Back in October, before having any beard removal done, I took a picture of my beard 22 hours after shaving.  I had a heavy beard. I had a couple of laser/electrolysis consultations, and chose Alternative Health Associates, in Alexandria, VA.  I felt infinitely more comfortable there after the consults.  I've since gone through their TG program for beard removal via laser, and 22 hours of electrolysis so far.  I finished the laser portion about 2 weeks ago.  We've been doing only greys with electro thus far, since laser gets only the dark hair.  The laser program I went through was doing my full face and neck, then 4 weeks later doing my "muzzle" area (above lip, chin, touchups), and then repeating every 4 weeks, a total of 5 times each.  I took this picture today 30 hours after shaving.

To call this a "beard" now is an insult to beards everywhere.  I have some hair on my face and neck... I don't have a "beard."  There is some grey on my jawline and neck, and a few darks on the upper lip. I can't say enough good things about the care I've received so far, both in terms of the appointments themselves, and the results.  I go for electrolysis once every two weeks for an hour, take a 45 min. break, then another hour.  I've had no pitting, scarring, redness, nothing except a little swelling which lasts for about a day.  These women know what they are doing... they work fast, accurately, and have a LOT of experience helping transwomen.  They're supportive, understanding, and sympathetic when you break down and cry in the middle of electro (which has happened to me twice now).  If you are anywhere within a couple hours of DC and are considering beard removal, you really need to check out AHA.

To be certain, I still have lots of zapping to go.  I'm also doing laser on my chest there and am very happy with my results thus far.  My friends at AHA will be seeing quite a bit of me over the next year and change.  But I'm really happy where things are now.

P.S. I see that this is my 12th post labeled with "hair removal," the most for any label. Sheesh. It's a huge part of the early transition process... but I really need to stop fretting about it. Hopefully I will not write about this for a while. :)

P.P.S. Is it just me, or do my nostrils look less crooked in the after pic, than the before?

I've been kind of bitchy/grumpy this week.  On edge, a little tense, quick to overreact, those sort of things.

There's a lot going on right now.  I'm still waiting for the notification on my divorce.  There's another situation I'm not going into here that is bothering me, on a couple of levels.  But the main the thing I am noticing lately, is how how much I do not like it when I am looked at/addressed as someone other than me.  Doesn't matter what I am wearing anymore or where I am... for example, I still wear male clothes to work.  I don't like it when my co-workers refer to me by what-they-think is my name.  I went out at lunchtime and the woman at the gas station said, "Thank you, sir."  It really bothered me.  Growl.  It is totally unreasonable for me to think I'll be addressed as "ma'am" when I am wearing male clothing.  Nonetheless, it really bothers me.  I hate it, actually.  The only place I wear male clothes now, is at work.  I get home from work, and head straight upstairs and change.  That relaxes me and the wolf goes away, replaced by, um, a lamb, I guess.

No, wait.  A sheep.  I'm a sheep in wolf's clothing.  Glad we got that straightened out.

When I'm wearing my clothes, and with people I know...  sometimes they slip with pronouns or call me by my old name.  In the past, I've laughed it off, said it's OK, and it was... then.  It is getting harder and harder to do that.  Intellectually I know that it's hard for people that have known you in a certain way for a fairly long period of time, to make this change in a fairly short period of time.  I don't want to be one of those trans people who takes herself so seriously that she can't laugh about stuff.  But still.  I guess I get it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I'm heading up to visit my family in NY in about a month.  I'm taking the kids... this is my full week-and-change with them for the year, and I am not looking forward to it very much.  I won't get addressed as myself, looked at as myself, or have the opportunity to be myself, all week.  After the kids go to bed we'll either sit around and have angst-filled conversations about this, or we will have superficial conversations about other things, while the 500-pound gorilla looms.  I'd rather just take them (the kids) to the beach or something for a week, let them play, and relax with my thoughts and some wine at night.  But nope.  That's not what I chose to do for my vacation this year.  Stupid me.  The more I think about this trip, the more worked up I get about it, and the more I wish we were doing something else.  Ugh.

