Saturday, June 10, 2017

I Am Yet Alive

I know! It's been almost three months!

I feel like such a stronger, more confident person than when I was writing in here regularly, and I want to talk about that for the sake of any new trans girl (young or old) who might be reading this.

The whole reason I write here, and believe so deeply in discarding my own privacy, is because there are so few people who expose the changes that have taken place in their bodies as publicly as I have sometimes needed in order to understand where I'm at or what I can expect to happen to me as I continue down the rabbit hole. I know why other women have been closed-mouthed about their bodies and transition, and I don't begrudge anyone for retaining their privacy. I question myself quite a lot about my decision to be so public about my changes, but in the end, I always find myself convinced entirely that I'm doing the right thing for other women out there who wish to follow the same path that I find myself on.

Simply put, my goal is to get trans women to come out at a younger age than I did - which I didn't have the courage to do until I was 27.

So, in the section below, and over three consecutive posts, I want to go over some of the biggest issues I dealt with initially - both before I was on hormones versus where I'm at now.

1. Body Image.
Going back to some of the earliest posts that I made, body image was one of the biggest things that I felt negative about. I felt terrible that I had no breasts, I felt awful that I hadn't had the gender reassignment surgery, my body hair still grew like a wild-fire that I struggled to keep up with... Basically, everything about my body felt male still, and I felt as though I was only feminine in my soul. Because of this, I wore a lot of spanx and other shape-wear to try and impose non-existent curves on my body; I wore breast inserts to help me feel less self conscious about my flat chest; I would drive myself MAD shaving tirelessly every day.

It's now been almost five months since I've been on hormones, and almost two months since I've doubled my dosage of estrogen (preparation that adds estrogen to my body) and spironolactone (preparation that blocks testosterone production) and there have been a whole slough of changes that have taken place inside of me and have helped to diminish my feelings of inadequacy.

Highest on the list of alterations that hormones have caused is the fact that I have developed my own breasts, and while they're not huge, they're unmistakably there. They're sore all the time and itch almost constantly, but no matter what, this has been one of my most dearly beloved improvements yet. Sometimes they jiggle and I bump them into things, but I love them always. When I look back to the me that wore fake breasts, I actually don't feel silly at all. I have no idea HOW good or bad they looked on me - I have no time whatsoever for such a useless level of self-analysis - but I wanted so badly to have breasts that I wore them for as long as I felt like I needed them. I had a deficiency and they helped fill that.

After breasts, I would say that the next antagonist to my self-esteem was the fact that I had no feminine curves to speak of. That, too, has changed as my body has moved existing body fat around my figure to give me what I fancy calling a delicious ass and shapely legs. I feel like my waist has slimmed down by enough that I have a very slight hourglass shape.

I've mentioned it before, but my body hair has changed even more than the last time I made a post on here. My chest hair is growing back lighter and thinner and so is my back hair. Additionally, my arm hair, leg hair and facial hair take longer to regrow, and my facial hair has also become more blonde and less apparent when it DOES grow back.

I want to mention that my skin is now even softer than many women who were assigned female at birth. This is huge, and I'll touch on it more in a little bit, but it's done wonders for my sense of body positivity.

Finally, and I think the most crucial thing that any trans person in general ought to do, is to practice self-love. Yes, look yourself in the mirror and identify things that you appreciate about your body. Find five things that make you feel valid, pretty (or manly, respectively) or like the gender that you identify with. Only after you have done that do you have the right to discuss with yourself the reasonable things that you can change, and come up with ways that you can effect the change that you desire.

For me, when I do this exercise, I focus on the following things that I love about myself (go on! Look in the mirror and find the things that are adorably yours):

  • I have clear skin. The only acne I've ever had to deal with are the occasional blemishes around my mouth and on my neck. 
  • My nose is gorgeous. SERIOUSLY. I love my nose. It's like, the perfect size and shape no matter what gender I have been perceived as. 
  • I like my eyes. I've always found them to be gorgeously dark in color, and pleasantly round in shape. I can do some serious puss-in-boots eyes with these peeps of mine. 
  • My freckles are a feature that I've probably undervalued all my life. They're a blessing!
  • I love my eyebrows. They're naturally full, thick and while I spend hours and hours of my life plucking them into shape, the abundance really gives me a lot to work with as far as style goes.

Next, I make up a list of things that I dislike about my body and that I can reasonably and realistically change. 

