Saturday, November 30, 2013

Who needs a house out in Hackensack?

So I see that the last time I posted was about an apartment.

This post is about an apartment too, but not a two bedroom to be shared with a mutual friend.

We were supposed to get a 2 bedroom apartment. One bedroom for a mutual friend, and one bedroom for me a Sarah. Well it turns out that our mutual friend was not ready to leave home. So despite the entire process of the application, background and credit checks, money to hold the apartment, it turns out that we didn't take the we started all over again, this time just us two.

I almost cannot believe we'll be moving in next weekend. It's crazy to think that in a week we will be moving into our very own place, just the two of us. It's exciting, and I have the feeling she is a bit nervous. But a good kind of nervous, like a little kid about to jump into a pool even though they can see Daddy is right there to catch them - you know you'll be fine, but you still have to make the jump.

It's in a very Orthodox neighborhood, which is going to be interesting but we're used to driving out on the weekends anyway, and at least it's quiet. The building looks like shit from the outside, really it does, but the whole inside has been gutted and redone, repainted with moldings everywhere and it's actually really nice.

We've both already started packing this past week so there really isn't that much left. This is going to be amazing.

*                    *                   *

Thanksgiving was two days ago, and almost all of my family refuses to accept the fact of what I'm doing. Or they just go stoic about it and sweep it under the rug. Except for a few people, and definitely some more than the others. My uncle John has been calling me "A" as best he can, which is his way of trying, and has told me that whatever floats any one's boat is fine with him as long as you're a decent and nice person you're good with him. Aunt Laura and Chuck love me to death no matter what and have been the only ones really communicating with me about all of this, asking questions, making fun of my voice dropping and then hugging the shit out of me and I'm not sure she'll ever stop pinching my cheeks. And then there's cousin Mikey. Who at Nana's was deliberately saying "Aidan" out loud at almost everything, and then smiling wide. We were outside together for a minute away from everyone and he asked why he was the only one doing it, and seemed surprised that even my parents weren't following suit. I told him he was the only one who was actually calling me "Aidan" in the family and again he was surprised. It's nice to know that he really has my back, completely. He's not half-assing it like the rest of my family, he is in this. 

Believe me I know I have it better than most at this point with family tolerance, and I'm thankful that at least I'm still in my house and accepted by my family at all, but it's interesting to see who will conform and who will sweep it under the rug. I have hope for my generation. That us as well as our children will be more tolerant, and accepting - that we won't look at someone and judge them for what they look like, or if they have trouble hiding their tits but they're growing a beard, or a deep voice and shaved legs and arms, or even just floating in the middle ground of androgyny - which is pretty hot, to be honest. =P

Anyway, the point is, everything is going to be okay....eventually. 

I'm hoping time will heal most wounds, and all of us can get the hell on with our lives as a family like we're supposed to. I'm also hoping that this apartment and some space away from my immediate family will help us all move forward in this process without feeling smothered by one another. 

But, one can only hope, right?

Monday, October 14, 2013

This is the sound of settling...

We might have an apartment.

I'm trying really hard not to get my hopes up. Because something might not work out - credit check, whatever it may be - these things happen. But it's cozy, and in a good neighborhood, and fucking cute as shit. Can I say that? Does it make it more manly if I say "fucking" and add "as shit" on the end?

We went to Ikea on Sunday and looked at couches, and bed frames, and bookcases, and kitchens that we can't have but I'm not too upset because the kitchen really is a nice size... and we're going to need new sheets. I love new sheets.

I find myself literally daydreaming like a 14 year old with a new crush. Sitting at work thinking about what to put on the walls, and what stuff am I going to keep and what should I give away? Realistically my room is not going anywhere. My 8'x10' cell-sized space that I've called a bedroom my whole life will not be disappearing as soon as I leave. I can move stuff slowly, over time... right? I don't want to get rid of everything. I like my stupid stuff. My water canteen that I've never even really used, my pictures on my walls, my toy Shelby's up on my shelf and the pink fuzzy dice that I don't have a car to put in anymore... I love my stuff.

Some stuff can go, but it's going to be weird to leave home. As much as I've wanted to leave, now it's strange to realize that it's really going to happen...

Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Too late two choices to stay or to leave..."

I know it has been almost a month, but between work and Disney and Renaissance Faires, I haven't been on my computer too often. So here I am, to say that I'm proud of myself.

Before I even start I want to make perfectly clear that not all men are like this. I, in fact, have not met every single man and cannot speak for anyone but myself. I hate generalizing, and I would never do it. But some men - some men that I have come in contact with - are EXACTLY like this. So please do not take offense if you are a man who is not like this, because I clearly am not talking about you. You're great, and funny, and outgoing and understanding. But not all men are like you. Some of them, are like this....

This weekend we went to visit a friend's childhood home in MA, where her family is still living. We drove up Friday night and went to King Richard's Faire on Saturday. It was a nice site, a lot more 'rustic' than the NY Faire, which was fun. What was not so fun, was knowing that no matter how hard I try, I'm not passing as much as I hope to. 

