November 25, 2007

On the Way to the Airport

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:34 pm by Michael

We are leaving for the airport… dropping off Peri and John first, then we are off.

We are all a bit stressed.

Will update later…

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Almost There

Posted in schedule, surgery, transgender at 4:17 am by Michael

Surprise, I can’t sleep again.

Tomorrow at this time we’ll be in San Francisco getting ready to go to the hospital. I say that apropos of nothing, other than wow… its close!

Last night Anh, Peri and I went to El Gaucho for dinner. We had a sitter for the Samwich, and John wanted to stay home and decorate the Christmas tree and watch TV. Not a night to get into a power struggle with a seven year-old. El Gaucho is definitely one of our favorite places – it’s where our wedding reception was, and the combo of food and service is hard to beat. Who would have known that a windowless room could have so much charm?

While we were sitting waiting at the bus stop, Peri says to me “Aren’t you nervous that they are going to cut into you? Isn’t that icky?” Uh, yeah… very nervous!

Dinner was great, crab and shrimp, Caesar salad tableside (plenty of mustard – I’m convinced that’s the key), steak and ribs. Yes, we ate too much, but it was grand. At one point, the wine captain (who’s a woman) comes over to pour for us and asks “Are you celebrating a special occasion?”

I look at Anh.

Anh looks at Me.

I say: “Well, yes. It’s a little uncommon. Are you sure you want to know?”

This was not fair of me to say. Any human with a pulse, and an ounce of inquisition is going to want to know with that kind of buildup.

“Sure! Tell me.”

“Well, I’m transgendered, and tonight is my last real dinner before I have a bunch of surgery next week. This is a special restaurant to us, and we thought it would be great to eat here tonight.”

“Wow! That’s great, congratulations!”

There was more… but I’ll leave that out.

The server leaves, and I say to Peri: “Anh gave me the best advice ever. ‘If you aren’t ashamed, don’t act like you are ashamed’ And, I’m not ashamed!”

Peri: “Cool!”

Dessert was fun, dessert wine was fun too (and they bought us dessert, for no reason, which was very nice.)… cab home, pay the sitter, bedtime. Till 2am… can’t sleep, which brings us to here.

One story from last week that I forgot to mention – glasses. Dr O. strenuously insists that post the nose cast coming off, no glasses (or sunglasses) should be worn for a month. Now, I’m kind of blind. I wear contacts all the time, glasses when those aren’t in, so this should be a challenge.

Now, as you can imagine, Dr. O has a “good” solution for this.  First, take a piece of half inch tape, and wrap it around the bridge of your glasses, leaving about a two inch tail, sticky side in, going up (to your forehead). Carefully stick said tape to your forehead, so your glasses hang, without touching your nose.

This is an awesome engineering solution to this problem. I commend the thought, the effort and the inventiveness of the solution. We’ll see how desperate I become.

I’m bringing 4 sets of contacts.

Twelve hours left in Seattle. Still have to pack.

Earlier, (because I’m still a geek at heart) I was thinking about two of my favorite Yoda quotes, which are apropos for this situation (not sure this is what Lucas had in mind). These may be so common that they are trite, but hey, my blog, my trite quotes.

“Do, or do not, there is no try.”

And

Luke: “I don’t believe it!”
Yoda: “That is why you fail.”

I’m in “Do Mode”, and I do, in fact, believe.

Today should be a busy posting day….

November 24, 2007

Last Full Seattle Day

Posted in Identification, transgender at 11:58 am by Michael

Yesterday was again a bit overwhelming, but for different reasons than before (you know, the usual transgender stuff…). Yesterday with a new Valleywag post, the traffic here went up about 20x over the previous high. This had two effects – one – lots more comments, both on this site and on other places – and second it impacted how I thought about this space.

When I created this blog a week ago, my intent was to have this be a place for outbound communication to friends, family and acquaintances – both to help them keep up, and to reduce the load on Anh and I telling the same stories again and again.

With more than 3k views in less than 24 hours, and the usual vituperative comments that come with virtually any news post, it took me aback quite honestly.

Yup, it’s true that at Microsoft, in my time, I’ve not always been as nice to other people, or treated them as well as I should have. Very true. However, about five years ago, I tried consciously to change my style from the table-pounding, yelling style to a more open, collaborative style. It’s a work in progress, but I think I’ve improved, and helped people  be the best they can be. I don’t want to be known as someone who succeeds by leaving bodies in my wake – not cool – not a good long term approach.

