There’ll come a time when you hear it and you’ll wonder “Where in the world have I been?”

Have you ever thought you knew something only to find out you had no idea what it was really like? I’ve had so many of those in this last year.

Just over a year ago I started my transition in proper. I claimed my name, I started seeing a counselor, and begun my road towards being myself. Each day I’ve been more and more sure of how right my decision has been. If it even was one really.

Coming out as poly has been a similar experience, and my two wonderful, loving partners are the best things to happen in my life.

I’ve been exploring my return to spirituality, letting go of the anger and ignorance of my atheist days much like i let go of the hurt and ignorance of my Christian days. I believe in magic. Not just the great game my girlfriend and I bonded over, but in something greater than just us. I don’t know that I believe it’s beyond human. In fact I believe it comes from inside us, in the words, the music, the art, the science we create. This is my magic, my runes, my spells. And I’ve adopted the title of witch because of the historical context relating to trans womanhood. I’m young in this but eager to learn more.

But the point of this post is to talk to something else. All my life I thought I knew what a home was. My life with family, with partners, with friends. It turns out I had no idea. Much like being a woman trying to be a man, I thought I was home when I was really a stranger.

I spent the last 9 days in Las Vegas with my star, my princess, my love. I called her Peace at the post about 2015 in review. It has been a truly amazing experience. In those 9 days I experienced great joys and love. In those 9 days I never once questioned my womanhood. I never deadnamed myself. I had no doubts about who I am and how I feel. I was with people who love me and I love. I found my home.

Months ago I mailed a symbol of my love, of my heart to my love Peace. I have a personal story of how I heal my heart from being broken, wearing it on a chain. I sent my chain to Peace, knowing full well I already had given her my heart. These past 9 days I was united with my love, and reunited with my heart. And in that time, my heart had come to know where I belong. I felt only right in Las Vegas in a way I’ve never truly felt in Kansas.

The coming months will be hard. I’m attempting to return for more trips, with plans to move and be together with both my loves. I cannot wait for that day.

I fought back tears in the airport, just minutes after watching my love drive away. On the flight (where I’m writing this) I finally broke down and cried, climbing higher and higher as I watched my home shrink into the distance. Once again I’m a displaced soul, who’s heart resides miles and miles away, going to a place of some loving friends and family, but mostly a false family who don’t support or recognize their love is not unconditional. I will miss people I love when I leave, but I will not miss a home, for I have never had one. “Home is where the heart is.” My heart, my home, is with Peace, in Las Vegas.

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They say we are what we are But we don’t have to be. I’m bad behavior but I do it in the best way.

Today’s post will be mostly me checking in.

So first things first: Self Care.  This is an area I’ve been falling down on the job.

It’s been about a week since I last cut.  That’s the good part.  I’m actually kinda ashamed it got bad enough for me to do it again.  I’m not going to lie about it, but I’m trying to give myself a better place to be, mentally speaking.  On that front I’ve finally started putting together music playlists for songs that make me happy (because reinforcing positive thinking seems like a good idea right now,) and one for songs to help me mellow and get by.  This one is probably even more important at times, because sometimes when I get bad I can start listening to sad or hurt music, and just sink further into bad thoughts.  At those times I cannot listen to happy music, because it’ll just frustrate me.  But the mellow/getting by songs have a sad bit to start but really are about stepping back.  One song is literally about bad stuff happening, and just stepping back and breathing through it.

I’ve not done a good job on other areas of my self care lately.  I went about a week without bathing from how depressed I’ve been.  I still haven’t shaved my legs in about that long and it’s annoying (though since I did shower today, I’m feeling more energetic) so I’ll probably try to do that here in a bit.  Eating has become about a once a day thing lately.  Today I only ate once.  Yesterday I actually ate twice.  I think since my depression has come back in force I’ve only had one day I didn’t eat at all.  That’s a lot better than some of my past times, but still not a good thing.  I need to start being better about these kinds of things.

And when you’re dealing with this kind of depression, job hunting becomes hard as well.  Last time I was job hunting while massively depressed, it was not good.  I would feel frustration at my partner’s frustration.  I had little to show for the amount of work I was putting in, since I was getting nothing back, not even rejections.  But honestly my partner’s frustrations were completely legitimate.  Their security was heavily wrapped up in my ability to help provide basic things, and I was not doing any of that.  I honestly don’t know how they put up for me for so long (that’s not true, I do know.  They loved me very much, and I betrayed that love.)  I hope that they never again let someone use them the way I did.  I know I will do everything in my power to not use people like that anymore.

Speaking of job hunting, I got a call today, and I need to call back tomorrow to see about setting an interview.  That helped me get a little more energized, up and going today.  I’ll be up all night, so I’ll just call them early tomorrow, hopefully get one soon, and then pick up my hormones.  These are good things.  These are things I need.  This is part of taking care of myself.

I’m going to apply for disability I think.  I mostly just want help to get on medicare, so I might be able to talk to someone and start trying some therapy/medical care for my depression again.  I also might apply for SNAP, as buying food had come at the expense of other necessities the last few months.  The truth is I need the help.  Even if I get this job, it’s part time and not likely to give me everything I need.  And since I pay all medical costs out of pocket, it get’s even harder.  So here’s hoping.

One last bit for tonight.  I’ve been attending my support group for a couple months now.  It’s a wonderful and amazing group of people.  I love them all, and I really enjoy spending time with them.  We have interesting and diverse discussions.  Soon we’re going to have a bowling night even!  Really excited about that.  And coming up soon, I will be taking a shot at facilitating one of the meetings.  I get to pick the topic and lead the discussion.  I was offered to do so after last group, and I wasn’t sure if I should, but then I found a topic I felt I could do a decent job on and said yes, I’d do it.  I’m nervous but also really excited about this.

That’s all for tonight.  I’m really happy to get back to posting here.  I see I have likes recently, please feel free to comment on stuff if you ever want to chat!

Rachel

Yeah I, ooh, I’m still alive

Sorry for the long absence.  I’ve been dealing with a handful of issues recently.  Time constraints have been a big one.  I’ve started a new position at work, and am working double the hours I was before.  Between that and school I no longer have a single day off where I can do nothing but relax.  And it looks like it will be this way going forward for at least the next month.  So that’s one thing that’s gotten in the way of my updating regularly.  What little time I have after those things is spent trying to relax.

The other big thing that’s been getting in the way of my updating has been a big bout of dysphoria and depression.  It was really bad for a couple weeks, where I couldn’t do much beyond working.  I’ve dealt with these things most of my life, but this is my first real incident since starting hormones.  I knew it wouldn’t just make all that stuff go away, but it was a blow to hit that wall again, especially after the initial high.  But it’s lessening, and things are moving forward for me.

Speaking of moving forward, the first noticeable physical changes have started.  A few days ago a good friend (who I’m out to) said my breasts are getting bigger.  That night I looked at my bra (a basic sports style bra are all I currently wear) and lo and behold, there was a small space between the skin and my bra in the center.  It’s not cleavage yet, but until now they laid flat against my body.  This has been a wonderful change, and I cannot wait for more.  My nipples are also super sensitive.

The other noticeable change has been in my face.  I’ve had trouble looking in the mirror the last month.  My face can trigger dysphoria pretty quickly, so when I needed to do things like brush my hair, or check my shaving, I’ve had to focus entirely upon those areas of my head and try not to see it as a whole.  So with that in mind, I’ve not really taken in my face for a bit.  A couple days ago I looked in a mirror as I was passing and I noticed there’s a change in my face.  Mostly my jaw is looking thinner.  This marks the beginning of fat migration.  I cannot wait to see more and more as I become my true self outside as well.  Though my face is still triggering for now.

My good friend is also going to teach me some make up stuff soon.  I really want to find a place I can be myself soon.  I’m planning to try to go to my game group soon presenting as myself.  I’m out to everyone there, but I don’t think most of them really understand yet.  Or at least on in particular, and it will be interesting.  Either way I’m going to be myself some day, might as well find a safe place to start.

This woman is my destiny, She said, “Oh, oh, oh, Shut up and dance with me.”

Steps.  Taking steps.  Today has been a day to reflect a bit and look forward.

I’ve taken some pretty big steps on my journey towards my true self.  I’ve accepted the truth of myself, I’ve been to an expert (I do wish I could go more often, but money is still very much an issue.)  I’ve been reaching out to the resources I have for support, and even made some friends through them.  I’ve even began the medical side of transition.  These are all great steps.

I’ve also started some of the smaller steps.  I’ve been working on taking care of my nails.  I used to be horrible at picking them and keeping them broken and short.  I’ve been acclimating myself to wearing chapstick/lip balm.

There are steps I’ve been wanting to take and have been unable to do really.  I really want to work out.  I can’t afford a gym membership, but if I could, I’d be there most days lately.  I really feel the desire to get into shape, and the new focus and drive I have certainly have shaped that.  I have a friend who’s apartment has a small gym, and they’re willing to occasionally work out with me, but that’s once or twice a week right now.  I can’t blame them for not wanting to hang out all the time, but it leaves me not able to work out as much as I really want.

