I dont saunter, I sail

Yesterday I did what i’ve saying i’ll do all summer, and went to a summer activity session run by the University. I chose sailing, cause it’s something i’d never done before. And I faced a whole host of challenges, including being on a minibus full of strangers, getting changed in an open men’s changing room, and standing around for ages on a shore-line trying to make sure it didnt look like I did not have a d*** downstairs. And you know what? I flipping well got through it all. I had this mentality…

“If I wanna travel, if I wanna live abroad, then I can’t be someone who bails on an afternoon trip on some boats just cause there are a few hurdles to get past”

and it worked. Each challenge came up one by one, and each time I just questioned what I would do if it happened in Japan, or in a random hostel somewhere. Turns out sailing was no quite as exciting as I had hoped, spent 4 hours on the trip and only 10 minutes sailing a dinghy boat, but hey, I got talking to a few random people which was nice. Yep, my anxiety has dropped to that level now, I can talk to strangers without erecting a pop up greenhouse, stepping in and staring blankly out of it like there is a signpost trying to talk to me.

It was a stark contrast to the day before, where I had a bit of a shit meeting with my CPN. They were basically trying to pressurise me into going on a walking group with other members of CMHT (i’ve been before) but I was having none of it. I was not in the mood, and felt I was better off working on my dissertation. Ended up cutting short the meeting cause it all got a bit “argh”. I dont like it when someone trys to push me into a corner. Anyway, the high of yesterday has left a nice “karma” balance to this week so far.

I have also just passed the first stage of a teach abroad programme (got an email an hour ago)….arghhhhh

Pic from the beach this weeked – I could not resist rolling down a sand dune and getting sand in every crack and crevice. A mate was round which was really nice, travelled to some of my favourite areas again 🙂

NewB Aug 17 (4)

 

The end is nigh

August has come with the stark reality of the end of this Uni course. I will have finished most of my dissertation in about 2 weeks, and completely in 3 weeks. Then the pages have not been written yet. I can follow no course, instruction manual or guide to the following part of life. Without boring everyone, I basically am investigating a few avenues. 1) A 9-5 job, 2) Teaching abroad 3) WWoofing abroad 4) Hogworts.

I started writing this blog in the months of dark depression and leading up to being well enough to start a Uni course (albeit with high levels of anxiety). That was a huge leap, leaving the security of a flat, good mental health support, family, and an area I had grown up. I followed my gut back then, and i’m happy i’ve ended up here now. Maybe it’s time for another leap.

I find the idea of getting to midlife and realising I did not do what I wanted, and could have done, in my earlier years more terrifying than the actual decisons I am making now. I feel I need strong coffees, Maryland biscuits and lots of long walks to come to a firm conclusion.

Transitioning stuff

I went to the Doctors to ask about staying in Wales and transitioning and GIC stuff. After waiting 3 weeks for the appointment, then 45mins in the waiting room past my time, it was a bit shit. Well…nothing wrong, just she had no idea and said she would look into it. I get the feeling she will come up with the same answer everyone else has given so im not holding my breath.

It’s the monthly photo day today, and hopfully you can see the improvements of my facial hair! I have not trimmed it for 5 days just to see what it ends up looking like. It’s a bit scraggly but im so overjoyed that it’s coming in that I don’t care. I have seen no noticeable changes in body shape recently. Mentally I have had a bit of a boost, I believe due to the Nebido shot kicking in. At least i’m aware now of what to expect towards the end of each shot cycle – lethargy, bit of grumpiness.

I’m trying to get mentally prepared for revision surgery on my chest, now only about a month or so away. I hate the recovery time and faff, so it takes a while of getting my head in the game so to speak. I want it done, I just wish it was a “snap fingers and voila” type thing.

Anxiety

I have not talked too much about this recently, but I feel things are improving steadily. I am still seeing a CPN and support worker every week, doing stuff like walks and going to coffee shops, having lunch places, trying to meet people etc. It’s getting me out and about and gently challenging me, proving that I can cope in situations I thought I would not cope in. As always, it seems the key is just exposure again and again and again until it’s second nature. I really have to work at it, particularly now when I have nothing I have to go to in terms of work or lectures.

Damn it, I really don’t think you can see my stubble in this pic….maybe in 2020.

