“Passing”

My time in Australia was AMAZING!  Not only because the country as a whole is awesome, and the people are so nice, and there are cute, fuzzy animals everywhere, but also because I passed. 100% of the time.

(“Passing” means being read by people as the gender you are projecting.  i.e.  Teddy passed in Australia = Teddy was read as a male in Australia by the people there.)

So yeah, passing 100% of the time was awesome.  It made me finally like a “normal” guy, undetectable.

I’m torn between thinking it has something to do with just how nice Australians are, and how they are non-judgmental and therefore probably wouldn’t care even IF they knew…

OR

If it’s because I’ve simply reached the time in my transition journey that I pass more anyhow.

Eh, either way, it felt fantastic.

I’ll be uploading a small album of some shots from my trip for anyone interested.  This doesn’t have anything directly to do with transitioning, but it’s part of my life that I’d like to share.

Here’s a picture of us on the day we got back into the States. We’re a little tired it seems.After 5 weeks abroad

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9 months on Testosterone check-in.

Feeling happy and satisfied with my progress so far, though (of course) I would love some sweet facial hair. Have sideburns coming in ever-so-slightly on ONE SIDE OF MY FACE (but not the other). WTH?! Oh, well.

Here’s a few recent pics of me. I’m feeling very dude-ly looking lately, which has really boosted my self-confidence. Haven’t been “she-d” or “her-ed” for awhile – Awesome!

photo 2

photo 3

6 months post-op.

6 months post-op.

Just got a gym membership with my honey, so we’ve been going there getting our cardio on. Looking forward to having pecs someday but unfortunately my lifting has been on hold for a couple weeks. Remember that zombie run I did the day before I got married and graduated college? I injured my arm/shoulder that day and it hasn’t really had time to heal. With moving twice, there was a lot of lifting.

Oh yeah. I moved. Bought a place with my wife. We love it. I’m currently [supposed to be] putting things away.
Wish I could just snap my fingers and have all these boxes put themselves away!

Viktor loves all the room to run with his brother, too. We’ll have to sit down and do a proper video soon. Hope all is well in your world.

-Ted

Appetite on testosterone

omg I can eat so much food now. I must be in the “growing teenage boy” phase, because I’m hungry ALL THE TIME. My fiancee has Grave’s Disease, which means her thyroid doesn’t work, so it doesn’t regulate appetite and metabolism like it should. Basically she’s hungry all the time, can eat an enormous amount of food, and doesn’t gain weight. She told me when we met that she’s never met anyone who can eat as much as she can, guys included. And then last week she announced, “I’ve finally met my match.”

Also, I crave protein. All the time. I was a vegetarian for a year and a half, until about 8 months ago, when my ex broke up with me, after which I cared very little about what I ate. I still strive to not eat as much red meat as the average American, but I can no longer claim to be a vegetarian. As the testosterone gives me more muscle mass, my body needs more protein. And I already had a pretty healthy appetite pre-T.

But now, well. I feel like a bottomless pit. For instance, right now, as I’m typing this out, I just ate a handful of homemade fries, 3 pickles, a veggieburger, hot dog, a bowl of strawberries, and some Twizzlers. And I’m about to start on some frozen grapes. And I don’t feel particularly full. But hey, at least I’m drinking La Croix and not some high-fructose-corn-syrup-infused soda like I’d like to. Baby steps.

I’ve been told that this [explosion of appetite] calms down a bit after a while. I just hope it does before we have a kid, because buying enough food for me, a tiny Chinese girl with Grave’s, two starving cats, AND a hungry child would force me to work 60 hour weeks.

Ode to my sweetie: A blog about relationships

So I was thinking today (it’s rare, yes), and I realized that I haven’t actually taken the time to write about my relationship much yet.  

 

So I’ll take a minute now.

 

My beautiful fiancee, who I’ll call Gong Li (though she’s much prettier than the actress), is a lesbian.  Yes, I said “is“. But that’s another blog topic altogether.  First, the mushy stuff.

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She met me as a lesbian, in a long-term committed relationship with another lesbian, about 2 1/2 years ago.  At an ugly sweater party. I was instantly drawn to her, this funny, smart, gorgeous and well-traveled woman.  And silly.  She is most definitely silly.  (Which I adore.)  She was telling a few people (myself included) about her travels to Antarctica.  

Fast-forward to a day almost 2 years later, when she came over to my girlfriend’s parent’s house on a man-made lake in the middle of a suburb.  Me and her (her and I?) took a canoe out onto the lake while my girlfriend and another friend stayed behind to…be boring or something.  Anyways.  Gong Li and I stood in the shallows, water up to our thighs – or in her case, chest – (get it? because she’s short) aaaannnddd started a competition seeing who could catch the most fish.  (Thus began our longtime competitiveness, something that carries through into our every week together. Fortunately for me, I’m naturally an expert at everything and she stands hardly any chance at all.) <—-proper grammar.