BUT! There is hope. I used the men's room like a champ. They're all just whipping 'em out and takin' a piss, and I stroll in, duck into a stall, do my thing, step out and wash my hands quick before walking out the wrong door and stumbling my way through the guys outside waiting for their chance to probably pee all over the seat. Like they do. But I kept my head low, and didn't get the shit kicked out of me. Which is always, and I mean always, a win.

It's not just that men's rooms are intimidating, it's that the men inside the men's rooms are intimidating. I can go pee in an empty men's room. That's fine. It's when you watch a group of drunk guys go in that you think to yourself, how drunk are they and how obnoxious/violent/loud are they going to be? So now you have to worry about being able to pee standing up, with other guys in there (talk about pee jitters), and you also have to worry about what will be the reaction they'll have if your shirt is hanging the wrong way and you don't pass  as a dude as well as you hoped you would. 

It's scary to think that just the way your shirt hangs, or the design on it, can make or break you in the men's room. Out in public is different. People can stare all they want in public. Fuck 'em. Who cares? But the men's room, as I have confirmed in my travels what I knew to be true all along, is a sacred place. A place where a man can literally whip out his dick and piss next to a complete stranger without even batting an eye. A place where a man can be a man! And talk about the blow job he got last night, or that chick on the end of the bar definitely wants him (even though she's just looking for a free drink), or how he and a bunch of the guys are going off-roading next weekend with a 30 rack for each of them and man they are 'going to be sooo hammered'.... not a place for females. 

Not a place for anyone but men. And when they catch you it can be humiliating, or awkward, and uncomfortable. And some men will just ignore you. They'll probably go and tell everyone they know about it, or maybe you'll walk out to a while bunch of people watching you and waiting for you to see what you look like and yep that's definitely a chick - but they won't call you out in the act.

However some men will harass you, like call you 'freak' or ask 'what the fuck are you doing in here?' and then when you go into the stall they'll turn the lights off and leave, so you wait for an extra two minutes to let your eyes adjust to keep from walking into the sink and then do it a fucking idiot. Which is always fun. 

So now, every time I go into a men's room and succeed, I'm proud. Even if it's at work, and no one else is in there for the entire time that I am, I'm proud of myself.

Pride seems to be coming to me more often than it used to. 

And it's getting much easier to accept it.

It's about damn time. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"She’s called Gillian Lynne, have you heard of her? Some have."

Kids know what they want, when they want it. Some things might seem a bit outlandish - candy, anything they can get their hands on at the checkout counter (even if they don't know what it is), and that toy that spins while you drip paint into it and creates exactly what you figured, a piece of paper covered with swirled paint (but if you do too much it's just a lot of colored paint on paper without much design at all) - but overall, they know.

A friend of mine asked for this link today, and mentioned that her "...son is 4, yes very young, but he only likes girl things. Plays dress up in princess dresses, plays with dolls and will get very upset if people try to get him to play with boy toys. Granted he is young, it doesn't bother me in the least bit! When you're little though, I think people feel 'tomboys' are more acceptable, and not the other way around. My husband and I will love and accept him regardless!"

This brought to mind a story I heard through Sir Ken Robinson in his TED Talk from 2006. It truly is one of my two favorite TED videos, the other being Clifford Stoll on everything. (links will follow) The story is about Gillian Lynne, the choreographer of Cats and Phantom of the Opera. As a child in the 1930's, she was doing terribly in school. She was fidgety, couldn't concentrate, and her parents were convinced that she had a learning disorder. Today she's probably be diagnosed with ADHD. Well they went to a specialist, and after awhile hearing about the problems that Gillian was having in school, he and her mother left the room - but as the doctor walked, he turned on the radio and then closed the door, and as soon as the door closed Gillian was up and dancing around the room. He turned to her mother and said, “Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn’t sick; she’s a dancer. Take her to a dance school.” And as the saying goes, the rest is history. 

Now, I know this isn't the same exact situation - but kids know what they want. 

If your four year old son wants to play with (what are labeled as) girl's toys, and play dress up, and dance around the house in a tutu saying he's a ballerina and just wants a sensible pair of heels, let him. If he turns out to be transgendered, or super fabulous and gayer than Richard Simmons singing a duet with Elton John in a bath house, or just a straight man who knows his way around Nordstrom, it's going to be okay. 

Kids may not remember exactly what happened in every situation, but they will never forget how something made them feel. And if a parent makes their kid feel unwelcome, or unloved, or like there's something wrong with them, kids will not forget that. They will always remember how they felt when their parents told them to go make some friends that are girls, or be more 'ladylike' - when the kid was just doing what felt natural and right. 

Let them be a kid. 

But more importantly - let them be themselves. Whoever that may be. 

TED Talks
Sir Ken Robinson - (click here to watch) 
Clifford Stoll - (COMPLETELY UNRELATED but click here to watch that one)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Seeing is believing

So there's a new guy at work named John, and I'm training him. Apparently everyone in our department feels like it's time to move onto bigger and better things, and they're leaving. So they brought in John.

