Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Writer's Block and HRT Update

Back when I was in school I used to write all the time.  I loved English class, wrote for the school paper and was always writing poems and short stories that the adults loved.  I made good grades and had praise heaped me me for my writing ability.  I was to be a writer one day.  After what I recall as a very happy childhood I entered my teen years and things were not as bright anymore.  My writing style changed and I began to write more of what I guess could be called dark poetry and negative things.  I was called to the principal's office about it and there was some concern among the adults.  I know I didn't write anything threatening or dangerous but apparently they no longer liked what I had to say.  My parents found notebooks full of stuff I had written and sent me to a psychologist.  I remember that as a very negative experience and their conclusion was that I was normal but very unhappy.  So all that pretty much put an end to my writing.  Except for school necessities and work related things I have written very little down on paper since then.  When I started using computers I began to type online. It didn't seem quite as bad because I could type on a machine and have the words erased with the click of a button. 

So that was the origin of my writer's block that I still struggle with today and it adds challenge to keeping a regular blog.  I like to be creative in my writing and I have been trying to come up with an idea for a week or two for my next update.  I don't want to just spew facts but I would like to make my writing (blog) at least somewhat creative and meaningful.  There has been a lot of water under the bridge since those teen years, the beginning of my dark years, and I have also killed a lot of brain cells since then as well as gotten out of the practice of writing and being creative.  I honestly think I have come up with some great ideas from time to time (poetry, song lyrics , story ideas etc.) over this long period but I have either not written them not down or written something and then threw it away.

More relevant to my life than the writer's block is the dark mood and sense of foreboding that has been with me since those teenage years writing dark poetry.  I have managed to have some good times since then, especially in the last few years as I have been exploring my own gender situation more, getting out and expressing myself.  There has always been an underlying sense of dread however, and a sense that something was really wrong with me as well as a certain feeling that I was dying.  Every disease I ever read about I would have the symptoms of it.  I never made plans far into the future because I never thought I would make it that far.  The only good thing about that was that on my good days I would try to enjoy life as much as I could and live each day as if it was my last.  After all there wouldn't be many more, I believed.  I didn't usually sit around depressed all the time but I was never content and never cared much about self preservation.  Its amazing that I made it this far with that attitude but thank goodness it didn't become a self fulfilling prophesy.  Sometime within the last few years I began to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.  At least I was finding fulfillment in part of my life and I felt like I had something to live for.

Seeing the light way down at the end of the tunnel, I began to follow it.  I never expected to find a way out but I could not help but follow the light.  As I moved farther through the tunnel the light got brighter and I began to believe at least a little bit there there was a possible way out and that maybe I would live after all.  After all I had made this far thinking I had one foot in the grave and that there was no way out.  Maybe I was wrong.  All allegory aside, when I began to examine my own life, how I got here and what was next some rationality began to overcome the fear and dread.  Party through therapy and mostly through self introspection I believe it was the moment I decided that I could transition, that I desperately needed to and that was no other way for me to survive, that the fear and dread began to subside.  Today I can see a path, a future for me.  I am sure it will not be exactly like I imagine it now, but at least I do imagine a future and have goals to achieve my vision of my future.  If I imagine that transition were to be taken away from me and I had to go back to my previous fate, I do not see a future.  The path is again dark.

This brings me to the key point of my update on my transition so far.  It is like a dark cloud has finally passed and the sun is shining through again.  Around the first of this year I began to see enough light at the end of the tunnel that I started to believe I might could crawl out.  I don't know how much of my general mood change came from my own self realization and acceptance and how much was due to medication.  Around the end of February when I started taking testosterone blockers much of my anxiety decreased to the point I was able to get off anxiety medicine I had been on for years.  In the spring when I started taking hormones things got much brighter inside and life began to make some sense.  I reported in a previous update feeling a high from the medication but now I don't feel that as much per se.  It has become the new normal and life still has its up and downs but now I feel more at ease, generally happier and more comfortable in my own skin.  The mental well being that has come over me is the greatest effect of my transition and HRT treatment so far. 

