So today I almost got kept out from going back to work from lunch!!!
Ok not really. But! We have ID cards to get into the building - mine hasn't been updated yet re my name and picture (for no apparent reason I was waiting until my legal name change went through, but HR confirmed I don't need to).
When we scan into the building our pic comes up on a computer monitor at the security post near the entrance. Usually this doesn't matter as I know all of the security people so I doubt they even look at the screen. Today after lunch I entered through a side door where there was just one, new security guard. AS I waited fot the nearby elevator I saw that he kept looking between the screen and me, looking confused
I don't know what he would have done, a maintenance person I know happened along right then and stared chatting with me, confirming I work there. (Pretty sure I could have convinced him if I had to)
Anyhow, tomorrow morning i'm going to get a new card with corrected name and picture
Good morning everyone,
Before I get to the main point, I have an anecdote from last week (I share this with a couple of people already) - I was going to be hanging out with my friend Mindy on Friday night, so at lunchtime I went to get some wine (to go with the nachos we were planning). When I was at the store I heard the clerk say to me (I wasn't facing him at that moment, but I was the only customer in the store), "If you need any help maam just ask."
I woke up ridiculously early today suddenly filled with doubts. It was bad enough that I wished I could just get up and go to the gym (unfortunately, or fortunately, the gym wasn't going to be open for another hour).
This may have been triggered by a diary entry I did last night in which I decided I should actually look head-on at the things that I fear about transitioning. It was a little comforting when i did it (putting things concretely on paper almost always makes them seem more manageable), but I clearly put the ideas in my head, and upon waking they were bad again. So what do I fear? Undoubtedly nothing that almost everyone else hasn't thought of, but here is my list:
*What if I need to find a new job, how easy or hard will it be?
*Will I be able to find a relationship?
*Will my friendships really stay as strong as they are with the "new reality" (this one assumes full transition to female, anything short of that won't endanger any of my current friendships)
*Will I face other forms of discrimination, and even violence?
*Are there a bunch of things I'm not even thinking of?
*Can I even afford it?
*What if it wasn't the right choice?
Now some counterpoints (the thoughts that kept me moving this morning):
Job - my current job is pretty secure, and my employer is very good as far as non-discrimination, so hopefully finding a new job isn't a near-term issue
Relationship - I haven't had a serious relationship in about 15 years, so not being able to find one as a woman wouldn't be any worse, and if I'm finally being true to myself it might be easier
Friends - yes, my friendships will change, but they'll stay stronger (I can already see a couple of my friendships getting stronger!)
Discrimination - no real counter to this, it's tragic, but it happens and I'd have to deal with it then
Things I'm not thinking of - probably, but that's why I keep reading blog and forum entries here, and why I'm going to start going to a local support group
Cost - I either can or I can't, but I have to do as much as I can
Right choice - no matter how bad I felt having doubts this morning, I felt even worse when i thought about going back. I still don't know how far I'll go, but there is work to do.
Which brings me back to the "maam" anecdote at the beginning. If I have doubts I just need to remember how good it felt to hear that
Happy Friday ladies and gentlemen and all points between and around!
Well this was quite the week. I knew that changing to my female name at work would be "big," but I didn't fully anticipate the anxiety, exhilaration, excitement, fear (and several other emotional states that I may never have experienced before) that would come with it. It really was a very unusual week as people started referring to me as Christie, and using female pronouns. The word spread faster than was planned (thanks to my 2 supervisors accidentally using Christie in emails that went to students), but that's ok, it just caused a few moments of confusion for me when I tried to figure out if I should just start using it with them too, or just not "sign" my emails (I went for that - the email that's going to be sent is from the Dean, I don't want to look like I was getting out in front of him, even though this is obviously about me).
My goals this weekend (I like putting these in writing to someone, helps keep me from just not doing it):
(1) Another period of "quiet contemplation" - my stepping-off point for this is going to be to list and then explore what I'm afraid of (certainly I've done that before, but it's a good question to go back to). before and after that I'll also ask myself the question that Karen suggested - "Do I have any hesitation?"
(2) On Sunday my favorite drag queen (who does the Tuesday night show that I go to, and have occasionally performed at) is doing a brunch show. I'm using that as my opportunity to try going out presenting fully as a woman. I want to see how close I can get to that from where I am now. It's really I think just a more serious version of what I used to do when I was "cross-dressing." I'll try to get some pics! (desperately, I want to see myself in pics)
I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Good morning everyone,
I've now finished just over a week on HRT, and a full business week with my "Real Life Test."
