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Everything posted by Emma

  1. As far as I know electrolysis is the only permanent facial hair solution. But it's very time consuming, expensive, and painful. I endured it for about six months (one 1 1/2 to 2 hour session per week) and thought I was going to lose my mind. A friendly next-door dentist would inject me with novocaine inside my mouth which helped tremendously to numb my upper and lower lip areas, with some numbness down to my chin. As a favor (and with his own trepidation) he tried injecting me from the outside but it hurt like hell and wasn't very effective. Thankfully I found the only service in the US that offers complete facial anesthesia with a fast process. It's no cake walk either but much much better for me. Precision Hair Removal is located just northeast of Chicago near Lake Michigan. I experienced my first trip there two weeks ago... Lidocaine was injected by Dr. Zukowski all over the face and neck while the patient is administered (via IV) a "twilight sleep" which mitigates the pain of the lidocaine injections which were many. The lidocaine lasted well and completely eliminated electrolysis pain, for about 4-5 hours. After that, although the IV was left connected (in case of need for some sort of urgent medical care) a nurse administers more lidocaine injections which they do after applying a topical anesthesia on the skin. Those injections hurt a lot, really. I'd ordered a complete clearing, face and neck. They generally estimate this will take a day and a half to do the first time (one 12-hour day followed by one 6 hour treatment the following day). I'd submitted photos and they guessed I could get mine all done in one 12-hour session with two electrologists working simultaneously. It's required that one not shave for at least 5 days before so they can see what needs to be treated and grab it with tweezers. I flew to Chicago and felt very self-conscious in the airport, airplane, and taxi. They picked me up just after 5am in my hotel and by 6:15 the lidocaine was administered and we were off to the races. I was able to visit the restroom a couple of times, walking like in a hospital with an IV. Their offices are very nice and clean. They also provided a sandwich for lunch which I could barely eat because my entire mouth and lips were so numb. After 12 hours on the gurney they were finished with my entire face and neck. I was exhausted, really. They were only able to clear me in 12 hours because I was so well hydrated. (They advise that we drink one gallon of water per day for 4-5 days before treatment, which I did. I suggest sparkling water which is pretty cheap at Safeway.) Unsurprisingly my face and neck were quite swollen and red. Also very numb and kind of sore. I spent two more days at the hotel waiting for some recovery before flying back home. I already have appointments to return in Sept and Dec. You see, they estimate a 40% kill rate for each hair so they estimate that the next treatment will be faster (and thus cheaper); the following one even less. The idea is to keep returning while the treatment time makes economic sense. After that, for whatever remaining hairs are stubborn, one goes to a local service. How do they do it so quickly? They use "flash electrolysis" not "blend" which is what most others use. The risk is that "flash" can cause skin damage but they assured me that they are pros and indeed they seem to be. Even if your local electrologist uses flash it's unlikely they offer the anesthesia which is really needed. Two weeks after my treatment my face and neck look fine. I only have to shave twice a week at least for now and the hairs are few and far between and almost colorless. My face and neck are still kind of numb and slightly sore when I apply moisturizer which they highly recommend. It's much better than before and they say it may be a couple of more weeks for the numbness to be gone. Is it economical? I think it is when you calculate the cost/treatment for an electrologist that's closer to home. For my electrologist we estimated it might take 5 years (yes, really) for a complete and permanent clearing. Screw that! But yes, the cash outlay is pretty big. One thing that's neat is that they also offer "south clearing" for those anticipating GCS. And that is also done with the lidocaine injections (thank goodness) by a third electrologist at the same time as the other two working on your face. I'm seriously considering that. They said that the first clearing takes about 6 hours: even though there are fewer hairs they grow every which way which takes time to deal with. I recommend their service if you can afford it. Irina and her staff are professional and wonderful. Having to deal with my facial hair is such a problem for me and I'm grateful to think that it'll mostly be behind me by the end of this year! Here's my photo immediately after the electrolysis:
  2. Emma

