I really feel like I need to get into a better blogging schedule. I’m not seeing my therapist as often and this usually serves as some pretty good “therapy” for me…that and the gym. I think I need to schedule myself some blog time every week just to get thoughts out of my head and down on paper (or cyberspace, as it were).
So first thing’s first – I just passed the 6 month mark on T! In that time, I’ve lost 2 pounds and about 2.5″ off my waist and added 1.75″ to my biceps. This is exciting for me because it’s a lot of progress in the direction that I want to go. The hardest part of this for me has been accepting that I won’t lose weight weight as long as I’m bulking up. It’s a tough mentality change from wanting to see the number on the scale going down, to being ok with it staying the same or even fluctuating up. I’m finally starting to see the body in the mirror that I’ve always imagined when I thought of myself. You have to understand that I’ve been over 200lbs since I was 16 and topped out at 265lbs right before my last knee surgery. I knew then that if I didn’t loose weight I was going to be rolling on teflon and titanium before long (that’s full knee replacement, FYI) and I wasn’t ready for that.
I think in a lot of ways, my attempt and, ultimately, success in getting in shape is what jump started my need to transition. It was easy to hide in my 6’0″ tall, 265lb body. But as I lost weight, I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed before: curves, hips, breasts. And an painful inability to gain muscle mass. It was then that I truly realized that I needed to transition. I had talked to a friend about it years before that, so I guess a part of me always knew, but I guess I felt that as long as I didn’t present overtly female, it was okay.
Part of me wishes I’d been honest with myself sooner. And I always wonder what would have happened if I had. I don’t know that I would have ever met Melissa. The hopeless romantic in me says we would’ve found a way anyway, but really, I don’t know. But it is what it is and I’m here now.
Some other notes, one of my coworkers thinks I’m attractive. It’s strange to me the idea of a gay man finding me attractive knowing I’m trans. And flattering. He complimented the definition in my arms, which is basically the fasted way to my heart. Haha. The wedding is just under a month away. We’ve booked our flight to Alaska and I bought my first binder for the wedding. It should be here Monday or Tuesday. I’m excited to get it and nervous all at the same time. I have my ten year high school reunion this weekend. Part of me doesn’t know why I wanted to go, part of me is really excited. I know there are going to be at least a few people there that I haven’t really seen since high school that I’m really excited to see, but there are also a lot of people going that I either didn’t know really well or that kind of made high school a living hell for me. I think I need a sort of closure, to look at these people as I am now and to know that no matter what they said or what they called me, I’ve done what’s right for me. It sounds silly down in words.
I had a consult for top surgery. It’s a covered procedure under my insurance, but the doctor is out of network, so I’m still looking at potential out of pocket costs of $6000 or so. The doctor is going to work with the insurance to try to get that down, but I think after the wedding Melissa and I are going to look into the possibility of trying to do this in early 2016. And we’ve started the process of house shopping, which is additionally stressful.
So without further rambling (for now) my six month pictures!
But the other topic that I wanted to touch on was some tips for changing locker rooms. One of the scariest things for me changing locker rooms was actually having no idea what I was getting myself into in the men’s locker room. Please keep in mind that this is just based on the perspective of a white-looking, cis-looking, hetero-looking trans dude in the fairly-liberal mid-Atlantic. Everyone’s going to have their own experiences.
- No matter how “comfortable” you get you’re probably always going to be on your guard a little….and that’s probably a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, the US has come a long way very quickly about accepting trans* people, but we’re far from perfect and there are still dangers for us out there. It’s ok to stay on your guard.
- Watch people. See what they do. Do what they do.
- Confidence is huge in not being noticed. I’ve always said that if you go anywhere like you know what you’re doing and that you belong there, most people won’t bother to question it. This has been true so far in the men’s room. When I first started using the men’s room, I think I attracted more attention by seeming scared to be in there. Just keep your head up, mind your own and act like you’ve been using that locker room/bathroom your whole life. Fake it til you make it.
- Contrary to popular belief, and Internet porn plot lines, locker rooms aren’t hypersexualized places. In all my time in the women’s locker rooms, I saw one pair of boobs. In my time in the men’s locker rooms, I’ve seen one ass. Yep…that’s it. Men do tend to wander around in their underwear more than the women do, so I try to walk around in my underwear in a t-shirt as much as is feasible. (See tip #2)
- Guys don’t smile at each other when they make eye contact the way women do. A simple head nod will do.
- If you’re used to seeing the same people every day, and they’re used to seeing you go into one locker room or the other, try changing the time you go. This is how I switched locker rooms and now that I’ve moved back to my normal gym time, no one recognizes that I was the same person that was going into the women’s rooms a few months ago.
- Many locker rooms offer private changing stalls. Don’t be afraid to use them. If I get a moment in the main locker room with no one there, I change my shirt there. But if not, I use a changing room or a bathroom stall. I just take my shirt with me, change quickly and come back and finish what I was doing. No one’s even batted an eye about this. Again, contrary to popular belief, there’s plenty of cis guys what are insecure about something on their body and don’t want to change in front of others.
- If you need to use the bathroom and you sit to pee, don’t make a big thing of it. Just walk into a stall and do your thing. Pee shy is a thing for guys too. As is pooping. They will assume you have one of the two problems.
- Stop assuming that everyone is watching you. I know there’s always that paranoid tic is the back of your head. A lot of take our own dysphoria and assume that everyone else is seeing the parts of us that we hate the most. For me, it’s my chest. But really, they’re not. And like I said earlier, if you at least look confident that you’re where you’re supposed to be, no one will bother to question it.
- You’re amazing – be you. I know this probably kind of counts as a reiteration of the “do whatever you do with confidence”, but it’s true. I know you probably don’t hear it enough, or even if you do hear it, you don’t believe it, but you are.
Until next time (which will hopefully be sooner rather than later),