Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's vlog vlog vlog, it's big, it's heavy, it's YouTube

So, here it is, the long anticipated VLOG portion of my BLOG, this one was recorded in January. Yeah, I am still not any more entertaining than before, however I do hope to at least (eventually) be an inspiration so those just starting out and feeling down on themselves because of that they’ve got to work with.

I know that I am not exactly pretty, and that passing for me depends on how delusional the people are around me, but the important part to note about these feelings is that almost every trans person faces them at some point in their transition. I know eventually I will get it all hammered about and things will start to happen, but until then, this is what I’ve got and it is imperative that I keep in mind that what I have today is better than what I had even a few weeks ago. Progress is progress!

So without further ado, I present Introduction VLOGs part 1 and 2

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Pronoun Hangover

So, in an update for today, I have been feeling like absolute crud this week. Apparently a lot of it has to do with a ramble of butchered pronouns and such. Unfortunately for me, Marie’s (My girlfriend who I now feel is allowed to be named specifically in my blog despite me having her permission for months.) best friend is struggling to let go of the old me, and while I know it is harder for some people than others, it is now starting to trip up Marie as well. THAT really gets to me in a hurry. I know they are both trying hard, and I am not mad at either of them, it’s just a real emotional drain.

In other news, I suffered one of the worst hangovers in recallable history yesterday. Even though I didn’t drink in excess as I have in the past, apparently the culmination of emotional and physical stress manifested in the form of a REDICULUS hangover. It has been a really long time since I spent an entire day avoiding getting out of bed because I felt that crummy. In fact, I feel as though I am not entirely over it at the moment as just the act of sitting here is starting to make me nauseous and develop a but of a headache. BLAH!

As an update, I have been working on material for my VLOG project. I believe that I am up to three crummy videos at the moment. I really hope to get them up soon, and maybe stir up some readers for this side of it all. I know I am not much to look at, however, I think that is pretty much what I have going for me, just a real person going through a real transition without being “gifted” in any sort of way other than an awesome and somewhat confident personality!

Also, I am seriously considering adding some artistic content to both my BLOG and VLOG, what do you think? I have been digging through my pictures lately, and seriously considering building a professional portfolio of my other artwork. lol not that I have any prospects or talent, but I can pretend, AND since I don’t have any tattoos, I have to have some other angle to boost my hipster trendy appeal.

On a slightly more serious note, I am really missing my friends back home. I wish you guys were here….

Oh yeah! Last Friday I got my very first DC parking ticket. Apparently, you have to be five (5) feet away from an alley or driveway. Now, where that is measured to and from is apparently a completely arbitrary point derived through a complex series of proprietary algorithms passed down from one parking enforcement officer to another in a ritual performed deep in the bowels of the Metro and involving the sacrifice of babies and SmartTrip cards…… At any rate, it was only a $20 ticket, so I at least feel lucky in that respect, I guess…. I could have been towed, and THAT would have sucked hardcore…. I guess it was just my welcome to f*ckin DC card…

So yeah, next Tuesday is the next DCTC meeting, I really hope that it is slightly more productive for me and them this time than last time. I really need to read up on their news feeds via their website to see what is happening in real life…. It is quite discouraging to go to meetings and not feel involved at all…. Good times though…

Finally, I just wanted to take a moment to offer some encouragement to others like myself out there. I know that sometimes it seems as if nothing is going to work out no matter how hard you try. It is important to remember that things only work out if you DO try. I often find myself laying in bed staring at the ceiling thinking about everything looming over my head in transition, all of those barriers and road blocks at every turn, and all of that just seems daunting. Somehow, if I manage to get myself out of bed, something always happens to get me one step closer to that destination, albeit it is often small and seemingly insignificant when looking at the big picture, it is progress none the less. Just remember that every step, no matter how small it may be is one step further away from where you were, it may be in a direction that you didn’t intend, but sometimes the path in life does not follow the most convenient, logical, and efficient route, but always has the possibility of ending up where you want to be. All you have to do is keep trying!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Dead Sparrow

So, last night I went to my first "trans advocacy" meeting, it was okay, the concept rocks and I hope that with a few more visits I can actually get up to speed and get involved. TRUE!

So at any rate, today’s story starts with a FML moment. I was doing laundry this morning and decided to clean out the lint trap. Now normally you just pull out the screen and scrape off the lint, however this time I noticed a big clump a lint beyond the screen. Now me, having a healthy respect for 220V electricity, lead me to start off my un-plugging the dryer. Of course to un-plug the dryer you must move it away from the wall, which I did. I then cleaned out the lint trap and beyond. As I went to plug the dryer back in, I noticed that the exhaust duct had popped off while I was moving the dryer, so I grabbed the aluminum foil tube, and went to push it back on and noticed this:

Yup, that is a pair of feet and tail feathers belonging to one dead bird, not exactly a dead duck but definitely enough to make me hate my luck…..

