RSS Feed

Tag Archives: transition

Ride’s Not Over Yet

CometOK, my last post was really all about schilling for a worthy endeavor, but the spike in my traffic reminded me that I seem to have maintained a readership in spite of going silent for a few months. Huh. Well, that’s a surprise. Here I thought everyone was here for the jokes or seeing what crazy way ol’ Michelle managed to publically humiliate herself this week. Therein lies the rub. The huge cascade of interesting things that had been happening to me for almost two straight years has finally become a trickle of molasses in January. Or this year, I guess March. Let’s talk about that for a minute. Not the weather; I haven’t gotten that pathetic just yet.

Somehow, in spite of my best efforts to remain in Neverland (the good one, not the one with the evil Peter Pan from ‘Once Upon a Time’ who is somehow related to 43 other fables), I went and kind of grew up. Ugh. I hate even saying the words! A few years ago, before I took my first Estrodial or Spiro, before I ventured out in daylight to anywhere but Belles or Spectrum meetings, a post-operative trans woman said to the table of transsexuals and cross-dressers, “It’s feels good to be in the right body, but it’s also depressing.” I asked her what she meant and she just held it out as a certainty without really explaining. Because of that, I chalked it up to bullshit. I mean who can’t explain their own experiences? Apparently she couldn’t, but it didn’t make it any less true.

The early days of self-discovery are so exciting. You don’t know what’s going to happen, what you are going to be doing, what the consequences will be, and what you will be at the end of it. Every single day is a roller coaster of exhilaration of crossing a new inch stone and mortal terror of discovery and repercussions. Every tiny step of it is something you just could not have imagined a few years, or even a few months prior. A trip to the grocery store becomes a major achievement, not to mention hitting the Allentown Art Festival or Taste of Buffalo, surrounded by thousands, some of whom you are bound to know, and wondering if you will be recognized, outed and have your secret self thrust into the spotlight of harsh judgment or warming embrace. Every outfit is a dare, a new expression of your personality. Every intervention: hormones, electrolysis, laser and surgery becomes a new high, a new heady plateau in rarified atmosphere, closer to the golden glow of achieving the nirvana of self-realization. Scraped, bloody, humiliated, and filled with the holy spirit of feminine righteousness, we clamber to the peak. I am woman, hear me roar.

That was all really freaking awesome and all, but after enough roaring to necessitate a trip to the corner for some Ludens, the rest of life has to go and continue. Because I was lucky enough to keep my job through transition, and living situation, it’s basically the same life I’m continuing from before transition, except with more hassles. I still have to get my little guy to school every day and pick him up, do the grocery shopping, write the same performance reviews, and attend the same staff meetings. I still take out the garbage every Wednesday, snow blow the driveway, mow the lawn, and help my mom with her taxes. The difference is that it now takes me longer to get ready for work, I’m still dilating three times a day, and the supply list of shit I need every day is considerably longer. It’s all very routine, mundane, and not worth of being mentioned, even though I just filled your eyes with it all and made you wonder if you should just unsubscribe to this already. Seriously, don’t though. I’ll know, and make it a point to write some knockout material just to piss you off.

I miss the excitement. The uncertainty. Doing things that could radically change my future and lead to dizzying heights and soul crushing lows. This is a good thing. I lived through transition and the world didn’t end. It didn’t break me, or even really come close. OK, yeah, I had some dreary, weepy days in there over the past year, but I’m going to conveniently blame hormones on that, evidence or none. I had a little rest, and now it’s time to climb some new mountains.

Am I still going to maintain this blog and share my experiences? In the words of Tina Fey in one of her minor roles, “you betcha!” What I can add to the body of knowledge regarding transition is probably more limited, though I’ll still write trans posts. I’ll also be vectoring into other areas as I see fit, and promise to try to keep up the funny schtick as much as possible. All the transition knowledge I have to share is conveniently accessible if you access the ‘Topics’ tab up at the top where you can find my blathering on almost any topic, or will once I get around to updating the damn thing. Ride’s not over yet.

