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Category: HRT Adventures

Recovery Update

I’m 10 days post-op, the stabbing sensation has largely subsided. I’m still spotting a bit, the incisions ache if I move or stretch too much, but I’ve been fine with two ibuprofen 600s (one around noon after I eat, and one after dinner/before bed) for most of the week, and I haven’t needed Percocet since Sunday. 

the Cowlicks have Cowlics

I haven’t been hit with menopause (no backup ovary + HRT), but my body is freaking out at the sudden ONLY TESTOSTERONE nature of itself.

My voice has dropped a ton since surgery (listen to the last episode and next week’s episode of Kitchen Table Cult and you’ll notice). My hair instantly started to curl and now my cowlicks have cowlicks. My smell is changing a lot, the pheromones are intensifying, and I sweat easier? My skin thickened and became extremely greasy. I need to shower every day or my skin feels like there’s just a weird film over it. My acne feels like it’s buried deeper in my skin, and some of that is ingrown beard hairs that want to sprout. 

I’ve ordered tea tree oil and a cream that my brother recommended. I’m using Differin on my face at least once a day, followed by argon oil and aftershave and that seems to be helping there. But all the rest of my body also has skin and it’s the weird hand-grease that is really obnoxious right now.

The upside, I suppose, is that it’s really easy to keep my incisions clean since I constantly feel in need of a shower. 

I went to see my Doctor on Monday because my throat hurt and I couldn’t swallow. I was worried I might have caught strep but apparently I have a canker sore on my tonsil (and that’s just a thing that happens?!) so I’ve also been going through all of our salt doing gargles so I can stay fed and hydrated while I’m recovering. 

The most annoying part is the lack of energy. I guess it’s also good because if I had a lot of energy I would be using it and not resting and letting the stitches in my belly button heal like I should, but my peak awakeness being between 9am and noon, and then needing to nap until 3 gets old quickly. 

Today, I’m compromising by doing some freelance work or playing games on my laptop while reclining instead. So my body is resting, but my brain doesn’t have to shut down.

I am extremely looking forward to: 

  • Laying on my stomach
  • Stretching my stomach
  • Walking more than 5 blocks without becoming exhausted
  • Riding my bike
  • The crusty skin glue getting out of my belly button
  • Not having ghost cervix itches (internal stitches/whatever suuuuck sometimes)
  • Being done spotting
  • Being able to fuck again
  • Being able to lift things over 20lbs (but realistically like, 5lbs)
  • Being able to swallow
  • Scratch itches on my stomach
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uterus = null

Monday I had a complete hysterectomy. I got to Mt. Zion hospital at 5:45am, surgery started around 8am, I was out at 11:30 and discharged around noon. Then I went on a really bumpy car ride to Concord, where I am resting and marathoning Harry Potter all week.

My surgery was laparoscopic so it was less invasive than it could have been and since we took out literally everything there was no need to carefully comb through my ovaries looking for endo.

I stopped bleeding yesterday, right now the most discomfort that I’m in is from the gas that is still in my body from surgery.

Being on testosterone before getting a complete hysto worked really well, I think. Because I have hormones in my body I’m not going into surgical menopause (plus I already went through menopause when I started T) and I feel like this helps make recovery easier too.

I didn’t really feel different as soon as I woke up, I was mostly just foggy and in pain, but after the drowsymaking painmeds wore off, I noticed that like…all the tension in my body around my uterus was just gone.

I feel right.

I feel whole.

I feel like the Thing That Was Incorrect Is Gone (because it is) and now I’m just me.

I’ve instantly stopped being at war with myself and the change is almost disorienting. I knew my uterus was where my dysphoria lived, but I didn’t expect it to go away so quickly. That was the first thing I noticed when the fogginess wore off.

I’m. not. at. war. with. myself. anymore. 

I feel present in a way I’ve never felt present before. Not disassociating is easy now? I’m so used to being disassociated by default that I usually have to actually work to be in my body, but now it’s like I’m home?

My energy levels are still real low, I haven’t showered in days, but holy shit.

I did it.

I don’t have a uterus anymore

I cannot reproduce

I can never have a period again

I will never need another pap smear

I will never have to worry about an ectopic pregnancy

I will never have to worry about not having access to birth control

I don’t have to worry about going back to being estrogen based if my HRT gets taken away (it will just suck to have zero hormones, but at least I won’t bleed)

I was raised to be a wife and mother, to train an army for god.

