Foraging

This week has been one of those non-descript ones, where life just goes on really. Working on my dissertation, heading to gym, taking walks.

One thing I have done differently though is start a bit of foraging on the seashore. I have a type of support worker currently who I go and do stuff with, and they took me to the seashore for foraging a few weeks back, showing me some of the stuff that could be collected round here, so I decided to try it out myself. I’ve found its really relaxing, my mind can’t seem to get trapped in stress and panic when it’s searching out periwinkles, limpets, cockles, mussels etc.

My first go I came back with a load of periwinkles which I soaked for 12hrs, then boiled. Had a fun time getting out the little snails with a pin.

Periwinkles 3 (2)

They tasted not bad, a bit rubbery. They look disgusting. I only ate the first one after watching a video of ~9 year old eating them on youtube. I was like…well this must be safe to do…and soon got into it. I’d give them a 6/10, and one i’ve already foraged for again.

Also got some limpets which I oven baked in a lemon-garlic-pepper-butter sauce first time round. That was alright, I’ve had them again and boiled them, and they taste a bit better – less tough. There are mussels everywhere but i’ve been warned not to eat them near settlements, and it’s a bit dodgy in the summer months. But maybe if foraged far away from habitation…thats possible here. There are also plenty of crabs, and i’ve just brought a crab reel – so will update next week!

I still love it round here, i’m making final enquirys to see IF I did stay here, then what would happen with my transgender medical care, mainly the gender clinic. I don’t think it will be funded, and I still need to be with them for now. I can’t see a GP till the start of August though (good old NHS) so it will be a while till I have more info.

My top surgery revision op (stage 1) is in a couple of months now, (just got the letter through), which is scary cause by then this Uni course would have ended. It does keep me tethered down, which may be a good thing, otherwise straight out this course I could well end up on an impulse flight to Taiwan or something random. I feel more ready for this course ending than I did with my undergraduate course though. Back then, I kinda assumed I would get a grad job straight out of Uni, easy. Now I am more realistic, knowing I join the scrap of many unemployed graduates, all like me, fighting to get the first step on the ladder of employment, whilst trying to blank out debts of 10’s of thousands of pounds, a sudden drop into the rental market, bills, battling back stress and depression….. sorry, getting away with myself.  It’s all good, everything is going to B-E-A-Uuutifal.  But yeh, so revision surgery 1 is round the corner.

I really want my 2nd Nebido jab now, and it’s still a week and a half away. I feel like testosterone is loosing momentum in my body – I need a re-fuel. This is going to be something I need to get used to, the peaks and troughs of injections which I never had on gel. It is hard to explain but I really do feel like I can tell my levels are starting to decrease. On that note, I need to start watching a few videos on self-injecting Nebido so i’m all swatted up when they come to teach me on my next shot date. Maybe I can practice by injecting Nutella into me? I would love to be powered by Nutella.

 

 

P.S. No comparison pic to end with! Feels weird after all this time.

 

Nebido changes

Life

Oh god, awkward barber moment. I had to get my hair cut this week, it was running out of control, so off I popped to the barbers on the other side of town because its quietest early in the morning. Except this morning there was an old man having his hair cut, and only one guy cutting. I sat on the bench in this small room next to who I assumed to be his wife who was waiting for him. And I did the “I’ll stare at my phone with a passion like no other” thing for 10 minutes whilst they nattered on. Then close together, someone else entered, and also he finished cutting the guys hair. I thought OK, it’s kinda crowded on this bench, but at least it’s my turn now – but then she shimmied over to sit in the chair (it’s a unisex place but there has never been a women getting a cut when i’ve been there before). I kind of took stock of the situation, could not take starting at my mobile for much longer, and randomly stood up, and walked out. Which oddly made me feel like i’d walked out of a shop without paying. Then ended up in another barbers with a grumpy person who attacks your head like its wild grown hedge they wanna prune down, but surprisingly ends up doing a good job. Least that’s that now for 5 weeks odd.

My parents have come to visit for a couple of days, which resulted in a trip to the beach yesterday. Shoved my wetsuit on, that actually fitted me despite it being from pre-transition days, and I actually went in the sea with my dad, despite it being pretty damn cold! For some brief periods drying off I was topless, which was a strange feeling out there. Good though, and so much easier getting changed on a windy beach with just trunks! Has felt like a re-fresh for my body getting in the salt water 🙂 .