PS – The picture, in case are wondering, is in homage to one of the greatest trans blogs ever written, “I Hate Roller Coasters”, by my sister, Becky Kent. This one’s for you sis. 🙂

PPS – Um, just so we are clear, Becky is still with us and doing incredibly well. Her blog is gone, hence the homage, but seriously, she’s fine and if I can ever convince her to do a guest post, I’ll prove it.

Tolerated, Accepted or Supported?

SupportWhen announcing a huge ass decision such as undergoing gender transition, many people around you will declare in loud voices that they totally support you. Many of them, as you will come to discover, are filthy disgusting liars, which honestly, is kind of what they think of you. The topic for today is the difference between being supported, being accepted, and being tolerated. As I’m sure you have guessed by now, they are not at all the same thing. They are, however, better than being disparaged, abhorred, or killed, so we are really talking positives here, as thin as some of them may seem.

Many of the people who come out to say they support you in fact only tolerate you. There are two types of tolerance really – by choice, or enforced. Enforced tolerance is the kind you may expect to see at work. Because they are without options that won’t land them in the HR office hearing about what a huge dick they are being, they continue working with you, though may be visibly unhappy about it. This type also can apply to family. If the acknowledged head of the family is favorable to your transition, almost everyone else feels the need to toe the line, siblings often being the exception. By the way, I’ve noticed that negative reactions from siblings are very common and always wondered why. Either way, they stand to win, and you if you have siblings, you know good and damn well that there is a hierarchy there. If you were the golden child, your siblings should be ecstatic about your fall from grace and be bending backwards to assist you. If you were the black sheep, this only cements their standing. This should be really good news for them regardless.

The other kind of tolerance is by choice and generally occurs when they have no skin in the game. Your transition doesn’t really affect them in any appreciable way and they don’t have any strong prejudices about it. These are people who aren’t going to decline social engagements because they hear you are going to be there, but they also aren’t going to invite you to anything either. This will apply to the vast majority of people who know you. It is wise to understand who these people are, because they are certainly the ones who don’t want to hear the gory details of your electrolysis, breast growth, or GRS, especially if male. One might be tempted to amp up the tragic nature of transition, but this is a big mistake. Chances are, they view what you are doing is a lifestyle decision and any whining can quickly turn tolerance into scorn.

Better than being tolerated is being accepted. Generally this applies to friends, family, and other individuals who do actually have skin in the game. At some point they had to make a decision as whether the personal feeling they have about this is a deal breaker in the relationship. They can either walk away or come to the decision that they can accept what is going on here, even if they feel you were a deceitful scumbag for most of your life. The biggest mistake people tend to make in regards to people who accept them is that they are willing to help you. Most of the time, they are not. They can understand that you needed to do something here, but they certainly aren’t very excited to be a part of it. It is also worthwhile to note that people who accept you probably also resent you at the same time. They still like you as you, but are less than thrilled to lose a poker buddy, romantic partner, or heir to the family name.

The rarest class is those who support you. Often times, these are folks with a lot of skin in the game of you and are willing to put their money where their mouth is and step in and help. These folks are willing hear your stories, may come to your support meetings, or even help facilitate aspects of your transition. If you are smart, you will do whatever is necessary to keep such people in your life because they are pure gold in terms of helping you to feel all right about yourself. Transition is a horribly selfish process and many of us suffer from more than a little guilt about the perceived wake of destruction left in your path to happiness. There is a good chance that supporters were caught in that wave and probably have some feelings about it as their lives were irrevocably changed and in some cases temporarily ruined. Accepting that responsibility is a good idea because as crappy as it feels sometimes, they payback is well worth it.

Transition is a high risk venture, and everyone who doesn’t oppose you should be appreciated whether they stand on the sidelines, decide you are the world’s greatest asshole but their asshole, or are willing to travel hundreds of miles just to drive you from the hospital to a GRS recovery location. It may not be all you were hoping for, but be grateful for what and who you have.

He Came To My House and Called Me Fat!