The same friend is going to help teach me make up.  I don’t know anything about wearing make up beyond nail polish really.  I can’t afford laser hair removal, so for a while, covering my facial hair is going to require make up.

The money thing is a serious issue right now.  In addition to the transition costs (which are very high given that I’m doing it entirely out of pocket,) I’ve also got some outstanding bills I need to figure out a way to cover.  I’m not getting very many hours at work, and school keeps me from being able to commit much time to work anyway.  I’m to the point I’m ready to quit my school (it turns out it’s not very good,) and try to find full time work.  I have a possible line on a job that would be, but the thing is I actually love the job I currently have.  It just doesn’t pay or promise the hours.  If I could get full time at my job, I might be alright, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.  I think I’ll start putting in at some of the full time places I’ve been thinking about.

I have two people both willing to let me crash with them when I finally come out to my family.  I currently live with some family due to the money issue.  I’ve known for a while that I’ll be coming out via letter, it’s a method that a lot of places, including my counselor, have recommended highly.  It gives my family the space and privacy to have the initial freak out, and me not having to be there and go immediately on the defensive.  I’m planning this for a few months down the road, as to give myself time to hopefully save a little.  I’m also not quite ready to deal with the possibility of losing them completely.  It’s a very real possibility.  It happens a lot more than people think sadly.  I’ve only told my brother so far, who’s a very close friend aside, and he didn’t really respond much after that.  We’re kinda back to normal, but it’s something I’ve never brought up again.  So I know when I’m ready to tell the rest of the family, I will do so come out, It’ll be by letter, and I intend to spend the next two days away from my family, not responding to texts or answering calls.  I’ll make sure they know this.

Coming out to family has been the biggest concern I’ve had outside of money.

But today marks a week since I started HRT, and that has been amazing.  The new clarity and focus, renewed energy and feeling more control over my body has been wonderful.  So I’ll just keep taking the steps forward, and making my way the best I can for now.

–  R

I know what it feels like, Come on make me feel alive.

*warning: This post contains discussion of masturbation*

I am now 3 days into HRT.  There have definitely been some things I’ve noticed changing.  Day 1 I felt like my head started to clear.  That might be purely psychosomatic, but does that matter?  Day 2 I noticed the biggest and most easy to notice change which I will talk about in a minute.

Day 3 I’ve noticed I feel hotter.  Like physically I’ve felt warmer a lot, and sometimes a bit colder.  I also noticed smells seemed stronger.  I’m also feeling less aggressive.  Traffic was really bad today, but instead of getting really mad and it bugging me for an hour after, it aggravated me, but then mostly was gone after I swore.  I felt more at ease complimenting a female friend on her new hair and matching nails too.

My head feels clearer.  I find I can focus much more on the things I’m doing and enjoy them.  I smiled much more at work than I have ever before.  I had a date planned that had to be postponed.  That would have upset me a lot before, but now it bummed me out, but I also understand why.  I feel more connected to myself.

The biggest change though has definitely been in the area of sexual urges.  A week ago, I would get depressed and lose hours looking at porn and masturbating.  This is just a fact.  I felt so out of control, I would do it as a way to past time.  I might start browsing a bit and then realize 3 hours had passed.  It was the easiest way to make myself lose large amounts of time, and had the benefit of physical pleasure.  But honestly it wasn’t making me happy, and I really did feel like I was lacking control.

Now I am still very early in transition, but I have definitely noticed the difference.  I can still get an erection, and I have masturbated, but it takes a little more thought and work.  And when I do it’s a much shorter experience.  But even more than that, I don’t feel out of control anymore.  I feel like I can do that when I feel like I want some relief, but that’s it.  It feels really good to feel like I have control and that I can focus again on the things  I want.

I’m also feeling more tired I think, but that could be that I still don’t get much sleep many nights.  I really feel the steps.  I cannot wait to start feeling more of the physical effects.  I’m really starting to feel alive again.

It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, So shake him off

Today marks a huge day for me in my progress.  Today I started HRT, hormone replacement therapy.  I’ve been waiting for this day since my first appointment with my gender counselor, since the day I started this blog.  It feels like a weight has been lifted, like I’m making the steps forward towards finding the me that I want to be.  Towards making myself happy.

There’s this thing that you hear form most public trans figures.  “I’ve always known,” “Ever since I was like 4,” things like this.  The reason for these comments I’ve figured out is two fold.  The first and biggest reason for these kind of affirmations is that they’re silencing the bigots and close minded idiots who want to diminish and deny our existence.  In the fight against those who would do that kind of injustice, I understand and will stand along side those who came before affirming that I’ve always known I was trans.