  • I dislike that I have a penis. 
  • I hate that I'm tall.
  • I hate hate hate having facial hair
  • My back and chest are densely forested with hair 
  • I hate that my shoulders are so wide
  • I hate that cute clothes don't fit me (I used to be a size 16-18 with the fashion sense of a size 4)
  • My feet are so huge I can only get extra large sizes that cost significantly more
  • My hair has thinned dramatically on the top of my head
This is a list of issues I have with my own body. I've crossed out the things that I can't change, and left the items that I can reasonably and realistically change. Everything else on this list has a solution that I can pursue in the short term or the long term - and I hate to break it to you, but there are a lot of things in the trans world that take a lot of time, patience and hard work to achieve. With that in mind, I'll rearrange my list to go from short term to long term and provide solutions I can pursue immediately and work towards over time:
  • My hair has thinned dramatically on the top of my head
    • Wigs! Head-wraps! Vintage hats! Extensions! Sew-in hair pieces! There are so many immediate options for hair loss!
  • I hate that I'm tall.
    • I can't change that. No surgery can. There's anecdotal evidence that a few inches can be lost over an extended period of time on hormones, but no surgery can alter this. Instead, I tell myself that I'm model height, and that is literally true. Models are tall :)
  • I hate hate hate having facial hair
    • Shave that shit away! There are also a lot of hair removal products that work well for extended results. Pursuing these while estrogen takes its toll on your follicles while you save for permanent hair removal like laser or electrolysis can help you ward off that gross, five-o'clock-dysphoria.
  • My back and chest are densely forested with hair
    • I've just started trading foot rubs for back-hair removal with my mother. I'll give her a fantastic foot rub for fifteen minutes and she'll lather hair removal cream on the patches of my back that need attention. There are always salons that will wax your back and chest, and while this generally isn't a very cheap option, you'll see up to a week or two without hair because each strand has been entirely removed. Once again, you can do things like this with loved ones or relatives while you save up for a permanent solution.
  • I hate that my shoulders are so wide
    • Another thing that's impractical for me to spend emotional energy on. I can't change this with surgery, but there's scientific evidence that muscles will slenderize from a bulky, masculine looking frame as testosterone leaves one's system. My shoulder bones may always be the same size, and that's okay, because plenty of women have wider shoulders.
  • I hate that cute clothes don't fit me
    • While I doubt I will ever be a size four, I can attest to the fact that if you're determined and want it enough you can lose whatever weight you need to in order to get to a size you'll be satisfied with. I swear, for almost three months I ate like a rabbit and biked like a mad-woman and saw some serious results. There's a high chance that hormones will also help you lose weight or move weight to more desirable places. Finally, there are so many more plus-sized clothing companies nowadays that have some really cute fare while you work on that killer bod. Can I recommend Forever 21+? I got my favorite pair of destroyed jeans there!
  • My feet are so huge I can only get extra large sizes that cost significantly more
    • This is another thing I can't adjust about myself. Anecdotal evidence indicates that some women lose a shoe size or two over an extended period of time on hormones, but in the mean time there are many chain shoe stores that have larger sizes. Payless, American Eagle.... They exist. 
  • I dislike that I have a penis
    • That's the big one (that was an unintentional pun, but I'm leaving it cause I giggled XD) that I deal with, and have come to be okay with the fact that I might have to think about the final solution in terms of a 2-5 year plan. Until then, and this is gonna sound weird, but incorrect as she may be, I refer to what I currently have in female terms. I call her Thumbelina, my pretty little princess, princess penis, lady cock, princess pendants, girl sword... the list goes on. When I talked about self-love earlier I also meant self-love literally. After I came out I honestly didn't touch myself for about three months, Which was really unusual for me. Once I was ready to start pleasuring myself again, it was very different and based around different stimuli than before. After starting hormones, especially, I noticed that my climaxes were more in depth emotionally and less about visual arousal. After four months, I hardly ejaculate anything at all when I orgasm. In fact, I've had a few amazing experiences where my entire orgasm was centered around emotions and stimulating my nipples. Until you know what your insurance covers and what plans you can purchase or areas you can move to that will cover the cost, the above things have helped me come to terms with having - for the time being - the incorrect genitalia.
Once again, this serves as kind of a time capsule of how I'm feeling and perceiving my world after a little bit more than 4 1/2 months on hormones. Most importantly, however, I hope that this post, along with the posts before it, all serve to give other trans women - or loved ones of trans women - an idea as to what the first four to five months on HRT might look like. I would stress the word "might" because your body could react to hormones on a completely different timeline than mine. This has simply been my experience so far, and I hope it helps someone :)

I'll be following up with two more parts after this one that delve into the topic of emotional changes and physiological changes

Stay tuned, dolls! And if anyone has anything that they've personally experienced in the first four months of MtF hormone replacement therapy, please add your tales below <3

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Meanwhile, In the Life of Aubrey...

My last post was 21 days ago.

I feel so bad about that.

BUT I have some cool things to discuss with you all.

Following the candid style of this blog, I want to update you all on some of the changes that I've been seeing with HRT, and I do this very intentionally. Allow me to explain why:

There are many who believe that it's absolutely wrong to ask a trans person about their genitals or surgeries. I obviously get why celebrities like Laverne Cox refuse to answer direct questions about their genitalia, but I think that you need to address the reason why people ask those types of questions. People don't know enough about the trans timeline and the entire transition process. I don't think a lot of trans people know what to expect when they start on the yellow brick road - I know I didn't!

I am candid on this blog because I think of the closeted people like I was - who are ignorant, afraid to start transition, don't feel like they could ever look womanly or like their true gender etc. I am candid because I feel like people in general would ask less blunt questions if the average person knew just a little more about trans people than they do now.

In other words I'm laying my privacy on the altar in an attempt to distribute knowledge to the masses. It's a terribly heroic thing I'm doing and you should all be thinking very highly of me at this point :p

On December fifth, 2016 I started living full time as Aubrey Marie Kesler. On February seventh I started hormone replacement therapy via 2mg of Estradiol (estrogen) and 100 mg of Spironolactone (testosterone blocker). So in all, I've been full time for 4 months and my body has been affected by female hormones and loss of male hormones for a month and two weeks.

I've seen a lot of different changes in that time.

I think the biggest change that I've seen has had nothing to do with hormones at all, but more to do with the fact that I'm more comfortable being who I am in a public setting. I was reading through the earlier posts I've made here and I realized that my self-confidence has blossomed so much since I first started writing.

I am who I am now; Sometimes I don't even think about it. There are days when I'll finish my makeup, go to work and just do my job, feeling inwardly like any other person. It's only when I catch my reflection in the mirror and I'm surprised at the woman staring back at me that I remember that things are relatively still new to me.

I've noticed that there's a difference in how people treat me based on how much makeup I wear. When I make a bigger effort to contour my face perfectly - wear blush, highlighter and apply darker skin tones to make the angles on my face pop - I get less stares, I pass better and I even get men flirt with me. I kid you not, women will look at me as a rival and I've gotten the look from a few girls who feel threatened by me.