He's a smart guy. IT degree, trained and served with the ARMY, picking up things quickly, etc. So could I really fool him? Could I really be passing?

We're talking about working out, and I mention that I want to bulk up and get more muscle. He says it's really not too hard with the right diet, exercise, and attitude to keep with it. Then he mentions that he did steroids for a time, and that really helped him out. "I bet it did" - I reply, and keep working. Without even missing a beat he comes out with, "well you're still young, you got plenty of that natural testosterone still. When you hit like 35, that shit starts to tank. Be ready for that."

I almost died right then and there. I tried to ignore the fact that I could feel the heat crawling up my chest, over my ears, and onto my face. It was a good thing he was behind me and I could just keep staring at my computer screen and nod as if to say, "oh yes I will keep that in mind, thank you good sir please do not notice how my face is for some reason turning the color of a sun-burnt Irishman".

I turn and shoot a look to James that may have looked something like, 'DID HE JUST FUCKING SAY THAT?! I WIN. WE HAVE TO TALK LATER" and yet not a sound came from my mouth. Luckily he just nodded back to me, fully understanding, and trying not to let his body shake too much from laughing silently.

There are two possibilities.

One - He has no fucking idea that I have DD's under this binder shirt and my dick is ordered off of the internet. I'm passing and he has no idea.

Two (much more likely) - He knows exactly what is going on, and is being the nicest and most understanding person I have met so far that is not one of my closest friends. He knows what I'm doing, more than likely has known a few trans-men, and knows how to make us feel better than we've felt for a long time (or ever for that matter).

Either way, it's fucking awesome. Sláinte, John. I won't tell if you won't.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's a boy Mrs. Walker it's a boy.

Today I changed my Facebook name. It may seem stupid to some people, or pointless. But honestly, it's a great support system for me. I can't always see my friends, and it's nice to know that even if I don't see them or talk to them all the time - that they're there to support me. I like to know that they're still rooting for me.

So far everything is going smoothly when it comes the hormones, but I think I'm going to start taking them once a week instead of once every two weeks. Believe it or not I can actually feel the difference after two weeks of taking it. I'm hoping that every week will be better than every two weeks. Still haven't really talked to Mom or Dad about it since our last chat, and Dad keeps asking me if I'm sick or losing my voice because it keeps cracking. And I'm really trying not to laugh.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Public Service Announcement

There are going to be times in life when you doubt yourself. I'm not talking about 'what kind of haircut should I get' or 'what outfit should I wear tonight', I'm talking real doubt. Like 'should I quit my awful job if I don't have anything else lined up', or 'should I move my whole family to a new state' (or even country), or those people who leave someone they thought they wanted to spend the rest of their life with at the altar.

Or - 'can I really make it through this transition'.

These are life-changing decisions here, people. But that doesn't mean that we should lose our shit over it. You have to know that as hard as it's going to get, it will be worth it. It gets better. We can't let people stop us, or even slow us down. The hardest things in life are the ones we work for, and some things are going to be even harder than others. I thought growing up alone was going to be hard, now I'm completely changing my life. And no matter what anyone thinks, or says, or does - I'm going to fucking do this.

I have enough people in my life who love me and support me, losing a few isn't going to be the end of the world.

It may be harder if they're family, but they're still just eggs.

And I want a fucking omelette.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"And you know what, you're gonna be miserable anyway, so it doesn't matter."

So Saturday night there was a graduation party for my cousin, Pat. And the more the night went on, the more I was getting more pissed about hearing people say "good girl" or "hey girlie" or call me "Aileen". I was fed up, and sick of it, and when I got home I posted a status on facebook that essentially was 'coming out' for me. Sortof a, hey everybody I'm calling it official now - if you're not cool with it then unfriend me and that's fine, no hard feelings - kindof thing.

I didn't tell my parents at the time for 2 reasons, and neither will be probably what you're thinking.
1. It was literally almost 1am, and everyone was sleeping. 
2. It's none of my parent's business what I post on Facebook, and honestly if they want to check they can because Mom and I are friends. (Dad can't work the computer-or even really technology- at all, let alone social networking.) I can post or not post whatever I want on Facebook. I wasn't hurting anyone, I wasn't bullying, I wasn't talking shit about anything - I was posting information, about myself, that is factual.

Sunday evening I get a text from Sarah saying that her mother is freaking out, yelling at her, about my facebook status that she heard about through the grape vine. I'm not even going to get into how mad that made me. Sarah had no idea I was even posting it, do not yell at her for something that I did. You want to be mad, be mad at me, not her. Anyway, it made me think that maybe I should tell Mom, just as a courtesy to let her know what was going on and what I did. But again, by this time, it was late and everyone was in bed. 

So this morning, I send her a text message. Let me make something clear here - I do not see text messaging as a way of 'backing out' or any less form of communication than talking when it comes to informing someone of something like, I posted on facebook about me being trans, but not about Sarah and my relationship yet. So just assume that everyone now knows about me. That is not any different than me telling you in person. Break ups, coming out to your parents, long deep conversations-not made for texting. But this? This was NOTHING LIKE THAT. Needless to say, I get no answer from her, and my day goes on. 

