Chris to take this photo.

After it finished there was an after party and I danced my wee buns off to The Algorithm at 4am with anyone else who still had the energy, while my guys again waited on me to have my fun.  As we all got kicked out and the music died down, we became the loud drunken Irish folk we are, grabbing people to dance and sing along with on the way home.  They spoke no English, we spoke no Catalan, but we communicated through music, turning a lot of heads as most others were walking more quietly out.

Somehow we acquired a German friend and we all walked back to our apartment, thanks to the direction of Chris, otherwise we would have been doomed in our drugged up states.  Back at the house we drank heavily again into the tiny hours.  At a point, Sean went out alone for an adventure, and Chris went into the living room for a lie down, leaving just myself and the German guy outside.

Hmm!

So, earlier inside we were talking about what German we know, all I remembered from two years of classes was ‘Ich habe eine lange schlanger’ which means ‘I have a large “snake”‘, to which our German friend said, ‘I hope not!’

Hmm!  I was passing.  I was passing all night because of my confidence.  I wasn’t the gnarly obvious transsexual that night, I was the crazy rainbow-haired girl in the red dress dancing and shouting around everyone, having too much fun.  My voice was shot from all the screaming, frivolity and drugs, yet I was still passing because my presentation was so female that there was no reason for it to be doubted.  And, we were all drunk, as well as partially deafened from the music.

Hmm!

So, there we are, I’m off my face, and I’m thinking, let’s try something out.  I looked at him and tilted my head and gave him what I infer to myself as a sexy look.

‘Do you think I’m pretty?’ I asked

‘Yes, you are very beautiful.’

I giggled and maintained eye-contact, whilst still acting coy.  I shuffled about in my seat looking at him and pointed to my lips.

We kissed.  I’d never kissed a boy before.  It was different.  Whereas with any woman I’ve been with we danced our tongues, this guy was like a pit viper chasing a mouse down a hole.  Whatever, it was fine.

We sat there for a minute, smiling at each other, and he said ‘Again?’  Why not.

It was far from the best kiss ever but I felt ok about it.  There was no attraction, it was just a bit of fun.

Soon after, the guys came to and I started to crash out.  I made my excuses and flopped down on my bed still fully clothed and made up, just in case German guy came in later and I ruined his night.  He went away, while Chris and Sean stayed up all night chatting and getting more wasted.  What a day!


Day 5 – Home

We were all in a sorry state in the morning.  Our bodies were in tatters and our feet blistered, it was time to go home.  We cleaned, and gathered all our stuff.  The boys went out again to get us breakfast.  I was too scared to go out alone to the shops the entire trip even though it would have been fine, and I’m so thankful they went out of their way to look after me.

I donned my travel dress and we made our way home to not-so-sunny Northern Ireland.  The fears for airport security were heightened this time, I was dealing with folks who didn’t even speak English, this was the final hurdle.  I followed the same routine as before and got through without any problems.

Grumpy sleep boys...

Grumpy sleepy boys…

...and a fresh faced Amy ;)

…and a fresh faced Amy 😉

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Goodbye Barcelona!

Upon arrival we realised that the annual 12 of July festival was being held on the 13th this year because the 12th fell on a Sunday.  It was raining and it was cold as we walked a couple of miles back to my house through drunken hooligans.  They were bloodied, violent, obnoxious, destructive and I was more scared to be back home than I ever had been on holiday.  Thank goodness my outfit was red, white and blue, otherwise it could have gone badly, because if they smelled a transsexual, they would be on me like the hyenas they are.

We got back to my house and it has been raining ever since.


I hope you enjoyed the story of our holiday.  You may wonder, what was the point in just detailing everything that happened?  I want to show that it was just a normal holiday.  Take out the word ‘trans’ from anything mentioned and it has the same quality of excitement and relaxation as any holiday a cis-person could have.  Heck, this was basically a perfect holiday that few could match.

I can’t thank Chris and Sean enough.  They didn’t say it loud, but I know they made a special effort to look out for me, they knew how big a deal this trip was, how scared I was.  They are absolute legends and have been protecting me ever since I came out.  For the loss of any relationships in transitions, the ones that remain become so much stronger.  Love you guys. ♥

It just goes to show that whilst being trans there are some unique challenges, but with well considered preparation we can go away and live as our best selves; that whilst we need to remain aware and vigilant, we can have these amazing times, and not let dysphoria, or the attitudes of anyone else stop us.

Instead of worrying about the potential fears, this has been the most amazing opportunity to learn about myself, to show that I can do all the things I thought I’d never be brave enough to do.  It shows that you can do it to!

I haven’t been in a male bathroom since, and with any luck I’ll never have to use one again.  My confidence when interacting with people has accelerated whether I pass with them or not.  I understand how the pieces of the transition puzzle fit so that instead of searching for unattainable perfection we can find what is good enough, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.

So long as dysphoria is not the most active factor, we can push it away with the other worries and stresses of life and just bask in the shining glow of our true identities.

Go out and discover the world as you always wanted to, have no shame, embrace your pride, and show everyone what a badass you are!

This girl IS fire.

This girl IS fire.

Peace, love and happiness,

Amy Xx


P.S. Here’s a video from the Meshuggah concert.  The guy filming was just to the right of us.  This video really helps piece together the memories, makes the hair stand on the back of my neck, and gives me goosebumps every time.


P.P.S Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you Chris, you can’t complain about what you don’t read 😛

Mwahahahaha!!!

Mwahahahaha!!!

FIN

Standard
gender, mtf, transgender

Not Born, Not Bred, But…

Disclaimer – Talk of bodily sexual functions

Throughout all of human history there has only been one effective way of dealing with fear – Face it.  When one moves past trepidation into the concentrated focus of action, fear has less room to spread its’ gnarled branches.

That’s what I’ve been doing, I wrote down a list of the fears that wish to feast eternally upon my soul and one by one I tear them apart like the paper tigers they are.

It has been a very stressful, hectic few months, trying to get ready for a holiday and moving house in the same week, yet here I am now in my new digs, freshly sunned by the Iberian summer, letting myself bask in new successes.  One thing transitioning doesn’t lack is a plethora of opportunities to discover yourself, to challenge yourself, to be yourself.


Fertility Preservation

The one factor that was holding me back from medical transition is that I want kids someday, so a trip to the fertility clinic for storage was a must. The first step in preparation was what I affectionately called an ‘ejaculation timetable’, a good sample should be between two and five days old, and given some of the difficulties I have around that it was interesting having to force it in anticipation of the appointment. Too much info I know, but transparency demands it.

Anyways, the day came (no pun!) and I went to the hospital in perspiration, declaring myself as Amy the female, here to give a sperm sample.  The staff were professionally diligent as I was led into a room with a single leather chair, a crusty box full of what I assume was adult material and a tiny vial that I was somehow supposed to get my deposit into.  Tip: avoid the chair and crusty box.  I did what needed to be done and imagined as expected that this was conception, or at least the closest I will ever get.  I got my aim right thank goodness; aiming an ejaculating penis into a tiny cup without spillage is like trying to sneeze with your eyes open.  Like most things, it’s a scarier experience in your head and when it’s done it’s not so bad.

It was deflating.  I had to take the cup of semen marked ‘Amy’ through a hall to the nurse, hiding it under my jacket so no-one could see the transsexual with the sperm, handing it over with the reddest face.  A few hours later I had to call back, everything was normal and 15 ‘straws’ have been saved for the next 55 years for when I have the opportunity to have children.

It’s a double edged sword, this is 15 attempts at IVF, the quality is obviously decreased in freezing, however now it doesn’t matter how long I wait, it will be a 29 year olds sperm not subject to the grief I would put my body through until the opportunity to have a child presents itself.  This is as good as it’s going to get, I have to accept it, hope for the best and move on.  I don’t want to think about how a severe power cut could ruin everything.


Make-up lesson

I’d been encouraged to go to a make-up counter for some professional advice, makeup is expensive and it becomes worthless if you have the wrong gear (give it to someone who could use it!), so it makes sense to get it as right as possible.  I went a step further and booked an appointment at a pro makeup store for an hour long lesson.  Scary stuff, walking in seeing all these overdone yet still beautiful women in their faces.  I was put in front of the lights and sweat the bit out.  Thankfully my consultant was very nice and guided me along like the beginner I am, teaching me about skincare, skin tones, brushes, techniques, concealers, contouring, highlighting and so on.  I was even brave enough to let her draw eyeliner on my water-line, which just seems unhealthy.

I came out beaming with confidence, even with the still present beard shadow.  She gave me a sheet of instructions for what she did and recommendations for products. Ever since, my makeup game has really improved – CC cream for eyes bags, appropriately toned concealer, smokey eyes.  I feel I actually understand what makeup is about now, I can make adjustments, compromises, repairs, and more so I can sometimes observe others and get an idea of what they’ve done, even how they’ve got it wrong.  Importantly, I now understand the limitations to the extent flaws can be hidden and learned to accept imperfection.

