The Scent Of a Trans Man

I was reflecting the other day on what things speak to me of my masculinity and that got me thinking about scents that I identify with my own masculinity.  When I smell these things I feel like they are part of who I am.  They make me feel whole.  They belong to my being.  And they make me feel distinctly masculine.

They are:

  • Leather
  • My father’s tool box after it’s been closed for a while
  • Old Spice after shave
  • WD40
  • The way my shed smells of a combination of gasoline, motor oil, exhaust from my mower, wood, grass clippings and sweat
  • Fresh cut grass
  • Vanilla
  • Coffee
  • Beer and bourbon
  • old hardware stores
  • old bars that still reek of cigarettes and booze
  • campfires
  • meat cooking on a bbq
  • mud, dirt and dust
  • fresh cut lumber

What scents make you feel more masculine or feminine?

Note: I’m not saying that any of these scents ARE masculine.  Just that they make me FEEL masculine.  I don’t think a smell has a gender.  I also love the smell of roses and lilacs, honey, tea, and the ocean, but they don’t really make me feel masculine.

 

 

 

Who Do You Think You Are?

This is one of my favorite posts from one of my favorite bloggers. Unfortunately, he no longer posts but I’m hopeful that one day he may start back up again. I needed to read this today and I thought maybe some of you might enjoy it as well.

Today I Am A Man

The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, revealing thousands of galaxies. Source. We were born in the borderlands of the ancient civil war between the sexes. Some of us become migrants, carried with the seasons, crossing back and forth and forth and back again. Some of us settle down in the little border towns of our youth and make ourselves a decent home there. Some of us go out, cross over, and never cross back again; we make our desert home on the other side of the fence.

All of that is fine. Actually, the difference between such choices is trivial, in the long view. All that matters: decreasing pain. The only imperative: live well and help others do the same. There are a lot of border towns along this wall. Fit in wherever you can.

Don’t get stuck too long in the swamp of your own indecision. If you’re not ready…

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What if?

There is a question that pops up fairly often in the transgender community that I find fascinating.  I have a big fascination with time travel anyway so this question really gets my mind worked up with all of the possibilities.  The question I’m referring to is this:

If you could have been born and raised as your true gender, would you choose to do so?

It’s an impossible question to really answer.  Like time travel in general, we never know how things would have worked out if we went back and change history.  Yet, we often are so tempted and eager to do just that.  At least I enjoy the fantasy of what an amazing adventure I could have as a time traveler.  The Back to the Future movies of the 80’s were particularly fun for me and I still enjoy them.  I think they do a really good job of portraying how disastrous time travel could be if we want to keep our present lives as they are.  But if we want to alter our present life?  How many other’s lives would get altered by us changing our past?  Would it make things better or worse?  Impossible questions to answer.

time machine

Would you take a ride on my Time Machine?

 

back to future

Or is the DeLorian more to your liking?

So the question is definitely rhetorical in nature and I get that.  But, the time travel fanatic in me runs with it into a lot of fun and entertaining corners of my psyche.  I take none of it too seriously as it is an impossible scenario.  And sometimes the thoughts really get me upset and profoundly sad to ponder.  It’s all fun and games until you realize that none of it has any remote chance of ever happening.  Then the depression sets in.  And then you think about your current life and the relationships you have with people as the person you are, your job/career, the car you drive, the house you live in, your community, your identity as it stands today.  Like it or not, all of that would change if you chose to be born as your true gender.  We have no way of knowing whether it would be better or worse, where we’d be, who we’d be with, what we’d be doing, how happy we’d be.

 

So how can you answer this question?  I don’t really think you can.  Maybe if you have hit rock bottom and have no one and nothing left and your only option would be to have a do over, yeah I guess that would be a pretty easy decision.  But most of us like our lives quite a bit.  Maybe not all of it but we’re pretty happy in general.  I know my life is much better in so many ways than I ever imagined and also so different than anything I ever imagined as a young person.  I’m finally able to be who I am and I’m pretty comfortable as that person most of the time.  I’m still adjusting to it, as are my friends and family, but so far so good.  Why would I choose to give all this up?

