This week (10/10/2012) contained my one year anniversary with my boyfriend. We went out for the first time one month earlier but on this date a year we decided to have an exclusive, monogamous relationship and I have to admit it has worked out wonderfully and it's been a great year together. This is the first time I have had a relationship that has been about total honesty, trust and dedication and we do love each other, so on those levels it is really special. We both have very complicated situations in our marriages and lives so the future is hard to predict but at least we are looking to the future and this gives me great hope. In the card he attached to the (beautifully awesome, fabulous) lavender roses he had delivered on Wednesday he mentions looking forward to the future together no matter if its mountains or valleys and that together we can overcome them all. That is so sweet and so pertinent and really it shows just a little bit of why this man is so special to me. Perfect to me is a better word, special understates the fact but oh well, let's just say we are in love and I have never been so happy in a relationship.
Monday (10/15/2012) will begin my sixth month of HRT and on that day I will be driving up to Durham (part of the Triangle metropolitan area with Raleigh) for a therapist appointment, possibly lunch with a friend, then I think I will head over to the NC State Fair for a couple hours. Last year I went with Mitchell and he has offered to take me this year but I really don't want to make a day of it this year or waste a day together with him driving up there and back so I will probably go by myself for the first time. There is an item I want to buy there that I don't think I can get anywhere else and while there I can enjoy some walking around and some fair food, then come on home. I probably wouldn't make the drive if I wasn't in the area anyway and passing right by the fairgrounds.
I continue to get called ma'am when not fully presenting female, not all the time but pretty often now. I have come up with a new name for this mode as I don't like the term male mode. I will now refer to this as "uncomfortable mode". One day last week beat everything I have heard yet. I was at the drive through window of the bank, actually one lane over from the window and I sent a check and a couple of deposit slips to the teller along with my obviously male ID with a picture from several years ago and my male name on it. I had changed one of the deposit slips and accidentally sent the original out as well. The teller came on the speaker and said "Ma'am, I have a question about this slip." I replied in my best female voice and told him (male teller) to disregard that one and we completed the business. I don't know what he was thinking but it's getting a little bit harder to present as male out here and that thrills me to no end.
Physical changes from the hormones are still coming along slowly but surely. Body hair growth has slowed quite a bit, especially on the arms and legs. It's still there and grows, just slower and you really can't see it as much so it's not as thick. Muscle mass loss is coming along nicely and I can see significant changes there. I also notice a loss of strength but that goes with the territory and I certainly look more female in short sleeves, as the biggest place I have noticed muscle loss is in my arms. I also notice my legs are more strained when running with with my dogs but the walking we always do is no problem. Breast growth is finally starting to amount to something. When my breasts first started growing this spring I stopped wearing my breast forms and started using the little "chicken fillet" enhancers that add a half cup size or so. So I went from a full B profile to a small A and over the summer that got closer to a full A. Now even those seem to be too big to fit in my bras so most of the time I have stopped wearing them. So my profile under clothes has gone back to a small A but it is all natural and growing and I do hope to reach a full A in the next couple of months or so. When I need a fuller profile I can always wear my enhancers with a larger bra for certain outfits or looks.
Everyone warns of weight gain from hormones and I have experienced a weight gain fluctuating from 8-10 pounds since starting in May. My appetite has definitely increased and I think my metabolism may have slowed a bit. What this really amounts to is a "second puberty" and we all remember how our appetites were during puberty. It is going to take more self control and more exercises to stay fit now, I can see that. Now it's just a matter of getting the discipline to do it and starting to eat more like a fit woman, which means smaller portions. That adjustment is not coming easy with the increased appetite. As far as the fat redistribution and some new fat distribution in this case, most of that has been positive. My butt has gotten a little bigger and some has gone to my hip area but the third area of gain I do not like. My therapist had warned I could get a belly but it would be lower, like in the mid section and not a full belly or beer belly like I used to have a few years ago before losing weight initially. It seems I am getting some degree of "love handles" and I have to figure out an exercise for reducing those but at least it's a female form of fat, lol. My overall shape is still pretty good and my sizes haven't gone up. I am still wearing size 8 pants and 8-10 pounds gain is not tragic but I do need to consider that losing some muscle mass should mean some weight loss so the weight gain from fat may be more than it appears. I have gotten my beer consumption down to an average of less than three beers a night and considering I drink a low calorie, low alcohol light beer that is not too bad. Before i started HRT it was down to 4 beers a night from much higher levels in the past. Then I felt so good when I started hormones I let myself have a couple more much of the time but now I have about got it to a level where its not a big calorie gain and most nights I don't even feel any effects, much better than in the past. Overall, I am super happy with the results from HRT now and any negatives can be offset by me getting more discipline. The biggest and best change is still psychological and feeling like myself on the inside has for the most part ended years of internal strife that has been so detrimental to my life up until now.