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Moving to the city

I feel so lucky to have escaped my hometown if only for a couple of months.  Gone are the home comforts, but they are replaced by independence, self-worth and the opportunity to grow my life.  I’m living with two other girls and it’s amazing; we blether late into the night in the house, and we go out and enjoy the social life I’ve been missing the past year and a half.  I made sure to bring only newer clothes, to remove the temptation of slipping into boy-mode because it’s ‘easier’.  With such limited outfit choices it surely is an adventure trying to look in any way acceptable for leaving the house, but for some reason I’m not as scared about it as I was…….provided I have something to wear.  Clothes usually necessitate makeup for me, so I’m trying to learn the value of being pre-prepared in case something comes up at short notice, though usually I’m too lackadaisical.

I wear my breast forms as a habit now, regardless of company so there can be no illusions.  Consistency is the key, not only for public perception but for my long term emotional well-being.  I can’t describe why some plastic pink moulds make such a difference for me, but I try not to argue with dysphoria.  It could be called a cop-out, but when dysphoria cannot rationally, logically, or intellectually be refuted it is simpler to allow myself to be happy in assuaging its demands.  I understand the difference; depression may seem like it wants you to hate yourself, anorexia may tell you that you’re fat, but dysphoria just wants you to be yourself without fear of repercussion.


Work

I did a couple of shifts in the local library to earn some extra money for the holiday and to test the waters of employment.  Work is work, no-one commented on the disparity between my name and my clothes, from my face and my voice.  I was there to work and it was more boring than stressful.

Now begins the real job hunt so that I can afford to stay in the city.  Being trans doesn’t phase me, it’s what I might wear to an interview and to work that scares me, my initial image I feel will make a very important impact, and I am just not on top of my image game (time to book a stylist appointment then).  A couple of months HRT wouldn’t hurt either, but unfortunately that’s not within my timeframe.

I have until the end of August to find a way of making enough money to pay the bills.  I can’t move back to my hometown, I just can’t.


Hormones

My endocrinologist appointment is less than a month away.  I still haven’t done adequate research on HRT by my own standard, I will, but it won’t change my mind.  So far as I know I’ll get a bunch more blood sucked out and told to come back in [hopefully] a month to start treatment.  For some reasons they asked me to bring a urine sample with me rather than take one there, which is pretty strange.  Since getting the appointment letter time has slowed to an unbearable pace.  I tried calling up to benefit of a cancellation but it seems the clinic only runs every fortnight, and the session before mine is “already overbooked.”  Any setback now would be more massive a blow than anything so far.

I try to downplay HRT in my mind as much as possible, but there is no point denying the desperation I feel to get started.  I am so firmly entrenched as being in this perceived female ‘role’ that hormones are the one immediate thing that can make a life’s worth of difference.  I try to convince myself that they won’t do anything, trying not to let hopefulness spill over into an unquenchable need that can never be sated.

The more time goes by; with the benefit of laser, a decent skin care routine, and a sweet hairdresser I can look at myself and already start to see it.  Even as my harshest critic I can sometimes look in the mirror and not see a man even without makeup.  I want to count myself lucky, I may not pass for an attractive male or an attractive female, but I will dub myself a ‘hot human.’

I’m going to try to embrace the testosterone while I have it, there is no denying its power, before the muscle sheds away and physical vulnerability becomes a major concern.


Coming out to the rest of the family

I am a very lucky, very grateful, very thankful woman.  My friends have been great, my mum is a superstar, but wow was I scared about telling my grandparents.  They’re rural types, not strictly religious but regular church goers, a retired, sensitive Nan, and a gruff quiet grandfather who spends a lot of time in a big shed fixing machinery for fun.

I had the worries anyone would in this situation, and I was pretty surprised by their support.  I called my gran and though she didn’t ask or say much when I told her, she rang up the next day saying she’d been scouring the internet and asking me questions.  My granda was totally fine with it just saying to make sure I was certain before I started getting any surgeries.  Of course, they haven’ seen me yet, so I’m holding out before I can call it a big win.

Also my aunt and her fiancée know and made the switch to female pronouns instantly.  We’re a pretty small family, so apart from distant relatives I barely know that’s that.  Good for me, I wish we all could have it as good but we don’t, and I ought use this energy and support to help those who do not have it.


Operation ‘Find the Transgenders’

Part of the reason I moved to the city is to interact with other transfolk.  I’m still not really able to avail of support groups due the isolation of my age (29), but I’ve been able to get in contact with a couple of new people through Facebook and have arranged to go for coffee with the organiser of a new 25+ AFAB group to get some insight on how I might start up a group for 25+ AMAB people.  I must find the transgenders, otherwise how will I be queen?

It doesn’t matter how you find you support, but what does matter is that you reach out to seek it.  I think I’d be screwed without the internet to help guide me, but I really need to meet some real life trans people.  I went with a bunch of girls on a crazy night out to the gay bar last week and I didn’t see any other obviously possibly trans people.  Either they are all awesomely blended in or they weren’t there.  Of course, how are you supposed to know what a trans person looks like, how we seem to gender each other is often based on an automatic assumption.

People look at me, some see trans, some see man, some see woman, this is evidenced in my interactions.  Restaurants seem to be good places to get passes, I assume at the courtesy of waiting staff.  Other trans girls have intimated similarly, so maybe that’s a good place for new transfolks to get a boost.

On the night of the gay bar I was introduced to an awesome girl who took me shopping the next day and managed to get me the whole way round a clothes shop without running away, which is very impressive.  She gives me butterflies, a feeling I’ve rarely experienced.  It inspired a dream where I finally stopped treading the same path the blue haired girl showed me, allowing me now to find a new way.  To feel in myself that I could have romantic inclinations again is a real boon, and as much as I feel getting involved with someone right now isn’t the best idea no matter how much I’d love a cuddle, I’m very happy to have hopefully made a new friend!  Hopefully I can contain my emotions and not do anything stupid, a date with me is like finding a dead jellyfish on the beach, it may seem dead but it can still sting you and mess up your day.


Holiday to Barcelona

So, I drove myself mad getting ready for this holiday, I had to get it right.  All I had was cabin baggage so I needed to fit everything into one backpack for 5 nights, and fit all my cosmetic stuff into one of those airport security bomb material bags.  It had been so long since I’ve been on any kind of holiday, let alone to actual summer sun, let alone going as a female!

I don’t know how I did it, but I aced it and brought everything I needed.  Against all odds, the entire holiday went off without a hitch.  It was amazing.

I’m going to write about it in a separate post since this one is getting a bit bedraggled, and once I can upload the photos I’ll do a nice holiday story time post.


Voice

Eugh.  I sound bad.  I’ve plateaued with what I’ve learned, the glimpses are rare.  I took a week off practice for going on holiday and it’s put me back a lot.  My voice therapist says it will be around Christmas before I have anything I would consider worthwhile.  Through watching lessons online I’ve developed an American inflection rather than that of my natural dialect.

A possible upside I think I’m noticing is that the rate of a passing voice is partially proportional to aesthetic appearance.  That is, the more obviously femme I am in passing situations, the more I can get away with vocally.  I can’t say that for sure, but it’s certainly conceivable .


Future

I’ve gone from living at 100mph to sauntering now at a casual run.  The unending lists have somehow been mostly completed in a frantic, determined daze.  The word is:  Persevere.  People, I never believed I could get this far, I’m not particularly motivated, industrious, feminine, confident and so on, but I’ve still been able to make these big steps, and it hasn’t even been a year since the reality of my identity clicked.  I’ve had no choice, except to live in an eternal gender purgatory.  To think I could get this far without much understanding or self-belief shows me how far I can go to get where I need to be.  It motivates me to believe that anyone reading this in a similar situation can get where they need to be.

Let’s keep moving forward together, keep each others backs, leave no-one behind.

Amy Xx

P.S. I forgot to mention I made an email for this blog unexpectedamy@outlook.com, so if anyone has any questions or something they want me to talk about or help with please totally feel free to get in touch, I’d be happy to try to help!

Standard
gender, hormones, transgender

When you can’t calm the waves, ride the storm.

There are always going to be low points, really low points, in anyone’s life.  Transition is a neon bug-catcher around the neck, the buzzing swarms of fear, anxiety, stress and panic crackling away, dying and brought back to life in never ending attempts to torment.  What matters is what you can do now, even if in screaming and crying through the whole process you can do what you need to do, it shows not weakness, but the highest level of courage imaginable.  The harder the process is, the braver you become.

Through it all, remember and celebrate each little success, for they are beautiful, and incomparable to what most people will ever know. Rejoice in your unique experience, the quality of self-knowledge, and the enlightenment of your understanding of the world at large.

