Ode To My Arm Hairs

I have a growing infatuation with my arm hairs.  I study them.  Some of them have gotten really long and I pull on them to measure their growth.  Others are crooked and kinked like they came out of my skin in all different directions.  Some are really dark and others are white.  Today I noticed a faint reddish-brown hue to the hair on my arms and that made me smile.  I’m also pretty infatuated with the veins in my arms as they pump testosterone infused blood to my heart.  No one has any problems finding my veins anymore at the doctor’s office or hospital.  I’m told that I have very good veins.  Thank you Mr. T for that.

I’ve long been fascinated with my brother’s and my uncle’s arms.  I didn’t have a father to study.  I had a front row seat to observe my brother’s body change from that of a boy to a man.  I loved how the thick hair looked on his forearms.  I had an uncle who was particularly hairy and I was enthralled with how his chest hair poked out of his t shirt and how bushy his arms were.  Now I see my own body taking on some of these genetic traits and it gives me a little thrill.  It’s hard to imagine that a few arm hairs could make me so happy but it does.  I look at my arms now and I see a man’s arms.  They’re my arms.  And I love them.  I love how when the breeze blows it makes the hairs tickle my arms.  I drove past a man the other day that had his window down and admired how the wind blew his thick arm hair straight back as he relaxed it on the side of his truck door.  Ah, that will be me one day.  I considered lowering my window (nobody rolls a window anymore, do they?) to experience this feeling myself but I’m way too in love with my air conditioning to do that right now.  Maybe when it gets cooler, I thought to myself.

I’ve started to grow out my chin and mustache hairs a bit to see what they’re capable of these days.  I enjoy running my hand across them absentmindedly while reading or thinking.  I used to do this instinctively for years with nothing rewarding to feel.  Now I’m rewarded with a little satisfying stubble across my finder tips.  Yesss, that feels right now.  I shaved my cheeks and under my chin this morning and now I can feel the beginning of a five o’clock shadow across my face.  Again, it’s a most satisfying feeling to run my hand along my face and actually feel some resistance.  And I love to listen to the razor blades slice through my adolescent beard when I shave.  It makes a very satisfying sound.  Faint and hard to hear if you aren’t paying attention but it’s there if you listen hard enough.

I was recently asked what are the down sides to taking T.  Balding is No. 1.  Not growing facial hair fast enough is No. 2.  Other than that I can’t think of any.  Hair in a lot of weird places maybe but I don’t really mind that.  That’s why we have scissors and shavers and wax if it bothers you too much.

But I digress.  Back to my arms.  The other thing I love to do is make a fist and flex my arm muscles.  The definition is amazing to me even though I’ve done nothing to develop that trait.  I’ve been thinking that I should start back at the gym and work on building my biceps up.  I have fantasies of having big muscular arms with bulging biceps.  How cool would that be?  Candace wouldn’t be able to pry me away from the bathroom mirror if I was able to do that.  Would it look funny to have very muscular arms and a keg for a belly instead of a six pack I wonder to myself.  Yep, probably so.  Better work on that too.  I jokingly tell folks that I skipped the six pack and went straight for the keg.  They laugh nervously which I find humorous since my belly doesn’t really bother me much but they’re not sure if it’s ok to laugh at my self deprecating humor.  I might be digging for a compliment instead of actually making fun of myself.  They might be wondering if they should say something about how it’s not that big to make me feel better.  Nope, I’m just poking fun at myself.  You can laugh too.

So tonight I picked up my T at the pharmacy and had to change my name for their records.  The young lady that helped me was very sweet and totally cool with everything.  She asked me if I wanted her to change my gender too.  I was shocked but pleasantly so.  I said no, it’s still F on everything so it has to stay that way for now and I thanked her for asking me.  She said it was no problem and that she knows it can be really hard sometimes.  Her sensitivity and openness made me feel good.  It also made me realize that I’m not fooling many people anymore.

Vulnerability

Over my recent vacation I read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.   It was an excellent read, full of great wisdom, inspiring and amusing real life stories of the author’s experiences while studying and researching vulnerability.  It made me think a lot about my own fear of vulnerability and how afraid I am of speaking my truth around my gender and my life.  And then, tonight, I was reading an article on avoidance by Olivia Bryant that had the following quote in it:

“If you avoid vulnerability, you commit to pretence and inauthenticity.”

And then the author asked me:

“Are you doing what you NEED to be doing?

 ARE YOU SAYING WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID?”

Then the little voice in my head said “Shit!  No, I’m not.  Why won’t this stuff leave me the f@$& alone?”

And to drive her point even further through my thick head she said, “Our life is a result of the things we avoid and the things we commit to. As in, if you’re avoiding one thing, you’re committing to another.”

DAMMIT!!!!

Just off the top of my head I can apply this line of thinking to many things in my current life:

  • Exercise/diet/weight
  • top surgery
  • coming out
  • relationships
  • professional life
  • leisure time/hobbies

But the big thing for me right now is coming out.  I so hate coming out.  I hate the vulnerability of coming out.  I much prefer to send an email than have a phone conversation or a face to face encounter (my least favorite mode of communication) when having to tell someone I’m trans.  I’m a coward.  I admit it.  I’m full of shame and unworthiness.  I’m really not ashamed of being trans.  My shame is deep.  Deep as my mother’s womb.  I was raised to feel ashamed of myself and feel unworthy.  Somehow it got inside me that manhood is something I’m unworthy of.  I can’t muster the courage to speak the words, “I am a man” because I don’t feel worthy of what they mean.  I feel ashamed to admit that I have always felt like I was not made right, that I’m really a male in a female body.  It’s almost like I’m a bad person because all of these years I’ve known this about myself (not really known, but felt) and I’ve been deceiving everyone so now I have to come out and say it’s all been a big old lie that I was a girl/female/woman/lesbian.  But I know I’m not bad because of this and it wasn’t a lie.  It was the truth as we knew it but this is how it FEELS to me.  And that’s part of my shame.  I feel like I lied and that I’m bad and that I’m unworthy. Intellectually, I KNOW this isn’t true but I still can’t shake the underlying feelings.  And this is why I avoid coming out.  I feel unworthy and am ashamed to tell my truth because deep down I’m afraid someone’s going to say to me that I don’t DESERVE to claim manhood for myself.  Because I don’t feel like I am deserving of it.

