December 31, 2007

December 31, 2007

Posted in family, transgender at 8:32 am by Michael

Last day of the year and two days till I go back to work fulltime and “fulltime”. Now THAT will be interesting, and yes, I will post about it.

What a difference a year makes. Last year on this day:
– we lived in a different house (Sammamish v. Seattle)
– Anh was six months pregnant (and neither were her sister or sister-in-law)
– I had not told a soul about my gender issues and was a week away from my first therapy appointment.
– and, it goes without saying, I had a different legal name, a different presenting gender, an Adam’s apple, and had feeling in all parts of my head and face!

Thanksgiving was six weeks ago, but I certainly feel today that I have a lot to be thankful for. As I sit here writing this on the couch, Samwich is sleeping next to me. He woke up at 4:50am today, and wasn’t going back to sleep. We went downstairs, he played for a bit, and then went to sleep at about 6:30. It’s now just about 8, and he’s starting to stir…

What a gift he’s been.

John and Peri have done so much this year, and grown so much. John got some Exo-Force Lego stuff for Christmas, and was able to build them all himself, without help! Last year, easier stuff he needed help with. I see the budding engineer in him.

Peri got a bunch of Sculpey, and made an amazing little sculpture of Samwich.

Sculpey Samwich

She’s truly gifted, and it’s really come out this year. Just watching her draw on the back of a paper placemat – it brings a smile to my face.

I won’t gush about Anh… much.

In the past year, clearly we’ve been through a lot, cried a lot, laughed a lot, learned a lot, and she’s been a guiding light for me. This is clearly the short version….

I wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2008, and may you each find joy and happiness, and for those of you searching, the strength to be your true self.

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Units

Posted in family, money at 7:42 am by Michael

In my experience, one of the most universal “couple” issues is “Money”.  Merge it? Separate it? One common fund for common stuff with contributions from each partner?

I’ve heard of incredibly complicated models where it seems like a form as long as a tax form would be required.

Money issues get more complicated with people coming together later in life, with preexisting assets and debits. Even more complicated when kids get involved – how do you pay for them?

Our solution is very simple. One account, merged. Anh worked until we had Samwich, but now stays at home with him. We still had one account then.

However, we do have a solution for how to set each other’s expectations about spending. We call it “Units”. Basically, this is an amount, per day, that can be spent by either partner on “personal” stuff (non-basics), without “consulting” the other person. Any purchase (or day) that’s going to be over “A Unit”, we have a discussion. Anh’s Unit and my Unit are the same value (this is important).

The value of a “Unit” can vary over time, depending on circumstance. I think of the amount of a “Unit” being the “amount of money I can spend and not think twice about it”.

Right after I got divorced, money was tight, my personal “Unit” was $5.

As things got better – the Unit value went up. It was useful for my own money management as well.

The “Unit” concept works exceptionally well for us. We talk quite often about what the Unit value is, and also have great conversations about things that we each or together want to do that cost more than the Unit value. More than anything, it’s a communication tool, and also a great way to set mutual expectations.

Yesterday we had an idea about how to manage another common couple issue – managing kid time and alone time. With kids, it’s pretty clear that both partners aren’t going to be with each other and the kids 24 hours a day. Everyone needs alone time (and every couple needs time w/o the kids – but that’s a topic for another day).

However, deciding what the “rules” are around that can be just as complex as the money issue. Since the money Unit works so well for us, we came up with the “Kid Hour Unit”. Basically, either partner can leave the kid(s) w/the other for “2 Kid Hours” without “asking’. For example, if Anh wanted to go out, and we didn’t have the big kids (just Samwich), she could say “I’m going out!” and take off for a couple hours, and it wouldn’t be a “discussion”. However, if I wanted to go flying for the day, and we had all three kids, that would be 24 “Kid Hours” (3 kids x 8 hours). That would be over a Unit, and would require a discussion.

Fundamentally, both of these issues come down to expectation setting and clear communication – these are just tools to enable both!

Search Terms

Posted in meta at 7:21 am by Michael

One of the most fascinating things about having a blog for me, besides the comments and the content are the statistics. I get to see page views, but also interesting stuff like referrers (where people came from if it was a link) and also search terms that resulted in page views on my blog.

