Life Update

11 Weeks Post Hysto

So, I never did have my post op appointment, unfortunately, and now I’m on the East coast. Nothing happened since the last time I updated. The spotting is entirely gone now! I theoretically would have been cleared to lift at 8 weeks post-op. Fortunately, that timeline worked out well with my move to the DC area. I had to move quite a few heavy boxes of books. I didn’t notice any discomfort or pain.

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13 Boxes of Books!

I start my new job (internship) on Monday. I just arrived to the area on yesterday afternoon. My road trip didn’t work out quite as I had planned, but luckily I left enough time for exactly that reason. My mom was supposed to drive with me, but something came up on her end, so I ended up making the drive by myself (with Harry, of course). It meant that I drove fewer hours per day.

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My copilot sleeping on the job

Anyway, my new job is covering health insurance for me, so I may try to find a doctor that will do a post op examination, but I’m not really sure it’s necessary. I’m not a medical expert though, so I don’t really know.

I am going to check out two gyms this week, on Thursday and Friday, so we’ll see how lifting goes. I’ll have to ease back into it since I’ve been out of the gym for 3 months now.

In other news, I finally get to live with my husband, after spending about a year and a half apart. I’m not really sure about living in this area of the country, but only time will tell on that front. I’m going to be a Federal employee, and the news that came out of the Trump Administration regarding anti-discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity has me really wary. I’m pretty visibly trans on my social media profiles, so I’ll have to really scrutinize any future co-workers who try to add me on Facebook and Instagram (since they’re connected). I don’t want to be stealth, but I also don’t want to be discriminated against.

I’m still hopeful though! Even though I lived in San Francisco which is pretty liberal, I didn’t like my job. I felt like I was wasting all my hard earned education and experience, so I’m glad to have this opportunity. At the same time, I’m nervous that I may not perform well. I’m fairly new to computer science and programming. I’ve done programming over the years, but for a class here or there, or small projects in labs that I’ve worked in. I’ve never done it as my sole job or within a team of other programmers, so it’ll definitely be an experience. I’m just going to work hard and do the best I can.

Speaking of, I need to get back to doing my homework. Another unfortunate thing about driving across the country by myself is that I didn’t get to work on my school work as I had planned, so now I’m a bit behind, but I have a few days to get caught up and hopefully get ahead.

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My face after the end of my road trip (finally)

3 Years on T

I hit three years on T yesterday. I don’t have much to say transition wise, so I’ll just throw up a couple of pictures.

I did post a little blurb on my Instagram here.

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I tried to grow out my facial hair for two months, but ended up trimming it for the interview I had about three weeks ago.

In other news, I finally (almost) got a job offer as a Lab Tech for the City of San Francisco. I’m just finishing up the pre-employment vetting process right now. I’ve sent them verification of my education and experience, and now I’m just waiting to get scheduled for a medical exam. I already put in my two weeks at Whole Foods, so I’ll be done with that shortly. And, my lease on my new place begins May 15th, so I’m free to move up there once that begins.

It’s funny how life works out. I had pretty much stopped applying to jobs within my field and was only applying to computer science internships. I actually got offered one internship and I’m in the running for two others. I will be working on my degree while working, so I’m confident that in a couple of years, I’ll be able to get a job as a software engineer.

Anyway, since I’ll be working for the city I’ll be getting pretty decent pay and have great benefits, including insurance. I’m hoping once everything gets settled, we’ll finally be able to afford top surgery for Alex and a hysto for me (and him).

Everything has been moving so quickly the last week or two. It’s been a little overwhelming, but I’m also extremely happy and relieved. I’m also sad at the same time though. I’ve become really close with people from my gym over the past 2 and a half years. It’s going to be tough to leave a place that I’ve called home for so long. They have been there for me for nearly my whole transition. I’ve gotten nothing but love and support from them. It’s going to be hard going to a new place where no one knows my journey and how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am now. I hope I can find a gym that is as welcoming as the one I’m at now.

I’m also leaving the city that I’ve lived in for 11 years now. I consider this place home more than the city I grew up in. I hope someday I can make my way back here (and Alex too!). I am glad to finally be making some progress career-wise, and I hope it leads to me being able to be with Alex soon.

On to new adventures though!

The job search continues…

I had a moment of sheer terror at work today. I was going about getting ready for closing when I look up and see the grad student that I worked closely with for a year and a half during the end of my B.S. and part of my M.S.

