hrt, transgender

Altering Energies, Shifting Waves

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I must be the most dour transwoman on the planet.  Please forgive me for not being excited about the new swirl of poisonous sex hormone energy coursing through my body.  Please forgive me for not being excited about finally being free and finally taking steps towards female physiology.  Please forgive me for not being very feminine, masculine, or non-binary.  I saw it the same way I did at the start, I’m an individual trying to deal with gender dysphoria, trying to not think so much about gender, trying to take out some of the sting that transition entails.  I am learning the general lessons that many who came before, and many who will come after, learn.

I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m just expressing my (fatalistic, privileged) experience. Take your own excitement and embrace it, live it, and make the world better by living your truth!

Hormone Replacement Therapy has helped me a lot, and quickly.  Nearly 3 weeks in, after the initial wave of foggy contentment and slight change things have calmed down considerably.  It’s like watching the most beautiful paint in the world dry.  In ways, keeping tabs on changes is a bit of an energy drain, checking the mirror every morning for the slightest sign that something is happening physically.  At the same time, every morning I get up and take my 2mg blue pill with gratefulness that my mental state is improving.


Recent Changes: (Disclaimer – Talk of sexual functioning)

Day 9 – Nothing.  The first phase is complete; I expect no further changes for weeks, probably months.

Day 10 – I rubbed my belly as I woke up, it is definitely softer.  Feeling the first signs of potential overwhelmingness leading to the big cry I so seem to look forward to.  Slight impatience.

Day 11 – I think I had a slightly different kind of orgasm.  It built up more and exuded itself in a more convulsive manner, which was difficult to not vocally express, although it was less physically powerful.  My brain fuzzes at points during the day where I feel more ‘female’ in thought.  It cannot be described; it is like thinking on another plane.  Males and females being so similar these changes are slight and possibly only distinguishable by subjective self-awareness. I can just tell that in ways different information comes into my mind sometimes, yet I deal with them using the exact same identified consciousness.

My skin still feels softer; it feels good but creates an awareness of physical vulnerability.  After so long being rough with my cards in the man game, I feel the slight worries beginning about my physical strength.  Socks, belts and other things leave heavier, more long lasting imprints in my skin.

I went to see a hypnotist to help with tobacco cravings, which may have impacted the affects of the next day as described below.

Day 12 – I tried to summon testosterone after waking, in the way that I know how.  It wasn’t there, the same angers and frustrations were there, but I didn’t feel that swelling call to violence and sex.  Instead of feeling properly angry, I felt disgusted.  I also felt incredibly liberated.  Some trans folks talk about the ‘veil lifting’, about ‘seeing the world in colour for the first time.’  I believe that’s what happened today.  As I looked around contemplating what felt like a pin prick of light into my sub-conscious, I noted that surfaces were brighter, physicality seemed surreal for a brief moment.

Something clicked in my brain, and I noticed I gave that look, my voice had that tone.  In my relationships with females, many times was I chastised by an exasperating look and tone that caused me to swell with male anger, I hated it, I hated how I automatically reacted to it.  Now I understand it; without the remit to generalised testosterone based internal imagery, all I’m left with is exasperation.  I put my arms somewhat to the side, squint my eyes, part my lips and with a slightly condescending, slightly sarcastic voice I say to myself, ‘What are you doing?  What are you even doing?’  I feel a minute surge of the self-respect that has been missing, and actual feeling of caring for myself.  When I went out into public, I could still summon the same cocky arrogance I like to carry at times.

I felt slightly bitchy towards the people I feel have let me down recently.  I felt like I part way understood why those harlots on ‘Real Housewives of….Blah blah blah’ are all dissing on their friends, always falling out.  Part of it is because they are emotionally and socially underwhelming, but also part of it is ‘What are you even doing?  Seriously?’  When people, especially close people start becoming emotionally or socially vampiric, being forced to call someone out for it could easily lead to fireworks, fall outs and drama. Disengage.

No testosterone but still with just as strong a sex drive.  It is less urgent, but no less desired.  I keep now a dirty unwashed top from before starting HRT with my unhindered man scent after reading a blog about how different the smell is now.  It certainly didn’t smell the same way as it did before, in fact it was a more pleasant smell.  I don’t fancy myself but it’s an interesting experiment.

I made some videos for this day: Please excuse any offense caused.  I intend only to belittle my own experiences, not those of anyone else’s.

Day 14 – Is my butt changing already?  The dimples at the sides of my cheeks seem to be filling out.  Maybe.  I don’t make a point of touching my bum that often so it’s hard to tell.