Yup, it’s true that I didn’t tell Anh before we got married that I had gender identity issues. At that point, I honestly had wanted it to *go away*. (I wasn’t sure what *it* was then, either). I had thought that if I found the “right” relationship, and someone loved me enough, then I would feel complete, and these feelings of not being right in my own body would go away. However, it’s a testament to Anh, and what a strong relationship we have, and how much I love and care for her that I found the strength to tell her what was going on with me inside. We decided together (with some mistakes along the way) how to proceed – which resulted in me being very public, and about to transition.

Yup, it’s true that I have three kids, and this whole process will make their lives “harder”. However, I think I’m a pretty good parent. I’m engaged with all three of my kids lives. For Samwich, I make him breakfast almost every day, and usually feed him. I love to sing all my kids silly songs, and tell them stories, and teach them about the world around them, which includes people with differences (like us!). I still have a great amount of parental guilt that this will impact them, but in the end, I think this might even make them stronger.

Today is my last full day in Seattle for a while… I get to eat and drink whatever I’d like, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it. I’m also looking forward to moving past this time and getting back to much less interesting stuff.

November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving + 1 (or Hi Everybody!)

Posted in thanksgiving, transgender at 6:06 pm by Michael

First off, if you are coming from the site from Valleywag, welcome, and thanks for coming. Honestly, since Owen posted this afternoon, the amount of traffic (more than 1k views) in five hours is the same as we’ve had in a week…

Not to suck up to Owen, but initially when he posted the article back in October, I was extremely nervous that I’d come out poorly – but he did a great job to understand what was going on, and posted a very thoughtful article. Today’s was an extension of that, and I sincerely appreciate the non-sensational aspect of it (except for the title 🙂 ).

Anyway, on to the regular show.

Waking up this morning, I was thinking, “This is my last Friday with this face.”. Every time Samwich grabs my nose, or smacks me on the face, I think about what that’s going to be like a week or a month from now. Is he still going to recognize me? Am I going to scare him for a while? Right now, one of the things that just warms me up from the very core is when I see him after being out for a while, and seeing a super huge smile, and seeing him crawl over as fast as he can. I can’t imagine what it would be like if that didn’t happen.

As planned, yesterday for Turkey day we had about twenty people – lots of friends, family – way too much food – but it was good times. Our friend Leslie (http://www.calmbyleslie.com/) , who’s a massage and aroma therapist in Sammamish brought us three custom essences – “Megan’s Scar Oil” and “Samwich Soother” and “Anh’s Calming Balm”… very sweet.

As people were leaving, I kind of lost it… its hard to explain, but seeing people “with this face” for the last time gets very emotional.

Over the past couple of days, friends have been calling and emailing, wishing me (and all of us) best wishes – a bunch we’ll see next week (they are coming to SFO to visit while we are down. Every call basically makes me weepy (yes, its hard), but its great to have the support.

This afternoon, we went out (me, Anh, Samwich and Peri and John) to go get our Christmas Tree – our adventure brought us from Seattle to Woodinville to Maltby to find the perfect tree. (Anh prefers the really sparse “Charlie Brown” kind – technically is an “Alpine Noble Fir” – and there’s only one guy who sells them – they aren’t farmed in general.)

The tree is up, lots of Anh’s family is over now, and life goes on.

Five more days with this face, and two more days being seen as Michael. Its surprisingly normal (but a little scary!) here on the precipice.

November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve

Posted in friends, thanksgiving, transgender at 9:39 pm by Michael

Thanksgiving Eve

Today was my last day in the office this year. It seems like it was just the summer, and I’m on “Christmas Vacation” now. What am I getting for Christmas, huh?

Anyway, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and as usual, we’ve got lots of people coming over. At last count, we are north of twenty-five.

Two turkeys (one roasted, one fried – the *best* way), lots of potatoes, stuffing, and of course cranberry sauce. Now, not just any cranberry sauce, but Ocean Spray with “Flav-O-Ridges”.

Cranberry Sauce

The can now comes with a handy serving suggestion (pictured), as well as a guide to open the other end. I’m not sure what planet the Ocean Spray can engineers live on, but in normal world, where Newtonian physics (and suction) apply, one cannot remove the cranberry cylinder from said can without opening *both* ends. Of course, you can use a crude device like a spoon, or even use a knife to cut around the edges, but doing so will cause complete “Flav-O-Ridge” destruction, which of course makes the sauce far less tasty.

