Month: June 2015

Being Schrödinger’s Trans

So… it’s a month later.

The good news is that Wellbutrin seems to be making a big difference without the sexual side-effects that were problematic with Lexapro. I’m kind of having this “oh, I guess this is what it feels like to ‘normal'” moment. I don’t feel as constantly run-down as I have for so many years. We haz spoons.

My 51st birthday is looming in a little over a week, and while I’m not particularly excited about it — and haven’t since my 30s— I’m not dreading it.

Still feeling a bit over-stretched and burned out, but I’m now able to better detangle those issues from those that seemingly were depression-related. As I suspected, part of the latest bout of dysphoria was just wanting to be someone else when I was really unhappy.

Professionally, I’m still a bit uncertain what I want to do next.

I still want to do some counseling, but the last couple weeks have been hectic — and yeah, I know that’s going to be an on-going issue. But I also wanted some time to sit down and figure out what I wanted to discuss and also let this latest experience in dual-living run for a bit.

Living publicly as a woman on the weekends and the occasional weeknight seems to be confirming that while I’d be more comfortable living as a woman, I don’t feel the need to transition strongly enough to take active steps towards it.

Probably because my dysphoria in large part seems to more social, and usually I’m treated as just another woman when I’m out in public, and that I’m having enough interaction as a woman that the itch is getting scratched.

But then I’m coming from a place where I just assume I’m visibly trans, so I focus on the times when I’m treated as a woman rather than the times I’m misgendered or the occasional stares held too long, or infrequent side-eye in my direction. I prefer to think that they’re staring because:

Fortunately, my beard shadow is very light, though the whiskers do seem to cause my skin to be pebbly on the upper lip and chin, which annoys me, but most people probably don’t notice. I’m not sure if electrolysis would remedy that, which would be the main reason for doing it (and probably just those areas).

I dislike the bags under my eyes, and might get those done sometime; I don’t like my nose, and probably won’t do that — but that’s just general vanity, since I don’t like the way they look in guy-mode either. OTOH, I’m curious enough to want to send photos to that Virtual FFS site, just to see what I might look like.

I’m experimenting with letting my hair grow longer — it looks like shit at moment, and probably will for another month or, two, being in that awkward in-between phase — and I’m curious to see how it turns out. It would be nice to have it long enough to do double duty as a woman’s (admittedly very short) hairstyle. But I’m not convinced it’ll work, since my hair has too much of a wave to pull off a pixie cut.

I’m still wrestling with body dysphoria when the clothes come off, but the two boudoir shoots I did really seemed to have helped. Yes, I can look womanly and sexy in just a bra and panties, and maybe even while wearing even less. (Sorry no links to those photos.) They even helped with some overall body acceptance. In the most recent shoot, I clearly have a belly in two of the photos — and I’m OK with that.

It’s also helped that I’ve started dating someone who sees me as a woman. It’s a loose relationship. She also performs, so both our schedules are hectic; and she lives on the other side of the bay, which at best is a 40-minute drive; and we’re both poly and don’t have expectations that it’s an exclusive relationship. All our dates have been with me as a woman. During the last one, we did some cuddle sex, where she ended up playing with/sucking my breasts the way you’d do with a woman (although I sure many men would be pleasantly surprised if someone did it do them). But aside from the physical pleasure, it was… I’m not sure what the right word is… probably “validating”… for someone to interact with my body in that manner. OTOH, on a previous date she gave me an excellent blowjob, which didn’t interfere with my body image.

I’ve also got another woman who seems interested being friends with benefits, and a third— who’s my BFF but who’s working overseas this year — who wants to hook-up when she’s back in the country a bit in August. Yay sexy time!

There have been changes involving the folks I casually interact with in public. A couple of the baristas at the coffee place I frequent have seen me both as a man during the week and a woman on the weekends and have asked about it. Not in a rude way, but along the lines of “do you use a different name when you’re like this?” I’d previously been in during the weekend when I was in drag and on the way to show, but this is clearly different enough (“everyday” hair, make-up and clothes; saying that I’m planning to do everyday activities rather than a show) that they’ve clearly picked up that it’s “more than just for the stage.” And, aside from some curiosity, it doesn’t seem to make a damn bit of difference to them or how they treat me. Granted with them, and others I encounter in similar situations, there’s “professional friendliness” involved, but it seems to be genuine.

Yeah in general I’d prefer to be seen as a woman, but I don’t mind being seen as a trans woman — and maybe it’s my little contribution to the cause to show that there’s trans people who don’t transition.

