Chrissy

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Everything posted by Chrissy

  1. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Flowering   

    I suspect you will have "typical" days again, they'll just be a different "typical" 😛
    Xoxo
    Chrissy 
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  2. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Working   

    Michelle,
    Congrats on the job! It sounds challenging, working with kids in a detention setting, but possibly very rewarding. Anyone who has been exposed to the criminal "justice" system is going to have a rough time, they need all the support they can get if they're going to have any chance after.
    And congrats on growing into Michelle ☺ I definitely know what you mean about there being no going back! It is sad that it's connected to your wife passing - that seems like it would be very bittersweet - but you have to keep doing what you need and want.
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
     
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  3. Chrissy added a post in a topic Makeup Kits   

    Personally, when I started out I found videos by Stephanie Lange on YouTube (she's Australian, now based in Ireland). These aren't specifically for trans people, but I found her easy to follow (I mainly found her because I have "hooded eyes," and she's done a number of videos on that specifically.
    If it's a possibility (and I know it's not always), ask female friends (trans or cis). I was fortunate that I have a good friend who is obsessed with make-up. I think when I came out as trans to her all she heard was "make-up shopping buddy!" It was a little hard at first - she knows it all so well and I barely knew the basics, but over time I picked it up :-)
    Beyond that, it just takes experimenting and practice! I've found that the brands at drugstores and such is perfectly fine, especially if that's where your budget it (as mine is! I'd love to go to Sephora, but I can't afford it).
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  4. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Two moments out of my week   

    Karen,
    That's so great! I know that it's best to not live for external validation, but it's always nice - really nice ☺
    I also like the sense from the first "moment" of simply feeling comfortable with another woman. I've gotten closer to one of the (female) bartenders at the jazz bar I go to. The other night I was leaving when she did and so we stopped outside to chat - that went on for about 1/2 hour - mainly about the jazz band members from that night (a little about their musical ability, but mostly other stuff 😛)
    Xoxo
    Chrissy 
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  5. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Hillary's story resonates
    Hi all,
    I've read a few articles about part of Hillary Clinton's upcoming book (which I just pre-ordered!  I can't wait to read it, and I don't usually read books by politicians). This was specifically about the debate in which Trump kept wandering around the stage and seemingly (not seemingly, he was) stalking her. She spoke about how creepy it was (it really was, even watching him do it was creepy) and how she continues to second-guess the fact that she didn't say anything to him right then and there.
    An op-ed in the Times talks about how common an experience that is for women in many settings (ok, for most of us it's not in the context of a Presidential debate) - both the experience of men trying to intimidate through stalking behavior, and the thought process that we go through when it happens - do I do something?  do I just ignore it?  How will I be perceived if I say something? This writer suggested - I think accurately - that there probably wouldn't have been any political benefit to Hillary challenging him. Anyone who would have viewed that positively was probably already supporting her, the others would have just kept talking about how "shrill" she is.
    I was thinking about this in the context of my own - transgender - experience. First, with respect to Hillary, I'm not sure how I would have felt about it if I was still living as a man and she had spoken back - I'd like to think I would have been supportive of her, and I think I would have, but I wouldn't have totally understood what she was experiencing and why she was reacting. For that to happen I had to be living as a woman. In the couple of years that I've been living openly as a woman I've had several experiences that, while not the same as what she went through, are similar. These were basically situations in which men, strangers on the street (or in a bus in one case) got overly assertive - they approached me with whatever intention they had and didn't back down despite my clear lack of interest. In all cases nothing ended up happening, I was able to walk away from it and they eventually did give up - but while it was happening I went through that same thought process, do I say something? Do I just ignore it?
    Like I said, nothing ended up happening - but because of these incidents I've had to adjust certain things. In one case it caused me to adjust the route I take going to and from the PATH station (because he works at a parking garage that's along the route I used to take), and in another how I choose seating on public transit (I stay close to the front of the bus, in an aisle seat). In another case there's really not much I can do, it was someone who aggressively approached me in a supermarket - short of changing stores, there isn't much to do. These aren't major life adjustments, but it's an indicator of ongoing sexism that I have to do them - men don't (that probably isn't 100% true, but much more often than not men don't find themselves in similar situations).
    I have thought about self-defense classes, I should continue to look into that.
    I'm curious about what experiences others have had and what steps they've taken?
    Chrissy
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  6. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry I've Always Had Terrible Handwriting   