There's nothing really to report on the HRT front, which isn't surprising. I did start a "chart" that I put on my bulletin board so that each week I can write down what, if any, changes I noticed. This week the only possible change was reduced libido - though I can't say that with 100% certainty yet.
The "real life test" is another story. I broke through and wore my wig, along with breast inserts, to work and pretty much everywhere this week. This morning I had an appointment with a surgeon (about my shoulder) and for a moment I considered not wearing it there, but then decided that this is either full-time or it's not, I can't pick and choose. So I did it, and it went well. I did have to use my old name for insurance reasons, but they picked up on my transition quickly and added "Christie" to their records (the doctor needs a second to catch up - when he took me to his assistant to schedule surgery he alternated between "Miss Cunningham" and "he" - but that's fine :-)
The only time I can see being out and not wearing the wig is to the gym - that may come as well, but for now I won't just because I don't know how wearing a wig on a treadmill would go :-)
One pleasant discovery was a different type of band for holding the wig on. It's a band that goes around your hairline and fastens with velcro, and the wig holds on to that. Far more comfortable than pins, and so far it seems quite secure.
Otherwise to make sure I keep moving forward I just remind myself to "do what I do" - meaning, don't deviate from what I would have otherwise done in order to avoid anyone seeing me with the wig on.
I also went by the LGBT Center this week and got signed-up for their Transgender Resources "system." I have an intake scheduled in a few weeks so that I can hopefully join a closed support group (the drop-in one that happens the 1st Wednesday of each month has been a disappointment to me so far). They're also looking into places where I can donate clothing :-)
Happy Thursday! Happy for me because starting tomorrow I'm on vacation for a week. I'm sure I'll be checking in here during that time, but probably not doing any blogging.
In an earlier post I mentioned how I was aiming for July 27 as the day that I would officially start presenting as a woman. My last post altered that course a bit, so I'm going to see now what exactly I'm doing. I'm certainly going to keep playing with make-up and other things, but the difference between today and July 27 might not physically be all that great, mentally on the other hand, I think it will be huge.
My birthday is coming up next Thursday - my first birthday living authentically as me!
Happy Monday good people!
On Friday I went and had my tests done for HRT. Assuming they all come through ok then I'm on my way, my next appointment with the endocrinologist is August 6 (though if they notify me before that that everything is ok I might try for an earlier appointment). My sense of peace and contentment grows by the minute! Currently it's just the possibility that something will come back negative on the tests that causes me any anxiety.
Electrolyis is going wonderfully! I've had 6 or 7 sessions now, and the change is already very noticeable. When I shave in the morning there is so much less to shave! I think we're 4 or 5 sessions from doing the initial clearing. I had done some at-home laser before starting, so that might be making it go a little quicker.
My electrologist also gave me a good pointer on working with my voice this past week, so I spent some time over the weekend practicing at home (it takes a little effort to not feel weird talking to myself, so I start out talking to the cat, because that's perfectly normal!)
On Saturday I put on my new wig and decided to leave it on the rest of the day to start getting used to it. It was fine until I ate dinner. I hadn't pinned it at all, so that's when it started to slip off. I think put in a few bobby pins and that seems to secure it nicely. I'm going to try working with wig tape as well.
I had planned to "unveil" myself as a woman on July 27 (the Monday after I'm off of work for a week), but electrolysis is making me think twice. I'm still at a point where I have to not shave a couple of days before each session, and I'm not sure how I feel about how I'd look wearing a wig with stubble. I'll play with that next week when I'm off and see. I do plan next week to wear the wig out as much as possible!
Good morning everyone!
First a few updates. Today, in addition to the little make-up touches I've been adding over the last few weeks, I did my eyebrows and am using lipstick (and lip gloss), and wearing a cute new necklace I bought over the weekend. A picture from this morning is below. I did get a "sir" at 7-11 today, but I'm ok with that, he knows me (I stop there regularly on the way to work), and he was looking strangely at me after that (a mix of confused and amused, or something like that). I've also decided to start using Christie at work (I might segue to it by having "Christie" in my signature line but signing off as "Chris." I just have to decide who I should "announce" that to and how, as opposed to those for whom i'll just start doing that. I also "came out" to my tennis group, and when I got my NYC tennis permit on Saturday it has Christie on it (they didn't even question it).
Over the weekend, taking up on Karen's suggestion in one of her recent blog entries, I spent some time down by the Hudson River (on the pier off of Christopher Street). It's one of my favorite spots, and an area where I almost always feel at peace (perhaps in part because of my personal technology ban when I'm there). I started with the question she suggested, do I have any hesitations about starting HRT? (by way of background, I haven't actually decided to start HRT, but I do have an appointment with an endocrinologist on June 20 to discuss it). My initial gut response to it was "no, but perhaps some doubt." To me this makes some sense as I doubt that people are often 100% certain that it's the right thing, at least until you start it. There are no doubt some who are, but not everyone.