I hid. I couldn’t let him see how much of a failure I am (at least that’s what I thought at the moment). Guilt. Shame. All those feelings. He spent all that time teaching, training, and mentoring me and here I am, working at Whole Foods.

I’ve been working really hard to not feel these feelings constantly. I’ve been working to gain more useful skills. I’ve had friends revamp my resume. I just got accepted to a Master’s program for computer science. But with all of this, I still feel like crap for not having a “real” job. The job market is tough. I should feel lucky I even have this job.

It’s kind of embarrassing to have a Master’s degree in engineering and be handing out bread to people who treat you like an idiot. Like, what do other peoples’ resumes look like who get interview after interview? Did I just not do enough while I was in school? I feel like I worked my ass off, but apparently not enough. I just don’t understand, really.

Ugh, I’m sure things will turn around at some point. I’m just going to keep working at it. Time to accept my admissions to and work on getting some internships.

I had what I thought was a really good interview a little over three weeks ago. I was told that they had one more person to interview and were going to contact my references. Then, they’d get back to me in the following week. Well, that week has passed, and there has been not a peep. I sent two follow-up emails. One was just for thanking them for their time, etc. And the second was when the week passed that they said they’d get back to me checking to see if there was an update, but nothing. It’s kind of disheartening.

I applied to a few jobs last week, and I actually heard back from a couple of recruiters. I’m just waiting to see if any of the hiring managers would like to interview me. I’ll try to put in a few more applications this week and start trying to see what internships I can apply to once I’m a student again. I’m actually really happy that I got accepted in the program I applied to. I’ve been working on some online courses for a few months now (intro to computer science, data structures, algorithms, etc.). Now, I can have some check in the box that employers like to see.

I’m just trying to stay positive, and if not, just keep persevering and taking steps to get myself more employable. And playing Fallout when I need a break from life.

It’s been a while

It’s been almost six months to the day (plus a day) since I last posted. Alex has been gone for five months now, and my temporary job ended in November. My old boss failed to do anything about getting me hired permanently, and I’m not going on the cruise that starts in a couple of weeks like I thought I’d be. I picked up a job at Whole Foods again. That’s the quick rundown of what’s been going on.

Life update:

I’ve honestly been battling depression during this time. I’ve been meaning to make some blog posts, but just haven’t been able to mentally find the energy. I’ve been setting small goals for myself in regards to my job search and making myself more employable. I search through job boards weekly looking for jobs in the San Francisco and DC area, save ones that I think I’m somewhat qualified, then apply to them throughout the week. I’m signed up for a computer science class, and I’ve taken a couple of free courses on edx.org in computer science and water treatment. These things drain about all the mental energy I have these days. Doing much other than that is really difficult. I’ve probably been spending too much time watching shows/playing video games, but I can’t always be on the job search. It’s depressing enough as it is to apply to so many jobs and never hear anything or just hear rejection. I feel like if I put more effort in with the same results, it’d be even worse for my mental state.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I have heard back on two jobs I’ve applied to in the San Francisco area. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to take written exams for both positions. I took one about two weeks ago, and the other one is coming up in two weeks. I’m really hoping I do well and make it to the interview.

I’ve been making back up plans in case I end up not finding a job in my field by a certain date. I applied to an online graduate program in Computer Science, and I’m also seriously considering applying to become a police officer either in the SF or DC area.

Transition update:

Everything is pretty much the same old as far as changes are concerned.

I was anticipating going on ship again, so I requested to be switched to Androgel because I didn’t want to deal with injections again on a ship. It was very difficult to find space and deal with the rocking of the ship. However, my insurance initially said they wouldn’t cover it. I ended up filing a grievance, and I actually received a letter in the mail yesterday saying that they finally agreed to cover it. I will be picking up my prescription tomorrow. I’m looking forward to beginning Androgel. I’m getting a bit tired of doing injections. I definitely don’t look forward to it like I used to.

In other news, I got an awesome tattoo to cover/camouflage my top surgery scars. I’m in love with it.

I saw my endocrinologist this morning. My levels are good, and I’m relatively healthy (my cholesterol is a little high). We talked about setting me up with a surgeon for a hysto. She recommended trying to get it done before the end of 2016 due to the uncertainty of the Presidential elections.

Overall:

I think things are looking up. I’m feeling like I’m breaking through this depression, and if all else fails, I’m planning to move to the DC area, so I can at least be with Alex. I miss him. I’m looking forward to my lease ending in August.

