Sunday, August 30, 2009

good mood atm

I'm in a generally good and optimistic mood.* I don't think I can nail it down to anything in particular thing, but I have a couple ideas.

- I'm getting excited about school. I do like going to school. I could be a career student if that were feasible. The odd thing about my like of school is that despite completing a bachelor's degree, I never actually learned study habits. This is a bad thing.

- I'm actually getting somewhere with plans for transition. My therapist agrees with me that it would be best to start my professional career as a teacher fully transitioned. The plan is to transition after the practicum. So we're talking April-ish. She's also going to recommend me for hormones. I will start with Spironolactone as per my wishes, and then "see" how that works out.** Obviously it would be best to go full-time with at least some boobage. I am excited about starting hormone treatment. I'm really curious as to the effect of eliminating testosterone on my body and mind will be. This will be the first time in my life that I've ever had a continuing drug prescription for anything.

*Don't worry, I won't started updating my blog every day with mood updates.
**I feel guilty about this. She asked me, keeping eye contact, what I thought about starting estrogen and spiro at the same time versus starting spiro first. I said that I'd prefer trying spiro first. She said that she'd been trying to "read" my eyes. Unfortunately, I'm hard to read. (I don't make it easy for her. :( ) I don't express emotions easily.(I think it's something that I've taught myself for whatever reason) Hopefully, I'll be able to change that.

Other stuff:

I'm getting psyched about starting a female wardrobe. That's something that I've got to do quite soon. Can't go out en femme without clothes, now, can I? I don't really like shopping, but hopefully this will be different.

Thinking about going part-time raises a question though. Going out for a couple hours is one thing if I bring a change of femme clothes with me. But in a few months, I suspect I'll want to spend more time at home dressed en femme. Is my sister going to have a problem with that? I'm living as her tenant, pretty much. This is why part of me thinks it would be more convenient to live closer to Vancouver: I could more easily "go out" as a "sometimes passer". There certainly aren't any groups for CD's or TG's out here.

I'm going to the PNE with my ex tomorrow. This'll be the first thing we've done together since separation other than having coffee twice. I'm hoping it won't be too weird to be there with her. After all, the last time I was there was with her, perhaps three years ago. I really hope we can continue to be some kind of friends. I'm not expecting it, but it would be even better if she'd help me shop for femme clothes!! (yeah, probably not gonna happen.)

Voice is something that worries me about transition, even going part-time. There are indeed some amazing videos on youtube. But I'm worried that I just can't. I haven't tried yet. I know it's more than just pitch. My ex has a male friend who has a high pitched voice, yet you'd never mistake it for a female voice. Still, when I met Véronique a few weeks ago, her voice was not at all male. I doubt she gets gendered male on the phone very often.

I think I should buy a wig. (I wish I hadn't cut my hair two months ago :( ) My new brother-in-law had a couple friends over a few weeks ago. One of them obviously had alopecia, with a fair amount of hair loss on the top of her head. At the wedding, she said hi to me as I walked by. I didn't recognise her right away because she was wearing a wig and fake eyelashes. They just made her look like someone else.

All for now!

Monday, August 24, 2009


My thoughts have been going up and down recently. There's this feeling of discouragement that comes and goes.

My last post was during one of those "down" times. The next day, I felt even worse, and was going to write another post wondering how I could feel worse than the previous day. But then the next day I felt better, and during the next two my mood continued to be decent. Today, I'm back at the bottom. I just feel hopeless and discouraged. Hopefully that will improve soon.

Here's what I think is going on:

I think I felt better for those three days because of "escapism". On Friday I spent a fun day in Seattle with my older sister. On Saturday I went camping overnight with a couple friends. Finally, on Sunday I went on a bike tour with my sister. During all the time I didn't really think of the issues listed at the top of the last post. That isn't to say nothing crossed my mind, but rather that I wasn't thinking of them constantly. I hardly thought of school, work, etc. (although I did have to think of gender issues at each bathroom stop)

Obviously it isn't useful to avoid my issues. They need to be dealt with, not ignored. The status quo doesn't make me happy, but it is easier in some regards. For example, not dealing with my GD would mean that I didn't have to actively "do anything." This would be "simpler" than therapy, doing hard thinking about transition, etc. But now that I've recognized that I need to get my life in order, I need to make changes. We'll see what that entails.

