Thursday, 23 April 2015

A new old friend

Tara was a friend of mine back when I was in high school; (not her real name, by the way). She and I were never especially close to each other back then, though we were probably as close as we could have been. I kept a certain amount of emotional distance between myself and everyone else in those days: this was partly intentional and partly it just sort of happened. I think it may have been similar for her. We were part of the same friend group so we hung out a lot at school, but I can count on one hand the number of times we spent time together outside of school. By the end of grade 12 we'd mostly drifted apart. Facebook didn't exist back then so we lost touch after graduating, and I moved away from my hometown a year later.

In the time since then I would think about her on occasion, about how interesting and different she'd been, and how I'd never really gotten to know her. Back in February, sort of on a whim, I found her on Facebook and sent a friend request. We literally hadn't seen or heard from each other since our class' graduation ceremony in 2005, but she accepted it and we started catching up. We've been communicating fairly regularly since then and we've become good friends: definitely better friends than we ever were back then. We stayed up till 4 in the morning (only 3 am in her timezone) recently talking about a girl she has a crush on, among other things. So yeah, she's a new old friend.

Perhaps part of what's made it so easy to connect this time around is the discovery of what we have in common, (and I don't mean our mutual interest in Japanese culture). The thing is, when I knew her in high school, Tara was living as a boy. She only started transitioning last year. Imagine that: we were once two closeted teenage trans girls, eating lunch together nearly every day, struggling with the same unspeakable thing, completely unable to reach out and help each other. That's denial for you.

This was me in grade 10. Holy Jesus.
This is now the second time that someone I know from a non-LGBTQ context has started transitioning. (The first time I wrote about here). It makes me think that when people say they don't know any trans people, they probably just aren't paying attention. Which, I suppose, is just fine.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Hair removal and happy thoughts

This morning I had my first ever session of electrolysis. And wow, is it ever great to finally feel like my transition is moving forward! Since getting home from it I've just been feeling really positive and optimitic about life in general. :)

The actual procedure wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. From what I'd read on the interwebs I was expecting a fair amount of pain. But of all the hairs we got done today, only two of them even hurt a little: the rest were nothing worse than an uncomfortable pinching feeling. So either I've got an unusually high pain tolerance or an unusually good electrologist, but either way I was pleasantly surprised.

Granted, she only worked on my cheek today. I suspect that the chin and especially the upper lip will be worse. It also probably helps that I'm not on HRT, as apparently estrogens tend to make your skin more sensitive.

I took this picture as soon as I got home. By then most of the redness had disappeared,
but you can still see a little discolouration in the middle of my cheek.
We scheduled my next appointment for one hour next Saturday. I don't really like the idea of doing electro every single week though. In the future I think I'll see about doing longer sessions less often, like maybe two hours once a fortnight.

They say that galvanic electrolysis permanently removes 99% of treated hairs on the the first treatment. That means that, statistically speaking, all 15 hairs we got to today are probably gone for good. It's not much, but that's the first permanent alteration I've made to my body for the sake of aligning it more closely with my gender identity. And for that I say: yay yay yay!!! :D

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Two stories involving drugs

I have some pretty bad phone anxiety. And yes, I know it's irrational but hey— some people are afraid of bugs, some people are uncomfortable in crowds, and I get anxious talking to someone I can't see: that's just the way it is. So, a while ago, when I emailed the electrolysis clinic I wanted to go to, I wasn't too thrilled when they mentioned in their response that appointments could only be made by telephone.

Two weeks ago I finally worked up the courage to make the call. I already had the number in my contacts, so I could avoid having to dial it when the time came, (dragging out the process by dialling always makes my anxiety worse). It started ringing, my heart raced faster and faster, my breath came in short gasps, and then— voicemail. I panicked and ended the call. They did call back a few hours later, but by then I was hanging out at a friend's house and opted not to take it.

After that I was sort of kicking myself for having such an inconvenient hang-up (no pun intended). It seemed ridiculous that a goddamn phone call could be such a big obstacle between me and transitioning. So, a week later I tried again, but this time I enlisted some help of a chemical nature. That is to say, I did a shot of vodka beforehand; it made a big difference. While I probably still seemed a little awkward on the phone, for the most part I actually felt fairly calm. We set up a consultation for this coming Saturday.

In a very real sense I've been transitioning since I first allowed myself to question my gender identity, but this will be the first step towards physical transition, so I'm pretty excited about it. Excited and just a little bit scared.

To whomever invented distillation, thanks for the courage!

On the subject of mind-altering substances, I tried psilocybin mushrooms for the first time last Saturday. Prior to that the only recreational drugs I'd ever done were caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Like, I've never even smoked weed, so this was a pretty new experience for me. Me and a couple of good friends took a small dose each, put Heart's Dreamboat Annie on the record player, and just had a really groovy time. It was a very positive, horizon-broadening experience, and definitely something I'd consider trying again at some point.