I then explored those doubts - which I've done before, but a new strain of doubts revealed themselves this time around. That is that I feel like I've often made very bad decisions (and not everyday decisions, but more "life changing" ones - I mean, everyone makes bad decisions). So I spent a little time thinking about what they were, and then why I think I made them (after figuring out if they really were that bad). I won't go into detail about what those specific decisions were, but a through-line for them is that I simply hadn't thought sufficiently about the consequences. In one case (deciding to go to law school), the decision itself could have been ok if I had thought more about what I was going to do with it.
In an earlier decision, the decision to not go directly to college after high school, I know that I was thinking too short-term. At that time I was living at home, and making decent money (relative to my pretty insignificant expenses), and I didn't want to give that up. So I sacrificed the long-term for the short-term.
That brings me back to transitioning generally and HRT specifically. I take great comfort in knowing that (1) I am looking a lot at what it means, and what is likely or possible to happen, (2) I'm discussing it in depth with a gender therapist, (3) I'm going to talk to a doctor about the implications, and (4) I'm discussing it here and getting feedback So perhaps I will at some point feel 100% certain that it's right, or maybe I'll feel 95% certain and decide that's good enough. Either way I've got some time.
Probably the big take-away from my thinking and writing this weekend is that I can't make any decision based on fear. I have to know that I want it, and fully understand (as much as possible) the consequences.
Happy Friday everyone!
I made several fairly significant steps this week. In terms of "presentation" there was only one day that I was wearing typically male clothing (and the reason for that has now passed, so it doesn't need to happen again). In addition to the mascara and lip gloss that I was already doing, I wore nail polish all week (including a very noticeable red on Wednesday). And I'm getting better at curling my hair to match what the hair stylist did, so my hair style is decidedly more feminine. I'm actually at the point that when I look in the mirror I even think I look more female!
I also just spoke with a student about it. I work with 2 large student groups, and this was one of the lead students for one of them. Since I know that I'm getting more and more obvious, there's a possibility of students talking, so I wanted him to know what was going on and that it was fine to tell them if it does come up. I limited the information I told him, but it's enough (I just said I'm trans, still fairly early in my transition, but it's happening and will likely continue...words to that effect).
But the biggest thing happened yesterday while I was proctoring a 3 hour exam. That gave me plenty of time to think, so I was thinking about how recently (the last few months) I've noticed that I really am not attracted to gay men, but am seemingly only attracted to straight men. In terms of my sexual orientation I currently just say that I'm attracted to me, rather than saying that I'm a "gay male" or "straight female." I went over this so many times trying to figure out what I thought the difference was and why I'd be attracted specifically to straight men. Anything I thought of as far as characteristics I had to quickly dismiss knowing that anything I thought of could be found in either group (or even women for that matter!)
Then it hit me, and when it did I felt a little stupid for not realizing it earlier. The ONE difference between gay and straight men (and my apologies for being so binary, but it's easier for now) is that straight men are attracted to women and gay men are attracted to men (I know, "DUH!!!!"). So, I'm attracted to straight men because they're attracted to women, and I'm a woman.
The most important take-away from that to me is that it's probably the first time I've spontaneously thought of myself as a woman - out loud at least. I need to live with the thought for a little, but it seems like a likely tipping point for me. It certainly explains the attraction issue. I think it might have happened because, as I mentioned above, I'm actually starting to visually see myself as female, so I'm better able to accept that internally as well. That's where I think the importance of "passing" comes in at this early stage. Later on I hopefully won't care as much, but right now to help me work through things I need to be seen - and see myself - as female.
Well, time to get back to work!
Hope everyone has a great weekend!
So my recovery seems to be going well. I had my follow-up with the surgeon and they removed the packing and tubes. That felt so much better! They showed me how to dilate - wasn't too bad.
Yesterday I came home - I've never been so happy to be home! Recovery is easier in my own place with my own stuff.
For 4 weeks I have to dilate 4x a day for 20 minutes each. I'm still working on my positioning, it gets a little uncomfortable and tedious, but I'll survive :-)
Otherwise for now it's a lot of TV and reading. Barring complications I should be able to go back to school and my internship the week of the 23rd.
At a more fundamental level - as swelling starts to recede it's easier to see what I have now, and it's pretty awesome 👯
I just wanted to do a quick post, yesterday was "officially" my 2 year anniversary of transitioning. I arguably started before that, but August 10, 2015 is when I began "presenting full-time" as a woman, and I haven't looked back :-) It was shortly (like days) after that I started on HRT. It's also now been almost a year since my breast augmentation surgery.