And I just took ALL OF THAT out of my body.

I’m reclining with a heating pad and blankets and liquid feeling slightly achey and really gassy, but I’ve never felt better or more at home in my skin than I do now.

 

 

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Hysto Date!

HOLY SHIT.

I’ve been wanting  needing to get my uterus out for years. I have talked to so many doctors about this, and about sterilization before that. I will document the process that I went through to get here later, but the big news is:

Monday, July 30th, 2018, at 9:30am I will be undergoing a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy which in english means: it’s all coming out. No ovaries, no cervix, no uterus. GONE.

Gone and donated to science but maybe I will ask for a picture or something to burn later.

On Thursday, I’ll be meeting with the surgeon and sometime after that talking to the anesthesia people about what I need to do to prepare.

I’m not sure what all I will need (probably pads, soft things, a ton of gatorade?), but if you want to help me out, you can donate to the hospital/recovery/prep fund here: https://cash.me/$kieryn or https://www.paypal.me/mxdarkwater 

 

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It Feels So Stupid

Last night, I was curled into a ball crying in my partner’s arms because everything about school is hard. It’s not necessarily the material or the course load, it’s that Laney isn’t designed and has no support structure for visibly/non-passing trans students to exist in. Let alone the ones who are out and openly existing outside of the binary with no hope or intention of passing.

I eat and drink just what I need to get through the day without passing out. I am essentially starving and dehydrating myself because the labeled single stall, all gender bathrooms are in the tower or across campus in the bistro (nowhere near where I am machining all day). I’ve been called out for using the “wrong” restroom in multiple places on campus already.

I am behind in all of my classes, and on the verge of failing welding because of this.

It’s just peeing.

It feels so stupid.

It feels like I’m making it up.

It’s ridiculous that the most basic need of my meatcage is something that creates anxiety that interferes with my ability to be fully present on campus (where I operate heavy machinery and open flames on the reg).

I went to Cal State East Bay Queer Con today and got to vent about that a lot. It was really helpful to be listened to by people who also understand what this feels like. And be understood (or at least seen) by people who don’t have that experience.

I am worried every time I’m on campus, every time I enter a bathroom, that someone is going to lose their shit and report me for harassment for peeing in the “wrong” place. I choose the danger I know, so I use the women’s room. I still get she’d half the time on campus and the men’s rooms are in more of a state of disrepair and have very little privacy (sometimes the doors don’t even shut), so I don’t usually even dare with that. I choose the danger I know.

And I get that I have glorious facial hair and look super masc especially when I’m wearing my safety glasses or skullcap, but I still have to pee. somewhere.

It feels stupid that this one simple thing is holding me back so much. It’s devastating my health and school performance. I’ve talked to the queer faculty about it and they are on board with All Gender Bathrooms and support infrastructure being things that exist. But all of the progress there is just stuck in some kind of ether and I can’t seem to make it move. No one seems to have spoons to do the work needed to get shit off the ground and I’m losing stamina.

I don’t know how much more I need to literally be destroying my body and ruining my ability to focus and study and shouting it from the rooftops before something changes. I don’t know if it will change before I become too overwhelmed by trying to hold being a student (which Laney somehow expects to exist outside of my trans experience) and existing that I decide the physical, mental, and emotional toll is too much of a price to pay and drop out.

I can’t keep this up for ever.

I’m fighting as hard as I can, but I’m really tired, and really lonely.

But if any faculty or staff member asks me how school is going for the remainder of a semester, they are getting an earful of school while trans issues dumped on them, because if I have to hold this and am expected to somehow put it aside and get good grades, they at least get to know the fucking overhead they’re not helping me carry.

 

All of the advice that I’ve been given today, by people who’ve started clubs or are faculty is all stuff that I have already done. I don’t know what else to do.

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Just T Things: 15 Months HRT

I realized it would probably be helpful to me and other people if I started documenting what HRT is like for me somewhere more findable than twitter.

It’s been almost 15 months now, but I haven’t detailed a lot here so I’m going to attempt to categorize the various points of change.