She picks me up from work, which was great because I had already had a rough day, and the whole ride home is silence. I know she's pissed now, but honestly I was going to wait for her to start. 

We make it all the way home, into the kitchen, and then it starts.... (my favorite lines are in white, please excuse any typos in advance)

        *                             *                               * 

me: Thanks for picking me up
her: thanks for the FUCKING text message. what was that?
me: I wanted to let you know. I didn't want to call you I was at work
her: And that's what I rate? a fucking text message? that's it? I'm your mother.
me: I was at work.
her: when did you post it?
me: Saturday night after the party. 
her: I was home all day with you yesterday. A fucking text message? you have got to be kidding me. You know what? you are incredibly selfish and self centered. You know what? no. Fuck you. The whole thing, Aileen, okay? The whole thing.
me: What whole thing?
her: Everything. all of it. the whole-the whole way you're handling this is selfish and self-centered and you're like fuck everybody else. You have NO compassion. You have no compassion for anybody. you have no sensibilities towards anybody else's feelings. You don't really give a shit. Everybody's supposed to be considerate of you, and accepting of you but you have NO compassion for anyone. You're rude about it, you're insensitive. You're-
me: How was I rude?
her: No. And you know what, you're gonna be miserable anyway, so it doesn't matter.
me: And why is that?
her: Because you're never happy. you're never happy with whatever is here for you, whatever you have, you have never been. You have always been a grass is greener person, you're always looking at the other side, wanting what's over there. Or wanting what you can't have, or wanting the friends that you can't be friends with, or the people who don't want to hang around with you-
me: What makes you say that? I don't know where you're getting all of this. I really don't. 'cause I am happy.
her: No. You're not gonna be happy. If you this this is gonna make you happy-
me: I am happy. I'm not saying "I'm gonna be", I am. 
her: So then that's all that matters. Fuck everybody else, fuck everybody else-
me: I'm already happier than I was. I'm not gonna stop doing what makes me happy.
her: and that's all that matters, is that you're happy. and FUCK everyone said "I don't give a shit what anybody else says or thinks".
me: When did I say that?
her: you posted it on FB ages ago.... "those that matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter." SO I guess I don't matter.
me: Dr. Suess? I'm quoting Dr. Suess. 
her: And why are you quoting Dr. suess?
me: because there are gonna be people that aren't happy with the way that I live. There are gonna be people everywhere I'm not saying the people I know. I'm saying people I don't know. There are parts of society that are never going to accept what's going on and that's-they don't matter. People who think that gays shouldn't get married. I'm not gonna have them matter in my life, I'm not gonna lose sleep over them. That's what I mean by that quote that's how I take that quote. I'm not gonna let someone else who I've never met, affect me. 
her: Really? because It really comes off more like fuck you all. 
me: No-
her:  I think you are making the biggest mistake you have ever made. Biggest mistake ever. And I think you're gonna regret it.
me: I don't understand why it's a mistake. Wh-why is this considered a mistake?
her: Because I think you're not being true to yourself.
me: I think you have no idea what you're talking about.
her: Fine, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Then we won't talk about it.

       *                            *                               *

I want to be able to look back on this - years from now, when I'm happy and have a family and friends that love me, and know that I proved my mother wrong. For years I have been trying to be something that I'm not - for her, for everyone. Now it's my turn. And I'm finally learning who I really am. 

If she's not happy with that and can't come to terms with that, then it's going to be her loss, and she'll have to live with it - without me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hard truths and hard days

Maybe, just maybe, sometimes honesty isn't the best policy. Maybe I just want to be able to lie to myself and say that it's going to be fine, and one day I'll fit in. It seems more and more like that day isn't going to come. And I'm going to be stuck between sexes, and worlds, forever. I know that I'm not going to be seen as "one of the guys" for a long time yet, but that doesn't mean that I want attention drawn to the fact that yes, I still have tits. And yes, I'm still a female in the name of science.

I'm open about what I'm doing to my body. I would rather teach someone about myself than have them wonder in solitude, and judge, and be ignorant. Because even if they're ignorant towards me, maybe I can teach them something for the next trans person they meet. That doesn't mean that jokes about me still being a girl are going to be funny every single time. I can handle ballbusting, but it's starting to actually bother me. Questions I can handle, but some of the jokes just aren't funny. 

I really want to be part of the guys, I do. And being told that it's not really going to happen, is true, but discouraging. And it hurt. He pretty much said "well did you really expect to (be part of the guys)?" and damnit, yes. I do expect that. It's not fair that every day I wake up and I'm reminded that my body doesn't match, but to have it rubbed in by people is just starting to break me down. The anger is fading, now I'm just feeling tired. And defeated. 

*                    *                    *

In other news, Sarah told her parents Sunday night that we're in a relationship. Which is exciting, and apparently went well. So that's great. I'm happy that her dad didn't lose his shit. I mean, I didn't really expect him to, but the word is that his reaction was much better than anticipated. I'm really just glad that it's finally out there and we can talk about it like adults. I hope. Her mom is in emotion overload, which is fine and understandable, but suggested maybe we talk Saturday morning over coffee. I hope we do, it would be nice. 