Fat Girl“Michelle, I just wanted to say that I have noticed that you have gotten fat since last time I saw you. Seriously, you should think about laying off on the hormone shots.” I’m not making this up. These were the exact words my father-in-law spoke to me first thing walking through my front door this past Saturday morning. I did not take it well. I tried with a glib little, “Thanks, just what every girl wants to hear”, but it didn’t stop him. I also advised I was under medical care, but he kept going on until I finally flat out told him we were not going to continue this conversation. Can you believe this? Oh, and this unkindness of words had rolled out of the gullet of a man who had lap band surgery 4 years ago but still looks exactly the same as the before shot. It’s not easy, but he really works at it.

One of the great Irish family mottos I concocted is, “Compliment my ways, and I just may continue. Criticize, and I’ll live by them.” My Irish up, we went to breakfast with everyone riding with me receiving the full effects of my hissy fit. Though I intended to have egg whites with tomato on the side to break my fast, I ordered the big feta and gyro meat omelet with home fries, toast, and ate half my son’s pancakes, glaring directly at the old man every time I took a bite. While I’m not usually of the mindset to cut off my nose to spite my face, he really pissed me off with this and as a result, I ate like a pig all weekend, even though I really truly do need to lose some weight before October. According to my spouse, none of what happened is exactly atypical of the female experience.

I’m pretty sure I’ve disclosed before that I went through a period of a few years where I was downright huge. It was during one of my hopeless periods where I could not get comfortable in my body and decided to screw it all, eat like a starving wildebeest and grow my beard in for good measure. Seriously, I got really big. The whole time I was really packing it on though, no one said a thing to me. Nothing. I was perceived as male and therefore it was perfectly acceptable as I approached middle age to suddenly adopt the appearance of Dom Deluise. Hell, who doesn’t like a jolly fat man? I’m pretty sure Santa’s been ranked in the top 10 of People’s Most Beautiful People of the Year for decades running now. I did take off all the weight 5 years ago to with some accolades, but no one was going to say I looked like shit back when standard size doorways presented a problem.

Now that more and more people have made the mental transition to me being female, it’s a whole different story. “Should you really be eating that?” Mind you, I never get this from women. Women in general don’t care what my body type is and really only notice my appearance when I make my frequent fashion faux pas. In the male world, however, my weight apparently matters. I have never really understood why, but I think it has something to do with sexual desirability, being good “breeding” material, or something to show off to other men. If this is the case, I’m pretty screwed in this area whether I’m fat of thin. My best efforts are never going to result in “sexy”, my breeding days are over and didn’t exactly fit the bill anyway, and it’s really unlikely than any man I dated (should I ever) would be proudly showing off pics of me in a bikini to his buddies. I’m reasonably sure most women, cis or trans, can probably relate to this. But still, apparently our weight is a thing.

In my more masculine days I really didn’t get the whole weight obsession that some women around me had. So what? I didn’t see why anyone cares. Yeah, I get it now. It’s ridiculous that I should care what anyone thinks, but I find myself caring anyway. I hate that I have succumbed to this, but my self esteem is at least a tiny bit tied to whether I shop in the Women’s section or the Misses. The real piss of it is that my hormone balance sent my metabolism into a nose dive, I no longer feel as invulnerable as I used to jogging in the wee morning hours (not a big fan of doing it in daylight with lookie-lous around), food tastes better, and every woman’s fitness mag has more articles on how to schmear my nails right than workout tips or healthy recipes.

It’s all OK though. I will adjust or learn not to care. I know that the male world calculates my worth as a woman based on my dress size above all else and actively judges me on it (not that they don’t have enough other areas to judge, of which they also actively partake in). I know one thing for sure though. Even if I manage to become a fitness machine (for myself and no one else), every time the old man comes around, I’m ordering desert and will eat it, bite by bite, staring directly into his eyes.

When ‘Two-Point-You’ Feels Like Windows 8

Windows 8Michelle is great and all, but boy, we sure do miss Mike sometimes. This doesn’t get said aloud all that often, but it’s pretty apparent when people are thinking it, right? Welcome to Windows 8, the new roll out years and years in the making at unimaginable cost, but yet so awkward and clunky, and no one really seems to know how to interface with it. I mean you. Anyone who is undergoing, or has undergone gender transition should know exactly what I’m talking about.