At the moment, I only really know three emotions – stress, anger and panic.  In the past year I’ve developed somewhat of an anxiety disorder, mostly through the stress of work, cruel betrayal and heartbreak by loved ones and feelings about my situation in life. At times it is greatly exacerbated by the sheer weight of the transition process.  I dealt with depression for a long period in the distant past, but anxiety is a different animal; it doesn’t make me unhappy, rather it makes me feel like I’m not in control of my shifting emotions and how I express them.

I have a bad habit of comparing my life situation to that of others’, and being trans for me unfairly highlights my shortcomings in a more profound way than ever.  This way of thinking can never work, one is only ever comparable to oneself and what I need in life is relevant only to me.  If you’re also just a regular Jane, you probably notice that many people consider their lives sucky to an extent – working for just enough to pay the bills; having problems with partners; watching as friendships are lost to the realities of adult responsibility, work, marriage, kids.  All the things teenagers say they’ll never do; how we’ll never lose touch or ‘be like that’, yet we follow the exact same path each generation does.  Life goes on, as we either grow closer to ourselves, or further away.

‘It’s not the load that breaks you down…it’s the way you carry it.’ – Lena Horne

I used to pride myself on being able to deal more effectively with more difficult problems than those I would try to help; now I see myself on the other end.  I want to be stronger, I need to be stronger.  In a lot of ways I am ashamed of my attitude, I see videos of little kids in hospital beds waiting to die and I bawl my eye’s out at their simple insurmountable strength in the face of doom.  I read about a woman who didn’t know she was born with XY chromosomes who had to suffer serious medical and social indignity through puberty and developed osteoporosis amongst other ailments just for being born with the condition, whilst I complain about a bit of facial hair and a masculine voice.

I’ve spent the last year preparing to build my life back up from scratch after losing everything – my apartment, my job, what I mistook to be a loving relationship.  It’s only now that things are picking up for big positive change, and there are a lot of big changes coming.  An opportunity has arisen to move into an apartment in the capital city (Belfast) without having to sign a contract, with a good friend. I’m taking the risk with my savings to move up at the end of this month in the hope I can find work and stay there.  The plus to this is that most of my trans related appointments are in the city anyway, but the downside is that I have so many appointments a day job would not be sustainable.  By moving up with the money I have, I’m basically putting myself on a timer to find a reliable source of income or I’m screwed, but if it somehow works, possibility can bloom.

Also in a month’s time, I’ll be off to Barcelona for nearly a week, my first holiday in a long time, and I’m trying to prepare for it in consideration of my place in transition, which is pretty stressful.

‘What do you mean, every month?!’

The crux in this is the appointments.  Gender therapy, laser therapy, voice therapy, fertility appointments, and soon endocrinology appointments, each of these building pressure on top of each other and taking up massive chunks of time and money trying to get there and back.

Voice therapy is humiliatingly embarrassing and feels like no progress is being made, so it’s important to take as much humour as possible, and to realise that the only way to get there is to persevere, to never give up because it will take a long time for any of the progress to feel like progress. The constant daily practice is incredibly draining. Keep going though, it is the only way.

I had my first fertility appointment, where it was explained to me the various risks should I ever get the opportunity to have a child.  Waiver after waiver was signed, informing me that freezing could irreparably damage the sperm, that the machines could break down, and that IVF will be my only method of having genetic offspring.  These are huge risks for me and enough to unsteady my commitment to the medical pathway, because having my own kids is more important to me than my gender.  The catch-22 is to show those future children the way to live in fear of themselves by not being resolute in myself.

This first appointment was only a consultation, at which I gave blood to test for hepatitis and HIV.  At the second appointment I will have to give a sperm sample to check for viability before freezing and then I assume a third appointment to give the sample for freezing.  Two words I never thought I’d hear together ‘Ejaculation Timetable.’  It will be interesting to work on because my sex drive is still basically non-existent. Another stressor is that these appointments are normally attended by couples, and the whole sperm sample thing generally by cis-men, not transsexual women, so it’s not a fun waiting room.

Hormones on the way?

All of this is in anticipation of Hormone Replacement Therapy.  The minimum wait for diagnosis in Northern Ireland is six months, with the Gender Identity Clinic here apparently notorious for making people wait at least a year.  I got diagnosed at exactly the six month mark, I wonder why.  I think it’s because I’m very clear, rational and unwavering as to what my transition goals are: to abate so much as possible the impact of dysphoria, and to be able to get on with my life.  I’m not doing it to have boobs or a cis-normative seeming body; I don’t need hormones to be a woman, I don’t need to label myself; I’ve been through enough crap in my life to hopefully be able to deal with it; I’m aware of the risks and limitations.  Hey, it would be nice to blend in flawlessly, but I accept that it will never happen, no matter how amazing I may look, no matter if I ‘pass 100%.’

Now is the time for deep research.  When the decision to take oestrogen is made, life branches off on a new path and the old paths close forever.  The clock starts ticking, with initial decisions for bottom surgery in my opinion needing to be made concurrently.  You can jump on this ride, but you can’t jump off and hope for things to be as they were.  This decision for me has never been ‘OMFG I’m finally getting ma hormonez!!’ No, it’s come to Jesus time, honey.  This isn’t someone else’s body; this isn’t watching transition videos on YouTube or meeting with other transgender successes.  What this definitely isn’t, is the ideals in your mind dysphoria have created about how you would hope to be.

Hormones will not change you in the ways that you dream, they may do a lot, but they will never do enough.  My hope is simply that hormones are a hammer with which to beat down dysphoria effectively.  This is the process of attempting to align our bodies with our minds, not our minds with our bodies, so no amount of modification on its’ own can beat dysphoria, you will only ever be able to ultimately cage (not vanquish) it with your heart, your soul and your mind – not medicine, not surgery.  Being a woman is not a special achievement, having boobs and a vagina is not a special achievement, this is a normalization process, not specialisation.  Being a woman will only get you as far as women go, and if you are trans, it quite likely won’t even get you that far. However, remember always that we are all equal and we can all go as far as our determination carries us.

I’m not trying to be brutal, but you have to understand the likelihood of realities here.  Medical transition can and does make unbearable lives into exceptionally amazing lives for some whose lives are unbearable because of extreme dysphoria only.  It is not a perfect treatment, is extremely risky and requires lifetime maintenance.  If you are quite unlucky, oestrogen will give you deep vein thrombosis, a stroke, or a pulmonary embolism.  The hormonal shifts might drive you to madness or worse, the surgery may leave you inorgasmic and feeling mutilated creating a new nightmare of intolerable suffering.  You don’t have to do any of these things to be the gender you experience yourself to be.

Please note that I haven’t done my research to the level I feel comfortable discussing intricacies, and I’m not trying to instil fear, I’m just saying there are some fatal scenarios and that whilst for some there is no choice, if there is a choice, be aware of the negative possibilities.

Life doesn’t wait.

Another thing that is holding me back is simply the lack of real life support.  Yes, I have plenty of amazingly supportive friends and family, and while I don’t expect them to understand exactly what I’m going through, I worry for their knowledge of what I’m about to go through.  The attitude I get is usually ‘Good for you, I’m so happy you are finally getting the chance to be yourself, I’ll do whatever I can to help.’  This is beautiful, I love and appreciate it so much, but what it feels like to me sometimes is a template, that they don’t understand these dangers, that they don’t challenge my decisions, that they don’t ask me about transition unless I bring it up, and even then I can tell they know basically nothing about transgender people, and for me that’s dangerous, especially for my decision making since I cannot do it alone. I understand their reticence, it is my issue, my journey, and they do what they can, and they do so much for me.  I need their help because I trust them, I rely on them.

One of the stressors I have is that my friends are all isolated from each other; they don’t meet up or talk to each other so the only thing that is holding my network together is me.  Because of this I find myself running around like crazy trying to maintain these individual friendships and it takes too much energy on top of everything else.  I feel like they support, but they are unable to help. I totally understand; everyone is busy with their own lives, they don’t want to be offensive, they don’t know what to say, they expect me to educate them, and I maybe expect too much. One thing I am is completely grateful for the impact they have on my life in general, how I am accepted and cared for, and I know I am so lucky to have just that simple acceptance, when they could so easily have abandoned me. If anything, I have to try harder for them, to be more open, more vocal, because they know I don’t like being made a fuss of.

The best thing for me would be to have some real life support from other trans individuals, yet every time I reach out in my community my confidence gets raked.  Each time I build up the nerve to speak to a trans-person in this country, or a support group, I’m met with overawing awkwardness, coldness, misery and most generally silence which really impacts on my confidence and emboldens the idea of feeling like an outcast within the community and instilling an unhealthy lone-wolf attitude.

The most reasonable transfolk I’ve knowingly encountered have been through this blog and on YouTube, and I am indebted to those who so freely share their stories and encouragement. I’m hoping when I move to the city I’ll be able to foster some new vital bonds.

However, currently without this feeling of help, taking HRT now is going to be a difficult path, yet with therapy rules in the UK, I could put myself back by months or years if I fully indulge in my issues which will have the ironic impact of extending the duration of the difficulties that impact me daily. Problems like this can’t be let lie, so I’ve arranged for a regular counsellor to help through these issues. Never be scared to talk to someone if you have to, and if you are, do it anyway.