I grew up on Ocean Spray – not just at Thanksgiving, but just about once a week. Ocean Spray made me the man that I am! Er, wait… ok, maybe the person that I am! That’s better.

This morning when I got into work I felt a little melancholy. Ok, a lot melancholy. My last day for a while. I actually love my job. Its fun, it’s intellectually challenging, I love the space… its all good. I hate to be away for this long. No helping it really…

I’ve had a bunch of really sweet emails from co-workers over the past few days wishing me well. I still marvel at my fortune of working at Microsoft, and with such an amazing set of folks. Every mail like that is a little gift, and I really treasure them all.

As I was leaving this afternoon before coming home to run the inevitable errands, I did what I usually do before the hour-long fight in traffic – stopped in the restroom. I got to the doors, and stopped for a second. This was my last trip to a Microsoft men’s restroom. (I’ve accidentally opened the women’s room door once or twice. Some of the buildings diabolically switch the sides/location of the rooms from floor to floor. Check twice, open once. However, the men’s rooms generally have a bluish hue to the tile – the women’s – pink. Bye bye Blue!)

I drove home, did errands, had dinner (Samwich did his best FSM impression, he was eating rice noodles, and they were knit into a knot around both hands, then his head, then his body, etc. Bathtime was an exercise in noodle-ectomy skills.

There are no big chunks of time between now and Monday when I have to be in guy mode. I’m on the precipice of my fulltime transition. I feel stressed, but less so than yesterday.

I don’t think anyone can be really ‘ready” for something like this. I can say that I’m at peace with it… still convinced, still consenting.

All I know is that I’m ready to eat a lot of Turkey.

November 20, 2007

My Day in San Francisco – Part III – In Which the Mystery of the Toothbrush is Revealed

Posted in friends, Identification, surgery, transgender at 10:08 pm by Michael

(If you haven’t read the first two parts, scroll down and read below… otherwise this whole toothbrush matter will seem odd. – Ed.)

As a parting thought, Dr. O explained various reasons why I should call the office, or call the nurse.

“If your PCA [patient controlled analgesia – narcotics on demand] isn’t enough… call the nurse.”

“If you feel nauseated, call the nurse. We have stuff to help that.”

“If you get the stuff, and you still feel nauseated, call the nurse. We have other stuff to help that.”

“If you vomit blood, remember that a little blood in your stomach, mixed with acid, makes what looks like a lot of blood. Don’t worry, but call the nurse.”

Etc. Basically, if something is wacky… call the nurse.

Dr. O says bye, and hands us off to Mira. The process with the Doctor took about an hour. It was a long time to talk about all the stuff that would go wrong, but hey, that’s the essence of informed consent. I do feel informed. (and I still consent!)

Off to Mira’s office, where the first thing that she does is call admitting, and hand the phone to me. I notice for the first time that Mira is referring to me as “She” and “Her”, both to Anh, and also to the admitting nurse. This just strikes me as cognitively dissonant for a second, as I’m dressed like a guy, everyone still calls me Michael, but I’m “She”. I look down on my chart, and here we go, for the first time, under gender, the “F” checky box is checked.

The admitting lady, very nice, confirms the surgery dates, goes through medical history – basically does all the hospital things that everyone has done if they have gone to the ER.

Mira then comes back in, and she’s got a big stack of pink papers. Turns out that these are all consent forms – one for each of the procedures I’ve listed previously. Each is a page, double sided, describing the activity, then listing risks. Each one is signed, dated and countersigned, and on to the next. I’ve signed fewer papers buying a house!

We go through final details of pickup./dropoff times, going again through when I need to stop eating and drinking. As a fine point on the fact that I will from liquid, to soft (e.g. oatmeal), to partially soft over the two weeks that I’m there, she says:

“Enjoy Thanksgiving. If you eat too much, its ok. You will loose it, trust me. Have an extra dessert! Have an extra serving!”

 And then, she opens her drawer and takes out the toothbrush, and sets in on the table.

A toothbrush

Anh says “Who’s that for? A gift for Samwich?”

“No, its for Michael.”

Jointly: “Huh?”

“Well, remember the discussion about the jaw opening being restricted? Well, this might be the only toothbrush you can fit in.”

Anh: “Neat, it’s a piglet one! Do you have another one for Samwich?”

