Friday, March 26, 2004

Genetic Predisposition

Although this was obviously produced by the gay community to mock the Republicans who are trying so hard to be homophobic assholes, I found it to be quite funny:


Scientists in the current issue of the journal NURTURE announced the discovery that affiliation with the Republican Party is genetically determined. This caused uproar among traditionalists who believe it is a chosen lifestyle. Reports of the gene coding for political conservatism, discovered after a decades long study of quintuplets in Orange County, CA, has sent shock waves through the medical, political, and golfing communities.

Psychologists and psychoanalysts have long believed that Republicans' unnatural disregard for the poor and frequently unconstitutional tendencies resulted from dysfunctional family dynamics -- a remarkably high percentage of Republicans do have authoritarian domineering fathers and emotionally distant mothers who didn't teach them how to be kind and gentle.

Biologists have long suspected that conservatism is inherited. "After all," said one author of the NURTURE article, "It's quite common for a Republican to have a brother or sister who is a Republican." The finding has been greeted with relief by Parents and Friends of Republicans (PFREP), who sometimes blame themselves for the political views of otherwise lovable children, family, and un-indicted co-conspirators.

One mother, a longtime Democrat, wept and clapped her hands in ecstasy on hearing of the findings. "I just knew it was genetic," she said, seated with her two sons, both avowed Republicans. "My boys would never freely choose that lifestyle!" When asked what the Republican lifestyle was, she said, "You can just tell watching their conventions in Houston and San Diego On TV: the flaming xenophobia, flamboyant demagogy, disdain for anyone not rich, you know." Both sons had suspected their Republicanism from an early age but did not confirm it until they were in college, when they became convinced it wasn't just a phase they were going through.

The NURTURE article offered no response to the suggestion that the high incidence of Republicanism among siblings could result from sharing not only genes but also psychological and emotional attitude as products of the same parents and family dynamics.

A remaining mystery is why many Democrats admit to having voted Republican at least once -- or often dream or fantasize about doing so. Polls show that three out of five adult Democrats have had a Republican experience, although most outgrow teenage experimentation with Republicanism.

Some Republicans hail the findings as a step toward eliminating conservophobia. They argue that since Republicans didn't "choose" their lifestyle any more than someone "chooses" to have a ski-jump nose, they shouldn't be denied civil rights, which other minorities enjoy.

If conservatism is not the result of stinginess or orneriness (typical stereotypes attributed to Republicans) but is something Republicans can't help, there's no reason why society shouldn't tolerate Republicans in the military or even high elected office -- provided they don't flaunt their political beliefs.

For many Americans, the discovery opens a window on a different future. In a few years, gene therapy might eradicate Republicanism altogether.

But should they be allowed to marry...?

Thursday, March 25, 2004

4 letter words

Everyone knows all of the bad ones, but what about the other four letter words...the ones that are so complex, so intertwined with definitions inside definitions...words like LOVE, WORK, ROAD, and SOUP. Yes, soup.

I’ve been sick the past few days, well, mainly Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I just kinda chilled. I’m feeling better, although I never felt horrible. Monday I felt overwhelmingly tired and had the uncomfortable tickle in the back of my throat. A cold was trying to find it’s way into my body. So, I took off Monday afternoon, grabbed two small bowls of hot and sour soup on the way home, then snuggled up under my covers for an afternoon nap. Tuesday I made it back to work, but was still feeling a bit tired. So, yes, Tuesday night I picked up two large bowls of hot and sour soup. What can I say, it’s my chicken noodle soup, ok? I just love the spicy flavor, the light veggies, the tofu, and just the general way the hot soup makes me feel. Yes, I’m easy to please. Anyway, on Wednesday I finished off the second bowl for dinner. I haven’t seen much of the cold since early Tuesday morning, but I’ve still been a bit tired this week, and fighting a little drainage through the nose.

As I IM’d Amber this week, have you ever felt so overwhelmed at work that you just wanted to sit there and do nothing? That’s almost the way I felt today, although I didn’t sit around doing nothing. Let me try to put into words the way I have felt lately. Remember, I was away from work for 3.5 weeks with surgery. Imagine you are going to climb a huge mountain. You have all of your supplies and set out that week at the base. You climb all week long, yet when you look up at the mountain on Friday, you find that you are no further up than when you started, and the mountain’s top has grown taller, so you actually have more to climb than you did at the start of the week. That has been this week. I started the week off with enough to keep me busy for quite some time, yet work kept flowing in throughout the past four days.

Last night, an old friend IM’s me. We chatted back and forth about how each of us were doing (He’s known about me for almost a year), and then he asks me about my sexuality, and if I have anyone I'm in love with. He’d noticed I’d gone out on a date with a guy and wondered if I had dropped women altogether. I told him I just went on a date with a guy to kinda experience the other side of things. All I did was talk over a pizza with the guy, but it was one of those things I kinda wanted to try before I went fulltime.

Anyway, so, let’s discuss relationships and love. Love is quite an intricate little word. It’s meaning is defined by so much more. And if you try to find a synonym for love, you’ll never be able to even come close to it’s meaning. What is love? To me, love is made up of physical attraction, sexual attraction, psychological attraction, and relationship attraction.

Right now, I have a physical attraction that is very complex. I’m attracted to women in their softness, their femininity, their curvature, and their beauty. I also find some men attractive in their firmness, their masculinity, their roughness, and their strength. So, if you’re playing along at home, let’s chalk that up as a 10 for women, and a 7 for men.

For sexual attraction, I’m basically attracted to having sex with men. Yeah, I’m attracted to hetero sex. As a woman, I’d rather have sex with a man. However, I also find lesbian sex quite attractive, but the dynamics of lesbian sex are quite a bit different than hetero sex. My attraction to lesbian sex is more about cuddling, foreplay, caressing....the total softness with it. So, let’s give guys a 10, and girls an 8.

Psychological attraction is the attraction you have for what’s upstairs in your mate. For me, I need someone that is intriguing, thoughtful, intelligent, witty, slightly sarcastic, yet also quite liberal. I mean, come on, dating a transsexual is going to take a bit of tolerance and open-mindedness. I also need someone who is secure in themself. (Yes, I know no one likes the word themself, but it works for me in a singular genderless sort of way.) For me, my attraction to another person’s psyche is independent of their physical sex, so that’s a 10 for both the girls and the boys.