Here’s the total list from the past week (term first, then page view count):

Search Terms for 7 days ending 2007-12-31

Today
Search Views

Megan Wallent 3
megan wallent 2
HOW TO GET A BIG BUTT TRANSGENDER 1
tired of shaving my head can laser get r 1
stretched truth 1

Yesterday
Search Views

megan wallent 3
transgender profile nose brow makeup 2
infected symbol 2
patriots symbol 1
martian from bugs bunny 1
Megan Wallent 1
transgender surgery pitures 1
bob dylan quoting 1
linda gromko md 1
megan wallent blog 1
Megan Wallent. 1

2007-12-29
Search Views

megan wallent 7
marvin the martian 2
anh +wallent 1
meganwallent 1
megan wallent photos 1
did barney get sewd 1
megan wallent – pictures 1
“marvin the martian” 1

2007-12-28
Search Views

megan wallent 7
“Megan Wallent” 2
removing adam’s apple w/o surgery 2
washington state dol email 2
MARVIN THE MARTIAN 1
Megan Wallent 1
alaska medical help of transgender 1
Chipmunks I’ve got no strings lyrics 1
marvin the martian 1
marvin the martian pix 1
megan wallent picture 1
Michael Megan Wallent 1
“monger pants” 1
bugs bunny space 1
Micahel Wallent Megan 1
i got a cold beer in my right hand the o 1
how to draw marvin the martian 1

2007-12-27
Search Views

king county file name change 5
megan wallent 3
marvin the martian 2
Marvin the Martian 2
Megan Wallent 1
dan duckhorn divorce 1
meganwallent.com 1
wa.state/dol 1
pictures of bruise healing 1
from michael to megan 1
how to remove sutures pictures 1
picture compare before after tanning 1
seattle “santa pictures” after christmas 1
biohazard symbols 1

2007-12-26
Search Views

megan wallent 6
marvin the martian 3
my surgery Ousterhout 2
“M()” wallent 1
m() wallent 1
wordpress megan wallent 1
enterprise rent a car 1
.why did barney get sued? 1
wa.state.dol 1
make appointment to court in king county 1
michael megan 1
“on hormones” “my new breasts” 1

2007-12-25
Search Views

megan wallent 3
Megan Wallent 2
How to handle being shunned by family 1
post-op transgender+my photos 1
Marvin the Martian 1
bugs bunny martian 1

For web geeks, this list has GOT to be fascinating. A lot of these, I understand – searching for my name – I get it. But “Marvin the Martian”? Basically, every day for the past week, I got anywhere from one to four hits *per day* on that. Out of curiosity, I searched for “Marvin the Martian” on both Live Search and Google to see what would happen. On both, I looked through the first twenty pages of results, and couldn’t find my site. I really don’t get what’s going on. BTW, on the first twenty pages, I did find a site that gave the top twenty tips to Marvin for how to actually destroy the earth. Handy….

This one: “HOW TO GET A BIG BUTT TRANSGENDER”. HA! If someone finds a site on that, please TELL ME. Also, not sure that ALL CAPS is an effective search model.

“.why did barney get sued?” Huh?

“i got a cold beer in my right hand the o” Just search for this. Really. “How to Trade Hot Women for Cold Beer” – an interesting site.

“Chipmunks I’ve got no strings lyrics”. Ok, here I’m on Page 1 of Google, and link #7. But why oh why would anyone search for this?

“stretched truth” Interesting…. Again, not even CLOSE to the top of any search result page. Lots of politicians, and companies calling each other out for fake ads.

And, I’ll close out this section with “monger pants”. I saw this when I was drinking coffee. The coffee shot out of my nose I laughed so hard. I searched for this, and in fact, I’m on PAGE ONE of Google – last link. Here’s the link:

https://meganwallent.com/category/transgender/page/2/

Lazy Sunday – December 2, 2007

“She has what can be best described as fish-monger pants. She ends up standing behind you while washing your hair, in order to not get water onto the nose …”

Two things: I get why people would search for “monger pants”. Perhaps a fish monger? Or someone looking for said pants. BUT, why on earth would anyone (even Marvin the Martian) when finding this summary on a search page, click on it?

December 29, 2007

On Makeup

Posted in makeup, transgender at 7:32 am by Michael

Kate T. posted the following comment, and I started to write a reply, it got long, and I thought it might be interesting enough to put in the main stream. Here it is:

Hi Megan,

Thank you for sharing your story via the auspices of the internet. I’ve followed your blog nearly since its inception. It’s always interesting, and at times riveting–particularly when you candidly speak to the specifics of your/the trans experience. I do fall behind periodically, and since it can take some effort to catch up, perhaps I’ve missed discussion on the point about which I’m finding myself very curious. If so, pardon me, and perhaps please point me to the appropriate post/s to bring me up to speed. If not, I hope you’ll decide to respond to my question.

In your pre-op days, I remember a post in which you expressed a strong desire to present convincingly as your true gender. This seemed so basic as to preempt a credible counterpoint, and I understood it to be a/the primary reason to undergo facial feminization surgery. All completely understandable–and also the basis for my question. Why go to the surgical extreme—the time and expense and inconvenience and stress and pain and healing—then draw the line at what seems would be the comparatively minor step of wearing makeup, even as you seem to indicate that this would help mitigate the remaining challenges in your non-birth-gender presentation?

Thanks for taking the time to share, and best to you and your family.