When I look back, especially in the approach to my GCS (in December last year) I remember thinking about whether or not I would regret it. I really didn't believe I would, I think it was just that even the remotest possibility of that could have been devastating (since GCS is, for all practical purposes, irreversible). I haven't spend even a short moment of regret, so that fear didn't come to pass. The only moment that was even like it (but wasn't regret) was after 2 days of bed rest after surgery when I first had to stand up - it was such a weird, disorienting, uncomfortable feeling that I remembered wondering why I would have done this to myself - but that was just a response to how I felt at the moment, it wasn't a regret about what the surgery was for.
I think the key for me to not being in a position where I would regret anything was that I took my time. It may not seem like it, given how much happened in just 2 years (and I recognize that objectively that is a pretty quick transition time), but when you're actually living it day to day, it's a pretty long time. But the process also mattered - at each point I took a small step, I figured out how I felt about it, and if it felt right, I took the next small step. I didn't try to immerse myself in living as a woman (not that that can't be the right approach for others, but this is what worked for me).
The first few steps were in simpler acts of feminizing my look, until it drifted to a point where I had to go full on. Even then I was fortunate to have a friend who did a drag show and she let me guest perform, which gave me a "safe" place to present as a woman in front of a bunch of people. I did that quite a few times (she was really amazing, she pretty much let me guest perform whenever I wanted, I give her so much credit for helping me through the transition process).
Each step not only felt right, but it felt like it wasn't enough, so moving on to the next step was easy, even necessary. I recall at an early early part of the process a good friend asked if I thought I would get "bottom surgery," and I said, totally sincerely, "probably not." I meant it completely at the time, but through the process that I went through I came to realize that it was something I wanted.
One important thing that I've learned (or at least tried to learn) over time is to be aware of my privilege. I'm not Caitlyn Jenner, I'm not a rich white woman who could basically disappear and then re-emerge a few months later as a woman - I had to do it in real life, I had to transition while going to work, while riding the subway, while grocery shopping, etc. But still, I was fortunate to have insurance that covered most of the expenses (and the benefit of working in New York, where insurance companies are required to cover transition expenses). I also had a job that was not only ok with my transition, I think they really liked that I was doing it. And I was especially privileged in having close friends who were totally supportive and helped in so many ways as I worked through the process (especially my friend who was thrilled to have a new make-up shopping buddy and to share her knowledge of doing make-up). I'm also fortunate to have this website and the collective experience of everyone on it!
There are so many people who don't have that kind of access and that kind of support - so I'm always looking for ways to help out (not financially unfortunately, being a full time college student doesn't leave me with much - any - discretionary spending money). Ways to be supportive individually, and ways to advocate more publicly for changes that will benefit transgender people with less resources (right now we have to fight Trump to just not lose ground - but there's always room for improvement).
So that's all I have for this anniversary edition :-)
This is a topic I've been thinking about a lot, and have been wanting to write something about - so here goes!!! It's the concept of a transgender "community" - does it exist? Should it exist? It came up during the support group that I facilitate on Saturdays, so I thought it might be time to look at the issue myself a little more deeply - and see what others think :-)
In 2 separate contexts I was told by people - who knew I was in the process of transitioning - that they knew trans people who would "disappear" after they transitioned. In one case it was with the LGBT tennis group I belonged to, that person wasn't talking about anyone with the tennis group, just a trans person they knew who basically left their entire social world behind as they transitioned. The other was a trans meetup group, where a member (who is a cross-dresser), commented that members who transition tend to disappear from the group. Well, in both cases I did exactly that. I joined a new tennis group this year, a non-LGBT group. I was going to maintain both memberships, but there isn't enough time to play matches with 2 groups. And I've pretty much stopped going to the meetup group. It should be noted that the person in the meetup group who made that comment also, on another occasion, half-seriously criticized me for dressing "boyish" (I wasn't, I just wasn't dressed up since I had been out doing things all day). Part of the reason for dropping that group, beyond the fact that it's essentially just a bar-hangout group, is that it mainly seems focused on people who really want to get totally dressed up. I'm not criticizing that, but it's not what I particularly want or need right now.
So aside from this website, I'm not really part of a transgender community - and I feel ok about that? (I also co-facilitate trans support groups, but as a facilitator I don't consider myself to be part of the "community" that might arise from membership). To me it makes sense that gay men and lesbians have their respective communities - beyond the need to support each other socially and politically, they want to date each other (pardon the binary language). While I could certainly see dating a transgender man, it isn't my only option.
