Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fairy Tales

You often hear that it's the journey that really matters, rather than the destination. I couldn't agree more, and while it's not a direct quotation by any means, I'm grateful to Hemingway for the phrasing. With regard to my own small writings here, I should say that they've been on pause for quite long enough. And as with any such public journal, it seems to me that entire point of keeping the damn thing is so that others can take your journey with you. You might want to buckle up.

From what I can tell, my adventures in androgyny recorded here have actually been pretty satisfying for the inquisitive and voyeuristic inhabitants of the internet. Beyond simply offering all you reader folks occasional morsels of my particular flavor of strange, I myself was afforded a much needed outlet for some of my inner ramblings. Additionally, on a few rare occasions I have even been lucky enough to offer bits of advice to odd souls lost in despair. A pretty good deal all in all, except that it left me with an increasingly strong notion that I should probably know what I'm talking about. In truth, all I really had was a gut feeling, a bull-headed zeal for trusting in it, and a leap of faith.

I sometimes find myself envious of folks who are able to accept any of the pre-existing methods for living one's life, such as those offered by any number of religions and philosophies. It honestly does sound much simpler, and I've no doubt that I'd manage to accomplish immensely more actual work. The romantic approach to life is really quite inefficient when it comes down to it, because you can always find a good distraction. Regardless of where you initially gain your ideals, you never really know who you are until you get out there and start using them. There's nothing that will help you discover yourself like a good adventure.

This leads me to a much more practical side of my reasoning for not updating my public journal here. My adventures have been filthy. Not in any sort of record-setting sense, mind you, but I have most assuredly been walking along a hedonistic path of potentially questionable decisions. Simply put, some itches demand to be scratched. I'll skip over the details (out of propriety this time, rather than shame), but to summarize let's just call it 'extreme learning'.

So then what, exactly, has a few years of debaucherous city life taught me? Frankly, far too much to ever list in a concise little article like this one, and yet not nearly enough to feel like I actually know much of anything. Sure, there have been several big lessons regarding things like emotional responsibility and the effects of actions that are motivated through love or fear, as well as some considerable practice at being a scapegoat. Far beyond anything else though, I've learned that you've gotta have faith.

Organized religion ruined the word 'faith' for me from a very young age. I couldn't see a difference between biblical stories and fiction like Tolkien's, so I just called shenanigans on that whole lifestyle. Come to think of it, I still don't see any difference, but I now recognize that faith and religion are entirely different concepts. Much oversimplified, it just means trust. You've got to trust in yourself, and you've got to trust that everything is going turn out okay. Well you don't have to, obviously, but realize that you're actively choosing to write your life's story with darker tones. There is a reason that fairy tales aren't told in grayscale.

So go have an adventure. Get a running start and take that leap of faith, because life is short. There's nothing like a near-death experience to make that knowledge hit home, but please don't wait for one. Roads go ever ever on, so have faith and keep on truckin'. Pick whatever words you like, I'm partial to Whitesnake myself. Just keep going, because things really are going to turn out okay, and always stay on the lookout for those rare few whose eyes sparkle in just the right way to match your own. And really, you shouldn't waste your time worry about the end of the road anyway, because it's the journey that really matters.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Three Days

Day One - Guy

I haven't shaved in 4 days. I'm scruffy and wearing baggy shorts with a t-shirt. I don't always feel the need to flaunt my vanity, and so this is a pretty common look for me. I look like a guy. I'm actually pretty good at it; I've had a lot of practice, ya know? Dressing like a guy isn't really enjoyable for me. It think it's damn bland, but sometimes I like being bland. It's good to recharge.

Sup bro. You chillin'? I'm chillin'.

More and more frequently, guy days suck. I'm not necessarily sad, but it feels like the day will only be mediocre at best. I can't really muster my crazy energy, and life seems gray. I'm discontent and apathetic, which combine forces with my alternative look to give me the aura of a dark, mysterious artist. This makes me sexy as hell. On days like this, women stare at me. Men stare at me. No one ever approaches me to start a conversation, but nearly everyone welcomes a chat if I speak first. Nearly everyone I talk to smiles and they laugh at my bad jokes. If I pursue it, I can bask in adoration all day long. It means absolutely nothing to me. I take no comfort in the fact that I make a good man.

Re-realizing that I don't enjoy guy days, I'm likely to be super girly tomorrow. I'll plan tomorrow's outfit before I head to bed, and then psych myself up about it. I'll look in the mirror and see my same face and body from an entirely different viewpoint. "Oh, right," I think. "I'm actually sort of gorgeous. Tomorrow will be fuckin' awesome!"