Weight Changes:

When I started Testosterone in Dec 2016 I weighed ~140lbs. I weighed ~120 in May 2017 and have been hovering around 110 since July 2017. I lost ~30lbs in 7 months and it was (is) really disorienting. Since then my body has also been losing all of its curves, and machining has eaten whatever fat reserves I had and converted it to muscle. I wasn’t expecting to lose so much weight so quickly, and since fall my body has really fucking hated this.

I can’t retain heat, and the sudden loss of fat has seemed to make raynauds worse and is probably something I should talk to my Doctor about because I keep forgetting. Cold has become agony, and I think in no small part due to suddenly not having anything between my muscle and skin to keep me warm. 🙁

Sense Changes:

My hands are rougher now, so soft things feel exponentially softer than they used to. My plush bathrobe is fucking heaven. My hearing has changed? I’ve noticed it change. But I went to get my hearing checked and my ears are great, however we noticed one place where my ears diverged on what they heard on which side, and my guess is that maybe that’s the change I noticed happening.

The men on my dad’s side of the family are hard of hearing, so I don’t know if it’s a testosterone thing, or an I’m-in-my-late-20s-thing.

I no longer hate all melons??? My tolerance for spicy things has stayed about the same, but suddenly cantaloupe are fine. It feels almost blasphemous. I also need a lot more protein whenever my dose changes, so I will become a carnivore for about a month until my body goes back to not being a fan.

My tolerance for things like alcohol has gone up a lot.

My smell has changed. There’s more musk to it (I’ve been told) than there used to be. Less sweet, more bitter. I shower with shea butter body wash that smells like flowers, so I always smell like flowers, citrus, and boy, and I’m a fan of this.

Mental & Emotional Health Changes:

I have somehow grown the level of confidence of a teenage boy. I think it’s because I feel more at home in my body. Taking testosterone has stopped that constant internal war with myself where my body didn’t feel like it should have. It’s hard to describe…you know when you pull something out of socket? you can still move and function and stuff, it just hurts and it feels like it’s just fundamentally incorrect as it relates to you?

My internal existence and relationship with my body was like that, constantly. My body just felt incorrect in a way I couldn’t put a finger on, until suddenly it had the hormones it actually needed and I felt normal. I didn’t know how much that was eating at my existence until suddenly it wasn’t there anymore.

I am able to see things coming and roll with them, I can face hard things better. I can be depressed and upset and still know that I can get out of this and be okay, and that I will be okay in the end. I can actually handle and identify my own feelings and get less absorbed by everyone else’s. Testosterone has made it easier for me feel things, and make sense of my head. Feelings used to be chaos before, and now they have names and things.

Anger is new. I feel it in my veins, it surges, I become more assertive and I push back. There’s a lot of strength in it if I channel it right, otherwise it can be really overwhelming. I don’t become yelly or violent, I mostly silent scream into pillows or vent, but my words are sharp and cutting. I get really wordsy. If I’m in a city council meeting where my anger is extremely useful though, I give amazing speeches that make people feel things.

Angst is a lot, but not much different. It feels more present in my body but that might just be because I disassociate less.

I feel right, and myself in my brain, I’m not repressed anymore.

Puberty Changes:

My body thinks it’s literally a teenage boy. So. Puberty. All of it. Growing pains, constant horniness, voice dropping and cracking, acne, hair literally everywhere.

Hair

No really, my body is extremely excited about this hair shit. I have become a thicket. You could brush my leg hairs with a comb and tbh I probably should. My beard is coming in beautifully, I have a full on happy trail, my arms and legs are trying to go for the werewolf aesthetic, and my chest is full of hair. The butt hairs though. THERE ARE LINES. So I need to replace my electric razor and become a contortionist. I suspect that by this time next year I will be indistinguishable from Beast or at least Wolverine.

Also, I discovered aftershave, and my mustache got itchy.

Muscles

I get a lot of leg cramps so I try to eat all of the bananas all the time. Sometimes for a few days after a shot it feels like I’m too big for my skeleton and if someone could just like pull me, for a bit, that’d help. It reminds me of growing pains. I just need some skelegrow, because if I could be even 3 inches taller, it would make using the mills so much easier.

All of the muscles in my body have rearranged themselves. The first couple months I was on T my back hurt a lot because there was just, always a new muscle. It’s settled down a bit now, and most of my muscles seem to have been moved to their new places. Mostly packed ridiculously onto my back, shoulders, and arms. I have muscles for days instead of curves now, I suppose. I really like it. I like this new shape.

