A personal announcement, emphatic thank-you, and cheers to Fedora.

Hypatian wrote:

Re: Unsolicited advice: Already *all* over that. Shaving legs and stuff (*almost* all the stuff, really) was a super easy and safe thing to do, since we're officially not supposed to wear shorts to work. (Boo!) Also growing out my nails. Little things can be very comforting.

I'm probably going to have to trim my nails down again soon, though. Even slightly long nails and typing do not make a super good combo, especially on the new chiclet-style Apple keyboards. (This is not something I had considered about them until lately!)

Oh Lord. Fingernails. Another spot those are going to bite you is gaming, particularly console. I'd like to take whoever designed the Playstation, Wii, and Xbox controllers out behind the woodshed some days.

You can adjust, just as you actually can type in long nails. It takes a lot of practice, though.

Hypatian wrote:

I'm probably going to have to trim my nails down again soon, though. Even slightly long nails and typing do not make a super good combo, especially on the new chiclet-style Apple keyboards. (This is not something I had considered about them until lately!)

It takes practice but you get used to it. Stop thinking of it as typing with the pads of your fingers and more with the end, which may be part pad part nail or all nail depending on length. The hardest is if one breaks so things get lopsided.

SERIOUS underwear!

I'm going through the car wash here, and something just dawned on me. Feel free to tell the nosy old bat to take a long walk off a short pier, but I think this needs to be said.

I know two people who've transitioned, and my cousin used to do an amazing Marilyn Monroe before he married his boyfriend and settled down to have a family. One thing I saw was a lot of focus on the trappings of being female. Right now it all seems so weird and scary and like you have to do all these "things" or it won't be real.

But the part you have to remember is the really important things are inside you. You ARE what you are. You don't paint it, pad it, or trim it to fit. I'm just as much a woman under my car in jeans and a t-shirt changing my oil this morning as I was yesterday dressed to the nines (well maybe the sevens ).

Other people will judge you no matter what you do, for any reason under the sun. That's the way they are, particularly as a woman. There is no way to do this so perfectly that they won't say stuff even if you are XX female. If you're pretty, they'll talk. If you're not, they'll talk. Part and parcel of being a woman is this constant stream of judgement and assessment, both internally and externally. As hard as it is for someone like me to deal with, it's going to make it doubly hard for you because you have define yourself and how you want to present and express yourself in that stinging hail of bullsh*t.

There is a lot of work ahead. I'm not in any way minimizing that. But instead of "passing" being your goal, maybe you could try to look at the goal as changing the outside so you match what you feel on the inside. The goalposts are set by how you feel rather than external expectations.

Look around, try things out, do what makes you feel good. Pull on a pair of leopard print silk boyshorts (or whatever tickles your fancy; just make sure get full coverage ones to start with for comfort's sake) and then smile all the way to work. No one else has to know what's under your cargo pants. The rest of the world and it's crap can go piss up a rope and when some dribbling twat feeds strDumbAss into response.write you can give them your most devastating smile and the Hawaiian Good Luck Sign.

Amoebic wrote:

Good luck with your intake interview!

This. Sending good vibes your way.

Yellek wrote:

It takes practice but you get used to it.

Normal keyboards is okay. The Apple chiclet ones, though... >_< I really like them, actually--[em]except[/em] for this. I think I might get a nice mechanical keyboard for work. Normal keys, there's plenty of space between the keys, so there's room for the nails to move around. And when you do type with the nails a little, it's okay, they just sort of tap at the key and slide a little. On the chiclets, they slide a little into the tiny gap that's flush with the surface of the keyboard, and it just feels nasty.

IMAGE(https://encrypted-tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRRQV82WfMFgfc7LSUtpPUhnUuDahHVkejFOg6HH7QnjndviZF6EVdtbmytXA)

momgamer wrote:

But the part you have to remember is the really important things are inside you. You ARE what you are. You don't paint it, pad it, or trim it to fit. I'm just as much a woman under my car in jeans and a t-shirt changing my oil this morning as I was yesterday dressed to the nines (well maybe the sevens ).

Yeah, this is definitely something that I'm really focused on. I think it might be one advantage I have over a lot of trans people, particularly younger folks. I have a very very firm sense of self. I think I'm going to be changing a bit around the edges of that, but I know the core of my soul is as firm as bedrock.