There is bound to be a radical perception shift between what people always thought you were, and what you actually are now. We tell everyone that we are the exact same person inside, but now the outside just matches the inside a bit more. Nothing more than that, right? Ugh, not even close. I didn’t understand that before, but I’m finding it manifesting often enough that I finally have to admit that it’s true. My looks have changed, but so has so much more and it is bound to color the relationships I have with others. Sometimes in good ways, but in others we can’t blame people for having liked the old us just a tiny bit more.

Two weeks ago I had my mid-year performance review with my boss, and although it was generally favorable, I found myself getting emotionally defensive about one minor detail, and then as I attempted to explain, the tears started. Fuck. I can’t tell you how much that truly, truly sucked. Moreso because I was stuck in another hour long meeting with him and 3 other people directly after while sitting in the same chair I humiliated myself in moments before. Ironically, back when I was going by Mike, I used to brag that as a man, no one at work had the power to make me cry. It was true at the time, but oh how the mighty have fallen. It also occurred to me that my boss was thinking the exact same thing. Mike would have taken some constructive feedback with a big smile, a thank you, and plan to put it into action. It’s OK, I laugh about it now.

While going from stoic to emotionally volatile has changed some perceptions, some of the changes have been very positive. Believe it or not, some people actually like Windows 8 and feel it’s getting a bum rap. My relationship with other woman has changed for the most part for the better. I’m now forming friendships that are no longer tainted by the specter of that annoying opposite gender, sexual tension thing that used to make it so difficult. It’s not that I don’t still treasure my guy friends (with whom, thankfully, that awkward sexual tension thing failed to manifest), but there is only so much interest I can feign in sports, Shark Week, or “inaccuracies” in the new Superman movie. It’s nice to be treated as a female friend with no concerns that it is anything but that.

Getting down to the brass tacks, it’s OK to admit to both ourselves and others that maybe we are not still the exact same person inside. While most of the characteristics we had before certainly remain the same, our expressions of them can undergo changes. Parts of our personalities, our interests, and how we interact with others are bound to transform. Maybe not so very much, but a little, and it’s enough to be noticeable. If we can be OK with this being true, it’s a little easier to come to terms with the fact that others are going to notice as well and that some might not be overjoyed.

In the beginning of all this, so many moons ago now, I took all perceived rejections hard. I assumed immediately that some of the cooling of relations had to do with inherent prejudice of what I am; a hardening toward the same person in different clothes. I’m sure there was some of that. I’m also sure there are some who just liked me as ‘Mike’ a little better. I am different, I have grown, my focus has changed, as have some aspects of my personality. Fortunately my sense of humor hasn’t, but it’s just not enough to maintain some of the more shallow friendships. All of this is OK though, because even if some preferred the old, I’m  so much happier and contented being who I am now, and that is going to have to be enough.

What I Think ‘Going Stealth’ Really Means

Face-off illegal personIf you are an ardent aficionado of crafty military technology, I promise you can keep on walking. Seriously, you are going to hate this. OK, now that he’s gone, I’ll clarify and say I’m talking about the whole concept of trans stealth. This is hardly original because over on Transadvocate they had a whole big Stealth Week. I found it as gripping as Shark Week, even though no seals were eaten. Though I was not specifically invited to participate, I decided to horn in on their gig and regale my disenchanted readers with my own thoughts on the matter.

For those of you who might not be familiar, going stealth commonly refers to trans people who have successfully transitioned and who have chosen to integrate fully into the right gender without being super up front about their past in another life. Attractive idea, yes? Over on TA, a lot of great thoughts on this were floated, most of which concluded this concept being a terrible idea. I wrote a few pieces on the subject myself in the past and decided it was time to kind of hone the concept in my own direction.

Some say stealth, and implied 100% passability are the ultimate goals for anyone undergoing gender transition. This is the holy or wholly grail of clean and clear authenticity. No one else needs to know because it was simply a matter of a personal medical condition that common sense suggests should not be advertised any more than a wicked case of the crabs long since eradicated. Others claim that living an authentic life means acknowledging the whole of that life, even the decades one wishes were better spent. We have a moral duty to our friends and lovers to let them know, not to mention to the trans tribe at large. Hiding ourselves behind a fabricated past is less palatable than feeling a wet spot next to the toilet absorb through your sock. You can pretend it’s something else while you are stuck sitting there, but deep down you know it’s piss.