Let’s say for just one moment that we really could choose to start life over exactly as it was but in the body of the sex we identify with.  Would you do it?  Personally, I’d go from being a 54 year old to an infant again living in 1962 eastern U.S.  Would I do that?  I’d be a boy, raised as a boy, live and play as a boy, go through school as a boy, date girls as a boy, find a career as a boy, marry a girl as a boy, have children and be a father, grow up and grow old as a man.  Would I do it?

It’s tempting.

But, here’s the thing that makes me say no.  I look at how much I have grown and evolved through this process of living my life as who I am and I just don’t see the same potential for growth in the new scenario.  Maybe I’d grow there too, but it would be in much different ways.  And then there’s just the whole idea that my life as I know it would just evaporate and go away and I have way too much invested in it to let that happen.

I want to say yes, I would definitely choose to be born male if given the chance.  And yeah, that would have been nice.  But that was not an option and it’s kind of just foolish and somewhat self abusive to even spend much time thinking about the what-ifs of life.  I admit that I do fantasize about how life would be if I’d been born male.  It’s a sweet fantasy.  But it’s also painful to think about.  It brings up feelings of regret and pining for something that could never have been and feeling like what we have is not good enough.  It’s an alluring fantasy but a deceptively painful and dangerous one too.

I think a better question to ponder is: now that we have the freedom to choose how we live our lives, who do we want to be?  For me, that’s a much more powerful question to ponder.  This is something I can actually control to some degree and take some credit for.  So now I ask you, who do you want to be now that you can be anything and anyone you want to be?  Let’s have some fun figuring that one out and making it happen.  Instead of fantasizing about the past, let’s fantasize about the future and build that in the present because that’s all we really have.  Good luck and carry on fellow Time Travelers!

Enough is Enough

Today’s post is a bit of a rant.  I’m actually starting to feel like my old self again, which is good, but I’m also kind of in a grumpy mood today.  I’ve been ruminating about something that was said to me by my brother’s care-taker shortly after I had my top surgery and the more I think about it the more ticked off it makes me.  She told me that he was angry that I had surgery because A) His life sucks and he can’t do anything he wants and I always get to do whatever I want and B) I took this all too far.  It’s part B that ticks me off.  Part A is just typical childishness from a 66 year old boy who has the mental capacity of a thirteen year old.  I’m not being mean (well maybe I am).  It’s the truth though.  Mentally, he is not right and doesn’t function without help.  So why should part B bother me then?

The answer to why it bothers me so much is not that I really care what he thinks.  I don’t.  But the attitude that this is just some kind of bullshit game of dress up and pretend is something that I don’t get just from him but from other people in my life.  I’m not naming names here, but I have heard that I won’t have the guts to do this (transition).  That I never follow through with anything and this is just another thing that I’m using to desperately find happiness.  There are people close to me who still are not using my male pronouns even though I have explicitly asked them to do so.  These people are affecting how other people treat me since they are not leading the way.  They are being supportive in a passive-aggressive kind of way.  Supportive of this, but not of that.  Picking and choosing what they’re comfortable with with little regard to how it makes me feel.

So when my brother says I took this too far, it hurts.  When people who say they love me and support me don’t use my pronouns and still refer to me as a she to strangers and friends, it hurts.  Seriously folks, this is not a fricking game I’m playing.  I’m not pretending to be a trans man.  I am a trans man.  If it makes you uncomfortable that I am finally living my life on my terms that’s just too damned bad.  I’m not apologizing.  No one has ever apologized to me for making me feel uncomfortable being mis-gendered my entire life.  No one has ever said, “I am so sorry that I made you feel like an outcast and a misfit because you just were not like the other little girls.”  or “I’m sorry I forced you to live as a girl when you always knew that was wrong.”  or “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you about what was wrong.”  No, society will never apologize to us for the degrading and pathologizing and outcasting that they have done to any of us.  They did nothing wrong.  And, well, they didn’t really.  They were just playing their scripts the way they were taught them without thinking it through.  But their thoughtlessness hurt us and it’s still hurting us.  Cis-gender people are so arrogant that they think they can tell me when enough is enough in my transition and actually have the audacity to get angry at me for over stepping what they think is far enough.  Cis-gender people get angry when we impose our need to be seen and treated like who we are instead of what they want to see.  We’re such an imposition on them.  It’s too much work to remember new names and new pronouns.  It’s just too hard!  We ask too much and go too far with all this transition nonsense.  After all, no one’s ever going to take us seriously as our true gender any way.  Why are we wasting our time and making them so uncomfortable?