In other news, we are well into week two of full time living as myself, and honestly its going pretty damn good! Of course like with everything in life, not exactly perfect, but all in all, it’s at least well enough to keep pushing forward.

Today, before the birdie incident, I sent out a handful of email forms regarding consultations for laser hair removal. In a trans woman’s life, this is a huge milestone as shaving in the manner in which you must in order to at least barely pass is anything but good for your face. As some of you may already know, but most likely most of you do not, my face is very VERY sensitive and tends to blister and peel after a close shave of the razor variety.  This can not continue or else I will go insane!

On a side note. it seems odd that before going full time, it was so much easier to feel pretty. I know it sounds sort of counter intuitive, but seriously, everything that used to make me feel better about myself via “dressing” is just routine at this point. THIS SUCKS! I mean seriously, if I can’t get joy out of the basics of life, what the heck am I supposed to do?

What I am talking about is just basically feeling good about myself just by the simple things, and while the “simple” things used to be stuff like being me, and just the act of spending time on myself being myself. Today, I do that every day and while this makes me happier than ever, it sort of undermines another smaller part of myself. What is someone supposed to do to regain the pretty feeling without facing a major change?

And finally to wrap this up, this weekend we are expecting some company in town, these will be our first house crashers since I’ve gone fulltime. I really am excited and scared about what all of this will mean to my daily ritual, or even how I approach taking care of myself and my presentation…. I hope everything will work out and all will be a success! Wish me luck!

That DC State of Mind

I just wanted to preface this blog with sorry about the delay, this doc has been open on my computer’s desktop for almost a week now and I kept telling myself that it needed some more filler…. Yeah, unfortunately a short blog is really better than a really out of date blog…. Sorry guys!

Hello there, greetings from Washington DC, the city in which I now reside! YEAH! At any rate, last Friday, an entire week and three days ago I loaded all of my earthly possessions into a rental truck and with the help of my best friend, drove all the way to DC overnight. The drive was pretty uneventful, and my best friend was an absolute life saver driving way more than I had even imagined he would. The end result, a safe trip for us, and a reunited family! The puppy dog has been absolutely thrilled to have his mom back in our pack. =)

With the big move came a huge milestone in my life…. I went fulltime! Now instead of being androgynous or in “boy mode” most of the time, I am me 100% of the time! All I can say is WOW! Though super duper scary, everything is slowly coming together. I can’t even begin to tell you how much better DC is than rural Florida for transitioning. People around here treat you like you’re invisible no matter whether your trans or cis. Either way, you’re just another body walking down the street to them. For me, this is good for now. I mean honestly I am transitioning to be treated as the gender I identify as, not be ignored by everybody. But being ignored by everybody is way better than feeling like a freakshow!

So, with that being said, my new life is primarily consumed with worrying about whether I pass or not, and not always if I pass or not as much as if I will ever pass…. I have gotten some feedback from people I know and/or talk to online and for the most part the consensus is that I am good to go, and the rest is just refinements that will only come with time and practice. I on the other hand see a boy when I look into the mirror. I believe I have talked about the Beer Goggles, and now I am seeing the girl in me without the aid of alcohol, but it is just not enough to feel confident about the whole shebang!

Aside from all of that, I have finally gotten to unpack and hang up my wardrobe in its entirety, well almost entirety, there are a bunch of boxes labeled “Do not open” which contain the safety net…. Those are the “If all else fails and I have to get a job stat” mess of blah…. Lets hope that it doesn’t come to that!

Finally, I am super duper excited about the prospect of becoming politically involved here regarding trans issues. It is not uncommon for me to have an opinion about all things political, but I actually want to be out educating the public that we as trans people do exist and that we are not the monsters some would like you to think…..

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dana Has Her Beer Goggles On

Oh beer goggles, how I wish I had them all the time. I am not exactly sure what part of my brain alcohol turns off, but when intoxicated, I often find myself in front of a mirror thinking that I as doomed with a boy face as I though …

Yeah, when I look in the mirror while intoxicated I see an “almost” girl, I barely even recognize my own face beyond the fact that I know that it is mine… However, when sobriety returns, so does my better judgment…. Or is it better judgment after all? I mean, I have been on hormones for a little over 6 months straight now, and I am fully aware that other parts of my body are changing, so why not my face?
I guess my fear is that despite my best efforts, all I seem to see is just plane ole boy face. I am not sure if that is because that is what I have, or if that is the distorted view I have of myself after years of avoiding looking in the mirror at all. I really wish I could understand exactly what it was that I feel so uncomfortable with, but the fact of the matter is that, something just doesn’t add up to me...

