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Why I’m not on testosterone

Or, why I haven’t yet shot myself up with some man.

Disclaimer: I have T-15/20 minutes before the melatonin I took kicks in hardcore, so I hope this is coherent.

I’ve wanted to medically transition since high school, when I found out what “transgender” meant, and what I could do about it. That was about 4 years ago. I could be more or less transitioned right now, but not a drop of T has entered my body.

Why?

I chose instead to continue competing in the women’s division for collegiate running. It was a decision that almost drove me insane. Some who know me would argue that it did. Not even finished with my freshman year, I walked into my advisor’s office and asked for a letter of rec for entrance to another university. I came out to her in explanation, and she helped me get a full ride scholarship at said university. After much distraught deliberation, I ended up staying where I was, for many reasons. I came out to others (including my coach!) that fall.

I’m a senior now, and with only one year (~11 months) left, I find myself thinking back on it all. I stopped blogging/writing much because it was painful and frustrating to even think about sometimes. I tried to stop thinking about it so much. Tried. It’s nearly impossible to think about anything else when every time you look in the mirror you feel like throwing up. When every time someone talks about you they stab you with pronoun knives. When you don’t have the courage to pop a squat in the guy’s restroom, but people stare and/or run out when you use the women’s. The hardest part is feeling trapped, stuck, and knowing you did that to yourself. Pulled in so many directions because the situation fucking sucks and you’re enjoying the hell out of college anyway.

If I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything except maybe come out sooner, especially to my parents. It’s been rough for sure, but undeniably beautiful. I never could have imagined finding so much support and acceptance. Between the professors here, my advisor, my coach, teammates and their parents, roommates, administration, classmates, friends.. I’ve found family here.

I’ve also found myself. I’ve found the strength to truly be myself when everyone is telling me I’me something else. I used to worry that I wasn’t trans enough when I stopped wanting to bash my head into a wall every time someone used she. It really just meant that I’ve found confidence and validation from within. I don’t need T to make me who I’ll grow to be any more than the estrogen coursing through me defines who I am now.

That is what will get me through this next year.

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Back on the blogging bus

I’m a wreck, and I need to get it together. I haven’t written in forever, and I think that’s a big part of it. My head is so mixed up that I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll start by trying to figure out how I got here.

This track season wasn’t the best. I came off of a really good cross country season (A few races around 18:30-19 min) and was hoping to do really well in track. Long story short, got injured and only raced a few times the last few weeks of the season, missing qualifying for nationals by 4 seconds. It was okay, I regrouped and focused on training for the summer.

I’m in Switzerland for the summer, and kind of got carried away the first couple weeks I was here. I may or may not have run a mountainous half-marathon. I may or may not have won with a pretty good time. And I may or may not have royally rucked up my Achilles in the process. So I took some time off and cross trained and dropped my mileage. It’s stressing me out right now because I should be at 60-70 miles per week, but I’m not. But it’s more important to be healthy, so I dropped off for a week, ran 27 the next week and I hit 40 this week. It’s good progress, but I’m paying really close attention to my Achilles.

Since I dropped my mileage so much I started cross training and lifting more weights. I also started following a bit stricter diet (higher protein, less crap). In theory, it would be fine, seeing as I have a goal weight for the fall when XC starts up again. In theory. In reality, I started binge-eating because my body was craving more something, and then I started eating when I wasn’t even hungry. And now I just feel like shit and even more stressed.

I also have dermatillomania. Wow, I’ve never actually said/wrote that before. It fucking sucks. I’ve been picking since I was about 10-11 (about the time I started struggling with being trans) and I loathe how out of control it makes me feel. I tried again and again to stop these last two weeks and the harder I try the worse it gets. It feels like I’ll never be able to get control of it, but I’m determined.

Today, I was laying in bed, feeling puffy from too much salt (I had two lbs of trail mix in two days :/ ), bloated from too much everything, and my face looked (still looks) like a train/lawn aeration device ran over it. I thought, Transiteration, you’re a disaster. You’ve got to get it together.

