Friday, July 28, 2017

My Soul Bounces Back

When you make a post called "Curb Stomped in My Soul," I think it's natural for people to assume I'm down. In a way I am a little down, but not horribly so. There's been a lot going on and I've let myself get overwhelmed by it. I did feel bad. I really did. Transition is stressful. Body issues are stressful. For me, being social is stressful. Even my creative work schedule can be stressful. I was so stressed out that I've managed to exhaust myself. But, things are getting better; they really are. 

After a week with a deteriorating wig, I finally got my new one in the mail yesterday. It's so insane how much better I feel with great looking hair. This morning I got ready (and probably went a little too severe on my makeup - ah well) and then put it on. It immediately makes me feel better. As soon as I get it straightened and and look in the mirror, I'm able to think to myself "you look great, you're gonna rock today!"

Heck, walking to the subway I even got hit on by two different construction workers! Now, I certainly don't condone street harassment, but when you've been feeling down, a little attention can feel good. Hey, at least someone thinks I'm a girl, and what's more, an attractive girl at that. So yeah, while I normally hate getting hit on, today it perked up my spirits a little bit. Also, how come only really gross, creepy guys hit on me? Seriously, how come Ewan McGregor never hits on me? Just creepy dudes? Ah well, c'est la vie.

After being objectified, I headed over to the subway. As I was walking, this great feeling of "this is who I'm supposed to be" came over me. I had my nice hair, my makeup, a comfy dress, and I was headed to work. This is who was supposed to be. This is who I am.

If I were honest with myself, I still feel very much like an impostor. I don't always feel like I'm really a woman. I feel like I'm faking it and that I'm lucky if other people buy into my fakery. But then, there are other moments when I look in the mirror and I can really see myself as a woman. As I head toward my second HRT anniversary, I've started to notice way, way more changes. They're not kidding when they say that HRT is slow.

I've started to see less of a guy in the mirror and more of a girl, even when I'm in lazy mode, even when I'm not wearing a fancy new wig, even when I'm not wearing makeup. Slowly, but surely it's happening. Transition is becoming less of a new stage in life, and more a normal part of my life. That makes me super happy.

Another thing that's making me happy is that I'm inching more towards my life goal. It's a new life goal, one I only realized was achievable a couple months ago. I was watching a Vlogbrothers video, one by John Green, and I realized what I wanted out of life. I want John Green's job. He's an author, and a YouTuber, and he's successfully turned that into a thriving business. Half my favorite YouTube channels are produced by him and his brother.

And one day, I was watching one of his videos and I thought "Hey, I do videos, and I blog, and I have a podcast and write books. I love nothing more than being creative. And lots of people seem to like what I make. maybe I can do this as a job one day!" So, I've been working on coming up with ways to do what I love as my job.

First off was the Gender Rebels Patreon page and that's been going really well (thank you so much to all our patrons!). And I'm seriously itching to launch back onto YouTube with the channel Gender Rebels TV, and my own channel Transjedi, where I'll discuss Star Wars from a transgender point of view. I want these videos to look decently professional, so there's a lot to be done before I can start filming in earnest.

There's lighting, which is crucial because my apartment does not have good light. Kath and I will have to figure out a good space too, since we don't want clutter in the background. On top of all that, I'd like to get some lens upgrades for my iPhone. Thankfully the patrons have basically made getting that stuff affordable. Then, I'll also need to learn Adobe Premier. But, I tend to learn by doing, so I'm excited about that. Now that I have a weekend with no plans coming up, I'm thinking that I might buy the Premier subscription and start tinkering.

On the second creative front, I've finally finished my new novel, American Transgirl. Here's the skinny:

Matt has spent his whole life wishing he could be a girl.  But he doesn’t know if transition is right for him. As a high school student in suburban Georgia during the Nineties, he is able to take his first steps toward transition. With his friend Michelle by his side, Matt begins exploring local gay bars and discovering more about his own transgender feelings. Life gets even more confusing when he moves to New York and falls for Erin, a struggling artist and lesbian. Matt must decide if an ordinary life as a normal guy could work, or if his whole life has been leading toward transition. 