Kate

Hi Kate – I’m glad that you enjoy reading my crazy long blog, what nice compliments! I’ve tried to keep the posts a bit shorter lately, so hopefully it will be easier to read overall.

As for why I had FFS, you did nail it, my goals were two – both to pass, but also to “look better”. I don’t think I really explained the “no makeup” thing well, so here we go.

Passing was important to both me and Anh so that as we moved through life the first thing that people would see wouldn’t be “that’s a guy wearing women’s clothes”. We were both concerned that if that was how life encountered us that we might face considerable discrimination. Some might say “Why does that matter?” People do face discrimination all the time. However, we both felt that if there was a way to minimize that first-impression issue, and at the same time help me to feel more comfortable in my skin, then we’d do it.

Let me be clear up front that I’m very glad that I had FFS. Yes, expensive. Yes, painful. Yes, my nose still hurts. Yes, I still can’t feel parts of my face (and when the nerves that have been “sleeping” wake up, boy are they PISSED!).

But, while I can’t see huge changes – Anh and other folks really do.

Last night she was going through some pictures and said “I saw some pictures of us from 2005. You looked like a man. Now, you look like a woman.”

I’m not sure I’d go that far yet, but certainly my face is much more feminine and softer than before. (And I love the fact that my ears aren’t spinnaker-like anymore!)

Two things have happened repeatedly though that have made me question one of the fundamental tenets of “why” I started my “fulltime transition” with FFS (the whole “passing” idea). The first is that I constantly get called “sir”, and get read as male. Everywhere. I give people my license “Megan Jenna Wallent” – still – “Sir”. (It will be fascinating to see what happens when I get the “F” on my license – to see how that impacts people who otherwise would “Sir” me…)

People come to our house to do work (we moved in in June, and it needed work – and we are getting a lot done now…) – they see me – they see our wedding pictures, right in the entryway – and you know what? Its no biggie. Never once has anyone said or acted odd. Even sitters (from a local service), which we use often (and is usually a different, older (late 50’s, early 60’s) woman), never a weird look.

So, even though I’m constantly “read”, we haven’t faced anything other than the five, documented crappy looks. (People have asked – “What’s a crappy look?” Think of it as a semi-sneer, associated with the head to toe stare-down. Staring for a long time also counts – as said on the Crappy Look Counter page “Don’t stare, I know I’m beautiful!” 🙂 )

So, I get “read” (thing one), but it’s not a “problem” (thing two).

(I get that living in Seattle, that my/our experience may be different than others, especially in different parts of the country/world. I can’t comment, since I don’t live there!)

To really “get” the makeup question, I need to first explain a bit of my/our overall style. As I’ve said before, we are a very active family. We run and exercise just about daily, travel, are on the go, and generally live a very casual lifestyle. Before June of this year, I didn’t comb or brush my hair (it was short) – so I just ran my fingers through it, and that was enough. Daily ritual – shower, dry off, hair “fixing”, deodorant, toothbrush, shave – done! 15-20 minutes from alarm to door (w/o Samwich – he’s a whole other deal).

Anh’s style isn’t a lot different. She generally doesn’t wear makeup unless we are going someplace fancy and get dressed up (rare – and that’s lipstick, and maybe a little eyeliner), or maybe 2-3x a month, she’ll put on some lipstick in the morning.

Fundamentally, I didn’t want my “style” to change post-transition. And, I don’t want to take the required time daily+ to do the whole makeup deal “right”. I didn’t want to go from relatively low maintenance to relatively high maintenance. More than 30 minutes getting ready wasn’t going to cut it.

Also, I’m constantly running my hand through my hair, and touching my face. MTMS (mean time to makeup smear) would be probably 15 minutes or less.

It’s not like I haven’t tried makeup. My friend Jenny brought me to Barney’s to get “made up” right after we got back from SFO.

(Ok, here’s the part that may not make sense…)

After getting made-up, I felt “fake”. I didn’t feel like “me”. As I documented that day (December 10), I ended up taking it off pretty quickly (after passport pictures were taken).

(I get that people might be saying – “Wow, what a weird thing… She has FFS, Breast Implants, and some makeup makes her feel “Fake”. Wow!” Yeah, that’s how I feel. My face and chest feel like a vital part of me – the lipstick, not so much).

I’m not saying that I don’t want to “pass”. I do. However, I think right now it has more to do with my ‘stache and rest of my beard than adding makeup (and voice, and posture, etc).  I could not deal with the whole foundation/powder thing to use as a cover for my beard (time and MTMS issues).

Yes, I do think that I will eventually, on occasion, use some light makeup (lipstick, eye liner?). Right now, it kind of feels like it would be (and wow, this is self-pejorative, and I’m only partially serious 🙂 ) “lipstick on a pig”.