So this is where I’m at. I realize that I need to start blogging, and not for anyone but me.  I’m going to write crazy stuff, boring stuff, weird stuff, any kind of stuff, and that’s that. Half of the time it’s probably not going to make any sense. But I need to get it out because it’s eating me from the inside. Working abroad for the summer makes everything a bit lonelier and harder to deal with. I gotta take care of myself.

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Ever wondered what it’s like to be transgender?

Imagine being a kid. Your favorite toy is a remote control dump truck, and even though your sister tries tirelessly to bribe you into playing Barbie’s, you gravitate towards the huge diverse bin of legos. Your birthday party involves Thomas the Train, and your mom whispers in your ear “I know you won’t really like it, but when you open the square-shaped one over there, pretend like you’re thrilled.”  This is not a new phenomenon. You nod, acquiesce, and make sure to profusely thank the parent that gave you a deluxe little-kid hair accessory set. You also begin plans to shoot the hair bands at your sibling from afar. By grade five, you’ve already assumed the characters of Abraham Lincoln and some other important dead guy for school projects and ignore your mother’s polite requests to embody more feminine figures; after all, you came, you saw, and you conquered elementary school.

You’ve realized, by then, that you’re atypical. But it’s elementary school… not that big of a deal, right? So what does being different mean when you grow up?

It means getting a cold, clammy, rush of epinephrine every time you even think about applying for a job. School dances? Public bathrooms? Forget it.

It means hearing “on your mark, ladies” echo louder than the .22 caliber pistol at the starting line of a race, or putting on rank, sweat-stained clothes and muddy, worn-out shoes every day, knowing that you’ve been running for 20 years and there’s absolutely no getting away from this problem.

It means going to a trans group and knowing that at least half of the people in there have tried to take their own lives, and others have made 2 am calls to the suicide hotline. You see people that may as well be orphans because their family is dead to them. Or rather, they are dead to their family.  You see a person whose arms are so trashed with white-hot remnants of self-mutilation that you don’t even want to imagine what it’s like on the other side of zir eyes. You notice on each person’s face a shadow of a constant fight with demons. On the rest of the world – an expression of ignorance transmitting the all-too-clear message that people simply don’t care.

It means waking up, looking in the mirror, and seeing hips the size of Alaska, even when they’re probably just the size of Colorado, and hating your voice not for the load of shite it normally carries, but for the utterly wrong frequency of energy that rolls off your tongue. You wonder why a bunch of adipose tissue and hyaline cartilage in the wrong places can cause your neural pathways and lacrimal glands to go haywire.

It means tasting the salt on your face at night, and wishing all the next day that your contacts didn’t sting so badly. It means being upset and then getting more upset about being upset and trying in vain to hold it all in because Boys Don’t Cry.  It means knowing that you have to live like that every day for at least the next two and a half years, until some therapist deems you not crazy (or maybe crazy enough) to shoot yourself up with some man.

It means being called by anything from he/she, it, tranny… and recognizing the rest of the world can tell you what you look like, sound like, feel like, and even smell like, but they will never be able to tell you who you are because that part of you just is.

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Lovely Blog Award

I got nominated for the Lovely Blog Award by Because I’m Fabulous. Definitely one of the best blogs I’ve gotten to know and you should check it out. Thank you!

one-lovely-blog-award

I guess I’m supposed to say 7 facts!

1.  Unless I’m doing a road trip, I typically put more miles on my body than I do my car.

2. My dream house is this itty bitty home.

3. I’m intelligent enough that it makes it difficult to connect with other people.

4. My 5k PR is 18:59.49, which I somehow got after I did a 3k steeplechase.

5. If I could have anyone’s acceptance in the world it would be that of my high school coach.

6. Though my plan is to go to grad school, get a PhD and become a professor, my real dream is to be a lead singer and guitarist in an alternative band.

7. I use T-shirts as pillowcases.

Rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
2. List the rules and display the award.
3. Include seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know about the award.
5. Display the award and follow the blogger who nominated you (if not already!)

In no particular order:

1. Naominizer

2. Today I Am A Man

3. a little more each day

4. Joy Runner

5. Mom. Wife. Runner. Coach.

6. That Lesbian Teacher

7. My Life Without Tits

8. 278 to Boston

9. The Flannel Files

10. Running Shorts

11. A Boy and Her Dog

12. American Trans Man

13. Neutrois Nonsense

Thank you all for writing such lovely writings to keep me entertained and fulfilled.

