Blog, Sweet Blog

Archive for August 2008

Mood: Incredibly ok
Music: Squarepusher-Dimotane Co

4:19 pm

I got an email from my Mom today. It was one of those mass forwards with a bunch of animal pictures in it. This one was entitled, “FW: Why dogs bite people…” and contained pictures like…

and

Ok, those are kind of funny, but it got me thinking. My Dad is also guilty of sending the same sort (although his forwards are of a more prurient bent) colossally unfunny forwards (yeesh, I send Cassy LOLcats all the time, it’s not the same tho). Is this something that older adults do? Like is it shorthand for, “I love you and am thinking about you and wanted to send you something to brighten your day/make you sick but I can’t be bothered or don’t have the time to actually tell you that.” Or do they think hearing that all the time (or infrequently) gets old and they need to “mix it up” or something? Lord knows, but I for one have had enough!

So, I changed my computer password like over a month ago and I still can’t remember it with any regularity. It’s getting better, but the first two weeks I assumed the old password’s keyboard position everytime I went to log on. It’s so weird how something like that becomes totally ingrained.

The teensiest little spider just walked across my desk so I took its picture…

img_2548

Ugh, I just swallowed my gum!

I added all of these early Van Halen albums to my iPod a while back because I wanted to see if there was anything to the Van Halen mystique other than their 1984 album. There isn’t. I’ve skipped most of the songs that come on and I think it’s time I gave them the old heave ho off the iPod.

The bad thing about being friendly with people and writing them emails is that you have to keep sending them emails.

Mood: Pretty good
Music: Modest Mouse-Trailer Trash

5:01 pm

Oh Deirdre, so much has happened!  Let’s skip the formalities and get right down to business.  So yeah, my breasts are out of control.  I really started to notice it this weekend.  I didn’t exercise at all and I kind of pigged out, so I was feeling sort of fatter than usual.  I looked down at some point and noticed that my breasts just seem huge.  Like, before now, they seemed like misshapen blobs of fat with a  little bit of breast tissue somewhere in the middle.  Now they’re like, I don’t know, less misshapen and sticking out more.  It didn’t seem like that big of a deal until I was out walking for lunch today…I really felt like I should have been wearing a sports bra and I am very paranoid about them at work.  It’s good and all, but kind of scary because I’m kind of depending on my breasts to tell me when it’s time to go full time.  Right now, I’m thinking sometime in the Spring, but if my girls keep growing like they have, then it might have to be sooner or I’ll have to buy some Ace bandages and batten them down.

So, electrolysis…I went for my first hour long session this past Saturday and WEE-YOW was that unpleasant.  It’s not that the pain was really really bad (it got pretty bad, but in some ways laser was worse) but the recovery and post-sesh Frankenstein face were pretty bad.  Here are some photos…

*ed. note: I’m not sure if I’m going to add these back in again…they’re a bit too personal for the Intarwebs.

These two were taken like 10 hours or so after the appointment.  What’s weird about the picture is that the red areas are not where she removed any hair.  That day she pretty much only did the chin/lower lip area and the sides of the upper lip.  I iced my face for hours and took some aspirin, it helped a lot, but that redness was weird.  Thankfully, it was all gone by the next day, but there’s no way I can get zapped and then go to work.  Oh yeah, when I got done with the session, I felt pretty good (happy that it was over) and walked outside with my little ice balloon. Well, I almost passed out when I saw my face in the car mirror.  It looked like I had been stung over and over again by wasps on the chin.  It was really horrible looking.  Now that I have some perspective, I realize it wasn’t that bad.  However, I’m sure it’s going to be quite a bit harder when she gets to the upper lip.  She might start it this Friday, so I arranged to buy some numbing cream (LMX-5) from Luanne, the owner.

Speaking of, Luanne is really nice, very cool, and a total sweetheart.  She has been working on trans girls for like 30 years and so she just kind of knows everything.  It’s fun to listen to her talk about stuff, but I have to fight the urge to participate in the conversation too much…I don’t want to slow her down by moving too much.  I set up the next three appointments and I’m going to try to go every week from now on if I can afford it.