Transition

Nebido is great for my ability to bulk up. I mean its the same stuff as testogel in the end fo the day, but my levels must be at an increased level on the injection. I’m able to lift more, and feel more “powerful” in the gym. Facial hair is coming in more and more, although this could also be helped my the minoxidil i’m taking. I am eating more, and drinking more fluids. The main problems I am having at the moment are moods. I am more irritable and get fustrated quick. I have a feel more low moods then really energetic moods. I’m just trying to ride the waves until it calms down, but it is hard, and it’s something I hoped I would not get really changing over. Basically all this above confirms I am 100% in teenage boy mode. Oh, and i’m continuing to use minodixil because I THINK, maybe, just MAYBE it might be helping with facial hair. maybe…

Top surgery

I’m still amazed at how much my chest is still changing, 5 months after surgery. I think peri-areola surgery is a totally different ball park to double insicion when it comes to healing, and there are far fewer of people’s accounts of it. Rather than the swelling and scar fading being the main aspects, its more about skin elasticity and reshaping happening over months and months. I see the top surgeon in under a month now, and want to get a few revisions, which i’m sure he will be cool with. Yes, I go swimming and show off my chest (it takes confidence and a f*** you attitude) but I really would like the nipples reduced and the size of areolas. I think it would go a hell of a lot of a way to alleviate my dysphoria about my chest still seeming to me like slightly “female looking”.

Weeks seem to be ticking by quick at the moment, soon it’s only 3 months left at Uni before I move on. I need to get cracking on my dissertation and keep up with module work. Yet I also want to make sure I’m making the most of what there is to offer round here and getting out and about! I’m starting to see a support worker (as well as my CPN) next week, who is going to do more outdoor stuff with me – get me interacting with people as well. Feel I am ready for the challenge..I think!

Comparison Pic: day 1 vs day 483 (week 0 vs week 69)

 

 

Suits

Hope everyone had a good Easter break. Mine was good, I got a suit!! :-D. Considering this was something that I had never done before (going suit shopping) it was really quite easy. I was at my parents for the weekend so they came with me, providing me with a steady stream of different items to try on.

I found that suits are measured by chest size, i’m a 38″ from what I recall, and then there are short, medium and long sizes…i was short or medium most the time. Then different styles, like tailored cut, slim fit, skinny, classic etc. I had to stay away from skim fits because I have chunky thighs and sqeezing them in to the trousers was like trying to wedge a chicken thigh into a smarties packet.

Then shirts – which I can not fathom for the life of me why they go by neck size. Maybe there is a good correlation between neck thickness and torso size? I dunno, but I had to destroy a few packets of perfectly folded and packaged M&S shirts before I found the right one (15″ I think). Bits of cardboard and plastic and clips jumped around the changing room all for one shirt and it took all the changing room assistent’s self-restraint not to break down and cry or throttle me.

An then of course the lovely waitcoats….ah the waitcoats. Not included in the price of the suit, this extra item which is only a small bit of fabric costs as much if not more than much bigger items (this brings to mind womans lingerie, the tinyer, the more expensive). So of course, I had to get this.

And repeat this process at 6 stores.

In the end I headed back to the original store (M&S wins as it often does) and knocked a dent in my bank account but came out extremely happy. I still need a shirt and shoes, the shirts in M&S were a bit too expensive in the end. And I got a tie from TKMaX – which my mum had to show me how to knot again because it’s been so long that I had forgotten completely (flash backs to being 7).

Throughout all of this I got “Sir/Mate/pal/buddy” all the time…more “Sir” than I am used to because they seem to train the assistants to be all formal in the suit department. I did not feel awkward at all or have trouble with the male changing rooms. I’ve noticed recently as well that I walk into crowded male public toliets in train stations etc without thinking about it. If all the cubicles are busy, I just walk out again, no biggie. It’s a stage I never believed I would get to, and it’s really helping with my confidence and how I feel presenting myself and even where I let myself go to.

Somethings are taking more time, like I still have some female underwear tucked away “just in case” a monthly episode comes back, even though I have not had one in over a year. On that note I was searching through my pockets of an old summer coat on the train the other day and pulled out a monthly pad in front of a few people. I think my eyes almost bulged out my head as I thrust it back in. But yeh, some things take time and i’m learning to just get on and let it all happen at the pace it happens.

Relatives noticed chin/’tashe hair at the weekend, it got pretty long! I’ve trimmed it back again now so I’m not looking like a billy goat. Looking foward to getting my first shot instead of injections. I think gel is slowly stopping to be as effective on me – too much body hair! Literally I am still sprouting it as fast as I was only a couple of months in. It’s relentless.

Back at Uni town now, and my CPN’s challenge for me this week – go to the cinema alone – will I manage it?? :-/

Comparison Pic: day 28 vs day 455 (week 4 vs week 65)

 

Should I have a more active role in the trans community?

This question comes into my mind quite often. I feel strongly that transgendered individuals need more support, there needs to be more networking to build these support networks, especially for transmen who tend to be under-represented in trans groups, and that the wider general public need help to understand what it means to be transgender. So I feel strongly…but what am I doing about it?

