Happy Friday everyone!
Later this afternoon I have my appointment with an endocrinologist to discuss HRT. It's very much a preliminary discussion, I just want to hear from a doctor what's involved (hopefully it won't be much different than what I've discovered through my own research and reading people's entries here, but hearing it from a doctor makes it more "real"). I was originally scheduled for tomorrow morning but they called yesterday to see if I could come in today instead, which is great since they're in Queens (trekking from Jersey City to Queens on Saturday morning would have been quite a drag).
I assume the doctor will cover what needs to be covered, but my therapist did suggest thinking about what questions I have for them, rather than trying to think about that during the appointment. So I've done that, but if anyone has suggestions about questions, suggest away . The endocrinologist was a reference from my regular doctor, and I saw his name on a TG website, so I know he's familiar with MtF HRT.
That should be a good lead-in to my "contemplation" (ongoing) this weekend. What also helps is that I'm getting used to actually being called Christie :-) I underestimated how weird that would be, but it makes sense that after 48 years of being called one thing to suddenly be called something else would take some adjustment. But it is getting more comfortable. The last step in terms of the name transition at work will be early next week when an email goes to the entire faculty and staff letting them know - we're discussing today how that will happen.
Good morning everyone,
On Friday I mentioned that I had a goal over the weekend to go out "presenting as a woman" (as opposed to just appearing far more feminine than I used to). I wasn't 100% certain what that meant when I said it, but on Sunday I did follow through. I was fortunate that the drag queen who I always go see on Tuesday was doing a special Sunday Brunch show at noon, so I used that as my location.
Much of what I did was pretty typical for what I do already. I wore my gray "Blossom Where You're Planted" top, khaki shorts, and multi-color shoes (too many colors to list). Did my usual make-up routing - eye brows, eye liner, mascara, blush and lipstick. What I did in addition to that was to wear my fake breasts and butt pads.
I don't know how well it really worked, but I don't know how I would have known that anyway unless someone actually said something to me about it - the fact that nobody did suggests that I didn't do that well. But that's not the big "take-away" for me.
The big thing for me was how much it felt like a costume. Not all of it, really just the fake breasts (the butt pads probably could have too, but I tend to forget I have them on). It made me realize even more how much I want this to be real, and not a costume. I could see the breasts (at least the shape of them), but they weren't real, I didn't feel them. Interestingly, I liked the feel of the bra strap on my back, that felt like it belongs there.
I think that's also why I'm hoping that the finasteride prescription will fill in my hair more so that I don't have to wear a wig. But perhaps once I'm further along (HRT kicking in), I won't mind the one "costume" item.
Today is probably the day that an email goes out to the 2 student groups I work with - so "Christie" will be a full reality at work (though most of the students already know due to some leakage of information). And Saturday I have my endocrinologist appointment - so this should be a big week
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 afternoon everyone!
I mentioned in a post last week that I had started using Christie at work, in addition to everywhere else in my life. This week, with the approval of the Dean and Associate Dean, I asked our IT Dept. to change my email address, which they did without question and quite quickly (within an hour of my request - and they NEVER do anything that fast).
An email is being put together to send to the students I work directly with, and then another for the full school which won't mention me directly. But all of them are becoming rapidly moot as people see my name on the email address - a number of students have already started calling me Christie in email to me. I was getting a little anxious and hoping that they would finalize the emails quickly, but now I'm just accepting that word is spreading anyway, so the email can go when it goes.
More important though is an email I rec'd from an outsider who was directed to me by one of our faculty members - I could see in the earlier emails between them that our faculty member referred to me as "she," and so when that person wrote to me I realized she is the first person to communicate with me who never knew me other than as Christie
A month or so ago (hard to keep track of the passage of time these days) I found myself becoming addicted to "Ghost Whisperer." I had seen bits of the show in passing in the past but it never caught my attention until now. For those who don't know, it was a show from - well, sometime - with Jennifer Love Hewitt in which she could see ghosts of people who hadn't been able to "cross over." She helps them resolve whatever it is that is keeping them "Earth-bound." And regardless how neat and sappy the episode is, it never fails to get me to cry at the ending as the ghost "sees the light."
I've never been a particular believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, but I'm a strong believer in the ongoing work of the subconscious. I believe that it's always vigilant and ready to tell you "you need this, you're ready for this." I believe that's why my sudden addiction to this show.