On Saturday, after the group, I made another foray into the non-LGBT social world. I went to a bar where they show NC State football games - I'm happy that I went since I felt nervous about it, but disappointed as there didn't seem to be any other NC State people there :-( (Worse still, the few people there seemed to be Syracuse people!!! I was not only alone as an NC State fan, I was in "enemy" territory).
I suppose all of this is really just me trying to reconcile my transgender identity. It's been a source of strength, since living it out has required some level of courage and persistence, but it's also a source of depression - I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish I had just been born a cisgender woman. There have been times that I've tried to pretend that I'm not (if you look through my blog entries there will no doubt be a gap of a few months, that's when it happened), but then I do the support group, and I'm pretty open about it at school and my internship and even socially - so clearly I'm not trying to run away from it anymore. But still, living with it hasn't gotten particularly easy yet.
So that was a bit of a ramble I suspect - but let me know what you think :-)
On February 8 I have an appointment with a surgeon to discuss top surgery
I'd have to wait until August for insurance to cover, but I wanted to start seeing what's involved. He's in Albany, but that's not too far and he's in-Network for insurance.
Unrelated - today in Jersey City
So today was my top surgery! I had it done by Dr. Jeffrey Rockmore - I can't say enough about him, his staff, and the St. Peter's Surgery Center in Albany. Everyone was incredibly friendly, helpful and supportive, and the results seem really good! (they are still wrapped, and swollen, so I can't say for sure yet).
My friend Bryana went with me - we only met in January but she's quickly become such a good friend, and so graciously and enthusiastically took the trip with me (about 2.5 hours drive each way, and about a 2 hour wait while I had surgery). She did so much to relieve the anxiety I was feeling!
There isn't really any pain, just discomfort (I'm on percocet, but after my shoulder surgery last year there was still massive pain even with that).
Overall I feel even happier about this than I had expected, I feel like I took a huge step towards truly being who I want and need to be 😀
I'll follow-up again as the swelling subsides!
Well, i'm now "out" to everyone. An email went out to the entire faculty and staff at the school where I work about my transition. Enough people already knew, so I was getting used to being called Christie, in emails and face to face (though introducing myself as such still feels a little weird).
My recent outward transitioning was driven by internal feelings, but now I think it's time to look inward again. The outward things were necessary, but it drew me away from looking inside. Fortunately I have the next week off from work, so I have some time to absorb and process things.
that includes HRT. I'm now in a position that if I decide it's time, I can do it. I'm not saying there's a rush to decide, but now I have new "information" to process. I'be spoken with an endocrinologist about it, which made the idea more concrete (and made me happy), and I think my therapist is prepared to write a letter for me if I say i'm ready (I think she has a preference to talk a little more about a couple of things, and I agree, but I think she would write it if I asked).
Well, time to get to it! Right after a nap (I was up too early today)
Today I took a somewhat surprisingly big step, at least it was big in the fact that I hadn't anticipated how nervous it would make me.
I've been dressing entirely female for the past few weeks, with only a couple of necessary exceptions (which won't happen again), but my shoes have been relatively obscure. I'm wearing women's shoes, but typically either sneakers or boots, shoes that don't necessarily read as female.
Today I'm wearing a pair of black flats, these very definitely read as female. It made me a bit nervous, but I survived
I was thinking on the way in about the fact that it gets easier each time you go out with something new and realized that it's very true, and very quick being in NYC. I live in Jersey City and work in lower Manhattan, so from the time I leave home until I get in to work, I literally see and am seen by 100s of people. That's quite a change from when I used to live in North Carolina (so many years ago), where I might see nobody until I got in to work (except in passing cars).
On an unrelated note, I went to the Taco Bell near me last night on the way home and the boy (yes boy, he couldn't be more than 20 years old) complimented my nail polish. That was quite nice - it came across very naturally, which I really liked!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I'm not sure, since I haven't written lately, if I mentioned writing to my brother a few weeks ago about my transition (we don't speak often, so calling about it felt weird). Anyway, he's not the most progressive thinking person, so I didn't know how he's react - and it had been a couple of weeks, so...
He called me tonight. He admitted to not understanding it (but heck, I don't either), but he said he's not going to judge and he is supportive
He had some health concerns that I think I helped alleviate.
My sister is still "absent," but thanks to this call I have to say I feel less alone tonight. And he said he'll work on her (I resisted saying it was sweet of him to stick up for his little sister).
It's just pointless wondering, but it made me wonder how it would have been different growing up if we had a big brother/little sister relationship
anyway, wishing everyone the best for the holiday tomorrow.