Thanks Kate for reading, and also for the really good question – hope this makes at least a little sense!

Happy New Year!

– Megan

December 26, 2007

Christmas – So Yesterday

Posted in Christmas, family, food, surgery, transgender at 1:21 pm by Michael

You know that Christmas is officially over when there is the “Christmas Music Rebellion”.

Happens every year. This year, Anh started it. At about 8pm, while listening to Johnny Mathis, aka “Mr. Christmas” (he has someone else call him that on the record – WOW) – Anh said:

“Megan…. Can we PLEASE listen to something else? Please.”

I scanned the room – looking for unindicted co-conspirators (the people who LIKE Christmas music) and found no support.

On to the ‘Best of Frank Sinatra’. We’ll teach Samwich about the classics now…. not just the Chipmunks (although this *is* classic). As an aside, “Summer Wind” is by far my favorite Sinatra song. I can’t NOT dance to that….

Samwich has his first crush – Feist. When the song “1234” comes on, he immediately looks toward the source of the beautiful angelic music, and immediately stops what he’s doing. Crying, eating, pooping, whatever. It’s a fun party game now.

He gave us a nice present on Christmas Eve – two steps. Not totally under control, not bad for 9 months though! Also, his first tooth is a day or two from coming out… that will be fun!

Over the past couple of days Anh’s brother James (professional stylist in the Bay Area – he’s awesome!) performed two mitzvahs for me – cut my hair and did my eyebrows.

I will post more pictures today. I have been reluctant to do so for two reasons – one my upper lip was swollen from laser – so swollen I kind of looked like “The Cowardly Lion”.

Cowardly Lion

(Why does the Cowardly Lion have a ribbon in his hair – was “Cowardly” the closest that Victor Fleming could get to “Gay” in 1939? (Ed. Note – Anh read this post and said – it wasn’t “Frank Blum – it was Frank Baum.” She was of course, correct.  Full name was L. Frank Baum however and he died in 1920. Victor Fleming was the director of the 1939 “Wizard of Oz” movie, that the above picture is from.))

Secondly, while the laser had some *immediate* results, the remaining hairs get big and angry, until they fall out. We are mid-angry phase right now….

In any case though, I will post some shortly.

It did snow in Seattle yesterday – first time since ’96 on Christmas Day.

Some other food comments:

– Pistachio Waffles – very interesting (mix the crushed pistachios into the butter). Dip in butter if you are into that sort of thing.
– Berry Waffles – microwave frozen berries first, then mash them, then mix in w/the batter. Works great – the taste is throughout.
– Beef Wellington – good idea, hard to make work. Puff pastry is soggy on the bottom – do you cook it on a rack?
– Verdun Chocolates – from Portland – super fun at a party – each kind is a uniquely wrapped color/shape, and you get a large guidebook – so its like a party game to find what you like.
– Duckhorn Cab from ’98 – I loved it then, I love it more now.
– Champagne is always good to have in house. The French stuff is better – way better. Pol Roger – nice. Also, Rose Champagne – try it out!

Ok, one serious bit of “Trans-business”.

We have lots of pictures around our house. We have wedding day pictures, a picture I love from Hawaii, pictures of me with the big kids when they were young – lots of stuff.

I look at myself, and see the same face as I see when I look in the mirror today. I kind of expected a “bigger” change – it was very scary as a result (read the posts from right before facial surgery – I was super scared!).

(Other People – while they recognize me, say I look a lot different. I don’t see it.)

My face is still pretty angular.

The swelling on my nose and chin/jaw is coming down.

Even with no facial hair, I don’t think I will by ever by default “pass”. E.g., just with a “Headshot”.

I’m coming around to being ok w/that. It’s honestly hard to admit.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel *great*. I know I made the right decision (Yes Dave(s), I did!).

But, I’m going to be in the middle, probably forever. Dress, makeup, voice, “more surgery” – all these things could change that. But, I don’t want to do any of it.

I’ve done enough.

I’m satisfied…. Even if a bit surprised.

December 24, 2007

Holiday Letter

Posted in humor at 10:12 pm by Michael

Well, 2007 was another fantastic year in a string of fantastic years.

This year we welcomed in the littlest Walnut – Samwich Wallent on March 15, 2007. He popped out like a bean from an edamame after just 2 minutes of labor. Anh alerted me to her impending delivery by calmly saying “Samwich is Coming.’, at which point the police escort came to our house, and drove us to the hospital with silent sirens. As soon as we arrived at the hospital, we were escorted in to delivery room, where Anh bore down once, and then Daniel – by then known as Samwich to all – popped out, and said in a lovely cockney accent:  “Hello Lovely Parents, I’ve had a nice swim, but I’d very much like something to eat.”

From Day 1, Samwich has slept 12 hours at a time, without interruption.