Fuck this shit can get exhausting. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Relearning Basic Skills

Taking a Leak:

I wish it wasn't such an ordeal to pee. I won't go into detail, but yes I can pee standing up. And it's awesome, but my body is not at all used to it. And it's even harder when public bathrooms have been terrifying for quite some time now. Never feeling right in the women's room, and never being allowed in the men's room. Now, finally in the men's room, and the pee anxiety that has always been present is now in overdrive.

It's frustrating. I just want to take a piss.

Getting Dressed:

I wish it wasn't such an ordeal to get dressed. Whether an FtM trans person is wrapping, binding, wearing two+ bras, or wearing a full binder shirt (I suggest the Underworks 998 model, I love it), it's a process to get dressed in the morning. Add humid heat and what used to take 2 minutes to put clothes on could now become almost 10 minutes. And breathing in humid heat is already difficult, now with chest compression? And did I mention that I have asthma? It's exhausting.

Now imagine your body fighting foreign hormones on the inside - which involves hot flashes and sweating - and clothes can get very uncomfortable very fast.

So keep in mind of your trans friends, because I'm sure MtF trans persons also have these issues, I'm just giving my side of it. This is not meant to generalize in any way. But seriously, when we complain about it being hot, keep in mind we may be wearing more than two layers even when it's 85 degrees out.

And maybe buy us a bottle of water.
Seriously they're like a dollar.
You can spare a dollar.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Work is working and home is suffocating.

Well it seems to be working out just fine. Everyone is working on pronouns, the men's bathroom is being used, and there are stupid boy jokes left and right. I'm getting better at the job itself, and figuring out where things are and who to go to with what issues. Room for growth, raises, overtime, things like that.

My parents still have not mentioned hormones at all. Or my transition. And my brother is an extremely irritating pothead with no respect for other people unless it directly affects him. I'm so sick of living at home.

I have a packet from PFLAG called "Our Transgender Children" and considering it's bothering me how much of a point everyone at home is making lately to address me as a girl, I might just leave it in the bathroom for people to read. Because it's actually killing me more now that all day I can be Aidan and use the men's room, and then I come home and it's all "she" and "daughter" and "good girl" left and right. I'm going out of my mind here.

Hopefully this job will get me enough income to get an apartment by the end of the year, because I have to get out of here. ASAP.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pronoun Pride

Today was my first day at the new job! It was awesome. Everyone is nice, and seemingly non-judgemental.

The pronouns are the hard part. And the bathroom issue, but that's always a given. I managed to sneak in today when no one was in there, and as long as I don't get the shit beaten out of me - no pun intended - then we're good.

So as long as we can get the pronouns right, we're good to go. I was told today that I am officially the first transgender to work in the office, and I think it's going to be a great opportunity to teach people and help people be a little more understanding. Maybe I'm over optimistic, but I guess we'll find out. I had to correct a few people today but they all took it in stride and readjusted pretty quickly.

The office section I work in is all men, and they're ball busters, and it's fucking fantastic. They're loud, don't give a fuck who hears them, and didn't even miss a beat with me in the room. It's reassuring.

The work is tedious, but not hard, and from the looks of it - mostly sitting as a computer. And maybe I'm excited about that. Is that a bad thing? To be going from a (already and it's early in the year) blazing hot kitchen, to a temperature controlled office, sounds great. Not to mention the fact that I'm NOT standing on my feet all day, just some of it, sounds great. Now I just have to make sure I get a solid running in the morning routine so the office work doesn't affect my weight gain.

So my first day went great. And I got the code for the men's room.

Win? I think so.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Take your time.

So I'm hoping (if it's not already happening) that other transgenders will be reading this blog. It's my hope that I not only teach my friends who read the blog, but also anyone who gets referred here or even just stumbles upon it. So this is a teaching entry.

Today was my second self-injected shot of testosterone, and my fourth shot overall. Two weeks ago when I did my first self injection, I went too fast. I was excited, and that's expected, but it clouded my vision when it came to the injection process.

First, flex the muscle a bit before injection. My friend suggested it and it seems to help. I have only injected in my leg, but I'm assuming it will help in any other muscle injection sites.

Secondly and seriously, take your time. Push a bit, and pause-take a breath, then keep going. Don't rush it. And make sure you don't hit a vein because it will hurt like a bitch. In Sarah's parent's house, in the bathroom, there's a red heating lamp and I like to use that to check where my veins are, and mentally mark the spot on my leg where I can inject and not hit a vein. I know not everyone has a heating lamp, but do the best you can.

Another hint of advice - pull your skin to the side and then inject, holding the skin while injecting, then remove the needle and let the skin slide back again. This will help if the injection site seems to ooze a bit after injection.