Junk

I really miss having tits some days, and not having hips anymore is still hella disorienting because I don’t know how to carry shit without them.

Oh yeah, my tits! They have been eaten. I don’t know what the fuck happened or where the fuck they ran off to, but I went from being 34DD in Dec 2016, to…I don’t think my tits have been this small since I was just starting to grow them? They’re mostly just a weird pudgy skin flap now, covered in hair. My ass also has the same problem, it’s just……so small and square, and fuzzy. IDK. But I can be shirtless now?

In addition to my tits and ass vanishing, my body realized it could grow that dick its always wanted and I’m so here for it. Sex makes sense now. It makes SO MUCH SENSE. Sex when you have the right hormones is great. A+ do rec.

In fun dick related adventures, over the last year I learned:

  • I could sit on it while biking
  • it gets caught and twisted in fabric (wtf)
  • EVERYTHING IS STIMULATING OH MY GOD WHY ARE THERE SO MANY NERVE ENDINGS
  • If it does not get enough pets my uterus will decide to cramp which is disorienting and not helpful
  • If I lose 5 vials of blood, I’m out of boners for a week
Voice

My voice has dropped a lot since I started testosterone. I didn’t know what voice dysphoria was until I didn’t have it anymore. It’s largely stopped cracking now. It’s deep and booming, but gravely. Whenever I project in class or make a public comment I literally surprise myself for a second because I didn’t expect my voice to be that deep. It’s not as deep, I feel, when I’m having a conversation as it is when I’m projecting. OR, if I’m in a room with another dude who’s voice is also low and booming, then somehow my body is like now WE have to be low and booming too! Then my voice just progressively lowers and it’s this weird subconscious thing and I have to stop myself.

Here’s a good example of before and two months ago:

 

Perception Changes:

People started seeing me as a dude most of the time around October. That’s been a weird adjustment. It’s still not consistent enough that I assume everyone thinks I’m a cis boy yet, but I’m aware of it enough that going to the bathroom on campus feels increasingly complicated. I’ve gone back to getting more people confused about placing me since I put my earrings back in though. My body changed so quickly that while school was going on I didn’t have time to notice it and then over break I was really disoriented by how masculine I was being perceived as, so I put my earrings in and it’s helped my brain adjust to my new face/body/etc.

People listen when I speak, and I get talked over less now. Which is hugely disorienting since I’ve spent my life having to speak up over people to get heard. I find myself inadvertently speaking up over other people because I’m not used to not having people constantly talking over me. This has been a bit of a mindfuck actually.

I don’t have automatic solidarity with afab people in cis dude dominated spaces anymore which is also a weird thing to adjust to, as a transmasc machine student. I don’t look like a girl anymore really, so unless you knew….you wouldn’t know.

I feel like I have a much wider understanding of existence now – being perceived one way, and then another, countless times in the same day will do that to you. It’s jarring.

I don’t know if I see myself differently, so much as I see myself wholly? Before when I would be introspective, I would see all the things I felt I couldn’t be, that I wasn’t, that I was somehow unable to become, and now…now I see all of those things, and they’re all growing and I am evolving into that better version of myself. I feel like I am different only in that I am finally able to be all of myself, instead of a shell.

Personality Changes:

I’ve become more confident and assertive, more sure of myself. I’m at ease with myself in my body most of the time and I feel like that translates out.

I can be aggressive when I want to be and use it as a tool. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be timid out of safety anymore because I look and carry myself differently, people make different assumptions. This is something I’m learning how to navigate.

I take up space, and don’t try to shrink into myself as much.

I feel like I am generally more emotionally stable.

Dosage Changes:

I started taking 50mg of Testosterone Cypionate every two weeks for a month, then 100mg every two weeks for 3 months, then 200mg every two weeks until October, then I started doing 175mg every week.

175mg/wk worked alright for a few months but then it felt like it was too much. I was anxious all the time and grumpy and my uterus started writhing weirdly. When my labs came in my T was extremely high, so in January I started altering my dose to slowly bring it back to 100mg/wk which is the equivalent of the last dose I was on. It’s been solidly that for a month now and my body already feels better, and I haven’t dreamt of bleeding in a few weeks.