Peri at 9 has had four art expositions at the finest museums in London, Prague, Moscow and Beijing – wowing both the east and the west simultaneously with her amazing blend of zest, vision and humor.

John at 7 is now an executive producer in Hollywood and has started shooting “Star Wars VII: The Revenge of the Audience” – the sole goal of the production is to rescue the entire dramatic arc from the misguided introduction of the “midiclorians”. In Star Wars VII, we’ll find out that episodes I through act III of Episode III were dreams of Vader, while being operated on to create his evil robotized self after being dunked in lava. We will hear the real story, told as a series of flashbacks in this stunner.

Amazing children, however Samwich still has no teeth. His dentures come in next Monday. Sometimes you just can’t let nature take it’s course.

Our vacations this year included Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Maui, Mars, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi, Boston, Wickford and Boise. We enjoyed each day without argument, contention and remarkably without getting lost or overcharged a single time.

Anh was a participant in the “Insurance Testing Program” this year, where she “intentionally” got into two accidents with an Enterprise Rent-A-Car. We discovered that Allstate gets pissy and confused the second time you call them telling them that you wrecked not-your-car, but they owe money to someone for something. Sorry, not a 5 out of 5. As a side note – “Moving Wall” – still not a good excuse. We expect to get 5000 S&H GreenStamps for Anh’s efforts – Ellensburg here we come!

Some lovely folks in Georgia found out my Amex number and, as honest people do, reported this, and again participated in the “Amex Fraud Testing Program” by going to the same Target in Georgia 52 times in one day. Boy, those Amex guys are SHARP! They caught the testers on visit 27, when “I” bought 29 cartons of Marlboro Lights. How did Amex know that I couldn’t smoke?

So here now, as we sit here watching “The Sound of Music”, and we contemplate our great fortune in 2007, we can only look forward to an even better 2008. One filled with laughter, tears, sleep, and maybe some teeth for Samwich.

Oh, and by the way, Michael came out as Transgendered and is now Megan. She’s like Michael only with less hair everywhere but the top of her head, and with a more fashionable wardrobe.

We really are looking forward to an exciting and eventful year in 2008, for a change.

December 23, 2007

New Look

Posted in NE Patriots, Uncategorized at 4:21 pm by Michael

Would love feedback on the new style. I honestly got sick of the overall dark/light eyestrain, being unable to read comments, or older posts w/o clicking on them. Is this better?

And, the Pats roll again!

December 22, 2007

The Holiday Season

Posted in Christmas, family, food, friends, Pro Club Laser at 3:48 pm by Michael

Ok, things are a little frantic, but a little “normal”, so there hasn’t been a bunch to write. However, there was a comment that I got late last night that I wrote a long response to (below), and enough has happened since Wednesday to write some stuff! It’s like a smorgasbord – what could be more in the holiday season than that!

One of the stories that I heard from a co-worker is a solution they found to how to refer to things that I’ve done pre-transition. Michael? Megan? He? She? Nah, they simplified the problem – they just referred to me, for the sake of that conversation as “Wallent”. Works for me! Honestly, I’m not trying to erase “Michael”. I did a lot of stuff… When people talk about interacting with me “Before”, it makes sense to say “When I was talking to Michael…” or “Megan” – whatever works. I have a very pragmatic perspective on this. Whatever works.

Wednesday night we brought a few friends out to dinner as a thank you for their support, specifically the folks who came to visit Anh and I when we were in San Francisco. We went to Chez Shea in Seattle, near the Pike Place market. The company was great, the food was ok, but the service, well, it was a distraction. Maybe it was because we were in the lounge, but honestly, it felt like the waiter had better stuff to do. Huh, no extra tip for him.

Thursday we got to find out how picky Seattle zoning is. We are trying to get some landscaping done in our yard, and a failing driveway wall fixed. However, it seems like no matter what we want to do, there’s a rule about it (or not doing it!). The folks we are working with are super knowledgeable, but still, wow! That’s a lot of rules. Maybe the yard will be just fine as is!

We were having some friends over (John and Cait) for dinner on Friday, so we wanted to make something nice. Cait is a fantastic cook, and they both are fantastic hosts (I do remember this, even though the last time we saw them I think we drank 9 bottles of wine in 8 hours (we slept there – no Drinking and Driving). We were all hurting big-time the next day). It’s been super cold here in Seattle, so we wanted to make a great winter dish. So, Anh made Tomato soup, which we planned to finish with a crouton with melted (in the broiler) cheddar and parm on top. I worked on braised lamb, onion, mushroom and tomato (garlic and rosemary too), that we’d then mix in with pasta (penne – our last bag that we got from Italy). I am very much the sous chef in our house. So, to say I “worked on” it may be an exaggeration. I am the sommelier and bartender – but just the sous chef. One has to know their place. We cooked all of this Thursday night – we pulled the lamb an hour early, planning on finishing it for an hour the next day, and got the tomato soup base done.

