Month: June 2013

ID Mishaps

I went to a local restaurant/brewery today to celebrate my graduation that happened a couple of weeks ago. I ordered a beer since we were at a brewery. The waitress asked for my ID and looks at, then looks back at me. I smiled at her, and she days to me, “You cut your hair?” Really? It’s pretty obvious my hair is shorter than my ID picture. I’m pretty sure she thought my ID didn’t belong to me. But why would any guy get a fake ID that had a female name and gender marker? I have to admit though, it was kind of nice having someone doubt I was female. So far in my transition, I’m consistently identified as female, or people avoid using any sort of gendered words. Next week, after my court hearing, I plan to head straight to the DMV to get a new ID.

In other news, I got my binder for swimming from Underworks today. I’m looking forward to trying that out. I tried it out, and the compression seems pretty good. I’m interested to see what it’s like when wet and after a bit of use.

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2 months on T!

Well, today is my 2 months on T, as you can tell from the title of my post. Looking at my pre-T photos and the pictures that I managed to take of myself today, I can definitely see a difference in my muscle definition in my back. The chest is harder to tell, which is why I decided to try the new post that’s in the last pic. I must have taken around 20 photos. I’m super picky. It’s a lot easier when Alex takes the pictures for me, but I’m not sure how many more opportunities I’ll have for that.

As far as other changes I’ve noticed, I think the hair on my chin has doubled from about 10 hairs to 20 hairs, haha. I guess that’s something. I have noticed an increase in hair on my thighs which used to have very light, fine hair. Also, my calves used to have no hair at all, but now there it is beginning to fill in. My voice has changed. It feels different in my chest when I speak or sing. Either the oiliness of my face has calmed down or I’ve gotten used to it, but the acne associated with the initial increase in oil on my face has also calmed down. I had a 7 week break from my period, but it unfortunately came last week. Hopefully, it will stay away for good this time. I haven’t noticed any fat redistribution yet. I hope that starts to happen soon. I’m really self-conscious about my hips and thighs. I always have been, but I think even more so now that I’ve been on testosterone. I haven’t really noticed any changes at all in aggression or my ability to cry as I’ve seen others talk about.

I saw my doctor last week, and we decided to increase my dose to 150 mg/2 weeks. I was on what my doctor considers the lowest dose starting out, and we haven’t seen any adverse affects, so my doctor thought it would be safe to increase my dose.

Other than that, I’ve been ridiculously busy with work since I graduated. It is both really nice and kind of sucks at the same time, but in the end, I think all the hard work will pay off. My court date for my name and gender change is at the end of next week. I’m really looking forward to getting a new ID that will have my real name and gender on it. I wonder what that will be like since I pass about only 5% of the time. A lot of times, people (cashiers and those types of people) will call me sir, but then they’ll look at me again and say, “Oh sorry ma’am.” The best thing I can muster up to say is “it’s okay.” Or I just get called ma’am or whatever from the start. I’m really looking forward to when I can grow some facial hair. I feel like that will help with people misgendering me.

Until next time!

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Graduation and Dysphoria

This morning as I was dressing for my graduation, I was planning to wear the same clothes that I got about a week and a half ago that I wore for my final presentation. I grabbed my pants and shirt from the dryer since I was trying to dewrinkle them without the use of an iron (because I don’t actually own one). Anyway, at first, I tried to put an undershirt on because I thought my binder could be seen through my shirt last time I wore it (or at least I could see it, and that made me self-conscious). Anyway, that didn’t work at all because it just made everything too tight, and the fabric obviously pulled at the buttons. So, I removed the undershirt and tried the shirt on again, but by this point, I already had it in my mind that it wasn’t fitting right. So, of course, I wasn’t happy with that solution because the binder was so blaringly obvious to me, and the fabric at the buttons still seemed like they were pulling. At this point, I just sat at my desk as tears started to fill my eyes. I had maybe 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave to go to campus, and I was freaking out because the shirt I had planned to wear definitely wasn’t going to work.  I nearly panicked, but I went back in my closet to take another look. Finally, I settled on the red shirt I wore to our wedding ceremony last month (which is one size larger). Now, I didn’t really want to wear it because it was red, and my school’s colors are blue and gold. I have a thing about clashing colors, but at least I had the robe to cover up the shirt and could almost completely hide the collar. When I put the shirt on my dysphoria finally calmed down.