 

So, like I said, fortunately for me, I am of course the better fisher-person, and won.  Despite her very noble efforts.  Perhaps if she hadn’t continually tangled her line like a silly girl all the time, she might actually have beat me instead of tied me.

Oh yeah, we tied with three each.  Whatever, details.

 

Anyways.  On the canoe-ride back, I turned to look at her (sitting in the back, the steering position, clearly not knowing her role) and told her I’ve always felt like a boy, and just recently realized I was trans, and may have surgery to eliminate my breasts in the near future.  Needless to say, she was barely phased.  She just smiled and said “oh, really?” and asked a few tactful questions because she was curious.

This was also the day that she saw my chopped off hair for the first time.  I had cut it from several inches past my shoulders to a couple inches total.  It was a drastic change.  My girlfriend’s mother kept saying “I can’t believe ***insert birth name*** cut all of her beautiful hair off!”  (to be fair, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t out to her at the time, though if I was, there wouldn’t have been much of a difference).

 

Gong Li just looked at it and said “I like your haircut.”

 

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So, a few months later, my girlfriend (who in actuality was my fiancee but later made it clear that she was uncomfortable as such and didn’t want to marry me) broke up with me.  I had been on T(estosterone) for 4 days.

Sometime I will write something about this breakup.  But right now, I’d rather not go in to it.  Suffice it to say that she left me because of my transition and she couldn’t handle being with someone other than another lesbian = another woman.

And thus 5 years of (what I thought was) a good relationship was flushed down the toilet because I wanted (needed!) to feel comfortable in my own skin.  But lucky for me, there was someone waiting for me, she just didn’t know it yet.

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A few weeks later, after the days of no-sleeping and no-eating and crying your eyes out that all of us are obliged to go through after the breakup of a long relationship, I was feeling slightly less like an ugly zombie and decided to venture out to a friend’s house.  The same friend who had been there that day at the lake invited me over to her house.  I found out later that it was Gong Li that told her to invite me.

After some movie time and talking, Gong Li and I left our friend’s house and walked to our two cars together.  She told me how she felt betrayed and lost after her breakup of an  8 1/2 year relationship, and how it came out of the blue, like mine.  She told me that it gets better and that I am a good person and would find someone someday.  And she gave me her number if I ever needed to talk or wanted to hang out.  I thought she was sweet to care.

About a week or two later we went out to a movie together, and sat and talked afterwards.  I knew I didn’t have a chance with her. After all, my last relationship had proven to me that lesbians can’t be with men, and that includes transmen.

But I liked hanging out with her nonetheless.  She made me feel funny, and special, and worth someone’s time.  And soon after we started dating.  Of course, we had a long discussion about the implications of our decision, how it would affect our friends (though we had no idea the mess shit-storm calamity we would start), and what it meant for her sexual orientation.  She told me that she was scared that one day she would be 40-something and unhappy being with a man.  I told her I just wanted to try, because she was so special and we had such a strong bond, and what if we didn’t try and missed something amazing?  She said she just wanted to be with me, whatever that meant or whatever that took.

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So, here we are, 6 months later.  She encouraged me NOT to wait for my top surgery, but to go for it (which I did, on December 31, 2013, after which I was cared for by the most amazing Asian nurse, looking faintly like Gong Li but smelling like bacon pickles cake food).  She loves breasts – and I must admit I had nice ones – but her love for me outshone her desires.  My ex had wanted me to wait on surgery, she said “just in case” me being trans was a “phase.”  And we had dated for 5 years!  

Along comes this girl who I’d known as an acquaintance for 2 years, we start dating, and she feels so strongly for me that she puts aside her feelings in order for me to be happy.  After only dating a matter of weeks.

Wow.

What did I do to deserve such a woman?

Her love for me blows me away, and I have no idea how to reciprocate.  How can I ever show her how much she means to me in this same way?

Bad day

Bad days.  These happen every so often, for all of us.  FTMs are no different.  Except possibly that they have fewer people who understand what they’re going through.  How do you explain dysphoria to someone who has never experienced it?  The disconnect that I feel with my genitals?  That no, I’m not obsessed with penises but that I would like to find one that makes me feel more like a man in the bedroom.  Not one where I have to insert a rod to make it hard, or put it on special because it’s too hard to pack with normally.  And it’s NOT the same as being unhappy with your body.  Everyone has that from time to time.  