Day Two - Gal

"Sir" doesn't feel right anymore. The community that I've become a part of here accepts me as a girl (or at least as a guy who is so effeminate that they may as well treat me like a girl anyway). Nine months of hormones have definitely been a boon towards this notion. A male body in girl's clothes is easy fodder for many jokes, but having boobs seems to automatically qualify me as being "for serious". This may be mostly in my head, but not entirely. No one, regardless of whether they are supportive or disgusted, ever jokes about it. At least not to my face.

For serious.

Regardless of whether a person is confused, uncomfortable, enthusiastic, or even if they are just afraid to insult me, no one brings it up. It's plain to see that a similar question is in most of their heads, but no one ever asks. This is partially because we're trained to be polite, but more so because I don't let them. Because people are so hesitant to say the wrong thing, it's easy for me to control the short, structured conversations one has while working retail. I'm polite, quick, helpful, and totally ignorant of the bewildered look on every one of their faces. I brush my hair out of my faces, jingle my earrings, and then move on.

I'm upbeat and happy as a girl. I bounce around the store with bright eyes and a huge smile on my face, and I'm freakin' ecstatic that I can act this way at work. It's hard to keep up though. No matter how much positive energy I have at the start of the day, eight hours of awkwardness always takes its toll. I'm too busy to stare into mirrors while at work, and so my current mental image of myself is based increasingly on the reactions of others. It's common that by the end of the day, I just want to blend in. I'm tired of being a freak-show. The following day will be a guy day.

Please stop staring at me.

Guy days are easier. On guy days, I don't care what I look like. What does my appearance matter anyway? It's not who I am on the inside, and it's not like I had to earn my beauty. It's not like I deserve it. I was just born into it. It doesn't have any value.

Day Three - Me

I am passing more and more frequently when I'm not thinking about it. It's inconsistent though, and I think it often depends on what sorts of women the observer is accustomed to encountering. Queer people are generally quite comfortable with female masculinity, thus I'm often read by such persons as an athletic butch girl. Housewives see right through me, and I can hear the italics on the word Sir when they speak to me. Most of them still manage to be quite friendly and respectful, provided that I don't speak to, look at, or acknowledge their children.

Regardless of which pronouns people choose to use with me, they are nearly always guessing. Today I thought I appeared quite dudely, but a customer at work referred to me as "she". It caught me off guard and I paused to look at her for a split second, and her face changed to show she thought she had used the wrong word. She turned away and didn't interact with me again. I don't know if she was embarrassed or she thought I was offended, but either way the result was the same. There was a lot of awkward, and some version of this scenario is repeated with every conversation. My "normal" weirds people out, and awkwardness is now a staple of my everyday life.


I want to go to the beach. However, thinking about it makes me absolutely petrified. I feel like everyone around me is always staring right at me, and I hate it. The beach would just be worse. I have grown to despise how much I stand out. It's an unfortunate side effect of what makes me comfortable. My androgyny is so comprehensive these days; I don't feel like either sex, and I don't look like either sex. I don't know what kind of swimsuit would look best. And while I definitely don't know what kind of day tomorrow will be, it feels inevitable that eventually they'll all be girl days.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Negativity can blow me. Consider the two following scenarios. If you don't pass as your preferred gender, people are going to judge you all the freaking time. There's just no way around it in today's world. If you do pass as your preferred gender, people are going to judge you all the freaking time, only now it's for some other equally stupid reason, such as your fashion sense, your career, your choice of beer, or any other of your personal nuances. Since you're going to be judged all the time anyway, you might as well make it useful.

Disapproval and approval: they only matter if you think they do.

The only time that personal criticism is capable of affecting you is when you're already insecure about the trait in question. If I had just failed my third math test in a row and some slack-jawed motherfucker called me a dumbass, the comment would sting. However, if the same son of a bitch said it again during the dinner reception after I had been awarded the MacArthur Genius Award, it would not. Regarding my transgendery-ness, fuck yeah I'm insecure about it. I love it and I know it's right, but I'm still mid-transition, and it's a Hindenburg-sized mindfuck. I'm making progress though, and there's a foreseeable end to my insecurity about it. Thankfully, I'm a nerd.

I have a degree in computer science. I rather hate the subject now, but I still think like a programmer. Programs solve problems, and in order to write them you have to know how to do the same. And it doesn't matter if you're building a program or building a wizard robe, both merely require you to follow some logical process, a design. My personal favorite, vanity, is nothing short of designing yourself.

Your body is a container for your personality. You're born into some base shape, but then you get to do whatever the fuck you want with it. You can pierce it, tan it, tattoo it, get thin, get fat, get muscular. If you eat right and exercise, you'll slowly morph into whatever shape your genetics have decided is best. Exercise your mind and you'll get smarter. Or go the medical route and get some plastic surgery or a prescription for Rogaine. We're infinitely customizable. Seriously, we're humans - adapting is kind of our thing. 