Last night I went to pick up Thai food for my family. There was a couple sitting in the back of the room who saw me come in. I had no makeup on - no stubble, but no makeup. The girl, who was seated facing me, smiled, and texted her boyfriend. He turned around rather obviously and looked at me, then the two shared some laughs at my expense.

I don't believe she would have even pointed me out if I had been in full glory. She might have given me the competitive assessment: an evaluating stare starting at my feet and ending at the top of my head. I don't believe she would have pointed me out - not in a million years - if she felt threatened by me.

I've gotten better at interpreting the kinds of attention that I get, which has taken a huge load off of my anxiety.

Having noticed how a higher visual standard allows me to fly under the radar more, I've observed that most of the stares that I get are from men. Yes, in this red state, the same men who are probably in support of having me use zero public restrooms, not have insurance and all sorts of other hateful things based upon their faith in God are the ones who check me out on the sly. Ironic? Definitely.

Women pay me no mind, unless it's to evaluate me as a rival. Even women who disapprove of my life don't give me much attention. During interactions they'll afford me all the niceties and politeness they can, but make no mistake: they are gestures that come off as curt and are shallow in nature.

But enough of that, now for the juicy stuff:

During my time on HRT, as I've lost testosterone, I've noticed for one that my physical strength is fading. Things that were once light are now more of a struggle to lift. The same bike route I took before HRT is slightly more challenging after HRT. This is because I've been losing muscle mass. My arms are thinner, and so are my legs, even though I've kept them strong by doing an average of about 16 to 20 miles a week on my bike.

My breasts are growing, and because of this, my nipples are soooo tender. Every. Single. Day. They might not be growing by much, but they're definitely growing. Their shape is more sloped and perky at the nipple than before. The areola is larger and more defined than it ever was when I was a man.

My penis is shrinking, and the scent down there has changed drastically. It smells like I have a vagina.

My hips and butt have been more padded with fat by my body. This is one of the reasons why I no longer care what I eat lol. In fact, bring on the twinkies! I want a nice ass, and now, everything I eat is going to go directly to my hips and curves!

My facial hair is thinner, as is my body hair. I have bald patches on my chest where hair just doesn't grow anymore.

MY SKIN IS SOFTER. I love this change soooo much. All over my body, my skin has softened tremendously. Now, when I apply lotion, I will literally sit there and rub my hands together and just revel in the texture of my skin like an Olay commercial haha XD

My emotions are stronger. I find that on many occasions I'm just a melted fudgesicle of feels. Sometimes for no reason at all. I'll be thinking about life and I just want to cry for some reason, even though I've had nothing go wrong throughout the day. Things affect me more, be it movies, sad news, seeing a homeless person etc.

I will never get a period in my life, but once the introduction of estrogen to my body normalizes, I'll get a monthly cycle with my hormones that will affect my mood and even register with physical side effects like upset stomach etc. In the meantime, however, it's like a constant round of emotional highs and lows and I kid you not for the last like two weeks I've been so gassy and my stomach has just been a little bitch.

I've noticed that I am socialized with differently. Men treat me with the respect they'd offer to a lady - trying not to swear or be vulgar around me, apologizing for dirty jokes they might tell or just being more formal with me. Women relate with me almost automatically. The other day I met this lady for the first time in my life, in a professional setting, and in the first few minutes of our acquaintance she started talking about how she'd been laid up with cramps earlier in the week. Women in the workplace take me in as their own and I'm part of team girl power. This is probably what I love the most.

Being one of the girls is what I've always wanted, but because I appeared as a man, it was impossible for me to be admitted into the sorority, no matter how womanly I was in my heart and soul. I did not go through the trials that women face on a daily basis: being talked down to by men (happens all the time now, and it's so fucking annoying - sorry for swearing, Grandma!) getting creeped out by pervy wankers, feeling unsafe at night or while alone with strangers, having political parties try to invade my personal space and dictate what I can and can't do with my body and, of course, dealing with complex emotions around the subtleties of life. But now I do.

I finally feel like I belong. I feel different a LOT, and it's weird sometimes, but I finally have the peace of mind that I'm living in a way that expresses who I am inside, what I'm all about and that allows me to be who I feel like I truly am.

Life is wonderful when it all clicks into place.

Love you all!

Aubrey <3

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Update on My Life

Hello everyone!

So I just wanted to update some of you on some of the most recent changes that have been happening in my life.

ICOB - Intergalactic Cafe of Breakfast... I no longer work there. They weren't supplying me with enough hours at all. I was making shitty money and working at a job that made me anxious all day. I loved the people there, but found that I didn't have much time to talk and meet people that I worked with and build relationships as I'm wont to do at any place of work I find myself at. I made this decision when I got a call from Yahtzee Pizza Co. in response to an application that I had filled out a few weeks earlier. They wanted to know if I was still interested in working as an assistant manager, I said yes and that's where I'm at now!

Yahtzee Pizza Co. is a pizza chain that delivers pizza to any dimension, alternate universe or temporal address that you feel would be benefited by the presence of a perfectly delicious slice of pizza (I believe I've mentioned before that I never associate ANY social media accounts with my real place of work. This is all fictitious lol)

It's interesting because the first job I ever took was at Papa George's Pizza, and now, as my new self, I'm back in pizza again. It's almost exactly the same gig, down to how they toss their dough and what abbreviations they use for their toppings. I love slapping out the dough because it's so sentimental. Reminds me of when I was a kid (12 years ago >.< I'm so old ugh) and would just throw dough and listen to music while I worked. I find myself doing that now, and singing along as I run around the store... It's great.

