Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sharing My Changes

SHARING MY CHANGES 9/29/05

So much has been happening in my life lately that I have decided to stop for a moment and try to put some things into print, and perspective. Some of you are aware that I'm entering the final stages of transition, if there is such a thing. At least this is the time where a lot of things are crashing together. Funny, I was just saying last night that, at my age I never thought I'd be in a hurry for time to pass. I know that things will be very different in a year, in 6 months, and by Christmas. Big things Have already happened in the last month, and I keep telling myself that The details haven't formed sufficiently for me to write a blog on the subject. If I don't do this now, I'm going to loose the perspective, Final details or no.
In order to cover some ground without flitting aimlessly, I am going to describe things in terms of catagories. First, physical changes. As of last week, I have been on HRT a year and a half. I was very dissapointed for quite a while in my progress. I am taking Bi-weekly shots of Delestrogen, suspended in oil, in the thigh. Also, until about a month ago, there was also 1.25 mg daily of premarin tabs (to keep the "swings" down). At about three months, I started on Spironolactone, 100 mg. daily(50 x2). This was delayed because I was very aprehensive of loosing my ability to perform sexually. At about 4 months I did see big changes in this area. At first, my penis seemed to fight back and I had stronger drive and erections than ever. All of the sudden, things reversed. I shrunk quite a bit and erections became painfull and crooked, which was very alarming. my doctor told me to take vitamin E, 400 iu, daily, as this was a sign that scar tissue was forming. I had my doubts, but The vitamin E works wonders and today I still have "useable" erections, without pain or "abnormalities", however smaller. I need to say here that, in the beginning I was overdosing, or so I thought, on the Delestrogen. My first level check, at about 3 months, showed me in the 450 unit range when my doctor was trying to keep me in the range of a post menapausal woman, around 150. Since I have always been fearful of stroke risks, I heeded his advise and severely cut my doses. my results (mainly breast growth), which had been encouraging at first, began to slow dramatically.
At about a year, I discovered that my doctor, which had been treating the majority of trans people in Indiana, had left the state without any notice to his patients. As I had a good supply of meds left, I continued the reduced dosages until I could locate another doctor experienced in transgendered medicine. His approach is slightly different and is once again producing encouraging results. He has removed me from the Premarin completely and had me resume the 450 unit level (about .4cc), using only the Delestrogen bi-weekly. He also switched me to 100mg of Spiro, once daily. I was fearful of mood swings but my sudden, crashing depressions actually seemed to subside quite a bit. Today, My breasts are a small B. I am just as excited about my other "results".
I have always heard that the meds will do nothing for the voice. Mine has gained almost an octave and my female voice is now somewhere between barely and extremely passable, even on the phone. so much of this, however, is due to study and attempts at genuine inflection and content. another happy effect has been the great reduction in body hair growth. I was afraid of spending huge ammunts on hair removal in places like my back and shoulders. The hair there slowed so much that I hardly ever need to even shave anymore!. The skin in places actually did gain "translucence" and I once feared my legs would never pass but was recently complimented on them by a GG who may have not even known about me. Other changes include some slimming of my waist and growth in the hips and rear. We all have to remember that changes will be different for each of us. Perhaps my favorite changes have been in emotional, Psychosexual areas. This brings me to my next subject.

I won't spend as much time on the spiritual and mental aspects of all this but there are some important points. When I began to transition in ernest, I was warned by some more advanced sisters that if I didn't HAVE to transition, I had better turn around and run. Maybe I'll make some enemies here but, for me personnally, all I have to do is die and pay taxes. I do not have to cut off my penis, although the thought has occured to me. I was born a man. Sorry, but it's true. Born and raised one. But all my life, something was not right. I never fit in to a man's world or way of thinking. One way I explained it to myself is that I liked women so much, I always wanted to be one. My early transvestism always had as it's end result, that one day I would be a woman. By choice. By force. This force has now led me to cause the inevitable destruction of my 25 year marriage. A lot of the details are quite complicated, but my wife has said that she doesn't want a wife, and that's ok by me. I had a real hard time being the husband she wanted. Never quite was, actually.
I am also walking out of my livelyhood, a 25 year career in manufacturing. There has been much examination and soul searching, but There is no way that I can be a happy woman in the factories. I recognize that a lot of this feeling is due to the fact that I have never been happy there anyway. It's more than that. I want rid of all things Male. no dirt, no grime, no Cussing like a sailor and walking like John Wayne, and as little harrassment as possible. I may still fish, I still like cars (hate working on them though) and action flicks. A lot of women do.
I promised I'd be brief on this subject but I have to adress the thought that got me here, the effects of the meds. in the beginning, I was determinedly Non-Op and hetero. I think this was an attempt to deny any bi-sexual tendancies, but I have noticed extreme changes in my libido and my desires. I won't say that the hormones have turned me "queer". Maybe they have given me clarity as to my true self, and changed the way my body reacts to thoughts. Thoughts I wouldn't have allowed before. I always saw sex with a man, as a woman, as the ultimate in feminization. still do! However, there is also a very special woman in my life, cheering me on, calling me by my name and telling me that she can't wait until I can say goodbye to my boy life forever. her love and support is valued way beyond words. I also welcomed the drop in Testosterone (normal male 250 to 650, mine 17, LOL) and the peacefull departure from aggression and conflict. I know that the chemical makeup of a man does not "cause" these things, but part of the allure of feminity for me is seeking the beauty and harmony of life, and I struggled with this as a man. Already, I'm feeling much more balanced and complete. I think that, as I approach full time womanhood, The entire experience is making this happen, not just the meds.