So, I've established the obvious in declaring that you have a huge range of control over your physical appearance. Obviously, you can take the basic package and never alter yourself, but that sounds pretty boring to me. That's beside the point, anyway, because my purpose in body customization is empowerment, not entertainment. Actually that's wrong; art can achieve both of those. And your body is art. Artwork is an extension of yourself, it's just more literal in this case. Additionally, taking this stance allows you to feel justified in utilizing the amazingly advantageous disposition of a lofty-nosed artist. Praise fuels your ego and self-esteem, while negativity can be smugly shrugged off with a tactical "you just don't understand my art."

You's can be hip to my jive, or you's can go chase yo'self.

In consideration of my viewpoint that my body is a piece of artwork, I have recently begun looking for a professional photographer. I am currently a rather unusual shape, and I know that in fifty years I'd be mad at myself if I didn't document it now. This is something I am doing entirely for myself. That being said, it seems highly unlikely that my headstrong sense of vanity would allow any phenomenal pictures of myself to sit unseen on a burned CD, quietly forgotten halfway through a stack on my bookshelf, lost between a scratched copy of ZZ Top's Greatest Hits and Everquest Install CD 1. In other words, I'll probably post them here, eventually. I'm pretty sure that's what the internet is for, anyway.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Personally, I think that being transgendered is pretty dang weird. Not in a bad way, mind you, but more like that sensation of biting into a bagel and suddenly realizing it's been a sprinkle-covered donut the entire time. I get really excited, while onlookers get really confused. Trans folks just aren't commonplace yet, and even I get surprised when I have a chance encounter with another. We all have that instant of "oh shit a tranny" before our actual reactions of acceptance/discomfort/etc kick in. And while it has never been my intention to be purposefully shocking, those initial expressions are priceless.

Totally weird, totally cute.

Actually, surprise is just about the only reaction I've gotten so far. The open hostility I had always expected just hasn't happened, except for a single occurrence of profiling by a security guard at K-Mart. Once the initial shock fades, the vast majority of people with whom I interact simply shrug it off as a non-issue. Admittedly, I am mostly exposed to the forward-thinking youth of Chicago, but I think the point still speaks for itself. Being trans is normal, and the fight for that recognition is succeeding. 

I am transgendered. I was never a guy, and I'm not becoming a woman. I've always been in the gray area, and my body is finally catching up to my personality. Now, I want to be perfectly clear when I state the following: "Holy fucking motherfuck, hormones have been the best fucking decision of my entire fucking life. Fuck." I've kept all of my favorite boy perks and lost all the annoying extras. It's been a little over six months, and I'm thoroughly satisfied. The next two years are just gravy.

  • My metabolism has slowed somewhat, and I've gained somewhere between 15-20 lbs in the past 6 months. Instead of going to my gut, the weight has gone into my thighs, ass, hips, and tits. I still have a thin guy's frame, but I've got curves, and yeah, I have tits. Ah, even writing it gives me a stupid grin.
  • My muscle tone has faded, but it's still easily visible.
  • My body hair is pretty much gone. It's soft, sparse, and takes forever to grow back. My facial hair is slightly more resistant, but it still takes a few days of regrowth to be apparent.
  • My face has softened considerably, making it even more feminine than it was before. I look younger, and doubly so when I present as male. Whatever manliness I had is gone, but I've still got some boyishness. Also, my acne has cleared up.
  • My vocal chords haven't actually changed, but I no longer deepen my voice when I speak. So my speech does sound a bit higher. 
  • My lifelong mental anguish is gone. I am simply awesome, and I thank all of my friends who tried to tell me before I could see it.
My vanity is appeased.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poke. Poke.

It feels good to be busy. City life is demanding, and I've never been so glad to lose my free time. While I'm no longer able to devote long hours for self-reflection as I've grown used to, I find that I no longer need to. I've got a firm grasp on my identity, and now I just need my body to catch up. The changes are proceeding in a slow-and-steady manner, which I suppose is really the best way to approach something so important. Well, actually scratch that, I'd like some big tits now, please.

Guy mode is still more common than girl mode. It takes a considerable amount of preparation for me to be satisfied with my female appearance, and it just isn't feasible for me to spend so much time every morning getting ready. I'm thankful that I can default and be scruffy when I want; it's easy to throw on a shirt and pants, then pretend to be a boy. I'm pretty good at it, although it's getting harder to be convincing. My face is a lot softer, having lost whatever ruggedness it once had. And while my voice hasn't actually changed, I find that I no longer speak all the way at the bottom of my register. Effectively my voice is a little higher, and I also don't put quite as much force into my words. 

Girl mode rocks my world. With a leather jacket and combat boots that make me 6'2", I make a pretty butch girl, and I absolutely love it. I spent a single night in a Chicago bar dressed this way, and I got a lot of attention, but it was an entirely new experience as a girl. As a gay dude, I'd been approached by guys at Vice Versa, and we were always on even footing, equals. This was different. I'll admit that I probably just had a run of bad luck, but at the end of the night I was ready to just be a lesbian. Holy shit, seriously guys, learn some manners. 