I write this blog, which never really started to be about my transition journey, but now it’s the main focus 80% of the time. It reaches a few people, not many, but some. But I feel like I could do more.

With one of my old CPN’s I talked about starting a trans-group. And actually, regardless of how terrifing that would be, I was actually interested. The trouble is I move home so damn often. I don’t have a core base, a solid permenent patch that I can call my home town where I can establish and build up a group. Maybe in the future, but not now, and not for a while until I get a job sorted.

What else is there I can do? Well i’m not a “speech” type person, and I am not in any random groups where I can be open about being trans and try educate a bit. I know that I don’t really need to be proactive about it, its just when your part of a pretty small community and you see and hear things that other members are going through, it makes you feel you want to stand up and fight for “your” community. It’s fustrating seeing the same patterns of problems again and again and seeing despite some amazing representatives and volunteers it’s still not enough to tackle everything.

This week has been slow, i’m working on and off, and relaxing a bit inbetween. I’m been doing loads of Japanese studying which has been keeping me happy. My 2 year “coming out” day passed quietly, had a beer and pizza and watched a movie. Starting to casually look at job openings and schemes etc, just getting myself in the frame of mind. I want to buy a suit this weekend in the Easter sales. My first suit!. It’s something I have wanted to do since coming out as transgender, and wanted to wait till after top surgery. I want to find the right one though, one that makes me feel f***ing awesome :-D.

Comparison Pic: day 14 vs day 448 (week 2 vs week 64)

2 years open about being transgender!

Volunteering

I’m (hopfully) going to be starting to volunteer with kids soon, which meant the dreaded DBS check. Basically a check to make sure your not going to run off with the kids, whack them, teach them how to carry out a burglery etc. It’s pretty fast..IF..IF you have not moved house several times in the past five years. The guy at the SU (student union) was helping fill out the form and he looked ready to collapse when I showed him the list of addresses. There was seven in the end. It took him a good 20 minutes double checking all the dates and postcodes etc.

Added on to that I had had to call the DBS service and set up a special case that basically just means that I can choose if I want to tell people I am transgender, rather than them finding out because it is printed all over the form with my old name for them all to see. Getting to start volunteering is hard these days! I’m pretty damn excited though, as i’ve never worked with kids before. Going to have to wait 2/3 weeks for the forms to come back now.

Transitiony stuff

Good news this week, my “telephone pole” i.e. an areola stitch that was poking out for about a week, finally came out! Pretty random that it appeared almost 4 months after surgery. It was like a transparent plastic fishing reel material. Maybe new ones will pop out?  Also I am getting more sensation in my nipples and the surrounding area. It’s patchy and sometimes a bit “jolty” but it’s a development. I’ve been swimming a couple more times, and still finding it hard to get the courage to go out there with my trunks on, but im doing it. I just feel like a stage light it following me the whole distance to the pool edge.

Oh, also, I am noticing fluffy hair growing on my cheeks! I think it’s jumping ship from my head hair and sailing down to my cheeks.

Life

Mentally I had a downer this week, just for one day/evening really. I just suddenly lost it, let go of the rope I was clinging to and seemed to be freefalling down into a dark hole. It was really shitty and apathy just took hold, about anything and everything. Thankfully I have been doing better and it must have just been a short sharp dip. Strange how that kinda think takes hold, just seems to come out nowhere like a sudden wind change.

Ending on a high…. this Friday 7th marks my “2 year “coming out” day“!!! When I first told anyone (my parents) that I was transgender :-). Can’t believe it – how much has changed since then! I thank my two-year-ago-me for being brave enough to actually say what was on my mind and be open about who I was/am. From Friday I can officially apply for a GRC – a Gender Recognition Certificate to change my gender on my birth certificate too. But I will talk more about that in another blog.  I have no one to celebrate with on Friday but I will be having a beer or two and a nice takeaway, and celebrating with people next week.

Comparison Pic: Day 7 vs day 441 (week 1 vs week 63)

Beard Explosion

I am in the expanse of self-regulated working now. So far, it’s OK. I had the weekend to shake off the horrendous social anxiety fest of last week and to re-group mentally and move on. Really glad I am stable on my medication at the moment, think it is helping stop me getting “pushed over the edge” so to speak. What would this world do if all the pharmaceutical companies got shut down?? I’m getting into a routine with the gym and trying to fit in a fruit and a couple of veg into my diet each day. All that healthy stuff. Ignore the Lindt bunny sat in my room being slowly devoured.

It’s a small luxury, in the evening after working, to sit with some lindt chocolate and play on a bit of runescape. Used to play when i was about 15/16 years old, and I still have the account from back then, so have just picked up on it again for a bit of brain chill out time. It’s not as good as PS3 gaming like Final fantasy, but its good for a computer based mmorpg.

