The next 3/4 months

Tuesday was my last shift at work, and with it come mixed feelings. It’s strange how as soon as I said I was leaving, it was like people took more interest in me,  what I was doing, and stopped to chat. So I went from feeling very at the peripheral of the staff to feeling like I was creeping in on the last week.

Seriously, what is with that? Maybe a lure to try make you stay.. then as soon as you say “yes i’ll stay on“, things go back to “pre-“i am leaving“? I also think the last week was more bearable because I did not have all the huge pressures of nagging customers to buy company products and get contact details etc. If I did not contribute to the stores targets for the last week, no one was going to complain at me next week!

Anyway, now I have to think about priorities in the next few months.

  1. I really really really need to get sorted with testosterone for Japan. It’s a nag at the back my head all the time. I did finally get the letter outlining my appointment at the GIC (gender clinic) – which stated explicitly to allow me to continue being prescribed Nebido whilst I am in Japan for the year. However, I get the feeling my GP is still not going to be comfortable with this. Affordability is the main issue if more of it goes onto private. In fact the Prostap (hormone blocker) is the most expensive injection of the two – if I could stop that, then things become more manageable. Even then we are talking a couple of hundred pounds a vial.  Tbh, i’m starting to creep towards going out with one vial and then just starting to get it out there.
  2. Pass the JLPT5 – a Japanese proficiency test that i’ve been wanting to do for a while, and I will finally take in December
  3. Pass TEFL course – which i’m valiently getting through even though I’m finding that even the “Elementery Level” English stuff is news to me! A week ago I would not have been able to point out to you a “past simple” sentence let alone differentiate it from the “present perfect”
  4. Be steady off my anxiety meds – I am almost off!!!! Only one 50mg tablet to go. Now to stay panic-free for a sustained period. (*Manic laughing…….*)
  5. Have top surgery revision N#2. Ideally before Christmas.
  6. Sell a load of my gear. As much as possible. Gumtree and freecycle will likely be my friends. As is the bin.
  7. Buy a load of gear. Including travel stuff, basic smart clothing, お土産 (omiyage) which are small, normally food gifts, to give to teachers and important people in Japan and souvenirs to show round. Maybe buy a T-Shirt that says in Japanese “If I look lost, please look after me”
  8. Get all my documents in order – be friggin organised. Visas, certificates, licenses, contracts, guides and generic “important docs” become a minefield, with total chaos a real probability if I don’t get all my shit together and tediously filed.

I get the feeling things will move fast after Christmas. Hopfully I will be able to get some small part-time job (12 hrs or less) after I have recovered from surgery to continue to get a bit of money in.

2 years ago, I was in the grips of a big mental health breakdown

A year ago, I was starting a Masters degree,

Now, I’m preparing to move across to the other side of the world to live and work.

Things definitely are moving forward!

 

I’ve handed in my notice

I’ve done it. My letter is in, and I am in the throws of the awkward notice “week” in which I have to come in and work with everyone knowing that I am heading out before Christmas *cringe*. Both the managers I work with were thankfully OK about me quitting (though “disappointed” came up a few times).

I had a few restless nights before quitting, going through what was the “right” thing to do, etc. In the end I came to the conclusion that I would only be staying on for the benefit of other people and the detriment of myself. In terms of a future job seeing that I left my contract early…well I would like to think it’s a company that values someone doing what is best for their career and not staying on in a position they dislike for some kinda show of self-torture endurance.

I now have a glimmer of light — this time next week I will have finished. From now on I need to be extra careful with my cash. I get the feeling it is going to pour through my hands in the coming months.

I have been having more trouble sorting on Testosterone + Prostap for Japan, and still don’t know 100% where I stand. However I do get the feeling I will be paying out of pocket for at least 1-2 sets of medication – at around £500 a pop. Yep, thats right. It’s so much that once I know that 100% i’m going to see whether I can either:

  1. Stop Prostap altogether
  2. Go on a (cheaper) alternative to Prostap

Many people never even start on Prostap (hormone blocker), but the argument I will face is it not being a good idea to change my medication before heading out. Anyway, I don’t see the Doctor for another two weeks, so until then, things are on hold.

Another option is to get Testosterone when I am out there… which, seeming as I just found out my “vague” area I will be staying today, is a possibility. I will be either be in Shizuoka, Shiga or Kyoto, which I am so excited about i’m finding it hard to concentrate!

For now, today is a day off , so I am getting on selling as much as possible, and will nip over to the gym to burn off some restless energy!