But maybe I just haven’t come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be able to get hard on my own, have sex like a normal dude, or most importantly, make a baby with my wife.

There’s been lots of talk lately on youtube, facebook, and the internet in FTM circles about names of what’s-down-there.  Some people are fine with the word vagina.  Some aren’t.  I’d even venture to say that most aren’t.  And I, having just come to terms that I’m trans not one year ago, am one of the “aren’t”.  That isn’t to say that one day it might change, but for now, I don’t refer to it as a vagina.  In fact, I try not to acknowledge it at all.  I don’t look down there when I’m naked (except to shave).  And I certainly don’t jack off without one of my dicks attached to me to at least feel like I have a bulge.

Sigh.

Maybe I am a bad person.  Maybe my ex had it right.  I should have consulted with her before making this drastic change in my life. Except to me, this is how I’ve always been, I’ve just discovered a name for it, and a reason for it.  I’m not just some freak who wears men’s clothing and carries a wallet.  I was never a butch but I definitely wasn’t femme either.  I guess I just expected my partner to accept me for me, like she always had, and see that I was the same person, just looked a bit different.  

But sure, maybe I’m willing to concede that I should have slowed things down, for her, and been more respectful of her feelings.  But I also never heard her say “stop”, or “wait, this is making me feel uncomfortable.”  And I thought she just wanted me to be happy.

Well I’m happy as a boy.  But that made her UNhappy.  And the same thing with a different twist is happening in my life again, six months later.

I’ve lost so many friends because of being trans.  I have as many friends now that I can count on one hand.  And a few family, but not most by any stretch of the imagination.

Maybe this was wrong.  Maybe the negative outweighs the positive I feel.  I’m conflicted, I’m confused, I’m hurt.  And lost.  Again.  I’m always lost, in the end.  I wish that I could make this all go away and I would be happy with being a girl.  Or even okay.  If I were okay with being a girl, I’d take that, too.  

This also makes me feel horribly shallow and immature.  How can what’s between my legs and how the world sees me make such a big deal in my life?  Shouldn’t I be stronger than this?

There’s no easy answers, and I’ve probably made some new questions for myself to wrestle with, another time.  But for now, I think I’ll just go have a glass of wine.

-T

Top surgery update!

So!  It’s February 15th, 2014, and I’m a month and a half post-op.  I had a peri-areolar mastectomy (also referred to as keyhole) with Dr. Clifford King in Madison, WI on New Years Eve, 2013.  I’ve attached some pictures that I have so far.  My surgery lasted 4 hours, which is about an hour and a half longer than Dr. King expected.  (It also scared the shit out of my girlfriend who was sitting in the waiting room, thinking something had went wrong!)  The doc said that my breast tissue was hard (possibly due to the testosterone?) and that because of this, he had to piece-mail take out tiny chunks of tissue through the small half-moon incisions he made along my areolas.  That sounds painstaking.  

So anyways, because of this, he brought me out of anesthesia, for safety reasons, and decided not to make my areolas/nipples smaller at that time.  (By the way, I wasn’t charged for the extra hour and a half in the Operating Room that he had to pay for.) 

Long story short (oops), I went to his office to get the areolas resized about a week ago, under local anesthesia.  Which just means that he injected my chest with Lidocaine before he cut.  Not that I can feel much of anything right now anyways, which is nice.  Also, he wrote me a script for ONE Valium (diazepam), and I took half on the morning of the procedure.  Needless to say, I didn’t care much about sitting in his office while he cut me and stitched me up for an hour.  I was just cracking jokes and making the nurses laugh.  Which is also what I did in the hospital when I had my actual procedure done.  Apparently I’m very funny when I’m drugged.

Anyways.  

Here’s some pics.

5 days post-op

5 days post-op

4 weeks post-op.

4 weeks post-op.

I’m going in the 24th to get my stitches out.  Then I’ll post more pics.  But for now, this is what it looks like:

2/15/14; 45 days post-op, 5 days post-areola resizing

2/15/14; 45 days post-op, 5 days post-areola resizing


Btw.  Dr. King is amazing.  He never flinched in calling me my name or in using the correct pronouns.  He asked me after the procedure if his staff at the hospital was nice to me and used the right pronouns, and of course all the ones that work in his office are super nice and supportive.  I never felt ostracized or uncomfortable in any way.  When he took the tubes out, he kept patting me on the hand and saying I was a brave guy, or “you’re doing good, man”.  He’s a real down-to-earth, genuine, caring guy.  Someone I’d like to have a beer with!  Not to mention he’s a plastic surgeon (MD) AND has a PhD.