For me stealth means something else, and passability isn’t even a factor. Stealth is achieved when we embrace a sense of self-assuredness and comfort with ourselves that allows us to interact with individuals, groups, and society at large where the apparent degree of our trans-ness is no longer a factor. Be clear, however, this does not mean that strangers will no longer stare, certain people will no longer treat us like shit, or that all dangers associated with being trans will disappear; more on that in a second. It does mean that being able to insert ourselves into personal relationships and social constructs where our being trans is not a defining factor. In this model a trans woman, comfortable in her female identity and successfully projecting that is able to relate to people and groups ideally as human to human, or at least woman to man/ woman/ child. This is what cisgender people do, aside from self-created ethno-religious categorization, but that is another ball of wax.

Here’s why I think that is the best model for the concept of stealth. There is a good chance that is the best we are going to do. I’m not convinced that there are many amongst us that are 100% passable. We may be to most people, but there always seem to be some who have that extra sensitive radar that at the very least invites questions. I also agree with some of the assessments over on TA that there is risk involved of being discovered, which in turn puts one right back in ‘living a life of deception’ mode, and really, I would think everyone would be sick and tired of that already. I know I am.

Just to clarify further, I’m not advising that it’s a good idea to lead off a dinner party conversation with a detailed blow by blow of your SRS (see note at the end), or walk into a ladies room and shout, “I used to have a wang, y’all!” You are going to have to use your best common sense judgment of where the line is between TMI and intentional denial of identity. We are trans, we will always be trans, and no matter what we do, if someone is determined enough, they can conclusively prove we are trans. Instead, our blending an assimilation into wider cis society is determined on who we are, how comfortable we are with ourselves, and what we say and do.

Stuck In the Middle With You

stuck%20in%20the%20middle%20with%20youAfter I begged for a review copy of Jenny Boylan’s 10th anniversary edition of She’s Not There, I received a pleasant surprise in the box. Also included was a hardcover copy of her newest offering, Stuck In the Middle With You: Parenting in 3 Genders. Now, I’ve come to notice that my book reviews are about as popular as my mother-in-law when she cracks open a can of sardines on the plane, but I can’t let this go without saying something about it. After all, it was pretty fantastic.

The format of Stuck (what I’m going to call it in lieu of the usual convention of using the acronym SITMWY:PI3G for economy of letters) ran a little differently than She’s Not There in a few ways. For one, instead of a strictly linear narrative, there are interviews with several personages of greater or lesser note on the topic of parenting. I thought these were good additions to the topic, but I’ll speak more on them later. The rest was a direct continuation of the first work, though this time with names reverted back to original to unprotect both the innocent and directly affiliated. Fortunately she explains this well enough that even the most easily confused among us can follow.

I’m going to start with a huge positive about this work. For those of us who have been through, are in the middle of, or contemplating transition, the Jenny we met in She’s Not There was the cats ass in the transgender world. While suffering the same dysphoria most of us are familiar with, she still managed to survive, marry and stay with her partner, and worked her way into stellar career as professor, departmental co-chair, and author. Add to this that she seems to have achieved total passability microseconds after kicking off transition, and got to go on Oprah. In Stuck, however, we get to see a different side of Jenny that I found far more gratifying and endearing.

In her new work, she is willing to show her vulnerability in issues outside of transition allowing the reader, or at least myself, to have a far easier time identifying with her. Aside from living what would appear to be a picture perfect life in a very non-Stevenkingesque Maine making delicious sounding pizza all the time, she recounts struggles that many of us are well familiar with. Children who bring us to the edge of insane rage, the feeling of having one’s heart walking around outside their body and seeing it crash into a gully, and even the temptation breach years of celibacy out of a yearning to finally test drive the new equipment. Where we admire and seek to be like the Jenny from She’s Not There, we can feel like the Jenny in Stuck really is one of us.