The physical effects of hormones take at least 2-5 years to be realized but at the 3 month point I am experiencing a lot of changes though most are subtle and are coming along slowly.  Breast growth is the effect that most people key on and seem to be most interested in.  As I reported in previous updates, my breasts had begun to bud and grow somewhat in the month or 2 before I started HRT.  I had been taking natural herbs containing phytoestrogen for about 7 months and when I started taking the T blockers I began to see some results.  In the weeks since my last update at 6 weeks they have continued to grow and the biggest change is that they are rounder and fuller as well as just sticking out.  I am beginning to see some natural cleavage forming and the A cup bra is filling nicely. 

My rear end has definitely gotten bigger and its pushing out into my hips some too.  I think that is where most of the 6 pounds I have gained since starting hormones have gone.  I have lost some muscle mass and definition but that still has a good ways to go.  What concerns me is if I am losing muscle that should decrease weight but it must be being replaced by something.  Some of the weight has gone to the mid section too so I need to start working out again after taking the last couple weeks off during my lazy birthday period.  My appetite just seems to be a little more prolific and I know its easier for me to put on weight now.  I just like some of the weight gain because its giving me some curves I never had so I have not been vigilant.  In the past I only would gain weight in my belly and face so fat distribution is changing now.

I am finally starting to notice body hair coming in a little bit slower.  It may be getting thinner also but I never let it come out enough to really analyze that.  This is more noticeable on the extremities like the arms and lower legs.  I was reading a forum post the other day about someone that has started shaving their arms and now it was growing back in thicker.  I noticed this same thing a few years ago when I started shaving my arms.  The hair came back in thicker and darker and there seemed to be more of it.  After a couple of days the stubble would be noticeable which wasn't a huge problem because I kept shaving them.  Now even if I don't shave my arms for a few days I can feel something but cannot see anything there.  I don't think facial hair is coming in slower yet but there is less of it from electrolysis.  The hair on my head seems to be thicker but I don't know if that's from hormones or just growing it out.  I have never had a problem with thinning hair, it just seems thicker now or more prolific. 

Emotionally and mentally I do not feel much different except for the better mood I described earlier.  I have had a couple of events happen that caused me to be more emotional but I am not experiencing what I would call mood swings.  I feel like I have always had a female brain anyway so I don't seem to be having to adjust as much mentally as some describe, or maybe it is just too soon to tell.  I do think the hormones I am getting now are more natural for the way my brain is wired than what my body produces and that's why I feel more at ease now and comfortable in my own skin.

So I think that covers most of the effects of my HRT treatment so far.  I will keep updating so if I miss anything it will be added later.  I do apologize for taking so long to get this update out.  No excuses but besides the prevailing writer's block I had a birthday in which I gave myself a week (or more lol) not to really do anything and I have been busy on the weekends.  I am going to close this post now and start to work on a life update to be posted very soon, about what I have been up to in general.  I am still going to try to post at least one update a week, but realize I may miss a week here and there.  That's ok because that means the next update will include more and more :)  Life goes on in Tammy World and the summer is winding down.  I do hope that y'all stay tuned because things are about to get a little more interesting.

                                              Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coming Soon

Today I started my fourth month of hormones and I went to the doctor to get my hormone levels checked and other systems checked since increasing the dose last month.  I will go back for the doctor's appointment to review the results next Thursday.  After getting my blood drawn in Cary I went out to lunch then did a little shopping in Cary before heading home.  Tomorrow I'm going to Raleigh for an overnight date with my boyfriend and then coming home Saturday night to look after my dogs and I will have the house to myself.  He has to work Sunday so we are going out Friday night.  I'm going to wait until I get back to do my three month HRT update and I get to include all this other stuff plus my birthday, which is Sunday.  I'm only partially looking forward to my birthday and I will explain that in the update, but I am looking forward to the next couple of days. So I apologize for not getting my full update posted this week but I will have a more exciting expanded update after the weekend.   Stay tuned and I hope everyone has a great weekend.  If you need a reason to celebrate you can use the excuse of my birthday; and its also the birthday of President Bill Clinton and Orville Wright of the flying Wright brothers.  I wonder who else's birthday it is?  The only good thing about the day for me is getting presents (and flowers delivered to my house today, thanks Mitchell) and the fact that it will be last birthday celebrated with me having my old legal name.  Next year it will be Tammy:)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