The whole reason for writing this began from a need to cover recent "logistical" events. Last month I applied for my legal name, which will be official in november. Last week I used that name to check into a hotel and enroll and complete a class in decorative painting, my new career. I spent a week in a room with 11 other women, en femme and with some degree of stealth. I walked in the first morning and was told to find A notebook with my name on it. MY NAME! How cool! The instructor said that we could sit anywhere, and I had considered things like hiding in the back of the room, but when I saw that my place was at the front center, I decided to play it like it was dealt. Always was a front of the room type anyway. I think the key to enjoying something like this is not to expect too much, in the way of acceptance. I was, however, treated very well, Never felt embarrased, and learned a ton about painting and even more about interacting as a woman. I spent 9 days without being a boy, the longest stretch yet, and came home elated. just when I thought I couldn't be any happier, Emails started pouring in from a secret admirer that I met on the trip. Even if that goes nowhere, he's already made me feel like a million bucks. Atlanta? where's that?
I probably haven't covered half of what I wanted to talk about, but I wanted to show you all some of my world. I hope you can use some of this information in your journey. I'll try to do this again soon, and I'm sure to find all kinds of other changes to discribe. I have always admired and valued the TransWomen who have gone before, and stopped to reach back to the rest of us. No matter how deep into stealth I go, I hope to be one of them someday. Hold me to this. God bless.

5 comments:

Felicia Conti said...

Dear Steffanie,

I don’t have time for a long response but did want to offer my appreciation for the trust that you must feel in the group to disclose about your circumstances in such an open way. You are certainly a role model to those of us who aspire to be as feminine as possible. I have always believed that the mind and the body are inseparable and that a change in one of them will have an impact upon the other. I don’t think we can change our bodies without changing our minds and vice versa. You said you were born and raised as a man and never quite fit in. You also said that becoming female has lead you to peaceful departure from aggression and conflict, and to balance and completeness. Your story is a different story than I hear from many transitioning women who have felt like a “woman trapped in a man’s body” and did not feel there was a choice – either they needed to transition or they would commit suicide. You talk about choice and take responsibility for making that choice. I can relate much more to your story as I have never felt trapped but actually enjoy being female more than I enjoy being male. So for me, it is not so much a deficit as a preference, at least at this point in my evolution. But as you so expressively state, it is very difficult for us to decipher whether the differences in our perspectives that we experience during our journeys were there all along but repressed, or whether our perspectives simply changed as we evolved. On another note, to watch your marriage slip away as you became more feminine must have been a very painful choice for you. I know that this is a common theme and it seems that others have great difficulty in adapting to the changes that we go through. I am glad to hear that you have found someone who is accepting and encouraging to you. Thank you for trusting and sharing.

With Much Appreciation,

Felicia Conti

Michele Angelique said...

ADARABETH SAID:

Thank you so much for sharing so vividly with us, with me, Steffanie...(soft sigh and wow..)

Your journey and your reflections of that journey bring a tear to my heart. I wish i could say to my eye, but living as a man all of my public life has seriously challenged my ability to cry. It is weird that I need to dress and personify the opposite gender in order to reflect my feelings - as in my tightly controlled male identity i seldom allow myself to be vulnerable or emotional - but it seems as the transition has freed you from some boundaries of your own.

I am both elated for you and envious of you.

I can only begin to imagine some of the sacrificies you have made to get to where u are today. At this point in my life you appear far more courageous and genuine to who you are than i am to myself. You have shown yourself vulnerable just by sharing and I cant help but to wish you the bliss u deserve by giving so freely of your experiences. As I wait for the docs and shrinks to determine if I am a candidate for HRT, I cant help but wonder how, if, that journey will be for me. Or if i should take it. After all living as a male in society has some perks (like Michele wrote once, confidence in safety, power of gender identity, etc., but, like you, I know there are confines that can only be eliminated by a degree of transition. After spending 2K+ for hair removal already and seeing substandard results, it is daunting to want to continue. The biggest consolation i have is that i had breast tissue left over from puberty and that over the last 2 years or so it has actually increased without hormones - power of thot i guess... go figure...