Injection Changes:

After a year of self-injecting perfectly fine, I developed a trauma response to it. I don’t know why, and I’ve tried everything to calm myself and be able to do it again, but I get 1/8″ away from my thigh and suddenly my body nopes out and I freeze. I sit there and I cannot will myself to move. So I have had to make accommodations around that which involves friends who will be my backups and asking if it’s alright to go into my clinic and have a nurse do it. This is what I’ll be doing for the rest of the semester and hopefully I’ll be able to self inject again. I’m not sure.

Another development was that due to the loss of weight and fat the 1″ needles that I’d been using to do intramuscular injections became too long (less fat to go through so it goes in way too deep) and painful. I kept pinching nerves and my leg would ache for three days after. So I talked to my doctor about shorter needles and they suggested SubCu which is supposed to go into the fat. I tried that the first week and we were too shallow on the injection so what I wound up with was 3 days of feeling like I was having an allergic reaction on the inside of my thigh.

Which is what brought me to asking if I could just go into my clinic to have a professional do it. I have yet to actually make it into the clinic because I will be waiting in triage for idk how long and I had no spoons. But knowing it’s an available possibility has helped.

In the meantime, the injection solution we’ve come up with has been to just not go in the whole inch.

Tips:

  • The faster you inject the less it hurts
  • Do not inject while standing
  • Eat all the food all the time
  • Do things to stretch out your muscles
  • Use a foam roller on your injection sites
  • Always carry a snack with you
  • Skin Care routine is your friend
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Before I get buried by finals

I’ve started the process of getting a hysterectomy and let me tell you, has it been a rollercoaster. Apparently complete hysterectomies are somehow not part of trans surgeries. So my Doctor got me a referral to a clinic that does Gender Confirmation Surgeries, but they don’t offer 3D Printer de-embedding. They referred me to someone else for that, but not before making me fill out an extensive intake form that made me need to start hunting for an additional therapist, because apparently one therapist’s letter is not enough for making your body match you. Anyway this new person in S.F. doesn’t take my insurance like the other place did, and I asked them to recommend me to someone who would take my insurance, and they said no. So I called my doctor again, and his medical assistant is going to do some research and get back to me this week.

In the meantime, I have scheduled a consultation appointment with the new surgeon who does not take my insurance but will cost $490 for the one visit if I don’t get something lined up before then. I also need to know if I will need two letters or not, still. I’m going to assume that I will if we can get this done going the gender-dysphoria route as opposed to the probably-have-loads-of-endo route.

The upside of a hysterectomy is that (despite its apparent rare-ness as a route for trans masc types) it’s a fairly common procedure and we even developed robots to do it better with smaller holes. So the wait time would probably be less than if I were going to try and forge myself a cock (which I have thought about, but T is uh…working well with that so it’s becoming less of a thing).


I’m coming up on the end of my first semester and I am nervous. I’m on top of two classes, behind? in the self-paced math class, and…..I need to live in the machine shop because working on this mill project has taken me for ever. I was hoping to work on it or finishing the grinds on my lathe tools over the weekend but the problem with making precision tools is you need to be able to measure and angle them precisely and I couldn’t get all the things I would need.

I can’t believe I’ve actually managed to get this far – I’m almost halfway to being a certified industrial maintenance machinist. Machining is all about turning chunks of metal into things that keep infrastructure working. I’ve always been drawn to making and maintaining infrastructures, weirdly enough. I am really into the prospect of going on to join a union and work in some kind of infrastructure project, be it housing, transit, utilities….I want to be part of the invisible set of things that no one sees but everything would collapse without. One of my projects is making screw threads on a lathe. After that, if anyone ever needs screws, I will at the very least know how to make them.

I’m currently working on a vertical mill project, making a precision angle plate. This is what is stressing me out currently, because the mills have to be aligned perfectly before I can even start cutting my hunk of cold rolled steel. This is a process called tramming and it takes me an eternity.

Picture, if you will, a 5′ tall, 110lb, barely dextrous blue haired floof trying to put all of their weight into a 7′ tall, 2 ton machine that requires a step stool to reach all of the important knobs. Yeah, the mill has been beating me for a solid month now, and I have the joint and muscle pain to show for it. It’s not that I don’t know how to tram it. I understand it just fine, I just can’t maneuver myself around the mill with a wrench (or chain of wrenches) well enough to loosen the bolts some burly dude from the night before tightened too well.

