Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Golf Romeo Sierra


The good news is that I got my dates for my surgeries! The bad news is that they're a loooong way away. But at least I finally have the dates. The past month has been spent just waiting for my phone to ring, following up, calling back, leaving messages, and being patient. Every time my phone has rung I've had that deep feeling in my gut just hoping that it was the doctor with the dates. Dates, I thought, would make it real. Well I have my dates. It's real.

To be honest I was a tiny bit devastated when the dates were given to me. Partly this was because they were at least six months after the rough idea that the doctor had given me. So I sort of let myself start planning it all out in my head. Getting one's expectations up can be a dangerous thing to do. And I did it to myself.

But a long time is kind of good (I try to tell myself). Firstly, it gives me some serious time to think about things. There's a lot to consider here; everything from recovery, to potential complications, to life adjustments for myself and others. I've known two people to have GRS scheduled and back out at near the last minute. Maybe I will back out? Maybe I won't. Maybe someone else will back out and I'll get bumped ahead. That's why I've already started on my prep work.

Yes, there is a lot of prep work to be done in the mean time. I need to get electrolysis on my junk! Yes, I need to pay good money to have a stranger stick needles in my genitals for an hour. I just had my first session this morning. Thankfully the practitioner was super nice and helped me get over my nervousness. I mean, there's both pain to deal with and my own lack of comfort with being nude in front of strangers.

Thankfully the pain wasn't bad. My doctor prescribed a topic anesthetic cream. Where I had properly applied that I didn't feel a thing. Now there were a few spots where some excruciating hairs were killed. But it was altogether way easier than facial electrolysis. Still not fun, but not as bad as you'd think.

The truth is that this whole process has been a little frustrating and slow. But I am also immensely thankful that I have insurance that covers it. And I intend to fight my insurance company and get them to pay for electrolysis as well. Wish me luck.

I've been lucky. I really have. Transition is slow. But ten years ago I was afraid to even start it for fear of loneliness or rejection or not being able to pay for anything. Every problem I'd imagined has always, in the face of reality, faded to nothing. And as I go forward I'll keep being thankful, I'll try to be patient, and I'll hope that all the fears keep amounting to nothing.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Waiting...


2018 was, all things considered, a good year for me. It was my final year wearing wigs thanks to my new hairline. It marked my second year full time and my third year on HRT. I got to meet one of my heroes, Shirley Manson, and she turned out to be super awesome. I had my first electrolysis on my face. It got to go to the Philadelphia Transgender Wellness conference and had an amazing time. My podcast, Gender Rebels, reached its 100th episode where we interviewed Michelle Hendley and Katie Rain Hill. I signed a modelling contract and got my head shots (though I've yet to be hired - ah well). I went back to my home town for the first time as the real me. And, as 2018 wound down, I had my consultation for GRS and top surgery. 

So, that's a pretty awesome year. And I find myself buoyed going into 2019, determined that I will kick this years' ass so hard, as I have many others before it. But right now, as 2019 starts, I find myself waiting. Once again I am waiting. Transition involves a lot of waiting. It is not an undertaking for the impatient. The current thing I'm waiting on are my surgery dates. 


In mid-December I went to the offices of Dr. Rachel Bluebond-Langer at NYU Langone medical center. I had actually first gotten that appointment back in May. So, after months of waiting for the consultation appointment, I was pretty excited and looking forward to it. I had to get five separate medical letters for her and for my insurance. Plus there was a mountain of paperwork that I had to fill out for NYU, mostly related to medical history and things.

Then the day finally came! I made sure to look my absolute best. After all I didn't want the doctor to think that I wasn't taking transition or surgery seriously (See, doc! I'm not a fetishist!). After a brief wait and some more paperwork (why is it that doctors always make you fill out the paperwork twice?) I went back to the little examination room. A nurse was there and asked me some basic background questions (ones that I had already answered on the forms). Then after another wait the doctor came in. 

She was quick and casual as she described all the particulars of the procedures. Then she reviewed my paperwork and letters (despite having had like six months with the paperwork), and asked me if I had any questions. There were a few that I had, but I had also done a lot of research. During my waiting period I had looked up different types of procedures, various potential complications, and had read a few first hand accounts of people who had had their surgery with Bluebond-Langer.

After that, she handed me a shrink wrapped hospital gown and asked me to strip. While she left the room I put on the gown. It's never a good feeling to be sitting there in a hospital gown. But she did come back in quickly. And she had a measuring tape. She looked at my top first and took some measurements and made some comments. After that she did the same for down below. And then she said I could get dressed because I was done.