On a not quite unrelated note: I feel horrible living here, in my old bedroom, with my younger sister and her new husband. First of all, it's my old room, so it feels like I'm 18 again. Second, it's noisy living under the kitchen in this unfinished room. While it does have a door, it doesn't have a ceiling, just the bottom of the floor. I can hear everything. Finally, I feel like I'm imposing on them. They're a newly married couple, and they deserve privacy. I think that these things will factor into my decision about living here and commuting vs. moving closer to school. (By the way, right now I'm planning on trying to commute for September. Perhaps I'll find somebody in my program that could use a roommate.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feeling overwhelmed

There's just too much to deal with right about now:

-being recently separated
-getting into school
-considering moving somewhere else

Damn. Plus, I'm trying to sell this second vehicle that I bought three months ago. I paid too much because I really wanted that specific year and engine. It's been on Craigslist for a day and a half for $800 less than I paid for it. I haven't had one bite yet.

And with each of those four things I listed comes further implications. With GID comes the need for therapy, deep thought, thinking about transition, etc. Being separated makes me sad and lonely. Getting into school means I have to worry about money and students loans. Moving somewhere (Somewhere in Metro Vancouver) means I have to look for a place, choose one, physically move, probably take my car off the road, and try to transfer to a different store.

The only one of those things that doesn't require me to do anything is being separated. Sure, I'm lonely, but I sure as hell don't need to be in a romantic relationship; not only does that take lots of time(I will be very busy during my program), but I think it would cause additional stress and confusion with regards to my gender identity. Haha, I can just imagine having sex with someone: "why are your armpits shaved?" "ummm...."

Any one of those issues would be a lot to deal with, but unfortunately I don't see any alternative.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sister's wedding

On Saturday, my younger sister (I have one older, one younger) got married. I was one of two ushers. I'm just going to recount a few of the interesting things.

I already mentioned how my sister literally picked out my clothes for the event, so I won't mention that. At any rate, I suppose other people saw me as attractive. (I did however, only get one "handsome" comment.)

So, I was an usher, so I had to show people to their seats. I deliberately made a big show of it, insisting that the women take my arm. Yeah, I know that's old fashioned and a bit sexist, but I was pretending, ok? Besides, the women seemed to enjoy it. I should note that the other usher didn't do this once, as far as I noticed.

I also walked my mom down the aisle as the last person to be seated before the bridal party came down. This was a bit rough, since it reminded me of when my mom walked me down the aisle as part of my wedding ceremony. I kept thinking about my own wedding during the entire day.

When the ceremony was over, everybody stood around outside drinking punch and socializing while waiting for the reception to begin. My great-aunt came up to talk to me. Now this is somebody that I wouldn't recognise out of context; I haven't met her too often. She asked me if I was "ok". I said yes, naturally. She asked again, "no, really." Then she asks where my ex was. I suspect that she had seen that I had no spouse listed in the bulletin for the funeral of my grandfather. So she was trying to comfort me and saying, "we can't always control these things, etc." "I love you, so if there's anything I can do to help, let me know." Next two of my aunts came up to "see how I was doing" and to give me hugs.

Ok, seriously... If you don't have a relationship in which you share personal information and feelings, don't go up to somebody and try to talk to them about really personal stuff. It's none of your business.

And then during the reception(which was a tea), my mom pointed to my teacup and said, "that's a woman's cup, we should trade." I suppose my teacup had a lot more pink on it, but these were all old-fashioned teacups with flowers and gold trim. I'm not sure what she was thinking. I did indeed use the keyword "gender identity" when I came out to my parents. I'm hoping that they will ask me about that stuff again. That will demonstrate to me that they have at least been thinking about it, and will give me the opportunity to share a little more.

After I had helped clean up, I went over to my friends' house for their daughter's one year birthday. Soon after I arrived, one of my guy friend's asked me where my ex was. I held out my ring-less left hand and said, "we're separated." He had a look of surprise, and my friends' mom (the grandmother of the baby) said, "WHAT!" I ran inside to avoid losing it/talking about it. Then later another friend asked about it and wanted to know what had happened. I refused to say, other than to say it wasn't an issue of infidelity or anything like that.