So money has been giving me fits recently.  Jen told me last week that she’s moving out. L  I have a lot to say about this, but don’t have the energy to put together a bunch of new words.  Here’s some stuff I sent to Cassy this week…

Ugh, don’t even get me started on my ex-sister.  I guess she’s moving out this weekend.  I’m considering writing her a final “f-you” email detailing how she’s such a dumb, poorly-socialized, delusional, self-loathing, self-centered, monster who is doomed to fail and repeat her mistakes until she gets very serious about trying to fix herself through extensive/intensive psychotherapy and behavior modifying pharmaceuticals.  Then again, maybe that’s an infantile response.  Then again, she doesn’t respond when I’m acting like an adult either, so, I think any action I take will be wasted effort.

Yeah, so I don’t know what to do about old Jennifer.  I want to chuck her out of my life like so much spoiled produce, but that is not the mature response.  But what do I do about her continually poor behavior Deirdre?  She is a monster who’s limping through life without a clue.  And she won’t fix herself or go to her family for advice.  So, I really don’t know.  Cassy and I used to have this conversation about her sister all the time.  Like we both love our sisters, but they are fucking up and we don’t know how to help them.  I thought I could help Jen by letting her stay with me, but it’s like nothing has changed with us.  To top it all off, she said I was a freak vis a vis my transsexuality.  That was a very low blow and she’s one to talk.  Ugh, I guess I’ll just give her the silent treatment until she apologizes and keep bailing her out if she gets into trouble.  So anyway, now I need to get a couch or something for the living room.  Money is going to be very tight until December, but I don’t think I’ll get a roommate or anything…too many complications.

Cassy finally wrote me back!!!  She sent me a longish email on Sunday night and I was really happy to get it.  Basically, she said she’d been having a hard time but was going to try to be a better friend to me, that she had gotten and cashed the check I sent (bummer, thought she forgot), that she didn’t like the name Anna (she’s voting for Esther, L-O-L, or Donna), and that there’s no chance for us to get back together (that hurt, but less than you might think).  I am very upset that she’s shut the door on us getting back together.  Somehow though, I’m still not giving up.  Regardless of how it turns out, I’m just happy that she’s feeling better and might go back to being my friend sometime soon.  Like, I miss just talking to her so much.  She said that she hates that I’m killing the old me and that I won’t be the same.  I don’t think that’s true and I told her so.  I told her that I’ll look and sound different but that I’m not getting a brain transplant.  I hope she still likes me and doesn’t end up hating me like she does most women.  I’m going to keep on her though, she’s been my best friend for the last four years or so and I don’t ever want that to stop.

Finally, I’m getting closer to reaching out to the YouTube trans community.  I did a lot of work on my channel page this weekend and I feel like I’m ready to start posting some videos and reaching out to some of the other girls.  I sent out two emails and posted one comment today and one girl already sent me a friend request!  So, I think I’ll try to post a video this weekend after Jen has vacated the premises.

K, Deirds, that’s enough for now.

XOXO,

Anna

Mood: Eh, you know
Music: Fleetwood Mac-Don’t Stop (LOL)

11:20 pm

So, I think I almost might maybe be ready to post some videos on youtube.  Here are some video ideas and ideas for creative endeavors in general…

-My silent walk up the big hill

-A little sketch where I talk about how we’re wildlife adjacent and how I’m always afraid of getting mauled by a bear whenever I walk somewhere…like, coming out of the side door, on a hike, coming out of the bathroom.  The bear will be some sort of teddy bear or hand puppet and I can be played by a Barbie figure or something.

-Make a Chihuahua t-shirt for Mom.  Like silk screened and kind of abstract, maybe on a pink shirt.

12:55 pm

Coming out fantasies…So, I’m pretty much done with my coming out letter (yay me!) and while I was writing it, I was imagining all of the good things that will happen after I’m out…like Mom will take me out for an ice cream cone and we’ll talk and laugh and etc.  It was a sweet little fantasy and almost made me tear up.  I really hope something like that actually happens and we don’t get stuck in years of coming out hell like with Jen.

Mood: Woosh
Music: The Beatles-Julia

Ok, so I’m done with the coming out letter.  Wee-yow is it long, but I think it’s a really good letter and it should make my transition nearly painless :-).  I wrote the first one to my Mom and will send further edited copies out to Dad, Aunt Debbie, Charles, Melanie, Scott and Donna, Cassy, and Jen.  For posterity’s sake, here it is…

Hi Mom,

I’m so glad we’ve been able to trade some meaningful emails recently.  Over the years, I’ve discovered that having a positive relationship with my family is very important to me.  Of course, some of my familial relationships are easier to grow and maintain than others, but they are all worth the effort.

I may not say it as often as I should, but I love you and Tom very much.  In your way, you two have always been there for me and supported me through good times and bad.