Honestly, I feel like since I’ve started testosterone, my dysphoria has gotten a lot worse. While I’ve definitely noticed some very desirable changes, in my mind I still look very feminine. I rarely am called by the right gender, which probably doesn’t help, but I don’t think that’s why it has gotten worse. Maybe it’s because I do notice some masculinization in my face and shoulders, but I feel like some things are still very feminine (my hips, ass, thighs, and chest). This definitely causes some cognitive dissonance (to steal a term from psychology). I don’t know how long this fat redistribution takes, but I really hope it starts soon. At least now I can help facilitate the process since I have a break from school over the summer; I can focus on eating better and working out more consistently.

Despite my rough start this morning, graduation went really well! While we were lining up to go be seated, one of my classmates came up (who I recently added on Facebook) to me and asked if he should call me August or April. I told him August, and he gave me  a high five. That was probably the highlight of my day. After we walked across the stage, another of my classmates that sat with me also asked what he should call me. I assume this was because I wrote on my graduation ticket “August,” so that’s what was read as I walked across the stage. I definitely appreciated them asking; it was very unexpected. I didn’t intend to have any of my classmates call me August since I figured after we graduated, I wouldn’t really see very many of them.

Afterwards, I went to a late lunch/early dinner with my mom, uncle, brother, and grandpa. I got a couple of cards, which said August on them. However, when they were talking to the waiter, they said “she” just graduated. My mom still calls me April and uses female pronouns all the time, which is slightly embarrassing when we’re out. I just wish I could be invisible during those moments. I’m not really sure if and when it’s appropriate to correct her. I know she’s aware that I’d prefer to be called August and he, but I’d feel guilty if I corrected her. I’m not really sure how to handle the situation at all. It just ends up being very awkward for me, and I haven’t seen any indication that she’ll be getting the hang out of it any time soon. I expect her to slip up, but she doesn’t even try to correct herself like my friends do when they call me by the wrong name. Has anyone had to deal with a similar situation?

Binders and Swimming. Any advice?

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Here I am sitting at the beach waiting for my car to be serviced. I just wish I could take off my shirt (in this case, it’s actually a binder) and go for a swim. I suppose I’m lucky in a way because it’s not unusual to see guys in board shorts and a rash guard or a wetsuit, since the water it’s do cold here. I don’t really swim in pools, otherwise that would probably be kind of weird. I tried on my rash guard yesterday, though, and I’ll have to get a new one because mine was super tight. I think I’ve gotten bigger, but also I’m pretty sure it’s made for girls.

Anyway, this picture makes me think my shoulders are getting broader, but it’s hard to tell since I don’t really take pictures from this angle.

I’m pretty self-conscious about the binder, always trying to make sure it’s flat and can’t be seen under my shirt. I’m sure trying to swim with it is just going to make that situation worse, but swimming and water sports are probably my favorite activities, just behind snowboarding, of course. I really hope by this time next year, I will have my top surgery complete. I will probably be topless as much as possible. I would be now too, if it were socially acceptable.

Anyway, I’ve seen a few blogs about swimming and transmen lately, but all the solutions seem just mediocre to me. I know I can’t have it all right now, but I feel like there must be a better way.

Moving Forward

As I said in my last post, I added another student on Facebook from one of my classes to obtain access to class notes. That actually sent me on an adding rampage. I started adding people that were in my major and graduating class. I’m pretty sure everyone accepted my friend request; no one asked any questions. It actually felt really good. I mean, I’m sure they knew it was me. My last name isn’t very common, and my profile picture looks like me, of course. But more importantly, I came out to another of the grad students that I work with and talk to regularly. He reiterated what most people have said to me, he just wants me to be happy with who I am. That feels really good.  I actually respect and value you his opinion, so hearing that was really good.

In other news, I took my last final tonight (of my undergrad, anyway. I will have many more as a grad student). I feel so relieved to finally be done. I have the whole summer off to just do work and research. Then, I can come home at night and not have to worry about studying or working on a project. I’m really excited for this summer. It will essentially be my first summer off in 10 years.

In more other news, today is 7 weeks on testosterone, but honestly, I haven’t noticed any changes at all in the past week, sadly.