Anh Rocks.

With all that out of the way, I gave Mira the check (paid in full), and she said to me as we were leaving:

“So, when should we all start calling you Megan?”

“How about Monday?”

Epilogue

We ended up walking back to the Bart station to catch the train for our flight. Our flight home was delayed an hour, but we got back in time to have dinner with the Samwich. On the way home, Anh and I watched video on my laptop of the Samwich crawling, and babbling, and playing with Peri and John (Peri dragging Samwich around the house on a blanket, singing “Samwich train, Samwich train, all aboard the Samwich train!” over a soundtrack of him just all-out belly laughing is just one of those things in life that you don’t forget). I think we both got a little misty… This is our life. It’s a good one.

I was thinking about Thanksgiving tonight as I was driving home. This Thanksgiving will certainly be different than last, and it will be different than the next, but I hope in ways that are more superficial than substantial. I feel incredibly fortunate to have an amazing wife, a great family, and friends who have just been superhuman in their caring and support. I was a happy person before this all started, I’m a happy person now (if not a tad bit stressed), and I hope to be happy and even more complete person in the future.

I think that’s all you could ever ask for.

My Day in San Francisco (Alternate Title: “The Toothbrush”): Part II

Posted in schedule, surgery, transgender at 4:30 pm by Michael

(If you haven’t read Part I, scroll down, read that first. Otherwise, you ruin the whole story.  – Ed.)

In reading the packet I got in the mail about a month ago from Dr. O, one instruction, besides the normal when to eat, when not to eat surgical instructions stood out.


“No Chinese food for three days before surgery.”


This instruction puzzled me and Anh. Must be the MSG. Nah, maybe it’s the fried food. Noodles? Can’t be the noodles, its just flour and water. What about Vietnamese food? Hmm…

Dr. O cleared this up right away. Turns out that a little varmint called “Black Tree Mushroom” can be a strong anti-coagulant – causing uncontrolled bleeding if you eat it before surgery. Using the Internet for fun and profit, I searched trying to find this – nothing on wikipedia, and search engines didn’t come up with much… I did find one restaurant in SF  that served said evil bleeding-causing mushroom, but nothing much else except for the list of Chinese exporters that would bring it in.

Dr. O says that the mushroom is a common ingredient in Chinese food, one that’s often undisclosed. So, just say no to Chinese food if you are about to have surgery!

(When I have some time, I’ll blog his whole story about this – it was almost worth the price of surgery (and the pain) just to hear this detective story. I was impressed!)

Anyway, after the fungus bashing, we started to get into the good stuff…

(dramatic pause)

The Facial Surgery

NOTE: Surgical details follow, interspersed with attempts at humor. If you are squeamish, step away from the blog….

Step 1: The Death of Adam

The Adam’s apple gets it first. This will be one of the few visible scars. I thought this would be on my neck somewhere, but instead, it will be just inside of my chin. Dr. O says he gets a better surgical view from there, and the scar pulls less and is less noticeable. Interestingly, this location also comes with a convenient “explanation” if anyone asks. turns out that some salivary cysts are removed from the same location. So, if anyone asks: “Yeah, that salivary gland cyst was a real pain. I just had it removed!”

Step 2: The Creeping Hairline

Second visible scar. This one goes from just above each ear over the top of my head, forming a new hairline. The scalp hair is pulled forward, remaking the line to be down a bit. Here’s the sucky thing: doing this will cause nerve damage to the top of my head. Best case, couple months of top-of-the-head non-feeling. Worst case, this lasts basically forever. Dr. O suggests having hair transplants into the scar line if it’s super noticeable.

Step 3: Not by the Hair of My Chinny Chin Chin

I thought the chin resculpting would potentially come with a little scar too, but not on the outside. The scar for this will be below my lower lip, inside my mouth. Again with the potential nerve damage: challenge here is losing sensation on the lower lip. Two problems: saying “P” and “B” (damn you Peanut Butter!), and lack of heat sensation, causing potential mouth scalding. Note to self: Ice Americano is your coffee drink of choice.

Step 4: Jaws

No risk of nerve damage here, but just a ton of super-fun swelling potential. Here, the lower mandible gets reshaped and redecorated with some lovely titanium plates, screws and wire. Non-metallic, of course, to eliminate any pesky TSA or MRI problems.