Day 15 – Again, not that I make a point of touching them, but my testicles certainly seem noticeably smaller.

Day 19 (Today) – Sex drive is still there, but sexual functioning is taking more effort.  I’m not particularly enamoured to encourage whatever strange sexuality I now possess, but the option to not act (or be able to act) upon urges is welcome against the punitive demands of my hitherto male sexuality.

I woke up in a mood I haven’t felt for…ooohhhhh, 19 days.  It felt like testosterone was trying to worm its way back into my body and it felt horrible.  The testosterone blocking injection may be wearing off, I’ve heard before that the last week before a shot can be difficult in this regard.  Perhaps in a way this will help me understand more clearly the benefits of HRT; by being reminded of how horrible it feels when the effects begin to wear off.


Over-analysis is probably a hallmark of the experience at this point.  Experiences and decisions become more weighted.

A few days ago, I decided I finally had the confidence to meet a transwoman who lived close by that I had been talking to online.  I should have used my gut instinct and stayed away, but the prospect of meeting someone a little older, a lot further ahead was too tempting an opportunity to seek advice and support.  We met at a cafe, then decided to get a beer as it was an unexpectedly sunny day.  It was pretty much fine, we chatted, nothing unusual.  She invited me round to her place later in the evening to play computer games, which I thought would be fun, you know, a new friend.

I went round to her house after dinner and she was stociously drunk.  She regaled me with much too personal stories and uncomfortably loud music, asking odd questions and for some reason affirming that she definitely thought I was transgender and asking about my sexuality, frequently mentioning that I’m so different from the other transgender women she knows in her more extensive network.  I let all this slide.  After a while she tried to get a little bit more touchy, admitted that she found me attractive and so on, then cried when I turned her down.  I hugged her because she was crying but she inappropriately started rubbing my back and touching my hair.

She insisted repeatedly that I stay over and ‘cuddle.’  I tried to explain in many terms that I wasn’t going to do that, politely expressing my own issues and concerns.  She tried all sorts of tricks, telling me about my trust issues, how I just need to ‘let go’, how I need to express myself and find out about my sexuality….but to not worry because if I wanted all we had to do was cuddle.  On a first meeting, who does that?  I made my excuses and left as soon as diplomatic opportunity arose. It felt like with a wink and a nudge she was saying ‘We’re all girls here, right?’

I’m already in a place with trust issues so this really affected me.  My real life experiences with transwomen so far have been overwhelmingly negative – from sneers, ignorance, mental incapability, emotional unavailability, unsupportiveness, to now virgin seduction I feel more isolated from the community than before I even knew there was such a thing.  It’s strange because the folks I’ve met online and through this blog have been amazing and generally very well screwed on!

In real life though, it isolates me.  My friends ask little about my transition and I have taken to offering little as I realise what I say isn’t taken on board.  There are only a few people I trust to talk about my transition with now.  The way I figure is, that if people aren’t interested in my general emotional state, then I am not going to subvert the few avenues of friendship I have with a running curiosity about medical effects.

I feel like I’m back in the closet, so few people know that I have started HRT, and it takes a lot of energy not to come clean about it, although I painfully feel that for now it is a better option to not bring it up.  Coupled with the negative experiences with real life transwomen I feel incredibly distant from what it means to be trans.  In all honesty, I would prefer right now to sweep it all under the rug, to go ‘stealth’ if the option existed.  I am sickened, because transparency was a goal when I started all this yet I feel now it would work against maintaining any emotional security I have left outside my own skin.

My energies are changing, my life is changing.  I need new avenues for my emotional well-being.  Unfortunately my general emotional and mental states are irreducible from the experience of being trans.  Unfortunately I live in a binary world where the issue of being trans is going to come up.  There is no escape from being trans, ever.  So, I have to find other ways, because I will not allow a draining rot, nor abandonment of my principles.

Now that I’m on HRT, the transitional pressures have become less urgent as dysphoria has declined.  Being a new chapter, some of the worries can fall away.  I still don’t care about aesthetics aside from the basic dysphoric effect, but now I care even less about maintaining the obviousness of my transition, aside my voice and facial hair.  I don’t need to prove to anyone that I’m female, not even myself; all I need is to find the most balanced formula to keep dysphoria at bay.

I’m not going to be going on a date anytime soon, so how I look from day to day is of little concern. In fact, it may help me blend in. Confidence and not giving a fudge seems to go a long way.