You’ve got male.

One struggle I have noticed is that of testosterone and male anger.  I feel I can distinguish between regular anger, and the anger brought on by testosterone, though it’s only hyperbole.  When I get the male anger, I want to be violent, I envision scenarios in my head where someone might say or do something disrespectful or dishonourable enough that I would get to inflict damage upon them, a seething rage to hunt, kill and screw.  I have to do some serious exercise and mindfulness to help abate these feelings as they have always been scarily abhorrent to me, but they are getting harder to control.  Indeed, I’ve often considered the sign of a strong man to be his ability to quell these very natural emotions and inclinations.  I’ve spoken with male friends and many accept they have these same impulses and agree they must work to supplant the urges to conquer, to destroy.

The anxiety has been brutal, I am not myself, in some ways I am less of a person than I was before my realisation, but at the same time I can’t say that I wouldn’t have felt like this anyway if I weren’t trans due to how I feel about my position in life.  Going through transition however is basically like trying to maintain the workload of two lives within the space of one.  For everything I think of, note down and try to do, I can think of about a dozen other things to do.  When I write my daily to-do list, it ends up becoming non-exhaustive and it can be very difficult sometimes.

Still, persevere.  There is a lot to do and there will be lots more to do, with ever more life changing decisions to be made.  Cisfolk don’t understand the nature of how transition impacts almost every aspect of life.  Every time I open my mouth, I’m transitioning; every time I get dressed, I’m transitioning; every time I leave the house, I’m transitioning; every new situation I introduce myself as female in, I’m transitioning, whether it’s relevant to the situation or not; any time I think of where my life is going, I’m transitioning.  Any time I do any of these things, I am facing fears, both new and entrenched.

Feed. Me. More.

I have a list of simple fears, and I am going to eat them, fears that a cis-person would generally never even conceive of as a need for concern. Things like using a public bathroom; shopping for clothes; getting my makeup done; going swimming; going to a support group; wearing clothes that show any of my skin other than my face and hands; using a changing room. I embrace the challenge, even if I am not up to it yet.

There is great strength to be earned through all this – the more fear we face, the less fear can impact us;  the more pain we endure, the less that can hurt us; the more we commit to our understanding of ourselves, the less we need to question who we are;  the more we do, the more we can do; the more we surprise ourselves, the more we realise how deep the wells of our capabilities are; the more we decide to take care of ourselves and our dreams, the more we realise what we are individually worth.

Doing it through pain, tears and fears, is still doing it. The toughest journeys make the best stories. Life is a battle that can never be won but must always be fought. We learn that when times get tough, we can be tougher, and that when we can’t always calm the waves presented by both our internal and external lives, we certainly have the ability to show our true resolve and ride the storm.

Amy Xx

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gender, transgender

Free Pass

It’s a classic story told on the road by many sparkling travellers, the occasion when one is gendered correctly for the first time by a stranger.  Likely it comes when least expected, for preceding it is the scary period when the pessimist inside says: ‘Nobody will ever see me for who I truly am.’  For as often as hopes are dashed, it’s important to realise that similarly our doubts are quashed, because how we perceive is only one view of how things are.

A few days before I came across this little comic on Transgender Graphics:

It made me sad, as sad as listening to ‘La Valse D’Amelie’ whilst watching couples hug close together on bridges during the still cold nights.  ‘This will never happen to me’, I thought, almost defiant in accessing future failures.

The fates care not for emotional whim.  A few days later, in the midst of that four or five day period each month I feel utterly despondent (hmm!) I met one of my girlfriends who convinced me to go out to dinner with her.  It was a horrendous day so we arrived at the restaurant with big coats on and I was too sad to wear any make up, I looked and felt decisively ‘unfemale’.  The hostess at the front desk greeted us briefly and signalled a waiter to take us to our table.

“Just a second and we’ll show you ladies to your table.”  Huh?

The waiter comes over and ushers us to the table, hands out the menus,

“So, have either of you girls eaten here before?”  What?!

My friend of course heard this as well and we both enjoyed the surreal moment.  I say surreal because dude…..

Lady looks like a dude…

Lady looks like a dude…

A funny thought I’ve had since, that if I were a man, I’d have been pretty damn offended at being misgendered, and if that’s the case, why am I so passively lenient to those who would misgender me?

So what happened?  I’m calling it a fluke, a ‘free pass’.  I consider this whole passing thing to be a rate rather than a fixed value depending on personal success, and I really have to call perception into question.  I could make all sorts of excuses to try and invalidate myself but I’m going to take it, and use it to show that a transitioner isn’t always the one who knows how well they are doing.  It can become typical to get negative about physical appearance, and I think we need these little boons from others to lift our heads from the grey stone to look once more at the path we travel.  I am so grateful for my loved ones and friends.

I finished my 6 session private laser therapy not long before all this, coming across a new craze for tweezing out the hairs from dead follicles (not recommended =D).  I tweezed just about every single [dark] hair out of my face, which didn’t hurt as much as you’d think since the hairs have been basically cauterized half a dozen times.  It makes a massive difference to how I look, no shadow, just the few fine greys and skin.  A perception is, that adult males are generally considered to have at least a little beard shadow at all times, take that away and the doors of ambiguity creak open a little. Way too much of the hair grows back though, it’s only good for one clearance after a laser session. Again, not recommended.

Also, I don’t know why in male upbringing, we are made to avoid anything that could be considered not macho, so much so that we ruin ourselves to maintain the image.  I said I’d refrain from giving actual transition advice, but I’m going to give some simple life advice – moisturize.  My skin has improved as much in the past couple of months with a learned skincare routine as I see at the two month point in most transition videos.  My skin is bright and alive, because I treat it so much better now, and people notice this.

Appointments, The Lasers! The Voices!

Looking for solid work at the moment is almost pointless.  From home, my monthly/six weekly laser appointments were a 2 and a half hour round trip; my fortnightly therapy appointment at the gender clinic is a 4 hour round trip; now I’ve started voice therapy, which is now a fortnightly 5 hour round trip.  Upcoming is an unknown appointment for fertility storage that I rush downstairs in hope for every morning, and then all the appointments hopefully testing for and prescribing HRT.  That’s too many appointments to take on a new hire, not that it will stop me trying.

Each little appointment is progress, inconvenient, but not an effort.  However, the voice therapy was terrifying.  For my first appointment a couple of interns were present, three cis-women, and me, hitting falsetto.  Basically it was only an assessment, I was asked what my goals were, what my issues were, what my habits were.  For future comparison I had to read a pre-written paragraph into a dictaphone, and do various basic exercises to monitor my breath and voice placement.  For example I was asked to go ‘shhhhhhhh’ for as long as possible, I was made go ‘eeee’ to check my pitch, and then again to see if I could modify the pitch.  It was all just making fundamental noises to give the therapist a baseline to individualise my treatment. It succckkkeeeedddd, it’s going to continue to suuuuuccccckkkkk, and it’s my number one priority, even over HRT.

As I’ve written before, the voice thing scares me.  I’m no longer scared of the changes to my identity and so on, nor scared of the exercises – like many aspects of transition I’ve noticed, the recalcitrance fades away because the train never stops.  I’m just scared of sounding stupid, having that cartoon squeaky trans voice.  You know what I learned?  Too bad.  It’s a real-time transition, not a time warp, the reality is, you have to plough on right through the horror.

‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’ – Winston Churchill

Homework number one is simply motivation, dedication, commitment.  The process is to permanently stretch the vocal chords and say goodbye to the old voice.  Transwomen say they can keep their male voice but in many videos I’ve seen them try to show this it leads to uncomfortableness and coughing fits.  So are ya ready?

The notes I got were:

  • Increase fluid intake, WATER, avoid alcohol, fizzy drinks, dairy
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Practice humming at different pitches, feeling for a buzzing in the face/lips
  • Don’t clear your throat unnecessarily
  • Avoid answering by shouting when upset or anxious (or in general)
  • Warm up your voice if you are going to use it for a long time
  • Observe cis-females in real life in terms of: presentation/image, pitch, resonance, ‘femaleness’
  • Consider female role models and how they carry their voices.

I’ve been doing voice practice through youtube video’s, doing the paid programs, using the apps, using a spectrograph etc, but I have no idea what I’m doing and how to achieve that, and I’m hoping voice therapy will help this.  Step one for me is simple, speak with a voice located above the throat.  As a natal male, my voice had sunk down into my chest, giving that rattling ‘bricks in a cement mixer’ kind of sound, which leads to all those downward inflections at the end of sentences and other vocal maladies.