Also, I need to do cool jaw-opening exercises to avoid the appearance of Mr. Howell-like closed jaw talking. I’m not a blue blood, so it wouldn’t really work for me. These exercises involve prying my jaw open with my thumbs. Repeatedly.

The scars here are inside the mouth. Orajel, here I come!

Step 5: The Furrow of My Brow

The details here are yucky, and I tuned out a bit. Suffice it to say, my brow gets “shaved”, which means no more brow ridge. Yea! Which means more grinding, wires, titanium, etc. Ugh. Good news though – this goes through the same incision as the forehead deal, so no additional nerve loss possible!

Ah, one thing though. The brow ends up a little “high”, and then settles. So, if you see me in December, and I look really surprised, I’m probably not.

Step 6: Monkey Boy No Longer

When I was a youth, my ears were a bit, um, big for my head. (NO JOKES ABOUT MY HEAD BEING TOO BIG NOW – HILLEL – THAT MEANS YOU) “Monkey” – not my favorite epithet. So, for all you school yard bullies, I’ve finally gotten my revenge! I’ve gone ahead, changed my gender, and will now get my ears pulled back! What are you going to tease me about now, huh? Not so tough, are you!

Step 7:  Long in the Lip?

As previously discussed, one of the steps is to reduce the length of the upper lip. Normal female range is 20-22mm, mine is more like 28-30mm.

“That’s a big lip”, Dr. O says.

This work causes the third visible scar, right below the nostrils (but tucked in.)

This brings us to our last act:

Step 8: Nose – or – “Damn, that’s a lot of steps!”

Samwich is super cute. Have I mentioned this? I think I have. In the last couple of months, he learned to “Give Kisses”. Initially this meant that he would open his mouth as wide as possible, and latch on to either your chin, cheek or nose, and suck. Much slobbery goodness ensued.

Last month, his m.o. suddenly changed – when I wasn’t expecting it, he decided to go for my nose, grab my mouth at the same time, and blow. Now, even at seven months, he’s got quite the set of lungs. This caused some sort of quasi-CPR positive pressure action to happen, and he actually was able to blow down quite a bit. OUCH SAMWICH! That HURT!

If he does that next week, please scrape me off the ceiling gently.

In any case, I’m leaving the nose selection work to the good Doctor. This will cause more bone action, and the post surgical insertion of “packing” on the inside, as well as a hard “cast” on the outside. I will be a mouth breather for at least two weeks.

He carefully explained that one problem I will have is that excess saliva will build up for the first couple of days. In which case, I should use the thoughtfully provided suction tube (like at the dentist’s office). However, he cautioned against trying to “help” the tube device by closing your mouth when inserting it.

“If you do that, a partial pressure vacuum will be created, and the packing in your nose will go up into your sinuses and back into your throat. We’ll have to take that out.”

Good tip. No frigging way I’m closing my mouth.

Part III will come a bit later tonight. In Part III you will hear about the stunning conclusion where the mystery of the toothbrush is finally revealed.

My Day in San Francisco (Alternate Title: “The Toothbrush”): Part I

Posted in schedule, surgery, transgender at 6:13 am by Michael

I didn’t end up going back to sleep yesterday after getting up at 2am. Our flight was at 6, so it didn’t really work timewise.

Anh and I sleepily got to the aiport (The Samwich was still comfortably sleeping at home, his cousin watched him for the day). Luckily, the wings of Alaska were on time, and we went to go through security.

The airport, that early in the morning, is always a fantastic place for people watching, especially at the holiday time. I love the teens wearing PJs and bunny slippers, holding onto their pillows. I love the tired people, completely on autopilot. On that autopilot point, our flight was to leave from gate “D” at lovely SeaTac International Airport. (As an aside of an aside… I need to know how the town, excuse me, “city” of SeaTac came to be named. Is there any more self-annihilating way to name yourself than a CamelCapped merged name of the two cities you are between? It would be like renaming our middle son PeriDaniel. Odd.) We get to security, and as feared, there’s a big line. No problem, we are plenty early. Then, I down the concourse, and not fifty feet away, they have opened a whole new security screening area. There are zero people in line. People are just walking right through. We walk over, thinking that this must be the ultra special employee line. Nope, it’s a regular line. It’s a new line, but a regular line. Not fifty feet away, people are slogging through a half-hour cattle dance, too sleepy to notice. Through in two minutes, on to the gate, onto the plane and we take our seats.