    Emma,
    That's all so wonderful   I find too that being correctly gendered still makes me very happy (I do think that having recently stopped wearing a wig kicked that back up again, but I never stopped enjoying it).
    I feel like voice trainers have some deal with ENT specialists, mine did the same thing!  And I also got a clean bill of health. Perhaps that's just cynical, it probably is a good idea, just seems suspicious 
    Enjoy your ongoing "space trip"!!!
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  7. Chrissy added a post in a topic Mental Health Professionals   

    Emma,
    Thanks for sharing that! Yes, relationship is vital to any therapy working. I went to one therapist where we clearly didn't click, I stopped after 3 sessions. You need to feel comfortable sharing everything with the person.
    And you made a really great point about experience - having specific experience working with trans clients isn't necessary, a good therapist can work with almost any population, they'll learn from you and through research.
    Chrissy 
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  8. Chrissy added a topic in Mental Health and Crisis Intervention   

    Mental Health Professionals
    Hi everyone,
    There was recently, as part of a discussion in another Forum, some talk about mental health professionals. I thought it was worth putting this out as a separate Forum post, to give people an opportunity to talk about their own experiences working with mental health professionals and what they think is (or isn't) important in looking for one. The information I'm discussing below is specific to the U.S., so there will likely be differences in other countries (it also may at time be specific to New York - so my apologies if I get parochial at all).
    It's important to know that in most places you don't need any formal training or licensing to call yourself a "therapist."  So if you want to make sure you are going to someone who is properly trained and licensed (and licensing does provide some assurance that the person is responsible for following ethical guidelines, and that they will be properly trained and insured), you should also check the person's credentials (which shouldn't be hidden from view!). Therapy in the U.S. can be done by psychiatrists (who are medically trained), psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and (other thoughts?). These are all trained, licensed professions (a social worker for example would have an LMSW and possibly LCSW license). To be licensed you have to complete a certain level of approved education, pass a licensing exam and meet other licensing requirements. Typically you also, initially, have to work under another person's supervision and have proper insurance. When it comes to cost, social workers and mental health counselors are typically going to cost less than psychiatrists and psychologists.
    Any of these can be properly trained to work with transgender issues - it's important to look to see if they have that training and/or have worked successfully with clients who are transgender.
    Another consideration is that, depending on what kind of medical transitioning you are thinking about, you'll probably need letters from mental health professionals to do that. It's a good idea to check your insurance (or medicaid, etc.) and/or the doctors you're thinking about working with to see what exactly they'll require (doctors usually just need whatever the insurance company requires). In my case, to get HRT I needed a therapy letter, and one from the mental health counselor I was seeing was sufficient. For my GCS I got a letter from my therapist (a mental health counselor) and had to get at least one from a Ph.D. level professional (a psychiatrist or psychologist). I was referred to a psychologist who met with me for one (90 minute) session and provided the letter (since I had one from my therapist already, he didn't require a lengthy process to provide the 2nd).
    Personally I've worked with 2 therapists in the time since I came out and transitioned, the first was a social worker, the second was a mental health counselor (I had to stop going to the first because he stopped taking my insurance). Both for fully qualified to work with transgender issues. One way of confirming that kind of thing also is to see if there are any mental health organizations in your area that make referrals - both of my therapists were affiliated with the Institute for Human Identity in NYC.
    So other thoughts on this topic?
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  9. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Transition Anniversary   

    bluemoon,
    Thanks for your comment! I have to admit that although I do think about gender nonbinary and gender nonconforming individuals and issues, I don't end up saying much about it - part of that is because I consider it something that I'm still learning, part of it is based on where I am in terms of transitioning. Having lived for 49 years (more or less - a little less actually) as a "man," and only now living as a woman, I admittedly don't like to let go of all gender norms. When it comes to clothing in particular I'm more likely to use male and female references because I finally get to wear the women's clothing that I feel I should have been all my life!
    But it is problematic to use gender references when it comes to clothing, people should be perfectly free to wear what they want without thinking about whether or not it fits their gender. So it's something I'm working on :-)
    Chrissy
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  10. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Transition Anniversary
    Hi all,
    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 :-)
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  11. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Transition Anniversary   