I think what I should have done is tell everybody I had originally told about my "marital difficulties" that they could tell people that I was separated after I moved out of the marital house. Oh well, can't do it over.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big news in my life

I have mentioned once or twice on this blog that I'm trying to become a teacher. I actually finished all coursework for my degree in December 2007 and I've been trying to get into a teaching program ever since.

I've applied three times and got waitlisted twice. Recently, I've been waiting eagerly to hear if I get into the program that starts in January. This is something I'd discussed with my therapist, i.e. how would school affect the timeline for transition. (It's a one year program)

I just got an email today from the admissions department. They are offering me the chance to start in September! This is astonishing because I hadn't been able to apply for that intake.

I have to reply by Monday. Right now, I am thinking "YES YES YES!" I am not sure how that would work with transition. I have basically not started anything. I had been planning to start beard removal this fall if I'd gotten in for January. But realistically, I wasn't expecting to be ready to be fulltime by January. For one, I just cut my hair short at the beginning of July in a silly attempt to try to save my marriage. There's no way I could be prepared for January. Obviously September would be just stupidly early.

Now that I may be starting school right away I'll have to start thinking of timelines again. I don't really want to postpone transitioning too long. Perhaps transitioning after the long practicum would be best. I'm just brainstorming right now, but that'd be about March or April. I don't think it would be good to be a newly transitioned transsexual in your practicum.

I'm also thinking about where I'd stay. This program is on the Burnaby campus of SFU. There is no viable public transit from where I live. Driving takes 75-90 minutes each way, at a cost of about $10 per day in gas. One semester, I had to commute four days a week, which was horrible. That was even with my sister taking turns driving. I don't like spending $200 a month in gas, and I find the traffic really stressful. Now that I'm separated, there isn't a huge reason to stay living in this place where I've been for most of my life. So I think I have to consider moving closer to Burnaby.

Money is a concern. Student loans would cover tuition but nothing else. I'd have to think of that. But I really don't want to continue working at a grocery store for the rest of my life. I gotta get a career.

Monday, August 10, 2009

sometimes you just gotta do things

My younger sister is getting married on Saturday. My older sister is coming to visit from Montréal, so I'll tell her that I'm separated(if my mom hasn't) and probably tell her why.

Just a parenthetical insert: I am quite sure that my wife (do I wait until divorce to say "ex-wife"?) wanted to separate because of the trans thing. When I came home from vacation to hear "ZOMG we need to talk", I wasn't quite sure. Now that I've been moved out for a couple weeks, plus the few discussions we had when we were still sharing a house, I "just know." We both expressed some indication that we'd be willing to be flexible on the having kids issue. And that guy that she was hanging out with may have merely been a way to announce just how serious she was about separation. I haven't heard her speak about that guy since the first week or so of July. That leaves the "trans thing". Like I previously said, it's understandable. I have no right to be angry. Of course, I did respond to accusations of "you did this to me."

Back to the topic.

I had to go to a bachelor party, a.k.a. a stag, on Saturday night. I do like the guy my sister's marrying. He's pretty nice, and they seem to be good together. Ok, well I got to admit, he's a couple years younger than my sister, which isn't a problem, except he's about five years less mature than her.

Of course I would never choose to be at a bachelor party, but I obviously had to go. I knew less than half of the people there, and most of those I knew, I hadn't seen for ten years. The organiser of the party had bought a whole bunch of women's clothes at Value Village. (I had bought a pair of "granny panties") So my future brother-in-law had to wear this dress. (and later a skirt) Since he's a bit immature, he loves the attention and didn't mind the costume. First we played a round of mini-golf(the fancy kind on real grass), then we went to a restaurant, then we did stupid things. He also successfully raised $10 in 15 minutes at a busy intersection in town.
Generally he got good reactions from everybody, particularly women, who complimented him on his clothes.

What was hard for me was listening to all the homophobic and transphobic comments that ensued from some of the guys in the party. For example, somebody suggested that he belonged in the Downtown Eastside.(poorest part of Vancouver, probably Canada) Then there were some "tranny" jokes, which I didn't appreciate hearing. But obviously I wasn't about to try to educating them.