The interviews I have mixed feelings about. Each of them explored a different aspect of the parenting experience and came from very different points of view. While each was enlightening in and of itself, I did feel that a few of them only had the most loose affiliations with the overall theme of the book. While gold in a general book about perspectives in parenting, some shown through as tarnished silver in a book that sold itself as being about parenting in 3 genders as the subtitle suggests. My favorite was the interview with Dr Christine McGinn, and I’ll be honest, I skipped ahead and read this first before anything else. I can also admit I’m biased here as she is going to be doing my surgery this fall, and any insight I can get about someone who is going to poking and snipping around in an area I’m super sensitive about is going to make me feel better.

Her writing, as always, is very engaging and continuously invites the reader to keep moving forward without resorting to hackneyed tactics like cliff-hangers. She paints a vivid picture with her words, and there is great clarity of what she is trying to convey. At the same time, the material is very thought provoking, allowing the readers to imagine themselves in her shoes, creating a minor conflict as whether to continue reading on or ruminate for a little bit. I like this because it’s suited for any mood; something harder to accomplish than commonly acknowledged.

This book is very much for you if you are transgender, transgender with children, or simply a parent of any gender demographic. The common experience translates across all. If any of these are you, I would highly recommend picking this up and having yourself an enjoyable and educational read. If you are confirmed childless, single, or either and cisgender, this may not hold your interest to the same degree as the aforementioned populations. It is not for me to say you will not gain anything from this as I think it would broaden your horizons and worldview, but I can’t guarantee the same level of enjoyment if the material is too foreign. I would imagine very few readers of this blog fall into that category, but still.

9 Unexpected Side Effects of Gender Transition

Hair in doorIt’s been an appropriately long time since I rolled out the last list and that one went over like a wet log rolled over an angry Rottweiler. After all of 4 people read it, I decided the jig was up for my droll little attempts to interject nearly nonsensical humor. Just yesterday it just occurred to me that I missed doing these because I enjoy writing them, so why on earth would I stop? It’s not like anyone is paying to me to do this. Although I delight in seeing my stats rise and when new readers subscribe, it doesn’t really buy me much.

So, no disrespect to you dear readers, especially those of you who read and lend insightful comments to my more serious fare, but sorry, today’s just not going to be your cup of tea here in Michelleliannaland. I guarantee that if such a land existed geographically, no one would spell or pronounce it correctly, so best it stays in my head. If you like to laugh, or better yet, like to laugh at me making a clumsy attempt to funny and coming off as an insufferable doof, then let’s get this pig a squealin’.

The following represents as many reasons I can think of in a short amount of time of things one might be expected to be surprised by when undergoing gender transition. I’m not admitting that any or all of these happened to me, but let’s be honest here. My ability to extrapolate to the theoretical is not exactly tip top.

1. Hair Trap: After years of keeping a high and tight haircut, or worse, enjoying a crushing descent into looking like Larry David, you probably want some hair that looks a little bit more feminine. Often times, this means length. For the blessed, this means years of letting it grow out and suffering through the awkward in between style where everyone is making you uncomfortable by constantly asking why you haven’t gotten a haircut. For the rest of us, it means buying a wig. After a lifetime of shorn follicles, getting used to longer hair can be an adjustment, specifically when it gets caught in stuff or worse. To date, I’ve now had my neck pulled after having it caught in car doors, my purse strap, the door to the house, and the dog. Worse, I had the ends and 4 inches up frizzled beyond repair after sticking my head in a way too hot oven. Every single time, I was surprised.

2. Breast Spillage: While still making appearances as a young gentleman, I was schooled that one wisely puts napkins in the lap when eating. A spillage of vanilla pudding on the crotch area is just something best avoided, regardless of the unlikelihood that I would ever order anything but chocolate. Now ensconced in female life, it seems apparent that placing a napkin on the lap does exactly jack shit towards preventing unsightly stains because it’s essentially the same as putting a drip pan underneath the oven instead of on the bottom rack. Not being always cognizant of this, the chance of walking around for the rest of the afternoon with a big glob of mayo in the old décolletage is a far better bet and much more noticeable.