    Emma,
    It's funny you mentioned that about the jeans - recently I was having lunch with a male friend who said that a girl he dated pointed out that he had women's jeans on. He seemed ok with that idea, but wasn't positive - the first question I asked about them (he wasn't wearing them at that moment) was "do they have essentially useless pockets?"  (they did, so yes, they were women's jeans). I learned that it's both that the pockets are smaller, and the jeans are partly made of spandex, so they pull in (which means if your keys will fit, they'll hurt because they're being pulled into your leg).
    Something else re timing that I didn't think about before - I was kind of ready to start transitioning around April or May of that year (2015), but I was working at a school and I did a lot of exam proctoring. Since exams were about to happen, I didn't want the first time students (at least the ones who knew me) seeing me as a woman to be when they're about to take a final exam, so I waited until the semester and exams were done. The nice part was that meant that the students were gone, faculty was gone, and staff were on and off vacation - so I had a couple of months to get used to presenting as a woman at a pretty empty school. So by late August when classes started again I was much more comfortable.
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  12. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry IN which Bree whines about medical things.   

    Brew,
    I've experienced acid reflux, still do, it's not fun! The steps you're taking sound good! I also found that stopping eating earlier (several hours before bed) helps, and Prilosec (though that isn't a great long term solution).
    Over time I've also figured out, and try to avoid, foods that I know will trigger it (sadly that includes ice cream).
    Good luck with your efforts!
    Chrissy
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  13. Chrissy added a post in a topic Caitlyn Jenner shows support for Trump after Transgender ban   

    She's never been a good role model for transgender people, I gave upon her long ago
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  14. Chrissy added a post in a topic senior adults   

    I think Emma is correct that it mainly depends on where it is and what laws exist in that area. Another consideration though are medical ethics - if the person is not receiving proper treatment because of their gender identity the ethics of the staff can be called into question. That would be a matter to raise with the medical board in that state.
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  15. Chrissy added a post in a topic "Born this way? Researchers explore the science of gender identity"   

    Interesting article. I kind of look at it from 2 directions - first, if discrimination weren't a thing (wild hypothetical) this kind of research could ultimately help resolve gender dysphoria much earlier in life. If you could find that someone is trans from early on they could be spared years of emotional suffering.
    Now looking at the world as it is, it could help reduce discrimination (at least the kind written into laws) if a biological link is found. Either way, science is going to happen, there's no way to stop these discoveries even if they were problematic.
    Personally, I've thought about the argument that "science can't prove why you're trans so how do you know you are?" (My sister was among those who asked). My answer is "because I know." That should be enough, even if science can't find out "why we are trans," we are.
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  16. Chrissy added a topic in Transgender Events   

    Trans Health Conference (Philadelphia) - Sept. 7-9, 2017
    Hi all,
    On September 7-9, 2017 in Philadelphia they are holding the 16th Annual Trans Health Conference. I attended for the first time last year, but it was well worth the trip (from NYC, so not the longest of trips, but still).  I did the general admission last year (which is free), and it was worth the time. This year I'm doing the professional track (which was $85 for a student), so I have a lot more options of presentations. There are 2 professionals with whom I've worked who are doing presentations (the person I went to for voice training, and the surgeon who did my GCS). Marci Bowers is also doing a couple of presentations.
    I'd strongly recommend it for anyone who can get to Philadelphia and has the time!
    https://www.mazzonicenter.org/trans-health 
    Chrissy
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  17. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Evolution Journal   

    ​Thank you for this feedback :-)
    I have thought about the fact that my parents undoubtedly had their own issues, and I don't think there was anything intentional or willful about what they did (or didn't do). I'm pretty sure my mother suffered from depression for some period of her life, and given the time it wasn't addressed (it was during a period when you still didn't want to acknowledge that kind of thing). That's why a key moment for me was to put that behind and just focus on where I am now and what I can do about it :-)
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  18. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Evolution Journal   

    Emma,
    That doesn't sound negative at all  A recurring theme in the past school year was about the importance of self-care, and I think that's exactly what you're talking about. It's important for everyone (social work adds to it since you're daily working with others and their problems, but still, it's a universal need).
    And I think that's essentially what I've been trying for since classes ended, in this space in time before the fall semester ends. I just want to get a little better sense of what's holding me back and what I can do to resolve that (in addition to just taking it easy for a bit!)
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  19. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Evolution Journal
    Hi everyone,
    This started as a journal entry for myself, but I decided that it would be better to put out in the “public” instead. My summer classes ended on July 11, and the fall semester doesn’t start until the end of August – leaving a “void” of about a month and a half (I had hoped to find work to fill in that time, but that didn’t happen). Before it started I had been at times excited about the “void,” and at times terrified – and for the same reason.