Why, indeed?

Because it’s time.  It’s time to put an end to the cruelty and abuse of being forced to live and treated like someone we’re not and never have been.  It’s time to end the brainwashing of cis-normative, hetero-normative society on our children and adults.  It’s time to stand up and stake a claim for what is our birthright.  I am beyond sick of other people telling me who and what I am.  Those people don’t know me.  Not really.  They only know what they think they know or want to know.  But they don’t really know who I am or they would never, ever call me she or tell me I’ve gone too far.  I’ve known since I was a child that I wasn’t really a girl but I let them bully me into trying to conform to what they expected of me.  No more!  I have really gotten to a point in my life where other people’s comfort around who I am is not of any concern to me anymore.  I have earned the right to not give a damn.  We all have.  Those people with the audacity to dictate to us what is enough and what is too much have no right to tell me anything is too much.  They have not walked one minute in my shoes and they never will.  Hell, they wouldn’t last a day if they tried.  They think they understand.  They don’t.  They can’t.  There’s no way they can understand that which is outside of their realm of understanding.  But they can leave us alone to live our lives how we see fit and stop judging us and dictating to us and pretending to care until it gets too hard for them.

Rant over.

 

Nobody’s Normal

I used to think no one would really understand me.  Heck, I didn’t even understand me.  I wondered why I couldn’t just be like everyone else and why life couldn’t be simpler.  I wanted to fit in and be “normal”.  The other day I read a post on a forum I belong to from a person who was pretty much saying what I’ve felt for most of my life.  He wanted to know, in a nutshell, if others in the group ever felt like they just wished they were born in the sex they truly were and if others were also tired of always feeling like they didn’t fit in.  Oh boy!  You bet!!  Not only did I read that and nod my head in a knowing “mm hmm, yep” but a lot of other folks jumped in with their own affirmations and explanations for this not so odd commonality in the group.  Some of the comments got me really thinking about why we all want to be seen as “normal”, ordinary, fitting in, so much.  I think I figured it out, at least partly, and I want to share it with you today.

It’s because we’ve all been brainwashed from birth to believe that life works a certain way and that if you deviate from that one true path than YOU are the problem, not the system.  We live in a one size fits all society.  We’re put in pink and blue boxes from the minute we’re born and read fairy tales and watched Disney movies that only have one story line.  Boy meets girl.  Boy loses girl.  Boy gets girl back and they live happily ever after.  Well folks, there is no such thing as “happily ever after”, not all boys want to live happily ever after with a girl and some boys might look more like a girl than a boy.  I’m not saying that people can’t make marriages work for a lifetime.  They can.  There is clear evidence of this.  But, it takes a lot of work and give and take to do it.  And sometimes it sucks the life out of one or both people in order to pull it off.

I grew up watching shows like The Brady Bunch, Eight is Enough, Leave it To Beaver and Father Knows Best.  They all portrayed these perfect families with two loving opposite sex parents and their nearly perfect children.  Even when the kids or the parents did something bad it wasn’t really BAD stuff by today’s standards.  Even in the 1950s that just wasn’t realistic.  It is a nice fantasy, especially for a kid who’s life is far from perfect.  But it’s just further propagating the lies and making people feel like they’re failures when they don’t measure up to Ward Cleaver or Carol Brady.

