Field Notes In/On Transition
Bits and Bites of Life
So I’m at work the other day and this little girl is eyeing me suspiciously, While grabbing onto her mom’s leg in that way kids do... Mom says can you give the dvd to the lady (check!) .... The girl says, “But that’s a man.” Mom (Bless her heart, replied, “No dear, she’s a woman.”) the girl scrunches her nose and asks me outright, “You look like a lady but sound like a man!??”. I respond with, “I know it’s weird, right?” She grinned just a little and was satisfied, but seemed to have more questions for mom on the way out. A teaching moment?
This event, of course has me thinking though about how my vocal presentation hasn’t yet changed enough to get properly gendered. I haven’t really made any effort on that so far, it’s so daunting. It’s one of those things like electrolysis etc that I keep putting off. Mind you, I’ve just made my initial contacts with a local laser/electrolysis place that sort of specializes in Trans hair removal. You’ve got to book quite a bit in advance it seems, but I’ve waited this long.
I feel I need to start getting going on some of these things. The writing also has really fallen off. I was doing logs for my games, but haven’t had the oomph to keep going that either. Less transition blogs, less other blogs as I get comfortable living my life as Josie.
Yet, I’m not quite Josie at first blush for some: due to my “man voice” and way of speaking, interacting, especially when I’m in a bad mood, like yesterday, every little thing that went wrong at work (and really just little things, that I didn’t need to be so worked up over) I have found that the better my mood, it’s easier for me to more naturally vocalize in a softer, less “man-style” tone... where my voice starts in my throat instead of my chest.
Also I’m pretty nervous about going to the endocrinologist, and finding out if I can take some estrogen/progesterone/whatever to elevate my estrogen levels closer to actual “lady levels.” On the 28th I have an appointment over at VGH. My “trans” doctor decided to set me up with an Endo doctor, just to be sure, after 6 months of being on the anti-androgens. I had pretty much given up on getting any sort of bump on that part of transition, not that there is a faint hope, I’m hoping not to be crushed by hearing a no on that.
I have as many doubts as anyone else that I’m on the right path. It's not like it’s easy to be out there everyday living trans. As much as I aver that I’m living 24/7 as a lady, I’m in fact living 24/7 as a Trans or Trans woman. I’m not unhappy with that hyphenate, nor do I foresee a time when it’s not apt to use. No matter how many hormones I take, or how femme I can present myself, it’s always there, that knowledge that it wasn’t always this way.
The thing that keeps me going every morning is just getting up in the morning and dressing how I’ve always dreamed of presenting myself, every day! I feel very fortunate to have such an open minded workplace/neighbourhood to transition within. I’ve said this many times, but it bears repeating... If I’d ever thought that I would receive the kind of love and support I’ve received thus far, I would have transitioned ages ago. Maybe.
But I don’t regret (much) not starting younger, as I’m sure this is the best time to be transitioning, as I’m actually sort of ready for it. I still get jealous and depressed when I see a CIS gendered woman who I think (I have no idea of their actual reality) has it all together, her ease at living female. A lifetime of growing up girl, which I not only avoided out of sheer terror, but also would have been denied anyway, growing up in the time and place I did.
I’ve had a long week of socializing. I played a little D&D (Pathfinder, actually) on Wednesday, then the next night, we had a “close early invite a few of the more awesome customers” style 7th anniversary soiree at my work, that was a lovely little get together with great food, beer and conversation. Then on Friday I went to my friend Leanne’s “Art Crawl” after party/birthday party.
Again, with the awesome beer, food and conversation! Two parties two nights in a row is something I haven’t done in ages. I was really impressed with the thoughtfulness of pretty much everyone I talked to both nights, about my transitions, the questions asked, opinions given were interesting, thoughtful and made me me feel ever stronger with this very tough road I’ve chosen to travel.
The thing I think that lately I’ve been worried, thinking, fussing over the most is my lack of discipline (when it comes to my creative time/life) and, impulse control (when it comes to clothes shopping/food) as well as my distinct lack of ambition to get healthier in these areas of my life as a part of my “transition.” Living brighter and healthier has always been something that is as much of “an unachievable goal” in my life as transitioning to live my life as a woman has been until recently. This all comes from that root of the same loathing of the “self I had no choice but to be” before I started transition last April.
Even after getting my blood pressure under control a few years ago and losing all the wight that I have, and even after being able to keep it off, I still under-eat veggies, fruit, and over-eat meat, cheese, and bread. And regular exercise? Ha, not so much. I’ve also run up a bit of visa debt (that luckily I’ve been able to roll into a line of credit. It pays to use the same bank for 25 years) and keep I keep buying a few new pieces every week. My tiny closet is almost as bulging as it was with both men’s and ladies clothes last summer.