I have to move on, some of the lessons I’ve learned up until now in my transition are becoming irrelevant.  Having my gender struggles at the forefront of my life and thoughts is becoming a hindrance rather than an emancipation.  As much as being trans for a transperson is part of simply being alive, any opportunity to take away some of the pain is worth consideration.

Certain trans issues need to be dealt with as specifically trans issues (preferably with the help of medical professionals, trusted transfriends and those closest to the heart) but other issues I feel need to come back to being more a case of the general gamut of life problems.  What I mean is, I intend to try to express myself in the same terms as any cis person would, rather than making being transgender the focal point of my shown identity. My identity is already trans, I don’t really need to do anything else to confirm it, so why mention it unless it is important.

I feel as agenderly asexual as I feel pangenderly pansexual.  I feel non-binary to the non-binaries.  Thinking about gender conflict is simply a pain, the less I can think about it, and the less it affects my life interactions, the closer I feel to accomplishing my goal of living a life where gender dysphoria has abated enough that it no longer has the crippling impact it does now.

With that it means eventually disengaging from trans issues, and even from trans people.  This sounds dangerous, disingenuous, fallacious and depressingly isolating.  There must be another way, if anything to help protect those dealing with the same problems but without the same privileges I have been fortunate to be blessed with.  I have it so damn easy, yet I neither appreciate nor utilise it.

Learning never ceases.

Amy Xx

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The Gender Playbook

genderqueer.me

A Guide to Figuring Out Your Non-Binary Gender

Figuring out your gender is a very personal process; only you have the “magic” answers to your own identity.  It can be especially difficult if you feel your gender is non-binary, because there is no template for you to follow. This isn’t to say there aren’t some nifty tools to add to your toolbox (or fresh ingredients to your recipe, or whatever other non-macho allegory you wish to employ) making it easier for you to build your identity.

Through the years I’ve gathered snippets of wisdom; advice which seems obvious in retrospect, but is easily overlooked when you’re in the thick of fighting the binary. I also feature voices of other gender warriors who share insights on what would’ve helped them along the way, expanding upon the previous What’s My Gender guide.

So, I present: The Gender Playbook: A Guide to Figuring Out Your Gender.

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  1. Certain Uncertainty

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hormones, transgender

Amy’s Hormone Adventure, Week One!


Welcome to my first hormone update 🙂

For years I read blogs and watched videos about transwomen on Hormone Replacement Therapy, repressing the cold dread of what I later came to know as ‘gender dysphoria’, lying to myself that it seemed like exactly what I needed.  Waiting.  It was all about the wait, the patience necessary to get to this point – months, maybe years, it seemed like the day would never come.

I wanted as much information as possible, what happens to your body, when?  What happens to your mind, how?

The day did come and I was ill-prepared, but I have taken the plunge and began HRT a week ago.  I want to add my version of events to the ever growing range of subjective transgender experiences for anyone like myself who has found them to be a comfort and a benefit.  The more of our experiences we share, the greater we can understand each other, and be understood from the outside.

A quick recap:

My name is Amy, I’m 29, and from Northern Ireland.  Two weeks shy of a year ago today, I finally came to the realisation that I was probably transgender.  I had twenty years of repression, which unfurled itself at distorted paces throughout the next few months.  Two days before Christmas I made the decision to go ‘full time’, and in March this year that’s what I did.  My documents have been changed and so I live my life now being known as a transsexual female. It all happened in a sort of daze, strange to think of that as being behind me, and life is basically the same.

I started this blog very soon after my revelation to get these thoughts out as part of what I consider a time capsule.  Now I move onto the next big stage in transition, medical.

I have as a starting dose to be re-evaluated in 3 months:

Estrogen – Progynova, estradiol valerate, 2mg pills to take once a day.

Testosterone blocker – Prostap SR, Leuprorelin acetate, 3.75mg, delivered by monthly intramuscular injection

Coming into this I was in a bad state, I hated life, I was becoming very withdrawn, anti-social, depressed, worse even.  I was going to take my first estrogen on a Monday, but I was too scared, I was so worried that my awful mental state would be exacerbated greatly by the hormonal shift, that it was an emotional risk I couldn’t take.  On Tuesday I bit the bullet and things began to change.


Day 1 – 10am.   Nobody I know understands, right this second I’m making one of the biggest changes I will ever make.  It is exciting and terrifying in equal measure.  Old doubts linger but they are long past exhausted.  Do it or don’t.  I ate the little blue pill and relaxed, nothing I can do about it now, let medical science take its’ course.