I love that I'm not in a packed restaurant like I was at ICOB, because that made me really anxious. I remember I seated this one really country looking couple and they gave me this grossed out look, and the next thing I knew they abandoned their seat and went somewhere else.

That made me feel shitty.

I just felt anxious being under the eyes of so many people. I would get stares and then I would get compliments and then I got one person who thought he was cute and decided to call me "he" and then hastily corrected himself and called me "she" as though he were some smartass who was in on some joke with the rest of the patrons of the restaurant. It was a roller-coaster of emotions and I had to prepare myself for it every day.

At Yahtzee Pizza Co. I don't come into contact with the general public quite as much as I did at ICOB, which to me is a good thing. If I'm feeling stressed before I go into work (which I often do - thanks, Estradiol :p) I can just turn on my music, say hi to my work-family and get busy doing work. That often distracts me from all my other hormonal insecurities and episodes of self-doubt.

The people are really great there. The store manager recently took an effort that none of my previous employers have done: and that is to change my name in the computer system so that the schedule and order screens read Aubrey Kesler instead of Frederick Kesler! It makes me feel good, and I was so pleased to see it in the computer today.

I was so pleased, in fact, that I took a picture:

Isn't it pretty!? That's my name :)

It also feels weird. Every little change I go through I get that "omg, this is happening!" feeling. I don't know if I always have a handle on how huge every moment of my life is right now. HUGE. 

Like, this is step one in my process of changing my name and gender legally. After that, I will never be Frederick the boring, depressed and frumpy male. 

AHHH it's just so exciting! Taking steps like this towards a larger goal is soooo incredible. Pretty soon I'm going to have to get a new driver's license because my old WA state one expires on my birthday, which is only nine days from now. 

At that point, I'll have the right picture on my ID but the wrong name and gender. It'll be interesting for a while until I get those things changed. 

Anyways, that's about all the energy that I have for the evening. Most of what I'm doing these days is getting trained up for shifts where I'm all by myself. 

Goodnight my dears!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Facebook Notes

Soooo. I am thinking of writing a book or publishing a compendium of all my blogs at some point in the future, so I'm posting some important notes I've written on Facebook so I won't lose track of them.

Feb 18th, 2017 - A Saturday, 4:08 PM, and was edited on Feb 21st 2017 - A Tuesday, 10:48 PM

This is a novel, so bring your reading glasses.
I am stressed. And I'm going to be so honest about things and discuss my life openly with you all because you know me, and you're all friends and family to me.
There's so much going on in my life right now and nothing at all going on, either. I have days where I sit to myself all day and just listen to music and think about things. Somehow, though, with all my time to think about things I haven't been able to catch up on the backlog of thoughts and events and themes that I need to review and process.
First of all there's my marriage. It's over. I've cauterized the wound where Mallory was attached to my heart and I'm not shedding any more tears about it. But there's still the dull ache, and the phantom sensations to consider when you've lost something like that. It's one of the things in my life that will just start whirling in the back of my heart. Mallory visited UT with me a few times, and I'll be somewhere and think "the last time I was here I was another person entirely, and Mallory was here with me."
My transition happened so fast for a few reasons: first of all, the elation of finally being my true self just made me want to charge down the path. Secondly, the fact that as soon as I came out, the decision was made to divorce. No questions. Divorce. I see why it had to happen that way, but it was such an instantaneous switch - literally one day we were cuddling in bed and the next day we had made a decision. I slept on the couch from there on out and there was suddenly this gap between us that felt wide, and awful, and breathtaking like those times you fell off the monkey bars as a kid and your lungs were suddenly empty. I had nothing else left to do but transition and explore who I am in order to distract my heart from feeling.
That created a situation where now, I'll be walking around and catch my reflection or hear my voice and all I'm faced with is a stranger. A lovely, beautiful stranger who I am dying to meet, but a stranger nonetheless. There's still so much I don't know about myself because my thoughts have never been allowed to visit certain parts of who I am. All my life I feel like I've been living in a palace and inhabiting only a couple rooms out of the entire set of galleries, libraries, common rooms and staterooms. All these unexplored parts of myself that I haven't navigated or discovered become overwhelming. I kid you not, my whole life I've been playing defensively. During interactions with people, I'll be waiting to see who is what kind of person, what I should and shouldn't say around them, what they'll find funny etc. It all sounds very calculating and cold and disingenuous but it was from the perspective of "how much of me will they really like? Where should I stop being myself and just be who they will agree to like?" Can you imagine having so much shame about who you are that you coat yourself in lines of black redaction? So many lines it's like you're looking between a set of blinds at the world you won't let yourself experience, and a world you won't let experience you as a person.
Who am I?
I'm worried about money. My bank account has been overdrawn by $300.00 since the beginning of the month, and that's just the beginning. I have huge debt left over from the marriage: credit cards, the leasing company I rented from while I was on my own, now the IRS because somehow our jobs didn't withhold enough from our checks (why? Don't ask me) and I need to pay for prescriptions and doctors visits out of pocket with financial aid filling in the gaps. I hate. Owing. People. Money. Hate it. I feel so out of control and like such a failure. I have never been this in the red in my life and it scares the shit out of me. You don't just take a life that you thought would move along a single trajectory for a long term that you've made major financial commitments to and just turn on a dime.
But, I'm starting a second job and then I'll be working my way (slowly) out of the hole. The meantime is just ridic tho.
I am so insecure all of a sudden. I wonder how people perceive me a lot. I know I shouldn't invest so much time and energy in something like this - it's futile. People are going to think what they think. But I want to be liked. I like just about everyone, it's very hard for me to dislike someone. A person really has to WORK on getting me to dislike them. I just love people, and find each person I meet so fascinating and valuable. I want warmth between myself and all those around me, and it hurts that there are people out there who will disagree to who I am and prejudge me.
I'm scared to death of haters. I prepare myself for that one time when that one psycho, angry asshole is going to just go off on me because they feel like they're required to take a moral stand to my life. Despite being treated so decently by the people in my work life, and the public in general, I constantly prepare myself for an attack, and that level of alertness is so draining.
The feeling of vulnerability is so real to me. I have never had to worry about what time of night I'm out, when it gets dark, where I'm walking or who is following me. I've never felt so required to carry pepper spray and a knife with me at all times.
Everything is so different all so quickly and I'm just struggling to catch up and not blow off steam in harmful ways or drown my emotions in behaviors that are (really) addictive and harmful.
SIGH. Thanks for listening, folks. I'll be fine, I just need to vent. And sometimes I crash the car into a ditch, and write long shit like this from my perch in the impact crater.
I realize that when I wrote this I was in my feelings a little bit too much and I want to set the record straight about how things ended with Mallory.
I wrote " Secondly, the fact that as soon as I came out, the decision was made to divorce. No questions. Divorce. I see why it had to happen that way, but it was such an instantaneous switch - literally one day we were cuddling in bed and the next day we had made a decision."
This deserves a little more clarity, and I say this because I don't want to denigrate the character of my ex-wife. I respect the hell out of her and I want there to be no mistake about that.
The conversation around divorce had been happening for a few months. I think it only became real to me once we'd both reached the point of decision. Like a cloud of toxic rain hovering over our heads, it only dropped on us after Mallory had coaxed the truth out of me about my desire and need to transition.
As I'm sure you can imagine there are a lot of emotions that take place in a divorce. There are two sides to the whole story and sometimes there's no one who is at fault. I am not the most mature person, I have no illusions about that, and I'm afraid that because I've felt hurt about losing the life that we had planned on, I've bemoaned my own afflictions - at the risk of Mallory and her reputation.
I don't want anyone to leave this post thinking that Mallory screwed me or that she was callous or cold in saying that she couldn't tolerate living her life with another woman. I couldn't live the rest of my life as a man just as much as she isn't attracted to women.
My lasting idea of Mallory will always be that she's the most fair person I've ever met in my life. I've always liked to say that everyone on Earth is doing life for the first time. Despite this fact, Mallory was exceptionally adult about her emotions, in a way that I could scarcely attain to.