Relationship attraction is a bit harder to define. Sex and physical attraction work well in the sack and when you’re just in love with their appearance, but loving someone for the relationship is entirely different. For me, women and men love in two entirely different ways. A woman loves a man for his strength and his security. She wants to feel surrounded by his large arms knowing that he loves only her and has given his heart in protecting her. A woman loves another woman based more on a friendship basis. Yes, they both share in surrounding one another with love, but the masculine factor is mainly removed (assuming we aren’t talking butch dyke stuff). The dynamic behind a male-female relationship is more about sexual relations, while that behind a female-female relationship is more about friendship relations, while I’m sure that sex plays an integral part in both relationships. Both relationships, though, build upon the sharing of one’s souls, and to be honest, the souls do a lot of crossing of the gender lines, even if they never think they do. Of course, all of this is from my point of view. I could be way the hell off target, but then again, I could be hitting on a number of bull’s eyes, but I just might not be hitting all of the targets. Anyway, so, relationship wise, and this is based simply on the bell curves (so, yes, I am stereotyping), I will give the girls a 10, and the boys a 9...assuming the best of what each has to offer.

So, let’s add up the totals...and we have: girls - 38, and boys - 36. So, yeah, I guess I prefer women still, but there are so many factors to consider. Let’s just call me bi, and one day I’ll figure it all out. Who knows, the boys may hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Anyway, I dragged Amber up to a TGSF social meeting tonite so that I could say a few words on the reasons people should vote me as one of the new Outreach Co-Chairs. Actually, she volunteered to go. I’m sure she has a few interesting things to say on her blog. I warned her before we went, though, that there would be people from all along the gender spectrum. Her, Claire, and I grabbed some Thai food before the meeting. Claire had some interesting things on her mind as well, and I tried to tell her that the thoughts she was having were ok. I told her that I had a few times where I would say, “what the hell am I doing?” or “am I doing the right thing?” Sure, this may not be the best road to travel, but it was better than the road I was on. Don’t get me wrong, though, the previous road was ok and there were many highlights, but the likely destinations along that road looked very gloomy from my point of view. Anyway, this is the road I have chosen. It’s going to take a lot of work along the road of my journey, and one day, hopefully I’ll find love on the shoulder, but in the meantime, don’t be surprised to find me pulled over to the side slurping some soup.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Can you hear me now?

Claire, Rachel, and I met the visiting Ali and her boyfriend over at the Cocoon House, then went to lunch in the Castro. After hearing Ali tell us that there was a blue-haired woman visiting one of the recovering women at the Cocoon House, we went back to visit the most likely blue-haired person that would be there - Rach. We visited for a while with the 2 visitors upstairs, then went to the unit down below to find Rach, Debbie, and her fiancĂ© Chris. And, of course, we stopped by to say hi to Tricia and Mary-Lou again. They don’t often get to see visitors much beyond 1-2 weeks, so seeing us allows them to see how recovery goes after that.

Tonite on King of the Hill, Peggy was an artist who had a showing at a gallery, but the owner said her stuff wasn’t selling. He said it might help if she was "insane." Hank said, “no way.” As Hank was leaving, the owner says something else to make her more “unique,” then finished with “transgender?” thus implying that if she were transgender, her artwork might be worth something. Can you remember when TV satirized that an interior designer wasn’t worth anything unless they were gay (well, that’s what I remember from watching Cheers in the 80’s when Norm tried pretending to be gay to get more business)? I guess TV is trying to find subjects that are more novel than being gay, as being gay becomes more acceptable.

I paid my phone bill the other day. Usually, it runs around $40, sometimes more if I use a large number of minutes outside of my free time. This time, however, the bill was $241. Yowch! I knew it was going to be high with all of the calls this past month, but that’s a bit higher than what I was expecting. Perhaps I need to look at a new plan.

Last week at the monthly young-T support group meeting, we got on the subject of breast augmentations. I told the group that I wasn’t worried about it at this time, and that I would assess my development no less than six months following SRS. I’d like to give them the chance to develop on their own. One of my female coworkers stopped by to see the new me for the first time this past week, though, and at one time said I needed bigger boobs. She said that I should pad. I told her I don’t mind having small boobs. Also, I play sports with some of the guys from work, and I’d hate to have the disparity of my “sports boobs” versus my “work boobs.” So, I figure I’ll just keep the boob presentation at the same consistent size. Right now, I’m probably at a nice A with my year and a half of hormones. Yeah, that’s not too big for my size and build, but I do have them. Who knows if they will grow more or not.

I was thinking, though, wow, it would be cool to have at least B-cup breasts. They’d fit my body size a lot better, definitely help alleviate more of the GID, and, well, be an eye catcher. But, after reading a posting on GP about a pre-op girl getting in some very precarious positions, I think it would be best not to get the boobs, if I decide to, until after I’m post-op. I figure not having the bigger boobs will keep me out of most trouble, initiated by myself or anyone else, for quite a while. nose itches. The bad part is, I can’t even itch it. It itches right at the base of the nose at the septum, but inside, which I assume means that nerves are reconnecting and, thus, healing. I can only scratch the outside...very softly. ggggrrrrr!

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The small things

I went to dinner last night with Claire, Brooke, Tyler, /Amber/, Amy, and Rachel, along with “JoanB” who heads out for SRS next week. We also had three celebrating recent or upcoming birthdays, but we won’t mention names. We had some very good Peruvian food at a little place called Fresca. Very good. I have leftovers that I’ll be chowing on for lunch today. Yum!

“JoanB” heads out this upcoming week to basically finish off transition, and then, well, I guess she’s set to get back to living her life. She’ll still have a couple of fun months of dilating, but that’s what it’s all about, right?