 

Another Sleepless Night…

This is the second night this week that I’m unable to fall asleep almost immediately after getting into bed, which is unusual for me, and it’s only Wednesday evening. Alex got an offer for a job that’s in DC. He’s all but signed the paperwork to be hired. I feel like I should be happy for him, it’s a really good opportunity and definitely a better job than his current one, but all I feel is sadness. I don’t even know how long we’ll be apart. But for me, moving to DC doesn’t even feel like an option. I’m just barely about to land my first “real” job after almost a year of searching since graduation with no luck and working a retail job that I hated. I can’t even imagine passing up the opportunity to finally have a job that I like and will actually give me good experience for the future.

Several people have asked if we’re staying together, which seems like a ridiculous question to me, but in a way, it feels like we’re breaking up. We’ve already talked about who gets to keep which pet, splitting of kitchen appliances, etc. It’s a lot to think about. I’ll have to go back to living with a roommate since we’re stuck in this lease for another year. Going back to having all my belongings in a single room like a poor college student.

I think about the fact that we’ve finally been able to make some progress the past few months on building up savings and paying down debt, but with the cost of moving, paying rent and deposit on another apartment, furnishing a second apartment, etc., all of that hard work will be for naught.

I just feel like we’re moving backwards, instead of forwards. I can’t help but think of the plans that we’ve talked about, adopting a child and buying a house, and mourn their loss. There’s obviously no rush on buying a house (except house prices are starting to go up again), but I do think that time is definitely ticking down on the optimal to age to start raising a child. I know 30 years old isn’t THAT old, but when I think about the age I’ll be when that child moves on with their life outside of our household, then it makes me feel old. And the longer we wait, the older we’ll both be.

We’ve spent so much time apart already. I miss him just thinking about him being gone. It’s not like with his current job we would have been able to see each other much either with all the travel, but this just feels more permanent, whereas with his current job it was temporary until he could prove himself and get promoted to a position that required less travel.

I have no happy ending to this post, no positive light to shine on to think about when I’m feeling particularly bad. I think I’ll just end up feeling shitty for a while, trying to distract myself with stupid things like video games and dates. Just when I thought I was getting back to somewhat “normal” life since getting off the ship.

Edit: Maybe this wasn’t the most appropriate place to express my feelings. I did not mean to make it sound like Alex made this decision lightly and without regard for our relationship. We came to the decision together for him to go and me stay. I thought I was okay with that decision, but as the reality is setting in, I’m realizing I just need more time. I just needed a place to sort my thoughts and process what I’m feeling. I know I’ll eventually get to the point where I’m actually okay with this in time.

Learning to Persevere

Since I haven’t had much luck finding a job, or even getting interviews, in my job field (engineering, materials science, and/or biotech), I decided to apply to Whole Foods and Starbucks in the middle of December. I heard back from Whole Foods two Fridays ago for a Coffee and Tea Bar/Bakery part-time position. I went in for an initial interview on Monday and ended up making it to a second interview on Saturday where it was between me and one other person. I got a call yesterday saying they wanted to hire me!

I’m actually pretty excited at the opportunity to work at Whole Foods. I always told myself that when I retired, I wanted to go to culinary school and/or work as a chef. While this position isn’t either of those, it’s at least a step in that direction that’s more than my amateur cooking skills at home.

While I’m excited about this opportunity, I’m also sad that I’ve been unable to successfully find a job in my field. I’ve worked really hard over the past seven years to earn my degrees (plus tens of thousands of dollars of debt). But, I’ve been trying to stay positive. Luckily, the person who will be my supervisor at Whole Foods is aware of my desire to continue looking for jobs in my field, and if I do get another job, my willingness to work both jobs. The benefits for part-time employment are actually pretty good, to include at least a 20% discount at the store. And, I will feel a whole lot less stressed when I’m actually bringing in a paycheck (even if it’s not a lot) compared to bringing in no money.

I had to fill out some information for a background check. The information required that I document names, employment history, place of residence, and educational history in the past seven years. Of course, I had to list my birth name because I’ve only had my name legally changed for a year and a half now. I wonder if this information will be shared with the employer, or if it’s just used for verification for the agency conducting the background check. Whole Foods will be the first place that I’ve worked since transitioning where no one knows of my old identity. There will be no awkwardness or having to come out to different people who knew me before. There will be no misgendering because it slipped. I’m not sure how I feel about living “stealth,” but I’m glad that I won’t have to worry about coming out to everyone whether I want to or not (which is how I felt during my last year of school with staff and faculty who knew me before and after transitioning).