It may seem that at this point that I'm on cruise control to lady-town. There's a lot of bumps in the road that I didn't consider beforehand, though I'm sure any biological girl could have warned me. For example, one of my jobs is in retail clothing. On days when I work there, I spend a lot of my time around simply gorgeous girls trying on clothes. While I don't actively ogle the customers, it's hard not to notice that they have the shape that I want. I'm tall and, even though I'm slim, I'm still mostly boy shaped. I simply will never have the body that my mind has decided is ideal for a female, and that thought can get me pretty down. As a good friend pointed out to me, the same is true for all girls. 

I'm not entirely boy shaped, though. In my 5 months of hormone therapy, I've put on 16 pounds, and most of it's been ass and hips. Hooray for not being a stick! My chest is growing too, and while I don't think that they're big enough to deserve a letter yet, they are certainly big enough to poke. And I do, all day, every day. 

Poke. Poke. Poke.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


It feels strange to have self-esteem. Thinking back, I've generally been a happy person, but the emotion never came from within. Great friends, enjoyable work, and relaxing hobbies all soothed my constant melancholy, but I was never capable of helping myself. When alone, I flickered between apathy and depression. As you might expect, I endeavored to spend as little time alone as possible. The strategy worked reasonably well, but it left little time for self-reflection, and this is the reason why my decision took so many years.

I always, always resented the masculine behaviors that were expected of me. I didn't really have any idea exactly what that really meant, though, and straying from the male "norm" was a slow, careful process. I acknowledged my attraction to men and came out as bisexual, and while it was a step in the right direction, it wasn't enough. So I declared myself gay, assuming that then I could be as feminine as I wanted. I lingered on this step for a couple of years, but I kept finding that gay guys were attracted to my masculine side. Wow, really!? Big surprise there.

Thinking is hard.

Whether I was dating a boy or a girl hadn't been the problem. Whether I was masculine or feminine hadn't been the problem. But they were simpler answers than the truth, and I had to rule them out. And really, what are the odds of being transgendered, anyway? Hell if I know, but I couldn't just jump straight to that conclusion. When I learned about transexuals at 12, I thought, "Me, get a sex change? Preposterous!" Haha, bollocks to you, past self!

I used to be a boy. That thought, all by itself, lifts my spirits every time I think it. I used to be, and now I'm not. I'm not a girl, though, and I don't reckon I ever will be. Not a real one, anyway. Luckily I don't care - I like being trans, and that puts me in the minority of a minority. More accurately, I love it. I don't know how far down this path I will go, and I'm not worried about that in the slightest. I've figured out who I am, and I'm going to enjoy wherever it leads me.

Strangely enough, being truly happy has made me much more of a pariah than being a pink-haired tranny ever could on it's own. It's rare for me to stop myself from constantly smiling, and I'm always excited for even the most mundane tasks. For example - "I'm not just riding the bus, I'm riding the bus and I'm awesome! Haha!" I'm just so damn happy to be me, and it catches people off guard. We're not used to cheerful enthusiasm, we expect strangers to treat us rudely or ignore us entirely. Being too happy makes people suspicious. Ah well, not my problem!

I love my friends, I love my jobs, I love this city, and I love myself.
 In the infamous words of Cobra Commander, "I wasss once a maaaaaan!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Every person is a unique. Each of us is a one-of-a-kind mesh of traits, and every imaginable quality can be found in someone. Admittedly, some traits are more common than others, and folks with an abundance of scarcely seen qualities are either outcasts or celebrities. Either way, the poor bastards are loners.

Up until today, the titty skittles only effect on me emotionally had been the constant feeling of amazing awesomeness. Yet while watching a kid's cartoon about dragons, a short phrase from one of the characters essentially punched me in the brain. It sparked an epiphany, and I spent the next two hours in tears. Now the emotion has passed, and in retrospect it seems entirely unreasonable. I was aware of the offending knowledge beforehand, yet for some reason it completely overwhelmed me for a passing moment.

My girl side is young, inexperienced, and anxious. When she's dominant, my emotional stability is fragile, and I find myself looking for a strong, masculine persona for support. Luckily, I've got one of those. Of course it's nothing like having a loving partner, especially since I'm not always able to choose which of my traits are predominate. Hopefully once my inner girl grows up it won't matter.

Oh yes, I know this shit's confusing.

I'm glad to be in Chicago. There are theatres everywhere, and so far everyone has been exceedingly friendly. One street has several stores with every sort of punk and goth merchandise you can imagine, and the next one over has more rainbows than you can count. Once the weather becomes more favorable and the snowpocalypse has ended, I'm sure I'll be able to find some genderfucked kindred spirits. For now, at least my bumps are getting bigger.