The other thing that has changed, is the way I view a certain part of my body.  In the past, I've been somewhat "meh" about it.  That changed to being annoyed with it, kind of a "go away!" feeling, like the way you'd swat away a bug.  The feeling now is...  I. Want. It. Off.  I don't like seeing it when I am taking a shower or whatever.  It's gross.  It's gross and it's an abomination.  A year or so until full-time + a year of being full-time = a minimum of 2 more years with this thing.

Can you tell this is all wearing on me?  Heh.   My initial plan was to be full time near the end of 2011.  Martha advised that for many of her clients, that time period shortens.  I can totally see why.  I hope it shortens for me.  I only started seriously exploring this 9 months ago.  What is it going to be like in another year?  What will a blog entry like this one look like in a year's time?  After I figured myself out, I began rehearsing conversations with friends... with family... now I am rehearsing and researching conversations with HR... the final frontier.  It's hard to imagine keeping this charade up for another year and a half.

It's so easy to fixate on the negative... and really, those "negatives" above, are things that will pass, things that will take time.  In the big scheme of things, I have it pretty good... I know this.  Next blog will be more upbeat, about what changes have taken place happened in the 4 months that I've been on hormones.  It's good stuff.

Sometimes a girl just needs to vent, though.....

What a nice day today was.

I went for a bike this morning with a friend, the first time I've been on my bike in quite a while.  Then picked up some stuff for a triathlon I am volunteering at tomorrow.  It's no coincidence that I've been involved with triathlon for almost 4 years, and this is the first time that I am giving back..  Anyway, I came home and took a 4-hour "nap," which is great for me given my checkered sleep history as of late.  This evening I met some friends out for drinks... the first time that I've been out with a group of non-trans friends.  The best part about it was that there was nothing spectacular about it.  Didn't feel any different to me, or to them, I think.  Other than the fact that I smiled more than usual.  :)  While I was out, I got a voice mail from a member of my family who I have been most concerned about, in terms of his reaction.  Suffice it to say that I was absolutely blown away, in a good way, by the voice mail.  People keep surprising me.

Afterwards I had to stop at the grocery store for a couple things.  I was trying to find a ripe banana for the morning, and there was an older, heavyset gentleman there with his wife.  He knocked over a couple of the bananas and leaned over to pick them up.  I stopped him and picked them up for him.  He smiled and thanked me... "I can't bend over quite as well as I used to."  "Not a problem!"  Then he gave me a warm smile and said, "You're very sweet."  Awww.  Was coming down another row about 10 minutes later and bumped into him and his wife again, and he said, "Now there's that pretty girl again," and winked.  In a nice way.  He continued on with his wife, not knowing that was the first time that this particular pretty girl ever heard those words directed at her.  And that she'll likely never forget it.

I drove home... a local festival had started their nightly fireworks display.  I watched them out of the window.  Very fitting.  One great thing about being trans is that you gain an appreciation for things that you hadn't before.  Events that used to seem humdrum and everyday, become spectacular.

My wife and I separated on December 1, 2007.  All the paperwork is done, agreements signed, depositions taken, and it is with the Court awaiting a judge's rubber stamp. Soon, the email from my attorney with the attachment reading "AND THIS CAUSE IS FINAL." will arrive.  I'm not looking forward to that day.  When we first separated, I figured that when things were actually final, it would be just a formality.  Mere paperwork.  After all, nothing's changed in a practical sense after 2+ years of being apart.  Now that it is here, the reality of it is vastly different.  I'm getting more and more emotional... it's tough.  I cry every day, sometimes two, three times.  Regardless of whether or not it is the right thing, it's sad and it is disappointing.  You've failed.  You've failed at what was supposed to be *the* commitment of your life.  Two young children in the mix just make it all the worse.