I asked, what is a female voice, and she didn’t know, because such a thing doesn’t always specifically exist on a bandwidth, all there is, is a commonality.  I’ve made my commitment and now I am using a new voice all the time.  It sounds as stupid as I feared, but I don’t feel as stupid as I feared.  I’m making myself do this now all day, every day, because it’s the only way I know that is fully involved, it is the only way for it to become automatic.  There is no magic technique of ‘male voice off’ to ‘female voice on’, it has to go in stages – Very Male, Somewhat Male, ‘Gender Neutral’, Somewhat Female, Very Female.  Each step must be taken, each lesson must be learned on its own and put together, just like anything else that must be learned.

Remember, laser and voice are creating permanent changes.

Cis-gender dissonance

I met an old friend last week for the first time in years, a cis lesbian woman.  She told me about her gender struggles throughout life.  As a kid she was referred to as male regardless of how she presented, and she didn’t mind.  As an adult, she often wondered if she was a man, or was supposed to be a man.  A while back she had a couple of years dealing with a real gender identity crisis, but was unable to conceptualize the idea of dysphoria.  She didn’t and doesn’t understand it, but the feelings subsided, she came to realise she is just a woman who likes to screw other women.  She has male traits 614-629 and female traits 1646-2042. You know what I mean? She is who she is.

This is where I have some empathy towards a little trans criticism, and wonder where the lines are between being transgender, and having dysphoria.  For example, I could be as feminine as I want, moreso than I ever will be as a real life transwoman, think about being a woman every day, dress as a woman every day, do all that stuff, but without dysphoria, what would I be?  The term transgender consists of an overlap of personal gender freedom and medically understood gender dysphoria.

Each are valid, though ‘wants’ are very different from ‘needs’, and as with my friend, if there isn’t a long term problem, then maybe there are better long term solutions than transition.  Accepting oneself in ones gender doesn’t always need a change in gender self-perception.  Listen to the transitioned when they say it – if you can avoid transition, avoid transition, there is no glamour, and the price is too high if all you want to do is look in the mirror and see a pretty face.  Additional or removal of breast tissue is a consequence in aid of soothing the tumultuous mind, not in looking good, although the results often seem generally pleasantly congruous.

…and finally

I know my posts are too long. Shush, they are essays 😉

My passport arrived a few days ago.  The Sex says ‘F’.  I am officially, legally female… a bit, there’s still the two year wait for a Gender Recognition Certificate.  Now I can get all my other documents changed and that’s another kind of fun yet frustrating chore out of the way.

I guess a key thing for me right now is consistency.  Dysphoria is a constant annoyance, and I am rolling with it rather than resisting, and the things I’m doing are what my body asks for.  I know to expect a lot of different types of changes.  From the revelation, so much changed instantly and it takes a long while to untangle that giant clusterfudge into intentional components.

There are a lot of weights and balances in my experience, gradualisation.  I gain a little more self awareness, I commit a little more to voice, a little more to make-up (bleh), a little more to my presentation.  Though I moaned and scorned about it, I wear breast forms any time I’m going to be around people, because, you know, boobs don’t come on and off like that, and strangers don’t know they aren’t real, soooo… I’m not working by some sort of guide I read, it’s really what makes this experience more tangible and quite truly it helps, it all helps, and it’s bloody annoying.

The medical wait continues, but I continue to take power back, to claim, reclaim, and expand my life, and it’s working.  People notice the changes, they know it’s not a phase when they see it day in, day out, I notice, and I’m starting to feel it. I’m starting to look in the mirror and go, hey…..maybe.

Amy Xx

May be I'm a woman, but I ain't no lady.

May be I’m a woman, but I ain’t no lady.

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gender, identity, transgender

Absolving the Void

Peel back the layers like the painful scabs they are.  All those layers of dead skin built up as defences throughout life that bring us farther from ourselves.  Creating a solid foundation whilst aware of what is already built.  The mixer drips and overflows whether it is preferred or not; one can build upon concrete, or one can build upon frittering dreams made from ashes tinier than sand.

I am the only person who can give me what my life wants.  I’m the only person who can find out, the only one who can do it, and the only one who cares enough [to make it happen].  Just words, conjecture, yet we are individuals, same as everyone in every position, rich or poor, totally equal and deserving in every single right.  It is wonderful to find the value and strength of the human spirit, but what about a human spirit?  To whatever degree one transcends gender, it is looking inwards that counts, not outwards.  Society is this, people are that, opinions fly with an invisible sludgy density.

For myself, since coming out, I’ve come closer to myself in some ways, yet grown further in others.  With such jarring self-realisation it can be difficult to hold onto the connectedness which binds our own values.  There must be balance, without a sense of selfness there is no scale upon which to weigh burden.  See not yourself through the eyes of others, for their worth is not determined by how they imagine you see theirs.  Only a heart will let another heart inside’ its realm.

I had the wonderful opportunity recently to spend a few days in my grandparents’ country house whilst they went on holiday, the sort place where a wi-fi signal makes 56k seem tolerable.  Good.  The overwhelmingness in general of technology and seemingly insightful ‘5 Reasons Why…’ articles resonates too loudly with the online trans experience, it’s just too much information, and how much of it is really helpful when reading about self-help overtakes actually helping oneself?

Such was my greeting view –

IMG_2626

A little stream rolls under this picture. So tiny, yet still unstoppable in it’s flow.

In my reflections I had some a couple of important moments of clarity.

The first was to finally let go of my last relationship and first love for real.  I read an article on closure where it just clicked, or more accurately on how sometimes there is no closure, and the light brightened in my heart.  I’ve had to accept that sometimes, with some people, there are no avenues to receipt of empathy, understanding, compassion, conciliation etc, no matter how I could try or yearn.  I still got left being called a liar and a void, and must accept there is nothing I can do to alleviate this.  I think if anything, I was simply naive, just as I was naive about her. I am aware that some trans-folk have or hold onto their revelation whilst in a committed relationship and hold it in for whatever reasons for however long, but that wasn’t me.  It was the ending of the relationship that spurred me to look at my life and to finally see that which has perennially invaded my unconscious.  I was never given the chance to rebuild trust enough to try to explain how I came out so soon after the breakup, I’ve just received a continuation of the insults and abuse I’ve tried to carry for the past year.  I think this would have happened whether I was trans or not, I have spoke my love, prayers and devotions, retaining the positive memories and experiences, but now I can never look back.  We could have helped each other, and we should have been good friends at least. It is a sad ending. It is a new beginning.

Indeed, I was naive for over 28 years that so called gender issues were such a pivotal issue in my life.  Without the emotional upheaval and final unclasping I can only wonder how long it may have been before I started asking myself such serious questions.  And to be true, after those first few weeks of screaming and crying, I started telling people straight away, because I had no choice it hurt so much to have it all hit me at once.  Mais c’etait et c’est la vie.  The pain from all that is gone now so I know it is over, and in forcing myself to write this it allows my acceptance to breathe, to let go of the hurt, and mostly to let go of the hope it can be resolved.  It hurts me a lot to be thought of as a source of pain for others, I truly hope she can come to understand one day, to let go of her hurt, to forgive the grievances she feels.

‘Forgive people in your life, even those who are not sorry for their actions.  Holding onto anger only hurts you, not them.‘ – Source unknown

I’m sorry.  I forgive you.


The other release was of course related to trans issues, you know, that whole thing where breath is castigated by binders and corsets, for fun…  I’ve seen the struggle in myself and many others who in finding ourselves wish to put a name to that which takes us [from a past] to a future.  I understand how important personally, socially and politically it can be to use the names and terms, but I think I am moving past gendered terms, past binary, past non-binary, for now.  I’m sure I’ll proselytize yet through a few more terms of thinking.

I’m not trying to raise myself above, or come up with a new term; I just feel sometimes that all the questioning is like leaving the tap on, all that precious energy cascading into a black hole where answers are echoes.  I’m concerned with my individuality, not my gender, and though they are concordant, even thinking about thinking about a name for whom or what I am seems counter productive.  This is not a rejection of trans identity, it is more a showing of my growing comfort and acceptance in a self-actualized role.  One’s role is to be oneself.

Please forgive the impertinence, I’m just a babe when it comes to actually dealing with this stuff, but for me it is liberating.  No longer do I have to read trans-critical information, nor trans-affirming information and try to apply it to my own situation.  I hope that I have a more highly prioritised sense of self than sense of gender.  As trans, with continued self-awareness I would like to believe one can release the unfettered nature of oneself without bond – yet when dysphoria calls, does thon us ask to lie our identity on a line, or between the tracks?

When trying to explain all this stuff, I’ve found it essentially comes to sound contradictory in many ways, but to other trans folk, these seeming contradictions evoke understanding and empathy, and no doubt it confuses the fudge out of most people.  This shared connection however helps us understand the realities of our incongruities.

I posit to not lie on a line or between a track, but to ride ‘gender’ like a wave, take control of dysphoria like it’s a surfboard, become an expert dysphoria surfer, expect the waves to crest and crash over you sometimes, expect to fall into endless possibilities for choices of direction.  Think of these things for a time, but remember why you came, to find peace, calm, a true smile upon your face as a blazing sun of energy reflects its’ light and the spray blinds you to all but your focus.