Eat, sleep, work, repeat

OK, not gunna lie, work is getting me down. I ache and itch and cough and drag my legs around for the shifts, imagining how i’m just gunna turn round and run out the store and never come back. I smile at people who are rude to me, including adults who wanna vent somewhere so feel the right person is the shop assistant on minimum wage at their local chain store

“I’m sorry the item you are searching for is not in stock, for this is obviously my fault. I went round this morning taking it off the shop floor, jumping on it, pouring paint on it, ripping it to shreds, then feeding it to a pig. I deeply apologise for the inconvenience. Would you like to shout either “F***ING DO IT THEN” for me to re-order the item, or “GO TO HELL” for you to grace another store? Thank you very much”

I count away the hours by a hidden stash of fruit pastilles (1 pastille for every hour) and have now taken to bringing Japanese kanji in to memorise on shift.

Life is becoming boring, repetitive and about survival. It’s dark by 5pm, it’s colder and i’m becoming a bit disillusioned with England, the people of England, and basically the whole concept of what people are striving for and wanting to achieve in life. I stand around at work sometimes thinking “how have we created this?”. Millions of people like me working in artifically lit boxes all day, stacking items made by people half way across the world also in big boxes, being brought by people who have to spend most their life sat in some box somewhere else to afford it.

I JUST WANT TO FEEL LIKE IM NOT TRAPPED IN BOX ARGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH

So many people spending the bulk of their life doing stuff they don’t enjoy. I can understand why people feel they need to, that they have to. It’s just. Depressing. It’s like a big machine that’s been created that we can’t stop – at least not as individuals. ANDDD STOP. Ok, i’m getting too deep. I think i’m trying to understand humans, and I’m not sure if we can fully be understood.

I’m working 9-6 today. I always have anxiety before work. I feel stressed and have a tight knit stomach. Thankfully, despite greatly reduced medication, I am not having panic attacks or getting stuck not being able to go out the front door.

Maybe next week will be better…maybe?

I also need to find time to enquire about my teaching job in Japan, as I still need to fill in a whole bunch of forms and things are going quite slow. I somehow need to fit all the trans-medication stuff around that.

On a lighter note, I was watching “Blue Planet 2 by David Attenborough last night and they had a basically FTM fish! It lived it’s first 10 years of life as female, then enzyme changes in it’s body make it transform into a male fish, which it lives the remainder of it’s life as! OK, so a bit different if you are looking at gender vs sex, but close enough for me to be like “I totally relate to you my fishy friend!”

 

1 Year 9 (ish) months on Testosterone

I feel like I have not done a “summary” transition post in a while, so here we go. Part of its for me (records),  part of it is for others starting out transitioning on testosterone to check out what the future could hold (despite it varying wildly from person to person).

  • I am finally feeling happy with the way my facial hair is coming on! For months and months and months it seemed to tease at coming out more, but since being on Nebido progress has stepped up and I now have visable hair on my chin, upper lip and sideburns.
  • I am never misgendered – although most people think i’m roughly 10 years younger than I actually am.
  • My voice has stabilised and I really like it.
  • I have not yet grown to 6ft 5in and morphed into the terminator.
  • If I put in a bit of effort I can build muscle – before it was almost impossible.
  • My hair has receded – I have “devil horns” (very fitting). Sometimes I get anxious about it receding further, sometimes I don’t give a shit.
  • I have dark hair on every part of my body – this is still progressing and I think will get thicker and thicker over the coming years until people start calling the police because they have found the Yeti.
  • Testogel resulted in really stable moods. With Nebido I get a bit tired and emotional during the week before injection. I am hoping this gets less as Nebido builds in my system and I have less big hormone dips.
  • Chest in healing well from revison surgery N#1. Revision surgery N#2 should be to the end of this year. Surgery helped a shed tonne with my confidence.
  • I get hot so much quicker, and sweat so much quicker (and more). I smell more.
  • I have fewer food cravings – in fact I have less general interest in food, however this could be unrelated to testosterone.
  • My mental health has come on leaps and bounds, however this can’t all be attributed to testosterone, lots of others factors in here as well!
  • I am essentially the same person – testosterone does not make “you” disappear, nor does it change your values and/or feelings towards people.

That’s about it. My short term goal is to make it through my shift today without getting desperate enough to find a way to “slip” near the counter, crack my head and go unconscious for a while. My medium term goal is to look like Father Christmas before Christmas Day. My long term goal is to travel to the other side of the planet and start a profession with only instinct and (hopefully) some common sense to guide me.