My parents passed away about 10 years ago, within about 3 months of each other, and both too young (my mother was 67, my father had just turned 69). My life, which had been unraveling in slow and not-so-slow motion up until then, went into a full-on tail spin not long after that. I don't want to go into those details, and I know there are many, many people who have had far worse experiences, but I'll suffice it to say here that my experiences were not run-of-the-mill problems. I also spent a lot of that time blaming my parents, and not necessarily without cause.
They made a decision when we were born (I have an older brother and sister) that they didn't want to do what their parents did, which was to push them towards or away from particular careers, basically pushing them in the direction they thought they should go. But in doing so, my parents (I believe) went way too far in the other direction, failing to provide any sense of direction or encouragement to us. As a result I failed to develop follow-through and beyond that a belief in myself and that I could accomplish things.
Anyway, last night while I was doing my volunteer gig at a comedy theater there was a show going on that wasn't catching my interest, so I found myself going into my own head. Perhaps a comedian had made a parent reference, but something got me to thinking about them. And I realized (and this is where "Ghost Whisperer" comes into play) that I needed to forgive them, because until I did I wasn't going to be able to move on, at least as effectively as I can.
And so I did. Right, wrong, or otherwise I blamed them, and by doing that I was keeping myself focused on what they did wrong and the impact it had on me, rather than taking charge of my own life. I think I got into "Ghost Whisperer" because my subconscious saw the show's structure and realized that I needed that, and I was ready for it. It also might have some up because I was wearing my mother's high school ring. And especially right now I need that, because I've started a journey here that requires (REQUIRES) me to believe in myself. I find that when I feel any sense of "doubt" lately it's really fear, it's the fear that I will never be "passable," that people will always see a "man."
So there you have it. My review of "Ghost Whisperer"
(P.S., for further evidence of my belief that it was time, "Christie" was my birth middle name, and it was my mother's maiden name)
So 3 updates as another week comes to an end...
I met yesterday with our Dean and Associate Dean - it was a very positive, encouraging meeting. They proposed how to handle communicating my transition to my new name (and transition generally) to a broader audience (the students I work with directly, and then a general communication to the entire school which wouldn't identify me directly but would discuss the school's policies, etc. re transgender faculty/staff/students). They also made it clear that updating my email address wouldn't be an issue (officially there is a policy that it has to incorporate you legal first name). I also found out that our dean was one of the original drafters of the NYC administrative policy regarding TG employees (he was formerly chief counsel to Mayor Bloomberg). So he's kind of familiar with these matters!
The Stonewall Girls meetup was last night, and this time I decided to go "as is." I usually would go home and get more en femme (wig, skirt, etc.), but now that feels too much like wearing a costume. It is an attempt to present as a woman, but not necessarily as me. It ended up being beneficial because it gave me a better sense of where exactly I am in terms of presentation. In the rest of the world the noticeable thing is that I'm doing feminine things with my look, but in a TG/CD group it's more noticeable that I still look partly like a guy. (It was described by one person there as "in between"). So I can use those meetups (every Thursday) as one way to gauge my progress, simply by committing to going "as me."
Finally, and MOST important - my hair worked today I curled it this morning so that it would curl in towards the bottom, usually the wind blow is it out on my way in to work, but today it held!
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 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.
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.
Good morning everyone! It's so nice starting my week on a Wednesday!!
I kind of knew going in that this journey was going to be scary, but it's different when you face the reality. I overcome a fear and take a step, and then discover that the next step is even scarier. I trust that at SOME point that trend reverses. This morning I added a couple of more elements to my day-to-day make-up regimen. I was already doing mascara, nail polish, and a clear lip gloss. Today I added eye liner, blush, and a reddish lip gloss (when I look at it I think "why not just wear lip stick?"). For the first time today I definitely caught some unusual looks from people - not bad, just a little confused. So I know I'm doing something right
I had to face down what I thought were some doubts over the course of the weekend and this morning. But on closer inspection I realized they weren't really doubts, just fears. Fear that I won't be able to afford this, that I'll never look quite right, that I'll lose whatever social "network" I currently have, and worst of all, that I'll end up being a "freak." I hate using that term, but it was the one that came into my head. I just fear that no matter what I do I'll always look like a man trying to look like a woman.
I can try to rationalize away most of the fears - especially when I think of the transwomen I've met and seen pictures of, I haven't seen a "freak" yet!
I'm meeting sometime this week or next with a couple of people at work to discuss a "transition plan." So that's exciting
Speaking of work, it's time I do some!
Just some random thoughts as another week comes to an end and I get ready for a 4-day weekend (YAY!)