As you know, I have been seeing a therapist for some time.  I started seeing one in the middle of April just as things were getting really bad with Cassy.  I decided to start therapy because I was trying to find some way to cope with being a transsexual.  Take a deep breath; I know this is a shock.  The definition of a transsexual  is a person who strongly identifies with the opposite sex and may seek to live as a member of this sex especially by undergoing surgery and hormone therapy to obtain the necessary physical appearance (as by changing the external sex organs).

A lot of transsexuals say they always felt like they were born in the wrong body or knew they were girls from their earliest memories.  I didn’t really feel that way.  I always felt like I was very different from other boys, but it’s like I wasn’t able to comprehend what that might have meant.  I cross-dressed from a very early age (six or seven) but I wasn’t able to classify how I really felt until my middle teens.  I don’t know if you remember this Mom, but you attempted to have a conversation about my cross-dressing with me while I lived with you in Evergreen.  Jen was seeing that male therapist (I was 17 I think) and you asked me if I wanted to talk to him as well.  I wanted to tell you everything right then and there, but it was like my mouth was incapable of forming the words.  I had no idea how to explain my feelings to anyone, so I kept quiet for years.

I’ve been pretty unhappy for a lot of those years and I think most of that had to do with my discomfort in having to act like a male.  I’ve tried a lot of different things to silence the voice in the back of my head (drinking a lot, joining the Army, getting engaged, etc.) but nothing has worked.  I’ve always felt like I was living a fake life and that has caused me to be very depressed at times, made me perform poorly in school and at work, and kept me from forming strong relationships with my family or friends.   Therapy and the realization that I can make some positive changes in my life have allowed me to be truly happy for the first time in years.

As you may have guessed, this is the real reason that Cassy and I broke up.  I told her about this about 6 months before we got engaged and she didn’t seem to mind.  In retrospect, I think she wasn’t able to fully process or believe what I was saying at the time.  After I started talking about transitioning more and more, I think she finally realized what I was really talking about and it turned out to be too much for her.  As I’ve said, my feelings towards Cassy have never changed.  I still love her more than anything and want to spend my life with her, but I’m still waiting to see if she can feel the same way about me given all the changes I’m going through.

So, if you’re still with me, you’d probably like to know my plans for the future.  Some of my plans are dependant on what’s called the Benjamin Standards of Care.  These standards specify how transition from one sex to the other should be accomplished and are supposed to ensure that that I’m making the right decision for me.  I began the process in April by seeking out a therapist who was specifically trained in gender issues.  My therapist, Dr. S, has a Doctor of Psychology from DU (undergrad from Dartmouth) and she’s very good…I’ve included her number at the end of the letter.  After a number of sessions, Sarah determined that I was not crazy, that I was sincere about wanting to begin my transition, and that I was doing this for the right reasons.  Sarah sent my family doctor (who has a lot of experience with transsexual patients) a letter giving her blessing to begin hormone replacement therapy.  I have been taking 200 mg of Spironolactone (and androgen blocker) and 4 mg of Estradiol (estrogen) for the past four months.  The changes have been slow, but are noticeable.  I see my family doctor once every three months for a check up and blood work.  So far, I’m doing well and in good health.  I have been working on my voice and facial hair removal (hormones do not help with either) for a few months now.  I started with laser hair removal in May but switched to electrolysis a couple of months ago.

Over the next week or so, I will have come out to everyone (you, Dad, Aunt Debby, my friends…Jen has known for years) that is important to me…except for work.  I’m still not sure when I will come out at work…I’m thinking sometime in the Spring maybe.  Before I come out at work, I will have completed a legal name change with the state.  I’m pretty sure I will go by Anna P, but I am open to suggestions for a first and middle name. With the name change, I can change the gender marker, name, and picture on my driver’s license; change my information with Social Security, credit cards and other accounts.  After all of that is changed and I have come out to my boss and HR, I will begin living as a woman full-time.  The Standards of care specify that I need to have lived as a woman full time for a minimum of one year before I can get clearance for any surgery.  My plan is to get sexual reassignment surgery, but I can’t say when that will be…it’s very expensive, like $15-20,000 and is not usually covered by insurance.  There’s a very good surgeon (Dr. Marci Bowers) that splits her time between here (Trinidad actually) and Seattle.  If I were to get surgery, she would be at the top of my list.