American Transgirl is a funny, heartfelt contemporary novel. Its protagonist is a transgender woman who deals with hormones, a name change, coming out, and other aspects of gender transition. The story also explores universal subjects like the longing for fulfilment, love, relationships, and friendship. Transition is presented as only one part of a larger life. 

I've submitted my American Transgirl to five publishers thus far (fingers crossed). If you know a good publisher who's looking for LGBT content, please let me know!

Also, I'd like to go back through my writings to see if I have any good pieces that I could submit to websites and magazines. I think building up my writing credit portfolio will make getting a publisher easier.

Until I become a rich and successful writing, I still have my day job. It's been eight months since I came out, and I just had my performance review. It looks like a raise and promotion are in my near future timeline! That's gonna help me get my finances back where they should be. Not spending $300 or $400 a month of booze is also helping me with that.

And speaking of not drinking, I've lost 12lbs (5.44kg) or so since April. Control over my drinking, coupled with a regular workout schedule are doing wonders for me. Right now, I'm at the lowest weight I've been since I quit smoking seven years ago. Not only am I getting skinny, I'm actually going to have to start getting new clothes! Yay, shopping! And I can actually justify buying dresses now - they're for work!

Another good thing happened on Wednesday night. After I'd worked out at the gym, Kath and I decided to go out to dinner to celebrate my performance review. As I had just finished up at the gym, all I did was switch out my workout pants for a skirt, and my sneakers for sandals. I went to the restaurant in my own natural hair, in super casual mode. And despite that, I got gendered correctly multiple times at the restaurant! I really should go back there.

Another plus, which isn't a great one, but it still counts, is that everyone cares about transgender rights all the sudden. The other day, our insanely unqualified President decided to randomly tweet some anti-transgender bullshit. Which is bullshit. But, what else can you expect from a completely useless moron like our dear leader?

But, as soon as he did that, the floodgates opened and social media, traditional media, and everyone else was full of pro-transgender statements, memes, videos, everything. It was, I admit, kind of nice to read Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, and others on a day when it seemed like every other item was a pro-transgender meme or graphic. It was nice. It's nice to know that Republican bigots are going to accomplish only thing here; making ordinary people from across the political spectrum, stand up for transgender rights.

And all it took was a horrible bigot attacking us. Yay?

Well, it seems like there's been a lot of good stuff going on in my life right now. And, most importantly, I have the rest of the summer with no social plans. I'm sure I'll throw some in there, 'cause I love all of my friends, but I need time to relax right now and get myself re-combobulated. Plus there's a lot of creative stuff that I'd love to really jump into; new bonuses for patrons, new podcast episodes, new videos. Heck, I'm even 13,000 words into my next novel.

Bring on the weekend! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

The First Time My Mom Got to Meet the Real Me

It's been a crazy July. Seriously. In general I'm an introvert, but somehow in the first 18 days of July we managed to have two blocks of five social days in a row. Literally, we did five straight days hanging out with people around the 4th of July and five straight days hanging out with people this past week. As an introvert, that is insanely exhausting. I do have fun around people, but being around people also stresses me out. I need me-time to destress and untie all my knots. 

But, of course, the big stress factor was that this super busy social time involved my mom and her husband staying with us and meeting Faith for the first time. As regular readers of this blog will know, I came out to my mom back in January. It went really well. Both her and her husband have been super supportive of their new surprise daughter. They've even been going to PFLAG meetings where they've learned a lot and met a number of LGBTQ people. My mom even friended me on Facebook.

So she's seen a lot of pictures. The first time she liked one of my pictures (this one), my heart smiled. It was so nice that my mom accepted me enough to like my photos on Facebook. It's a such a small thing, but it's weird, it really meant a lot to me. 