Feb 23rd, 2017 - A Thursday at or Around 10:00 PM
Had an interesting moment today. I caught sight of myself in the mirror and noticed that I looked pretty feminine. Surprisingly, I was kind of weirded out by it.
Transition is a strange journey. Sometimes I feel like I'm walking along a straight road with no landmarks to judge my progress by, and I want so badly to get to the destination and just be finished with the journey. And then there are moments when I realize that I am changing, and little things about me are different from day to day... and it's weird. Today I asked myself if this is what I really want.
I thought about what it would be like if I were to detransition. Would that make me happy? I'm not unhappy now, but life certainly isn't easy. There's just so much to adjust to that sometimes it's a little overwhelming.
I'm shy now; at work and in public. I wasn't that way before. I was confident, outgoing and afraid of nothing. Sometimes I get so exhausted with all the attention that I get that I don't even want to go out to get things that I need. And then there's sex and romance.
Huge question mark. I used to think that I was mostly attracted to women and kinda only a little attracted to men but now I find myself thinking more about being with a man than anything else.
I was at a gay bar the other day with friends and this group of lesbians were hitting on me. One of them was reallly cute but I had no idea what to say or how to act. I found myself looking at the men in the room more than the women. Like, I was on the same team as the women and to have thoughts about them would just be like... friendly fire?
Life used to be simpler. I kinda miss that. If there's any shadow of doubt about what I want from life I should address those now. The changes I'm going through only get more permanent from here on out.
Thoughts such as these kind of tumbled around in my head today. Then I came home and listened to Daughter (cool indie band that in a few years I'll be able to say I liked before they were a cool indie band) and was looking at some of their cover art. I found myself looking at the female lead vocalist and thought "aw, she's so cute, I want her earrings..." and that confirmed it to me:
Yep. I'm a chick ;P
It's weird, though, watching myself change. My facial hair has bald patches in it and my arm hairs are mostly all blonde now. I haven't shaved my thighs in a few days and it's like nbd. Is it okay that I'm as comfortable with this as I am? Should I be panicking about this? I feel like I should be worried but I'm totally not, I'm actually pretty elated about all of these events!
Damn, these hormones are putting me through mood swings! I don't know if it's the Spiro or the Estradiol but I will get so anxious and worked up to the point where at times I cannot abstain from giving people the bitchy stink eye. It's like the connection between my emotions and my face are temporarily a lightning rod! I feel something and then BAM it's registering on my face. I used to be so in control of that shit! I was so proud of the fact that I could be reeling inside and having an emotional crisis and I was still able to present a cool, calm demeanor no matter WHAT.
I feel like my emotions have become more complex. It's like comparing a pole driven in the ground to a sapling that's taken root throughout the earth in a delicate web of life. I don't know how else to describe it because I just don't know how to articulate in plain words what the contrast feels like.
It's a wild ride, and as I reflect on all this I realize that there's no reason I should feel like I'm lost on a straight line and going in no direction whatsoever. Sooo much is happening, so much is changing and it's taking effect at the deepest levels of my identity.


Here's to the future!!

~Aubs <3


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hormones Update and Aubrey's Plan of Attack!!