    This world is destroying my family

    With all due respect this sentence and its sentiment upset me. Imagine, if you will, how much courage it's taken your child to come out to you. And then pat yourself on the back that your child opted to do this instead of hurting themselves, perhaps even attempting suicide. I'd say it's quite positive that your child trusted you enough to overcome their own fears to do this. The positive thing would be if you shed your own worries and baggage and allowed your son (which is how I believe they wish to be addressed) to take a lead in this. Listen to your wife and especially your child. Just because you don't understand it that doesn't make it bad. Time for you to get out of your head and actually talk with and meet other parents of trans kids. Instead of casting so much doubt and worry about your child get real and up close with your child and their situation. You're whining and it's not becoming. Sure, your son son won't fit in with the girls in their puberty. Yes, he may have troubles with the boys. All kids have tough teen years, you know that. I'm at a loss of what else to say. I feel that you're looking at the glass as half empty instead of half full. I'm very frustrated and sad at the moment. I am well aware of how hard it is to raise kids. I have two adult sons of my own with their own issues. You can choose this moment to step up and be a real father or try to put your child back into their head which is likely to erupt in all sorts of negative ways, perhaps even death. Up to you.
  3. Emma

    On Turning Sixty . . .

    Monica, I’m 62 so a tad older but similar in age. I’m more self-conscious about my voice and face than about my age spots, easily bruised arms, and stuff like that. I think that most people are self-conscious and worried. It’s part of the human condition. The trick is to have awareness of our feelings, let them breathe within ourselves, but not allow them to hold us back. Carpe dium, make every day as precious as you can. Emma
  4. Emma


    I joined TG Guide almost four years ago. The time seems short and in hindsight it's passed quickly but there were many deep valleys amid the peaks. Last weekend I hiked to Tolmie Peak with some lesbian friends. Imagine that, out and about as natural as can be. Now making plans for GCS, hopefully by end of Q1 2019. And yesterday my ex-wife phoned to ask if I'd like for her to help me through recovery! (You bet, I answered.) Wow.
  5. Emma


    It’s all approximate especially for women’s shoe sizes. My women’s size is 11 or 12, and the width is medium. Go to Payless and try shoes on that you like and you’ll soon see what I mean.
  6. Emma

    This world is destroying my family

    I have no idea where you're located, Jeff, your religious affiliations, etc. I came across this article earlier today and regardless, it's an excellent addition within mainstream media that the curtains are really being pulled back about the presence and lives of trans people. In this case, highlighting that areas in the Southeast are more welcoming than in the Northeast. It's also focused on trans girls and boys, adding more anecdotal examples of their realities and validity. I highly recommend it: Trans in the South: Meet Kids Finding Acceptance in the Bible Belt
  7. Glad to hear it but please be aware that laser hair removal isn’t permanent while electrolysis is.
  8. Emma

    This world is destroying my family

    Sorry, I have to add something here. "This world" is actually so much much better for trans people than it ever has been. The fact that shows like Megyn Kelly's and so many others are highlighting and celebrating our existence. Yes, there is prejudice, confusion, and lack of awareness. Those are things we can work on. I am 62 and well remember surreptitiously reading articles about Christine Jorgensen and others, growing up in extreme shame and secrecy, constantly aware of how I was being perceived and trying to adapt to be what didn't feel natural for me, often hating myself for my feelings that I simply couldn't suppress. I tried so hard, I really did. Perhaps you can elaborate on what this sentence means for you? And here's an issue from National Geographic that might help: GENDER REVOLUTION "Read the historic January 2017 Special Issue of National Geographic magazine on the shifting landscape of gender and download our discussion guide for teachers and parents" Just now I downloaded the Nat Geo discussion guide. Really, it's excellent. I suggest also sharing it with your child. She/he may find it very helpful in understanding themself and provide concepts and words that facilitate talking with you and professionals. It's that good.
  9. Emma