(Note: I don’t really like the term stealth because it implies that transgender people who choose not to reveal their transgender status are hiding something.)

I’m working on appreciating the things that I do have (i.e. this new job, a nice place to live, delicious food every night) rather than the things that I don’t have (i.e. a job in my field). Life takes us in unexpected directions sometimes, and sometimes it’s worth fighting against, but other times it might be the best thing to happen.

20 Months on T, 6 Months Post Op, and Looking for a Job

It’s been nearly two months since I’ve posted here. I didn’t realize it’s been so long… I’ve been in kind of a funk. I’ve been looking for a job full time for a little over two and a half months now. In that time, I’ve submitted probably around 100 resumes/applications, and I’ve only gotten a handful of rejection notifications, two phone interviews, and one in-person interview (which was preceded by one of the phone interviews). That in-person interview did not lead to a job offer, unfortunately. The reason they gave for not hiring me was that they thought that I’d want to be promoted too quickly, and they wanted someone who’d want to stay in the position for a few years… read: overqualified.

I never expected to be in this position of desperately searching for a job. I thought I was doing all the right things, I went to school after I got out of the Marine Corps because I thought it would make me more employable. I worked hard and got good grades (3.3/4.0 for both undergrad and grad school). I worked as a lab assistant and a student researcher while I was in school to get additional, relevant experience. I made good impressions on my professors which resulted in letters of recommendations for my admittance into the M.S. program. And then I graduated in June with a Master’s degree in nanoengineering. I thought I’d find a job quickly with, in my opinion, pretty awesome background. But here I am now, with Christmas only a week away, and I’m still applying to jobs. I feel like I’ve been doing the right things: writing targeted resumes and cover letters for each job posting, attending job fairs, went on a tour at a facility for a company I’d like to work for, etc. I’ve even resorted to applying to jobs which I think I’m overqualified for, jobs in locations I’d never wanted to live in, and even jobs at local Whole Foods Market. Pretty soon, I’ll just start applying to any part-time job I can find.

It’s pretty depressing for me to apply to jobs that I’m pretty sure I could have gotten without putting in the effort of obtaining an engineering degree. I know there are lots of unemployed and underemployed college graduates, but I just assumed that those people didn’t have a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees.

And then I think about the plans that Alex and I made to save money while we had two incomes, but instead our savings has been shrinking, not growing.

I don’t want to make this into a self-pitying post. These are just thoughts that have been going through my head over and over again, and I’m hoping that by writing them out I’ll be able to let go of them and think more positive thoughts.

I still have been going to CrossFit and making progress in my strength and fitness levels. I don’t know what kind of mental space I’d be in without the positive vibes of all the people in the gym, the highs of hitting new PRs for my lifts, and just the general feeling of well-being from getting in a good workout. I have also been trying to do some organizing/cleaning around the apartment, cook more meals, etc. so that I at least feel like I’m at least being useful and productive while I’m unemployed. I also have been able to do some reading (both professional and leisurely reading) and pick up a new programming language in my free time.

All in all, I appreciate the things I do have. I know people are in much worse situations than I am. I still have a roof over my head, food to eat, basic amenities, internet, etc., and I know that not everyone has that. I have family, friends, and a partner who love and support me. I have a partner that doesn’t make me feel bad for not having a job yet. I’ve been able to undergo medical transition in the form of HRT and top surgery. I’m determined to keep pushing through, and someday I’m sure I’ll be employed in some capacity. I hope that I’m able to be grateful for the things I do have and not concern myself about the things that I don’t.

A week from now, it will be 20 months on testosterone for me, and today is my 6 months post op. I sent an update to my surgeon two days ago. Everything looks really great to me. I have some very minor dog ears, but Dr. Mosser said that is a very easy procedure to fix, if I want sometime in the future. I only really notice them when my arms are at my side, if I raise them up a little or have my arms slightly behind me, then they’re not there at all. I don’t think the scars have faded much since the last photo update. It’s hard to tell though since I think sometimes the lighting, angle, and position is slightly different from one photo set to the next. But either way, I have posted the newest photos below.

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As far as additional changes from HRT, the only really noticeable changes are more hair on my shoulders, face, and chest. I haven’t seen any changes in fat distribution, etc. I have noticed growth in my muscles, particularly in the chest region, but I think that’s more from working out than the HRT by itself.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great holiday season!