Generally I'm not in any situations with a large (~12) group of men/boys. I don't have that many friends, and even if I did it would still be hanging out in mixed(wow, that term seems old) groups. So perhaps I was a bit naïve.(I love how the term in English was borrowed from the feminine in French:P). But I was surprised by their behaviour. For example, I learned what a "fart cup" is. You cup your hand around your ass, then fart into it. Then you cup your smelly hand around the victim's mouth and nose until they inhale.

At least the minigolfing wasn't too bad. I was in group with the older people, older than I, actually. I suck at it, but it is much better on grass than kids' minigolf. I got two birdies and an eagle!


I should really blog right after events, when they are fresh in my head. Still, writing a few days later means I recall the moments that were most significant to me.

Last Wednesday was the "viewing." Only family were there. It wasn't enjoyable, but it wasn't too painful. In the last ten years or so, many of my cousins have started having children. The effect of that is that family gatherings are logistically difficult. My dad has five sisters, all of whom have multiple children with children of their own. My point is that I hadn't seen some of these relatives for years. One of my cousins and I tried to figure out how long it had been since we had seen each other and we couldn't figure it out. So I had to explain what I've been up to many times. Also, I had to hide the fact that I was recently separated. Finally, I disliked wearing the mens dress clothes, which were a great difference from my usual shorts and a t-shirt. (I didn't wear a tie, just a short-sleeved button up shirt.

The next day I missed the family only burial in the morning due to an exam. But I made the funeral in the afternoon. (this time I wore that new dress shirt, albeit sans tie) I had to read a song (presented in the bulletin as a reading, I wouldn't have tried to sing some unfamiliar song) that had been found on a paper in my grandpa's bible. That was the biggest crowd I had spoken in front of, the biggest before had been a class at university. (there were probably a few hundred people there) I wasn't nervous, since I wasn't familiar with what I was reading.

However, there were two hymns sung in the memorial service. Now, I've pretty much stopped singing since I've stopped going to church. But I decided I ought to sing along to these two songs, because you don't need to believe what you are singing, plus I always used to like singing hymns. Singing hymns reminds me of the late eighties, early nineties, when we went to a particular church that had a lot of hymns, which my late grandfather also attended at the time. Anyways, I literally couldn't make it more than a stanza or two of "How Great Thou Art" without starting to cry. Perhaps I miss religious belief, but of course that isn't an acceptable reason to redevelop it. I think crying during those two songs was just my way of being sad.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Male clothes

I've never liked shopping for clothes. When I was younger, I always went with a parent and just wanted to get it over with. When I was out of high school, I would always go with somebody else. Then after I got married, I always went with my wife. All my life, shopping for (my own) clothes is something that I've had to be dragged along to do. I would wear worn out clothes rather than shop for new ones. Since developing or discovering my trans feelings*, I've basically stopped shopping at all. All new clothes that I own have been brought home by my wife on one of her own shopping trips. The only new shoes I've bought for at least two years have been steel-toed shoes for work.

My sister is getting married in two weeks. Obviously, female clothes would be inappro(my therapist joked about going en femme to the wedding). So, it was decided by my family that I need new dress clothes, for the wedding, and because I'll "need them for my teacher program". I went out shopping with my sister on Friday to Sears and ended up with dress pants and a shirt. Male dress clothes are really boring. Essentially there are only a few variations on a theme. It was difficult for my sister and the lady helping us because I had no opinion other than I wouldn't get a white shirt. I swear they spent like fifteen minutes holding up ties to this one maroonish shirt that they had picked out, but they were unable to agree on one.

Plus male dress shirts fit poorly. Presumeably most readers will know this, but there are basically two measurements that are used to fit a men's dress shirt: neck size and arm length. Apparently I have a fat neck: 15.5". My arms are 33". Anyways, with only the two measurements, the manufacturers assume that I have a big chest and arms. So that means that the arms and chest are always really baggy. (Yeah, I know that a tailored dress shirt will fit better)

The next day my sister took me to another store for a tie, and another store for dress shoes which "were supposed to last me for years". These were "nice" leather shoes that cost $180!!!

My parents paid for these clothes just because.

On the positive side, I have lost a bit of weight. I was able to buy 32" pants for the first time in a while.

*topic for another post: were my trans feelings latent or created??????