Friday morning was the long appointed crazy laser appointment. Now, I’ve had laser a bunch of times (five?) in the past six months, all at a different place. However, the second to last time I was there, my right arm got hypo pigmented in a weird pattern, and they stopped talking to me. I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t even upset, they just decided not to talk to me anymore. Very odd. Friday the appointment was at the Pro Club in Bellevue. I wasn’t worried about this at all. Laser is uncomfortable, but it’s not unbearable. I actually thought it was worse than electrolysis, but not a lot more.

So, I went in (got Sir’ed twice), and filled out the requisite forms, and went in to see Stacey, who was awesome. She asked how long I had (30 minutess), and a little history. I told her, told her the hypo pigmentation story, and she said “no problem”, and we agreed to work on my upper lip, lower lip and chin. She then got an ice bag, and asked if I wanted to get numbed.

Numbed? Ice? Wha? I’ve done this before, my whole lip/chin area is numb because of nerve issues from surgery, and I’m thinking “Who do you think you are dealing with here? Some sort of Wuss?”

She says: “No, really.”

I say (foolishly) “I’m SURE I’ll be ok.” (Smile and Wave!)

She says, smiling and sighing “Okay… we’ll just have to see how this goes!”

She started on my chin, from the outside.

Grabs the laser, puts in on my chin, and presses the trigger.

“JESUS FRIGGING CHRIST! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?” (calling on the FSM in this scenario seems pointless)

Where the “other” laser feels like a little elastic snap, this felt like five or six needle pricks (hard), all at the same time.

She got halfway across my chin, toward the middle, and I had to have her stop, and give me a minute.

She said “You want to see what it looks like so far?”

I’m thinking “What’s this about? Usually it just looks a little red, so what am I looking at here?”

She gives me the mirror, and “MY GOD – WHAT IS THAT?”

Basically, it looks like my hair has literally jumped out of my skin, some all the way, some partially, and is now stuck to my chin.

She says: “You have great ejection happening.”

I say “Eja-wha???”

She says: “Well, the courser hairs that we do, especially the dark ones on people with light skin, they tend to just “jump” right out. That’s called ‘ejection’. You get results immediately for at least half the hairs, and the rest come out in about a week.”

I say: “Well, this hurts like hell, but I love you. Keep going!”

I iced the rest of my chin, and she started working on my upper lip, which is SUPER numb.

That also hurt like hell. The nerves got an interesting wakeup call yesterday.

We finished up, and I spent the next two hours with ice bags/packs on my face. The treated area is still swollen (but less so) more than a day later.

Stacey said that the laser she was using was an older type (but new model) and was patented ( https://www.proclub.com/default.aspx?tabid=1243 ). Basically, the other place had a different model, and while it hurt less, was a different wavelength that was less efficient.

 I will post some new pictures shortly – I don’t feel like I have “Lion Lip” on top anymore – although it is still swollen.

After laser, with ice bags at the ready, Anh, Samwich and I went to lunch with our friend Val at Malay Satay Hut in Bellevue (good place!). I had a beer. My face hurt like hell still.

Anyway, Val’s a sweetheart, and has been super supportive through this whole process. She also gave me a special present that I will value forever. (Sorry, I can’t say what it is. When I get back to work, it will be in my office though, prominently displayed).

We went home after a little Christmas shopping at U Village (cold!), and then finished up with dinner. Food ended up coming out the way we wanted, and it was a lot of fun.

This morning, we simply finished up with Christmas shopping and shipping… and life goes on.

A Reflection on the Comment from “Dave”

Posted in family, friends, transgender at 2:18 pm by Michael

Late last night, this comment came in on the “Pictures” page:

Your life is a really sad story and it is unfortunate that you did not get the type of medical help you needed. Play up your sickness all you want, but this can not come to any good for your wife and children. I don’t say any of this to be mean, but you have taken the hand you were dealt and acted selfishly. You are just ill and I feel very pained for you and your family.

I read this early this morning, and was honestly a little taken aback. I needed to sit on this for a while, and reflect a bit before I either approved it or not (I just did), and decide what to do. I could post it without comment, or comment briefly, or comment at length.

I’ve decided to comment at length, since I do believe that Dave’s thoughts may be shared by some others, and he does touch on a number of core issues not just for me, but for the transgendered community overall.

This is not a rant, and I’m not upset at Dave. I sincerely appreciate the fact that he took the time to post a comment, and I will not reveal the email address that this came from (both because I don’t think its right, and because I can’t be sure that it’s accurate). As I said on the “Rants N Raves” page, if you decide to not like me after reading my story, then “Peace Out”. We may be at “Peace Out’ with Dave….

So, with that, I have some thoughts.