In other body issues, my hair is in full out rebellion! I think I even saw it throw a Molotov Cocktail at itself the other day…. Between it just being a constant mess, it is also in about 20 different stages of growth with the advancing hair line leading the way… I am at a loss for what to do anymore, I can’t recall a point in my life where it has EVER been this bad… I sort of think that I need to find a different shampoo, I am fairly certain that the new stuff I am using is just not cutting it. This is another part of my life that has never seemed to work out. All I have ever wanted was a hair stylist that understood my hair, and set me up with a do, product, and a routine that I could afford AND pull off on my own…. Lots of luck with that, I am starting to doubt the existence of such a being.

On a completely unrelated note, the re-packing of our belongings destined for DC is going well. Today I spent the vast majority of the day sorting and packing books and records. THAT is some serious work and I am still not done with it, even though my body is definitely done with it.

Finally, (I know this is a short posting, but you’re just going to have to deal with that) I would like to thank everybody who reads and comments on my blog. I know that I am not exactly and interesting person to read about, and it really does mean a lot to me to know that several of you have taken an interest in what it is that I have to say. I promise that in the near future I will work more diligently on getting regular updates on here. I know I have been slacking and I really do have a lot more to talk about, but getting myself to type it out is challenging at best. So, that being said, I’m out of here to procrastinate about something else!

No Splitter Like A Nut Splitter

Today I had another wonderful experience with the company previously called Fears and Boebuck, so once again we will call them by that name. At any rate, this retail giant has a famous tool line that we will call um, Raftsman. These Raftsman tools have a wonderful warranty, you break it, they replace it, no questions asked. To get such a tool however, you must pay a premium for them. Now oddly enough, of these very expensive and warranted tools, I have broken more of them than any other tool brand I use, including the cheap-o Chinese tools. But then again, that is probably because I own more of their tools than any other brand…

Just to take a detour for a moment, there are two things you pay for in quality tools. One is the accuracy of the tool, high quality tools should be accurate to the size and shape that they are supposed to be. For example, a 19mm wrench should measure out to 19mm, not 19.1mm. The tighter the tolerances, the more effective the tool will be and the longer it, and your fasteners will last. The other thing that you should pay for is the quality of the steel the tool is made of. Cheap-o tools are commonly made from mild steel, poor alloys, improperly treated steel, or as castings.. All of these factors make crummy tools. Steel that is too hard or too soft will break or gall on your work, crummy alloys break or even shatter and fail, improperly treated steel will either be too hard or too soft and will act accordingly, and castings should never be used to build a tool (forged or machined materials only). It is common place to find tools polished to a mirror finish, have color treatments or be laser etched at a premium price. All of these things don’t do much of anything in way of the efficacy of a tool. Don't fall for the hype!

Back on track, so, I took a broken adjustable wrench back to Fears and Boebuck to trade it in for replacement. I walked in, and went straight to the adjustable wrench isle. After looking for a while without finding a replacement, I asked the sales person if he knew where the adjustable wrenches like this one (as I held it up for him to see) were. He said, “oh, a nut splitter, those are down the socket isle on the left side” I replied, “It’s actually an adjustable wrench” he said “yeah, on the left side of the socket isle. So down the socket isle I went, was the wrench there? NOooOOoo…. So, I went back to the counter, as the department head was walking up, the kid behind the counter asked the department head to go help me locate the nut splitters. I handed the adjustable wrench to the man and said, “It’s not a nut splitter, its an adjustable wrench.” he replied “Yeah, they don’t make this style any more, the only ones we have are these smaller ones” and hands me a nut splitter…. One more time I said “its an adjustable wrench” he replied “we can give you the current model in exchange for your older model” So, I looked at the price tag and realized that the nut splitter was twice what I paid for the adjustable wrench, and knowing that I didn’t currently own a nut splitter but I did own a drawer full of other adjustable wrenches, I did what any other self respecting person would do and took the nut splitter.

Now, at the moment, I feel conflicted. Yes, I made sure that the sales staff were made aware that the wrench that I was trading in was not in fact a nut splitter. I also corrected both sales people when they identified my adjustable wrench as a nut splitter. Still, something inside of me is saying that what I did was stealing…. I am not sure I believe that part of myself though, but it still is nagging at me…

What do you think?

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Androgyny Experiment Series 1

SO, passing has become a very prominent issue on my mind lately. For those of you that don’t know, the term “passing” refers to whether or not a trans person “passes” as their intended gender. So in my case, I would like to “pass” as female. Now, I know that I ain’t exactly pretty folk, but I ain’t a double bagger either.

For those of you that know me well, most of everything I attempt and am certain will not turn out well, I approach with the “Eh, who the f*ck cares” attitude. This has served me well through most of my life and allows me to focus on the task at hand instead of the end results. That being said, I sort of planned to approach this in the same way… Actually more than planned, actually started off this way…

I know I am going to get in trouble for having not told my girlfriend this before actually writing it in my blog, but up to this point, well even beyond this point, I have very mixed emotions about the significance of what I am going to share next.