    This world is destroying my family

    Jeff, These words say a lot, I think. The first step in helping your child is to come to an understanding that to be transgender is real. Regardless of what therapists told me I needed to believe it myself. I did a heck of a lot of research to the point where it was undeniable to me. The next step is to try to determine if your child really is trans. Unfortunately there is no objective test. So what to do then? Listen to your daughter, take her to see qualified therapists and professionals. (Be careful, there are quacks out there too.) I know you are and I hope you'll continue to ask more. Through all this you'll gain a better understanding and thus confidence in helping your child. I'm not sure if this (below) will help but just in case, it's an email I received from my ex-wife a little over a year ago, a month after I drove away from the home we had shared. We were married for 20 years and divorced because we determined together that for me to become myself we had to be apart. We remain very close to this day, often on the phone together, and are making plans to get together this Thanksgiving at her place or mine. "Happy birthday my sweet __________, Wish I could be there to celebrate your day. And what a wonderful day it was 61 years ago when you arrived on this earth. This is your year to celebrate yourself and become who you really are. Be brave, be strong, be true, be honest in this journey. Remember that I will aIways love you. You are the finest person I have ever known and I thank God that you are in my life. Have the best day ever. Love, _______"
  10. Emma

    This world is destroying my family

    Dear Jeff, No, you're not coming across as callous at all. All I hear is a very concerned and worried father trying to do his loving best for his child. I have several thoughts I'd like to share: 1. Helping your daughter bind her breasts. On the one hand that's so kind and thoughtful of you. On the other it reminds me of the boy sticking his finger in the dyke. The waters are going to rise, her puberty is going to continue. I dearly hope that in parallel with this you are working with a qualified gender therapist and considering puberty blocker. 2. "I do not want her to be in this world." Are you more worried about her not becoming and rejoicing in being a young woman? Or, are you worried about how society may treat her? 3. Suicide: yes, 41% of trans adults in the US have attempted it at least once. I have, 2-3 times. The last one (about 3 years ago as I recall) was very close. Why do we do this? Because we are so torn up inside, losing the fight against our gender dysphoria and feeling helpless in the battle to become our authentic selves. For teens it's even harder because they have no resources and are so desperate for their parents' love and support. Without that they are stuck, not knowing what to do. They also know lots about how teens are committing suicide. 4. "While I understand that you believe you are transgender, has this decision to live this way really made your lives better?" Yes, I am 100% better off than before. I have no doubt in my mind that I am living authentically as the real me. Do I wish I was born female? Of course, and it saddens me that I wasn't. But there's nothing I can do about that and my life is so much richer and happy than I've ever been before. I believe your question comes from an understandable lack of understanding. I'm sure you've heard that people whose internal sense of gender matches their birth sex are called cisgender or "cis," and those whose gender doesn't match are transgender or "trans." Clearly, you are a cis male: great! I'm happy for you, I really am. But because of that it's so hard to wrap your mind around what it is to be trans. It just seems odd, foreign, unreal. But real it is. I'll share a story about me. I am very binary in that I have no doubt that my gender is female. But the label "transgender" is an umbrella term that includes many other gender feelings including "non-binary." My therapist is non-binary and I have a couple of friends who are also. Now that is something I can't wrap my brain around! I don't get it. I believe that they experience it but no matter how hard I try I just don't understand what it feels like to be them. But I accept their reality to be as real and valid as mine. Perhaps these videos will help you, I hope. They are quite recent and show Megyn Kelly with parents and teens of the GenderCool Project: Five Transgender Teens On The GenderCool Project And How Important Support Is | Megyn Kelly TODAY Siblings Of Transgender Girl: It Profoundly Affected Me In Such A Positive Way | Megyn Kelly TODAY Hear The Inspiring Message One Transgender Girl And Her Parents Want To Share | Megyn Kelly TODAY GenderCool Project Founders On Myths Of Transgender Kids & Rollback Of Rights | Megyn Kelly TODAY Be well, and please, stay in touch. We only wish to help you and your child.
  11. Another idea is to shop at women's clothing consignment shops that specialize in larger figures. Here in Seattle, for example, we have a large store named "Two Big Blonds." Most of their clothing is too large for me but I've bought several pairs of shoes and boots in larger sizes. I've also had success at Nordstrom Rack which has sizes up to 12 and great prices too!
  12. Emma