We are sitting in row 7, and again, on the people watching point, I love watching people as they get on the plane. About five minutes before its time to push, one of Anh’s old co-workers gets on (I knew her), and is coming down the aisle… I say hi, she says hi, at this point Anh is already asleep. She says “What are you guys doing down in San Francisco?”. I think “Ok, is this really a good time to get into this? Do I really want to hold up the line for this?”. Quickly I say “We are just down for the day!” (Which is TRUE!) She says “Me too, down for a mediation, see ya later.”

Plane pushes back w/o any further ado, and we are on our way.

We arrive just around 8:30, and my appointment isn’t till 11, so we were thinking breakfast – San Francisco is a great place to eat. On the way down, in a moment of lucidness, Anh says “What about Dim Sum?” Sounds great! We called her brother who lives in SFO to get the name of the place that he always goes: “Yank Sing”  (Another aside: Mobile data cards – priceless – way better than having to deal with WiFi hotspots – and cheaper too if you travel much. I use Verizon, and have had a fantastic experience.) We look up the address, and take the Bart into the city.

When we get to our destination however, tragedy, it doesn’t open till 11… (Yes, was stupid to not look in advance for the hours, but what Dim Sum place isn’t open for breakfast?)

As backup, and Anh *always* has backup, we walked down to the ferry terminal to get some breakfast. I’d highly recommend it – lots of little vendors with local fresh stuff –bread, pastry, roasted meat, produce — awesome. (We had a sticky bun, a chicken hum bao, and a Saigon roasted pork sandwich – all good). For the two days that I can eat food when we are there next week, I’m sure it will be great.

Anyway, time is getting tight, and we grab a cab to get to the doctor’s office. The cabbie has a white panama hat and a ponytail. Loved it. We give him the directions, and he says “Davis Medical Center – you two work there?” We say no.

As we get closer he says again “You two work there?” Again, we say no, but this time he adds:

“I died there, and they brought me back. Total flatline. Those people are ok in my book.”

“Wow… Well, every day is a day to the good then, huh?”

What else do you say?

We arrive, and go to the office. Tatiana is there behind the desk, and she says: “Hi, how are you both? Where’s the baby?” Everyone loves the Samwich.

She brings us to one of the rooms, and Dr. O comes in. Time to talk about surgery…

First we talk about my, um, “augmentation”. At this point, I’ve already confirmed with Mira the type, location, and size (as previously reported in this space), but the Dr. goes through it all again, measuring, prodding, and making sure that all will be ok. He then started to discuss the various complications that could arise – nerve damage, capsular contraction, and rupture.

He tell us that of the roughly ~1500 implants he’s done, that he’s only had two ruptures. The first was a woman who while skiing, hit a tree, flat on one breast. POP!

The second was the victim of an overly vigorous hug from her dad. That must have been some hug!

We then got a thorough description of the dressings, the drains, and the schedule for taking everything on and off…

The comical part was when he described how to guard against capsular contraction. Basically, the implants need to be massaged – up, down, left, right – once an hour. Watching him demo this was just… well – it was something I won’t soon forget.

At that point he says: “Well, all of this will be easy, compared to Thursday…”

Which I’ll cover a bit later… the Samwich just woke up, he’s on my lap, and while I love his contributions… he’s a little young to be blogging.

I leave you with this picture.

A toothbrush

A clue… yes, I’m supposed to use this.

More in a bit.

November 19, 2007

Off to SFO for the Day

Posted in friends, schedule, transgender at 2:46 am by Michael

Today we go down to visit Dr. O for the final pre-op consultation. Its 1:59 am, we have a 6am flight, and surprise! I can’t sleep.

I’ll do my best to be coherent.

A week from now at this time, we’ll be in SFO, three hours away from being at the hospital for surgery #1. I keep on wanting to write: “A week left of Michael”. I think it, I write it, I delete it. Doesn’t sound right, doesn’t look right. I can’t write it.

I can’t write it because it’s not how I feel. I can’t write it because I don’t want to let go.

Why not? I don’t think of Michael and Megan as two people. I’m just me. The name is a label, the name is a pointer, the name isn’t a definition. When I wrote that my friends and family had an infinite hall pass to call me Michael for as long as they wanted, I really meant it. However, I’ve gotten a ton of feedback/pushback from folks about that.

The nut of the feedback is that I’m “Becoming Megan” (I think that’s even in the blog title somewhere). They don’t get how calling me Michael after November 26 will make sense.