Followers of this blog will know that that big issue/dilemma right now is telling my parents that I am going to transition. I think I am finally almost ready to do that, or almost prepared to do it anyway. I don't think I will ever be ready to finish climbing what I describe as "Mt. Everest". I did finish preparing my letter to them the other night. What I had been putting off for over 4 months I did in about 40 minutes. All it took was a moment of inspiration and getting over the mental block to do it. This is so ironic but the very next day after I finished the letter my original therapist, the one who had encouraged me to write the letter and provided me with the template to do it back in spring, called me to reschedule our "lost" appointment that was cancelled a couple months ago. Well, her office called and I have tried them back a couple of times including just a minute ago and am getting the answering machine. I think she is phasing out this part of her career or is still very busy and may be short on a receptionist now, but I am going to keep trying until I can reschedule the appointment. I just think its too ironic that less than 16 hours after I finish the letter on my computer they called me. It could be the fate I am having this year, where everything is falling into place perfectly, and maybe it means she reads my blog too because I did post about it last week. Anyway, I am meeting with my second therapist Monday to review this letter and anxiously await seeing my original therapist to catch up and go over it with her also.
My voice and communication class is going well and this week was nice in that we went over short term and long term goals. The picture at the top of this post is me demonstrating "self referential touching" from the Female Non Verbal Behavior checklist. The only bad part of the class is that the program is being cut back due to budget cuts and our instructor will be leaving in a week or two. The good side of that is that the director of the speech department at the university will be taking over the program. This week he met with me and the graduate student that is assigned to work with me and went over the initial evaluation as well as doing some voice tests with me on the computer showing the pitch and resonance. This is nice, getting instant feedback and he kept encouraging me to raise the pitch more and I did get it into female levels over 175 Hz. My average pitch was testing at 163- 168 Hz and that is in the gender neutral range of 150-175Hz, almost female. He looked me over in the beginning and said that I appear female 9without my wig) and that my hands were not a give away like many trans patients he has worked with. Large hands are something that cannot be changed in any way and I am lucky my hands are small enough to be "passable". He said with a female appearance and mannerisms often even with a neutral voice I will often be read as female. I think that's what happens now most often out here in the real world. I think that with a good female voice I can pass, not just pass as in walking through a mall, dealing with a clerk or ordering food in a restaurant, but truly pass as in being able to work with people and relate on a day to day basis and not be read as less than female at birth. That is my goal anyway and I think that I am almost there.
We all have friends, real life and or online, that are very supportive and usually tell us what we want to hear or what will make us feel good. I love each and every one of my friends and appreciate all of them and their support. I am not used to having many friends so having so many in the trans/tg community is very nice even though most of them are far away or in state that I don't see often. I have a couple of friends that, even though they mean well, give me wacky advice and I have about learned to try not to take it to heart. There is one friend I correspond with some on Facebook that I have met in person a couple of times and she is a full time trans woman who has not fully transitioned and lives a couple states away. She is known to me as someone who can be quite blunt and tell it like it is while also being very supportive. A year or more before I started transitioning she would send me messages starting a conversation by saying "have you started hormones yet?" Now her usual initial message is "are you full time yet?" or sometimes "have you told your parents yet?" She has been telling me the whole time that my mom already knows and I am sure she is right, to an extent anyway. I am sure mom knows some things and has noticed some changes but what she does not know and will not until I tell her is that I am going to live full time as a woman and transition, like fairly soon. She doesn't expect that anymore than she expects the Spanish Inquisition.
So, I have been putting pictures on Facebook with my natural hair and have been getting more "likes" and comments on those than I ever have on other pictures. I think Facebook is much more "real" than any of the other social sites I am on. Flickr is often a fantasy land where people live out lives they do not in real life or maybe you see just a part of them, you don't always see the real deal. This is a part of Facebook also, I think you just don't see as many seriously closeted people there because they don't join Facebook for fear of being outed. Every once in awhile one will slip by and I will get messages asking me for naked pictures or such and then I "unfriend" them, blocking them. So my friend hit me up the other day and said she saw I was using my real hair. I said I was sometimes yes, and she said that it was almost long enough. I have friends who started living full time with shorter hair so I know I Could do it. Everything to me seems almost ready to take the plunge into living full time but not quite yet and I do hold myself to a high standard and have a high level of expectation. Maybe that is not being realistic but the stage I am getting into now is often referred to as the awkward phase of mid transition. It's hard to exist and be accepted as man or woman in this stage. I certainly feel much more comfortable on the female side and honestly if it wasn't for my parents situation I would take the plunge tomorrow. I am almost there and I can feel it, so once I take the take last steps up the mountain I know I will be ready for life as my true self in the peaceful valley on the other side.
"Y'all come back now, ya hear!"