As the Tammy World Turns

So this is my thirteenth blog post and I hope that number is not a jinx.  I could just cut it and skip to 14 like the block numbers on my street (skips from 1200 to 1400 blocks) but I will roll with it.  The first 12 entries have been a fun exercise for me, getting back into writing a bit after a long while away from it.  I am really pleased to have received over 5000  page views so far and that is encouraging but yet a little daunting when you consider that so much of my personal life is shared here.  I have sort of been sharing things in pieces and I think over time  a more complete picture will be painted.  For the most part this blog is devoted to my transition from male to female.  I include a good deal of my personal life here because it is relevant to my transition as is every aspect of my life.  I have mentioned that things are very complicated now and that they are.  I have a boyfriend and it is a serious relationship even though we are both still married to other people.  This separation/divorce thing is not as simple as I would like it to be and the economy and my personal financial situation makes it even more difficult.  In his case he does have a separation agreement with his wife but they cannot currently afford to have 2 separate residences right now.  He does work and stay out of town 5 or 6 nights and a week and usually spends one night with me so he is home about one night a week.  In my case I am here with my wife most of the time but she knows everything about my relationship and supports it.  She has finally accepted me as a woman I think or at least accepts me as transsexual and we actually get along better as friends than ever.  She has no problem with just being friends because that is all we have been for well over half the time I have known her and I have known her half my life.  Now we are friends that get along for the most parts and share with each other rather than being friends with a lot of tension between us, secrets and poor communication.  In his case also, secrets are out of the hat now as he came out to his wife fairly recently about his side of the relationship.  Since a divorce is looming it makes it even more complicated.

So here we are in a complicated life trying to enjoy the simple things.  :)  I realize that for all the fulfillment and joy having a relationship brings me just the fact of having a relationship right now makes things even more complicated.  Some people may not approve of it because we are both married, because of my gender situation, or whatever.  My biggest concern with it is with my parents.  I really think that they will come around and accept me but it will be much harder to get them to accept me having a boyfriend.  Yes its very complicated and a liability for me in some ways but honestly I would not trade my man for anything in the world right now.  I would not trade having him for all the beauty, acceptance, fame, fortune all the things you only dream about.  Having my man is the most special thing that has ever happened to me and I feel I am truly blessed and very thankful to have this opportunity.  It is the kind of relationship I have always wanted and I was especially blessed to hit the jackpot with the right man.  The main thing is that I am very much in love with him.  He is one that reminds me every day how much he loves me, in fact much more often than that, and he has never treated me as anything but the woman I am and always with respect.  Its weird being my age and never having been in love like this before but he does not take advantage of that fact and I know he feels blessed too.  Still the situation is very, very complicated but I know it will get better and I feel in my heart it will work out eventually.  We both have high hopes and good intentions so stay tuned and we will see how it works out.  I have chosen to open up and share my life in this blog so I am going to stick with it and pray for a beautiful life :)

Between my Flickr sites, my blog and Facebook I am pretty out there on the web these days.  I may live in a small, backward community and have limited resources to travel much outside of it but I am worldwide on the Internet.  Daily views on this blog have gone from a couple a day to around 100 and my main Flickr site now gets at least a couple of thousand views daily on average.  So it seems I am developing a pretty good audience and I have chosen to share my life with the world in pictures and words.  I really hope I can do some good with it as well as have some fun.  So many people have reached out to me and told me that they appreciate what I am sharing and they find some sort of encouragement or inspiration from my experience.  Many of them are tg girls wanting to come out of the closet and many of them are married.  I think some of them will actually break through and find a way a way out.  It won't be easy but I am trying to show it can be done and sharing is my way of giving back.  I appreciate the inspiration and support/encouragement I have received from so many along the way and am still receiving.  Coming out is something you will only do if you really need to and not just want to in most cases.  Transition especially is something you will only do if it is an absolute need and not just a want.  Even then many will approach it timidly or be dragged along kicking and screaming by their own consciousness or circumstances.  I am just going to roll with it and I have fought it but I will fight it no more.  I am giving 100% focus to my transition and I think that is the only way one can be successful with it.