I mentioned in an earlier post that this week I finally wore shoes (2 days) that are clearly women's. This was also the first week that I've gone 100% in female clothing. I'm still getting more "sirs" than I'd like, and someone yesterday commented on what I was wearing saying "I respect a man who can wear pink." Those things all make me wonder "what more do I have to do!?!?"
Well, that's my weekend project, figuring out what more I can do
I had my first electrolysis appointment yesterday. It was 45 minutes (10-15 minutes of consultation first, then 45 minutes of actual electrolysis). It hurt, but it wasn't as bad as i had feared, and she started with the upper lip which she said was the most painful part. Going into it my fears were (1) if I could afford it (I will find a way!), (2) if it would hurt too much (I have 4 tattoos, this didn't feel as bad), and (3) that I had to let the hair grow a couple of days before the session - AHH!!! (it's worth it for the long-term benefit). What I noticed though was that there was no fear about whether or not I really wanted it. It did scare me at the end when she said I can't wear make-up for the next week - I'm supposed to do drag on Tuesday, that might be a challenge (I'll see what I can pull off this weekend, something without foundation)
Also reached out to my doctor about getting a propecia prescription and to have at least a preliminary discussion about hormone therapy. Haven't been able to make contact with him yet, but I should get somewhere on this early next week.
My new therapist continues to be wonderful! And she gave me contact information for TG support group in the city. They meet the 1st Wednesday of each month, so I have that in my calendar for June.
At work there was also a very positive development. The person who used to be my bosses' boss (she was over all 3 people to whom I report) shifted positions, she's now the head of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (or something like that). When the announcement came out about that I sent her a congrats email, and used that to "come out" to her (I think she might have known already, but I wasn't sure). She thanked me and said that she definitely wants to incorporate trans issues into the work that she'll be doing (it is a new position), and she said that she'd like to chat with me sometime soon to get any thoughts I might have about what the school can do. I've known her for several years and I know that she's not the type to just "blow smoke up your ass," if she says she wants to do something she really does, and typically gets it done. So on my task list for the long weekend is also to think about what I see as the logistical things that might come up, and then look at that to see what I should raise with her. I'm also meeting with our HR director again to update - she mentioned that they are very soon going to "re-label" rest rooms with respect to gender identity (she couldn't tell me more about that yet).
Finally, on Wednesday night I do a volunteer gig at a comedy theater in the city. I told the person who coordinates volunteers that I had decided to start using my female name, so this week that started. He's really sweet, he seemed to go out of his way to find ways to use my name whenever he could, and before I left we had a long conversation about it, he was curious about a lot of it (and also apologized in advance if he asked anything insensitive, which he didn't do). There were also 2 occasions that night where I had to introduce myself to someone and that was the first time I introduced myself in person to someone as Christie
So on the whole this was a really good week! Underneath all of this was just a far greater comfort with what I'm doing and where I'm going.
I hope everyone has a lovely Memorial Day weekend!
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!
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 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!
I just made an appointment for electrolysis - yay! The part that hurt the most was that she said I'd need to let the hair grow out a little (she said enough so that she can get it with a tweezer). For me that will take a couple of days, I hate that idea but I guess it's worthwhile for the ultimate gain (or loss).
Also contacted my doctor for a referral for an endocronologist (not sure how you spell that) - another yay!
Have done both of those things I'm trying to read my feelings - at first it was pure fear, which raises doubt, but now I realize it's mostly excitement (some fear, but it's about money and whether I can afford all of this)
Good morning everyone!
I spent some time this past weekend thinking about my "next steps." I've exhausted (I think) most of the subtle steps that I can take, I get the feeling that whatever I do next in terms of transition will be quite noticeable, which prompted me to wonder how ready I am for that. Wondering how ready I am made me then wonder whether it was fear holding me back a little (answer = yes).
It helped a little (a lot) that I sat down at one point and wrote out a list of what I see as all of the steps that would happen if I transitioned fully (including hormones and surgery), that helped me see what things I can be doing now (working on my voice leapt to the fore).
But then the fear. What am I afraid of? One possibility is the fear that this isn't really the right thing for me (that's a fear that pops up from time to time). While that's a legitimate consideration, I also know that I fear the idea of continuing to live my life as a male. And I know that the only way to address that fear is to continue moving forward. If it's true that this isn't the right path for me that will eventually come through.