Since I came out, she's been talking about wanting to come visit us here in Brooklyn. So we planned something for July. At the time July seemed like so far in the future, but it was quickly upon us. I wanted to look perfect. That was part of the reason I had put so much emotional stake in my most recent haircut. As I've said before, I feel like the better I look, the more serious I think people take me as a woman. You know, I don't want to show up looking like a joke. This is my own insecurity. I understand that, but it's something I get anxious about before big moments. What bigger moment is there than your mom meeting the real you for the first time? 

Years ago, I remember looking at a dress catalogue. In it there was this picture of a striking young woman in a beautiful dress. And I looked at that and imagined being that striking young woman and maybe wearing a beautiful dress like that to meet my mom for lunch or something. This is another weird one, but I used to listen to "If it Makes You Happy" from Liz Phair's whitechocolatespaceegg (one of my favorite albums). In it, Liz is talking to her mother about her new guy and in the chorus her mother responds "Listen here young lady / All that matter is what makes you happy." I have no idea why, but somehow that lyric always stuck with me. My mom had never called me "young lady." Maybe one day. Hopefully not in a scolding way though, even though that really is a term used only in scolding.

This meeting was going to be years in the making. I wanted it to go well. I wanted my mom to treat me like her daughter. So I bought a brand new wig and thought hard about what to wear. It had to be feminine, but also casual. 

They were arriving on Saturday morning. She'd let me know that they'd be around at 11ish. So, Kath and I got up early and, since we had some time, went out to get an early breakfast. At around 9:30am, we were sitting eating when I got a text that said "Flight got in early. We're in a car on the way over." Shit. I was in lazy mode and I did not want my mom to meet Faith for the first time in lazy mode. So I hightailed it home and started rushing through my makeup and prep. Inwardly I laughed, this was the first time I've ever rushed to put ON makeup because my mom was about to show up.

Well, luckily I got ready in time. I'm getting pretty quick with my makeup these days and can slap on a pretty good look in fifteen minutes or so. They showed up and it was great. At first we just talked and they were great; referring to me with those beloved female pronouns. 

The first day we decided to explore Brooklyn a little bit. Then we'd walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to see the 9/11 Memorial and some other parts of Lower Manhattan. I'd given Kathleen a secret mission; to get as many photographs as possible. But, unfortunately, we only ended up pausing a couple times to get pictures. The first spot was on the Brooklyn Bridge. And the second was down in DUMBO, where we explored on our second day. 

I'm okay with just a few photos. Not everyone enjoys taking pictures quite as much as I do. I can't help it. See, I'm making up for lost time. In my heart though, I know that memories are better than photographs. Pictures can never truly capture a beautiful vista or a wonderful moment. At best they can provide a memory aid. And I think on this weekend we made lots of memories.

It felt wonderful to just be out with my mom. It's so funny because while I feel totally normal as Faith (It's me. It's who I am and always have been), I still got all these weird moments where I thought "I'm wearing a dress and makeup around my mom! I'm out as a girl having lunch with my mom!" The same thing happened when I met Kath's parents; these little flashes of This Is Real! 

On the second day, we actually talked about the transgender subject. It's funny because I feel like people would love to leap right into that question but they also want to appear super cool and accepting. Still, it's a huge subject so it had to come up at some point. We had a really good discussion. I told them about how I felt growing up, like there was an itch that I couldn't scratch, that I knew something was wrong but I didn't have the language, heck society barely had the language, to talk about it. They told us about all transgender people they've met at PFLAG and how their stories sounded so similar to mine. It was really great to talk about it with them. And I am insanely thankful that they are so supportive.

Seriously I want to have them on an episode of Gender Rebels to talk about being a parent of a grown up trans kid. I almost blurted it out but I chose to keep cool for now. We didn't have time to record anyway. Maybe one day we'll have that episode. I think it would be fun and informative.

