Chrissy

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Everything posted by Chrissy

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Next step...hair   

    Wow, I didn't realize the number was that high. I haven't given them up entirely, I just need to know that I'm wearing them as a choice, not because I feel less like a woman without. I know that's not objectively true - I'm every bit as much a woman with or without a wig - but it's a self-perception I need to work through.
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  11. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Next step...hair
    Hi everyone,
    I took a somewhat unexpected next step on Friday - and it came with a pretty big bit of self-realization.
    Since I started wearing a wig regularly (going on 2 years now) I've been rather relaxed about haircuts. The last couple of haircuts were self-inflicted - I mean "self-done" - and so my natural hair has, I'm sure, not looked so great. But it didn't matter, nobody was seeing it - even if I just went downstairs for laundry, etc., I'd at least wear a baseball cap.
    It occurred to me that if I actually met someone and started dating, they would eventually need to see it. So I've known for a little while that I at least needed to get a real haircut and not keep doing it myself. At a practical level I wasn't sure how that would work - would I go someplace without a wig on to get it done?  Unlikely. Would I wear it and take it off when I got there? That seemed likely, but possibly awkward.
    I had lunch with a friend on Friday (Bastille Day!!!) and mentioned all of this, and showed her a picture I had found on-line of a hair style that I thought might work for me (BTW, my hair is quite thin, and there is some male-pattern baldness, that's what's made going natural so difficult for me). She agreed with the style, and with my "plan" to go to Supercuts after our lunch. To help me along she insisted that I send her a selfie when I was done :-)   I like that kind of thing, being "backed into a corner" helps overcome any last-minute jitters.
    So I went to Supercuts. There was one guy and two women doing hair - I was hoping not to get the guy - I didn't. I explained to the person who did my hair that the last cuts had been my own before I took the wig off, and I showed her the picture I found. I knew she couldn't do exactly what was in the picture, I don't have enough hair :-(   But she got the idea, she knew what I was going for, and she did a great job!!!  I had fully anticipated that I would put the wig back on when we were done, but then I didn't, I went home "natural" (and mind you this was in the city, so "going home" involved a 10 minute walk in Manhattan to the PATH train, a 20 minute train ride, then a 10 minute walk home). It's not my "fantasy" hair style, but I'm not likely to ever have that (see above re "not enough hair", plus I don't think the Farrah hairstyle is so popular these days).
    Below is a picture I took after I got home (so my hair was dry). A "pixie cut" as I came to learn is what it's called :-)  Pardon the exposed bra strap and lack of any make-up!
    The self-realization happened because as I was walking home I felt a sense of liberation from not wearing a wig. I realized that I had let my wig(s) represent my gender - subconsciously I only felt like a woman with a wig on. Not that I won't ever wear them again, but I need to work through this (especially now that I'm on summer break, so I have some freedom to ease in). Friday night I had to make a trip to Rite Aid, so I decided to do it without a wig. Then yesterday when I went to play tennis I didn't wear it, and again today I went to the gym and the supermarket without it. It really does feel good, it feels like another step towards authenticity :-)
    ***Please know that I'm not criticizing wearing wigs!!! I know a lot of trans people do, and obviously I was for 2 years and probably will continue to do so. I just personally need to know that I'm fully me with or without it***
    Here's a pic -
     
    And unrelated to this post - here is a picture of Cinammon. I got her a few days before my GRS (at Duane Reade when I was getting my surgery-related prescriptions), she went with me to Philadelphia for the surgery, was with me through the entire recovery and ever since :-)  Particularly in the few weeks right after surgery, when I couldn't really write in a journal, I often talked with her about things that I was feeling...she's a great listener, she doesn't judge, she just smiles :-)

    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  12. Chrissy added a post in a topic Being Transgender May Be Hazardous   

    I agree with Briannah's point, it seems like socio-economic status was very likely a bigger factor across the board in terms of health impact than being transgender. It raises the question of why the sample they used was "younger, poorer, less white and more likely to be unemployed." One guess I have is how they sought out participants, that they may have mainly focused on community health service providers where they were more likely to find transgender people, and as a result the sampling of trans individuals was skewed.
    I'm a little troubled that they didn't address this issue in the article. Whether it was that their sampling method caused the skewing, or that trans people do, on average, tend to be "younger, poorer, less white and more likely to be unemployed," it's a cause for concern.
    Another point is that whenever you see a survey of trans people, it's much like it was with gay and lesbian people years ago, it skewed towards those who were willing to be open about it. So these might be interesting for conversation, but they will always be far from accurate until we live in a society where more/most trans people can live openly.
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  13. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Next step...hair   

    A "pixie cut" seems to be a good option for those things ☺
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  14. Chrissy added a post in a topic NYT: "Is God Transgender?"   