More likely is that my fear is based on "looking silly." More specifically that I'll look like a man dressing as a woman. I've read much about the idea of "passing" and the pros and cons, and I fully understand and in principle agree with the idea that we shouldn't necessarily be going for that (that a "man" should be able to wear whatever they want), but for me, right now, I want people to accept me as a woman and so I consider it important that my appearance not contradict that. It's probably enough for now if my "look" (hair, face, etc.) is androgynous, that at least wouldn't contradict how I'm dressed. The problem with achieving that is that when I look in the mirror I just see me, I don't know if I can objectively tell if I look female, male, or androgynous. I was told by a couple of people at work last week that I definitely look more female than I used to, so that's a good start.
Fear is the other thing, and that won't really be resolved until I do go out in public dressed clearly female (but without the wig and full make-up that I've done when cross-dressing). Over the past couple of years I went through a lengthy period when I found that if I kind of wanted to do something but it scared me, I had to do it (e.g., cross-dressing in public, taking an improv class, doing drag, taking a solo show class - which culminated in a 6-minute solo piece in front of an actual audience). I look at that period now as my way of building up to overcoming this fear - in this case not something that I "kind of want" to do, but something I must do.
With my wardrobe almost fully in place, and final exams at work ending this week, I'm now committed to dressing full-time as a woman starting next Monday (it will also happen most of this week).
Thanks for listening
Good morning everyone!
I started with my new therapist yesterday. My former therapist dropped out of my insurance network so I had to change. The timing worked out quite well though, I was able to look for a therapist who works extensively with gender identity issues. Going in I wasn't that sure how experienced she was (the Psychology Today website said that she has transsexual clients, but for all I knew that could have meant 2 or 3).
As soon as we met I felt very comfortable with her, and during the course of the first session she made me feel more and more comfortable. She seems very well versed in the various issues around transitioning, and the complexity of what it means to transition.
She also asked me early on if I have pronoun preferences (which in hindsight seemed interesting, after all, in a one-on-one conversation with therapy is, how often do pronouns come up?). She also asked me which name I'd prefer to use. At first I went with my male name, most likely because out of necessity I was presenting more male at the time, but then I switched it to my female (REAL) name.
So between her, my friends, and the wonderful people on this website I feel like I have a great support system in place as I proceed along this journey (perhaps even family will join the group at some point, anything is possible).
Good morning everyone! Happy Tuesday!
This might be something of a "stream of consciousness" entry, but it's been a few days and I feel like I need to post something.
I just had a long weekend, it's the end of the semester here so I took off Friday and Monday. Over the weekend I did an inventory of my wardrobe to see what exactly I need to buy in order to dress properly on a full-time basis. In hindsight I probably didn't need to do that, I basically need more of everything. I'm quite well set for my casual wardrobe, but not so well set for work. But now I have a list in my phone and plan to start correcting that this week (a lunchtime trip to Century 21 for starters!).
On Thursday at the Stonewall Girls meetup we met a college student who is doing a paper on transgender issues (she did say exactly what it was, but it was a very academic title and I don't recall now the details). She asked several people if she could do one-on-one interviews, so I did that with her on Saturday. It was rather thorough, and very respectful (the one question she said might be "intrusive" really wasn't at all). The interview was probably as helpful to me as it was to her as she asked about a number of things that gave me something to think about, and I found as I was answering her I remembered things that I hadn't been thinking about recently! So I found it helpful in terms of my own journey.
There are still moments when I think "Is this real? Or am I really just a guy and this is just a passing thing?" But more and more as I think that, I have other thoughts that counter it. Most recently was Thursday night with the meetup group (I know I wrote about this already, but it looks like that post was lost to the software upgrade). I've gone to the group before, but this was the first time that I was going as me, and not "me dressed as a woman." It felt good, it felt right.
And then last night, I was doing my internship at a theater and had to go en homme - they have a "uniform" and I can't currently do it en femme. I was rather uncomfortable with it. I usually wear a pair of (fake) red-framed glasses (the uniform is red and black), but last night I didn't want to - I felt like they distracted from other things (my new hair style and the mascara that I was wearing).
But I also know that this isn't all about how I'm dressing. If it was, then I'd just be cross-dressing. It is true that I prefer (and have always preferred) women's fashion to men's, but the more important thing is that I'm now presenting through wardrobe and accessories how I feel inside. I can also see how to some degree wearing women's clothing is becoming second nature, I don't even notice it at times (except in those moments when I catch a look at myself in the mirror, that sometime still pleasantly surprises me).
I'm starting with my new therapist tomorrow, I'm very excited about that! I liked my last therapist, but the new person specializes in gender issues. It's also the first time I'll be seeing a female therapist.