Good morning everyone!

So I posted in my last blog about some of the changes I've seen while on hormones thus far. It has now been two full weeks since starting 2mg Estradiol and 100mg Spiro' (I think I may have posted 200mg elsewhere; according to my medicine bottle it is 100mg) and what I've started to notice in just the past few days is that I am always soo tired. Like, getting out of bed in the morning is a mortal struggle. I've done some research and I believe it's because my testosterone levels are starting to drop, which would account for my lack of energy.

I continue to be amazed at the regrowth rate of my body hair - not only how long it takes to grow back, but the quality of hair when it does come back. I used to shave every other day or else my arms would start to have barbs of dark hair that would stick to my clothes or, I don't know, sand through a block of wood. Now, however, it's been two days since I shaved and there are still parts of my arms that are mostly bald. The areas that do have a lot of regrowth are few and the hair that has come back is so much more supple despite its short length.

I think I have just now begun to feel moody and close to tears over stupid shit lol. I was lying in bed last night before I was about to sleep and was thinking of who knows what and just started getting worked up about it. I cannot even tell you what it was, the topic was so minuscule, but I was relating my own anxieties to it and was getting so stirred up in self reflection. The struggle is what I remember because this morning I woke up and it was like the morning after you'd done something terrible like wreck the family car. You have that moment where your stomach is full of dread and you wonder why, and then it all hits you like an avalanche of memories... but in this case it was just me getting worked up while thinking about some airy dichotomy I can't even remember. The worst part is, I'm like still feeling the battle scars!

I haven't noticed anything with my boobs yet. My areolas maybe feel a little softer, but that could just be my imagination. I'm kind of obsessed with keeping track of their growth and status lol.

So that's my hormone situation. Now for my plan of attack!

Every trans girl has different ideas on what points they want to hit before they feel like they're completely transitioned to the gender they identify with. For some, this includes a lot of surgeries like facial feminization surgery (FFS), breast implants, orchiectomy, gender reassignment surgery, the list goes on. Some girls decide to have no surgery and just take hormones, it's all very different and is really a per person process. And then there are legal things like changing name and gender on their license, birth certificate social security card etc.

Below is my transition plan, including all the legal steps and whatnot.

  •  Come out as trans  (killed that shit!)
  • Begin living full time  (I slay everyday, it's what I DO!)
  • Hormone replacement therapy  (I'm chemically turning into a woman XD)
  • Start corset training to achieve that hourglass look
  • Legal name and gender change
  • (maybe start doing laser hair removal depending on how my face and body hair are affected by hormones)
  • Breast implants
  • gender reassignment surgery
It all seems rather easy when laid out in such a simple format, but I know that there are so many gross, nasty steps to be taken changing my name and gender. And then, of course, the surgeries and laser I want will cost money. Sometimes insurance will cover some of these and sometimes it won't. 

Siiiiigghhh. It's not easy crossing the gulf of gender.

But it can be so much fun! Clothes shopping is the best now. I seriously used to look on in envy at all the beautiful clothes I wanted to wear from the women's section and it was like this hopeless, hollow longing that I never imagined could be fulfilled. But here I am, living my life the way I always should have and learning that sometimes, your wildest dreams do come true.

And that's what it's all about. I just have to remember that in the hard or awkward times (that happen often >.<)

Thanks again for reading!

~Aubs <3

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hormones and an Update

First of all, I would like to mention that five days ago is the three month mark for my transition! Wooo!

It's been such an exciting three months so far. It feels natural to me. Like life finally just feels normal and I don't see how it's possible that it's only been three months that I've been living life this way. This brings me to a strange phenomenon I've been having while out in public.

As I've discussed in previous posts, I notice when people are shocked when they see me. This used to be something that was a huuge inconvenience. Now, however, it's more of a surreal experience. I feel 100% normal now, and when people get shocked by seeing me or  - gasp - misgender me, instead of thinking "you're making me feel like shit rn" my reaction is more along the lines of "oh. This isn't totally normal for everyone."

I FEEL SO OKAY WITH WHO I AM. And that's such an eerie feeling. After 28 years of mixed emotions and an insatiable, dull ache in my breast I finally feel okay with myself. Like, do I wake up from this at some point? I hope not. If I'm in a dream within a dream like Vanilla Sky or Inception then please just leave me here, I'm having such a good time :)

I've had a few funny moments since I posted last:

One was going to the shoe store and feeling awkward in the men's section. Like, awkward in the same way that it used to be for me to go shopping in the women's section while presenting as a male. That was kind of a head trip role reversal lol.

The other day I was cleaning a table at the diner I work at and a guy sitting at the table next to me decided to ignore the people he was seated with and strike up a conversation with me. It was awkward a little lol but I was like "okayyy. I see what you're doing there, sir." :p

I went on a bike ride through the valley the other day and had a moment of realization about myself and how people perceive me.

I was wearing this v-neck exercise shirt with leggings, a bun and simple foundation/lipstick/mascara combo. I won't lie, I have a good figure when I get into like form fitting stuff and I love the hell out of it lol. As I was biking along I started taking tallies of who was looking at me, what their features said and what gender they were. This is important. It's not just vain self-flattery. I legitimately want to know where I stand when it comes to passing or not.

My findings are that mostly, women do not even give me a second look, if I get a first look at all. Men, however, always look in my direction. If I don't catch them staring, I catch them "looking both ways" or "looking at the scenery behind you"

I wasn't born yesterday. I used to do this (and sometimes still do?) to people I'm checking out. The question is, what are they seeing when they do look at me. Spectacle or Sinner?