    On the subject of the Supreme Court specifically, there is very good reason to be very pessimistic about the near and distant future. Although Goresuch didn't really change anything (he replaced Scalia, perhaps the worst bigot/sexist/homophobe/transphobe the court has ever seen). But Kennedy and Ginbsburg are both at an age where retirement could happen anytime, if Trump gets to nominate for one or both of them, the Court is lost for decades to come.
    After that bit of pessimism, I think that simply means having to put more effort into grassroots movements at the local and state level. And one thing that's been very encouraging in the past 6 months is the new level of activism in the country, triggered by Trump, and the intersectional nature of it! I increasingly see Black Lives Matter people, feminists, trans activists, etc. stepping up for each other's interests (in truth they're just realizing that there are so many shared interests). There will be set backs, especially at the federal level, but I still think the future will be better! Hopefully more and more cisgender, straight, white men will realize that there's a benefit to giving up their privilege and working to help everyone advance. (Hopefully Caitlyn Jenner will realize that too)
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  15. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Healthier life style.   

    There's definitely no such thing as too late . We always have the rest of our lives.
    I def find it easier to live healthier being out and transitioned - nothing like living authentically to get you to care more about your health!
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  16. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Letter   

    So sorry you had to experience that. I'm sure most of us live with the realization/fear of being rejected for our identity, and the actual experience of it, but to have it put to you so directly must be difficult.
    The closest I've come to this is with my sister - no letter, but a couple of phone calls and a text established that she didn't accept my gender identity, we don't speak anymore.
    I guess I would just try to remember that even though the person who sent you the letter referred to "others" being upset or offended, they were really only speaking for themselves. 
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
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  17. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Providing my local community classes on self defense   

    I wish I was close enough to take your class :-)
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  18. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry 4th July   

    Charlotte,
    Good luck with your efforts! Very worthwhile. Is it a 2 year wait for anything specific, or is that for any medical transitioning?
    That is a long wait - on the other hand, it seems like it's probably more available than it is in the US to many. I'm not trying to one-up you, just to say that it seems neither country is quite getting it right yet. 
    Chrissy
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  19. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    NY Pride - reflections
    Hi all,
    It took me a little to figure out how to get my pics on here (apparently I can't do it on my phone, it has to be on a computer so that I can resize the pics).  Below are three pics - two of them show the top that I wore for Pride - they gave us the t-shirts for marching with NYU, I modified mine, cuz ya know, boobs. It worked out nicely since the "Y" in "NYU" is centered so that I could cut the V into the top of it. One of these also shows the Trans pride flag that I had for the march :-)
    The march itself was fun, except for the beginning. We met at our staging area at 3:30 p.m. and didn't step off until 5:30 - it gets really hard standing around one area for 2 hours! But it was a lot of fun marching with NYU (this is the only year that I could do it as a current student, I didn't want to miss that). We had a couple of hundred people show up for our contingent (apparently about 1000 signed up, not all showed up of course).
    I broke off at around 7:00 (we were a little more than 1/2 way done with the march). Pattaya (my friend who does drag, who used to let me guest perform at her shows all the time) was doing a show at Le Singe Vert that ended at 8, so I didn't want to miss it. The last picture is of the two of us :-)
    So overall a good experience - I probably won't march again though, I'll just watch, it's more fun :-)  But this was the first Pride that I could do as physically a complete woman, so marching seemed right :-)  It also helped me overcome some of the ambivalence I have over identifying as transgender. When it came down to it, I marched carrying a trans pride flag, so clearly I'm ok identifying as such.
    xoxo
    Chrissy



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  20. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry A Wonderful Experience   