    This world is destroying my family

    Hi Jeff, I just came across your post; you bring up many understandable concerns and worries. I certainly agree: - There are no objective tests to determine if one is transgender. - We all wish our feelings, the ones we experience as trans and for our children, would just go away. - We all worry that we will be miserable in life, marginalized and unloved. And yet, we know, from clear existence proofs, that transgender people really exist. The science is trying to catch up, just give it time. I’m 62, and since I was in preschool I wished my feelings would just go away. Believe me, please, I’ve tried. I’ve been married twice, the second time for more than 20 years to a woman who still loves me dearly and I love her too. But in the end I tried to commit suicide a couple of times because I wasn’t living authentically. As a trans woman I am not miserable in life. Yes, it has its challenges but it’s actually very delightful compared with the alternative where I was largely waiting for life to run out. I don’t suppose you’ll find that very helpful. For me, the first step was to do enough research to convince myself that to be transgender is real, valid. After that, I struggled with determining that I am indeed trans. And then, what to do about it. I suggest you try following a similar path. Determining if your child is trans or not is tough of course. No, no one is going to push hormones or surgeries before your child and you/your wife are ready. That said, there may be an urgency to all this to start puberty blockers. From what I have seen and read they are harmless. But you need to convince yourself. Please talk to all the professionals you can find. Note also, please, that there is a conference in early August in Seattle called Gender Odyssey. They have a Family Program that you may find very helpful. I suggest that you look into it. With warm regards, Emma
  13. Emma

    "I'm Not A Detriment To Unit Cohesion"

    Wow, that was so good, so well said. Thank you Michael.
  14. It's expensive but when you add up the costs for weekly electrolysis (which may take 5 years for full and permanent clearing) the economics are right in the ballpark. The first session is the most expensive since it takes anywhere from one 12-hour day to a day and a half to clear. But they only charge you for the time it takes (plus the costs of the anesthesia) so that later treatments cost less since they are shorter. I'm hopeful that my next appointment in September will be only 7-8 hours instead of 12.
  15. Ellen, please try the following: 1. Go to: http://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/330/D3400.html 2. Download the Reference Manual to your computer 3. Read pages 84, 85, 86: “Image Quality and Size”. See if you can follow their instructions and find out what image quality and size that the camera is currently set for. Write that down! 4. Now, set the image quality to “JPEG basic”, and the image size to “Small”. That will produce photos of about 6MB is size which may still be too large. Try an experiment with websites you’ve had difficulty with and see if it works now. If it still doesn’t work then you will need to buy a simple photo editing program for your computer. It should have the capability to open your JPEG images and resize them smaller. The cost should not be high for this. I know this sounds like a lot of hassle. The “problem” is that modern cameras take very large photos, even when the smallest is selected. It’s not that your Nikon camera is bad. You’d have the same problem with Canon or any other brand. Good luck!
  16. Ellen, I believe there are a couple of ways to address this issue: 1. In a Nikon camera setup menu you can set the number of pixels in the photo to something very low. The downside to this is that if your photos are viewed in a larger size they will look pixelated. And, perhaps worse, you’ll either have to take two photos for each shot, one high-res and one low-res, or all of your photos will be lower resolution. 2. In a program on your computer, for example, photoshop although there are plenty of others that are much less expensive and easier to use, you can reduce the resolution of your Nikon-generated photo files so that they’ll fit within the maximums of whatever website you’re trying to deal with. The problem isn’t with Nikon per se. The issue is that newer cameras from Nikon, Canon, et al, have increased their resolution capabilities to enable their customers to print out their photos ever larger without appearing distorted. I’m surprised that the service people you talked to weren’t able to diagnose this for you.
  17. Wow Ellen, your model is Fantastic!!! Not sure why you posted the pics in this thread but regardless I’m happy to see your work!
  18. Emma

