Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Therapy for a Transwoman, Part 1

For a while, I went to a therapist.  The cynical may think that I just went long enough to get diagnosed and get a recommendation for hormones, but that's not the truth.  I enjoyed those sessions.  I stopped because of a combination of changing insurance and also a feeling that I wasn't progressing in my transition anytime soon.  Not her fault, by the way, I wasn't ready to move forward in my transition, and I started to feel like a repetitive whiner at my sessions, going on about how much I needed to live more openly as a woman, but at the same time saying there's just no way I can do it right now.

I'm writing this because I've read a bunch of blog mentions of about psych therapy lately, both positive and negative, and just wanted to add my generally positive impression about it.  For me, there was almost nothing I said to my therapist that I couldn't have said to my wife, and probably already have at one point or another.  The cool thing about a good therapist though, is that you get a generally unbiased person to bounce your thoughts off of.  A reality check.  Also, a good therapist can help you focus on the big stuff rather than fiddling around the edges with minor details.  For example, I might launch into my latest plan to make transition smoother at work by doing it gradually, figuring out who to notify first, wear pantsuits at first, and so on.  She lets me blather on for a little bit but eventually asks the salient question: so when are you doing this, and what's your wife think?  [note: what your spouse thinks is not necessarily important to every transitions transsexual, but I had already indicated to my therapist that my spouse's approval was extremely important to me.]  She helped me with strategies to talk about my transsexuality with my wife - how to explain it in different ways in case the language itself was a stumbling block.

I think it helped. Though she's very intelligent and knew that transsexuality is an innate part of my psyche, she subconsciously held onto the idea that maybe I wasn't really transsexual, and maybe "just" a crossdresser.  [I put "just" in quotes because I do not believe crossdressing to be a diminutive or lesser form of transsexuality, but from my wife's perspective the crucial difference was between my wanting to be a woman physically rather than dress or look like one.]  She totally gets it now, and as I've posted before, is trying to come around to a point where she's willing to try seeing me as a female now and then, and hopefully progress to being comfortable with me looking womanly most of the time.  The therapist's part in this (she has not met or talked to my wife) was basically giving me the tools to understand what my wife was feeling underneath the words she was saying.

Anyway, as long as I'm still in a holding pattern, I don't really see much use in paying for therapy, but I'm pretty sure that once I restart the transition and have to deal with all the challenges that will come up, I'll want to start talking to my therapist again.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Splish Splash

A splash of color can certainly help pull a person (such as myself) up a little from the depths of a self-pitying depression.  Obviously, it's not a miracle cure, but as the bulbs in my front yard sense the warmth of spring approaching, little pops of color start jumping out of the mottled brownish background.  One of the things I tend to do when I'm in one of my moods is to do a lot of female-stuff window-shopping online.  Although we are doing ok, money is a little tight, so I seldom actually buy anything.  Besides, whenever I do, I end up feeling really guilty for spending money on something that rarely gets worn, and even more rarely gets out of the house.  Anyway, I was browsing again today, and at MyHabit, saw a pair of reddish men's-style flats in my size!  I haven't decided whether or not to get them, but it got me to thinking that even when I'm in public and in drab, I should add a pop of unexpected color just for the heck of it.  Plus these aren't bright fire-engine-red.  I've seen guys shoes close to this color - just not something I would normally wear.  But why the heck not?  It would probably get a slightly raised eyebrow from some of the people who know me, but not enough to actually give me away as trans just yet.  It's not so much for the excitement of possible somewhat-desired-but-feared-so-in-the-end-not-wanted discovery :-) as just as a little reminder to myself that I can either stay down in the dumps or grab each and every happy moment, no matter how small.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hate is the wrong word.

I don't hate my current body.  I've had some really great times and done wonderful things with it.  So hate is the wrong word to describe how I feel about it.  Not too strong a word, just the wrong word.

I am thinking about this because I have been seriously thinking about losing the testes - having a bilateral orchiectomy done.  As I was doing the research on it, I ran across some blog postings that referred to stopping their testerone poisoning.  Now, I don't want most of the testosterone being produced in my body, and I take drugs to block many of its effects, but I wouldn't characterize it as poisoning.  Then again, being in my mid-40's, maybe "T-poisoning" has affected my brain and I'm in a false state of denial.  Haha.  Seriously though, having a male body is obviously a major cause of mental stress and sometimes depression.  But, it's also a body that my wife likes to snuggle with, a body that has been a source of fun and protection to my kids, and a body I was happy to have when horsing around or playing ball with my friends.