After dinner, Brooke, Amy, /Amber/, Claire, and I found a pool hall to hang out in for a while. I think Claire wanted to do a little dancing where there were “a lot of single, straight, good looking guys,” but she settled for pool. I want to say we got there about 10ish and waited for about 30 minutes on a table to open up while I took a small nap. We played 5-way cutthroat. Claire was definitely the best shooter, while the rest of us just tried to play along. Claire seemed to have this fascination with sinking all of my balls first, as well as jinxing me with the #2 ball. We played a number of games, only the first few which I was able to win (and act really cocky). When I went to check the time, I found it to be 3:15am. Wow! I hadn’t been out that late in a long time. We played one last game in which Claire routed us again, then headed out. Brooke and /Amber/ stopped by my place a little after 4am before they headed home themselves, then I was off to bed slightly before 5am. Just over a month ago, I would have been waking up and heading off to see Dr. O.

I woke up this morning around 10am to miscellaneous sounds, especially to some annoying person who kept banging on the metal siderails of the apartment building stair’s. Dooiiinnnnnggggg! Doooiiiinnnnngggggg! ggggrrrrrr!!!!! That’s just so annoying. So, I got up and took Scooby for a walk since it’s just her and I this weekend.

This past week has continued to include a lot of small milestones. The IT department finally got around to my name change stuff, and even though it included a lot of small annoying system hangups, it was nice to finally have my name on my messages.

I contacted my old university about name changes and new diplomas. One of the women in the alumni office emailed me back saying that another woman had recently gone through all of the stuff I’m going through with the name/gender change. Yep. We’re out there, but it appears I’m only the second of 2 at my alma mater. I told her she could forward my email info on to the other one who’s journey took her along the same route.

Let’s see, the mail brought my new bank checks, the initial package of info from Dr. Meltzer for SRS, and my driver’s license. Yep, it arrived with my new picture, and where it says “SEX:” there is a big fat F following it. I look swollen in the picture, but all of the information is correct, for once. I might go back in a few months and have a new picture taken in which I’m hopefully less swollen.

This past Thursday, I had my first therapy visit since FFS. My therapist thought my FFS went well, and we discussed what exactly Dr. O did. Other than that, we just talked about the past month or two, including going back to work. As I was driving back to work, /Amber/ calls. She noticed that I went out for a couple of walks this past week and wondered if I wanted to go for a walk or run. As I told /Amber/, though, I bounced up and down a few times at home to see how the face would handle the jarring, but portions of the forehead and nose felt weird, so running was out for a while. She said her work computer had gone bonkers or something, and that she didn’t have anything to do. I told her it was better for me to stay out of the sun, so we met in the evening on a local university campus to walk around. I think we walked for about an hour and a half, jumped one fence, rambled all over campus, and talked, talked, talked. I’d never really visited much of the campus that wasn’t accessible via car, but there was so much more on the interior part that I had never seen before. We grabbed dinner before I headed home. Anyway, I put in walks of 2, 3, and probably 5 miles this week. Not too bad.

Anyway, I have a ton of things to do this weekend...taxes, pay bills, CLEAN, get an oil change, and probably do a little shopping (Express has a sale!!!). Uuuugggghhh. I feel so tired though.

I spent about 5 hours going through tax stuff this afternoon. It’s the first time I’ve done it online and through a service. I figure I’ll be doing that from now on. The good news is that I have a federal and state total return that basically equals Dr. O’s down payment. Nice! This next year should be even better with the major payment of Dr. O’s fees counting as a medical deduction, assuming, of course, that my tax return goes through ok. I’ll hopefully be able to use that money to pay for at least half of SRS.

Let’s see, what else did I do today. Hmmmm. Well, I had the oil changed, but now I’m headed to bed.

Monday, March 15, 2004

The Vulcan Mind Meld

Sitting at work as me lately, along with a few other events, has been very...unique...sorta. For the past few years, I basically had two different worlds. I had the boy-world which grew smaller and smaller until it existed mainly at work, and then there was the girl-world which grew from my closet outward. They were almost always distinct...never crossing. Still, though, the girl-world was consuming the boy-world, and each new encroachment was sometimes hard to get used to...hard, but in a good way. Now that girl-world has fully consumed boy-world, it’s still something I’m getting used to. Perhaps I shouldn’t say consumed, but more like merged.

For example, last Thursday (Day 2 at work), Robi and I went out to lunch to a place that calls your name when your order is ready. After I ordered, the lady at the front counter asks for my name. Because this place, along with being with Robi, had forever existed solely in boy-world, I started to give her my boy name...but I corrected myself as the syllables slowly slipped out of my mouth. And it’s just wild sitting in my cube at work as me...a place that had forever existed only in boy-world. It’s still something I’m getting used to...quite fast. Really, it’s strange looking back at how I used to sit in this cube as a boy. It was only a shell that I hid within. The boy, not the cubicle. So, now my worlds have melded, and there is only one world in which to live. It’s kinda nice so far.

Yesterday morning, I finally changed my work ID over to the new girl name and picture. The security guard didn’t seem to have any trouble with the entire affair. The picture wasn’t the best, but at least it has a better picture than before.

I went for a nice 2 mile walk last night. As I told a friend, I tried jumping up and down to see how my face would take the jarring, and too many things felt just a little too weird to do any running yet. It was nice to get out, though, and do a little exercising.

Today, I decided to wear a skirt to work. Hey, it’s been rather warm here lately, so I figured it would help keep me cooler in case the building suddenly hit a heat wave. So, I was walking on my work campus up to the mailbox to drop in a birthday card to my sister, and as I turned to walk back, I saw a UPS truck turn the corner. Right when the truck was level with me, I turned my head and caught the UPS guy checking me out. He just smiled. Hah! Snagged!!! Pretty sweet!

I also called Dr. Meltzer’s office to begin looking at SRS for next year. It appears that they are booking about 8-9 months out, which means I can probably get scheduled for about this time next year. Now, I just need to take care of their paperwork request, which they mailed out to me, and pay the down payment of $500 to book a date.

I guess today was a little day filled with a lot of different little milestones. I received my new Social Security card in the mail today. HR also officially changed my name at work and finally sent a request to IT to change everything else...including my email.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Elevator Ride to the Top

The check from my state disability had my new legal name on it, but I still haven’t changed my checking over to the new name since I just went to the DMV this past week. Anyway, I figured it would be better to get the check in the ol’ checking account, so I went to my bank with my old license, my court order, and my old checking stuff to change my name. Things went pretty good, and her eyes didn’t pop out of her head when she saw the old male license, but I did sense a bit of discomfort from her at times. After that, I deposited the check in my account, which also has my old name on there as an “AKA” just in case I have other checks that come in with the old boy name.

I went to Damon’s 30th birthday party in the South Bay, saw a few friends, ate some burgers and brownies, and chilled inside for a while watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As I sat there watching the movie, I thought to myself, “Hey, this Charlie kid is probably getting pretty old by now...they’ll need a new person running the factory pretty soon.” So, I found that Willy Wonka came out in 1971 and Charlie was supposedly 10 in the movie. That makes him 43 about now, which is still pretty young to be running a factory....but maybe not THE Chocolate Factory. And, when I looked at IMDB, they listed a new movie for release next year: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Is Charlie turning over the factory to someone new? Nope, it just says that Tim Burton is remaking the story closer to the book (always think dark with Tim Burton...thus, they should call it Charlie and the Dark Chocolate Factory?!?!)...and believe it or not, Johnny Depp is taking on the role of Willy Wonka. I found a bunch of neat little items on IMDB, though. Did you know that the role of Charlie was the only role that child actor ever had? It’s hard to believe he never had a role after that.

I then cruised to meet Kathy for some shopping and dinner. It was Kathy’s first time to see me since before surgery. She said she was really worried about the results, but after seeing me, she said she was pretty happy with how I looked.

We did a little shopping, and as I was checking out with my credit card, the guy at the counter asks to see my ID. Since the DMV took my girl ID card, I only had the boy one. So, I said, “OK, this might not be an ID you'll like” as I handed it to him. He was totally unfazed, then handed it back. He’s rung me out at that store before a number of times, so maybe he remembered me...who knows.

I’ve noticed that the local news channel is running promos for the Gwen Araujo murder trial jury selection process that begins on Monday. Gwen Smith also reminded me of the upcoming trial a few weeks ago. Gwen Araujo was a transgender teen that was murdered by a group of guys after they found out she was T. They buried her body over a hundred miles away in the Sierra foothills. Since one of the guys pleaded guilty and turned state’s witness, the graphic details have come forward on what happened to Gwen on that fateful day in October 2002. I can remember her name and story being read at the 2002 Day of Remembrance and how I cried uncontrollably. That was the first time I noticed that the intensity of my emotions had increased drastically on hormones. I think the events just hit a little close to home. I mean, I attended her funeral with a few T-friends, although I showed up in boy mode since I had to go back to work afterward. The girl, though, wasn’t a saint. She had sex with these guys even though she was pre-op, but they never knew until someone questioned her gender. During a house party, one of the girls discovered Gwen’s physical gender in the bathroom and disclosed that information to the guys that were there. They spent a few hours bashing her body, then hauled it away to bury their deeds. Sure, she played with fire, but she didn’t deserve to be killed, and her killers will hopefully receive their rightful punishment.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Very Glad It's Friday

I caught a glimpse of my “horoscope” today, and found it amusing again:


You have to laugh at what others consider normal. You stop believing in your old expectations. Why limit yourself? Cautious, quiet types blossom into delightful expression. Call up the part of yourself that always wants to come out and play. Friends and associates watch in awe as you tap into a hidden reservoir of creativity. You're a beacon of bright energy over what was once a sea of neutral color. People who don't know you will feel the attractive power of your transformation. Longtime acquaintances recognize the old you and wonder where he or she was for all these years.

Well, hmmm...the person who wants to come out and play has decided she’d rather take a nap. Her beacon of bright energy needs a recharge. And just to let you know, that power of transformation cost $40,000...just for the face.

Day 3 at work was pretty much like the other two. All I can say, though, is that I’m glad I made it a short three day week for my first week back. Ooofff...I’m tired. Basically, I went to work, then went home. Next week could be a battle getting through five days in a row. Hopefully I can get a bit of rest this weekend.

Y came down to say hello again to Pete, Ro, Robi, and myself for lunch. Even though I am still getting back into the solid stuff, I decided to give a burrito a try at my favorite local taqueria. It was difficult opening my mouth that wide, but I was able to squish the burrito down so it fit. My nose was a little sore afterward from having to orient my mouth to bite down...something I really haven’t had to do. All of these little distractions during recovery really kinda suck, but hopefully in the end, they’ll all be worth it.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Day Two Back at Work

With all of the talking I did on my first day of work yesterday, the voice this morning just wasn’t coming up that good. A few people that called yesterday and left messages also indicated that I hadn’t changed the message on my voicemail, so I decided to throw one up on it pretty fast. It didn’t sound so good, but as Pete overheard as he walked in to our meeting room, I simply stated, “Oh, fuck it! Good enough!” He laughed.

As I predicted, my 401k company sent me a packet of pay stubs in the mail saying that I missed a payment. I wasn’t sure exactly what they wanted me to do with them, so I called them this morning. Now, as I just mentioned, the voice just wasn’t doing that well, but I tried my best when one of the operators came on. I explained my situation, and somewhere in our conversation I noticed she called me “Miss.” Oh yeah...that made my day. Anyway, she said I should just send in one payment to make up for the one that didn’t get pulled out of my pay, and the regular ones should pick back up again.

I also called Mira to take care of some short term disability stuff for the company that provides insurance to my company. We also talked about the measurements of what Dr. O cut or ground off of me, which she says he will provide in my 3 month checkup. Other than that, we talked briefly about how I will be breaking up the payments for my tax returns. Yeah, I still have to do my taxes. I have never waited this long to do them, so I guess I am pretty bad this year.

Once I got home tonite, I found a check from the state for the other part of my short term disability. It’s wild, the state is so far ahead of a private company on providing benefits. I guess that’s just one area where they excel. And they even made it easy to add more days to the time I was out. It’s simply amazing how different the two benefit services have responded.

Day 2 at work was pretty decent, and I was able to make it through the day a lot better than yesterday. I had two gay guys (well, I think they are gay) stop by to say they were happy for me, a few friends that said hello again, and a few people who I’ve never really talked to before say that they were glad to see me back.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Back at Work After FFS

Well, I was back at work today. I stopped by my HR rep’s desk first and had a quick meeting with her. She said I had free range of the bathrooms and that if I had any problems, I should give her a call. I gave the doctor’s release to the guy who handles benefits (who’s been excellent with handling my transition and short term disability benefits at work), then I was off to my cubicle. G was the first to say hi, especially since he sits across the cubicle aisle from me. Other than that, there were only a few comments all day long. Little waves, to one who said she didn’t even recognize me and that I looked great, to Pete who just kinda smiles and says he’s still basically in awe.

Basically, the whole experience was very nonchalant. The only one who used “him” all day long was my HR rep, believe it or not. Even one of my vendors was already using “Kara.” I kept mainly to the single stall unisex bathrooms they converted due to my transition, but did go in the regular women’s bathroom before I left on my way to an offsite problem. I figure I’ll give the women in the company a little time to get used to me being around, just so I don’t scare or meet any of them for the first time in the bathroom.

I made it through emails dated February 25th, but I also dealt with a few other problems that either remained from before, or were new on the docket. Wow, I have so much work to do, I seriously have enough to keep me busy until the end of July...and that’s if nothing new came up. Anyway, that was about it...just another day at work. I was tired tired tired by about 3pm. I just wasn’t used to staying up and about for that long, plus it hurt mentally since I really haven’t had any stress for the past 3.5 weeks..except going through FFS, which really wasn’t that hard...except that recovery is so annoyingly long.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The Night Before Work

I head back to work tomorrow. Oh joy! My roomie thought that was the case and asked me if I was ready to go back. I told him I could actually use a little more time, but I’m not going to be that lucky. The sutures inside the mouth are just annoying, and I’m still sore and swollen. I can usually make it out for about 5 hours..but tomorrow will be close to 9 hours. Whew...that’s going to be hard. Hopefully the adrenaline will keep me alert.

So, nervous about tomorrow? Yep. I stopped by the apartment manager’s office yesterday. That was basically the first time someone who I didn’t tell beforehand actually saw me for the first time post-op. She treated me quite well, and was very friendly. I hope it will be that way tomorrow, but I know there will be some who will be uncomfortable with the situation. I’m just going to go in there and try to be my typical self...outside of the gender thing. I’m fairly confident about going wherever I need to go, and I think people will see that I’ve obviously done a lot of thinking on this whole thing to go 1.5 years on hormones and pay an arm and a leg for facial surgery. Still though, I’m going to feel like that one lonesome kid sitting at the lunch room table by herself.

One of the hard parts about tomorrow will be the voice. I’ve noticed that it seems a lot harder for me to do the girl voice with people that knew me as a boy before. I don’t know if it is stage fright or what. Combine that with the trachea shave 3 weeks ago, and I have no idea how it’s going to sound. I know I could use more practice, but it's not good to push it this close to the recent surgery. So, that will probably be one of the sticking points for tomorrow. It may not sound totally female, but it’s not going to sound like my old male voice...that’s a guarantee.

I had my 3 week follow up with Dr. O this evening. He said I looked remarkably good for three weeks, even though I’m still quite swollen. He checked where the sensation ended on top of my head and asked if I had the creepy crawlers up there yet. I’ve felt a little weird sensation so far...sorta like something is crawling around in your skin, but you can’t quite feel it. “JoanB” said that the phantom itches are a real joy to deal with. You’ll get an itch up on the top, but when you try to scratch it there, you’re not getting it. She said that when that happens, try scratching your forehead or the hairline, and that should probably get it. That’s so funny, but so far, I’ve had two phantom itches. I will go to scratch it up on top of my head, but I can’t feel the area I am scratching, and the scratch doesn’t go away. So, I tried itching the eye brow and the hair line, but the itch basically subsided. The creepy crawler feeling comes and goes. It’s almost a pretty cool feeling...sorta like a little head massage. Oh yeah, Dr. O said Ali’s surgery went superbly.

Since I was up in the city, I met up with Claire and Tyler for dinner and conversation. Claire had her interview this morning, and called me directly after it. It appeared that she had forgotten to purchase the right shoes to go with her suit and didn’t have the right purse to go with it all. But, it sounded like the interview went well, even though she was warm the entire interview, mainly because it was almost summer here in the Bay Area today. Anyway, we talked about all of the little things we have going on in our lives. I’m headed back to work tomorrow, Claire had her interview, and Tyler was working on some family issues, as well as still recovering...just like me. We then cruised over to a little cafe where I ordered up an infrequent hot chocolate. I’m home now, and off to bed. I I more nervous tonite than the night before FFS? I actually think I’m more nervous tonite, because I knew what to expect going into FFS, and what was at risk. Tomorrow, I could basically be walking into a fire, but hopefully I’ll be walking into open arms. Also, I’ve noticed that positive remarks usually come out initially, then the more negative comments come out later. We’ll see how things go.

Monday, March 08, 2004

The DMV and Social Security

After having a little cereal for breakfast, scrambled eggs for lunch (for 14 of the last 16 days), and taking a short nap, I was off to the DMV and Social Security office to obtain a new license and SS card. Because the California DMV is so packed, I made an appointment many weeks ago...before I even went under the knife. I got in line to obtain a placement number, and when I got to the front desk, he asked me what I was there for. I said I was there for a name change...and a gender change. I then handed him form DL 328, a gender change form put out by the DMV. He says, "You need to go to Social Security first. And you’ll have to send this form to your agency."

The majority of people I’d talked to up to that time said I needed to go to the DMV first, and then go to Social Security right after that. I told this to him, but he adamantly stated I had to go to SSA first. Great! Then I asked him, "What type of agency are you talking about with that form?"

He kinda bumbled about trying to come up with an answer, and then just blankly said, "Your agency."

I answered with, "That's a DMV form."

His response, "Oh."

Basically, though, he wouldn't give me a number until after I went to SSA. At that point I basically thought, "Great, this is going to take forever...and I’ll be spending all of Tuesday in here sitting and staring at the walls waiting to get my license." So, off I went to change my name with SSA as well. After a 50 minute wait there, I was in to see one of their personnel. Both people I talked to up to that time asked me if I was just changing the middle name...but I corrected them and said it was the first and the middle names. Anyway, the lady was very professional as she asked me if everything was correct. I'd filled out the form and circled F, but there was still an M on the paper I was checking. Darn! So, I decided to ask her what was needed to change the M to an F as I pulled out the DMV form that my therapist already filled out. She took the information and was off to ask her manager. Her manager came back and said they would have to check with someone who'd already gone home to see if I could have an F instead of an M. At least they are willing to check. They kept looking at my court order, but since I just had the name change and not the gender change as well (which requires SRS), they weren’t sure what to do. I wasn't born in California, so I won't go through that side of the court stuff here, anyway. Hopefully the face presented well enough so they will issue it with an F. The only bad thing about having an M on the social security part of things is if I change employers and they see an M on the Social Security part of my information. Anyway, they said they would let me know by Wednesday.

So, after leaving there right at 4pm (and their closing time), I decided to head back over to the DMV to see if I could still get in. There was a different person at the front desk, and I explained to her that I had an earlier appointment and that I had been told I needed to go to SSA first. She gave me a number, I went to the bathroom, then sat down. Not even a few minutes later and they were calling my number. It appears that the appointment still gave me priority. The guy that helped me was very professional and quite helpful. He even gave back my male driver’s license when I requested it in order to be able to provide evidence of who I was during this name/gender change bit. His manager, who he had asked a few questions of during my little visit, told him he had to keep the driver’s license and ID card I had provided, but he still gave back the driver’s license because he could tell I preferred to have it. He saw no harm. So, after taking a new picture and signing my new name a few times, I was out of there with a temporary license that had Kara on it, along with a big fat F! I was really expecting not to finish it all today, but I did it.

Upon returning home, I decided to stop by the manager's office to say hi with the new face. I wrote them a letter about a week ago telling them about my situation. I think one or two of them might have known since I’ve seen one of them a few times while I was out as Kara. When I poked my head in the office, everything seemed pretty good. She recognized me right away and asked me how I was doing. She also requested a copy of the name change, just to keep things legal.

I went to dinner with Rachel, Claire, Tyler, Amy, and Ali who is visiting from the UK to have FFS tomorrow. It was also my first time to meet Rachel, who looks and sounds incredible. I was also glad Rachel was there after we finally decided on a little Italian place to eat...she was able to tell me what everything was. Ali was nervous the entire night as she continued to play with her hair, but hopefully we calmed her spirits knowing she has friends that will visit the Cocoon House. She also got to see a wide spectrum of Dr. O graduates. Rachel was about 1.5 years postop, Claire is at 3 months, Tyler is 6 months on the top, and 2 weeks on the bottom, and I am just shy of 3 weeks.

Tyler and I were the slow walkers on our trek to dinner. After the DMV and SSA fiasco, I was wearing out. Tyler’s feet also started hurting on our walk, but I was doing ok in my boots, even though they have a heel on them. They’re my Easy Spirit boots. OK, like I mentioned before, the store had a lot of shoes that had both comfort and style in mind. When I told Robi about my selection, she goes, "That store is for older my mom!" OK, so I shop in the old women's shoe store...the shoes are much more comfy, although I only have one pair. When I was shopping in Macy’s the other day, I noticed a table of Easy Spirit shoes there as well, and one women closer to my age was looking at them. I don’t remember if a salesperson made a comment or something, but she blurts, "I don’t care...I want comfort!!!" I just smiled and thought about saying, "Oh, I hear ya...and completely understand."

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Feeling it

I received my normal pay stub in the mail this weekend. Unfortunately, I was only paid for one day of work on this past payday since the day before I went on disability was President’s Day. The amount wasn’t even enough to pay for the bi-weekly payment to my 401k loan. How much do you want to bet that’s going to come back and bite me on the arse? Anyway, so, I’m hoping that the short term disability people, along with the subsidized state funding, will come through sometime to provide regular pay....or some portion thereof.

I was back to having eggs again today, since I actually backed off of them the past 2 days. I figure I’ll probably eat them a little more as the back jaw muscles are still working to get back in shape.

I took a shower this morning, and during the course of it, I hawked up this huge snot ball from my nose/sinuses. Yuuuckk!!! After the shower, I had some drainage coming down my nose, so I had to dig it out with Q-tips and a pair of tweezers. Also, I’ve had this crusty thing kinda sitting near the inside base of my nostril since surgery, and I wasn’t sure if it was a scab or a dried up booger, but it finally loosened today while I was digging out the softer stuff, so I kinda eased it out of my nose as well.

I was down at a TGSF meeting this afternoon, then went to dinner with Susan, Brooke, Susan from Helsinki (her final appearance), Kelly, and Walt. Since I’d had my fill of pasta and eggs lately, I stayed away from the noodles and omelets, and just decided upon some chicken fingers. Believe it or not, chicken’s do in fact have fingers. I threw a ton of tabasco sauce on them just to give them flavor. Since I still don’t have full taste and smell back yet, I had to throw a lot on it just to taste it. I could tell my mouth was tingling when I was about finished, but as I told them, I couldn’t really feel it.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Say, what did Dr. O actually do to you?

I went to lunch with Brooke, Susan, Rachel, Susan from Helsinki, and Jamie, who I hadn’t seen in quite a while. During lunch, I found myself having "tired" spells and would shut my eyes for short periods of time. After that, Brooke went with me to the mall to find some camisoles. We went straight to J. Jill where I was able to finally find some decent ones, then we were out of there. I stayed out way too long though...close to 5 hours. The drive home was difficult as I found myself becoming sleepy. Luckily, Tyler called as I was driving home, so I was able to stay awake long enough to get home safely.

Around noon today, though, my short term disability company calls to ask when they think I will be returning to work. I tell them I still tire easily, and that I hope to head back to work on Wednesday, which is the recommended three weeks of recovery for Dr. O’s surgery. It’s kinda funny...they sent me a letter dated February 26th and postmarked March 1st, which I received on Thursday, March 4th. It basically said that they felt I should be able to return to work on March 1st, and that if didn’t, then they would need a ton of information from the physician who was treating me. I have my follow up appointment with Dr. O on Tuesday, so hopefully I can take care of the subsequent information at that time.

On a lighter note, I think I’ve sneezed three times since surgery, and during all three sneezes none of my brains have come out my nose. Whoo hoo! No, seriously, most of the "air rush" comes out my mouth, so I haven’t really let anything go through the nose yet.

Mira basically told me that I shouldn’t blow my nose until early April, and that I should try to inhale any....uh...schtuff...back through my mouth. Nice!

I’ve also noticed "strings" along the bottom edge of my mouth where the sutures are. It appears they are either dissolving or just being more noticeable. I can feel them on both sides of my mouth. I wonder how long I’ll have those sticking around in there as it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish the strings from bits of residual food.

Uncle Jack emailed wondering what exactly I had done with FFS, and looking back at my entries, I realized that I didn’t exactly talk about what I had done. So....I had my forehead recontoured, my hairline was moved forward, my nose was feminized, the distance between my upper lip and my nose was reduced, the back flair of my jaw was shaved off, the chin was shortened and narrowed, and my Adam’s Apple was shaved down.

The specifics include that Dr. O made an incision from about 3cm above my ear, along my front hairline, and down to just over the other ear. Total length of cut = 35cm. He then peeled the skin and tissue forward exposing the forehead bone. He then cut the boney brow off and reformed it into a smoother surface. Because the cut exposed the front sinus cavity, it had to be reformed. He used titanium wire to piece it back together and then ground down the surface to a nice round shape. As he was sewing it back together, he cut out 2-3cm of the forehead skin and moved the hair-covered skin forward to make a new hairline. He made an incision right under my chin and was able to shave off my Adam’s Apple that was about 4-5cm below the incision. He cut inside the back portion of my mouth to expose the jaw bone, shaved off the back flair of my jaw bone, and removed some of the muscle that was also quite prominent there. He then cut along the bottom portion of my mouth, between the base of the gumline and the inner cheek. This exposed the chin bone. He then cut out a horizontal wedge to shorten the height, then tapered the chin to narrow it...I think. He then modified my nose by doing an open rhinoplasty. He made an incision in the base of my nose and lifted the flap up to expose the interior of the nose. He narrowed the nose from the forehead down to the central base. He undeviated my deviated septum, and slightly reshaped the bottom portion of my nose. Sometime while working on my nose, he also cut out a 1-2mm section of the skin just under the nose, then resewed the skin back together. He installed tubes in the jaw cavities that led to little plastic bags. They would create a vacuum in the bags which would pull excess blood built up in the area he cut and ground on along my jaw. I also had sutures along my hairline, and metal staples in the incision actually in my hair. There were sutures along the bottom of my nose, dissolvable sutures in my mouth, and internal and external sutures along the incision under my chin. I had two splints up my nose that were attached to one another through my septum, a nose cast, and bandages along the base of my nose which covered the nose packing that was shoved up into my nose (which made it impossible to breathe through my nose). Finally, I had a chin strap to keep the skin tight against my chin and in place, along with dressing over my entire head. Wanna see a picture?

Nice, huh?

The numbness on the top of my head will hopefully return over time, which can be months to years, and some people never fully regain sensation there. This is all due to the way he reforms the forehead. He basically has to cut the two nerves that run up to the top of the forehead because he peels back everything to expose the bone. The chin/bottom lip tingly sensation should hopefully return to normal inside the next few months, along with sensation in the tip of the nose. Since he removed some of the jaw muscle, I’ve had trouble fully opening my mouth, but over time it’s returning to normal. I’m not supposed to return to very hard foods until early April.

Oh yeah, another funny thing I’ve noticed is that once I got home from the Cocoon House, I felt cold (still do slightly), and turned up the temperature in my apartment. I noticed the same thing with Claire immediately following her surgery. My mom and roomie both felt the place was getting hot since I’d turned on two heaters in the main living area, even though I felt quite comfortable. I turned them off when I realized that I was the one that was off on the temperature.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Out Walking

I got out of the apartment this afternoon for a little light walking...around the mall. I bought some new foundation from Prescriptives based on the recommendation of two friends. I also found a few tops over at Old Navy just to get around in. I tried finding a few quality camisoles for work, but I didn’t have that much luck. As I was shopping around in Macy’s, this guy walks right by me from behind and says, “I like your hair.” OK, that was a little boost to the ol’ ego.

My head was starting to pound after about three hours of walking around, so I headed for the car and started to leave, but ran into Ally (who didn’t recognize me at first) and Laura, both who were familiar with Dr. O’s work. I sat with them for a few minutes as they reviewed my progress at 16 days post-op. They said I was doing pretty good with the swelling, and that my nose wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. We talked about the large radius from the forehead to the nose, but Ally said that was the way Dr. O did all of them. I know. I just hoped to avoid it by asking for a straight nose. Yeah, right.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Not doing much

Wow, my “vacation”/recovery has really flown by. I have less than a week left. Ro from work stopped by tonite to see how I was doing. She shows up with a box of donuts as a gift, but I think she’s just trying to fatten me up. Actually, she’s always remarked that I don’t have any vices except sugar, and every once in a while she caught me grabbing an unhealthy donut on Friday mornings. I think she savored the moments.

Anyway, she asked what I was doing to keep myself busy. I told her I wasn’t doing that much, but that the days were flying by anyway. She asked what I did today and I went down the very short list. Uhhh...Wilma Jean called from the Cocoon House to say she was headed home, ate breakfast, read emails/forum boards, fixed scrambled eggs for lunch (I wonder what the world record is for eating scrambled eggs continuously), polished out some of the other car’s paint on the front fender of my car, looked under the hood to tweak a few items, washed some dishes, took a shower....and well, that took us up until then. What a lazy bum, huh?

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

When there's something strange...who ya gonna call?

So, the insurance repair estimator stopped by to see my car this morning. They’ve been working off my old name, but there was basically no way I was going to even try to present boy this morning when he showed up. In fact, I made sure to wear a padded bra and put on a little makeup. When he asked about me being in the hospital when my mom had the accident, I just stated I was having surgery. He replies, “I thought ‘poor guy’, already being in the hospital when your car was in an accident.”