So “bi-gendered” is still a good description of my life, and it’s how I describe myself to others when doing Trans 101, but on the inside… yeah, I’m feeling more like a woman who cross-dresses as a man than bi-gendered.

OTOH, like others I know, I have lacerating bouts of self-doubt about how “real” I am. If I were truly a woman, wouldn’t the need to transition be outweighing all considerations? That there’s something wrong in feeling that the costs (financial, emotional, and physical pain) aren’t worth the payoff for me; that I’m not transitioning due to choice rather than circumstances.

Thank you to a good friend for the reminder that yes, I am real.

Though “real” what is something I’m still not exactly sure of. There’s a feeling of being Schrödinger’s trans — simultaneously Middle Path (between genders) and not-Middle Path; simultaneously a woman and not-quite-a-man. Betwixt and between is a hard place to be…

And I guess this is where my unconnected thoughts trail off into the night….

Feeling Gravity’s Pull

So today was the first time in week that I wasn’t out in public as a woman at least part of the day, and I’ll be so again tomorrow night and during the weekend.

Admittedly, it’s atypical circumstances. I was at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, Thursday through Monday, had a get together on Tuesday, and a show on Wednesday (with another tomorrow night), and another munch on Saturday where I go as a woman.

But it’s interesting to see how over the weekend how routine it became in the morning. Get up, do shave arms and legs in addition to face, put on make-up.

In Vegas my burly family treated me as if I was a woman — even when the desert dryness and all the second-hand smoke in the casino (where BHOF was at) had me sounding like a hoarse Bea Arthur. Though there were a few instances of trans objectification from some of the women — the exotic, unicorn kind of thing. Well meant, but still a bit othering.

As usual out in public I didn’t attract any particular attention; I’m sure there was probably the occasional stare, but nothing that set up my threat-dar. Then again it was Vegas an a trans woman in a sparkly dress is far from the weirdest sight walking around the casino.

OTOH, what’s also notable is that I didn’t have a “pink crash” on Tuesday when I had to go to work in guy-mode. There was a bit of the “glitter crash” that a lot of people get — similar to the sort of “con crashes” that happen to attendees of other conventions, where you’re amped up for a couple days, and fairly sleep-deprived by the end of them.

But there wasn’t a sense of dread of having to go to work as guy-mode. Would I have rather have gone to work as a woman? Yeah, I would’ve. But I was OK with going as a man, even if it didn’t thrill me.

So, as I think I’ve said before, there’s a pull toward the feminine — but there’s not a push away from the masculine. Which is one reason I don’t just go ahead and transition.

Dance Along The Edge

So today after the Facebook protest, I changed outfits to something work appropriate — a sundress with a knit bolero, the same short hair as in my boudoir photo — and went into the office.

Officially, I said that it was because it was faster to change outfits than to go home and take off the make-up and shower to get rid of “wig hair.” (I’d mentioned ahead of time that I might do this, and my boss was OK with it.) Plus I know people get a kick out of seeming me en femme every Halloween.

But that’s only partly true. I admit that it was pushing limits a bit. It was nice to be at work as my feminine self. Although I’m under no illusion that I was treated anything like I’d be treated if I was woman full-time.

The reactions were interesting. It’s a big enough office that I don’t know a lot of the newer people anymore, and they didn’t really react at all. Don’t know if they didn’t recognize me —– one of my co-workers said she didn’t initially.

For the people who did, some there some “hey looking good” reactions; some people did implicitly ask, which led to some good discussions about Facebook’s “Real Names” policy.

But yeah, for those who care to look, I suppose there’s some pretty clear hints that “it’s more than just for the stage.”

On Thursday morning, I head off to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. Unless I chicken out, I’m planning to fly en femme. Partly as test. Partly because there’s a chance to visit the Las Vegas Showgirl Museum, which is open by appointment only, and the timing is a bit tight between when my flight arrives and when the tour starts, so there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be able to check in a change in time.

Through happenstance, I ended up en femme pretty much all of last weekend and the weekend before. It was… nice. So I’m thinking of trying out living as Lena on the weekends. It really just means being willing to get ready a little earlier so I can do my make-up. I figure one of three things will happen: either I’ll reach a saturation point last previous times; or I’ll discover that (plus the occasional weeknight event) is sufficient to fulfill the need; or I’ll end up wanting to spend more and more off-work hours en femme. I suppose any one of those outcomes will be informative.

And so I inch closer to the edge…