    I knew that this would be a good time to do some personal reflection. The past year has been pretty big, as I’ve talked about in other posts – leaving my job, going back to school, and having breast augmentation surgery and GCS. The GCS was probably the biggest, but with being in school and dealing with recovery, there wasn’t much time to reflect.

    Anyway – in an earlier post I mentioned that I considered GCS to be effectively the end of my transition (it isn’t really, but going forward there aren’t a lot of active decisions to make) and the beginning of my “evolution” (as I called it). This turned out to be more meaningful, and far more difficult than I thought at the time. I think the way I described it was that I had transitioned to become a woman (physically) now it was time to see what I wanted to do with my life as a woman.

    There is so much tied up in this that it’s hard to know where to start – obviously the big “mistake” in my life was that I was identified and lived as the wrong gender for my entire life until I was about 48 years old. That fact alone makes it hard to just pick up and live. But in that are also the many, many decisions I made over time that were directly or indirectly linked to my gender dysphoria. There are far too many of those decisions to try to sort through, and I doubt it would be worthwhile if I could. One part of me wonders what my life would be like if I had realized much earlier that I was a woman and been allowed to live that way – but the more reasonable part of me realizes that doesn’t really matter, I can’t achieve that now, I can move back to some point in the past and do it over again.

    A big problem now is the feeling that I can’t, or rather won’t, move forward. It seems strange considering how much I’ve accomplished over the past couple of years, but I don’t believe in my own ability to move forward from here. I’m able to almost dismiss the past couple of years as having simply erased a deficit rather than actually advancing in life. And it’s not that I don’t think I have the ability to do the things that I want to do, it’s that I don’t believe I have the will to do it, which I think comes down to lack of self-care, lack of self-love.

    Which brings me to the main point of this post, “Childhood Emotional Neglect.” In concept I’ve been aware of this for some time, I just recently came across that specific name for it. It’s basically the idea that your parents didn’t give you enough emotional attention as a child and so you don’t develop proper emotional health for yourself.

    I realize this sounds like – and truly is – another “blame the parents” approach. I truly have moved past that point, with help from my former therapist. In one session I talked about how I thought my parents had failed, vs my sister who felt like they did the best they could. My therapist responded with “they might have done the best they could, but you needed more.” Which was a very helpful way of reconciling the past and bringing up to today – they probably did fail me, that isn’t going to change, so I have to fix it now.

    I’ll stop my rambling now J  That’s the point I’m at right now, and I hope to use the rest of my time until school starts to process some more of this. While writing a paper last semester I was doing a review of an article about working with transgender clients which pointed out that “completing” physical transitioning is not the end of the process, which I was very happy to see addressed, it truly isn’t the end, it’s yet another beginning, and often (always?) a pretty scary one.
    xoxo
    Chrissy


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  20. Chrissy added a post in a topic Trump to bar transgender individuals from armed forces.   

    I was having lunch with a friend today who is a military veteran - he was disgusted by this policy, but also horrified because of the impact it will have on the overall military. For one thing it's apparently difficult enough as it is to get troops ready for deployment, to arbitrarily kick out 15,000 people will make that problem so much worse. It also sets a horrible precedent, showing service members that a president can just decide to retroactively remove people from the services.
    Just wanted to add those points to the already obvious civil rights issues. 
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  21. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Happy Ending   

    I never thought I'd say this, but congrats on getting slimed 
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  22. Chrissy added a post in a topic NYT: My Gay Agenda   