All I ask from my readers is please don't judge me.  I am not trying to be a role model, I am only trying to share my experience.  It helps me to write and this blog is sort of like a journal for me.  Every one's situation is different and for those that are happily married I always advise them to try as hard as they can to stay that way.  Marriages can and do survive a lot, even a crossdressing husband and yes even a gender transition.  In my case my marriage was over before it began.  She will always be family to me but there is no logical reason to define our relationship as a marriage.  So we will work that out legally and I think we have found a happy place for the current moment at least.  In his case there are children involved and there was a real love there at one time but he was calling her his ex wife long before we met and functioning openly as if he is divorced.  I know there has been and continues to be a lot of pain in that separation and maybe in some ways having me helps him through it. I hope so and really hope that they can work it out as painlessly as possible regardless of what happens in the future between him and I. 

So here we are as the Tammy World Turns and like sand through the hourglass these are the days of lives.  I do miss the old soap opera As the World Turns.  I used to watch it with my grandmother along with The Guiding Light.  Back in the old days I used to watch the Young and the Restless and the Bold and the Beautiful also.  Most of those shows are off the air now as well as the whole daytime soap opera genre and its just as well because I do not watch television in the daytime anymore.  Its just too unproductive and besides the internet is much more interesting.  You always have a soap opera like Tammy World to watch if you enjoy that kind of thing, lol.  One day I will probably include a video blog (vlog) in here and expand my horizons a bit.  We are not paid actors, this is reality but that's good because reality is in right now.  Reality is here, reality hits you on top of the head, reality is in your face.  I tried to escape reality for too long now I am dealing with the good and bad of it.  Its exciting and interesting and I get a kick out of little things like waking up in the morning. 

Next weeks post will include a 3 month HRT update and who knows what else.  I am just happy to be in Tammy World and happy to share it with y'all and that's the good, the bad and the ugly.  So far so good for the most part but when it gets ugly I will share that too and I appreciate all the support. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dirty Chicken

The steamy summer continues here in Eastern North Carolina although showers have cooled temperatures down into the 80's today, its back to mid 90's tomorow with heat index (humidity) making it feel like 100 or more.  I mention the weather because this summer I have gotten comfortable wearing women's shorts and that is what I am wearing most of the time now.  Its just a matter of confidence and I came to the realization that very few women my age have perfect legs and a few blemishes or scars are not worth wearing jeans for in 100 degree weather.  Last summer when I would go out I would wear jeans and usually a Spanx super panty to hold my stomach in as well as a butt pad panty to add a little behind.  My figure is a little better now so I am not wearing the Spanx and my own butt is enlarging so I've put up that pad as well.  I just hope the figure holds up because when I weighed last weekend I was up 4 pounds form my May weight and I am now trying to turn the upward trend around.  My waist is smaller though and size 8 is fitting best.  Right now I am wearing some little jeans shorts that I usually do not go out in, not because they aren't appropriate but because they may not be age appropriate.

This stretch of summer its a little slow here in Tammy World and days like today I am inside in the air conditioning listening to pop music, exercising and of course working on my blog :)  This morning when I went to my parents for breakfast and then I have the rest of the day to come home and be myself.  Tomorrow I will go down for breakfast with them again and then head to Raleigh for a date with my boyfriend as he has a hotel suite reserved there for us.  He is going on vacation with his kids so I won't see him this weekend but we had an awesome time last weekend in wide awake Wilson, NC.  The rest of the week should be great, head to Raleigh tomorrow afternoon and spend the night and part of Friday with him.  Then when I take him to pick up his rental car for vacation I will likely hang around Raleigh and go shopping.  I will have the house to myself Saturday night but I am invited to a  small party in Raleigh so I might leave the dogs here for awhile and drive back up making it three straight days in Raleigh en femme.

Some things to watch for in August are my 3 month HRT update I will do in the middle of the month and my birthday right after that.  I also go back to the doctor for a full blood test of everything including hormone levels on August 16th and I don't know if that will entail an actual visit or not.  I have not seen my therapist in 5 weeks and I guess I need to call and schedule another appointment.  I cancelled my last appointment 2 weeks ago because I already had too many doctor's visits that week between me and my dad and her office texted me to cancel yesterday's appointment due to a conflict she had.  I am doing/feeling really good now and any depression issues are very minimal but I am needing some therapy/direction as I get myself together to come out to my parents sometime in the next month or two, that is my goal time frame anyway.  Everest looms and I am closing in on the summit although the path is becoming clearer.