Over the last week, on a few occasions, I have gone out, in an androgynous state, wardrobe and whatnot included. I wouldn’t say 100% androgynous, but with a slight favor for the feminine. At any rate, this is po-dunk Florida, and in retrospect, this may have been dangerous to do by myself, I needed to know what people would do… I just wanted to see what engaging in my day to day activities would be like if I didn’t really try all that hard, you know, “Who the f*ck cares”. No make-up, no perfume, no outwardly 100% undeniable female attire, just plane Jane me wearing plane Jane clothes.

This is where it starts to get mixed feelings… First stop, public library. This is a pretty neutral zone, and I figured being close to home would allow me a quick retreat if the androgyny experiment was a failure. In I walked to turn in a book and pick up one that I had on reserve. Problem, where the heck was my library card. As I fumbled through my coin purse/wallet trying to find my library card, the little old lady at the counter said, “If you have your drivers license I can check it out to you manually”, so without hesitation, I whipped out my drivers license, and the poor lady looked at is as if she had seen Sasquatch streaking through the library…. It was then I realized that she must have not realized I was a boy, and in fact she had actually said “Ma’am, if you have your drivers license I can check it out to you manually” PLUS ONE for Dana, no trying, just doing resulted in one plus size SCORE!

I then went to the local natural food grocery store. The library went well and since hippies and liberals tend to be the health food nuts around here, I figured that the next stop was going to be equally as open minded. I walked down the isles looking for a bottle of almond oil (which in a side note is what I am using for PM skin moisturizer) and I couldn’t seem to find any. So, I stopped one of the stock people, a teenage boy probably 17 or so. He didn’t know exactly where it was but was happy to find out from another stock person. He then led me right to where it was supposed to be (and wasn’t) all the while using a mixture of non gender specific pronouns through the whole process. Well played, I can live with non gender specificity. I picked up a bottle of clove oil which was also on my list and made my way to the checkout. This time I wasn’t so lucky, the woman behind the register took great pride in calling me “Sir” no less than 6 times in the course of our 30 seconds worth of talking… Overall net score for this stop 0-1=-1 FAIL!

Slightly bruised, I went to the Mart of Wal. Now this place should be one of the easiest places to pass, I mean seriously, these people deal with ever segment of the community day in and day out. The purpose of this stop was to buy some hair ties. I picked the mega package of hair ties, they should last about a month before they’re all lost or broken, and walked to the checkout. In normal Mart of Wal fashion, the cashier barely looked up at me before grabbing my item to scan. As she scanned my item, she said “Did you find everything you needed ma………….er” I looked up from the credit key pad to find the cashier giving me the deer in headlights look. I smiled and said, yes, yes I did. Smiled and commented on my hair color (100% natural I might add), as she handed me my receipt. As I walked out I felt that overall that was a victory, at first glance, I was fine, but when analyzed, it started to fail, but for androgyny, that is to be expected. Plus ONE!

I hopped in my car please with the current positive points standing but as soon as I started my car, I ended up with one unplanned stop… THE GAS STATION! The Mart of Wal happens to have one in their parking lot, so that is where I went. As I was pumping gas, a gentleman (and I use the term in the loosest of ways) was pumping gas on the other side of the pump. He leaned over and caught my eye, and as I looked up he said “Cut yer hair BOY!”….. Now, this is not the first time some redneck has said that to me, however, it was the first time a redneck said that to me while I was hopped up on female hormones. I quickly replied (and in retrospect I should have kept my mouth shut) in my best female voice, “Why the f*ck don’t you save yourself some money and buy a brain and a better line a**hole” and proceeded to present my middle finger in the upright and locked position…. You know how they say right before you die your life flashes before your eyes, well, I started to think about all the times in my life I had ever mouthed off to someone bigger than me, and the events that followed, a cold flush fell upon me. FORTUNATELY, the redneck was so flustered that he immediately stopped pumping gas (at $6.64) got in his truck and tires squealing, raced out of the gas station. SO, tally on this stop…. While the rebuttal was a definite 100% personal victory for standing up for myself, it was definitely a failure for this experiment -1.…

So, I ended the trip at an absolute wash…. Sort of successful, sort of not, which leaves me with mixed feelings, bittersweet so to say. At first glance without trying, apparently I can pass, which by any stretch of the imagination is a good thing. The bad thing is I can also fail miserably. The pass votes were sort of mixed, but all of the fail votes were 100%. The question then turns to what about me doesn’t pass, and is it something I can change without a scalpel and a bone saw?

What do you all think? I posted a new picture of myself as I appeared on andro day but with a different shirt (I was wearing a t-shirt that day) just to see what others thought….