Time to get back to work now!
Good morning everyone!
For those of you noticing that I don't have a pic (which hopefully won't be the case by the time most people notice), I tried to change it over the weekend, but for various tech reasons wasn't able to.
Anyway. The 1 more week in my subject line refers to 1 more week at work in which I'll generally be presenting as male (a male who wears mascara, lip gloss, and JLo jeans on Fridays, but a male). Next week we go into exam period and then summer, so I plan to shift my wardrobe and overall presentation to female as much as possible (money being the limitation).
I told both of my supervisors, and they said that they would also tell a couple of the students (the leaders of the respective organizations I work with) in case there's any talk among students. It should be fine, and the school's non-discrimination policy is really good (among the protected categories are "gender identity" and "gender expression").
But still some fear. What is that fear? I considered that yesterday (writing in a journal, that always helps me explore things more deeply).
(1) Fear of not being accepted, being rejected (a pretty minor concern)
(2) Fear of becoming a "sideshow" and as a result losing whatever level of respect I currently get (that one sounds bad, I hate to think of being TG as a "sideshow", but it was a thought)
(3) The big-one - the fear that I won't think I can go back. This is a journey, a journey that can go in any direction, including backwards. But if I get to a point where I think I want to go backwards, how weird will I feel having let so many people know? They might not understand it. Having said that, I know it shouldn't matter, and I'll do my best (if it comes up) to not let it matter. But also I don't see myself going back beyond where I am now. Nobody can totally predict the future, but I'm sure my future involves presenting more female than I do now (whether it goes all the way to full transition, well that's gonna take some time to know).
The last one got me to thinking about a similar situation, when I came out as gay. Soon after I did that I started thinking that I was actually bisexual, but I remember being too afraid to acknowledge that, to myself or especially to others. For the very reason above, that it would seem like I was going backwards to people (and the fact that I had been married - if I was bi, why not stay married?)
Those bisexual feelings, however suppressed, have remained until I recently acknowledged being TG. Then the feelings shifted and I realize (strongly suspect?) that I'm not really sexually attracted to women, I want to be one. The frustrating part (regret warning) is thinking that if I had been brave enough to acknowledge it back then, maybe I would have figured out the rest back then as well.
can't live on regret, can't go back, but it's a little frustrating. Hoping that getting it out here will help me purge it (and in therapy this week)
Some follow-up from last week, there was one friend I hadn't heard from after I emailed him last week, I wasn't too worried, but I admit I was a little worried (he doesn't live nearby, so i don't get to see him in person as much). Anyway, I texted him yesterday to see if he had gotten the email, he hadn't (some problem accessing his Yahoo email). He now has seen it and was as supportive and I expected (before getting pointlessly worried because of not getting a response).
I told my sister last Thursday night. It went as I would have predicted if I had thought about it. She wasn't supportive - not openly hostile, but she was denying and rejecting and thoughtless and insensitive. She might come around, the problem is that the "thoughtless and insensitive" part is pretty recurring. That's why I knew I had to tell all of my friends first.
Now I'm trying to think about my next steps. I think I'm at or near a tipping point where almost anything I do is going to be very obvious, essentially a public "coming out." The things I've done so far have feminized my look, but not to the point where most people would start wondering what's going on. Fortunately it's a good time of the year at work, we're about to go into exam period and then summer break, so it will mostly be staff around for the next few months. That gives me a chance to take more steps with a more limited audience and get used to it before a lot of students are around.
I think my next big step is going to be to work on my female voice. I've done it in the past, but not consistently enough that I've felt comfortable using it in front of anyone. Since I decided to start going back to the Thursday night TG/CD group I want to be ready by then to try it publicly, even if it's not flawless (which seems reasonable).
And I want to thank everyone here again for all your wonderful comments and support! This site has been vital to me in this journey!
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
First, if any of you haven't heard the Junior Vaquez remix of Whitney Houston's "Step by Step" - you should check it out
This has been a productive week in terms of coming out for me. I've now told all of my closest friends (in person or in writing) that I am transgender. In most cases it wasn't a surprise to them, and the support has been universal. My favorite light-hearted response was from my friend Chris (who is my closest friend among the group) who said "Woo hoo! Does that mean I'm hip?" (he does magic, so I leave it to each of you to decide if it's possible for him to be "hip").