3. Getting Hosed: Aside from dresses and skirts, the other article of clothing many of us associate strongly with femininity are pantyhose. The idea of walking around in them seems like it should have a very womanly appeal. Reality, however, has debunked this soundly. Other than trying to look a tad more formal and presentable at the office and events, or more likely to cover up ghost legs or the fact you haven’t shaved since Monday, they are something to be avoided. Rather than making one feel feminine, they instead convey the feeling of being a sausage. The waist band rolls down under your FUPA at the very start of long meetings, your feet won’t stop sweating, and getting a mid morning run will induce embarrassed anxiety until you waste your lunch hour running to the store.

4. Don’t Call Me Al: In spite of being on the “don’t fricking call me” list, I still get plenty of unsolicited calls due to the “charity” loophole. Apparently buying a new vacuum sight unseen from some doofus who can’t read a script over the phone is now a charity. They always ask for ‘Michael’ without fail. “Yes, I’m Michelle” This causes confusion especially since many of them are not legally allowed to solicit to anyone not on their golden list of names and a stalemate ensues. If I were smart, I would simply hang up the phone, but instead finding myself awkwardly explaining that “Michael” is no longer here, but Michelle is, without giving too much away. Out of frustration, I generally end up giving the whole story to this disinterested dingleberry I have no intention of giving money to.

5. That Time of the Month: If sources local to my vicinity are to be believed, I now go through stretches of a few days each month where I come across “a little bitchy”. Personally, I prefer the null hypothesis which posits that everyone around me during those periods has suddenly turned unaccountably stupid and annoying, including inanimate objects that pick just that time to rebel and refuse to heed my wishes. Lacking a uterus, ovaries, and menstrual cycle, I found the concept to be preposterous before starting this transition, but the results seem to be speaking for themselves. As my hormone doses are very steady state, I have to assume that the universe found one more way to give me the finger, hopefully right before giving it a rest for a while.

6. All Fired Up: Without question, ‘Chicago Fire’ is one of the best new shows to debut last fall and I immediately became an ardent follower. At some point over the winter, however, it occurred to me that I really shouldn’t be getting that excited because a show about firemen was on. I asked around at work to see who else watched it, and the answer always came back “no” or “yes because my wife does” from all men, and “yes” from a lot of women. Of the latter, a discussion of whether one liked Casey or Severide better was not uncommon. The fact that I was able to add to that discussion came to a surprise to me. This little change of mine is having more effects than I anticipate. And are you crazy? Severide! I mean look at him.

7. And In The News Today…: I really should have seen this coming, but ever since I came out, any time trans anything is mentioned in the news, multiple people send me links to the story, or in the case of more old fashioned people, cut the article out and mail it to me. “Did you see Dateline last night? One of your people was on there!” Don’t get me wrong, I think this is incredibly sweet and it touches me deeply that people think to do this. I just have to wonder if this happens to any other demographic. Did this happen to gays before they became part of the normal landscape? If I came down with Lupus, would I get a dozen emails telling me someone with Lupus was going to be on Letterman that night? Very thoughtful, but still a bit of a surprise.

8. Gender Amnesia: This is a little embarrassing, but sometimes when people refer to me in my presence as ‘she’ or even ‘Michelle’, I don’t understand they are talking about me right away. I put forth an enormous effort to transition, throw an internal hissy fit any time someone uses the wrong pronoun or name, and then come across as a huge ditz when people comply with ease. “Let’s go over this… you are going to set up the meeting and she’s going to present.” Wait…who is going to present? “You are the only woman here…” Right…right. I hope this will clear up in time, and before the general consensus drops my IQ by 30 points.

9. Waterworks: For 2 decades I operated under the assumption that my tear ducts had been uninstalled during the Regan administration. As it turns out; not so. While I’m not yet at the point where I can cry at paper towel commercials, I did burst into tears just this past weekend because my Kindle wouldn’t turn on. If I’m watching anything on TV where something bad happens to a child, forget about it. How was I so callous and jaded before to just sit stone faced when really sad things happened to imaginary people? I have no idea. I am, however, now terrified that my old belief that no one at work has the power to make me cry is simply untrue. I really need to see about working from home.

I’m certain there are at least another 9 surprises I’m either not thinking of, or are just waiting to bite me in the ass in the near future, but this this will do for now. Please feel free to share in the comments section that I have taken a sacred vow to catch up on very shortly.

%d bloggers like this: