Body Mods

Well, I Do Declare!

During today’s session, my speech therapist had me experiment with using a character voice as a way of getting out of my usual speech patterns.

I broke out the “Southern belle” voice that I’d developed for m y stage persona — and I do declare that my voice improved dramatically!

The slower pace of a Southern accent helped me avoid pitch drops that occur when I’m speaking faster. It improved the legato between syllables and words (which women typically use more of). Most surprisingly, I was able to raise my pitch almost an octave without straining — taking my voice from the top end of the typical male pitch range, solidly into the typical female pitch range.

(I’ve been frustrated in recent months because my pitch had dropped back down as I was focusing on the other vocal characteristics that typically differentiate women’s voices from men’s. Pitch and resonance are the big ones, and the only ones that are physiological, but there’s half a dozen others, most notably, huge differences in inflection.)

My homework is to practice switching into my Southern belle voice and dialing it back into my normal California-accent voice, while retaining the vocal improvements.

So if y’all hear me slipping into a drawl, now you’ll know why.

Hair, Not-So-Long Beautiful Hair

I’m grateful that the second round of hair transplants started growing in far sooner than expected. The transplanted hair goes into “transplant shock” and falls out because the follicles go into their dormant cycles, and typically it doesn’t regrow until about three months afterwards, i.e. for me, the end of June. But a few never fell out, and the there was some regrowth starting as soon as a month after the transplants. The bulk it did start regrowing in the past t month. But it’s growing extraordinarily fast — my acupuncturist, who hadn’t seen me in two weeks, remarked on what a different there was.

There’s still a long ways to go, but:

  • It’s covered the lengthy scar running across my forehead from the facial surgeries in January.
  • I now have enough of a “typical female” underside down U-shaped hairline (i.e. no more male baldness recession on the temples) that I’ve been able to start wearing my hair pulled back when I want to.

Still short, and still thin. But time will take care of that. So glad I did it.

The Nose Knows

Going on estrogen re-wires your entire body, and one of the changes is that your sense of smell becomes more sensitive (on the whole female humans have a better sense of smell than males).

That was really brought home to me earlier this afternoon during my stop in Carson City. There have been thundershowers today and the petrichor (the smell after it rains) was so strong that it was pungent at times. Never had that happen before.

Come, You Chicken Fat, Come!

t’s interesting to see how, after almost a year, estrogen is reshaping my body.

Besides some (not nearly enough) boob growth, I seem to have a bigger booty, my shoulders have gotten smaller as I’ve lost muscle mass* (yay!), and I’ve now got underarm chicken wings** — I’m probably one of the rare women who’s glad to see the latter.

* The Olympics will let trans woman compete in the women’s divisions after two years on hormones, because their muscle mass is equivalent to that of cisgender women.

** The underarms are the third area women tend to accumulate fat, along with the hips and thighs.

Hair Transplants, Round 2

For those of you curious about what my new hairline will look like once the hair transplants eventually grow in. Photos below the fold, because gorlesque show girl. (Nothing super gory, but my forehead currently is a collection of 2,000 tiny scabs where the follicles were relocated.)

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Trade Offs…

TMW, your hormone doc tells you that your testosterone levels are still at the top of the “normal” female range, and so doubling your testosterone suppressant medication would help with your breast growth, but… it might also kill your libido and your ability to perform. Possibly permanently.

Even Downtown, Voices Carry

Had my first session with my speech therapist in two months. (We aIso realized it was a year ago that I started working with her.)

The good news: I’ve pretty much internalized the shift from chest resonance (default male speaking voice) to head resonance (default female speaking voice — due to anatomical differences). So I’m doing it automatically and consistently.

Semi-good news: Switching to women’s inflection (pitch) patterns —which are pretty much 180 Vdegrees different from men’s inflection patterns — is progressing well, although not fully internalized, since I still often drop pitch at the ends of words, instead of keeping the pitch neutral or upwards.

Frustrating news: My overall pitch dropped again. Then again, I expected some regression since I didn’t speak a lot during the month I was in Buenos Aires.

Semi-good news: Women’s voices drop in pitch over their lifespan, so my voice it still within the lower-end of the pitch range for other “women of a certain age.”

Good news: Getting the pitch up consistently is one of the easier things to practice myself, since I can use a voice training app to monitor the pitch while I speak.

Things Fall Apart

Wow, just coming off one of the scariest post-surgical energy crashes I’ve had here.

I was having an extremely late lunch, due to the surgeon’s visit today, when all of a sudden I felt the overwhelming need to go to sleep right now. Fortunately I was close to the apartment, and was able to make it home safely and crash. But it really took all my concentration to make it those four blocks.

Probably all the walking I did in Palermo Soho yesterday caught up to me. The hot weather (it’s 90 and humid again) I’m sure that didn’t help either.

Still feeling weak, even after sleeping, although I’m gradually feeling better. But definitely a reminder not to push too hard.

Facial Feminization Surgery – Day 25

Day 14 after round 2 of surgery: (lowering the hairline, brow reduction (which includes “opening” eyes by reducing the orbital bones). Day 25 since the first round of surgery.

All the remaining stitches were removed today!

Removing them wasn’t much fun, because the scalp stitches were long ones, OTOH, the doctor said that was a good thing, since most of his patients still can’t feel anything at this point (nerves are temporarily cut during the procedures, so scalp is numb until they grow back).

Brusing under the eyes will take a couple weeks to go away, but at least concealer can hide most of it.

The scars themselves are going to turn red and ugly during the coming weeks, before eventually fading to gray. Just have to remember it’s part of the process (and yes I’ll be using scar-prevention gel). Unfortunately, hairline incisions never heal that well since it’s under tension and the forehead moves a lot, neither of which is conducive to good healing.

Doctor says about two-thirds of the swelling will be gone in three months, but it’ll take year before it’s all gone (the nose in particular takes a long time to rid itself of swelling).

However I can definitely see and feel the changes. You can’t really see them in the photo, but I can definitely feel my (newly-augmented) cheekbones. Hopefully they’ll be more visible as the swelling recedes.

But even it it’s incomplete state, it’s nice to finally look in the mirror and see a face that looks like “me.”