    Emma,
    I totally agree on your point about the term "agenda," I have no doubt she used that as a rebuke to conservatives who use it as a dirty word.
    I have to respectfully part ways with you on the use of the term "gay." I agree it is commonly used as an umbrella term for the LGBTQ community, but I think that's because of gay privilege within the "community," and it has been used to make our (transgender) issues, and us virtually invisible. I think it stands out to me as well because I don't identify as gay (or lesbian), since transitioning I identify my sexual orientation as straight. So I perhaps feel doubly-invisible as a result. It's one thing to use "gay" as a blanket term for "homosexual," I'll leave that battle for Lesbians to fight (or not) - but I can't accept it as a blanket term for all LGBTQ people, when some (many?) of us don't identity as gay or lesbian (with apologies to bisexual, pansexual, etc. individuals for being binary in my terminology). 
    The bottom line is that I plan to remain an agitator on this point  - and I trust nobody's judgment on these issues, least of all my own!  Thomas Paine said that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," I think it's more appropriate to say that "eternal agitation is the price of liberty" (I suppose it depends on how much liberty you have to start with).
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  23. Chrissy added a post in a topic NYT: My Gay Agenda   

    Good piece, but why is it titled, and why does she refer to a "gay agenda"? The LGBTQ community lets that happen too often, we (transgender people, and others) become invisible by referring to it as a "gay agenda" or "gay rights movement," etc. It's especially disturbing coming from a transgender activist!
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  24. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Birthday Blog
    Hi all,
    My birthday is technically still 2 days away, but since I have access to a computer right now I thought I'd do this now. It seems like a good moment to just reflect on the past few years. First a quick timeline!
    March 2015 - this isn't really the beginning of the story, but this is when I actually recognized that I am transgender, and then shared that with my therapist. There was about a year or two of cross-dressing and exploring that lead to this point. One vital take-away is that from this moment on a lifetime of depression went away. I'm not saying I haven't been depressed about things since then, but the underlying, existential depression I experienced until then was gone - I stopped asking myself "Why can't I just be right?"
    August 2015 - I began "presenting full-time" as a woman, both at work and everywhere else. Working at a school helped this as the school was pretty empty during the summer, so I had time to acclimate without a bunch of faculty and students around. Also during this month I started taking hormones.
    July 2016 - I left my job to go back to school. I had been planning to go to school anyway, but part-time. My employer needed to reduce staffing, so they offered a buy-out which made my school decision easier ("easier"). It was still a tough choice to make - I had been there 10 years, it was secure, I had no idea what would happen if I left. I eventually spoke with my best friend on the phone about it (he had moved out to LA recently) and he asked "in 5 years what do you want to be looking back at?" - my decision was made.
    August 2016 - I had my breast augmentation surgery.
    September 2016 - I started school, pursuing a Masters in Social Work at NYU. For so long I had been trying to figure out what I really wanted to do in life, this choice seemed so obvious after I made it, but I know I couldn't have made this choice before coming out and transitioning.
    December 2016 - I had my GCS - YAY!!!
    May 2017 - finished first year of school - YAY!!!
    And that brings us to today. A lot has happened, and I'm thrilled with it, but I know that more still has to happen. For one thing I don't think I've quite fully internalized my own sense of being a woman, at times I still feel like an imposter. I suppose after living for 48 years identifying as a man it's bound to take some time. My recent decision to stop wearing wigs helped - I had put too much of my gender identity into them.
    I still very much fear being alone forever. I often find myself thinking that no man will ever accept me as a woman and be in a relationship. There is something to it, there are definitely men who would run away from the idea of dating a transgender person, but I also know that some of that thinking is part of what I said just before about not fully accepting myself as a woman. There's work to be done.
    I wonder if my sister will ever come around. I'd prefer to think that I'm fine just leaving her behind, but I know I'm not. We never had a very, very close relationship, but we generally had a good relationship and I miss that. I also know that I made the choice, I told her I didn't want to hear from her until and unless she was ready to accept me as a woman, and I can't back away from that.
    I'm often unwilling to accept some things that are simply true and can't be changed - they all focus around the fact that I was not born a cisgender female, and I will never have been. As a result I will physically never be a cisgender female, I will never have the experiences that a girl has growing up, etc. It's silly to reject those facts, but I still try sometimes.
    So that's more or less where I am right now - see what happens in the next year :-)
    xoxoxo
    Chrissy
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  25. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Being hurt and ignored   

    Charlotte,
    That's so nice about the riders, it must have felt nice ☺
    Sorry about the other incidents, it's horrible but it is a reality for trans people. I wish I had something more inspiring to fall back on but I can say that in my experience the positives about living an authentic life far outweigh the bad.
    Stay strong!
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
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