I have a thousand questions about other points you mention in your writings - considerations of sexuality changes (again Michele had made some points about the power of penetration vs being penetrated and that by itself is a full article or two...), 'seeking the beauty and harmony of life', all things that are male (no dirt or grime...), the spiritual and mental aspects of it all... to name just a few, but I do not know if the forum has limits or what the other contributors wishes are regarding lenghy replies so i will keep some of my thousand questions to be addressed individually - without ramble...

For what it is worth from a girl trying to figure out her own path... I am really proud of you and even more proud to have a wiser (and what the hell - older -) sister to look up to...

love

adarabeth

Alexis Rene said...

Wow Steffanie, Felicia & Adarabeth.... It is in the reading this all for the second and third times that I am finally starting to grasp it all.

First Steff as has already been said Thank You so much for sharing all that you did ! Some very personal notes there and I, like many others your honesty is appreciated in it all.

Out of your many points covered,One of the things that caught my attention to all that ya said was the "boundaries" subject. Maybe they were preconceived boundaries or what some of the sisters you first met years ago placed within your mindset.

One thing I was quick to learn is that there is still a hierarchy boundary setting with speech & action even within the transgendered community. Both M to F & F to M ! One would think that if a genetic boy for example,(mentally transitioned to any degree) could wear a skirt and heels in a complimentary fashion to genetic females in a public setting, that freedom of speech would be an obvious amongst such a community. However the more I see on other boards and urna that just isn't the case.So your information posted is all the more valuable to everyone here !

Essentially we want the world to open their minds up like an umbrella on a rainy day ! However, are we willing to do the same as a community so to speak ? ....intersting stuff....

Felicia, If you ever have a free moment come back to this topic that Steff wrote as I truly value what you posted already ! Plus with your background and the fact you have more on your mind surrounding the total subject. You alone could help so many with your thoughts.

Adarabeth, It is so interesting you mention being in touch with your emotions. Obviously there are acute differences between the genders how they are expressed. One thing to watch and as I have had to learn that it wasn't a gender thing that eluded me as far as showing emotion, It was more in the fact of surrounding myself with walls so high that anything sub-nuclear would not phase them at all. I am currently chipping away the mortar slowly, but I am hoping that within this removal of walls a happier person evolves ! Albeit the pain of all the pinpricks will be all the more felt.... You can't taste the good if you don't know what the bad is like !

Also Adarabeth would love to hear some of your questions for Steffanie if you get a chance ....That is if I am not too late posting this and you both have covered this ground via e-mail already.

Much love and respect for all, Alexis

Alysyn said...

Hola chicas...

It's amazing, the various ways this conflict is processed. Yes, it's true that there is often a gradual acceptance through stages of emotional and intellectual awareness and experimentation, whereas sometimes that awareness comes like a bludgeoning of one's overall stability, initiating the basic survival instinct we all share.

I also find the concept of "man" and "woman" more one of character, often confused in the ignorance of the redefining phenomenon inherent in any declining culture. In context to this issue, we often misplace our references to the genetic default of males and females by indicating either "man" or "woman", and in doing so initiate divergent emotions and effusive dialogues on how we percieve our identities.

For the sake of clarity, would it not be more efficient to agree that we have been, incorrectly or otherwise, born and raised within a male construct, but identify as women, at least where one is diagnosed as ts?

As well, there is often discussion of a gender duality. This is something I would like to understand more, being that I truly and honestly don't apprehend this ideal. My experience has been learning to integrate those so-called masculine qualities into a feminine framework. Just as I don't see genetic females being identified within a duality based on the fact that they may possess certain masculine traits, neither have I considered myself having such.

Please understand, I don't live under any illusions, but I just don't feel connected to a masculine identity.

Given that, I'm now just gonna sit back and learn...

Alysyn :)

Michele Angelique said...

FROM ADARABETH:

Why Dual Gender…

My take on the gender duality ‘ideal’ of describing oneself…mmmmm, I would prescribe a subscription to this definition based on where/how I live in life at this moment. Undoubtedly the framework of construction of my male identity came from simply being born male and living as one for most of my public life. But to not recognize the development and growth of my female identity would be to not recognize that evolution – the gender duality of current living state. Or to where/how I someday want to be living. As a women – wholly – so neither society, or I would recognize me as anything other than. At that point my gender duality would likely cease to be. I would just be the one whole person living the remainder of my existence in the opposite gender I was born as.

Not a man transitioning to become one. Which is where I am now.

Hence, dual gendered.

I think Aly, you do not feel connected to a male identity simply because you have moved beyond that identity… and probably did before any of the hormones kicked in. You are already living within the framework of a female identity. And you started building that framework with all of the qualities available – regardless of what part of the gender equation they came from – before some of us. As not all transgendered individuals want or need to go beyond the dual gendered label for whatever reason… it works to clearly define that limit with this label. Don’t you just love the rainbow?