The effect was of relief and placebo throughout the day, just the victory of making this commitment, having this opportunity, although I can feel the foreign substance working on my body.  I felt a nice tingle in my brain, similar to other drug interactions I’ve had before.  Although these drugs can take weeks or months to take effect, I know from my own experience that I am usually quite quickly receptive to drug effects and this is no different, it hit me straight away.

It’s a thinking day, a day for wonderment, possibility, hope, fear, courage, letting go as my mind fuzzes over in waves, growing less concerned with my current daily grind.

Day 2 – I got up, starting my new 10am ritual of take estrogen, take a photo, briefly meditate.  I went to the nurse so she could stick a needle in my bum filled with testosterone blockers.  Quite quickly again I felt it working on me, with a few squeezing pains in my guts and testicles.  I had been warned I may have a testosterone boost for a few days while the drugs do their work and they were not wrong.  I went to see a good friend straight after, more or less dragging her out of the house before I tried to jump her.  It was less a feeling of being horny and more a strong feeling of biological need.  The feeling still lingers a week later, it is annoying.

We went into town as the two new drugs circulated throughout my system.  I walked through shops experiencing both genders, and neither, in a surreal haze.  I realised I wasn’t under the yoke of dysphoria.  Sure, the same worries, fears and resignations were there but the darkness behind it was lifting.  My confidence grew, my obsessing about how others perceived me began to wane.  Instead of thinking about my spirit crushing loneliness, I was thinking about my loneliness crushing spirit.

I was annoyed that I haven’t been able to tell many people about starting HRT, and more annoyed that those who did know didn’t seem curious or interested at all, even other transfolk; quickly I’ve had to understand more deeply how intrinsically personal this experience is, no matter how much I want to share.  I think quite easily I could be as single-mindedly annoying as if I were pregnant given any real chance to talk about what is changing.

I calmed later in the evening, being sure to note that my elation is still paper over the cracks of the exact same problems that were always there.  I felt fine, jovial even, but my emotional triggers were still firing, they just didn’t have any impact.  I felt like a paper tiger, that any moment this initial elation would wear off and I would be back in the mind gutter.  I decided that this is a grace period, a chance to deal with some of these lingering issues whilst I have energy.  Regardless of how much more uplifted I feel, my goals are exactly the same.

Day 3 – Still rolling with the testosterone, sore guts and testicles again for a few hours.  Various aches.  Emotional changes in the same vein as emotions I’ve always had, feeling grateful to have a bit of any kind of feeling again for a few days.  Usually I wake up and I start thinking all sorts of garbage, all sorts of dysphoria, but the past couple of days I haven’t, I’ve been, like I said, fine.

I feel the physical buzz of the changes in my brain chemistry, but nothing discernibly new.

Day 4 – Still no dreams.  I woke up with various pains.  Maybe I’m going crazy, but my skin feels the tiniest bit softer.  When I rub my fingers up and down my spiky haired arms there is much less resistance, surely imagining it, though I’ll take the boost.  It doesn’t feel like it’s something I’m really doing, this is an express art of subtlety.

At my voice lesson we pin down the issues with my articulation, intonation, prosody and accent. I feel like I’m going backwards again. As much as the lessons have been enjoyable this week, I’ve done something wrong in my practice that will be hard to remedy. If I knew how I sounded at the end it would be easier, because not knowing how I’m supposed to sound makes it difficult to sound like that. All things aside, it is my voice that will ruin me.

I can’t deny making a few more masculine seeming actions in my swagger.  Without the dysphoria drill in my forehead I’m less ill at ease with myself, I don’t feel I have to try as hard, but I’m careful because the triggers still go off.  I went shopping with my Mum and didn’t get needlessly frustrated the entire time which is quite rare.  I was calm enough around the shops, though I did man it out a bit.  I had a funny thought, watching all the people, that for years I tried to resist fitting into the man slot I never wanted to fit into, and now I’m fighting against the female slot that I don’t want to fit into either.  I’m not rejecting gender, I’m rejecting extreme gendering.  For being gender expansive, fluid even, queer folks like me can’t waste energy trying to fit into boxes that cannot contain us.

I look in the mirror and I see beard.  Whatever is going on around, that’s fine, but I have facial hair.  I can’t cover it with make up and I’m not going to try.  I’m not going to up my femme because it makes me feel dysphoric, so I feel stuck middling for a few more weeks until laser starts again. I won’t use a public bathroom with hair on my face, sorry.