    Trying Times

    You're both very wise Michelle. My intuition was also that it is too early for you to manage others. Your maturity and character are very ideal for such a role but your breadth of sales experience is still forming. From what I've read you're doing great and deserve kudos from everyone, which you're receiving. I too hope Rich and his wife come through all this well. For you, remain selfish with your time and energy. Go out, prospect, develop and close business.
  19. Emma

    Betwixt and Between

    Good, go have coffee, and bond a little more. At the end of the day, though, somehow you need to do what’s best for you. I’d be wary of him feeding your ego, maybe by sending you to the classes. Sure, he wouldn’t if he thought you might somehow embarrass him. And yes, you might someday hit a winning streak and make good money. In the meantime you need to decide if it’s time to ignore you’re sunk costs and move on. It’s a very hard decision I know. Perhaps when you have coffee, spell this all out frankly with him: what would he do and why? Maybe he’ll give you info and wisdom you don’t have. Or, you may find yourself not believing him. Or somewhere in between. All of that info will help you decide what to do.
  20. Emma

    La Lucha Aeterna ( The eternal struggle)

    Not that it matters, according to Google Translate it's "La eterna lucha." For fun what we used to exchange with our Mexican colleagues was this: "Mucho trabajo, poco dinero." Also an eternal struggle for most. Be careful you don't burn yourself out or get filled with resentments that add complications to making decisions and generally make us feel miserable. Do things for yourself even it's just grabbing a cup of coffee and reading a book or magazine. Take breaks, cook up something unusual or special. Go for a long walk. Write in a journal! Any or all of the above. I know what you mean about being unsure about relationships. I recently met a lesbian woman who I feel head over heels with. She likes me a lot too. As much as I'd love to date her she told me that I am too femme for her so we'll stay as close friends. Disappointing but I'm also grateful to have her for a close friend.
  21. Emma

    Planning ahead

    I echo Monica’s comments and also applaud your efforts and experiences selling insurance. That has to be one of the toughest sales jobs there are, and it’s an excellent training ground that potential employers will recognize for you. Youre also wise to talk to your manager and carefully consider what to do. From what you’ve written before it sounds like you have a good professional relationship with each other. Unless you’ve lived in a trailer or RV before, make that decision carefully too. I had not and lived in a 23’ Winnebago last year for six months. I had good times, sure, but by the end I was sick of it!
  22. Emma

    New Routine

    I still love a good steak but don't eat them much mostly because I need to keep my cat indoors and the BBQ is of course outside. About half of my dinners are a small salad that I buy at Safeway. Yes, it's prepackaged but I make my own dressing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Other days I'll bake a couple of chicken thighs, add a veggie such as cauliflower. I also have a glass or two of red wine. But that's for dinner. For breakfast I always have two eggs, either scrambled or hard boiled. I then have a piece of fruit like an orange, and a cup of coffee. Later in the day I eat an avocado... Trader Joe's has this bag they sell of avos that are small; perfect for one person. Very healthy and delicious. For a treat I have a toasted English Muffin with butter. I also try to drink a lot of water. I much prefer soda water than tap but I drink that too. Safeway sells a 2 liter (just over a half gallon) of this water for about $1, also a bargain and it tastes great. For a snack I like to have 4 or 5 Triscuits, or maybe a little bag of nuts from Trader Joes. They have the nut mixes prepackaged so I don't overdo it. It's just the right amount and very handy to pack in my purse too. I sometimes splurge a little. Last night I had Japanese tonkatsu with rice and some sort of egg noodles on the side. Delicious! And when I have company over for dinner I often make my spaghetti sauce, or lasagne, cannelloni, that sort of thing. I'm now getting into savory French crepes which is fun too. I do love to eat but I am also pretty careful of my diet especially since my fasting blood sugar is in the pre-diabetic range and has been for about 15 years. Definitely eat more protein than carbs but I think we need carbs too. I just try not to overdo it. I also track my weight very carefully: I measure it with a digital scale every morning and plot it in a spreadsheet. I know this morning I weighted in at 162.6 pounds with a 10-day moving average of 163.6 pounds (I lost a couple of pounds this week), and a BMI of 24.5. I'd love to get my BMI down to 24.0 but that would mean losing another 3 pounds and I'm afraid that with my being on HRT that's not healthy for me.
  23. Emma