The thing is though, I didn’t know I was always trans.  Because I didn’t know what trans was for many years of my life.  I’ve always felt different.  I’ve always been feminine.  But I wouldn’t really learn the names for it all until much later.  But once I did, I began research, I learned what it meant to be trans, and how it paralleled my life.  I learned that this is who I am, and that I wasn’t alone.  I learned of the power and grace of those who came before me, and the ways to let me express myself as I want to be seen.  And once I began to reflect upon my life, it became clear just how much of my life has been affected by the truth of who I am.  In hindsight, I’ve always known.

It’s important to say this here, because some trans people are left wondering why they didn’t know sooner the name trans.  But the truth of the matter is you didn’t know you were a girl or a boy until you learned what those things mean.  There are a lot of things once we understand them we alter our memories.  This is the nature of the brain, to focus on what’s important, and fit the little details around that.  Don’t worry if you’re still figuring yourself out that you don’t know exactly when you knew.  The important thing is that you take stock once you do and see just how much it really has influenced your life.  Find the truth inside.

As I move forward, I will make it known when I must that I have always known.  And I have, but I didn’t know the name.  I’m very happy many more girls and boys will know the truth of themselves sooner as we progress as a society.  But don’t ever worry about not knowing sooner.  In the words of Walt Disney “We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Listen, you’re worthless, let me make this clear. I’m done with betrayal, I’m done with the fear.

This post will discuss abuse, physical, sexual and emotional.  You have been warned.

Saying something like “Abuse is a terrible thing” is kinda like saying “Water is wet”.  But understanding abuse seems much more tricky for people to understand.  I have a history with abuse.  As a child I was sexually abused.  In a rare turn, it was not by anyone in my family or close family friends (which it turns out is the vast majority what happens.)  It was someone I knew, but in my case it was mostly a girl from my neighborhood who was a couple years older than me.  It took me many years to admit what happened to me was rape.  I know that now, and have done a lot of work in dealing with what happened to me.  At this point I also figure she had been abused and raped as well.  She was much to young to know herself what she did, which actually helped me when dealing with my own experience.

All of that isn’t to say I’m cool with what happened.  I was pretty badly messed up by some of that for years.  I have very messed up ideas about sex and love for a long time after that.  It certainly didn’t help me deal with my own gender issues either.  And just because I feel this way about my own experiences does not negate the feeling anyone else has about their own.  This is now just a part of who I am.

As far as physical and emotional abuse, I’ve got a more recent history there.  Most of my emotional abuse has been self inflicted, and all of my physical abuse has been.  After my initial attempts at suicide, I swore to some people to never try again.  I also have never felt that same level of being absolutely alone, so it was never the same anyway.  But when I hit some of my worst, I started cutting.  My arms, legs and stomach were my areas, and cutting through out my day was par for the course.  Even at work I would steal away and slice on myself.  I eventually stopped mostly, but the draw was still around, and I would relapse from time to time.  I haven’t felt the desire in a long time, but I’m still watchful for it.

Emotional abuse has been an issue even until this year, and one I have to still be actively watchful for.  It’s also the one most tied to being trans.  I have never much liked myself, not since I was little.  Once it became clear I was wrong, both in reality of my body, and viewed as wrong for trying to be myself, I said I stopped thinking about myself in gender terms.  That’s not completely true.  I felt so wrong and messed up that I repressed expressing myself.  I had it hammered in pretty well that I was wrong and I shouldn’t d those things.  I was very unhappy, trying to not be myself, and began to actively dislike and even despise myself.  I actively sought out someone to give me purpose, to give me meaning, to make me happy. Which is not a good way to find happiness, because you’ll just be a parasite, and it will not work.

Every major relationship I’ve had has ended because of my own inability to deal with my own self worth issues, and the ways it’s affected my life.  It’s affected my work, the things I enjoy, even my experiences with friends and family.  It has certainly not helped with being depressed.  But things are changing for me now.

Accepting myself inside has been the first way to help deal with my self abuse.  Working to make myself outside match myself inside has been the next.  I used to hate my face, but now when I look in the mirror I sometimes see glimpses of myself, and it makes me smile.  Each step helps me feel happier with myself, Each step I take helps me deal with the fact I’ve been my biggest abuser.  Each step moves me to a better place.

I won’t ever go back, and I will not do it anymore.  I’ve owned my mistakes, but I will not repeat them.  At least I don’t ever want to.