Preamble

One thing that strikes me is that Dave’s comment was on the “Pictures” page. I’m not going to assume anything, but I do hope he read more than that page – those are pictures, not a narrative.

BTW, Dave posted his comment from a Comcast network in Washington state.  potentially eastern Washington, but that additional location information is a bit inaccurate.

Your life is a really sad story…

Well, to date, my life has been anything but sad. My life has been awesome! I’ve been incredibly fortunate, and have had amazing experiences, met amazing people, and learned a ton. I hope if people get anything from my blog, they should get that I was happy before, happy during, and I have to say, I’m happy now.

If what Dave is really saying is after reading my story, he got that I was happy before but felt like even if I seem happy now, that I’m going to flush my life (and those of my family), and that it made him sad, and he thinks that eventually I will be sad, then I at least understand it. But, if the latter is true, I guess we’d agree to disagree that this won’t work out long term. However, if my story makes him sad, I’d give him the advice that my therapist gave me when I read stuff about TG folks that were sad “Don’t read it then!”.

…it is unfortunate that you did not get the type of medical help you needed.

I’m a bit confused about this comment. I have been going to a licensed therapist for nearly a year – weekly. She’s an expert in Gender Identity issues. I’ve been seeing a licensed MD for almost a year, and also have been seen and evaluated by Dr. O in San Francisco. I feel like I’ve had outstanding medical care.

There seemingly is an implication that “medical help you needed” would have been help to “talk me out” of having GID.

Well, I have to tell you, I’m not sure that would have been possible – I guess I could have been counseled to continue to suppress and hide how I was feeling, but my previous suppression was leading me to overly focus on it, but also was starting to effect my mood (negatively) last fall.

When reading this part of this comment, I wonder if Dave believes that no person with GID should ever transition, or if after reading my blog, he feels like it was specifically wrong for me. I am genuinely curious about that.

Play up your sickness all you want…

Perhaps it’s unfair to call out this line – but a couple things. One, I’m not playing up anything. I’m telling my life’s story, as is. I write about the good, the bad and the indifferent. Secondly,  if anyone reads my blog and says “WOO HOO! I wish I had GID – sign me UP!” then, well, that’s really unfortunate. I would not wish this path on anyone. It’s not easy – not for me, not for family, not for friends, not for co-workers. It’s hard. I would have loved for this to “GO AWAY”. But it didn’t.

…but this can not come to any good for your wife and children.

This sounds close to the argument against divorce when you have kids. “Stay together for your kids!” I’ve heard that. I heard that before I got divorced (first marriage). However, what I think most professionals say is that a happy, complete but “different” parent is better than an unhappy, unfulfilled one.

Most of the people who know me have said that since coming out, they like me *more*. More open, less withdrawn, funnier, easier to laugh at myself, more reflective, more engaged. Read the posts about Anh’s family – almost universally, my relationships with those people have become far stronger.

Now, one could argue that I should have done all of that, but then not changed my gender presentation, but part of the reason why I’m so much more comfortable, and have so much more energy, is because this background pain of not being true to myself is gone.

But, Dave is right. This is a challenge for the kids. However, our experience has been that if the adults around them do not make this a “big deal”, it won’t be a big deal for them. Part of it also has to do with how I handle the transition too. If I came to pick them up at school in stripper-wear, then, well, that would be bad. However, I take considerable time and energy to dress conservatively – all the time.

Will it get harder as they become teens – probably – but by then, it will have been something that they have been living with for a long time.

And, I give the community more credit than to think that they will allow the kids to get attacked. One of the nicest stories that I’ve heard is that one mom’s of another girl’s on Peri’s soccer team told her that she had an “important job”. Her important job was to make sure to stand up for Peri if anyone gave her a hard time about me. I know these people only a little bit – we see them at games – but they heard my story, and decided what they thought the right thing to do was – and that was to be accepting, loving, and supportive.

As for Anh, she can speak for herself. But she’s right here next to me now, sitting on the couch, as we chill out on yet another rainy Saturday in Seattle. If I won’t speak for her, it’s not clear to me that Dave should either, especially without knowing her.

I don’t say any of this to be mean, but you have taken the hand you were dealt and acted selfishly.

I don’t think Dave is being mean. I don’t take it that way. As far as being selfish, well, this was my  primary fear before coming out. I felt like coming out would be the most selfish thing that I have done. This was a deep conversation with my therapist before I ever came out – to anyone. When I talked to Anh, this was a deep conversation before we told anyone, and worked together to decide if I was going to transition, and decide how and when. This wasn’t something that I simply told her I was doing, and to take it or leave it.

Fundamentally, I don’t agree that being true to your self is selfish. It’s honest. I’ve tried to mitigate any impacts on family and friends as much as possible, but I cannot simply run away from who I really am.