I define a spectacle as a positive thing. A very base level of positive, mind you. Nothing to be super excited about at the lightest interpretation: something beautiful in an abstract way that demands attention, even if only out of curious, mystified intrigue. At best, a spectacle can be genuinely beautiful, attractive and a romantic hopeful. So, if I'm turning heads and people are at least seeing a spectacle, I can live with that.

I have, unfortunately, gotten the sinner reaction. I was cleaning tables last Friday and I heard the word "faggot" drift towards me from an anonymous table. I turned around to see who might have said it but whoever it was had no intention of making themselves stand out.

But that's been few and far between! I work at a little breakfast cafe with the most amazing girls. They're all so nice and they've opened up to me in so many ways. It's really been a positive place to work. I look forward to going and seeing the people there.

BUT NOW let's talk about hormones!

OMG so I'm not gonna lie I'm like super hairy if I don't shave. I have dark arm hair, leg hair, chest hair it's disgusting! So I was shaving like, every other day just to keep it all in line and be pretty, right? well, I've been on hormones like a grand total of three days and I can already tell that my body hair is taking longer to grow back. My face had WAAAYYY less stubble than it usually does at the end of the day. It's been so awesome. Here's to hoping a lot of my body hair just goes away without requiring me to heft out the money for laser hair removal.

I can't say that I've felt any other effects of the hormones other than like mad cravings for salty food, which is so normal it's funny. If you hate pickles as a transgirl and you want to eat something salty I recommend apple sauce with raisins as a healthy-ish alternative to something like potato chips or cookies or ice cream - and I have eaten all of those in the last 48 hours despite my healthy options. UGHH.

This next bit might just be my imagination (same thing happens when I start a new depression medication) I'll be like "ooommmgg I can feel this working right away this is incredible I love life now omg" but real or imagined, I feel so good about my body now. Like, I am starting to become a woman from a chemical standpoint and a physical standpoint. That is just a wonderfully validating feeling because of how impenetrable my dysphoria has been around my body. The future of my taking hormones will see me lose muscle mass, grow breasts, my body will distribute fat differently so I'll gain curves, my skin will soften, body hair will turn blonde and be less brittle, my scent will change (so my perfume will start to smell different on me! #perfumegeek) and all sorts of other exciting new things will start taking place. Each day now will be better and better than the last.

Life is truly exciting for me and I've made so many new friends here in Utah who have been so wonderful. Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting me in your hearts.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Religion, Being Trans and Where I Stand

Hello everyone!

Some of you might have seen my facebook status on the 20th of January, in which I said that I was having a crisis of faith. If you missed it, I'll copy/paste the text of it below:

"Where do you go to find God if the only place you've been taught he lives is a place where you'll be told that you're wrong to be who you are? I don't think I've ever needed God more than now."

I have many thoughts on religion that I've kind of stewed over for the last few years since I left the church. I'm starting to brew many more thoughts now that I've elected to live my life according to who I am. Below, I will try to articulate my views on a few topics that I've dwelt on more than most. 
So I want to tackle some of the bigger reasons why I left the church in the first place. Mainly, I don't believe in a literal interpretation of the bible. I believe that the moral of each of the stories can be praiseworthy, but what you're looking at with the bible is a list of rules, stories and fables that are subject to the times in which they were written. For example: Noah is a person of strong character who despite what everyone else is doing stays true to his beliefs and when the Lord asks something impossible of him a way is provided; Naaman being told to go and wash in the murky river and they're healed by a simple act of faith instead of a heroic gesture of devotion, the list goes on. Do I believe that the entire earth was flooded and all plant and animal life was saved because an ark was filled with male and female specimens of each species? Nope. I think that's impossible, especially considering the fact that scientists are still discovering new species in the rain forests of South America. The moral of the story is what's important in both of these examples. 

I mention this because the LDS church does believe in a literal interpretation. Like I've said in earlier posts the church is very all or nothing with their tenants. If you don't believe in one thing out of all things they teach then you can't have the privileges of being a full member. Nothing is up for debate. You are not allowed a personal touch to your beliefs. I think this breeds an atmosphere of justification instead of development and inclusion of other walks of life. "Blacks can't have priesthood because... well.... because... GOD SAID SO. HA!" instead of being free to pick up where Christ left off and walk as he walked, the scriptures are used as the encyclopedia of precedents to refer to. The bible says soooo little about homosexuality, and the Book of Mormon says even less, but that doesn't stop the church from putting their foot down on gay marriage, excommunicating trans people for having surgery etc. 

That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me: lack of support or tolerance for homosexuality. I remember listening to conference and a story was told about two young men, one who came out in open support of gay marriage and one who stood firm in opposing it. The tolerant young man was depicted as the weakling for not toeing the line and surrendering to "what's cool/popular" to believe. At the time I was still in the closet and that was the line drawn in the sand for me. I would not give up my tolerance for those in my life who I knew were gay (little did I know that list of people in my life would come to include my own name lol).

This serves as a good segue into my next thing I want to discuss: why did God make gays if he expressly forbids it? My question is, does he really forbid it? I don't know that he does. In fact, all my personal soul searching leads me to believe that he doesn't. If God had ten things to tell the world about morality, does "don't do people of your own gender or fall in love with them it's gross ew" make that top ten? Nope. There are vague references to it being immoral as well as vague references to men not dressing like women but those are not nearly as central to what he wants from a moral being as the Ten Commandments. Again, most of the things you read about homosexuality being a sin are written by third parties, and aren't from the mouth of God or Christ himself. I don't trust the scriptures as one hundred percent truthful and relative to our day and age enough to lay my identity on the altar and go about living life without passion or satisfaction. In fact, Christ himself talks about how someone who buries away their talents (an ancient form of currency, but the parable likens money to ability, personal qualities or individual genius) is wasting the meaning of life and is judged harshly for neglecting their time to shine and create profitability during the limited time they have. 