I wish there were more stats on us transsexuals.  I am glad there are documentaries and tv talk shows about transsexuals who have SRS, because it slowly helps teach the public about us.  But, other than "shemale" porn stars, how often do we hear the stories of transwomen who decide to keep their penis?  At least for now, it's an important part of my relationship with my wife, so I intend to hang onto it for now.  Of course, politically speaking, that idea would scare the hell out of trans-allies in government.  It's one thing to support a transwoman who has no penis, but it's a completely different idea to support a cross-dressing pervert who has a penis that can be used to assault real women in their public bathrooms!  Do researchers on transsexuals purposely avoid us for similar reasons?

I'm not sure if I'll ever get SRS.  I have a lot of reasons that I'd like to. I want a female body to reflect my female brain patterns.  But also a few important reasons I won't for now.  Does that make my transsexuality any less real?  The narrative of those documentaries makes it seems as though SRS is the one thing that "cures" transsexuality by realigning body and mind.  They imply that feeling the need for SRS is the big marker for a real transsexual.  If you aren't willing to part with all your male bits, then you're just playing at being trans, or at best, maybe you belong somewhere else under the "transgender" umbrella.  Or maybe I'm just in one of my dark moods right now, and I'm not appreciating that making the public see transgenders as regular people requires temporarily disavowing the less mainstream-palatable members of our community.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Being seen today.

Well, unless something unexpected comes up, I will be entertaining a guest at my house this afternoon.  I as in my real, "Viv", self.  This person (non-TG) has seen me both male and female before, and has been supportive, but because of various busy-ness in each of our separate lives, we haven't really seen each other in a couple years now.  Well, my male self has had a few short chats, but that's about it.  So I'm nervous.  Viv hasn't been seen by anyone up close - no not that way, just friendly chat and snacks/drinks - in a really long time.  On the one hand, it's a good opportunity to work on my voice and everything, on the other I hate not already being naturally "presentable".  Anyway, I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Out of the cave.

I work from my home office, which is sort of a literal cave, being in the basement.  It's also a metaphorical cave, because aside from a few specific scheduled interactions, I don't like to leave the house much, and rarely see a lot of people at once, other than trips to the supermarket (but I just do my shopping and get out).  This is sort of a form of self-preservation while I am still un-transitioned, as I realized this past week when I was visiting Boston.  While my lovely wife was at her work, I spent the day working on my laptop while sitting in Boston's Quincy Market.  In the morning, it's fairly quiet, but after about 11am, there seems to be a constant flow of people moving around, having lunch, etc.  What's really cool for people-watchers is the enormous heterogeneity - folks of all ages, languages, nationalities, cultures, economic classes, reasons for being there, etc.  And of course, there are lots of women.  And I'm not one of them.  I guess it's sort of a mild jealousy, although I'd characterize it more as just wistful desire.  But wow, being around lots of women really sets off my gender dysphoria. I've been depressed for days now, and I'm back home and "safely" ensconced in my cave.  It'll pass, I think.  I just needed to vent.

Monday, February 6, 2012

passing naked

well, not actually naked.  i've been thinking alot lately about whether or not my face passes for a woman's when I'm not wearing makeup.  I'm pretty sure that if I'm dressed in total guy drab, no one will look at my face and say, "Why's that girl doing drag?"  What I want is to be recognized automatically as female when I'm dressed either completely femininely or even androgynously.  if you've read earlier posts, you know i'm still stealth and have not had any surgeries.  My hair is long, so that sort of helps, but there are plenty of guys with long hair.  If I "cheat" slightly and wear tinted lip balm to help my lips look smoother, make sure my eyebrows are brushed down, and have my hair in a feminine hairdo (nothing fancy, just high instead of low ponytail, or roughly french braided instead of my regular low braid, etc) I think I approach passability.  Maybe.  I really really need to work on my voice.  Definitely the hardest part.  What I need to do is make a playlist of just the few songs that help me sing in about the right register for my femme speaking voice and sing along over and over again.  Sadly, I thought I was doing ok with my speaking voice for a little while, but then I recorded myself and realized that with my eyes closed or over the phone, it would definitely be assumed male.  Bummer!  So I've been trying to do lots of recording/playback to make sure any progress I make is real and not just in my head.  :-)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Does anyone else (who hasn't had bottom surgery) find the trend toward panties with narrower crotches to be extremely annoying?  I'm really not well endowed in the guy genital department, but it's hard to keep tucked with many of the latest panty styles!  Surely it can't just annoy panty-wearers with "extra junk"... I mean, even if I had my bottom surgery or if I was a natal girl with a vagina, they're getting to the point where surely they must ride up, right?

On a separate note, as pretty as lace panties are, they sure annoy the heck out of those of us who tuck. :-(