And lastly, don't overdo it. I know this sounds like common sense, but some people just assume that more testosterone, or injecting more often, will cause faster results. This is NOT TRUE. Too much testosterone will not help, it's just a waste. After a certain amount of testosterone is in the female body, it can be changed into estrogen. So more testosterone can actually hurt your efforts in hormone replacement therapy. The point is to become more masculine, and having more estrogen in your body is NOT going to help you.

So always trust your doctor, and seriously listen to them. Trying to cheat and get ahead could hinder you.

This is a huge life decision, and not something to be taken lightly. So the process matters.

Pay attention. Do it right. Make it count.

Monday, May 27, 2013

When people have your back...

My family still has not spoken of the hormones, or my transition, or anything - really. My parents were in Italy for the past week and it was nice to not worry about being home for dinner, or awkward phone conversations, or feeling bad about sitting in my room and watching TV.

But this past weekend was....spectacular. Sarah and I went upstate to spend time with friends, and it was a great stress reliever. These people really support me, use the right name and pronouns, and it's not awkward. It's fun, and boosts my self-confidence, and it's fantastic.

So all in all, I had a great week and an even better weekend.

Just wanted to update from the anger and frustration in my last post.

Carry on.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yes I have thought about this.

Why does everyone assume that taking hormones is a decision I have made overnight? Like one day I woke up and said, "I'm going to start hormones today" and then did it. As if this is not something that I have been thinking about for years now. As if I have not felt like a male stuck in this body forever. As if I'm acting on a whim. 

News flash. I know what the fuck I'm doing with my life. 

I emailed my grandfather and his lady friend, informing them of what is happening in my life. And of course, they're not supportive. But I think I would have rather them have said something alone the lines of, "we don't support this" and that be the end of it. But of course not, it can't be that easy. 

Please tell me how decisions I make now will affect the rest of my life, as if I don't know that. 
Please tell me that I may be discriminated against, or not welcome. 
Please tell me that I may be the object of "very mean jokes".

I am 23 years old. I am an adult. I have already been living my life. I have been discriminated against. I have been verbally abused, I have almost been physically assaulted because of who I am. Who I have always been. I have been the butt of many jokes that I have heard, and I'm sure multitudes more that I have not. And I have to live with that. I have to live every single day with people staring, judging, glaring at me. Every single day knowing that what people see is not how I feel inside. Every single day knowing that this is not what I want to look like, and almost every single person that I come in contact with will use the wrong pronoun, and the wrong name. 

Every. Single. Day.

So please do not try and tell me that my life will be hard. I think I know better than you do. 

As far as what people think of me: if they don't like me, that's fine. I couldn't care less. Because I have a great support system of friends and extended family members. I honestly do not care how society sees me. 

I will marry Sarah. And we will have children, and I will be "Daddy". I will never be Mommy. We will live wherever we want, have whatever jobs we want, and live happily as husband and wife.

And that is the thought that gets me through every single day of discrimination, jokes, looks, wrong pronouns, and judgement. The thought that I have Sarah. She loves me exactly the way that I am, and supports me in everything that I do. Just as I do for her. Not a day goes by that I don't think about how lucky I am, and grateful, and happy. I have never been so happy. 

That has to mean I'm doing something right, doesn't it?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sharing the news: Friends vs Family

I don't know why telling family is harder than telling friends. Maybe it's because friends are of the same generation, and we've grown up with the same influences, and times are a'changin. Maybe it's because sometimes we feel closer to our friends than our family, so sharing something doesn't seem as intimidating because we can guess how our friends will react easier than our parents or family.

I'm sticking with the latter. I feel like I know my friends better than my family. I think it's because I have spent more time around my friends, and honestly communicating with my friends. I wonder if that statement should make me sad, but it doesn't.

Maybe we're a freak family, but we never talk about anything. We don't have real conversations about how our day went, what we think about society, or how we feel since Michael died. We just don't talk.

I'm too aquarius for that. I need to talk through my feelings, or they build up inside of me, and eventually I just break down. It's happened a few times now. I've learned from it.

So I had no idea what was going to happen when I told my family. Especially my parents. My brother and I haven't talked about me, or what's going on in my life. Surprise. (Sarcasm, read above about the lack of communication). My Aunt and I haven't spoken about it either, and who knew that my mother would be more upset than my dad? I was convinced that he was going to be more upset than he's shown. But it seemed to work the other way around. These hormones aren't going to change my personality, I'll still be me. I just hope that they can see that. If they can't, and still refuse to support me, I won't want them in my life.

My friends? Supportive, accepting, loving, non-judgemental, concerned that I'm doing the right thing but overall happy as long as I am, checking in on my progress, asking questions, interested, helping me through this.

My family? Silent.

And yeah, it hurts.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Second Shot and Sharing with Nana

Today was my second shot of hormones, and I did it myself. I am now cleared to start self injecting. It's exciting, and I'm confident that I can handle it. I got a sharps container, and prescriptions for more T and syringes. So we'll see how that goes...