Work continues to bore the pants off me, I have the weeked off though so will have chance to recover and hit the gym for the first time in ageeeeeeees.

Comparison pic: day 21 vs day  644 (week 3 vs week 92)

Self-injection

For those of you new to my blog, I have been on testosterone for almost 2 years (started on gel). It is normal for nurses to give Nebido (testosterone) and Prostap (hormone blocker for estrogen) injections, at least in the UK. I however, requested to be able to self-inject to allow more flexibility with travelling etc in the future.

This week I injected both Nebido and Prostap at home for the first time!

  1. Nebido – Success!

This involves 2 x needles, 1 x syringe, 1 x vial of Nebido, 1 x sterile wipe, 1 x sharps bin, and a mental technique of ignoring the fact your going to stab yourself with a needle for 2 minutes. Basically, you draw up the Nebido with one needle – slowly. Then get rid of that needle (incase it was blunted / contaminated from vial lid) into sharps bin. Put new needle onto syringe. “Quarter” your arse cheek (mentally or with a pen). Swab the top left corner. Tense then relaxxxxxxx your glutes. STAB!!

Ok, so at this point I had a slight complication. It got only about 1cm in then started to really f***ing hurt. I tried pushing in more but was hitting a block so had to pull out. Blood came out, indicating I had hit blood vessel. So – by this point shaking like a leaf – I stabbed again about 2cm down from the first spot – thankfully this went in fine and I spent the next 2 minutes with the growing ache of 4ml of thick liquid being injected into my muscle. You really have to push hard, its damn tricky to keep your hand steady and push all whilst reaching round your body. Finish injection – pull out, needle cap on, into sharps bin. Cotton bud on injection site & press. Then plaster 🙂

    2. Prostap – hummm

This was a wee bit trickier. You would think not, as its a pre-set up injection. Basically you have to push the plunger on the syringe until it gets to a certain line – at this point the powder and liquid combine, and you tap it a bit to mix them up thoroughly. Now, I read the instructions and took them to heart – it says not to be too vigorous as you may get bubbles (=bad). I only tapped it around a little, then injected. I noticed in the syringe there seemed to be a bit of white powder left – and as the needle came out of my skin some white liquid came out too. I them looked at online videos and most people seem to shake it much more! Lesson learned for next time. Hopfully it will not affect me too much for the next 3 months.

Work

Groan. Improvements? Now working on my own, so I feel I have more flexibility to move stuff around or have a cheeky sit down on the foot stool for a minute or two. Also feet/legs are recovering quicker – although they still ache a lot by the end of shift. Unchanged is the sheer bordem, the relentless repetitive music, the bright lights, dust that makes my eyes turn red, the tacky heat of the stock room and the underlying anxiety of trying not to need the loo making me need the loo.

I have also noticed a subtle shift in the way management approach me now. We have a new bunch of newbies – so I am no longer classed as one. This means I am expected to know what i’m doing, where everything goes, and all the infomation required. Hahahahahahaaa. They are no longer so blasé about me not meeting targets and don’t spend as long going through stuff with me. In the past I would have felt like this is all my fault and I should be on top of everything – HOWEVER – now, I just acknowledge this as a flaw in their training and management style. Im working Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues before my next day break – think i’m going to need to start injecting myself with caffeine.

Life

I can exercise now, so I am cycling to work, back into sit-ups, squats, weights etc. It’s giving me a much needed mental boost. Anxiety meds are on the decrease again, but I seem to be doing fine with that. For now, it’s my day off, so going to do a bunch of Japanese learning, have a nice lunch out with my Mum, and sleep/chill.

Signing off with a random joke I saw on twitter  which got me chuckling:

“A man decided to visit a zoo and was disappointed to find there was only one animal there. It was a dog. —— It was a shih tzu”

Gender clinic app and BIG news

A big piece of news I have got recently – I have been accepted into a company where I will be teaching English next year – IN JAPAN!!!!!!! Sometimes words don’t convey emotions properly, and I don’t think that exclamation marks fit the bill, so imagine me jumping so high that I smash my head on the ceiling and spend the afternoon concussed. I have not been talking much about this, as I did not dare believe it could happen, but I have the email in front of me, its real!. With regards to this blog and the future, I want to continue writing it despite how tricky it may be at times, because I think I can give an angle which I can find hardly anything on: Being a trans forgeiner in Japan.