I’m not sure why I am this way Mom, but you should know that this isn’t you or Dad’s fault.  I think the most common explanation is that there is a difference in brain chemistry due to hormonal exposure during fetal development.  So, this has nothing to do with the fact that you and Dad got divorced, or that you were a single Mom, or anything…I think I would have turned out the same way if none of that had happened.

I know you worry about Jen and I and, no matter what it seems like, I really do appreciate it Mom.  You know I’m not a rash or impulsive person and that I try to give careful consideration to any new situation.  I’ve given this decision literally years and years of thought, study, and planning.  I know this is the right decision for me and that this is probably the only way that I can be truly happy in life. Things are going to get a bit harder for me as I adjust to my new life, but I’ll be careful.  I know that women in general (and trans women in particular) have a lot more to worry about when it comes to personal safety.  I don’t have to exchange my common sense for hormones, so I should still be able to take care of myself like I have been for the past ten years.  I am willing to change any behavior of mine that isn’t safe.  Also, believe it or not, I pass for a woman pretty easily…and it will get even easier the longer I’m on hormones.  So, I’m not too concerned with negative public reactions. Anyway, please keep up the normal Mom-type worrying, but I think I’m going to be alright.

Ok, so here’s what I expect from you…

-read this letter very carefully, share it with Tom, and try to fully digest what I’m saying and why I’m saying it.

-do some research on your own…call my therapist if you want, visit some websites, check out the library, or talk to some friends or Jen.

-when you’re ready, call me or send me a letter of some kind.  I want you in my life now more than ever but that means we’re going to have to talk about this some time.  Bring all of the questions you want and, hopefully, an open mind.

-eventually, I’m going to want you to treat me (and relate to me) as a woman, girl, daughter, etc.  The biggest part of that is getting the pronouns (switching from he to she) and my name right most of the time.  I know this will be hard and will take a while, but I’ll wait :-).  I’m pretty relaxed about pronouns and names now, but as time goes on and I get closer to going full-time, misgendering me and using my old name will really start to hurt my feelings.  Also, I clearly remember when Jen came out to you and how that was received.  We’ve all had a lot of time to deal with it and have learned a lot since then.  So, I hope things go a lot more smoothly this time.

-finally, try to be understanding…this is the most difficult thing I have gone through in my entire life.  My emotions and confidence change minute by minute right now and will probably get worse as I get closer to going full-time.  Many people compare this time period to a second puberty.  So, if you ever catch me acting like a moody 13 year old girl, please try to be patient with me…I’ll get over it in a few minutes.  If that doesn’t work, apply ice cream or hugs until the symptoms clear.

I know this is going to be hard for you Mom, but you’ll see that this is the best decision.  If you’re worried that you’re going to lose the person you’ve come to know and love, don’t.  I will look different, sound a little different, and act a little more like a girl, but I always be the smart, sweet, loveable, funny, kind, adorable, (I could go on :-)), naïve, and mixed-up kid you’ve always known.  And, believe it or not, there’s a lot of funny in all of this transition stuff.  We’re all going to have a big laugh about all of this someday, I promise.

I love you and Tom more than anything in the whole wide world and I can’t wait to talk to you.

Sincerely,

Anna

p.s.  So, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of resources for you.  If you need me to send a book or any other articles, let me know.

Lynn Conway’s Website

Dr. Lynn Conway is a professor emeritus in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan, she cowrote the textbook on VLSI (very large scale integration, the basis for all computer processor design), she’s transsexual, and a hero of mine.  Her website has a lot of good information and the Transsexual Women’s Successes page has profiles on tons of amazingly successful transsexual women.

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TSsuccesses/TSsuccesses.html

Transsexual Road Map

Andrea James is another superstar in the community.  She’s a succesfull businesswoman and television/movie producer.  Her and her friend, Calpernia Adams, recently spoke at the Vagina Monologues.  She established this website a long time ago and it’s a reference I always find myself going back to.

http://tsroadmap.com/

My YouTube Channel

I subscribe to a lot of TS girls video channels(click on subscriptions).  Some of them are having an easier time of it than others and all of them are at different stages of transition.  But they’re all beautiful and wonderful in their own way and I love following along with their lives…karmatic1110, riftgirl, gothique11, grishno, icecoldbath, fiddlejamie, Jayhawke, and blickblocks are some of my favorites.