I had the kids last night, and dropped them back with H. this morning.  Leaving the kids/seeing her lately has been difficult.  I could tell as I pulled up the driveway that I was getting emotional.  I won't see them for another week, which means it's possibly that this is the last time I'll see her as my wife.

I got the kids out of their car seats, gave them each a huge hug, and told them how much I loved them.  My 4-year old's response was, "Well Daddy, you should love God and Jesus more than you love me."  I ignored the God and Jesus stuff.  "Honey, I love you so so much, you're my special girl."  "Daddy, you should love God and Jesus more."  "Well, I don't."  The tears started as I walked them to the door. I gave them each a quick kiss on the forehead.  I tried not to look at my wife.  My oversize sunglasses didn't do as good as job of hiding the tears as I hoped.

I got back to my car as quickly, head down so the kids couldn't see, shut the door, and started backing out.  I saw my wife coming down the driveway. I stopped and rolled down the window.  I've always wanted her to see that I am not the cold, uncaring person she saw back when we separated.  He's gone.  During our counseling sessions, I sat there stoic and stone-faced while she cried. I am not that hateful, uncaring person anymore.  I wanted her to see that.  So I let it out.  And oh boy, did I let it out.  I have never cried like this in my life.  I got nose schmutz all over my shirt.  I opened up to her in a way that I have not before, and let her see a side of me that she has never seen in the 10+ years that we've known each other.

I sat there shaking and crying, unable to speak.  She offered me a seashell which she had found on the beach. She and the kids had taken a vacation the week prior.  She pointed out that it had my initial on it, carved out by some little creature.  I felt closer to letting her in.  She said,

"You need to come home.... you need to please. Come. Home. To the one who loves you..."

I felt myself softening as fleeting thoughts of calling my attorney ran through my mind.

Thinking of being a family again.  At that moment, I might have thought about coming home if she had said that wanted me to come home to her.

But she didn't.

"... more than any mortal ever could."


Did I just hear what I thought I heard?  I've opened up to her as never before, never been more vulnerable as now, and she chooses this moment to evangelize to me?  I'm an agnostic, and she is now a born-again evangelical Christian. Come into the fold.  Be saved.  Come home.  Drink the Kool-Aid.   I hoped that I had somehow misinterpreted, but that hope dissipated as she continued telling me about God and how he has helped her and how he can help me with this and he can help me with that and how I am lost.

Composure not quite regained, still crying, I said... "You know what my daughter's response to me was when I told her that I loved her so much just now?  She said that I should love God and Jesus more.  She's FOUR years old, H. Four years old.  And that's her response to me telling her that I love her.  Awesome.  That's just fucking great."  I rolled up the window and backed out.  I drove out of sight, pulled over, and thought about what had just transpired.

She said nothing about any feelings that she had for me, it was about what she wanted me to be.  When we had children, I became a mere breadwinner in her eyes, a helper, not a husband.  The way I read books to my children was questioned.  When we had our second, she got a doula to help at delivery time.  I was relegated to "Hey you over there.  Yeah, you, the one with the penis.  Can you hold this leg up for us?"  Close to the end, I told her that she was not a good wife, and her (serious) response was, "Oh, so it's not enough to be a good mother?"  She didn't really love me... she loved the idea of me, loved the idea of a nice house, the kids, the whole facade.  I suppose I can't fault her too much for that; after all, I had my own facades.  I was once in love with her... perhaps even up until this moment this morning, part of me still was?  All I know is that "... more than anyone on this Earth ever could." was a very painful thing for me to hear.

Every time over the past two-and-change years that I began to move towards her, feel closer to her, think that there might be some hope, something like this happens, reminding me of why we separated in the first place.  You would think that I had gotten this through my head by now.

Sometime within the next week, I'll get that email from my attorney.  It won't be a great day.  But after this morning, it probably won't be *as* bad.

I'll probably keep the seashell.


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When I transitioned, there just weren't too many blogs out there written by straight, transitioned women. Well, here's one.

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