Feeling way too calm.  The buzzing is becoming a druggy head rush, coming in waves.  I’m excited for the next pill tomorrow.  I try not to overanalyse any possible changes in the differentiation of my thoughts.

Day 5 – The morning wood sex drive thing bugs me.  I wonder what will happen when the day comes that part no longer works anymore, possibly like the sadness of losing a long term bad friend. It felt slightly different this morning, warmer, less mechanical.  I put no thought to it; I have lots of different moods.  My skin feels the tiniest bit different again today, I can’t deny I’m getting softer.  Being softer is strange, from being used to the brusque skin of a male, this slight change challenges my concepts of vulnerability and potential fragility.  I thought I had a little change on my nipples, but it was falsehood.  I anticipate a lot of time staring in the mirror asking myself if anything has changed in the past hour.

I feel more in tune with myself than I have done in maybe a couple of years.  My heart is growing, dysphoria is a vague shadow.  My voice seems the slightest bit softer, my throat is less sore, probably because I’m more relaxed.  Later into the day the drugged feeling of the past few days started to tone down.

Day 6 – I had an entire phone call with my mother without getting irrationally frustrated.  That’s a big deal, I love my mum, but there’s just something about talking to her on the phone that drives me nuts almost every time.  Not this time.  It definitely feels like things are slowing down after the initial hit, testosterone levels should be coming down, and the little bit of extra estrogen will still be scouting out my body, building silos and power plants.

I had a workout and didn’t get quite the same buzz off it I’m used to doing.  I still enjoyed it just the same and pushed just as hard, but it was missing that testosterone rush that made me feel really good about my strength and how I could destroy things with it.  I didn’t have a shower for a while afterwards and realised that I didn’t stink quite so much as I should, even my feet were bearable.

This medication does something to my guts.  Another girl I talked to on estradiol did warn me about flatulence and possibly diarrhea. Also I’ve got a few spots.

Day 7 – 10am is the highlight of my day.  An alarm goes off playing ‘Fluff’ by Black Sabbath and I take my pill.  Somehow I’m still riding a high, even with not nice dreams and not nice thoughts.  The numbness seems to be wearing off, thought my content mood persists.

Day 8 (Today) – I look the tiniest bit cuter, only enough that I would notice.  My skin is brighter and I noticed my cheeks properly for the first time I can recall.  My reflection makes me smile, facial hair and all.

I only wanted to try estrogen to help with the mental ailment of dysphoria, so far it is doing that, but I’m under no illusions that something will hit.  I still feel the fizz fizz fizz in my brain, I’m not scared of it, I’m not going to lose myself like I feared, though I can imagine some of the neurological changes in time.

HRT may change my emotional composition somewhat, but it won’t initially or perhaps ever change how I actually deal with emotional issues.  For whatever ways our experiences have moulded our triggers and reactions, hormones don’t seem to be changing the thought process, rather it seems to be changing the information that is fed into the process, piece by piece.  I will still react in the same way, which may be challenged if a differing way of experiencing emotions comes to the fore.


For all that waiting to attain hormones, now comes the waiting for the hormones to do their work, if any.  Still I will maintain a fatalistic position, that each little change is the last, but still that I can be happy with what I am on the path towards. I’m still more worried about my voice and my facial hair.

I don’t want my HRT experience to be the focal point in my life until I start thinking about surgery.  Obviously it will be, as I celebrate and share all the little changes that make so much difference, but now that I am secure in my regimen, I want to start looking forward, past the all encompassingness of being transgender and moving back into everyday reality.

My blog is an attempted exercise of transparency and sharing.  I still remember how I have felt over the past while thinking about hormones, waiting for hormones, waiting some more, waiting, wondering what might happen, reading incessantly.  I want to help out as best I can, so if anyone has questions, requests for things to keep an eye on, philosophical interpretations to impart, please get in touch at unexpectedamy@outlook.com.  I also have an awful vlog if you want to put a face to a name.  Any way I can help, let me know, I try to be an open book for the community.

Finally I would like to promote a new website and vlog called Happily Ever Trans.  This site is run by a girl called Angie, who I believe is an amazing advocate for trans youth.  She’s very well spoken, super confident and doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to personal trans issues.  I recommend you go have a look, can never have too many resources 😉

Thank you all,

Amy Xx

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hrt, transgender

The Bell Tolls

It’s ok to make mistakes.  It better be, otherwise I’m screwed.

