I actually think I might be getting better at this socialising thing. At volunteering this week I was engaging with the public often and not feeling like I had a boa-constrictor tightening its grip around my neck. I had a tense edge and wary type alertness, but I managed to keep that at bay. I am also managing to worry less about this whole eye-contact thing and just let my eyes do whatever the hell they want. It seems to be a re-training process for my brain. By forcing myself into these situations i’m trying to prove to it that 99% the conversation is simple and I CAN understand and say stuff about the topic without looking/sounding like a total idiot.
You may be thinking the above (chit-chat) stuff is pretty basic, and you never think about. But to me, from secondary school onwards, it’s something I’ve really struggled with and progress is a hard uphill battle. It’s like I’ve been going through a cycle of emotions about my social anxiety:
- I don’t need the skills; I can get through life without them. It’s not that bad. Shy?
- Why has this happened to me? What’s wrong with me?
- Sadness mixed with anger at myself. Hate and disappointment
- Accepting it
- Trying to build/contain damage
I suppose I spent many years in stage one. I was pretty shy, people got used to me being shy. I then had an excuse to not develop my social skills as much. Shyness turned to anxiety over the situations. Mix this in with confusion at points as to belonging in my body as a “female” and it blooms into an ugly flower.
With regards to improvements in socialising, it’s hard to tease apart my gender changes and my efforts in trying new social encounters. They are both happening at the same time. I think both are making a difference. I am almost used to being called “young man/gentleman/sir/mate” now. The words slots into my head much more comfortably than female pronouns ever did. I don’t feel like i’m hiding/lying before I talk anymore. I also think I’ve finally passed the phase of people double guessing me. People (espes. kids) no longer give me extra-long blatant stares. My voice may sound like a 13 year old boy’s but at least it’s on the male scale. I’m used to challenging myself to make simple and silly but good “starter” comments to get people talking whilst volunteering.
As you can maybe understand from the above, I am now trying to think about starting a paid job, or taking a course. I am starting to get an itch that now i’m a little more comfortable at this stage I need to think forward before I settle in. So today I am meeting with a lady who helps with work/courses for people currently in the mental health system. I have seen her before (If you look back she is probably mentioned in blog posts last year) and know she is really helpful, so fingers crossed with help I can figure out the next stage. I know it will be bloody hard (the thought of an interview sends shivers down my spine) but with the support around me it may be possible! I need to convince her I have improved from last year because back then I could not manage one session of volunteering.
I also have psychology coming up. Hum. Don’t think i’m too too concerned. Just kind of cautious. I think it’s less than 8 sessions left now. Really don’t know how I feel about that yet either.
On a sad note, my family cat, Felix, is being put to sleep on Monday. At 16, he has had a full and wonderful life and been with us since he was a miniature ball of fluff with wide eyes and lots of love in his heart. He is ill now with a thyroid condition, and my parents can’t take him to their next house move, so both factors have resulted in this. I know it’s the best; he is always hungry, pulls out his fur loads and is sick often. It just breaks my heart. He has been one of the few constants, always there and always willing to give you a hug and cheer you up. So please think of Felix and his spirit drifting into Whiskas and milk land on Monday evening.
Transition wise: Facial hair is coming on pretty well. I trim every 3/4 days to stop the fluff looking silly. Spots pop up randomly round my body but nothing too serious. My back and shoulder are noticeably more muscular and broader. My hunger is still on dial 14534 on the 1-10 scale. Hair just keeps sprouting everywhere yet faintly drifts off my head. I can sometimes be a bit more short and snappy and “move on” with emotions quicker. I still have pretty curvy hips but not enough to bother me too much. I drink a lot more than I used to and sweat A LOT more than I used to. When I do smell, it’s stronger than it used to be (sweat, wee, feet). I am still not too bothered about putting on testogel every day. Don’t think I will move on from it till at least after top surgery.
I find out my T level in a day or two so I will be able to update that next week.
Transition Pic 1 week vs.23 weeks (7 days vs. 161):
Felix Tetleys L (Flixy): 2000 – 2016 xxxxxxx