Comparison Pic: day 21 vs day 560 (week 3 vs week 80)

 

 

The Creature & Darkness

Creature & Darkness

A creature steps out into the blinding light. Confident and aspirational, it soaks up the feelings of fresh air and a thousand possibilities. It’s shallow eyes and lack of lines the only indicators of a spring innocence, a lack of grasp on the firmness of the setting; the hardness. It trips. No problem, this creature is strong. It get’s up, a little shaken, but otherwise OK. The creature realises it should probably get moving..after all the light is blinding. Which way is out of the light? The door behind is shut. It starts walking, direction can hold no importance in a sitution like this. SLAM. It’s walked into a large metal lamp – the source of the light. What the fuck? The bulb flickers, then fails – *pinggg*. Darkness steps up in an instant, feeding time. Before the creature knows whats going on, darkness folds itself tight around it, squeezing and pushing, trapping the creature in it’s cloak. Panic takes hold and a coldness sets in, a damp kind that mixes with fear to create a sweet, tasty dish for the predator. Darkness starts dragging the creature away, feet first, further and further into it’s home. It dumps the creature and casually and very slowly starts picking out it’s brains – not it’s phyical brains, for it has no need for flesh – it’s the mind, it’s very existence it craves. The creature feels a tearing.. a hopeless loss. It shudders. Sometimes it puts up a fight and screams and squirms against its bindings. After a while, it just lies there and feels more and more empty, more confused and disillusioned.

Suddenly, something is wrong – darkness is in a mood, quite clearly more than a little pissed off. It has reached a part of the brain it can’t get to. The creature is subconsciously doing some bloody gnarly psychological gatekeeping. More time passes and darkness decides to get out it’s “Mind-Meal Problem Solving – Series 1” book. The creature stirs – noticing a relinquishing of pressure. Everything is still pitch black, of course, but it opens it eyes anyway, looking all around. Slowly, very slowly, it picks itself up and starts crouch-walking – again, in any direction. It keeps stumbling, shit scared and having no idea why it’s running or what/who it really is anymore. A light flickers. The creature is so un-accustomed to it that it shuts it’s eyes, squeezing them tight. The light then comes on, and stays on. Through shut eyes it follows the gradient between shadow and light. SLAM. It walks into a large metal lamp. Something registers in the creatures mind – quick as lighting it lights a candle. The light bulb flickers, then fails – *pinggg*. Darkness swoops and swoops, attacking at all angles. The creature holds up the faint light of the candle and shivers. It starts walking – it still does not have a direction, or a purpose – but for now, as long as the candle stays lit, that’s all that matters. The creature has just survived it’s early twenties.

Windemere, UK

Transition stuff

Well, I stuck two needles in myself. Result! (I realise I might have weird concepts of achievement) Last week I got to inject my Prostap jab and my Nebido jab, which means I can now self-inject at home at my leisure :-). I found that I’m a bit strange when it comes to needles – shoving one in me does not phase me in the slightest, if anything I feel a bit detached from it – like i’m focusing on doing it correctly to someone else.

  • Prostap – easy peasy. You snap a seperater in the needle and a powder and liquid mix. You screw the needle on. You then inject at a 90 degree angle, needle going 1/2 way in. Takes about 5 seconds to inject, then leave for 5 seconds to make sure the last bits absorb a bit. I felt nothing – seriously, nothing. Afterwards the arm turns kinda achy numb for a while. No biggy
  • Nebido – more complex! You have to draw up the liquid from a vial, then change needle. Push air bubbles out. Locate injection site and wipe clean (top quarter). Tense leg……then relaxxxxxx leg. And then stick a pretty large needle 3/4 way in (intramuscular). It’s thick, so you slowly inject over 1-2 minutes. It’s a bit of a balancing act, trying to push it in whilst making sure the needle does no poke in too far whilst leaning round at an odd angle. Then leave again for 5 seconds for absorption. Then slowly pull out. And let blood start pouring out! (ok, its best if this does not happen, as it means you have hit a vein/capillary, but its not the end of the world). Was told not to aspirate (pull back slightly) at the start as its now not NHS practice.  First 3 mls went in ok, the last 1ml was a bit harder, like my body was going “no more I tell you!!!“.  Just aches a bit now.

I just need to get everything sorted now for next time, like needles, syringes, set up getting the medication etc. It’s kinda irritating because I think I may be changing GP surgery before the date of my next shot. But i’m pretty good at not worrying about things in advance now.

Facial hair is coming on well, and i’ll have an update pic up next week. Maybe it’s a deciduous plant that comes into it’s own in summer?

More pointless trans rules

Last battle to be able to stay in Wales looks defeated. Despite studying here for a year and wanting to find a job round here, at least in the short term, I will have to move away in September. It’s all because of the differences in funding between NHS England and NHS Wales. With NHS England, you can go to any Gender Identidy Clinic (GIC) you choose. Being with a GIC is essential for your transition. It give you access to being assessed by a professional, which in turn gives you access to being prescribed hormones and being referred to surgery(s). NHS Wales don’t have their own GIC – they used to, but budget costs shut ’em down. Everyone in Wales wanting access to a GIC has to go to London Charing Cross, as this is the only GIC NHS Wales will fund.