 

 

Tramming
Tramming Time

People ask me why I decided to take up machining. It’s a really good question. I’ve had this question sitting in my drafts for an eternity, and the answer is, it’s complicated.

Some of it is because I want to do something that isn’t emotional support as a job, and machines tend to have less overwhelming feelings.

Some of it is because the trades were entirely off limits to me so I never got to learn how to make anything, and I want to learn how to make things – the program I’m in at Laney will teach me the most things, and I’m really excited about that.

My goal in life really is to kinda be a hack of all trades – know how to do (and teach) basically everything. Always be learning.

Another aspect of this is that unlike political science, history, writing, what-have-you, machining and everything about construction and industrial type stuff is something I have no context or frame of reference for, so all of the information I’m learning is fresh and new and exciting. I can feel new pathways form as I add all of these new skills and ways of understanding the world around me to everything else I know.

I really want to be a part of maintaining infrastructure, building housing, part of keeping cities going. I want to make really amazing art. Eventually, I want to go back and teach too.

I guess the long and short of it is, I chose the machining program because I wanted to learn something new, and do something really different.

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One Year Post Burn

It’s been almost exactly a year since returning from Burning Man. I learned a lot about myself in Black Rock City. I learned that I’m strong, capable, and so very very very trans.

I had felt reserved about being more masculine for some time before becoming one with the playa last summer. I had been actively repressing those pieces of me that wanted to escape and when I watched the temple burn I set them free.

While Victoria and I drove back from Reno in the rental car with the AC on high, dancing to chip tunes and The Black Keys, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do post-burn.

On that list was:

  • Switch off Lexapro
  • Start T
  • Remove Implant

I forgot about this list for several months, and rediscovered it shortly after starting T and tapering off Lexapro. Three weeks ago I got my implant removed because it was reacting with the testosterone and I was having hot-flashes constantly bookending my shot days.

This morning, the Sunday before labor day….or the day the Temple burns, I woke up, pulled 1ML of testosterone from a small vial, and injected it into my thigh. I remembered then, that it’s been a whole year since I really came to grips with the masculine aspect of myself, and I’ve just run with it.

I went to Burning Man last year and discovered I was trans, and it’s totally okay to be exactly who I am. Today, I took my 17th shot of Testosterone.

I’ve come so far since I burned my past in the Temple, and it’s been good.

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The Awkward In-Between

I’ve noticed myself try to be quieter as I’ve started becoming more visibly masculine.

When people read me as male I feel like suddenly (in the feminist & progressive discourse spaces I inhabit) I no longer have a voice worth listening to. It’s difficult to balance the way feminist discourse at large tries to get masculine voices (without specification) to take a goddamn fucking seat while expressing my own particular brand of masculinity that has been informed and constructed by my femininity.

I’m stepping into a social place where half the time I’m read as male and taken super seriously (and half the time not). I know what (cis white) men are supposed to do, which is pass the fucking mic; so my quandary is:

Does being read as a man instantly invalidate my voice and experiences?

Queer Feminist discourse tends to sway largely in the yes direction. Having grown up being told I should be silent because of my gender expression means that being told by a different social group that I should be silent because of my gender expression is something I’m already good at instinctively, even though I know it’s wrong and entirely unnecessary.

I suddenly understand why so many transmasculine people become quiet about their experiences. I think a lot of us feel this – because we know what it’s like to not be listened to. Suddenly having people’s ears because of voices dropping a couple octaves is really disorienting. It doesn’t mean that all of the oppression I’ve internalized is suddenly un-learned and I’m suddenly granted every single privilege a cis white dude has as if my life had never happened to me.

(apparently in my brain, regardless of not being white or a man, cis white dude is still my bar)

I have agonized over minor things like being the first to move or speak up, because I’m read differently. Some of that is because I don’t want to deal with the confusion and some of it is because I feel like because my voice isn’t femme of center anymore, I’m somehow less allowed.

It’s really like going through that part of puberty where you have to decide how much social projection matters to you about how you express yourself and gender. With added complications because being non-binary means there’s nothing to switch to, so this extremely binary conversation is happening while the binary-ness of it all is also extremely irrelevant.