Gender happens.  You don’t find it.

Gender is the word used to differentiate whatever it differentiates itself from.  It is an aspect of an individual, more innate and deep than most.  Gender, I suppose, is also a sufficient distinguishment between individuals in certain ways, though not necessarily through distinguishing features.  Gender is not the word ‘gender’, I find there is a serious language barrier which makes it very difficult to engage the precepts of discussing transgender issues from the basis of our awareness. For ourselves, moving on from the traditional sexed values of the words ‘male’ and ‘female’, ‘man’ and ‘woman’, to using those words to describe what we are.

What I mean is, I find myself by unconscious design to deign myself a woman, though I [supposedly] have a man’s everything.  For me, even having to attach those words creates a restriction, for me.  I’m not trying to write New-Speak, I’m just trying like I always have to eradicate those concepts like I try to eradicate any other pre-conceived assumption on human beings based on physical identifiers.  I guess it’s like wanting to talk to someone on a phone with a before meeting them, knowing a mind before attaching bodily traits, like I would hope for others to know me before imparting physical judgement.

This is my current, narrow, not at all serious interpretation. I do not deny, nor am I deluded from biological probabilities. There is too little psychophysical information for anyone to speak with authority. All I know is, trans people exist.

Ok, so the questions are always there, just like the…sigh….dysphoria.  However, I seem to have found a nice calm for now, things are a lot less overwhelming, less mind heavy.  So much anxiety, confusion, and all those things that lead one downhill from getting so single-minded on gender business.  It happens and it’s ok, though we have to take time to step back, we can begin some of the healing at any time.  Part of that is letting go of the past, another part is embracing the present.

Calm water days prepare for rough seas ahead.


In embracing the present, I personally have been trying to cool off on hyperactive transition mayhem, so much as I can be willing.  When trying to eat a mountain this big, the days go by and it seems like nothing can make enough of a difference, only crumbs when it may seem like progress is a spectre, but crumbs are still crumbs, even if few singles bites will make any noticeable difference.  However, it is not a Sisyphesian task, all those little bits matter, they really do bring us closer to our goals, but trying to do too much at once I find can totally jam the system and I personally just end up panicking.

So, I’m trying to tone down the demands.  I’m in a place that is comparatively acceptable for now.  My make-up and voice hasn’t improved, though I have been getting to wear some pretty nice clothes.

My voice is what holds everything back.  I’ve accepted the necessary horror and hard work, and it is a vital factor for me long term.  I don’t want to improve my looks because it feels pointless when I sound like this.  I’m not so much worried about the self-expression aspect so much as the grinding mental incongruity so this is how I do it.  I winged an appointment at a hospital voice clinic next month, and I really think it’s up there on the list of horribly embarrassing things for me to do in transition.  Gonna sound sooooo bad, and I just know I’m going to have a break down afterwards. I have to be honest, if I become aware of my voice in a conversation I can feel pretty uncomfortable.  Ears shall come to bleeding one day, when Amy is around.

I’ve started wearing hip pads and breast forms, even though I said to myself I wouldn’t.  It’s not nearly as internally humiliating as I feared, in fact it felt more appropriate than I would have liked, but hey, whatever works.  I’m pretty self-conscious about it, but not enough to not do it.  I mean, if I grow breasts or get chest surgery they’re going to be there, so may as well get used to it.  Palm to face initializing,  Palm to face engaging.  Palm to face complete.  Not fun, but whatever, it’s fine.

Overall, beyond little trinkets the best thing for me has been being outside, sensing who I am in the world, learning what not to wear, gaining confidence.  Each mistake now is one less to make in the future, and wow there are some really embarrassing mistakes to be made!  With good friends, it can be a lot of fun, and it can be alone too, if you are prepared to laugh at yourself.  I dunno, I must be crazy, because still when I walk into town I seem to be one of the very few ones with even the faintest of a smile.  Do smile!  Other people?  ‘Some folks would try and tell you how to butter your toast.’  Some people want what they want for themselves for you, but what do you want for you? I want your smiles, gimme gimme gimme! 😀


I’m aware this blog is just a big block of writing, so here are a few photos of beautiful Westeros:

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And one of me, cause I love ya 😉

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Spread the happy times people!

Amy Xx

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gender, identity, transgender

The smooth is the rough

All these constant little battles.  Who you are versus who you should have been;  what you could be versus what you’re not; the potential physiological loss of one set of positive/negative gender traits for the gain of positive/negative traits for another gender.  A very unique set of issues, the question is, are you fighting against yourself, or for yourself?

It’s tough to express a part of yourself that has been forced away for so long.  It’s not like I’ve ever not been myself, but some parts…some parts I knew just felt very far removed from what I should be expressing in the narrow rubric, a specified cause for ridicule.  In fact, ever since early childhood, I’ve known these issues weren’t solely about expression, it was something much deeper.  When I was six, I needed to be a girl, even though I didn’t know any girls,  I searched for ways to make it happen, rather than laying in bed wishing.  I remember bouts of what I now know to be dysphoria, looking in the mirror disgusted, spending hours, days, weeks scouring the house during any moment alone to find the elixir that would change me so I didn’t have to deal with whatever was hurting me.

One day, when I was around 7/8, I thought I had found what I was looking for.  I had looked at it on several other occasions and wondered how dangerous it might be.  Industrial super glue.  Yeah, less painful than the scissors or elastic bands, maybe it would work for a while.  It took several more days, maybe weeks of building courage, and then I tried to super glue my penis behind my body, away from sight.  Obviously it didn’t work, I was just left with my genitals and hands covered in the stuff, sticking together.  Later that evening I came to my mother and explained I had an accident….an accident that leaves a fully clothed 7/8 year old with glue on hands and penis only.  I remember as my mum peeled super glue off my raw little bits how much I had to repress telling her why I did it, and how for a further 20 years I would repress telling anyone about events like that.  I reminded my mother of this when I came out to her, even she had repressed it and denies it ever happened.  I can’t say for sure that I was trying to become a girl, I was just trying to become what my experience told me I was, which just happened to be a girl, though I did not know the words.  All I knew is that the feeling would not go away, as I searched aimlessly for relief.

It was so much repression.  I knew there was a part of me that was very wrong, very different from anybody else, that certain parts of me had to be buried, deeper and deeper, not because I was scared of my expression, but because I was scared of my identity.  The term ‘gender identity’ I feel is only useful to a point, because what it actually seems to be is just ‘identity’, gender being a consequence of biological variation that has little bearing on the identity I have, rather it is through repression that a ‘back-up’ identity is created to which dysphoria demands the truth of actuality be heard.

More and more I remember times throughout my life when I wanted to react flowingly to situations, to be myself, but I didn’t.  I am an only child of early divorce, I was trained early to be quiet, to just get on with things, not ask questions, to be alone and just deal with it.  These experiences carry through, reinforcing themselves over the years until the truth is just buried in submission to the dour grind of work, conformity and death.

I don’t think I can deny there is a difference between transkids and later transitioners.  The AGP model is highly flawed and fetishised, but there are young ones who have no choice but to express because there is no other way for them to be but themselves, repression is impossible, acting up to natal sex is impossible, and they are made pay a sickening price generally in bullying from other kids, teachers, family.  Like everything else, dysphoria and levels of transgenderism run on a spectrum of intensity.  Still, I think life circumstances play a part for some, individual personality and life experience cannot be denied; when inhabiting a foreign body with no knowledge of why it feels so wrong, people react in different ways.  Certain traumas can bury one’s identity entirely, not just their gender, perhaps forever.


Me-She

Now, for me to forget how to be ‘male’, it is like asking an aeronautical engineer with a 29 year career who re-realised her true calling was in marine biology to forget everything about aeronautical engineering.   She couldn’t, nor should she, experience is still experience.

So, gotta work with it.  I grow painfully aware of how ‘unfemale’ I’ve become, all those years of male training to try and find a way to fit.  Nobody put a gun to my head to make me do it, but hey, when you know intrinsically who you are in a world where every single identifier tells you that you are not, various coping mechanisms evolve in learning how to get by.

I’m usually in a bad mood, and while we may not know what constitutes maleness and femaleness, we generally make the distinction fairly easily.  Take a grey lump of clay, give it the vocal tone and mannerisms of a certain sex and I imagine it would be fairly easy to guess which it is a large degree of the time.  The argument I keep hearing is ‘sex is not gender’, so as trans I feel I must admit my gender and my sex.  Not that I ever denied it, that would be a bad idea.  I can barely hold in this truer side of myself, yet I don’t really get what it is, or is supposed to be.  Sincerity without ego, it will take time to peel away the decaying shell of faux masculinity.