But this is where I have to be brave, strong if I can, this falling back into comfortable well worn patterns of avoidance and the addictions that the very addiction emotion of shame can push you back into. Over eating, over spending are both things I do almost on auto pilot. But I’m getting to a point of being able to stop myself. I have done it with food most of the last five years, it’s just recently I’ve been creeping back to old levels of anxiety-eating/spending. A little adrenaline rush of doing something you know you can’t afford, and not just in a financial sense, but also in the bigger sense of what you can/or should let yourself indulge in.
It’s not indulgence if you do it all the damn time. So, I guess why I’m writing about this now is that it is in my awareness all the time, these days, that these habits need to be curbed, made healthy (shopping can be healthy, really) rather than simply being seen as walls to knock down, or things to kill. Like fad diets, it’s lifestyle that needs to change. Gimmicks don’t cut it. And any way, much like my gender dysphoria, and vampires these things come back from the dead every time. For me bouts of overspending and overeating have coincided pretty often, but I see them as interdependent, rather than dependent on one another.
Binge/purge is part of more addictive behaviours than the food binge/purgers. I have binged on many things, and purged for reasons ranging from Buddhist to “necessary to stay alive”, to simply wanting to get some financial reward for my knowledge and appreciation for the obscure and interesting media of the world.) some call it collecting, for me it’s more a need to have certain kinds of aesthetics, media, media types around me as much as I can. I work in a Video Store for gosh’ sakes.
At home, I’m given immense comfort by my objet d’art that almost tidily scatter across most nooks and crannies of my apartment, D&D figures, superhero figures, actual paintings by artists, my own photos, books, sort of organized, DVDs, not so organized as the books for some reasons yet unplumbed.
And there is my closet, filled to well past capacity with dresses, blouses, tee shirts, sweaters, skirts, etc. In the last year, I’ve built a pretty decent wardrobe. I’m covered for occasions that likely I’ll never see.
My reasons for all this collecting (I rarely use the library anymore, such is my Gollum-esque need to own books. Certain books like Samuel R.Delany’s “Dhalgren”, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, and Akutagawa’s “Rashomon & other Tales”, for example, I’ve owned numerous copies of, almost never not owning one or all three in the past 30 years.) are completely of the sensual variety. I need stuff.
The thing about this kind of stuff, movies, books, comics, games, toys, they also use a lot of that other most vital human resource: time. We spend a good part of our sleeping life dreaming (or so it seems, which is the whole point) and many of us in our waking lives as well, whether it’s in your own imagination, or someone else’s via their art and or craft in their book you read, movie you watch, game you play. It’s all kind of dreaming, or writing a story; gaming sometimes being the most dream like in that the linear narrative is not always the enjoyable route to take.
These pursuits often end up being really expensive. As is Transition, I tell ya what. Of course for me there’s a bit of an overlap, as buying dresses, etc has always been an addiction of mine. I’m just actually wearing the stuff now is the big difference. Also I’m so comfortable, and made to feel so in all the shoppes I’ve gone to. I’m fairly discerning in that regard, avoiding stores, restaurants etc, that have a more conservative about gender roles vibe. There is a radar for this, trust me. I can tell within a few milliseconds if its a cool place.
Speaking of expenses, I had a consultation with a local electrologist/Laser tech that I’d heard good things about from friends. If and when I start that, I will be taking the very very slow one small area at a time over years and years approach, as I can’t even think about what the average similar to me ( aka Trans) customer spends, that way out of my already pay-check to pay-check with oops some visa debt on there every month.
So I’ve got to cut back on the shopping, in fact maybe I’ll purge a few items. (Size 14, Ladies.) But I really don’t feel rushed with any of this, as I told the Laser tech last night, it takes as long as it takes. I’m more comfortable every day with who I am, I am working on though figuring out how to grow the “bad old parts of old me” as I grow my confidence in my gender adjustment, which to my mind is all it really is, an adjustment, like daylight savings time or getting your spark plugs changed.
Having a real awareness of your body, and your presentation, interactions with others, without seeming to be standing outside it all, is a new and weird feeling for me. Not a bad feeling, but a complex one, that I think most people don’t even give a thought to. I’ve never felt as much a part of all the things around me as I do right now, or at least not since I was a kid running and playing in the trees (that seemed a forest, but was really a small patch of birch trees) beside my grandparents’ yellow bungalow.
I’m feeling pretty good that I have an awareness of the important things in my life right now, and that while I flail around blindly a lot, I’m still learning and growing while getting those bumps and bruises along the way.