Speaking of fun, we even got to bash my dad a bit. I've told Kath about my dad but she's only met him once. So it's fun to have someone around to tell stories about his hoarding, his shitty behavior, his know-it-all attitude, and how terrible his attitudes are for his new family. I told my mom and her husband that I really didn't want my dad in my life and thus didn't really want to come out to him. But, they did explain that with my sister's kids it does create a sort of awkward situation about when to use boy name and when to use girl name. So, we'll see. Maybe I'll come out to him. I don't know. I did give them permission to refer to me as Faith, but the coming out should really be from me. Ah well, I don't have to make a decision today.

It was really amazing to get to meet my mom as the real me. But as I write this, nearly a week later, I'm still fairly exhausted. Thankfully this weekend I have nothing to do but relax and un-tie all my knots. I'm looking forward to it. And I'm also looking forward to getting closer with my family now that I no longer have to hide who I am. We already discussed a visit down to Atlanta in March where my sister and family can meet Faith too. 

And now I've gotta get some more goodies ready to be sent out to some of our new Patreon supporters.

I know a few people remember my old YouTube channel, well, I'm doing a Patreon because I want to get some new lighting equipment and camera bits to start filming some really professional looking YouTube videos. There are two channels in the works; Gender Rebels TV, which is going to be like the podcast but with pictures! Great for visual things like makeup. The other channel is going to be my person, which will be Transjedi where I discuss all things Star Wars from a transgender woman's perspective. If you can support, that will help us make some really awesome free content. Plus you get goodies.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Curb Stomped in My Soul

As summer of 2017 approached, I greeted it with wild optimism. And not without reason. Not only had my drinking been tamed, I had started going to the gym and my hair was so long that it was starting to brush my shoulders. I finally finished editing my new book and submitted it to some LGBT publishers. My weight was down and my hopes were up. June went so well with Chicago and coming out to my in-laws. Then July came and it sucker punched me hard, destroyed my optimism and left me feeling awful, depressed and curb stomped in my soul.

This is basically my own fault for setting my expectations too high. It started with a bikini. I've been losing a lot of weight. I'm down like 20lbs from my peak weight a couple years ago. That's been making me feel good. Right now I'm at my 1.75 years on HRT and the effects are starting to show more and more. So I went and bought a bikini. It was black, stringy, and cute. I was skinnier, curvier and I wanted to rock a bikini. I felt like I was ready.

I actually took Monday off work so that Kath and I could hit the beach on a non-busy day. Previously, Kath had been on a weekday and reported back that the beach was nearly deserted. Deserted was good. That meant that I could go in a bikini and not feel too self-conscious that I wasn't, like, Bond Girl levels of hot. I was super excited. I was gonna be a real girl in a bikini on the beach! No more of this tankini cheating like last time.

I showed off my new bikini for Kath to gauge her opinion. Excited though I was, I wasn't 100% sure that I could really pull it off. This began a long period of vacillation. Could I really pull off the bikini? Would it be better to save it for when I lost a few more pounds? I still have, for lack of a better word, a little bit of a gut. Not a huge one, mind you, but a little bit. 

Ultimately, I decided that I wasn't quite there yet. I wasn't going to be a beach babe. Not yet. So I went with the safe option even though it really bugged me to do that. So now my life has become like a Cathy cartoon. Bathing suits have become a source of stress and my own body issues are leaving me seriously depressed. After every meal I now feel guilty about having eaten. Even though I know I've been doing better, even though I know that I'm better now than I was even three months ago, even though I know that transition is a marathon and not a sprint, I'm still left feeling frustrated, insanely frustrated by how I look. 

Still, I went to the beach. And I realized, based on a number of people there, that I probably would have been okay if I had gone with the bikini. Ah well. There was one good thing though. This was not the same tankini that I wore the last time at the beach. At least this one was a size smaller. So there's that at least. 


While I did go in the water, because I was wearing a wig, I wasn't able to fully dunk my head under. It was okay. My hair still got wet though. And after the salt water and the insanely strong beach winds (it was so windy I could barely read my book without the pages flapping crazily), my hair was pretty darn wrecked. That's just how it is with wigs. At least with my wigs. They get fucking wrecked. 