After the most gruelling month of waiting, I finally had my appointment with the endocrinologist on Wednesday past.  Turns out I didn’t need to bring pee in a cup; they just have that as a formality in the letter.  It was a notoriously quick chat with the doctor.  How long have you had gender dysphoria?  Do you understand the risks?  A brief explanation of what may happen over the next few months.  There and then he wrote a treatment form for blockers and estrogen.  What, so I just go cash this in?  Yip.  They took some blood and I have to go back in three months.

So, on Thursday I rang my GP and faxed across the prescription to be made, and made an appointment with the nurse on Wednesday coming to stick a needle in my bum.  The next day, I picked up the script, went to the pharmacy, and they gave me HRT medication.

I was prescribed ‘Prostap SR’, a leuprorelin drug, which is an injectable testosterone blocker that must be administered by a nurse.  The only time a male should ever use this drug is for prostate cancer, because that’s the only time the benefits of taking it outweigh the risks.  The leaflets are an anthology of side effects and risk factors letting you know that even if you don’t have a major ailment, chances are you might, and well before the at least 2 year limit before potential surgery.

They gave me Progynova, which is estradiol, 2mg once a day, a 12 week supply.  It is used for easing the symptoms of menopause, which is again not something a male body should be taking.  I was going to start today but I bailed.  I’ll do a proper starting hormones post soon, this isn’t my usual blog.  I have a friend who was prescribed on the same day and I’m hoping we can do some compare and contrast posts to give readers a range.

I was expecting to have another appointment in at the very least two weeks before getting the prescription, but there you go, Two days.  I’m…not ready.  What I mean is, in terms of dysphoria I would have started munching without pause, but in terms of general life.


Trigger warning – suicide

I signed a year contract on the house, so I’ll definitely be in the city for another year.  I am doing everything wrong though.  I am an utter slave to nicotine, when I try to quit smoking, I try to quit life.  I have become pretty insular and depressed and I’m struggling to deal with it.  As a result I haven’t been looking for work.  It has all come together to drag me down big time and I’m not sure how to get out of this mess at the moment.

I mentioned in my last post a new friend who gave me butterflies.  I got to meet her only a few times and she killed herself about a month ago.  It’s devastating.  I was talking to her a lot in her last days; I didn’t even know her well enough to know how bad things were for her, I just knew on instinct that she was an amazing human being.  She was only 25 and had a kid; I’ve met some of her friends since who have told me about her.  It’s so sad, we should be helping each other right now.

Out of the initial group of people I trusted to tell I was trans, I’ve told only a few about hormones, as well as a couple of friends I’ve made this year.  To be honest, I don’t even feel like telling anyone when I start.  It’s difficult to do because I want to be as transparent as possible, but it doesn’t seem like it will benefit anyone.  I figure my best bet for now is to talk about trans stuff in the company of other trans people, whether in real life or online.

I’ve spent the past few days claiming to be tying up loose ends.  It’s like I want to say goodbye to a part of myself without thinking of what I’m now able to greet into my life.  I want to be as prepared as possible, but how do you do that?  Sure, take pictures and measurements, then make your lifelong commitment.


It’s hard to know what to do here.  I feel so bad that I worry hormones will put me at even more risk.  I’m worried smoking will make my brain explode.  I’ve heard the opinions that starting the HRT could actually calm me down and bring me more to my centre.  I don’t know what to do, I feel I am doomed either way.  It’s less to do about transition, and more about the best way to maintain my mental health.  Take the plunge.  I don’t want to stop if I start, it’s all in or nothing.

Overthinking.  Putting too much pressure on myself.

This morning I had a nice dream, where I was my assertive, confident, loving self, where all this bounced off me and I was able to engage meaningfully with others.  I woke up to the reality of my circumstantially enhanced chemical malaise.  I was going to take my first hit of blue poison but I just don’t feel like I have what I need.  When then, will I be ready?

There has been a lot of soul searching, I’ve lost a lot of myself, gazing at the ruins of the mental fortresses, wondering where to start rebuilding, with no tools, no blueprints, and not enough help.  In the middle of all this I must make the biggest life-changing commitment of my life up to this point.

In a losing battle, what are one’s words on that last suicidal charge?

This is not a good way to start HRT, I know this, but I feel doomed either way, my mental strength is hidden from sight, it must be found somehow, no matter what. I’m taking a risk, so I wonder how this story will go.

Hang on tight.

Amy Xx

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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!

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depression, self love, transgender

Consent to Nightmares

Often I find that when I am at my most self-loathing I am most unlikely to express it.  It is exactly the most important time to express it.  My brain calls me undeserving, unworthy.  Who wants to listen to all that negative crap?  Why should I burden anyone else with my difficulties?

It’s simple really, this is when my self-love is tested, my empathy to myself.  This is when I’m challenged to respect the ones I love and allow them to help me.  To allow those I love to help me is to allow them the chance to show their love for me.  It’s easy when things are going well, but more difficult in hard times, problem is, there is so much less to gain when things are going well compared to when things are bleakest.

When that voice tells me how much of a failure I am, how useless, how undeserving I am, it leads me to mistrust others, unwilling to seek their help, I cry invisibly for them to notice and lament alone for assistance I would reject anyway.  I automatically assume people are sick of listening to my crap, even though I don’t tell it to them.  They rarely ask, and when they do, I reject it.  I have a poor attitude.

I write a positive post and I am a fraud.  Do not take the word of someone who cannot apply lessons to themselves, those who say they know the path but do not lead along it.

What has been a month of brutal anxiety, anger and panic attacks has roiled over into a depression.  I may take that as a positive, depression I understand, how that part of the primal mind with nothing to hunt must make up reasons to feel inadequate.  Quite often the depressed state is wrong, ‘Ooooh, no-one cares about me’, and all of a sudden I realise someone does, then I cry, feel guilty and ashamed for being so silly and find a new way to be unhappy.  It’s a very difficult chain to break, especially when you know and expect it to return.


All of it boils down to one thing, self-love.  To think of the perception of how others perceive me is impossible and immensely damaging.  With self love, the perception of how I believe other people see me is irrelevant; with depression, it becomes auto-cannibalistic, because it is a deflection from the self.

A friend of mine told me about her relationship paranoia, and I said I believed it was because she also had a lack of self love.  I opined that a good, stable relationship must have four factors:  Your partner loves you, your partner loves themself, you love your partner, YOU LOVE YOURSELF.  Without all four, there is trouble.  Her response was along the lines of ‘Oh dear, so the relationship will be unworkable if I don’t love me?’ the only reply I could give was ‘You say it like just loving yourself isn’t a consideration.’

If only I treated myself like I treated the ones I love.  I love to help them, I love to give to them, and I love to spend time with them.  Instead I give my heart away, rather than giving what my heart is, and it can never be returned in as good a shape than if I cared for it myself. A lack of self-trust.  One person, one heart, full responsibility.

If only I believed they could think to treat me in the same way – Can it be so hard to believe?  That my loved ones love to help me, they love to give to me, and they love to spend time with me?  To believe anything else is either fear or arrogance, to prevent them from doing this is to deny their expressions of love.  Put simply, by not loving myself, I am being selfish in refusing help, in refusing to be vulnerable, I am being a bad friend in not allowing them to know me by not giving them that chance to grow mutual, irreplaceable love.

It is selfish to not allow good friends the opportunity to enhance our friendship through gaining trust in adversity, but in expecting their help when I refuse to help myself, I show a lack of self-respect for my own capabilities.  I feel that if I take help then I owe someone, it creates a heavy pressure and makes relationships transactional rather than human.  After all, why would someone help me unless they thought they were getting something from it?  Why would someone help me at all?  So stupid, it’s not just about me, sometimes people do get the same joy out of helping me that I do in helping them.  Self-loathing negates the value of this and takes so much away from relationships with others.

What a twist this puts the depressed mind in.  ‘…if I don’t love me’, how could I when my mind says I suck and don’t deserve it?  It becomes a spiral.  There is only one direction to look to find the answer I believe, inwards, lest everything else becomes a reflection to self-despair.


I am in the midst of some of the most difficult few months in my life in one of the most dejected mental states.  For well over a month now there has been no joy, just a continual grind to try and make my life better whilst embracing none of it.  How could I possibly expect to make my life better with success when success tastes like ash?  Yes, I do things because they need to be done, but ultimately, there is no point if it means nothing to me.

I’ll be honest; this transition has become a nightmare.  The more intense and real it gets, the more I pull away from myself, the more I try to go alone, the further I get from understanding and embracing my identity.  Exercise, healthy diet and so on are great tools, but tools are useless without confidence of the wielder.

Yesterday I signed the consent form for hormones, the most major medical decision I’ve ever made and in all likelihood, the forbearer to a stroke in an orange pill bottle.  In two days I put my only hope of genetic offspring into the hands of strangers with the risk of losing it all.  So so so so heavy.  This coming week I have laser, a voice lesson, and a pro make-up session which is a terror all of its own.

On top of this is the soul-destroying voice practice.  Morning, noon, evening and night, they remind me that there is no rest anymore, no relaxation, and for each shade of personal darkness I drop a semitone, compounding the difficulty.

I’m preparing to move house and town in just over two weeks, even though I am far from ready to being capable of employment, have limited funds and few friends.  The only time I see friends is when I make the effort to go to them, so I know they won’t make the effort, and I wish I could say that was only self-defeat, but it is recorded true from experience.

At a point the load becomes ever more difficult to bear, but like I quoted in my last post, it’s how I carry it.  Still, I feel utterly crushed, alone within myself.


Oh yeah, gender transition.  Woopy-do.  The therapy session yesterday was difficult.  We discussed potential changes on hormones and got caught up in a debate about breasts.  She asked why I don’t care about them and I explained about my dysphoria being a sub-conscious deal rather than conscious.  She argued that many/most transfolks feel their gender consciously, and transwomen want breasts and so on to feel their femininity.  She challenged that if I’m not that bothered about my body, then why should I even want hormones.

I don’t care about my gender, I care about dysphoria.  However on the way home I thought a lot about it.  Two words came up, bright and bold.  SHAME.  GUILT.

I’ve rarely felt through my life that I have deserved anything for myself, this is why I give away so much more of myself than I have to give, destroying myself and close relationships.  This is why I never took my dysphoria seriously.  It is why even now I feel that I don’t deserve to have the body, mind, soul of what my heart tells me I am.  I am ashamed to want any of this treatment for myself, the same as I am ashamed to present my true self because my negativity asserts that my true internal self isn’t worthy of expressing.  A lot of the time, I don’t feel I deserve to live, though what’s the alternative.

I feel guilty complaining about all the appointments that I go to, knowing that there are people who are incredibly physically sick, missing limbs and so on who must go through even more intense treatment programs, yet I am completely healthy and going to appointments which will ultimately destroy me whether I endure or not.  I feel guilty that I would get any treatment at all, when I could just keep trying to find a way of dealing with this even though I don’t think there is any other way.  I can’t think of a more bizarre medical treatment option for a situation.

Some of these feelings seem reasonably typical at this point in transition, when reality begins to take its’ toll, when the limits of endurance are pushed, when the determination of resolve is tested.  Dysphoria is the only constant.


I feel like I’ve totally screwed this up, that instead of a time for freedom, openness, expression, love and joy, it has become a nightmare of depression, anger, panic, loneliness, anxiety and self-loathing.  I still think too much and feel not enough.  No success is a victory for the self-loathing – for example, I will have quit all forms of smoking for a month tomorrow, I have such reason to be proud, yet I don’t care.

The only salve is to somehow love myself again, to make time for it beyond anything else, to make it more important than anything else.  It is not selfish, it is selfless.  It has been said since humans could speak, ‘Love thyself to love another.’

I cannot love outwards unless I love inwards first.  If I am hollow, my intentions outwards are loving in intent, but they are still hollow.  If I am full, the love I give is full.

The truth is, we are all equal, so when I disrespect myself, I disrespect others.  When I respect myself, I respect others.  Once again, it is arrogant to hold myself to a different standard than others’, it is unreasonable to expect myself to be so much more capable, and to be able to cope with more.  It is unreasonable to say I should receive special punishment for mistakes no-one is invulnerable from committing.  A counsellor one asked me, ‘What have you done that is so bad that you don’t deserve to be as happy as anyone else?’

Alternatively I’d take a cuddle and a cry but neither of those seem forthcoming, and I’d refuse that too, I’d need someone to force me into their arms, to not let go as I crumple into teary anagnorisis.  I am afraid to be vulnerable, I am afraid of the rejection of experienced all too often, yet I know I have to keep trying to bare the open wounds to see who might sew them in positions that I cannot.

At this point I’m so lost that I don’t even really know much about my identity, I don’t know how other people could help me more, and I am really struggling to find a way to help myself.  For so much as I despise myself, the most despicable thing I can do is to not make time to confront who I am once again.

I feel like I am so busy that I can’t make time for this most singularly important need.  How ridiculous that I can fret over all matter of minutiae and neglect the core of being.

“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”- Ghandi


Depression is a temporary state, just like any authoritarian regime the lies and oppression will come to an end when I demand my freedom.  The tyranny of despair will end when I fight for my happiness.  I don’t need to know how, I just need to know to never to give up, to expect and move past failures, to ask for help, to not know just that I can get there, but I that I will.

♣ Amy Xx ♥

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