"Wait!" my brain screamed. "When do I get the surgery? I thought this was going to involve dates." So I asked her when I would know the scheduled dates. She said, and I remember the words clearly, sometime next week. Her office would call "sometime next week" with dates. That was mid-December. This is now early January. Two weeks have past! Granted, those were holiday weeks. But still. She said one week!

So after nine days I called. Left a voicemail. No response yet. So I emailed on the patient portal. That they responded to. With a response that basically said "we'll let you know." That was a few days ago. And I'm going mad. Every time my phone rings I get excited, even though the only people who ever call me are random Chinese language recordings and people trying to sell me car insurance for a car I don't own. But I remain hopeful.

I just want the dates because that makes it more real. With dates I can start to plan. I can think about the future in concrete terms. Without dates it's all just some nebulous future. I don't want nebulous. I want concrete darn it! And so, for the umpteenth time during my transition- I wait. 

I am thankful that I have access to local surgery and that my healthcare will pay for it. I am thankful I have a partner who will help me navigate my recovery. But I do want to know what 2019 really holds. When will I need to buy new bras? Should I get excited about the beach or not? When should I schedule my vacations? I wish I knew. And so, with no real info, I wait. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Wigs for Fun

Before I had my hairline surgically fixed I was pretty much forced to use wigs for everyday wear. It's not a fun thing to wear a wig everyday. They're hot, can get itchy, they can get messed up easily, and sometimes can look really unrealistic. Plus wearing wigs all the time kind of made me feel more like a crossdresser. I know plenty of cis women wear wigs and plenty of transwomen do too. There's no shame in it certainly. But I personally felt somehow less natural. I felt like I was still "dressing up" and not a "real girl." Have I mentioned that I tend to be a fairly anxious person anyway? Transition hasn't really changed that. 

Naturally I was super happy when my hair got fixed. It meant no more wigs! And so for the last ten months I've been wig free. It's been nice. My head is cooler. It's less itchy. And my self esteem has gotten much, much better. Plus it's fun to be able to play with your real hair; dye it, put it up in little buns, and just generally play around with it.

But the other day I had off work and decided that it would be fun to do some wig pictures. I would be going out to an art opening at the Museum of Sex with friends that night so I thought it would be a great opportunity to dress up to the nines. Of course it ended up being a freak blizzard that day so didn't wear heels or the wig after all. But it was still fun to dress up a little, especially since I had new fuzzy coats to show off.

Here's some pics I took. I took a ton because when you look that good you have to capture it for future generations.









Monday, November 26, 2018

Two Years Full Time


It's been two years. Yes, it's been two years since I took the step of living my life full time. Like any extended period of time there have been good things and bad, but on the whole, I think it's mostly been good. That first, terrifying day I came into work, putting one foot in front of each other and trying not to think about it, seems so long ago. It feels almost like a different lifetime.

The thing that I think is the most surprising is just how utterly normal everything is. This is just my life. For years I was absolutely terrified of the idea of living my life full time. It was such a terrifying prospect and now it's just life. It's like being utterly terrified of a wolf only to have it come over and cuddle with you.

But life hasn't all been wolf cuddles. Almost every day I still deal with impostor syndrome. I think that I'm not a "real girl" or that I stand out like a freak. Maybe one day self-doubts go away. Or maybe that's just how my brain works. But while I'm super happy with who I am and with my life, I still sometimes feel like a fake. I still deal with low self-esteem about my looks and about my bone structure, about my voice, or my gestures or my walk. Am I acting too much like a guy? Is my response to a situation too masculine? Am I behaving femininely enough? It never goes away and I doubt it will.

But I love my life. The vast majority of my friends (and many of my co-workers) have only ever known me as Faith. I think I'm much more confident and happy. I'm out to basically everyone in my life. I've been on HRT for three years and seriously looking into some surgeries for 2019. My own hair has grown out and I have ditched wigs. I literally am the cool redhead I always wanted to be.

Here are two pictures of me taken two years apart. The first is about 2pm on my first day at work as a girl. The second is my two year coming out at work anniversary. When I look at these two I can clearly see how much more comfortable and confident I've become as a woman.



Okay, maybe part of that is my fuzzy coat. I call it my rockstar power coat. It makes me feel cool and confident. But even without magic fuzzy coats, I still feel good. Two years has been surprising easy. It was almost like I made the right choice about transition.


Gender Rebels Podcast: Dealing with Persistent Misgendering