I saw a meme on Facebook yesterday that asked if we (society) were ready for a lesbian Disney princess.  Heck yeah!  Bring it on!  We need to re-write all of those silly fairy tales out there and put all kinds of relationships and genders in them.  Why not a trans princess?  Or a gay prince?  That would be a start.  I know it will offend some people, but you know, it’s high time they wake up out of their dream land and realize that they’ve been living in the Matrix and sold a bunch of lies.  Life is not as simple as ‘if you have a penis then you’re a boy and if you have a vagina then you’re a girl’ and ‘marriage is only between a man and a woman’.  Nope!  It’s way more complicated than that and it’s time to stop perpetuating the brainwashing and lying about what our children’s futures are going to look like.  Very few of us are going to marry a Prince or kiss a frog and meet the love of our lives and none of us are going to fall into blissful, perfect love with someone and live happily ever after.  That’s all a lie.  And I think it’s destructive.

This destructive brainwashing and programming is what makes us miserable because, when we can’t conform to what society says we should be we think there’s something wrong with us.  The problem isn’t with us.  The problem is with the lies that society perpetuates to keep us all in our nice tight little confined boxes.  If one studies nature at all you can’t help but notice all of the color and variation as well as ‘abnormalities’ that naturally occur.  We celebrate four leaf clovers as being lucky, but really they are an a rare variation of the three leaf clover.  Roses come in a whole array of colors and that’s a wonderful thing.  There’s an animal rescue group in Alabama that house a lion, a tiger and a bear all in the same area because they grew up together from babies and they love each other and get along great.  Tell me that doesn’t go against nature!  People pay money to go see them and think it’s a great thing.  And it is.  But why can’t we allow people, our fellow humans, who are all struggling to just live their lives, find happiness how they wish with whomever they wish without condemning them and spitting in their faces for being ‘different’?  We can.  We just have to wake up and smell the roses and realize that we’ve been lied to our whole lives about what it is to be human.  And, for God’s sake, show some compassion and human decency for each other.  Celebrate the diversity of the human experience in all of it’s colors and glory.  Be you and enjoy your life!

 

Observations Post Top Surgery

I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the things I didn’t like about being viewed as female in public, by strangers, but very little time in regards to how I would feel being viewed as definitively male in public, by strangers.  I’ve been surprised by some of it.  First, women treat me differently now.  They either ignore me completely or they’re kind of flirty and friendly.  I have to admit that I enjoy the flirty and friendly interchanges with the ladies.  Does this make me disloyal to my partner?  I hope not because it’s fun.  Besides, what are you supposed to do when someone is friendly with you besides be friendly back?  Anything else would just be rude.

Another eye opener happened this past Sunday, which was Mother’s Day here in the U.S.  We met up with my bro for brunch so I could fill his medicine for him (long story for another time).  We went to one of those buffet places where you pay before you eat.  When we paid for our meal the cashier told Candace Happy Mother’s Day but not me.  This was a first.  I waited for him to include me but he didn’t.  I’ve always been shocked and a bit wigged out when someone wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, since I have absolutely no desire to be a mother and don’t relate to that at all.  It will be interesting to see what happens when Father’s Day rolls around.  That could be fun.

At work, I rarely deal with the public because, well, I just prefer to stay in my office or workshop by myself, but I’ve had to cover the front of the store for 2 1/2 hour shifts (feels like a loooong time to me!) for two Mondays in a row now because I have an employee who is on his honeymoon somewhere in Italy.  Not one customer has pegged me as female.  They all have called me sir.

Also, I don’t shop much unless I have to.  My dog’s birthday was Monday and as good fur parents do we bought her some toys and special treats.  She goes to “Doggie Daycare” during the week and has little friends there so I went over to Petco to buy her birthday treats to share with her daycare friends.  I was standing in line to pay and the man in front of me was taking a long time.  I guess there was a problem with the little bag of fish he was buying for his daughter, so he told the cashier “why don’t you go ahead and take care of him (me) while I figure this out.  This kind of thing has happened a bunch of times.