Takeshita Street

As you can imagine, my mind is ablaze with question marks over how to deal with several “trans” issues in Japan. Firstly, there is the issue of hormones. Japan does not prescribe Nebido. If precribed T in Japan (possible) I would have to travel to a dedicated clinic once every 1-4 weeks to get a doctor to inject a random type of testosterone. Hence doing everything in my power to go out there with it! Here is my experience in the UK so far – some things will be similar for any foreigner though.

Hormones:

  1. Approached GP – said NHS won’t provide a year’s worth. Told to think private or contact GIC and see what they say. Cue handy GIC appointment!
  2. Yesterday I made the sluggish journey half way across my country to get to the GIC (gender identity clinic). The consultant was extremely helpful, and is writing a letter to my GP asking pretty please can you precribe Seb with a load of Testosterone and needles etc.
  3. If the GP won’t give out bulk at least my parents can pick it up every 3 months and post it to me *cringes inwardly at cost of shipping*
  4. I will need to apply for 4 seperate “Yakkan Shoumei” certificates – Nebido, Prostap, needles x2 sizes (more on that in future posts).

Other topics I will be addressing:

  • Cultural attitudes to being trans in Japan
  • Onsen
  • Bathrooms
  • Teaching
  • Monitoring and general health care (including insurance)

Thats all I can think of for now, but if anyone has other suggestions feel free to comment  :-). I will probably comment on how my anxiety is doing from time to time – by the time I am out there I will be totally off my anxiety meds. *gulp*

Going back to my GIC appointment – basically everything is going fine. My T levels are on the low side but adequate. Chest is healing and can exercise next week. Feeling great in my transition. Want to create Abs and build up chest and shoulder muscle again!

Work – For now I slowly rot away at work. I have taken some tips from you guys and have been stretching before shifts, which has helped take away a bit of leg pain. I also sit my feet in freezing water after every shift to cool them down. I do “work” related activites with great enthusiasm –

  • Pissing off customers by not knowing how to do returns, enquiries, gift cards, accounts (in fact anything).
  • Walking round in circles whilst smiling and mentally drowning the singers of the repeated tunes playing.
  • Unfolding perfectly folded clothes – then refolding them a bit shitter
  • Breaking stock taking machines
  • Carefully arranging the bottom shelves (which, Oh! just happens to give me an oppurtunity to sit down for 5 minutes!)

At least now I have Japan in my head to remind me this is not permenant! Next week I do my first self injection of Nebido at home – should be an interesting experience. Will let you know how that gets on!

 

Flexi-age

I have a suggestion. I think all transguys over about 20 who transition on testosterone should be legally allowed to change thier age to somewhere between 5 to 10 years younger. No one believes your real age anyway. I am now 27, and going back into work has made me realise how young people think I am. Most thought I had just come out of GCSE’s, and was 16/17 years old. Yep. I was asked several times what my “secret” was – ofc them meaning skin care, health etc, I dont think any of them have a clue im transgender.

A benefit is people give you more slack to get things wrong etc. Cause, well, your only young right? But a negative is that it’s harder to be treated seriously. Anyway, I don’t “feel” 27, whatever that means – so maybe I should start stating i’m a tad younger?

Getting back into work

Stressful –  nerves – totally different environment.

It’s really draining, being polite and “alert” and facing customers and colleagues all the time. And then learning all the new processes, being worried about f***ing up a customers orders, remembering passcodes and locations of offices. Oh and I am not used to standing for 5/6 hours straight!! My calves and feet feel on fire by the end of the day. I am developing a shifty “lean in” technique where every opportunity I get I casually heavily lean on the counter like i’m trying fulfill some sexy cashier role. Anyone got any tips on how to cope with all the standing? Does the body get used to it after a while? I think for the next two weeks I need to focus on “being in the moment” and not thinking about everything at the same time!

Good news is despite another (slight) reduction in my anxiety meds, I have not come close to having a panic attack or running out a room. I’ve been shaky at times, and have had the odd stutter as well as feeling a bit hot around the collar when there has been several people looking at me whilst I talk/ answer questions. But you know, this breathing thing helps (who would have guessed?) just breathe, breathe, breathe.

I have 5 hour shifts with no breaks – has a couple of issues. One is often a shift will span lunch, like 10 till 3 – so you have to change your whole eating pattern. Two (which will apply to me soon once I am no longer “buddied”) is that you are the only person on your floor, and you are no allowed to leave it unmanned. Which means you can’t run off to the loo without calling and asking someone to cover you. This second one gets me anxious. A tip a girl gave me was to make good friends with the people on the floor above so they are cool with covering!

Ahhhhhhnd breathe. I’m doing it, I have not quit!