Susan’s Place Forums

This is a discussion group that a lot of girls use.  The discussions are broken down by sections, so you can read at your own pace.  Also, I think there’s a section for significant others (which include parents).  You can connect with other parents or ask your own questions if you want.

http://www.susans.org/forums/index.php

TS FAQ

Here’s a decent FAQ (frequently asked questions) list.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040730143820/www.tsfaq.info/

My Son, My Daughter-an article from Ladies’ Home Journal

An article written by mother dealing with her son’s transition.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040622195507/www.genderweb.org/family/myson.html

True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism-For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals by Mildred L. Brown & Chloe Ann Rounsley

-This is supposed to be like the book that everyone gives out.  I’ve not read it, but am considering buying it to give out.

Wee-yow!  Now I just need to sit on it for a couple of months until I’m ready to send it out.  That will be hard, I want to send it out now.

Mood: Full of wonder and excitement
Music: Aphex Twin-Matchsticks

1:48 pm

Fucking-a…so I’m working on my coming out letter (appearing in major mailboxes at the end of October!) and the thought of sending it out to everyone (especially my Mom and Dad) is filling me with a strange mix of emotions.   I’m basically feeling some joy and nervousness, some elation, a bit of nausea and revulsion, crushing dread, some sadness, and extreme uncertainty mixed with alternating periods of lightheadedness. U-g-h!  I’ve been looking at a lot of coming out letter for guidance.  They’ve helped, but I realized pretty quickly that I’d have to write my own thing and that there wasn’t a form letter I could just download and fill in the blanks.  LOL, that’s funny…

Dear _______,

I, (insert old name here), your son/daughter, has always felt more like a man/woman than a man/woman and always enjoyed playing with dolls and ponys/trucks and blocks more than dolls and ponys/trucks and blocks and is currently undergoing procedures to transition from a male/female gender role to a male/female.

Regards,

(Insert new name here)

Anyway, I’ll post it here when I finish it.

5:35 pm

“I’m so damn tired, who walks beside you, can’t hear myself, who will surprise you now, in all these hours, I’ll heal myself”

As Night As Now by Mates of State

I’ve quoted these lyrics a few times and aside for the line about being tired, I’m not really sure what the Mates are trying to say.  Maybe Kori’s going to sleep and can’t get Jason’s voice out of her head.  Maybe she’s dreaming about her and Jason breaking up and those are his words of reproach/parting shots. Who knows?  I do know that I could prolly earn a Master’s thesis if I could put together a coherent analysis of their lyrics.  Anyway, I like the song and Mates of State a lot and I often think of them when I’m not feeling so great…like now.  I feel tired and that opens me up to all kinds of…negativity?  I just want to go home and go to sleep.  I haven’t been sleeping well at all for the past week or so and I’m not sure what the problem is.  It could be my fight with Jen or it might have something to do with the Spironolactone.  Regardless, I don’t like it.  I have enough problems without being able to sleep at night.  Maybe going home early tonight isn’t such a bad idea.  I feel like I need to go to the gym tho…post taco bell regret.

Here are some random thoughts…

-I can’t find a comfortable way to sit in my chair and it’s making everything worse.  I want to cross my legs under me yoga style, but it’s hard to get everything to fit in the chair that way.

-It seems like everyone decided to leave at noon or something today.  I just went to the bathroom and there isn’t a soul here except for me and Dr. S.

-Speaking of the bathroom, it’s getting harder and harder for me to walk into the men’s bathroom.  It’s not like I don’t feel like I belong in there any more, it’s more like I feel like a spy or an outsider, k, that might be the same as not belonging.  Anyway, I don’t like it and I feel like I get some slightly odd looks sometimes.

-I wrote Cassy a mega email today.  I really hope she reads it and answers me sometime.

Ok, I’m going to go to the gym for a bit then head home.  Oh forget it, I’m just going to go home.

XOXO,

Anna


an introduction





Hi, I'm Anna and I love cheese!

This blog is a chronicle of my life and a catalog of happy ephemera. The About page has a little bit more information, but, remember, none of this is really me...it's just a supplement, a thumbnail sketch, a mostly anonymous Intarwebs placeholder. I'm way better/less wordy in person. :-)

Oh, and if I wrote something about you and you thought it was mean or hurtful, I'm sorry. It's how I felt at the time, but probably isn't how I feel now. Chances are, I love you and I think you're awesome.

copyright

All content on Blog, Sweet Blog is copyrighted by me, Anna Hell. Unless otherwise noted, all photos, words, and content on this site are mine, created by me, and should not be used without my permission (or at least attributed and linked back). I try to embed links or quote original source material if I use another person's work.

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