The surface things are really more of a way to feel like I'm letting something out while I'm still really holding a lot of stuff in. Right now, I still have a hard time looking at myself in a mirror and thinking that I'm looking at a woman. I really [em]really[/em] can't expect anyone else to do that. It's getting a bit better--I can look at myself now and start to see bits of the me I want to be. I know there's a lot of work between here and there, but I can see the path, I think. Internally, well... my internal self-image has always been female. When I looked in the mirror before, I simply didn't let myself look and see that it was [em]me[/em] there. Just bits and pieces of some person. It was this sort of detachment, alienation from the body. It was [em]a[/em] body, but never [em]my[/em] body.

Now, I have to look at it and see [em]my[/em] body there. See my stubble. See my (lack of) hair. See my eyes, which... are actually rather pretty. See my nose, which is actually rather bulbous. See the lines of my face and think "That's not so bad... I think I might turn out okay." I have to look at it and see it, because I need to stop ignoring it. I need to start living in it, and make myself at home in it.

I know who I am, inside here, and I know that the outside is just trappings... but... I don't know how to explain it. It's the whole heart of what "gender dysphoria" is all about. It's about how proprioception doesn't quite feel right, because the body you expect to move when you act isn't the one that's actually moving. It's really weird and disconcerting. It's not just about the cultural trappings of gender, it's something deeper than that. But it very definitely is about the discordance between the inner self and the outer self--and the only part that seems changeable is the outer self.

Hopefully that explains a bit why there seems to be such a huge focus on outward appearance in trans folk. It's not that we're shallow, it's that changing your appearance ends up being a lot easier than changing your soul.

Anyway: The shaving, the nails, dressing up under my guy clothes: that's all surface stuff. When I think about who I want to be? I'm not the kind of person who has long nails most of the time--they get in the way, they're awkward. They're kind of fun once in a while, but not practical. But I'm doing that right now not because I want to be the kind of person who gets all dolled up all the time, but because all of this effort struggling to look at myself is really stressful. It's working out okay, but I need these little concentrated doses of feminine expression to feel more in tune over the day. Even though it's neither something that all women must do, nor even something I want to do all the time myself, it's something I'm doing because I can look down at my hands and feel a bit less stressed out.

The surface things are my life-line so I can get back inside safely after going EVA to inspect the hull. Sort of a living promise that "yes, I'm going to get there."

So, yes. "Passing" is not the heart of my goal. The real goal is feeling comfortable in my own skin. Having some sense of congruence between my self-image and my actual presence in the world.

The passing goal is more of a hope to not make other people too uncomfortable when I get there. (Both for my sake, because that's just awkward, and because I don't really [em]want[/em] to make people feel uncomfortable. I accept that even though the world ought to be a better place where the existence of trans people is an accepted thing, it is in fact far from perfect. It's totally easy for people to wig out over things they don't understand. If someone I personally know finds out I'm trans and freaks out, I expect them to figure things out and deal with it. But people I walk past going down the street... I'd rather not have them have to think about it at all.)

Amoebic wrote:

Good luck with your intake interview!

pgroce wrote:

Sending good vibes your way.

Thanks. It really really does mean a lot to have people cheering me on.

I'm starting to feel a little anxious now. Twelve hours. What's it going to be like? I have no idea. I feel like I'm climbing the ladder up to a diving board, and tomorrow is the day I jump. I'm sure the actual event won't be anything so momentous, but... for me, this is when it gets real. After this, it's time to start the big things. Facial hair removal is the super big thing I can start right away, which I've been putting off until this point. The interview will also start the timer for when I can be prescribed HRT according to the v6 WPATH standards. Either three months (if I'm lucky) or four (if they start counting at the first visit after intake.)

Or, as Eleven would say: "Geronimo!"

Amoebic wrote:

SERIOUS underwear!

Oh, serious underwear is seriously fun to buy. And wear. And no one knows unless you want them to!

I esp. enjoy serious underwear on days when I otherwise would feel like an enormous cow, esp. sitting next to one of the super dressed up women I always see on PT who always have flawless makeup (something I suck at) and always appear to have just got their "hair did", and have perfect nails that are never broken and have never been accidentally cut into with a sharp knife...

Well, I can feel smug knowing my underwear is hot stuff. Join our Smug About Our Underwear club. No annual fee!