Well“, says I originally, “this is fine, I am already with a GIC (further North), so NHS Wales will have to keep funding for me going to an ongoing secondary care unit

Computer say’s no“, says the system. “You have to cut off your care at the other GIC, spend 2 years on a waiting list to Charing Cross that is currently blocked/delayed for Welsh patients because of arguments over funding (heard through the grape vine), then have a starter meeting with Charing Cross, then on your second meeting start talking about referrals”

But…”

Computer say’s no

F*$)^£*

The problem I have, is that IF I were to get a referral for lower surgery, then I could get one in the next 4-8 months with my current GIC, compared to the circa 2.5 years if I swapped. That referrel would be the last thing I need the GIC for – my hormone care could now be taken on by an endocrinologist. It’s just so friggen awkward and annoying. It makes me feel trapped due my health care and it surprises me that NHS Wales can act like this towards transgender people from England, it’s basically pushing people like myself to stay away from the country. Surely the funding differences between a London clinic and a Northern clinic can’t be that different??? (if anything I would think the Northern ones to be cheaper).

I think the decision has probably been made by some finance minister people with no knowledge of trans issues, bogged down in bureaucracy, thinking it would make funding issues easier to concentrate on one clinic, where in reality it’s just caused one big headache. Particularly for recent graduates from Welsh Universities who have fallen in love with the country and are willing to invest their time in staying and calling it home. Rant over.

Lets insert a picture of me happily crabbing to lighten the mood.

Crabbing Seb (2)

Transition

I think being due my shot next week is making me snappier and sleepier. I have wayyyy less energy, which is shit because I have an exam on Saturday. I spent 3 hours during the day yesterday just sleeping.

I’m not nervous at all about self-injecting Nebido, I have a pretty high pain tolerance and needles don’t freak me out. Just wanna get it done. Bring on T-shot day.

My facial hair keep on coming through at the moment. It’s kinda fustrating though cause I can see the gains, but to someone 2 metres away there is nothing there, ‘cept maybe a bit of a moustache shadow.

I got misgendered this week

It was shit

I was working in a computer room with a woman beside me. A dude comes in with a woman, glances round the room, then say’s

“Are you ladies the only two in here?”

*Silence*

Then the woman beside the guy awkwardly said

“Umm, thats not a lady…”

He kinda mumbled some shit, and then they did some stuff on the computers in the room. When he spoke over to us again, he only ever looked at the woman near me. He would not look me in the eye AT ALL.

To be honest it really shook me up for an hour or two. I felt like I had been shot back a year and a half to the old struggles I thought I was way clear of. But i’ve spoken to a few people about it, and I think all that happened was:  he glanced real quick round the place – I dont have facial hair – maybe he just said it automatically…and I think he was pretty embarrassed afterwards – hence the no looking at me thing. So i’m OK, it has not dragged me down for weeks into a slump, it was just a bit of a jolt. And something that could have happened to a cis-guy, but without having the transition history, they would probably not think half as much about it as a personal thing than I did.

Anyway, I’m sure these blogs get longer the more work I have to do.. avoidance tactics!  See you next week 🙂

 

 

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.

 

1 year 6 months on Testosterone!

Woooo, has it really been that long? I think the last 6 months have flown by, most likely because of University. But I suppose it calls for a bit of a summary of how things are now.