The most substantive positive response was
"This is celebratory news. Please let me know how I can be a friend/supporter/ally/whatever you need. I know there's lots swirling around, and if you need to chat/bounce things off anyone, you've got an ear and a hug in me;) Truly.
Thanks for sharing, and as you continue, please let me know how best to support. There are lots of feelings around pronouns/language. I'm adaptable to whatever works for you. I love you as the person you are and am grateful we are friends."
Followed by an offer to start calling me "Christie" if I wanted (I don't do that in my day-to-day life yet, I don't feel like my external presentation matches that - but the fact that it's now come up probably means it will happen soon, at least in my personal life).
I've also told both of my supervisors at work, and a co-worker with whom I'm fairly close (and found out from her that another person was picking up some hints already - and was positive about it, which was very good considering she is over my 2 direct supervisors).
On the personal side, productivity came in the form of not trying to figure out "an answer" - my initial reaction (to many things) is to think that if I just think about it for awhile, and ask the right questions, I can come up with an answer right away. Well that's not going to happen here, the only way I'm giong to find an "answer" is to keep taking steps until I reach whatever destination is out there for me (or not, there might not really be a destination - as I write this I realize there probably isn't!).
So my approach now is to just look for steps that I can take - take them - see if they feel comfortable - then take another step - repeat...
There was a negative event at work, but one that lead to positive. I overheard several students (overheard is an overstatement, they were talking loud enough that one could think they were trying to talk to me from a distance), they were joking about the idea of a male (I couldn't tell who they were talking about beyond that) wearing a dress to a student event that night.
It wasn't something I could directly address (I'm staff at the school), but I did mention it to my boss, who apparently brought it up with her boss (the one I mentioned earlier), who suggested that they should probably incorporate sensitivity training into student orientation (and I believe she's sincere, she's not the type to just talk about it). So that was good - but the really good part is that it inspired me to try to take more steps to be out at work. It would be inappropriate for me to address the students directly about the issue, but if they ultimately get the point that I am TG it might make them think more about what they're saying.
Well, that's all for now - oh, tonight I'm telling my sister, first family member...
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!
I just looked back to see when I did my first blog posting, for some reason I thought it was just earlier this week but it was actually early last week. It simultaneously seems shorter and longer than that.
Anyway, I'll get to the point of the subject line of this entry - "mountains and valleys." It's a reference to a line from a Debbie Gibson song that I love ("Over the Wall") - "mountains and valleys are better than nothing at all." It might not have been her original thought, but I really do love the song (it also contains the line "What do you think about when every day is over and done?" which I wrote on a note that I keep by my bed so that I see it at the start of each day).
This week was a good example of mountains and valleys for me - the valley would be what I wrote about in "A Cloudy Day," and the mountain was obviously the incredibly sweet gesture by a random stranger that I wrote about yesterday. Collectively it drives home the point that this journey will have a lot of mountains, and a lot of valleys, and I'm sure they'll be far more extreme on both ends than anything that's happened so far.
I really wanted to write today to thank everyone on this site who has written to me or commented to my blog entries! I'm so happy, and very lucky that I came across this website, it won't cover every need that will come up, but it's such an incredibly great resource to have, especially the connection to all of you!
My other big, personal take-away from the past couple of weeks is about my place on the transsexual spectrum. When I first told people that I am transgender (and even before that when I told them about my cross-dressing), some would ask if I was transsexual (they actually asked if I was going to get "the surgery") and at that time I would tell them that I was 99% sure that I wouldn't. Since then my journey has taken me where I didn't necessarily expect I was going to to. As I take each new step and it feels right, and it feels good, I take another step. The bottom line for me (sorry, I know I already used "take-away") is that my answer to their question now will be "possibly," and "I'll need some time to ask questions and explore."
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I'm going to try to go as tech-free as possible (I'm getting a little too addicted to my phone).
Good morning everyone,
I've many times heard the suggestion about doing a random act of kindness for a stranger and this morning I learned from the recipient end what a wonderful suggestion it really is!
I was on the PATH train coming in to work (I had amazingly gotten a seat!) and I was reading "True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism." A few minutes in, the woman sitting next to me handed me a note, it read:
"I saw title of your book. I think your courage to be who you want to be is amazing!!"
I don't think I need to add anything to the story, needless to say my mood just soared. I thanked her (right then and then again as we were getting off the train), but it felt in sufficient.
(as a side note - I haven't experienced this particular opinion on this website at all, but this seems like an appropriate moment to again challenge the notion of New Yorkers being nasty - we're not, and we are even capable of incredible sweetness, even to strangers!)