After the beach day, I still had to wear that same wig to work. Sure, I had thought about getting a new one, but I didn't want to. I didn't want to because I had a made a hair salon appointment for Thursday night. The plan was that I would go in Thursday after work and maybe, fingers crossed, be done with wigs forever! 

This was my major mistake. Not the haircut, but rather letting myself think that I could be done with wigs forever. My hair is actually getting pretty long. It's almost down to my shoulders. Plus my hair has a really nice natural, wavy curls. My hairline is still an issue. Despite a year and half of finesteride, it hasn't really gotten better. This has been my hugest stumbling block and the thing that has caused me the most stress, frustration and depression during my transition. Other people have normal hairlines. Why does my hairline have to look so fucking awful?

But, I figured that maybe bangs could be my salvation. Maybe with bangs I could hide my hairline and still look cute. There'd be no more wigs. There'd be no more getting read as male when I was in lazy mode. This was going to be the thing that took my transition to the next level, that made it real. Finally I'd be a real person and not someone playing dress up. Bangs. This was the answer.

So many girls with bangs look fantastic. So I went into my hair dresser and presented her with a challenge. Give me some bangs that will hide my hairline and make me look cute. I'd searched the internet for cute, short haircuts with bangs and tried to find ones that sort of matched my hair's natural waviness. I printed out the pictures and gave my hair dresser a vision board. This was what I wanted. Make me look like this and then I could be a real girl. Finally. Please.

She spent two hours cutting my hair, doing a few styling things, adding various products. I have no doubt that she is a seriously skilled hair stylist. I have no doubt of that. But even the best artist can't work without a good canvas. And apparently, my hair was not the right canvas. When we finished, all the other hair dressers were gushing and saying things like "Oh it looks so good."

It did not look good. I was pissed. It looked horrible. It looked like a 70s bowl cut. But what can you do? I tried to smile and be positive. At least until I'd paid. A hundred bucks, including tip. And I came out looking like this:

Yes, I look pissed in that picture. Kath had texted to ask how it went. Well, it went badly. I looked terrible. Instead of cute bangs, I just had a bunch of hair brushed forward because that was the only way to hide my awful, awful, awful, hideous hairline. So I looked bad. Terrible. All my hopes were dashed into a million little defeated shards. 

I went home and tried to be positive. I futzed around with it. Pulling it back in a pony tail sort of looked okay. At least it looked better. It gave me a sort of weird looking chelsea cut, which is at least better that than a 70s bowl cut. I tried to be happy. I tried to be positive. I tried to chalk it up to how every haircut looks weird at first. But this wasn't just any haircut. This was the haircut that was supposed to free me from wigs forever. This was the haircut that was going to transform my life. This is the haircut that was going to make me normal. 

What's worse is that my mom is coming this weekend. She's staying with us. This is the first time she's meeting Faith. Already I've been stressing over this. There's so much to do before hand, so much cleaning, so much self-maintenance (my nails look like crap too). It's been a serious source of stress. The past couple weeks I've been preoccupied, busy and on edge. And now this. 

This morning I woke up, got ready, and tried to play with my hair, tried to do something, anything to make it look okay. Maybe I could look decent enough to show up at work with my real hair instead of a wig. The last thing I wanted to do was throw on a wig and go back into that prison. But it was no luck. I ended up breaking down in tears. I just couldn't handle it. 

Already I'm the freak at work. Looking my best is the only way to reduce my freakishness. I realized that there was no choice. I couldn't show up at work, I couldn't meet my mom looking like this. I still want to cry as I write this. Who knew transition would be this hard? So, I'm left realizing that I have to do the wigs again. I have to be fake. I have to deal with wigs getting ratty and nasty. I have to deal with them being hot and uncomfortable. That's my life for the foreseeable future. And the worst part is, this is all my own fault for getting my own hopes up too high.

Guess I'll throw the wig back on for now. Sigh.