In thinking about this, maybe this is really about me not wanting to let go, or just being scared beyond belief. Maybe this isn’t about making them feel comfortable, it’s about me being comfortable. I say that I’m the same person – and I really want to be the same person – and maybe saying “Call me whatever” is a way to attempt to reinforce that. Maybe the name is important to me, but its not the Megan name, it’s the Michael name.

Not maybe. Really.

I’m just me. I’ve got to get over the name thing. In a week, people will call me Megan. I picked it! How lame is not wanting people to call you by…

(Ok, the baby just woke up (2:16 am). There’s very little in life that’s more satisfying than rubbing your kid’s head and having them fall back asleep. Daniel was born with a full head of hair (this was the first part of him I ever saw – his crazy black hair), and it’s so soft, so comforting… I love him. Now he’s asleep again…)

… the name that you chose for yourself? This name that fits in the gender that I’ll be 24/7/365/∞.

I’ve got to be confident in the fact that I am the same person inside, wrapper changes and all. I’ve got to get over the fact that by others calling me Megan, they aren’t saying “Ok, you are different” – but they are just being consistent with the choice that I have made.

Part II – The Best Advice

Anh said: “If you aren’t ashamed, don’t act like you are ashamed.”

By far, the best advice that I’ve had…

Part III – This Weekend

We love to throw big parties. We had better love to, because we do it often. Saturday we had a baby shower for Anh’s sister and brother-in-law. Their baby, who we have nicknamed “Pickle” (goes with Samwich!), is due early next year. I’m so happy for both of them.

Anyway… this weekend, I was “fulltime at home”, even with the big party. There were about thirty people at our house for the party, about half who I’d never met before.

I felt totally normal.

Over the past few months, its been a process to get to here – where it wasn’t a production to tell everyone in advance “Hi, I’m transgendered, and I’ll be dressing in women’s clothes for today.”

When I chickened out, and didn’t tell people, and didn’t dress the way I felt, I generally felt crappy. I felt like I was hiding. See Part II – The Best Advice.

Anyway, at the party, I didn’t feel like anything other than the host (hostess?) with a house full of thirty people. I felt like me…

Anh’s sister after the party said to me (and I almost lost it) “I’m glad you wore comfortable clothes.” Me too. They were comfortable.

November 16, 2007

No, Yesterday Wasn’t My Last Post

Posted in friends, transgender at 9:51 pm by Michael

I’m living in a foreign country, but I’m bound to cross the line
Beauty walks a razor’s edge; someday I’ll make it mine
If I could only turn back the clock to the time when I was born

“Come in” she says, I’ll give you shelter from the storm

Bob Dylan – Shelter From the Storm

I’m not sure why these lines now make me a puddle of emotion, but, they do.

Two things here really resonate with me. First of all, right now, I feel like I live in the mushy middle – I certainly don’t “pass” as female, and as a guy, I look decidedly odd. Long hair, little/no face and arm hair, skinny arms and upper body… not exactly manly. In both regards, I feel like I’m living in a foreign country. Neither male, nor female.

Last weekend, with all good intentions, I tried something that didn’t work. A couple of months ago, I had planned to go to Vegas (as I love to do), with some of my guy friends to have a “Last Boys Weekend”. Now, realistically, my boy’s weekends in Vegas have consisted of eating too much, gambling too much, drinking too much. Little-to-no other debauchery was ever had. I know that women do virtually the same thing… in the past, Anh and I have had mirror weekends in Vegas where we stay at the same place, eat at the same places, etc. The only difference is that the girls go spa most of the time. Boys, not so much.

In any case… we get there, and I just feel… odd. Very very hard to explain. Like an imposter? A poseur? A guest? An alien? Oh god (or Flying Spaghetti Monster), what I have done?

I’m already different.

But, then it feels like this one way door — I certainly don’t want to go back, and at this point, getting to “The New Normal” is a ways off….

Now, the second bit of resonance for me. I’m lucky to have an amazing set of friends, family, and more than anything a wife who loves me and supports me. She’s my Shelter from the Storm….

I was incredibly afraid before I had told anyone that I would loose everything – family, friends, job… I’ve read about people who have. Very very scary.

I have had a very different path than what I feared. Yes, its been hard – especially on family and friends – but, I’ve grown closer to so many people. Its truly been amazing.

For my friends who have been there for me through this – thank you seems insufficient, but its all I’ve got. So, thanks….

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