That did well for the ol’ ego. I saw his paperwork which had down ‘Mr.’ written in front of my name, so he had a preconception of who I was, but even the image of me 2 weeks post-op from Dr. O still had him calling me a ‘poor guy’.

Since my mom has already flown back to the Midwest, I had to dig the tripod out to take the daily picture. I leaned over on the other side of my bed to get the tripod, and WHAM! ran right into the handlebar of my bike. At first the sensation was half ‘screaming pain’ but the other half was ‘hmmm...I think I hit my head’. What was really weird is that I couldn’t tell exactly where I hit my head. It felt on the side sorta, but also on top. After looking in the mirror, I saw that I hit the upper outer portion of my forehead, where the skin has only had half the normal sensation. I’ve run the top of my head into stuff so far, and I realize that my head isn’t going anywhere, but I can’t tell that I am touching anything. It’s a weird sensation.

Claire invited me up to the city to watch a movie at her place with Amy as well. /Amber/ also sent a note to me this afternoon wondering if I was up for dinner or something, but I told her I was headed to the city and invited her along. She picked me up, and we cruised up to the city in her fancy little car. Claire had already ordered a pizza, and after it arrived, I slowly tore into a few pieces with a fork and knife. I sliced the portions so that they would fit into my mouth, and would hopefully be small enough so that I could chew them. I made it through 4 slices, but I am going to be sore tomorrow. That’s the solidest (yes, we laughed at that word) food I have eaten in over 2 weeks. We also spent 1 hour and 40 minutes of my life watching Lost in Translation. Somewhere after the first 5 minutes, my translation got lost. It was way too slow for me. Sure, I like artsy movies, but I like dialogue. Throw me a bone...keep me awake. Don’t just show people staring out a window, or being lost in the city, or whatever...about a hundred different ways. Yes, we realize the two of them are utterly bored. So was I. Usually I pay $10 to see a least entertain me. Anyway, thumbs down to the movie. OK, yeah, there’s nothing wrong with the movie...but there was nothing that made me want to ever watch it again.

During the initial part of the movie, I asked if the husband was the loser brother off of Friends. Claire clarified, “You mean Phoebe’s brother?”

“Yep, that’s him. Why does he always play loser roles?” I asked.

“Because he looks like a loser,” laughed Claire.

“Hey now, we need to look beyond our physical looks.” blah...blah...blah “When was the last time Bill Murray actually played a winner?” I asked.

“Ghost Busters,” blurted Claire.

“Jeez...that was like 1984.”

Whew, that’s a long time ago. I have no idea where I’m rolling with this topic, but are we always typecast into what other people see, even though we may be this entirely different person on the inside. My inner person is on the outside of my face right now - sorta -, but she’s been beat up a little. Give her a little time to recover.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Trying to fly

The past two days have been hard. I’ve been going through spells of depression due to a culmination of events. The recent surgery, recovering from that surgery, not feeling pretty, having the nose feel like it is way off, having facial hair popping out, being “sir’d” at the voter booth today, dealing with the car, dealing with all of the name change stuff, my mom going home, dealing with going back to work as Kara (I actually had a dream about this last night), and just going through what I call the Superman syndrome has caused me to be pretty down.

So, yes, I’m going through the post-surgical depression and I know that I’m going through it. Even that I know what is affecting me, I still have to deal with all of the motions and emotions. It’s kinda like knowing that the bridge is washed out, but still not being able to cross it.

The Superman syndrome basically boils down to the song, “Superman (It’s Not Easy) which goes something like this:

I can’t stand to fly, I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find the better part of me
I’m more than a bird...I’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry, fall upon my knees,
Find a way to lie about a home I’ll never see
It may sound absurd...but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed..but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away...away from me
It’s all can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy...or anything...
I can’t stand to fly, I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride with clouds between their knees
I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one-way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me

It’s not easy to be me.

What does all of that mean...well, in my opinion, the Superman syndrome is that Superman deals with all of the stress of being Superman, but he still has Clark Kent in which to live that regular life. Up until this facial surgery, I could go out as Kara and have fun, but I had “him” to go back walk around in the regular world and not be labeled a freak. But now, I’m Superman full time without a Clark Kent to fall back on, and it’s not easy...not that I’m a hero or anything, but just using the similar situation.

Last night I cried myself to sleep thinking that I’ll never have a normal life. I’ll never be able to have children, never be considered a real woman, never be in a normal relationship...blah, blah, blah...woe is me. Yeah, I know...stop feeling sorry for myself.

With the small things I see wrong with my FFS, I feel depressed because I know that I’ll have to have revisions...which means more surgery, more recovery, and more money. I also feel ugly because I’m still swollen. Also, my nose feels like it is way off to the left. I know...wait for the swelling to go down, but it still feels off. My mom and everyone else says that it’s not noticeable, but I didn’t do all of this for them...I did it for me. I also paid a ton of that I’m going to have to repay to my 401k out of my regular pay for the next 5 years, and for that type of money you’d think there wouldn’t be any major screw-ups (that hopefully don’t exist once the swelling goes down). Mom tried cheering me up, and she knows that I'm not taking it out on her, but just trying to explain that for the amount of money I paid, I should have gotten what I asked for.

I also have a hard time saying good-bye, and today I said good-bye to her after she was out here for two weeks taking care of me. I cried as I drove back home. I think that the surgery/recovery is also a very exciting time in my life, and now I’m also coming down off the excitement to regular boring days, and that’s depressing as well. It’s like living a lifetime for one event, then that event being over all of a sudden, and you’re stuck sitting there going, “Ugghhhh...what do I do now?” I have plenty of things to do now, but I think it’s relative to the situation.

Like I said, though, I’ve been feeling pretty crappy the past two days. I thought about calling “joanb” to talk to her about it, because she’s always been willing to talk to me about all of this, she's been through it before, and she gives it to me straight without all of the BS. Funny thing...after I dropped off my mom at the airport this afternoon, “joanb” actually called me, and mentioned that this is the time period when depression usually kicks in after this type of surgery. It was a good talk, and as usual, she kept it real. Brooke also called after that, and I talked to her about it as well. My phone bill is going to be insane this month!!!