I’ve fallen into the trap I saw coming but hadn’t fully grasped. I’m going to work hard to write more about my experiences and feelings and disoriented-ness on HRT because I don’t need to carry the internalized lies that my voice has no value due to my expression anymore.

I’ll just keep doing what I’ve always done: speak my truths and elevate the voices of others as I can. There’s room for everyone’s experiences, even mine.

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It me, a trans boi

I didn’t know I was trans until my mid 20’s. I didn’t have the language or the context to explain what I felt growing up. My writing over the last 8 years has actually thoroughly documented parts of that process. Coming to terms with my gender and what that means to me.

I spent my entire childhood just feeling wrong at my core. Never able to measure up, never able to be the girl they wanted me to be, because I just wasn’t, no matter how hard I tried. I did “ballet” (and legitimately enjoyed it), I wore dresses and pink, I played with dolls, I did my nails…I did everything society told me good girls did, and I tried very hard to play the part of demure and graceful damsel waiting for her prince.

Spoiler alert, I am not demure nor particularly graceful playing a damsel. My failures at this were just compounded during high school when I got bored talking with other girls because all that we were supposed to talk about was future homemaking and homeschool curriculum and other very traditionally girly things that just didn’t interest me. There was a period of about a year and a half when I was 14 where I was able to fly under the radar (thanks to an undesired move and pregnancies) and pretended to be a boy on the internet (that was the deal I made to be allowed to blog when I was 13, because predators don’t…go..after..boys…apparently) and offline I continued that persona and wore camo and got away with being “one of the boys” at speech and debate.

Looking back it seems obvious, but at the time I just thought I was broken. I wasn’t a girl, I wasn’t a boy, but I didn’t have the language to describe or even have a frame of reference about what trans-ness was. I just thought, as I had been told by my parents and pastors and every authority figure in my life, that I was inherently broken. I was just wrong and only God could fix it, but he didn’t seem to want to, so I just tried really hard to play my part as well as I could. I internalized the messages of wrongness and brokenness because I didn’t match up what I was told good godly women were like, not inside. I could cook and clean and sew but those crushed my soul and the future I was promised was not a road I wanted to take.

I wasn’t allowed to explore the woods, or play outside, I wasn’t allowed to play video games. I wasn’t allowed to do anything that was considered a boy thing. I feel like it’s important to note that I didn’t want to only do those boy things, I just didn’t want to be limited; I wanted to have both options. I wanted to be able to express both masculinity and femininity but that was definitely not allowed. I had one option and one option only, unless I was sneaky.

The idea of having children bothered me on a visceral level, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how very connected to dysphoria it is. The idea of having a human come out of my body goes straight to lizard brain levels of “no. this is death.” I suppose when I interpreted my period as the ultimate betrayal of my body against me that should have also been an indication.

Instead I spent years wrestling with myself, hating myself with every fiber of my being until I was about 20 and finally started discovering the language to describe how I felt. It happened by knowing other people who came out, and finally putting a name to my sexuality, talking with other queer people. I embraced my queerness when I was 22, which was the first stepping stone to discovering my trans-ness.

Autostraddle, Tumblr, Everyday Feminism, and It’s Pronounced Metrosexual were all really great resources where I finally started learning that I wasn’t alone in my feeling, that having a uterus but not being a woman is completely valid.

I started talking to nonbinary people and trans girls and eventually realized that I am trans enough, and no one is stopping me from transitioning but myself. Meanwhile dysphoria was getting worse, now that I knew how to identify it and what it was. I talked to my partners, friends, and therapist. And learned some things

  1. Cis people don’t question if they’re qualified enough to be their gender
  2. Gender is what you make of it, and it’s importance is up to you
  3. You are allowed to and deserve to transition if you want to
  4. Transitioning looks different for everyone, you don’t have to want surgeries to be trans
  5. Nonbinary, Genderqueer, Genderfluid, Agender, etc are all valid trans identities
  6. It is your body, you get to change it (or not) however you see fit

For a while I thought I just wouldn’t transition. I’d just deal with estrogen and periods and do what I could to mitigate PMDD and everything that goes along with that. At some point…actually, at Burning Man, I realized I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to start HRT and see what happened. I could always stop if it wasn’t right for me. Both of these are valid.

So in December of 2016 I started HRT. Testosterone works FAST. Within a week my muscles started moving, I started losing curves, my voice started getting deeper, my clit grew. I’m approaching shot 4, I have angles and a jaw line, I feel right. I had no idea what it felt like to actually inhabit my body until I started HRT.

I’m not a woman, and despite taking testosterone, I’m not a man either. I’m just your local nonbinary fairy boi taking baby steps to being in their own skin.

 

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Holy Shit 2k16

Guess I’ll just start off with a list of Things I’ve Done this year and then talk about how I feel about them/the world in general, because holy fuck 2016.

  • This time last year I’d just enrolled at North Seattle and was starting ABE where I learned I’m actually good at math and I learn quickly, I thrive in school, I am Hermoine, and I aced writing while I did it.
  • uh, i got divorced and moved to California. Sometimes I feel like it’s somehow less valid because we’re still friends and still care about eachother deeply, it was just time for me to go and explore the things I needed to, to find myself.
  • I went to Burning Man and found myself. That was when I realized the truth about my trans-ness that I’d been fighting for so long didn’t need to be hidden anymore. That it was worth acknowledging that and doing with that….whatever I needed to.
  • I got swindled out of a home & I’m still fighting to get the deposit back, and also started and quit a job in a month because burn out.
  • I kinda help East Bay Forward run a little bit now.
  • I started Therapy, and that was a really fucking great decision. I feel like I’m finally starting to heal some of the bits I was too afraid to touch before.
  • I started HRT. Asian Pacific Wellness Center in San Francisco if you’re trans, poor, and uninsured. Also if you’re trans and fine and insured. They’re wonderful. I got a blood test (to check for HEP A&B immunity) and started T in the same week (!informed consent!). They have a sliding scale and I literally paid nothing for my shots. <3 <3
  • I traveled out of the Country for the first time. I’m on Holiday in Mex. resting a bit before wandering out to watch the fireworks. It’s beautiful here, and also everyone thinks I’m a local and then I disappoint them by not knowing Spanish very well.
  • I met some amazing people and love so many people and grew my chosen family by a lot.

Things I learned, or proved to myself, or things:

  • I am really fucking strong. On a lot of levels. Impressively, I’m actually strong physically which I learned at Burning Man when I was carrying metal around like it was nothing and single handedly holding up parts of a geodeisic dome. But also, I’m just actually a strong human. I’ve been through so fucking much, and the last year has had me scared shitless because I faced so many things for the first time: being on my own, being almost homeless, not having any other income to rely on than my own, getting on MediCal, starting a small claims case, figuring out T….
  • Transitioning is a good idea. I’ve never felt this much myself before. I have a body that is a barrier between me and the outside world and I have starting and endpoints, my body is….less of a prison now and more…mine? other things include feeling emotions infinitely more intensely but being able to handle them and push through things. I have so much more ability now, I feel like I’m the version of myself I really needed this year. The version of me that is wholly myself and seen.
  • I’ve been through a lot of legitimately hard shit and it’s okay to feel that.
  • I am valid as I am, and no one can take that from me
  • I am actually fast at learning
  • I can actually do anything and do it well – or at least well enough to get by
  • I’m really bad at asking for help, and I’m not that much better at taking care of myself
  • my needs are important too

Things I want/to do/etc in 2017

  • To be financially stable – because my credit score is sad and debt is not cool, but at least soon all of my health things will be covered including therapy, so that will make it easier
  • To get back into school, take more math and writing and science – I qualify for in-state tuition on June 8, assuming we still exist then.
  • Get some (paid) articles published
  • Take charge on a lot more things
  • Make art regularly
  • Fight Fascism where I find it (lately every time hate speech occurs at my bart stop I’ve been cleaning it up. I’d like to do more)
  • Get into photography/filmmaking again and scultping
  • Go to Burning Man
  • Go to 34C3
  • Do more professional writing
  • Actually make those projects I keep meaning to
  • Bike more and get less scared of rodes
  • mebbe abs

Things I really want but probably won’t happen:

  • A smol floofy doge.

Good things:

  • loving, healthy, autonomous relationships
  • taking care of myself
  • chocolate therapy ice cream with sprinkles after therapy
  • my own bed and stuffed animals
  • the terrifying freedom of being on your own
  • trusting my instincts
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