I try to pay most attention to the words of Christ himself because they make the most timeless sense to me. Don't hide a candle under a bushel! Be a light to other people and help them see in their own personal darkness! That's a more worthwhile life than "omg I feel like a woman but I'm going to do absolutely nothing with those feelings and I should encourage everyone I meet who feels the same way to do absolutely nothing with their feelings also!" That just depicts two people holding each other in the dark, not seeing and not progressing. They're going nowhere. Recently, I've thought of a different parable that applies to my situation. 

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man who, finding treasure hid in a field, went and sold all that he had and bought that field." 

This just makes me think of how you should chase down your dreams. If you know something is going to make you happy, don't hesitate! Do whatever it takes to accomplish that vision. Abandon the ideas that confine you and invest your heart in what you know is going to give you the ability to shine like a lighthouse to others who struggle in life. 

For me, the answer to all those parables is transitioning. I was born with an inherent sense of womanhood and femininity. I can waste my potential and live like a sad, sorry monk all my life thinking that's what God requires of me or I can take those feelings, let them influence my life and by so doing I can help people understand more about myself and a slice of humanity that's deeply misunderstood. If I have the courage to abandon my notions about what I'm supposed to be or what's expected of me, and look at what I can be then I am buying the field in which I know a rich deposit of happiness lies in wait for my discovery. 

You can argue with me about my interpretation of these things, but it doesn't matter, because that's how I interpret these parables, and my life and my spirituality are all about me and MY interpretation of the things I find worthwhile and true. It is very important to YOU, and almost exclusively to YOU what you believe. It's not important what someone else believes, because that's their life and they're free to conduct it as they see fit. But your interpretation is key. It's sooo easy to forget that, especially in the LDS church (once again, according to my own personal experience) where the lessons are wrote and the conclusions that you're supposed to come to are printed in black and white ink. Where's the thrill of discovery in that?

I read all the comments that were posted in response to my query last night. I did pray and I felt encouragement and love. I remembered a lot of these passages and revisited a lot of my own personal beliefs that I had forgotten about. It was a spiritual experience and I do feel better about my own personal relationship with God - who I absolutely believe in. 

Is God white? Is God black? Is God a man or a woman? I have no idea! I personally believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe in the symbolic path that he walked in life and the sacrifice of his own life for what he believed in and what he taught. I believe God is more spectacular, wise, and all seeing than we can understand. Look at the stars on a clear night. Or better yet, look at some Hubble images of the universe. We're sooo so puny. I don't think we'll ever stop learning. I don't think we'll ever know everything. Not in this life. I do believe in a life after this one, because I think that we're all so unique and all so precious that we are simply more than the sum of physical and biological parts we're composed of. 

"The life is more than meat, and the body more than raiment."

Words of Christ right there. The life is more than meat and the body more than raiment. We have this universal being inside of us. That's who we are. Not always what the physical body manifests, and that's especially true in my case. My life and identity is more than the physical manifestation that I was born as. Clothing does not make the gender any more than the physical does. Why do women wear dresses and boys where pants? Because that's the reality we've built for ourselves. Those are the expectations that everyone seems willing to buy into. I don't fit that mold. Me expressing my inward identity in the culture we've built for ourselves means me wearing dresses, doing my makeup, and yes - changing my body. 

The other day, my step-father asked me the question "what will you do in the resurrection?" For those of you unfamiliar with LDS teachings I'll briefly summarize that the resurrection is an event after the end of the world where every soul that God has created is born back into perfectly restored bodies. If you were born without a leg, you will get a body with two legs in the resurrection. If you were born blind, you'll be resurrected with working eyeballs and optical nerves. If you were born with a mental disorder that you struggled to work with and incorporate into who you are then... I guess you'll come back without that disorder? If you felt like you were born into the wrong physical body and work all your life to adjust the physical state you're in then... in the resurrection you... ???

Howard Hughes was a great man. Total genius. But he had flaws. Where do we define the stopping point between flaw that the resurrection will fix and unique item that made him the great person who did all the great, extraordinary things that he did? The same can be said for me, and I actually debated with my mom about this. 

Where does my desire to live as a woman come from? We dip into the ancient conversation of nature vs. nurture. Do I have a mental disorder that the resurrection will "cure"? I don't think so. My feminine nature is a part of who I am. It's an element of my soul that will dwell among the stars and graduate to the next universal plane. When my step dad asked me what I feel about the resurrection it was assuming that because I was born male, I will be resurrected back as a physically male being after all my attempts to bring my physical nature and spiritual nature together. What if my disability or challenge was to be born into what is seen as a male body when my spirit is more aligned with the feminine? What even is it to be feminine? What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman?

Every person I talk to and say "I feel more nurturing. That defines me!" invariably I get the response "men can be nurturing, too!" And yet that isn't good enough for me. I want to live the life of a woman, look like a woman, act like a woman etc. That's who I am. But what does that mean about womanhood? Only as much as I feel like I'm being myself. 

I felt kind of shitty last night about God, eternal matters and the fact that I'm pretty much the cream filling in a Religion/Transgender cookie sandwich: Stuck in the middle, squeezed and under pressure. But as I've searched my soul and reached out to the creator we share, the above results were the harvest of my faith. 

I believe in God, and I believe in humanity, but most of all, I believe in me and the fact that what I'm doing is what is right for me. Once again, and for all time, I am Aubrey Marie Kesler, a woman, and I get to live a life where I can be a light to people who struggle with my struggles. That's what I'm here for. 

Love to all, 

~Aubrey <3