This one had me confused at first.  There’s an Italian restaurant two doors down from my shop and I occasionally order lunch there and go pick it up.  The last two times I’ve done this the same young man (20-ish) has called me Boss.  Now, I wasn’t sure if he was calling me Boss because he knows I’m the boss where I work or if it was some kind of alternative male pronoun like “man”, “bud”, “dude”, or “bro”.  The second time he did it he followed it up with “Have a nice day, sir.”  So, there you have it.  Boss is a hip modern way of saying “bro”.  I like it!

I’m still adjusting to my apparent “passing” as male.  I didn’t expect it.  I certainly didn’t expect it to be so sudden and final.  So many people have said that having boobs or not made no difference or rarely did in how they were treated that I am shocked at the sudden change.  Before top surgery I would say that I got called sir maybe 75-80% of the time.  Now, I think I’m close to 100%, maybe 98%.  There was an interesting situation in a sandwich shop in Charlotte where we went two day in a row for lunch.  The same guy waited on us both days.  The first day he called me sir.  The second day he called me ma’am.  What was different about me the second day?  No idea.  But obviously I’m not at 100% yet.  And that’s ok with me.  In some ways, I feel like I’ve been thrown into the men’s pool very suddenly and without much warning, so a ma’am here and there tells me I’m still in transition.  I’m not really ready for this to be over yet.

Four Weeks Post Top Surgery

I just hit the four week mark post top surgery.  Things are healing well I suppose, though I still have a lot of swelling that makes me uncomfortable. My incisions are tight and feel like a tight rope around my chest. I’m hoping it’s the swelling that’s causing that and it will dissipate as things settle down.  My surgeon has been amazing and still checks in with me about every week to see how I’m doing.  I couldn’t ask for better care than I have been getting from Dr. Sherie.

It’s really amazing to me the difference I feel not having  boobs to hide.  I am probably getting pegged as male about 98% of the time now and have completely switched to using the men’s bathroom in public.  So far no problems to report there except that I hate the minimal facilities that men are stuck with. Men’s washrooms suck, not because of how dirty they are (they aren’t that bad), but because where the women’s room might have three stall, the men’s has one.  So only one dude at a time can have a bad case of needing to go #2. And then, I’ve also found that they’re laid out in completely the wrong way. I’ve heard women complain many times about how men designed the women’s room all wrong.  Guess what ladies. They put even less thought into their own facilities.  On the road down to North Carolina for surgery I went into (or tried to anyway) a men’s room at a truck stop and had to wait for guys to finish drying their hands at the electric dryers before I could squeeze by to get in.  Stupid! Who thought that up? Anyway, it’s ok. No one has told me I’m in the wrong room yet and I haven’t felt unsafe. An interesting side note about NC since they still have their ridiculous bathroom war going on is that the rest stops along highway 85 (a major highway through the state) have family restrooms in them. So, if you find yourself travelling that part of the country on that highway, fear not. There are bathrooms for everyone. And they are clean and well maintained too.

I’ve been enjoying not having to wear a bra or worry about covering up my absent appendages since surgery. I find that my shirts seem too big now so some new clothes are in order soon. We have a big trip planned in about ten days so I’ll be doing a little shopping. We’re going to Seattle for a few days and then taking a cruise up into Alaska for a week, then off to Colorado to visit with Candace’s aunt for about four days. It’s a big trip for someone still healing from top surgery but I’m hoping I can get plenty of time to rest while we’re at sea. I’m a little concerned with airport security but my documents all align with an F for gender at the moment so hopefully it will be ok.  I purposely have not changed my gender on my drivers license yet since I didn’t have time to get my passport done before the trip. I will need that for the cruise.

In general I’m feeling good about surgery. No regrets. I just feel like this is the way it was always supposed to be and the other way was just a big ugly dream. I also don’t have any euphoria about it either. I was sort of hoping for a rush of emotions but that just has not happened for me. Not overly happy but certainly not upset either. I’ve even gotten somewhat used to seeing my belly dominate my silhouette now. That’s my next project in my transition. Project Lose the Belly. For now, I crack jokes about it and make fun of it, but it really does bother me a lot.