I told my grandma (nana) about Sarah and my relationship, and that I'm trans. She basically told me that she knew about Sarah and I (I mean it's pretty damn obvious) and that I should do what makes me happy and other people will either get over or not. It was good to let her know. She's said multiple times that with all 17 of us cousins, she sometimes feels out of the loop, and I don't want to put her in that position.

She said Sarah and I are always welcome for lunch or tea.

Sarah and I are heading to Colorado next week for my pastry school graduation, and I think it's going to be great. I can't wait to see everyone again and to tell everyone that I started hormones. I miss it there, and I miss everyone calling me Aidan and using male pronouns. Everyone was so accepting, and nonjudgmental, and...awesome. So it's gonna be great to get back there and catch up with the pastry class.

Here's hoping it goes well. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seriously, it's hot in here.

So I'm not sure if it's a side effect of the hormones, or just me, but I have been running hot lately. Hot flashes, and generally just hotter than usual. I'm going to keep an eye on it, but I just wanted to throw it out there.

Anyway, it's been a week since my first shot of testosterone and I don't feel any differently (not that I really expected to). I'm taking a relaxing day today and staying at Sarah's house playing ACII and job hunting. I already called a bunch of places as well as sent emails.

I'm worried about job hunting. How are they going to feel when my resume says Aileen "Aidan" Kircheim, and then I show up. Of course they're going to use to wrong pronouns, and of course I'm going to have to explain to them what's going on. And it's not that I'm worried about talking about it, because clearly, I'm not. Ask me anything and I'll answer it - completely open book. But it's that face that some people make that looks to me like 'okay I hear you but I still can't really comprehend this' and what comes out of their mouth is, 'Thanks for coming by, have a great day', which really means 'sorry but I'm sure I can find someone else'. It's generally not fair that someone might not hire me because I'm trans but it's not like I can prove it. And I know that a lot of us who aren't exactly passing, or haven't changed our names yet, have this problem. I just wish it didn't happen as often as it does.

So ultimately I'm worried about finding an employer who understands, accepts, and tolerates me as an employee. And the truth is, Long Island is not the best place for tolerant people. We like to pretend that we're all about equality, and understanding of people who live outside social norms, but it's really not like that at all. People are prejudiced, people are racist (and not the funny Avenue Q way either. Nasty racist) and it's unavoidable here. Don't get me wrong, I know that there are a lot of places that are the same, as well as worse than Long Island, when it comes to racism and discrimination. What I'm saying is, Long Island is where I am now in my life, and I have to deal with it.

So I guess we'll just see what happens, and roll with the punches.

Damn I should go back to kickboxing.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The truth is, I was terrified.

One step closer.

To happiness.
To self respect.
To passing.
To becoming a man.

Yesterday was my first shot of testosterone. I cannot believe it. Not in the "oh it all happened so fast I can't believe it" kind of way, I mean actually cannot believe it. Three years of looking forward to this experience. Three years of waiting, wishing, hoping, anxiousness, self-hatred, nervousness, and then in less than 2 minutes it's done. And afterwards, my fear and doubt starting to run wild. What if this isn't what I want? What if my parents never understand? What if Sarah changes her mind about supporting me when I start going through puberty all over again?


Of rejection.
Of not following through.
Of losing what I love.
Of being a burden to others.

No matter that 99% of my insides have been telling me for years that this is what I want, and to be excited, and I can do this, I let the 1% of me take over. I let it run me for almost a quarter of an hour. I think it's healthy that I still have that doubt. And I'm going to take some time getting past that 1%, but I can do it. I will do it.

Anyone who says they're not scared before their first treatment of hormones, is full of shit. It doesn't make you any less of a "man" to be afraid. It makes you human. It's going to be okay. Talk about your fear. Whether it's with a therapist, a good friend, or anonymous in a forum online. If you don't talk about it, and figure out where it is stemming from, you will NEVER get past it. This isn't a fear of spiders that can be overcome by just facing it and getting past it. This is a process that will take time, tears, and serious self reflection. But it's worth it.

Some people have asked me how I know that I'm trans, or what makes me want to go through with hormone therapy, or am I sure this is what I want. So I'm going to explain through the story of someone I met in Albany. Though her name escapes me now, her story will stay with me forever. We'll call her Jill.

Jill was born a man, and knew since she was very little that her sex was incorrect to her gender. Jill is (at the time I met her) in her mid 40s. She has never, never, told her family about being trans. She has lived two lives for her entire existence. During the week she is Jack, and works at an accounting office from 9-5, like an average man. On weeknights and weekends, however, she becomes Jill. She puts on a wig, fake nails, a dress, some heels, some makeup, and heads out as what feels more real to her than a check from her job in her hand. She explained this to me, and what I remember most was her eyes as she told me. They were not only filled with fear that her parents would find out, but with sadness. Sadness that she could never be herself full time. Sadness that she may never find a partner who understands her, and will support her in her life. She feared that her job would fire her, that her family would not accept her, and she would completely alone in the universe.

I never want to do that to myself. I never want to hide who I am. And hearing her story made me realize that that was exactly what I was doing. I was lying not only to myself, but to everyone I loved. So now I have vowed to change that. So I am ready to venture into the unknown, to do something I have never done (and that list is pretty short), and to take it in stride.