Last Thursday I went to Albany, NY for a surgery consultation (Surgeon who does breast augmentation + surgeon who works with transgender patients + takes my insurance = go to Albany). The surgery won't happen until August, I have to be on HRT for a full year before insurance will cover it (they'll cover it if I'm "not comfortable with the growth that occurs after a year on HRT"), so it's tentatively scheduled for August 12.
I got the basics down - it's an outpatient procedure that will take about an hour. He took measurements and photos so that we can work on size issues later.
But most important! As I waited in the exam room for the surgeon I took a moment for a "gut check" - periodically when something is becoming "more real" I like to stop and reflect on how I feel in that moment. This time, as with every other gut check moment so far, the feedback was "great!"
I am still checking around for other surgeons - even if I go with this one I know I should talk to more than 1 (I did like him though)
After almost a week of playing phone tag I finally got in touch with my doctor last night. I was trying to talk to him about getting a finasteride (sp?) prescription (which he took care of) and a referral for an endocrinologist. When I originally left the message for him I hadn't said why I was asking for these, so on the phone with him was when I told him that I had come out (I don't like using that term for some reason) as transgender.
I've been going to him for a number of years now (10 or so? Maybe many more, maybe a few less - time is hard to keep track of), and I like him alot. Beyond being a really good doctor, he's very friendly, he's ALWAYS on time (my prior doctor was almost always 45 minutes to an hour late for appointments), and he's holistic in his approach. Consistent with all of that, as soon as I told him I'm trans* he congratulated me, and then asked about my support system. He then gave me the name of an endocrinologist, and said that once I'm on the hormones he would be able to do the follow-up, but that an endocrinologist was better for setting the initial levels. He also said that he works with a number of trans* patients, which made me feel even more comfortable.
I haven't officially decided on HRT yet, but I feel like it's going to happen, and possibly quite soon. I raised the question with my therapist last week, to see what her general "guidelines" are in terms of providing a letter. She said she doesn't really have any, she's worked with a number of trans* clients and has done letters for them at all different times. For now she thinks we still need to work a little more through my lingering doubts (which I suspect were really fears, not doubts, but I completely agree with her on this point).
So I now have a pretty decent support system in place - my doctor, my new gender therapist (who I like a lot!), a bunch of close friends who are incredibly supportive, a job that is also very supportive, this website!, an electrologist who I like (and who is also a transwoman), and next Wednesday I'm going to a trans* support group in the city.
As a "side note" this week was the first week when I started to introduce myself as Christie, and be referred to as Christie by a number of people, and it's starting to feel normal
This actually gives me the confidence to send the email to my sister that I wrote over the weekend. I had to spend some time on it to make it non-confrontational.
I went to a TG support group at the LGBT Center here in Manhattan last night. They meet the first Wednesday of each month (there are 2 groups, 1 for transwomen and 1 for transmen).
I'm hoping that the way it went last night is not typical of the group. We (actually "they," I was pretty quiet) spent the entire 90 minutes talking about Caitlyn Jenner. I'm hoping it's just because it was such a big story, and that the group isn't just a current events discussion group. I was really hoping for an actual "support" group after all. I'll definitely go again next month, and in the meantime there was 1 person there who I already knew (from the Thursday night Stonewall group), so I might get together with her sometime and can find out more about the group (she's been going for about a year).
On another front - I'm meeting today with the Dean and Associate Dean of the school where I work, they wanted to meet to talk about how they can help with my transition. I obviously have nothing to compare to, but I feel really great about the support that I've been getting here! It almost makes me feel bad that I was looking for a new job .
Good morning wonderful people of TGGuide!
Today I have an appointment with my endocrinologist to get blood work, etc. done in preparation for HRT. I haven't gotten the letter from my therapist yet, but it is being prepared, and she had me complete a consent form so that she can send it to the endocrinologist as soon as it's ready. I also have an August 6 appointment with the endocrinologist, which may be (hopefully!) the day I get the prescription.
All that is just to lead in to some thoughts about depression and my overall emotional state. I was looking back over last weekend at some older journals that I had - they go back a couple of years. I was struck by how consistently I wrote about "feeling nothing" and how my life "felt meaningless," and on occasion how close I seemed to be to just giving it up.
I no longer have any of those feelings - but what really struck me was the fact that objectively my life hasn't changed, except for this (and I realize that's a big "except," but bear with me). The point is that in terms of my job, my social life, my home life, etc., everything is largely exactly the same as it was (at work it may be a little worse). But I no longer have the feeling that my life is meaningless. I can really only attribute it to the fact that I'm now living authentically. I noticed very early on (as soon as I openly acknowledged being trans) that my mood lifted, but it's now been months since then and nothing has changed. Of course there's fear and anxiety about what this means for my future, but frankly that's much better than feeling nothing!