You see, as a male, brought up as male, living as male, subject to male physiology, it’s not difficult to portray as male…square peg, square hole.  Simple delusions, lies for a back-story.  It makes you the perfect spy, like the Englishman  raised in Germany called to serve his motherland in the World Wars – he speaks German, lives like a German, acts like a German, but he is English, and must stand for his truth, rather than the life forced upon him when his pregnant mother set forth from Dover.

Speaking of battles, I notice the fragmentation of the trans world.  The young folks, the older folks, the AGP crowd, the radfems, trans-extremists(!), the regular ignorant, the well meaning ignorant, the folks just trying to get on with it, however many more little subgroups.  It’s good to read all this stuff, it can be pretty painful.  I’m not saying disregard it, I’m saying it’s too personal a journey to let the views of everyone else play too large a part.  Don’t make comparisons, it’s easy to feel invalidated, or ‘not trans enough’, the topic has been covered extensively, and is again irrelevant to the immediate problems facing each transperson.

I watched some informative videos on youtube by Kaylee Johnson, and wondered why she hasn’t put up a video in sometime.  If you don’t already know why, can you guess?  Yup, she jumped off an overpass and killed herself, yet she seemed so inspirationally on top of things.  You would do well to convince me that people struggle their whole lives, become aware, pluck up the courage to transition, turn their lives and bodies upside down, then die so unceremoniously because of a fetish.  She was strong and she still died by suicide.


Where’s my medicine?

Taking time now to work on transition, I realise that there’s not actually an awful lot to do.  Most of it is a series of constant learning processes and adaptations – voice, style, face, mannerisms, specific mtf/ftm horrors, whatever folks outside that binary need to do.  Personally I just want to get to a point where I am consistently showing myself for who I am, to a point where my voice doesn’t freak me out, and I can get a job without worrying about making additional dramatic outwardly changes early in employment.  Otherwise, yup, gotta get on with life, especially when the wait for treatment can become that grind you read about in blogs and try to estimate how long you might have to wait 😉

I’m 5 months into GIC therapy with the minimum 6 month wait before they can sign off on hormones.  I don’t think anything is going to happen next month.  I’m signed up for gamete storage, which will take months, then I imagine an initial endocrinologist appointment, a second appointment for blockers, then a later appointment to begin the new grinding wait for full power HRT.  So even when the light turns green, there is another red light, a small advance to dig another trench to duck from the mental gunfire.  I’m getting an advance on voice lessons though I’m told I’ll be turned away after initial consultation until I begin HRT, same goes for laser.  I was told the private laser sessions I’ve been getting don’t affect my eligability for NHS (Northern Ireland) laser fun.  The argument is that being on HRT will make these additional services more efficacious.

Of course, my argument is that HRT will make my life more efficacious, so get to it.  I reiterate that I don’t have forever to screw about with this, at my age I’d rather be worrying about kids and mortgages, not trying to justify medical treatment.  That said, as trans, treatment is a privilege, not an expectation, you are still you without medical intervention.

My whole life I’ve made myself least important, putting education, work, others and love before my own personal issues; now taking life into my own hands it is obvious what is important and necessary to me.  That being said, I still need to be in the position to work again, I’m in the prime of my life, as much as I’m happy to embrace my true identity, I don’t feel I have a lot of time for it!  More self-care required.

I got some homework which I’ll share because I think it could be a useful exercise. Simple cognitive behavioural questions, but can you answer them honestly?
•What are the advantages of transition?
•What are the disadvantages of transition?
•What are the advantages of not transitioning?
•What are the disadvantages of not transitioning?

‘What do I need to consider before I start to live my life full time in my identified gender?’
•Myself
•Family
•Work
•Society
•Other

I met my first knowingly transitioned transsexual woman before the appointment at a request.  She had transitioned a fair bit later than me, though it was a good opportunity to ask questions and hear confirmations face to face.  It all sounds horrifyingly lovely.  Tears and chocolate.  She said depression is part of being trans, I didn’t like that.  Depression is part of life for many these days, being trans doesn’t have to mean being depressed – yes, it increases the chances simply due to the added mental pressure, but it does not have to be a given.  There’s a reasonable chance HRT could turn you into a blubbering wreck as you finally get to experience how much it actually sucks to be female, pulled into estrogen station with a grating shunt of difficult to control new emotions, but that’s just what it is, the smooth is the rough.

This is what you want, this is what you get,

this is what you want, this is what you get,

this is what you want, this is what you get.


XX-XY-ZX Spectrum

I’m still looking, not for an excuse, but for an alternative.  My issue is still not about how I present, I feel pretty lame either way, it’s all internal.  However, I notice the difference in myself in public.  One day I went into town wearing male clothes because frankly my proper clothes were all in the wash and I was near bent double,  it sucked.  As I stood bent over moaning I saw people, faces, male people, female people, people I just couldn’t tell, me, eugh.  The wrongness I have felt for so long amplified now knowing why I’m not at all like them.

Compare that with having a more updated wardrobe which allows me to present full time, I still feel sad, I feel incredibly self-conscious of course, but not quite so dysphoric.  It’s a trade off, I feel more confident expressing that way, at least I can hold my head up, it sounds ironic, but I find it easier to go about my business.  I don’t have to pretend I’m this man man, I don’t have to pretend to be a woman woman, I simply just get to be me, squared, halved, with better things to do.

‘Gender is a spectrum’…’gender is not sex’  Knowingly or not, gender is an individual, subjective experience, shaped mostly by biology and society.  I’m trying to take away even the entire gender spectrum, there is only the personal spectrum, a band which exists somewhere with a range of self-identification that is tolerable to the individual. Existing anywhere within your own range is entirely fine, it can be as wide or as narrow as you desire, or as is forcefully imposed upon you.

Taking away labels, one can exist at and between the x and y of who they natally are and never have to justify it, or give it a name.  However, the issue is not the inability to express oneself within a gender spectrum, it’s spending one’s life so far isolated from from the demands of a biological/mental process which is not being met by our lives and bodies.  Apparently.  Thus I call myself a male-to-female transsexual based simply on the knowledge of the demands of my biology as a means of explaining my medical position rather than an explanation of my being.

I have a worry that I must admit, the lack of affection I received as a child, an only child, accounts for many of the needs I desire which could contribute to my experience as trans, giving credence to the nurture side.  The love and attention I needed crenellated into needs or desires which could stereotypically be labelled feminine.   Indeed, it is a reasonably reliable trans trait.  More worrying is the feeling I get sometimes that as a woman I’m transgender also.  To meet in the middle, I would nearly have to consider myself the same as I have my entire adult life ‘gender-neutral’.  Fudge your genders, but also, fudge my male genitalia and hormone supply.  Maybe it would be better to be smooth down below, sexless, hormone negative, but again it defies reality.  Stop looking around and getting distracted, the truth is there, in front of you, look forward, it doesn’t lie, only your conscious process lies.

Bleh, dysphoria can’t be forced, it is a catalyst to existing insecurities, it creates new insecurities, and it is difficult to find a place of content against the potentially crippling incongruity.  I don’t understand how it works though, I put on the clothes and make up and my dysphoria dissipates a little, even though after a while I’ve forgotten about how I look.  I am allowing my inner processes to be shared in the outer world, which is mentally healthy.

Furthermore, I figure that our bodies are crying out for certain nutrients, salts, vitamins and so on, we feel lethargic and sick without knowing why.  Just because we aren’t getting them doesn’t mean our bodies don’t know we need them, or how to metabolize a new chemical process hitherto unprocessed yet innate in design.  Same could go for hormones in combating the deficiencies that cause dysphoria.


This-for-I, ya?

Fun story.  So, I’ve been living close-ish towards full time for only three months now?  For the first time in my life I got chatted up at a bar by a woman.  She was bi-, had apparently been with trans friends before (whom she frequently misgendered), and she thought I looked good.  Anyway, one thing led to another if you know what I mean.  It was certainly a unique experience, as I’ve never had a one night stand before, and I didn’t have to pretend to be a man (or woman?), which was nice.  It was a worthwhile experience, sex has different parameters now, dysphoria certainly played it’s part, but I don’t regret it.  Very strange that this situation could have presented itself like this, when whilst as a man?  Nada.  Not that I would have been interested then.  But of course, I’m not allowed to be a sexual being, because it makes me an autogynephilic trans fetishist, having a one-night stand makes me a slut, doing this only while as a woman is misogynistic.

Truthfully, in freeing myself from the restrictive codes I created throughout my life, I am simply going after the things I wanted but was too principally scared to experience.  I transition, not to be a woman, but to be free.  Could I do all this as a ‘man’?…Maybe, but I wouldn’t be being myself and therefore would still be wearing a tourniquet around my own neck to keep some sort of grey homogeneous peace for others.