Well, I guess surgery is my only option. I have to fix this hairline. It's destroying me. I don't know how much longer I can take this. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Spironolactone- A Simple Solution to Most of Society's Problems

There are a lot of problems in this world [citation needed] and there have been quite a lot of proposed solutions, a lot of solutions tried, but thus far none have worked. Doing unto others, five years plans, anarcho-syndicalist communes, religion - they've all been tried but none have succeeded. Even the current US government's plan of starving the poor to make the super rich even richer might not succeed in solving our problems.

So what do we do then? Give up? Pack it in, pump our brains full of happy drugs and merrily await the total collapse of global society? While I know we're all kind of tempted to peruse a course of action like that, I for one refuse to sit idly by while the world falls apart. As it turns out that being a transgender woman has actually given me some unique insight into how to fix most of our problems. I've come up with a simple solution. This:

Specifically, we need to put spironolactone in the drinking water. Taking this simple step will actually help solve quite a few of the world's problems. Think about it. What does spiro do? It blocks testosterone. Testosterone is a chemical that is known to cause aggression, male sexual urges, higher risk taking behaviors, and competitiveness.  

Aggression, male sexual urges, higher risk taking behaviors and competitiveness. Think about that. Aggression leads to assault, fighting, even murder and war. Taking more risks leads to early death or to injuries that drive up health care costs for everyone. Male sexual urges can lead to sexual assaults, unwanted pregnancies and even overpopulation. Many of our current problems stem directly from competitiveness. Testosterone makes men unwilling to share resources or to accept compromise. In fact, things like sharing and compromise are often portrayed as weak. 

And what does taking spiro do? It causes erectile dysfunction, destroys sperm count and reduces aggression. It gets rid of all of testosterone's effects. Putting it in the water supply will help solve the following major issues that America, and the world, is currently facing: 
  • War
  • Crime
  • Abortion/Unwanted Pregnancy
  • Overpopulation
  • Uneven Distribution of Resources
  • Poverty
  • Political Gridlock 
Reducing aggression will help end a great number of violent crimes. Sure, it wouldn't get rid of all crime, but it would eliminate the crimes that most endanger people. Our criminal justice system wouldn't be so overworked or clogged with cases.

Reducing fertility would help end over population. Plus spiro's lowering of sperm counts would completely prevent unwanted pregnancies. You want to get rid of abortion? Put spiro in the water and, in a few months, the number of abortions would drop to zero.

With the population reduced and with competitiveness greatly decreased, equal distribution of resources will finally be a reality. Income inequality and poverty will be finally be solved. The social unrest caused by unfair treatment of the working classes will also be alleviated. Cooperation can finally replace competition in politics, in international relations, and even in the office. Utopia, here we come.

So, while things look bleak now, it's at least good to know that a solution to all these myriad problems does exist. All we have to do now is write to our representatives, write to the United Nations, and get them to start putting spiro in all the drinking water. And if they say no, we'll just have to do it ourselves. I'll go to my doctor and see if she'll give me a prescription that allows for 60 billion or so refills. Which way to the reservoir?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Become a Patreon Supporter!

Check out my Patreon page here and get some cool stuff!

As many of you know, I've had the podcast Gender Rebels for the past year. We've got 52 episodes all ready and more on the way! Our first year was amazing. It went better than we ever could have expected. The reactions we've gotten from listeners have been the best: funny, insightful, moving, and inspiring. We love you guys! We love you girls! We love you boths! We love you neithers!

And we want to take The Gender Rebels to the next level! Supporting us on Patreon will get you cool stuff! It'll also help us make the show even better! We're looking to upgrade our recording equipment and studio (our apartment does not have the best acoustics). I'm also looking to jump back into YouTube, which means - yikes - more equipment: lighting, camera components, and software. 
We're striving to make The Gender Rebels better so you can get better content every week!
This has been a huge journey and we could never have done this without you. We hope you'll come with us on this new adventure! 

Check it out!