I hope the appointment goes well - I've got my fingers crossed for you - and keep us posted!

I just caught up with this thread (last couple pages, I had a LOT of unread posts here) and just wanted to say Good luck Hypatian! It really sounds like you have the right frame of mind going into this.

Good luck today, Hypatian! Geronimo!

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Good luck today, Hypatian! Geronimo!

Allons-y!

Edit: Interesting, relevant new Kickstarter:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...

We (Dacia+Sara) are traveling to Thailand for 2 weeks in November to interview trans folks and their surgeons as they go through this life-changing transition. We will also explore the Thai culture that has openly embraced the trans community flooding their borders.

This project hits on the two most critical issues facing our American culture; health care reform and LGBTQ rights. Your support will directly fund independent journalism and help share the invaluable stories of the most underreported populations.

The intake process went well, I think. Pretty thorough questionnaire and interview. The admissions coordinator will present my case at the next staff meeting and one of the counselors will take me on, and get in touch about setting up a regular schedule for sessions. The person I talked to at Transpitt said that she waited for about four weeks between intake and the first session. (They've got a bit of a waiting list.) I'll probably have to tweak my work schedule around for whenever we end up scheduling, but that should be fine.

And it looks like my insurance will cover counseling (kind of a no-brainer, but you never know), which takes the cost after I fill my $250 deductible down from "I would happily pay that" to "I would happily pay 5x that", which is nice.

Now for the personal next steps that I was waiting on this before pursuing. It's time for me to look into facial hair removal. Pretty sure insurance is [em]not[/em] going to cover that.

Awesome! Ganbatte-yo!

For those of us girls who can't seem to keep from tearing up a manicure, there is always the "natural" buff and (no)polish manicure. Nicely kept with a natural shine that doesn't chip off, because nothing is applied to the nail. Also don't forget that you can paint your toenails any crazy set of colors with none the wiser if you are wearing shoes & socks to work. Not necessarily as fun as silky underwear, but incognito just the same.

Glad you feel good about the interview.

IMAGE(http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/400421_461293703905306_400247957_n.jpg)

RedJen wrote:

For those of us girls who can't seem to keep from tearing up a manicure, there is always the "natural" buff and (no)polish manicure. Nicely kept with a natural shine that doesn't chip off, because nothing is applied to the nail. Also don't forget that you can paint your toenails any crazy set of colors with none the wiser if you are wearing shoes & socks to work. Not necessarily as fun as silky underwear, but incognito just the same.

Glad you feel good about the interview.

IMAGE(http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/400421_461293703905306_400247957_n.jpg)

IMAGE(http://img176.imageshack.us/img176/1299/pbf024adnicetshirtzg2.jpg)

Tanglebones wrote:
RedJen wrote:

For those of us girls who can't seem to keep from tearing up a manicure, there is always the "natural" buff and (no)polish manicure. Nicely kept with a natural shine that doesn't chip off, because nothing is applied to the nail. Also don't forget that you can paint your toenails any crazy set of colors with none the wiser if you are wearing shoes & socks to work. Not necessarily as fun as silky underwear, but incognito just the same.

Glad you feel good about the interview.

IMAGE(http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/400421_461293703905306_400247957_n.jpg)

IMAGE(http://img176.imageshack.us/img176/1299/pbf024adnicetshirtzg2.jpg)

IMAGE(http://pbfcomics.com/archive_b/PBF253-The_Last_Unicorns.jpg)

RedJen wrote:

For those of us girls who can't seem to keep from tearing up a manicure, there is always the "natural" buff and (no)polish manicure. Nicely kept with a natural shine that doesn't chip off, because nothing is applied to the nail. Also don't forget that you can paint your toenails any crazy set of colors with none the wiser if you are wearing shoes & socks to work. Not necessarily as fun as silky underwear, but incognito just the same.

Glad you feel good about the interview.

IMAGE(http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/the-most-important-thing-in-life-is-to-be-yourself-batman.jpg)

FTFY. Though in this context, maybe Batgirl makes more sense?

Those pictures broke me. Thanks, everybody.

I'll also Nth the no-polish manicure idea. I scorched one of may nails good and proper a week or so ago while soldering and if I'd had a real manicure it would have probably lit the polish on fire.