Saw my study mentor the other day, and turned out to be unexpectedly really helpful. They set up a structure for me to start looking at my dissertation in a “do’able” way, and started to work on it with me. Beforehand was wondering if there was anything I could get out of having a study mentor, but now i’m glad I went through the effort of tackling DSA!

Top surgery stuff

I am saying goodbye to my micropore tape tomorrow, my nipples with be freeeeee at last! Breathing in the fresh air and not getting all gammy. It will be 12 weeks post-op (which has gone stupidly fast) and I am really quite pleased with the healing. There is still a bit more puckering then I would like, and a weird kinda dip on my left side which I am keeping an eye on, but I know the chest can take ages to settle. Which is why the surgeon booked my consult for June, the date of which I have just got through the post.

I still cannot feel most of my chest and to be honest, this is not something I thought about much pre-op. I heard of numbness but I just thought “ah it will just wear off and I wont be that bothered anyway“. But I find it a bit…strange. It’s like feeling and not feeling…I can feel a “pressure” if you prod them, but not true “feel”. I get a bit nervous I might hurt or damage my chest without realising, especially with weights at the gym. I’m there thinking, “is this ripping my chest muscles?” and just conclude that I would not be able to do the lift at all if I had ripped them to shreds. Nice thought.

Transition stuff

Just before writing this I looked in the mirror and did a :-0 face. The hairs on my chin have grown so much in the past few days! and so has my ‘tashe! Crazy, feels like what I expected maybe 5/6 months on T has finally started to happen. My mustashe is almost, ALMOST at the stage of not looking like one a wiry 13 year old would grow, all whispy and faint. I have warrior class hairs, thick, muscly and tall beaming through.

I’m getting spottier on my arms and shoulders i’ve noticed. I dont necessarily think this is due to the testosterone gel. I think it is more to do with me working out now. After the gym I typically get a “heat rash” for a while where my skin flares up, and I think it aggravates it enough for spots to appear, even with me showering straight after. New thing im trying though: At end of shower, turn it to freezing cold to shorten “rash” time. Not that fun, but if it works will be cool.

Today, I meet my CPN, do a bit of anxiety workthroughs. I’m anxious about doing anxiety workthroughs. Great.

Comparison Pic: Day 14 vs day 413 (week 2 vs week 59)

 

Breathing Deep

I take in a huge lung-full of air, puff out chest, and hold.

And release…

This is something I’ve started to do randomly, because I’ve not been breathing properly for the past one/one and a half years. Even with a binder on I was aware that if I thrusted out then there would be a “lump”, so shoulders slumped forwards, breaths were shallow.

Now however:

  • At the gym. I friggin well BREATHE. I breathe and it feels awesome. People are around me, and I don’t have to care.
  • Walking around town I can shove my shoulders back and walk straight.
  • I can leave my Uni room shoving on a T-shirt not having to worry about forcing myeslf into a mesh tube that bends my ribs just in case someone is in the kitchen.
  • I can wear T-shirts that are not right up close to the neck as I don’t have to worry about my binder showing.
  • (Soon) i can swim with just trunks on
  • When I am feeling anxious and panicky and my heart starts to jump, it has the room to do so.
  • I no longer have a sticky, sweaty chest and back throughout the day that never properly drys out.

Having top surgery is more than just “great I can look down and there are no moobs” it’s all the stuff that comes with it that allows me to live like your average guy. It’s amazing how quick I have got used to the change. Looking forward to the last adjustments in summer to reduce nipple size, then all is complete.

Nervousssss

Today  I have a “angst-fest” in the form of a meeting with my supevisor and guy running project that I may be doing disseration on (let’s call them PG). We are ment to be doing a site visit but the heavens have opened, Welsh style. I think it will be called off – which means maybe a meeting in supevisors room…a small clustered room.

Me. And two others. Shit.

What is worse?

  1.  A trapped car drive for 15 mins with them both, followed by time stood in the rain talking about project, followed by trapped in car for 15 mins.
  2. An hour meeting in supevisors office, with spotlight on me, my questions and forming a project.

It’s like choosing between jumping into the Arctic for a swim or standing in a fire. I’m prepared as I can be (which is not that much) and I am just reminding myself that in 7-8 hours I will be on the other side. However embarrassing and however stupid I look, they will have to friggin well deal with it!

What else?

This week has been pretty quiet so far, with a lot of time to just slowly work through stuff in my own time. It’s nice before the onslaught of work that starts next week. I’ve been gyming (Can now run about 8 mins before pain starts) and starting to use some chest/shoulder/arm weights on a low setting. Slowly getting there. Enjoying watching videos by trans youtubers like Chase, TyTurner and AlexBertie.

Comparison Pic: Day 28 vs day 399 (Week 4 vs week 57)