You are just ill…

On the one hand, you are right. I have suffered from GID for a very long time. That is technically a psychiatric diagnosis. However, as I have commented on in this space, I now feel “cured” – in that the outside matches the inside.

On the other hand, I feel healthier psychologically than many people (of all walks of life) I have encountered. I understand that life is a series of mistakes that you make, learn from, and hopefully don’t repeat.

Again here, I wonder if Dave is commenting about me specifically, or about the entire set of folks who have GID, and who have chosen to publicly express a gender different than their birth-gender

….I feel very pained for you and your family.

Well, I appreciate the concern, but I think we are doing just fine, thank you. I never asked for, and certainly don’t want sympathy. I’ve tried in this space to be honest, admit the good the bad and the ugly, and just try to live my life.

I’m not suggesting that anyone follow me (FSM forbid!), but I’m just telling my story. If you, or anyone else disagrees or just doesn’t like what I have to say, then I guess that will be one less return visitor.

Peace.

December 19, 2007

I Got No Strings on Me!

Posted in family, food, surgery, Vegas at 5:41 pm by Michael

Yesterday was a bit of a milestone in my recovery from FFS. Two things really – the bruising on my face is basically gone. (I have a little tiny spot under my left eye – but given that it was swollen shut and totally purple less than three weeks ago, I’ll call that good!). And, for the first time since November 29, all of the sutures in my mouth are gone!

Just as a note, if you are squeamish, skip the next paragraph. I’ll get into some detail.

I only ended up with three visible scars on my face – under my nose (nose work, plus upper lip), under my chin (adam’s apple removal), and right at my hairline (ear to ear scar, only visible at the top – hairline modification plus brow sculpting). I also have scars behind each ear, from having them tucked back. But, inside my mouth was the real masterwork. All of the jaw and chin work was done from in there. No visible scars as a result, but a ton of sutures (dissolvable) inside my mouth. Basically, I had a top to bottom “Z” incision on each cheek, and along the bottom edge of my jawline, where the skin on the cheek meets the gum, there was an incision, and dissolvable sutures.

Yesterday, the last of those dissolvable sutures “dissolved”, and were gone!

I thought of the song from the Disney Pinocchio movie: “I Got No Strings”. I’ll do my best to remember the lyrics:

I got no strings to hold me down
To make me smile
To make me frown
I got no strings to hold on me
I got no strings on me!

Not totally apropos, but still – this felt like a milestone!

Last night Anh and I went to Bradley Ogden for dinner at Caesar’s Palace. We had been there for dinner before, a while ago w/friends, and Anh had been there for dessert again recently and said it was great.

Well, it was great. It was amazing. The service was spectacular – it was a discussion between us and our waiter Berke .We started with a fresh Alaskan King Crab appetizer that came with these little bits of gold – nuts, deep fried potato, just amazingly well put together and beautiful. Of course, the split each thing we ordered into two, with great presentation, insuring that we both had the full effect. This is not something we see super often, but it was appreciated. Our waiter also thought that the crab would work best with a sparkling wine, so he served us a generously portioned taste of a California Rose sparkling wine.

We then had a salad with this amazing little blue cheese soufflé. Yes, that’s right a blue cheese soufflé.

Berke and Bradley Ogden’s son had helped us to pick out a great ’96 Dunn Cabernet, that was so silky smooth, it was an experience.

Next there was a ribeye steak that we split – amazingly plated, with winter veggies underlying.

Berke recommended trying the Kobe steak as well – from Japan – really. He said that they ship over porterhouse cuts, then butcher them to just get the strip cut. Its prepared on a teppan style grill, seared three times – first with soy, then with a salt/pepper mix, then finished with soy. The serve by the ounce, so we got four, and went for it.

Wow… like eating fois gras, without the guilt! It was an amazing experience.

Dessert was killer as well – chocolate three ways, a meringue, and an amazing Far Niente Dolce.

It was dead in the restaurant, just like Vegas in general this time of year – right before Christmas, right before New Years. So, the waiter was chatty. We liked it.

He had initially been calling me “He” or “Sir”, but I did correct him, since we’d be there for a while, and introduced myself “Hi, my name is Megan, and I really prefer “She”!”. He said, “Nice to meet you Megan!”

As we were getting dessert, we asked him if he had figured out our story, and he said yes.  He gave me his card, I wrote down the address of this blog, and he started talking.

It turned out that he has two transgendered friends. These were MTF folks, who had transitioned before he knew them. One from where he came from, one from in Vegas. He was clearly a nice guy, and had other interesting stories to tell. 

“You Never Know!” when you meet people about their background, their story, and their history.

I look forward to our next trip to Vegas, where we will undoubtedly go see the fine folks at Bradley Ogden again.

Oh, and after dinner, we went to the Mirage and had great luck at the Double Deck Blackjack table… always good to leave on a positive note!

No strings attached!

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