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Iron Man No Longer

A while ago, I wrote about my experiences with IV iron for iron deficiency anemia.

In short: I got an IV about 4 months ago. My ferritin went from 14 to 179!

I haven’t been feeling so good (ears ringing, dizzy, tired), so even though my training has been fine, I went for a ferritin test.

It came back a 10. I’m devastated. It cost so much to do the IV and I feel so much better not destroying my gut with supplements. It’s lower than every test I’ve ever had, except when I was truly anemic. (It was a 2 and I was literally passing out.)

I think I’m going to try to get another IV before XC season starts. I’m really tempted to start back on the supplements, but I’m worried that my ferritin will go up enough that the docs won’t want to give me an IV, but still low enough that I feel like shit. For a distance runner, it should be above 60.

I am thinking of the causes of the drop, and I think altitude is a huge factor. I haven’t been taking supplements because the docs told me not to, and going up in altitude (home for the summer) and training well would make my body produce more red blood cells, depleting my iron store.

I also haven’t been taking my B complex or D vitamins.

I guess it’s a call to the doctor to see what I should do. The iron battle saga continues..

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THANK YOU to the strangers at the park

a group of you pretentious adolescents,
five or six, maybe seven.

As I circled the lake
the waves gently lapped
and you shallowly shouted:

“Is that a guy or a girl?”
“No, look, that running over there.
what is it?”
“I can’t tell!”
“I don’t know.” you said, “Ha, ha, ha!”

Haha.. ha.. ha.
I looked over and returned your stares,
my eyes outnumbered
as your laughs flew with the breeze
and landed in the air around my ears.

You paused, and I paused, stricken.
The perfect moment of suspended silence,
but you went on.

Though my stride remained steady,
anger pounded through my veins
and sadness prickled at my fingertips.

I looped around again, intently,
how best to spend my next two cents?
I kept those pennies for another day.

A lap longer, a mile more.
A second stripped off my next race.

and I have only you to thank.

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Trans issues in the workplace..

..and by that, I mean trans issues discussed in the workplace.

Let me start from the beginning. I was minding my own business, cleaning shelves in the front of the store when I thought I heard the words “sex change operation.” Whaaat? I know I think about trans stuff a lot, but was I hearing things?

I popped my head up and looked around. Nobody was in my immediate vicinity. I went back to cleaning, only to hear something about transgender and medicare. I poked my head up again and noticed that a couple coworkers were talking about the fact that the ban on medicare covering trans healthcare was dropped.

I was floored. I didn’t think most people paid much attention to trans issues, but I guess they do when it involves their money. I sneaked around and pretended to be cleaning a shelf that was a bit closer.

One of the company’s drivers was trying to convince the secretary that the ban being lifted was ridiculous. She kept telling him that she knew someone who was trans and they were really uncomfortable in their body, and he kept making ignorant arguments. Now to be clear, I understand why people who don’t accept transpeople don’t want to pay portion of their medicare tax (even if it ends up being a veeery small fraction of money) – It’s a difficult debate that has even more implications than just the scope of medicare. My problem wasn’t so much his point of view as his ignorance and the rude things he said.

I was surprised that they were having such a loud conversation about that kind of thing, since in my city there’s a don’t-talk-about-it-stigma. After they were done talking and he left, I looked over. She looked back at me and I quickly went back to cleaning. Sometimes a look can share everything and nothing all at once.

I was surprisingly not bummed out or pissed off. I felt a mix of feelings, sure, but I didn’t feel wholly bad. I guess I was kind of shocked that someone stood up for transpeople, even when someone was being so direct.

When I was on my way out of work, I had a note ready that said “Thanks for standing your ground. It means more to me than you could ever know.” A vague note, but I hoped she’d know what I meant. My plan was to drop it on he desk as I left. However, when I was leaving, there were two other co-workers sitting at her desk too. My heart was pounding.

Be brave, Transiteration, be brave. I casually said bye to everyone and put it nearest to her in one motion. A couple steps later, she asked “what’s this?” I mumbled “nothing much” as I walked away.

I dunno if she’ll bring it up, but I’ll keep you updated!

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