In moments when the fear and anxiety gets especially strong (which is less frequent than it was even a few weeks ago), and I wonder if I can really do it, the immediate counterthought is that I can't not do it, I know with absolute certainty that I CANNOT go back to where I was.
In the next few weeks I'm planning to put the "finishing touches" on presenting as a woman. I feel ready for it, and the timing is particularly good in terms of work. I work at a school and when I get back from vacation on July 27 (which is when I plan to "unveil" this at work) we start a period of a few weeks before the semester starts (and the summer session will be over), so I'll have a few weeks with things being pretty quiet here to get myself used to it before the throngs return (and believe me, based on where my office is located, I'm right in the midst of the throng, I'm not hidden off to a side).
Good morning everyone!
We're having a nice breezy, rainy day in NYC today (which is fine for Monday).
I've been thinking about my gender and sexual orientation a lot recently, specifically as they relate to each other, and wanted to put my thoughts out here to see if anyone has some ideas on the topic
First, I do realize that gender and sexual orientation are different things, and they we do all have both of them. What I've been thinking about lately though is that for quite awhile I've identified and "lived" as a gay man. Given my recent acknowledgment that I am transgender, it's made me wonder if i am a gay man or a straight woman, and what that means in day-to-day terms.
But even before that, I wonder now if the reason I was "came out" as a gay man was because I was misreading the reality that I am transgender. When I was growing up, in particular around the age of puberty, I didn't really have any idea of the existence of transgender people. At best there were stories about people who had sex change operations, but those stories were usually portrayed as freakish, and they certainly didn't explain why the person had done it (at least not anywhere that I saw). Mind you this was the early to mid 70s.
So my theory/hypothesis is that I interpreted my feelings as being gay because I knew what that was, and it seemed like the best fit for them. Even that I covered up for a long time, it wasn't like being gay was accepted at that time either, but at least I knew what it was.
It would also fit with my dating history, which is very, very limited. It makes me wonder if one of the reasons I don't date much is that I don't want to date gay men, I want to date straight men (I hesitated saying that - seems like it could come across as homophobia?). There have also been several straight men who work at the gay bar that I go to and I find myself especially drawn to them - there is the cliche about gay men who want to turn straight guys, but I don't want that, I want them to stay as they are and love me!
I'm going to leave this here for now, in part because I should start working, and in part because I just put something out there that I haven't even mentioned in therapy yet - need to hit "Publish" before this feeling of vulnerability stops me
Since I took another step in socializing today, I thought I'd post something about that topic generally.
Before coming out and transitioning, I had identified as a gay man. As such, my social life was largely built around the "gay community." I hadn't thought too much about that initially, since coming out and transitioning are pretty time-consuming for a while, and it was generally easier to do that while staying within a familiar social environment. But I knew it was going to have to change - although I admit to having some thoughts in the past about seeing it being Lesbian could work for me, I knew it wasn't right (I was leaning that way because (1) I have a little bi-sexual tendency, and (2) I thought it would be easier to meet a woman who would accept me as a woman in a romantic relationship than a straight man).
Anyway - since I would like to date at some point, and even be in a relationship, I knew that I was going to have to break out of the LGBTQ "bubble" that I was in, and I have taken some steps. It helped that I did have a couple of straight female friends. And then of course I started school so I started meeting new people, many of them straight. Then, for after-school relaxation I started going to a little jazz bar in the Village.
Today I took an even bigger step - at least in my head - I had joined a new tennis league (I had already belonged to an LGBT tennis group), and today I had my first match with someone from that group. I'm in a women's division, so initially that's who I'm going to meet, but that's a good starting place. It made me a little anxious since she had no way of knowing that I'm transgender going in, and not knowing how she might react. Well, she didn't. There was absolutely no awkwardness, it was great - and it was a really good tennis match (we had to play all 3 sets, and we were going point for point most of the way).
There are still temptations to reach back and cling to the social world that I knew - but I have to give up some of that (not all of it, I'm not just ditching all of my friends!)
As I walked home today, I was behind a person who ran into someone he knows and said - quite loud - "men trying to become women, that [bleep] burns me up." He was ahead of me, so I don't know if it was directed at me (he may have turned and noticed).
Anyway, I didn't confront him (I don't make a habit of confronting random idiots on the street, seems like a wise course), but my thought was "well that's not right, i'm not a man trying to become a woman, i'm a woman no longer trying to be a man."