  • I can’t remember the last time I was misgendered. This feels great and has given me much more confidence
  • My view on gender and labelling has changed and developed and I no longer care half as much as I used to about how far I fit into the “trans masculine” zone. I’m sure i’m in there, otherwise I would not want, need, enjoy all these physical changes, but I understand that alongside 99% of humanity,  I have a mix of gender traits and characteristics.
  • I’m much more sure of myself. With my added confidence I now am more likely to stand up for what I believe. It’s a long way from eloquent public persuasion, and I doubt i’m ever going to want to be someone like a politician etc, but I know I have a right to a view and to express it, without feeling embarrassed or ashamed to heads up with people who don’t agree.
  • My facial hair is no where near I expected it a year and a half in. I only had the low expectation of having a furry colony of trolls living in my flowing, slightly tapered and hansomely shaped beard. It seems to be taking off though, a combo of Nebido (which I have a feeling has increased my T levels) and Minoxidl have booted my face into gear. Although at the moment it seems to went to become a cotton plantation.
  • I’m not a big built guy, but I have bulked out. My shoulders mainly and upper arms. I do weights every other day (ish), the same kind of stuff that I used to do pre-T. Expect for now I can progress, lift more and put on more muscle.
  • I’m still mentally getting my head round all the possible surgery’s and the time and recovery. It affects a big chunk of your life if you choose the surgery routes. It adds a spanner in the works sometimes, and can limit and irritate and effect mental health too. At this stage in my transition, i’m starting to get into the thick of surgery decisions etc.
  • I’m still so happy I made the scary first step to start transitioning 🙂
  • I still can’t bring myself to like the Trans flag – to me it just reinforces the idea of gendered colours to the wider public – a rediculous “belief” that is already too widespead. But I’m not going to stress about it, it is what it is!
  • I’m hairy – and the body hair growth never stops!
  • I eat more
  • I sweat more
  • I smell more
  • Testosterone has not changed me – like the core of me, who I am.  I was a bit worried about this pre-T… would I loose the person I feel I am inside? But instead, all thats happened it that person who is me can express themselves more openly and freely.
  • I no longer get so worked up going into mens bathrooms. It used to scare the shit outta me. Even when I started been seen as male. Now I just go in, and if cubicles are in use, I don’t wait inside, I tend to go outside and hang around for a while and check again after 5 mins. Then I just get a bit nervy about how i’m going to find a loo if they are STILL occupied.
  • I want to get to know more transguys more than ever. The more I travel down the transitioning pathway the more I feel connected to other people going through it too. I want to share with people who understands the accumulation of highs, lows and everything inbetween.

On other news the house move went well, although it threw me for a few days trying to settle into everything new. I love the view and the space. I had a bit of a down this week with the walking group i’ve been going to – freaked out a bit and had to go back home. Don’t think i’m going again. But to be honest it has not got me half as down as it would have in the past.

OK, so from now on pictures once a month. Spare you the horrors! Anyway, i’m off for a swim 🙂 (unfortunately a pool this time, not a lake)

Comparison Pic: day 1, day 182, day, 364, day 532  (week 1, week 26, week 52, week 76) Start – 6 months – 1 year – 1 year 6 months

Moving home! 引っ越しする!

Today i’m finally moving out of this tiny, cramped, windowless room and moving into a reasonably large airy room with a double bed and a window with a view to the sea!

Things are a bit crazy, I’m writing this surrounded by boxes and loose items flung around the room, and i’m mid way through cleaning surfaces,  floors, cupboards and sills. Tucked in the corner is my dissertation and module work from the 1/2 inch of desk space i’ve been doing my work on. A “man with a van” is coming at some point, not sure when yet, and hauling this stuff about 5 minutes across town – with me helping (to make it cheaper), so let’s hope I don’t do my back in. It’s a forced move, the landlord wanted the property back, so I had to find another property for only a few months whilst I finish off Uni here. Least the new place looks like an upgrade.

In two months time, no more studying, no more dissertation, just….life. Work. It’s really strange. The job hunt continues, and i’m getting a little bit more edgy to find one every day. A bit concerned that my top surgery revision is going to be around the time that i’m planning on starting a job. But for now, there is nothing I can do about it.

It’s something that is really a pain in the ass with medically transitioning, all these appointments and recovery time don’t sit well with the modern world. These days you can’t take time out and not expect it to impact on your job/work. The only way to lessen the impact is to go slow and time it well, so your not at your worst when you need to be at your best (although cancelled/delayed apps/ops are always a possibility).

I had my bloods taken this week to check my levels now i’m on Nebido. It’s the 8 week mark. And I need to get some more done in 4 weeks for the 3 month mark when I have my shot. I’m hoping everything is going smoothly, i’m so busy I really can’t deal with adjusting stuff. It’s fine. I’m sure.

I have come to the decision to stop posting weekly pictures from the 1 year 6 months on testosterone stage, which is next week, and just start posting a picture once a month. I think it’s got to that stage now where stuff is so slow only monthly (if not more) pictures will show any difference. Hopfully I will have other interesting pics to post!

I was meant to go on another group walk this week, practice my socialising! But it got cancelled cause of the weather (I get the feeling this might be a reoccurring theme), and I can’t have my usual meet with support worker this week because of the move. Things should get back on track next week.

Transition wise, facial hair progress is really making me happy. I continue to rub in 0.5ml of Minoxidl every day, and more and more stuff keeps sprouting out – most of it light and fluffy peach fuzz – but a few are starting to turn darker. No other noticable changes.

Comparison Pic: day 35 vs day 525 (week 5 vs week 75)