Almost Done

I turned in my paper for my senior lab project this morning at 9 (an hour early! That’s a first, haha). I am so relieved to not have that hanging over my head. The only thing I have left is a final for my nanomedicine class. I heard from a grad student yesterday that one of the other undergrads was compiling everyone’s presentations on Google Drive. I didn’t take very good notes on these presentations as they were given, so this was very valuable information to me. Now, I had to contact the undergrad the only way I knew how, through Facebook. I’m still not out to anyone at school besides the grad student that I work with closely, but I the presentations would be really nice to have, so I decided to shoot him a message about it. He replied quickly, but there was no indication that he cared at all that he was receiving a message from August rather than the name I go by at school. I feel relieved, but more than that, I feel a boost of confidence. I’m tempted to try adding a few more people from school as friends on Facebook.

With Thursday being my last final, graduation is within my grasp, finally. It’s taken me six years to get my undergraduate degree. I started taking classes at the local community college after my second deployment while I was waiting to leave the Marine Corps back at the end of 2007. I’d like to say I feel accomplished, but with another year of school looming ahead of me to complete my Master’s… I don’t know. People keep asking me what I want to do after that; I’m not really sure. I really only have two options: continue on for my PhD or get a jobs. My feelings on the subject vary, but lately I’ve been leaning heavily towards wanting to get a job. While I think it would be cool to get a PhD for the sake of getting a PhD, I still have to think about the practical side of life. First, Alex and I want to adopt a child, and children are expensive. If I spend another 5 years in school getting a PhD, we’re going to be living on rice and beans for that 5 years. Second, we want to buy a house. Now, while we could get a VA Home Loan (which require no down payment), I’d still like to a down payment sized sum of money in savings, just in case. Third, I like to buy expensive clothes and toys. Okay, so those things aren’t necessities, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like having nice things or going out to nice dinners, etc. Another thing to consider is that I’m not sure how a Master’s versus a PhD will affect my job opportunities in the future. Things to consider, I suppose. Mostly likely, I will apply to a couple of PhD programs at the end of this year and begin applying to jobs as the end of next school year rolls around.

Six Weeks

Today was my fourth injection of testosterone, but I was in such a rush this morning to get ready to go meet my group before our group presentation. I think I’m finally getting to the point where not every injection is such a huge milestone, or maybe I was just busy.

Today was essentially the culmination of my studies over the past 6 years. The second half of this quarter, my lab partners had to come up with an idea for our senior lab project and execute this idea. Needless to say, we have been working very hard to ensure that we obtained desirable results, particularly in the last two weeks. I have been working nearly every day and night on this project in some form or another. Anyway, this morning was the day that we had to present our results to our professors, classmates, and other students, both grad and undergrad.

We were also told to dress nicely since the department wanted to take a class photo because we are the first graduating class from the nanoengineering program. This caused a bit of anxiety of me. I was stressing about what to wear and how it would appear to other people. I’m not out to anyone at school still, besides the grad student that I work closely with. I asked what other people were wearing for this day; the two girls told me they were wearing dresses and the guys said they would be wearing slacks and a dress shirt. Yesterday, I went through all my nice clothes, trying on different combinations of shirts and pants. I decided that none of them were satisfactory because all the pants were from a time when I thought bigger was better. By this time, I was feeling discouraged, so I decided to head to the mall and try on some clothes. I tried on a variety of pants, different styles and sizes, along with shirts of different tailoring. I was on my last shirt and pants that I was going to try on before giving up and just accepting that I was going to look like complete crap. Then, I tried on the last pair of pants and shirt, and it was like magic. I looked in the mirror and was extremely happy with what I saw.

Even though I felt extremely good and confident in my new clothes, I was still concerned about what my classmates would say about my appearance. In all previous presentations, I’ve worn nicer jeans and a women’s button-up shirt. I walked into the conference room worried about the opinions of others. In the end though, I got nothing but compliments, and as far as my knowledge goes, no one looked at me strangely or anything like that. I definitely feel like this is a huge step forward in my transition.

All in all, our presentation went really well. It was definitely our best one of the year. I feel like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. The only thing left to do is write my paper on our senior project and take a final for my other class. I feel like I’m already done though!

As for physical changes, I really don’t have much to report since last week. One thing I did want to note though is that it’s been 40 days since the start of my last period. My periods have always sort of been on a slightly longer cycle than what is considered normal, usually about 33 days between the start of each one. Anyway, I started my period 3 days after my first testosterone shot, and I haven’t had one since. I’ve heard that it typically stops after about 3 months, but I’m hoping that mine is atypical and just doesn’t ever come again, hah.

That’s about it for this week. I’m considering making only biweekly or monthly transition related updates from now on. We’ll see what happens.