Just caught up on this thread—from August. "Looks like Hypatian's posting a lot," I thought to myself, "I wonder what's going on?"

Congrats, Hypatian! It was pretty amazing to read your journey up to now in one sitting. Good luck with everything, and here's hoping it gets better and better. It sounds like it's been something like gear grinding for years, and now things are starting to mesh.

Also, and forgive me if this is prying or going off-topic, but something came up briefly in this thread and hasn't really been addressed outright, whether it needs to be or not, but I can't help myself for being curious: Star Trek pizza cutter?

How else are you going to cut pizza up into chevron shaped slices?

That's what I can't figure out.

Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter

My sister sent it to me for my birthday. The "I... never would have bought that for myself!" gifts are the fun ones.

Hypatian wrote:

Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter

My sister sent it to me for my birthday. The "I... never would have bought that for myself!" gifts are the fun ones. :)

!!!

I know what Mrs. Gravey is getting in her stocking this Christmas. Thanks, Hyp!

To be perfectly honest, I've always been more into the tomboyish girls than the girly girls, so +1 to the folks who are saying "you don't have to actually look all woman-y to FEEL like a woman." What's important is how you feel and what makes you happy, so don't worry too much about meeting the "standards" of how a woman should look, at least as far as clothes do, if it makes you feel strange. Baby steps, and do what makes you happy.

Goodjer-nation is rooting for you!

I am keen on being a tomboy.

The concern with passing is really one of "Will people who don't know anything about me see me and interact with me as a man?" or "Will people be extremely uncomfortable around me because they see me as a man but there are enough cues that they're uncertain?" Where I [em]want[/em] to be is a place where if someone new meets me they see me as a woman, even if I'm dressed totally casually in jeans and a t-shirt or something. I would like to be [em]able[/em] to dress up nicely, but I hope that I do not end up [em]having[/em] to dress up in order to avoid being perceived as male, as a foil to masculine features.

I have a certain amount of "Honey Hypatian don't give a sh*t" attitude. But being in that position day in and day out would be really really stressful. So I want to believe I can reach a point where I'm not perceived as "other, shun-shun" on a regular basis.

I'd say the things that are of paramount importance are voice and hair. Hair because I'm somewhere between stage VI and VII on the Norwood scale (see below). There are women who have male pattern baldness, but it's unusual, and they generally wear wigs. If you see a girl with a shaved head (and I've known and been totally into some), you're pretty much never going to see hair stubble in that pattern, so wearing wigs is something I will absolutely have to do. (And I need to start experimenting with that. I am making a [em]real[/em] to-do list now and not just in forum posts, because I keep putting doing these things off, which is dumb.)

(Note: I've thought that it would be kind of cool to get a scalp tattoo at some point, as an awesome secret feature when not wearing a wig. On the other hand: OW!)

The other half of hair, well, like I said: next big (expensive) step, facial hair removal. If it's possible for a male face to grow hair somewhere, I probably do. From high on my cheekbones to way down my neck. Heck, if it's possible for a male [em]body[/em] to grow any hair anywhere, I probably do. I'm hoping hormones will help reduce the other hair to the point where I don't need to take drastic action, though. (I had a girlfriend who was pretty hairy. She didn't really want to be, but she pretty much couldn't shave without getting the world's most awful in-grown hairs. She tried electrolysis for her legs but it didn't take. She eventually gave up, and had cute furry legs, and a bit of a line of hair below her navel. That was unusual, but adorable. But there is a whole world of hair between that and where I am at present.)

So hair and facial hair are both reasonably "easy". Voice is a bit harder. For voice, there's a great deal of variation in voice pitch and resonance in both genders, but on average there's about an octave difference in pitch, and a dramatic difference in resonance. So that's something I'm already working on. It's a matter of lots of time and practice. I'm trying to spend about an hour a night on basic exercises right now. I tried altering my voice during a L4D2 game the other week, which I think was more amusing than successful. It turns out to be really hard (hence being a long-term practice thing). But it was a fun way to practice. And at least one person had an amusing "wait, what?" reaction because they hadn't seen this thread. ;>

Everything else... it's really hard to say how hormones will treat me. They create some very dramatic changes. They don't widen hip bones or narrow shoulders, but there are a lot of body language things around those features, and that's very deal-able. I'm older, and that means testosterone has had a long time to work its evil ways on me, so it's hard to say how things will end up. But, there are a lot of options for working with that, from plastic surgery to adjustments in body language or choosing clothing to emphasize or de-emphasize certain features.