As I write this post it occurs to me that what I’m saying here is my most vulnerable truth of all.  Much more vulnerable and close to the bone than being transgender and I’m ok with saying it here.  Well, it does make me a little uneasy but I’m writing to a completely anonymous audience so the risk is minimal.  Worst case is I get a couple lousy comments that I delete, but I feel pretty safe in this environment.  My blog is a safe space so I let my armor down almost completely here.  But in “real life” it’s different.  The people in that world are not as open minded and caring as I might hope them to be.  Part of the problem is that they might be caring and open minded but I won’t know until I test them with something big like this.  And if they fail the test then what?  I guess I’m down one friend.  So what, right?  I’ve heard it so many times but it’s so true and worth saying again, if you’re not willing to lose everything and everyone than you’re not ready for transition.  Or something along those lines.  Every time I’ve seen that or heard it I’ve had the same thought.  What a crock!  It shouldn’t have to be that way.  But I think, if nothing else, if I have that mind set that I’ll be ok if everyone walked out of my life it helps give me courage.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.  So far, my coming out has gone fairly smoothly and I really can’t complain.  I haven’t lost anyone yet to my knowledge.  But I still have not claimed “I am a man” either and lived that truth.  As long as I keep pretending that nothing has changed and I’m still the same then everyone can just go on forgetting that I’m trans too.

So it’s more than coming out.  It’s living out.  Being out.  Stepping out as ME.  I watched as Caitlyn Jenner stepped out for the first time publicly as Cait and recognized the courage that took.  Yes, I believe it did take courage.  I think authenticity and truth takes courage.  And I’m lacking in that department.  I’m the Cowardly Lion looking for his courage.  It takes courage to be vulnerable.

cowardly lion

Writer’s Block

I’d hardly call myself a writer but I think I have a case of writer’s block nevertheless.  Every day I want to write a post on here but I can’t decide what to write about.  Maybe I just don’t have anything to say right now.  But I do.  I just got back from a short week of vacation to the sunny paradise of Florida.  I love it down there and always relax and enjoy myself.  Usually we drive down but we were in a hurry this time so we flew in and rented a car.  We rented a Mustang to be exact.  A 2016 white Mustang.  It was awesome to drive.  I even named her Sally.  You know, Mustang Sally?  Sally Ride?  We were near Cape Canaveral where they shoot off space ships and stuff.  Anyway, she was beautiful and I wanted to keep her.  But I couldn’t put her on the plane so she had to stay in Paradise.  I got several compliments on my beautiful ride during the week.  The best one was just a simple nod from a guy in the parking lot as he walked by looking admiringly at my set of wheels.  I could see the lust in his eyes for Sally.  I told Candace that that dude just made my week.  He was jealous and I was cooler than him.  For a week anyway.  Sally was awesome and all but mostly we hung out at the pool and read.  I enjoyed watching the kids (not mine) play in the pool and come up with interesting stories and games.  They were all really well behaved, which surprised me greatly.  I named all of them after characters from The Lil Rascals.  It all started with Spanky of course.  He was an awkward little chubby boy who had a mischievous side and went on from there.  There was an interesting little boy named William (his real name, not his Spanky name) who looked like a girl.  I never did believe he was really a boy even though he wore boys swim trunks and had a name like William.

Other than the pool we like to eat out at places we can’t go at home while on vacation.  There’s great seafood in Florida and pretty good barbecue too.  I found a neat little dive that specializes in hot dogs and I had a Chicago dog.  Don’t judge me.  I like hot dogs.  We ate at a nice restaurant two nights and had different waiters both nights.  The first one was a woman and she was just sure I was a man.  Even after handing her my credit card with my girl name on it she returned it to Candace when she came back.  She made a comment that she couldn’t check the signature since it was rubbed off (from age…it’s my check card and I use it a lot).  This made me uneasy since my ID has my new name on it.  Thankfully she said we didn’t look like the kind of people to steal credit cards so she didn’t ask for ID from either of us.  That would have been weird.  The second time we went there a young guy waited on us and he “ladied” me to death throughout the meal.  Candace commented that you never knew what made people see one thing and others see another.  That’s very true.  I can’t figure it out.

The week was great and we hated to come home.  But I had an event to go to on Saturday that I really couldn’t miss.  My band director from high school died, or rather, he took his life, a few weeks ago and friends and family were gathering to remember him and pay respects.  I was nervous about going but felt like I had to at the same time.  In the end, I’m glad I did.  I reconnected with several people I hadn’t seen in a really long time and got to hang out on the farm of a dear friend who also is no longer with us.  I’ve lost three very important people from my past, mentors, in the last few years.  It makes me sad to think that they’re no longer here.  All of them touched so many people through their teaching and playing of music.

I guess I did have some things to say after all.  Not a lot and nothing profound but something maybe entertaining at least.

MustangSallyRide

Mustang Sally Ride