    This is such a great, concise way of summing up the experience of transitioning. I've said a number of times to friends that the past couple of years have been the most amazing, and the most terrifying years of my life - and neither term adequately expresses the actual feelings behind them.
    I hope that the "I'll be fine" part continues to outweigh the "but..." part!
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
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  21. Chrissy added a post in a topic Victoria Secrets   

    I'd suspect that not many stores are trans-unfriendly by policy, it depends more on whether they specifically have non-discrimination policies and enforce them from store to store.
    I've been to a VS in Jersey City and had no issues - don't buy much there because of prices :-(
    I've never encountered any direct hostility at any clothing stores, which is nice. Mist of my shopping is @ Kohl's and Loft, both of which are totally friendly :-)
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  22. Chrissy added a topic in Member Recommended Resources   

    Dr. Kathy Rumer - GRS in Philadelphia
    Hi all,
    I've probably mentioned her in blog posts, but I thought I should do a post here under recommendations - particularly now that I'm 6 months past my own GRS (6 months!!!!).
    Anyway - I had my surgery done by Dr. Kathy Rumer in Philadelphia (her office is in Ardmore, PA, a suburb of Philly, she does the surgery at Hahnemann University Hospital). I don't know how long she's been doing this but clearly she is very experienced. She also recently started a transgender health fellowship at Hahnemann (the hospital is affiliated with Drexel University in Philly).
    With only a couple of issues, my experience with her and her staff has been really good. The most important part, the surgery, went without incident. Apparently it took about 3 hours in total (maybe less - it's hard to tell since it takes a couple of hours to reorient from being under that long). But it was quick, and the work is really good, I'm very happy with the appearance.
    They asked me before we started if they could contact anyone for me when it's done, so I gave them my brother's number and they did reach out to him right after the surgery was completed (I called a little while later, when I was reoriented). I think he actually thought it was Dr. Rumer who called him, he hasn't worked with surgeons so much :-)  It recently occurred to me that I've probably only been awake in a room with Dr. Rumer herself for about 15 minutes - 10 minutes the first time I went to her office, then maybe 5 minutes in the OR. Otherwise it's always been her staff.
    Tomorrow is my 6-month check-up, which will be the 4th since surgery (they happened at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months - the 3 months one I just sent pics and we talked on the phone). I'll have one more at 1 year, then I assume others only if needed. The staff has been great every time - and I realized after the fact that I'm glad her entire staff is female. When you're actually in the chair getting checked, it's a pretty vulnerable, exposed feeling, so I feel better that it's women doing the checking (really only 1 woman doing the checking, but another in the room with us). I'm not sure how I'd feel about a man doing that.
    I mentioned earlier that I had just a couple of issues: (1) they lost my "reservation" for a hospitality room at their office (she has several rooms upstairs that are available for the first week after surgery). In November I found out that I didn't have a room.  On the plus side, the hotel was very near the hospital and they had a deal with the hospital, so I didn't spend much more than I would have with the hospitality room, and it was probably a nicer room (being at a hotel) which was important since I was pretty much stuck there for a solid week. The other issue was (2) the "bed" in the hospital, where I had to stay for 2 solid days after the surgery (no getting up at all) was a glorified cot - I didn't really feel much pain from surgery, but my butt was seriously hurting from the bed (I think most of my morphine use was to compensate for that). That one is on the hospital, and I did report it to Dr. Rumer's office.
    So that's my experience - one of the reasons I went with her was that she is under contract with Cigna, which was my insurance at the time. But I have been really happy with her and her staff overall. For one thing, in the many times I emailed in the first couple of months after surgery (when you're sure that every little tingling sensation is something horrible happening), they were very quick and very friendly in responding, including over the weekend.
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  23. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry My Name   

    Welcome to TGGuide! I look forward to hearing about your transition :-)
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
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  24. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    NY Pride
    Hi all,
    Sunday is NY Pride, it will be my first as a physical woman!!!  Last year I was presenting full-time, but no surgeries yet. The year before was more of a gender-bending year.
    I'll post pics - I'm marching with NYU, so I have the shirt they gave us - I altered it to make it a v-neck, I wanted cleavage 😛
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
     
     
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  25. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry New Medication: Day 1   

    If it is a side effect that will go away hopefully it will taper over time so that you won't have to wait 2 weeks to see :-(
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