Any of that is a good distance in the future right now. I expect that the earliest I would want to consider any major changes would be after seeing the results from two years of being on hormones. I'm sure there'll be temptation to "hurry things along" on the way, but you really have to just wait and see what happens. Right now, I feel that I'd like to do as little "extra work" as possible. Just the bare minimum (if any) in order to be comfortable with myself and blend into society more easily.

Super-long super-slow adventure: activate!

Male pattern baldness reference:

IMAGE(http://manlycurls.com/blog_new/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/norwood_scale.gif)

You're almost too well-adjusted about this.

Thankfully, a lot of things that help you read as female are mannerisms and movements, and becoming proficient at those has nothing to do with your current level of hirsute-ness.

And re: voice, I sing a quality tenor, for what it's worth. "Husky" might be something to cultivate if getting too high starts to feel off.

Gravey wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter

My sister sent it to me for my birthday. The "I... never would have bought that for myself!" gifts are the fun ones. :)

!!!

I know what Mrs. Gravey is getting in her stocking this Christmas. Thanks, Hyp!

Didn't you guys just have a kid?

clover wrote:

You're almost too well-adjusted about this. :D

Well, there are [em]some[/em] benefits to having spent twenty years mulling things over.

clover wrote:

Thankfully, a lot of things that help you read as female are mannerisms and movements, and becoming proficient at those has nothing to do with your current level of hirsute-ness.

And re: voice, I sing a quality tenor, for what it's worth. "Husky" might be something to cultivate if getting too high starts to feel off.

Practice practice practice. I think the biggest thing is just getting used to a higher [em]speaking[/em] register (I speak at a pretty typical 110Hz (A2), typical female is around 220Hz (A3), and around 180Hz (F3ish) is when people start being unsure), and adjusting resonance. The male vocal tract has a lot of room down in the chest to "boom" (hence the lowered and prominent Adam's apple). In order to still project without that big low resonating area, it's necessary to bring more of the resonance up into the mouth. So you're using different muscles and speaking from a different sort of "place". I have some background in linguistics, which gives me a bit of a leg up in understanding vocal production than a lot of people have, which is nice. And I've picked up a collection of audio recordings (mentioned above) for help doing voice training in both of these areas, plus some differences in contonation and pacing between typical male and female American English speech (i.e. the tonal patterns of speech across words and sentences and the rhythm of speech).

On the plus side, my voice covers my whole range pretty well without breaking in the middle anywhere--my voice currently starts to hit its limit on the high end at about 330Hz (E4), which isn't awful. I'd probably be a baritone if I trained my voice (my vocal production is weak on both ends of my range). That's primarily of interest for natural contonation, so that my voice is comfortable hitting higher accents. Anyway, like I said: Practice is the key. Getting used to just how to produce sound differently and then managing to do it without conscious effort. It's hard, but really interesting, too, to try to manipulate such a complicated mechanism that most non-singers tend to use unthinkingly.

On the minus side, I've been a smoker for 15 years (which I need to stop doing because there's a risk of blood clots if you use nicotine while on HRT), which has not done any particularly good things to my voice.

And yeah, mannerisms, etc. I've been doing a lot of people-watching.

I do not mean to be discouraging, or counter productive. So do not take this the wrong way, but this makes me sad in some ways. I have spent my 30 years of life battling being more masculine and less effeminate. I was always uncomfortable with my body and no hair and not shaving and not being like all the other guys. I am 30 years old and when I answer the phone to this day I get ma'm.

Just doesn't seem fair.... yes I know life is not fair. Just bitching!

Cheeto1016 wrote:

I do not mean to be discouraging, or counter productive. So do not take this the wrong way, but this makes me sad in some ways. I have spent my 30 years of life battling being more masculine and less effeminate. I was always uncomfortable with my body and no hair and not shaving and not being like all the other guys. I am 30 years old and when I answer the phone to this day I get ma'm.

Just doesn't seem fair.... yes I know life is not fair. Just bitching!

The grass is always greener... I would do a lot to never have to shave again. Ultimately though, that doesn't really compare. I hate it because it's inconvenient and annoying, not because I am uncomfortable with gender perceptions.