My next 2 target dates in my transition are my birthday August 19th and the first day of Fall (Autumnal Equinox) on September 22nd.  These target dates are something I give myself as a goal to progress at something or give up something as steps in my transition.  The seasonal goals are something that has worked for me.  Winter goals were to get going in therapy, start letting my hair grow out and begin facial hair removal, check.  Spring goals were getting started on HRT and resetting my hair removal and starting electrolysis after the laser hair removal debacle, check.  Summer goals are start getting more comfortable going out with no wig and of course reaching the summit of Mount Everest (coming out to my parents).  So far I have blown all the goals away and stayed ahead of schedule on everything.  This summer I am progressing and going out more with my own hair and not getting clocked much I don't think, but the other goal is worrying me.  I have already pushed the coming out date deadline back to end of September and I am already feeling the urge to push it back into October.  On the other side of the coin it is getting very difficult to spend any amount of time with my parents and not be tempted to tell them.  There is a strong urge to do what I know I need to do but its tempered by fear.  Fear of actually opening my mouth and letting the words come out as well as fear of repercussions.  One thing I am working with my therapist on is developing a coming out letter for them but this will be something I hand to them in person while talking to them instead of mailing it.  The Fall goals right now are to get my hair styled somewhat after just continuing to let it grow all summer and trying to get my parents used to the real me.  There is a lot of uncertainty on the second one but the back up goal is  to come out if I have not already. 

One reason I am taking some of the pressure off coming out to my parents right now is that in my original plan for the year I had this is a goal that could be done as late as December 31.  I moved it up to a summer goal so stay tuned and see how that goes.  As far as my birthday as a target date I want it to signify something but I don't have anything specific yet.  I will definitely keep working on everything and perhaps turn it up a notch but I am comfortable being female in any situation now and I don't have much male left to give up.  Perhaps a green light to come out will be the significance of that target date. 

This is a personal blog and I try to steer clear of political and controversial issues here, but I have to weigh in on this whole sorted Chick Fil A drama that's unfolding here in the south.   The president of Chick Fil A is a right wing Christian activist that gives a lot of money to anti LGBT causes and recently went on record as being for traditional marriage and against marriage equality.  In fact he went as far as to say that gay marriage is the result of a "deprived mind" and calls it "twisted up kind of stuff".  In my opinion the man is entitled to his views and he can chose where to spend his money but somehow his restaurant chain has gotten involved and its become a huge controversy over a very divisive issue.  Most of the chain's restaurants are located in the southeastern USA and here in North Carolina we are still bleeding from the vitriolic debate over the "marriage amendment" from the spring election.  My first foray into starting my blog was a commentary on that election and I had in mind deleting that original post and letting the "Coming Out" post start it off.  Now I think I will leave it up and from time to time I might discuss some relevant current issue here.

Today is "Chick Fil A Appreciation Day" and all the good conservatives and church going Southern Baptists are supposed to be eating at Chick Fil A to show their support for the restaurant, or rather their opposition to anything outside the traditional norm as they see it.  On Facebook this issue has gotten out of control and on some of the pages there are thousands of comments on each post with  views posted on both sides.  What is so unnerving to me is the hate being spewed from the right, there is some on both sides and although I am biased being a member to a degree of the LGBT community and also libertarian.  I really see the most vitriol coming from the right on this issue.  They think they have the bible on their side and that anybody that supports marriage equality, whether they are gay or straight, is going to hell.  I thought Christians were supposed to love all people and were instructed in the bible not to judge.  That is the most disappointing thing about this whole issue is the sheer level of judgement being handed down and the righteous attitude of those doing the judging.  Issues like this show me that the mainstream christian community here in America and especially here in the "Bible Belt" south has lost complete touch with the message of love and peace that I get when I read about Jesus in the New Testament.  The appreciation day movement will probably be wildly successful here as I have seen reports form a nearby city of major traffic jams around the restaurant today.  Tomorrow there are protests from the marriage equality side at Chick Fil A's planned and Saturday I believe is the same sex kiss day at Chick Fil A restaurants everywhere.  This could get interesting but I am sick of the whole mess really and all the hate being spread does make for some very dirty chicken.  Anyone up for a hamburger?