    Soggy Saturday

    I suggest reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. She’ll help inspire you to write two pages per day in your Morning Pages. She’ll inspire you to much more than that too. It’s an amazing book. I love reading. I just finished The Weight of Ink, which was fantastic. I unequivocally recommend it! I just started reading The Source, which I read about 45 years ago. Another amazing book. Reading is good for the soul and the mind. Always have a book with you, steal moments to read even a couple of pages, maybe at a coffee shop. It’s a wonderful release. Oh, I also just finished Stone Butch Blues, another excellent book! Who cares if any of this makes you “smarter.” The point is to be happier and more content living in your skin, with your own life challenges.
  24. Emma

    I'm still here

    Dear Warren, I'm so happy to hear from you! Indeed, I have wondered how you were doing. And congratulations on your chest surgery! I well remember how you wanted that so much and struggled so much. I do recall your brother, maybe coming to live with you a long time ago - perhaps just for a short stay. Awesome that Justin and you are cool with having him live with you. Today I finished reading a book that I think you'll like: "Stone Butch Blues." It is a novel, written by a trans man, about life in the 60s and 70s, first coming out as a butch lesbian, then transitioning with HRT, and eventually achieving satisfaction and happiness kind of on the border between male and female. Lots of history there, and makes me appreciate how our lives these days are so much better than they were 50 years ago. I'm doing well too, BTW. I fully transitioned which wasn't what I expected at all when we first met here. Much happier than I've ever been in my life. I now feel I'm authentic which is so different than over a half century trying to be something I was not. Life is good! Love you, Warren! Emma
  25. Emma

    Why Stress Right

    Truer words were never spoken Michele. Like you I finally attain - if only for limited time - a lack of concern about how the rest of the world perceives me. Achieving this more consistently seems so hard. It's hard to be trans, especially if like you and I, we transition. It's been particularly hard the last two days. You see, I have an appointment tomorrow in Chicago for "large volume electrolysis" where two electrologists will work simultaneously to clear my facial hair in one very long 12-hour day. They require that I have not shaved for at least 4-5 days so as you can imagine by yesterday my facial hair was quite noticeable to anyone who looked at me as I travelled from Seattle to Chicago. Today I'm holed up in a hotel room trying to survive on one rather expensive chicken salad from room service along with some nuts and instant oatmeal I brought with me. I can't stand the feeling of this beard and would be mightily tempted to shave it off if I'd brought a shaver and shave creme. Thankfully I didn't! About breast growth, I understand that too of course. I've taken to using a Noogleberry pump system morning and evening for about 45 minutes each time. I guess they're growing but it's hard to be sure. Even if they are I don't know whether they are the result of hormones, Noogleberry, or both. I plan on "Noogling" through the end of 2018 at least in the hopes of at least full B's. You wrote: "People will.only be honestly happy for me if I'm honestly happy for myself." I believe that to be true too. In general I am pretty darned happy these days and I'm finding that people around me pick up on that and are happy with for for me right back! Best wishes, Emma