Ah, life is interesting.  Acquaintances and strangers, the looks in their faces, how they turn away, or stutter when they hear my name.  My sense of humour finds it hilarious, I like making people uncomfortable anyway, pushing boundaries and buttons, because evolution is what we make it, by evolving ourselves in general, we evolve the future.  Quick example waiting for service at the bar, a guy I haven’t seen in years ambles up:

P: ‘Alright man, long time no see, how’s it going?’
Me: ‘Heeey, not too bad thankya, gonna get drunnnnnk.  How’s you?’
P: ‘Aye, I’m grand man…but like….what have you been up to?’
Me: ‘Oh, you know, keeping busy, having fun, working on a few interesting projects, keeping smiling.  How about you?’
P: ‘Aye but like….are you alright man?  I heard…..er…..I heard that ah….that….’ (I love the squirming)
Me: ‘You heard that I’m a transsexual?’ (Well I am wearing a dress and make up)
P: [Nervous but somewhat relieved] ‘Yeah…aye….um….well…..just like…….’
Me: [Laughing] ‘It’s ok hun, don’t worry about it!  How are the little ones?’

And so the conversation goes.  Once the awkward sting is taken out, we can talk about everyday stuff again, as decent folks will realise ‘oh, it’s just a person/dude in a dress/transperson/man/woman’.  People generally don’t get to meet a lot of transfolk, the media has fairly distorted who we are, but on the whole people don’t care enough to make it a problem, they want to understand without being rude, and then they have other stuff to do.  They don’t understand which is why they casually misgender and think we have mental problems or a fetish.  There are plenty of difficulties where it is obvious I’m not seen as a woman but it’s early days, for now I’m only interested in seeing myself, showing myself and changing legal documents.  I am what I am, not what others claim.

I find that my doubts are as relevant as my understandings.  I can make moot most theories of my personal gender just by waiting.  I may convince myself of this, convince myself I’m not that, and it will work intellectually for a few minutes, hours maybe, but then dysphoria always comes back to say ‘Hi’.  I don’t think dysphoria is trying to hurt us, same way circumstantial depression isn’t trying to hurt us.  It’s a mechanism for the body to tell us something is wrong, that something needs to change for the body and mind to survive at its fullest power.  Issues grow when they are not confronted, turning the mind into a hateful gristle, yet when we meet head on the reasons for our discontent we find we can overcome adversity in understanding and by showing active love to ourselves, and the world around us.

Amy Xx

P.S. UK folks, do NOT use legaldeedpoll service, the one with Eamonn Holmes on it.  I got scammed by them, and I encountered quite a few others who have been screwed by them too, neither their phone numbers nor emails work and they don’t provide the service at all.  I have printed free deed polls and I’ll make an update as to whether the UK government sectors accept them.  I had to get a signed letter from the Gender Identity Clinic to be able to change my passport and driving license, so please bear this in mind when attempting to update documentation.

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gender, identity, transgender

Embrace the Cure

A broken form, held together by the sinews of lost regret

Queer lament, still no sign of heaven sent

Tear myself apart as I realise that it’s watching me, that cracking haunted mirror

Shards of it come crashing down and I see my face

I replace the scattered remnants with my skin to reflect the bloody truth that I know

It is a brand new dawn, light grows and flickers from the rising sun

I’ve begun a journey of a thousand steps

If I take just one, will the weight of your gazes make me succumb?

I don’t think so.  I don’t think so.

Did you hear when the glass finally shattered?

Constant voices that have grown so loud

I’m drowning out the facts against the tide inside my broken mind

To find my soul is battered

I take all my pain, live it all again, go insane

So tell me who is to blame, for this natural evolutionary consequence?

If God were here and said that we all mattered

Would you turn your cheek and give in to His grace?

The price of love should surely rise above the space you’d have our ashes scattered

So get on your knees, let the prayer appease

Where is sin? It’s under your own skin

All I’ve got is life on my side, I let it in.


Reading trans blogs is so illuminating, subjective perspective of such personal and intimate stories, shared.  Together we seem to swirl around a crystal of energy that represents truth without answers.  Every so often one of us grabs it, only for it to appear in another place.  Like all things in life, it is transient.

Here is a riddle – How can the truth be a lie?  The truth is not there to come to be known, it exists regardless of awareness, though the spirit calls for it to be found.  If one’s essence has been found in truth, how human that we err and convince ourselves it must be wrong.  Truth is neither right nor wrong, simply it is.

I’m so grateful to share in the empathy of those in the early days of transition, the typecast whirlwind of self-exploration, emotional reconstitution, stress, fear, revelation and joy.  Repeat.

Through this I am struck once more by greater personal understanding through concise concepts and an ego-less attempt to get to grips with this whole gender incongruity issue.

Dysphoria is not going to go away on its own, that’s established.  It may always exist, in fact it may be more intense but less frequent post-transition.  So, uh, do something about it.  I find it difficult to accept the brain wants certain conditions to be met for dysphoric feeling to go away, yet I know that living freely in a non-repressed, self known gender identification alleviates some of the symptoms.  However, it is going to take a lot more to really quell that voice.

It is dangerous to say definitively that HRT will abate any of these automatic thoughts, in fact I will go into HRT expecting absolutely nothing to change, because if the hormones didn’t work, then I would have to find another way to combat the dysphoric grind.  In assuming nothing will change unless I personally come to terms with it in my heart of hearts and express myself without quarter, I hope it will mean less emotional pain in the long run.

It’s about trying to get past the perceptions and aesthetics.  In transition, of course you are probably going to be a dolt, make a lot of mistakes, feel hopelessly lost and confused in a seemingly new world. Each screw up is a better lesson learned than a constant pass without question.  Of course you will look, sound and act stupid, people look, sound and act stupid all the time.  But you will learn.  ‘Character’, styles, mannerisms, that stuff will all come in the ways that are wanted and needed in time, practice and experience.  It will take years.  Anticipate and accept all the mad horrors. Revel in a future of concepts not yet dreamed of. This is the plunge.

The other thought I had was so dumb I just have to shake my head – I want this.  I’ve spent this whole blog arguing from the perspective of needs, from medical pragmatism, from self-affirmation of unquenchable human spirit, but I’ll say it again – I want this.  I want to be whoever I am.  Yeah, the ‘who I am’ who isn’t dysphoric, but mostly the ‘who I am’ that I am. I want it all just as much as I need it, perhaps this is a product of the same voice with different tones.

I’m not ready yet to scream from the rooftops about my feminine graces, for now I attempt to carry myself with as much candour as I can to stave off the full brunt of constant embarrassment in my transgirl form. Who I am as a woman is the product of the attitude I’ve always carried minus the unavoidable effects of male conditioning. I find explanations usually get blurry and contradictory after a while, even when cutting out traits and expression as specific gender identifiers. It is not understood with words.

Rightly I’ve been reading a lot of posts about getting these labels out of our lives, or sticking with the ones that give us a feeling of security.  ‘Female’ is a label that works comfortably for me, but I won’t be so rigid that I will let that term define who I am.  I want to embrace the cure, to be a self-loving person, before I am a self-hating woman.  Then a self-loving woman too.

I don’t think I’m the only trans person who has stayed up until 2am screaming and crying at transition video’s the same way those people screamed and cried at the one’s before them.  It’s normal to think you aren’t going to make it, plenty of others have succeeded where they thought they would fail, why should you be any different?  You can’t be expected to appreciate the view from your final stop on these first tentative steps of the journey.

Is that why you are here, to go on your journey?  You’ll have to leave a lot behind, and you can never come back.  How do you know you are ready to go?…You’re here aren’t you?


At the moment, I have been prescribed two weeks of unwinding by my therapist before I look forward.  I already know the plan.  I’m taking several months off for ‘medical leave’ to transition more ‘fully’, because that’s what this is – medicine, therapy, whatever.  I’m going to transition hard, whatever that is, upturning stones and baring my soul fully to the world, to get to the place I need to be.

I’m being clear with my therapist, I’m 29 years old, I’m not a student, I’m not older and more financially secure with family stuff.  No, I’m in my prime, I need employment.  I need to transition to a point where I can feel confident in myself to present adequately enough to actually land a job.  I don’t have time to screw around for another year to get a prescription that could make or break my future.  I’ll find a way regardless, nothing can stop that of which its time has come.

I’m also going to Barcelona for a week in July and I’m absolutely petrified about so many aspects, especially safety and airports, but it yet another test to overcome, whatever doesn’t kill me… I figure it’s easier to deal with transition terrors if I work backwards in pain. SRS is worse than top surgery, is worse than electrolysis, is worse than hormones, is worse than going full time, is worse than coming out etc. Knowing the big difficulties to overcome in the future make each other difficulty on the way smaller and more bearable by comparison. Makes going outside at all a lot less insecurity laden.

Anyway, I plan on getting some better video equipment and maybe upgrading my blog, make it clearer, more precise, so as to benefit greater anyone who does so from these kinds of narratives.  Anything I can do to help, any suggestions or insane public gender experimentation projects, video’s, tips, tricks, hacks, anything really, get in touch, because I am in!

Initiate! Bring it onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and I changed my name, so let me say this legally…

Love,

Amy Xx

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