I channeled it more "productively" on twitter with the following:
Transgender 101: "Transitioning" isn't going from woman to man or man to woman, it's going from fake to authentic. #GirlsLikeUs
If anyone is on twitter i'm ChristieCNY
It was nice taking a negative and going positive in response. I'm so much better as a woman than I ever could have been as a man
I recently finished my first year of school (I'm doing the 2-year MSW program at NYU) and decided that I needed a little get-away (emphasis on "little" - I don't really like traveling all that much, and can't afford much). So I decided on a day trip to the shore - my goal going into the day was to not think backwards or forward, just to try to be in the present. Of course, as I mentioned to a friend later, it was a little weird that I chose to go to a place that we used to go to all the time when I was a child if I didn't want to think backwards - but it still worked out.
On the train ride down it occurred to me that through everything that's been going on in the past year I hadn't really taken any time to just reflect specifically on transitioning. It makes sense, I was in school and recovery from GRS, while it wasn't ever particularly painful, is still distracting. But now, school is done for the year and the recovery is very well along - so I did reflect. In that moment I just felt really, really happy about all that had happened.
But here's the bigger thing. Either that night or the next it was very warm - it got up to the 90s here and didn't cool off over night. Since I've been too lazy to put my a/c in and only had a fan, I ended up sleeping au naturel. With the lights out and a jazz radio station playing, I closed my eyes. Without really thinking about the fact that I was doing it, one hand came down from a stretch, landed on one of my breasts, and then down to my lower regions - nothing erotic going on, just a casual stroke if you will. But the sensation was wonderful! Again, not erotic, it was just that I actually felt a woman's body - my body was now a woman's body!
Just wanted to share that :-)
Good morning everyone!
My desire to go tech-free this weekend didn't work out so well, but I reduced my usage substantially, which was nice. I just wanted to get an entry out to start my week with some random things from this past weekend.
Saturday night I "pushed myself" a little. I was going to see a drag show (Jackie Beat, my all time favorite drag queen!) and decided it was the perfect opportunity to gender-bend in terms of my presentation. I wore a grey woman's t-shirt from Kohl's (says "Bloom where you're planted"), black Jennifer Lopez pants (with bedazzling of sorts), pink & black tennis shoes, a pink hoodie, and of course my favorite JLo bag. A touch of mascara as well - I had wanted to do my nails but forgot about it until shortly before I had to leave, so I had to abandon that.
Being at the show I knew would be a "safe" environment, it is a drag show after all. The greatest danger was that somehow I would draw her attention and she'd "target" me during one of her audience interaction periods. She didn't. (I'm a little disappointed by that.)
The bigger challenge was getting there. I live in Jersey City, so I had to get to the PATH train, and then walk through Times Square to get to the show. Any anxiety about how I looked faded once I was in Times Square, replaced by the anxiety that I always have just by being there.
Fast forward to Sunday night. I was watching "The Music in Me" on UPTV, featuring Debbie Gibson. If I haven't mentioned this before, I love Debbie! (The "G" that I use as my last initial is in homage to her.) It was a little cheesy, but fun. And Debbie was live-tweeting during the show. There were a couple of times that she replied to one of my tweets - that was a weird experience, here I am watching her on TV and meanwhile having a twitter chat with her. I kinda like Twitter.
She debuted a new song called "Promises" in the movie. It's about the importance of making and keeping promises, especially the ones we make to ourselves. I've recently been pretty goal-oriented (accomplishment is another question), but that prompted me to think in terms of making a promise to myself, rather than just setting goals. The promise I made to myself last night was "I promise to care about me." I think if I can sincerely keep this promise the other goals I have will fall into place, or it won't matter as much if they don't. (And obviously I don't mean to care about me to the exclusion of others! I think in fact that it's vital to care about yourself in order to care about other people.)
My final take-away from the weekend is again about Debbie Gibson. I recently took a solo show class in which over the course of 7 weeks I wrote and prepared to perform a 6-minute solo show piece about my first experience of doing drag. We then had a class show. Early in the piece I refer to a signed picture of Debbie Gibson that says "Dear Christie, Luv ya sista! xo Debbie" - and then I refer to her as my "femme role model." First, I really do have that picture. Second, I don't think I realized even then how she really is my femme role model - I thought last night that she is the woman I want to be.
Not that I want to be her, I don't want to be another person, I want to be myself. But I want to emulate the things about her that make me love her so much. Mainly that she knows what she loves doing and she does it. Her music career is obviously not what it was in the late 80s/early 90s, but she's still doing it! And she is an endless happy, positive person! (she wouldn't even trash Donald Trump after she got screwed on Celebrity Apprentice! Ok, I have to work on the "positive" part).
That's all I have for now - love to everyone!