It's time to discover the diamond in the rough. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The first of many truths.

Here comes my story. Along with clichés. But most importantly, the truth. Ever since I was young I've felt different. Something just wasn't right, and I never knew what it was. I had more friends that were boys, I got along better with boys, and I liked it that way. It felt better than being a girl. Which, looking back, never felt right. I didn't have a bad childhood. My parents did not make me that way, I was just considered a "tomboy". There was nothing wrong with it, and it was no one's fault. It's still no one's fault.

From the very beginning I have been good at sports. I loved it. I made the travel soccer team before I was supposed to, before the rest of the kids my age did, I swam and played basketball for CYO, I played volleyball, made the varsity softball team of my high school in 9th grade, and the varsity soccer team. My grandparents taught me how to golf, my dad taught me how to hunt and fish, my brothers taught me how to skate. I was throwing myself into sports from an early age to keep myself busy, and it was fun. But I was trying to find something. Something that would fill the void inside of me, and make me feel like I was normal.

The move from middle school to high school was an interesting one. I separated from some friends, and gained others. I started to get close to my third cousin Sarah, and ended up helping at her school with her theater club. We started getting closer and closer as friends and not only did we start to hang out more, but I got to know some of her friends also. I'm not sure when it happened, but I fell head over heels in love with Sarah. Every part of me was screaming "but I'm supposed to be a girl!! And I know I'm not a lesbian!" and "it'll never be okay. she's your cousin." So I did my best to hide it. And when I couldn't really do that, I tried to shift my focus of affection from Sarah to her friend Liz. That didn't work either.

Summer of 2008. I've just graduated high school, made it the whole time without throwing myself at Sarah (much to my own surprise), and it seems like not many people (unless I told them in secret) knows the wiser. Success. Sarah is working during the summer out east in Hampton Bays. Now since 2004 when I knew for sure that I was in love with Sarah, I have been talking myself into it. Convincing myself that the past 4 years have not been in vain, and maybe someday she'll come to love me the way that I love her despite the fact that we're family (but really, third cousins? Who cares? And we can't even biologically have kids...). So I've been going for it. And working my ass off to woo her. Yes, I said 'woo'. And (again, much to my surprise) it seems to be working. I've got her hooked, I know it. We're up talking until all hours of the night, we're falling asleep in each other's arms. It was perfect. But I couldn't kiss her. I was a coward.

September 6th, 2008. Freshman year. I'm visiting Sarah at Purchase and for what must have been about 15 seconds and feels like a lifetime, she's been laying there with her eyes closed, giving me the kiss-me face. I manage to find some courage somewhere in the universe, and I kiss her. And my jaw has never been so clenched, and my lips so tight. It was like a 4 year old making a Ken doll kiss a Barbie. Honestly, it was pretty terrible. You can ask her, she'll tell you.

The next day was panic. We didn't really talk about it, but she kept saying "it's okay, really" over and over and all I could think was damnit I ruined it. And that'll never happen again. And I swear I can kiss better than that, really. And for the next 2 weeks we called each other every night talking about it. What would the family say, and how are we going to work this out, and damnit I swear I can kiss better than that! And when she came to visit me in Albany, we had a do-over of our first kiss. It was much better, thanks for asking.

We've been together ever since.

2010. Gender Studies Class. "Today we're going to talk about transgenders." Tranny jokes ensue, Birdcage references made. The usual that I'm familiar with. But then we really started talking about it. Like real adults. And it's not just Birdcage trannys. I'm sitting in class, next to my friend "JPK", and it fucking hits me. That's it. That's what this is. I'm a boy in here, that really happens. People deal with this all the time, and I could take hormones, and get surgery, and the outside would match the inside. I'm thrilled that I finally, FINALLY, figured out what the hell is wrong with me. And it's not wrong at all, it's just lesser known.

Ever since that day I have been dreaming of a new life. A life where I can really be myself, and be a bro instead of a hoe. A day when I can take my shirt off at the beach and not get fined for it. And play shirts vs skins basketball and be on the skins team. A five o'clock shadow. A deeper voice. Easier muscle growth.

Well, it's happening. Thursday will be my first day of hormone therapy, and I'll start taking testosterone shots. My parents are not thrilled, and I didn't expect them to be. It's okay that they're upset, and don't understand. Because growing up here on Long Island, I didn't understand either. And if I hadn't gone away to school and taken that class, and then gone to trans meetings, and support groups, I wouldn't even be close to where I am today.

I'm nervous, impatient, but most of all excited. I'm finally on the road to becoming a real boy. People may not understand, and that's okay. All I can do is live my life, and try to teach some people along the way. But that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to live my life. I have been the rock of this family forever. And my brother Michael told me that I should do what makes me happy, and that love is love, and if people love me, they'll come around. Since he said it, and since he died, I've come to realize more and more that life is too short to not do what makes me happy. So thanks to him, and others who have said the same things, I have the courage to do it now.

Because life is too damn short. And that's the truth.