Tag Archives: school

New year, new semester

Disclaimer: I’m definitely a nerd. I really love school.

For me, the year starts with a bang. Practice, work, classes, groups all starting on the same day, which makes me grateful for the three day weekend.

I e-mailed professors ahead of time about pronouns again. I try not to be in people’s faces about who I am, but it if I want to be called the right pronouns, I have to vocalize it. Both professors were good about it. A couple professors I’ve had before misgendered me in the first couple days. It’s frustrating, but with one prof, I know she doesn’t mean to, she just has trouble with it and is sorry about it after. At least she doesn’t make a big deal in class, which is good. The other prof kind of hurt because he went the entire last semester without misgendering me at all. Actually I think he went the whole semester without gendering me at all, period, haha. In the end it’s okay because I know they are both supportive.

Another one of my professors was awesome about it. I’ve had him before for two classes. In the first, neither of us really knew how to address it since I knew most of the people in that class. The second class, he just used the right pronouns, and one kid in the class thought I was a cisguy for a couple months. This class is even better! On the first day he used the right pronoun, and commented that there were almost all guys in the class before the two girls joined. It was an incredible way to nudge people’s perceptions along and I’m really excited to have a possibility at being stealth in a class. It just feels good to be perceived like I want to be perceived, and it not be a big deal.

I also went to a PFLAG meeting this week and met a lot of parents. They don’t run into youngish transpeople much so it was good to meet them, represent and be there as a resource for their kids. I’m getting in really good shape running and I can tell it helps me pass better. I think it helps calm people down about their kids when they see that transpeople can look “normal” and not be harassed in public. I’m pretty lucky that even though I’m pre-T I never get a second look in public. I think if I work on my voice a bit I’ll generally get gendered right (even if it’s as a 14 y/o boy!)

I feel pretty lucky to have worked for the past 7 years running so I could have a body I feel pretty comfortable in. We started arm weights and core workout so I know that’ll help my confidence too, working on my scrawny bits. I’m thinking about posting pictures of how I dress and progress working out because it’s working out really well. Not sure yet though.

How has your year started?

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Why?

Warning: Some language and pessimism.

I’m so frustrated. Why can I have months and months of levelness and WHAM. Upsetness. I was so strong, and it feels like my mental strength has gone down the shitter. And the worst part is, anyone I’ve ever felt comfortable talking about feeling bad to is happy to see me doing so well so I can’t even talk to them about it. I feel like I can’t even talk to anyone. So I find myself reasoning around, trying to figure out how I started slipping and what I can do to stop it.

I think it started when my coach didn’t put me in the half-marathon. I know I could’ve gotten the qualifying standard and quite frankly I’m so jealous of everyone that got to go and qualified.  Apparently the course was relatively flat, wind to the back, overall downhill, the works. I’m not totally sure why my coach didn’t put me in and I’m not going to ask.

It probably continued when my roommate threw a birthday get-together for me (very nice of her) and only a few people came and then left to go to a party. It made me realize how shitty I am at interacting with people. It kills me that I have this disconnect. I want to interact, but I don’t get the rules. Reading people’s faces is lost on me. Hell, I can’t even remember what people’s faces look like or recognize them if I see them in a different place. If I see someone I won’t know their name of where I know them from unless they have a certain backpack they carry around or unique something. Hairstyle. Glasses. Anything. I just feel like everywhere I walk there’s strangers even though I should know them, so I’ll not know the name of someone I’ve known for months and months. And I don’t know how to read people’s faces. And I don’t know how to project emotions genuinely on my face when I’m talking so they think I have no empathy.

Then the real fork in the cake was tonight when I heard about hanging out with visiting recruits about 3 minutes before it’s happening. Everyone has my phone number. They have no problem using it when they need fucking homework help. It feels like it happens every time, so I start thinking my coach doesn’t want the recruits to meet me because I’m fucking queer and it’s so fucking conservative here that maybe them meeting me will dissuade them from joining the team. So maybe the reason that I found out 5 minutes ahead of time from someone who wasn’t even organizing it kind of suggests I wasn’t really invited to a team function. Maybe my coach told the not to tell me. And I know I’m being paranoid but it still sucks.

I just feel so alone. The worst part is I want to be alone so I shouldn’t even complain that I’ve isolated myself. I don’t have any interest in interacting with people because it’s so stressful. I feel like I have to be doing something like running or studying and people just want to hang out and I don’t get it. I want to be with someone too. I never have and I want to know what it’s like to have someone, but I don’t want anyone to touch me. I can’t stand physical contact, even from my own parents. I don’t know why something that feels good to other people makes me feel sick.

I’m done. I’m done thinking, because that’s what gets me in real trouble. I’ve worked too fucking hard to lose it now, so I’m going to fight against the part of me that’s trying to kill the rest of me. Here goes.

– Who care’s about the half-marathon? You’re training for the steeplechase and you’re going to do damn well at it.

– You beat 19:00 in 3, almost 4 of the races this season. In the 18:30’s? that’s so much better than last year. You’re set to have a good track season.

– People in your life respect you. You’re a youth mentor for group, and a leader of the trans group. Professors respect you, and that is worth more than you need.

-You’re one of the most intelligent, considerate people I know. You’re going to kill it academically these next couple weeks and enjoy working hard on applications and GRE studying over winter break. It will keep you occupied and focused.

-You are focused. You have goals and can achieve them. You don’t need to be the best at everything though. Just keep being yourself and everything will be okay.

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Filed under and track, cross country, running

A body behind Barrs

I think in terms of science. I think I even feel in terms of science. Usually I have trouble making connections to humans, but connecting to an idea, theory, thought causes me to stop thinking and start feeling. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced love in the romantic sense; this is the closest I know, so sharing this profound experience is like sharing a deep, hidden part of a relationship. I’m gonna talk science, and 99% of you all are probably going to click away, thinking

Last year I had a class called cell biology. Basically, we studied cells – the tiniest reproducing units of life. Thousands and thousands of proteins, lipids (fats), DNA/RNA, organelles float around each one. More than thousands. There has to be at least millions, maybe billions. I’m not really sure. But the point is there are an unreal number of things in each one, but only a few we can see with a light microscope. Maybe you did the ol’ swab your cheek and see the miracle that is life when you were in high school. For some reason I never had.

Anyway, I took a good hearty scrape of the inside of my mouth with a small wooden stick and slapped it on a microscope slide. I added some dye and waited for the magic to happen.

I looked at my worksheet.

Question 4: Pair with a partner of the opposite sex. What structure is visible in female students’ epithelial cells that is not visible in males’?

Cell Male Female

A Barr body is a darker dot on a mostly translucent field of view. It’s the duplicate X chromosome, condensed to a tiny dark dot and silenced because we only need one to carry out functions.

I stared down the microscope at my own cells, each with their own tiny dark blue dot.

You know, I never really listened to the trolls in the comment section of every trans-related article ever, insisting that chromosomes never change, once an XX, always an XX.

Somehow I had convinced myself that, yeah, maybe my body looks like a female, underneath all the patterned shirts and binders and sweatshirts and just loose enough pants and short hair, but I’m really truly a guy. My body might look female, but it doesn’t feel female. I’m really a guy. I’m sure if I just sequenced my genes everyone would see that I’m a guy. XY, all the way. If I just had the money to do a sequence I could collect the paperwork from the doctor’s office and wave it in everyone’s face. See?? I told you. I’m really a guy. No need to call me “she” anymore! It was all just a bit of misunderstanding on my birth certificate. Yeah, I know, crazy, right? How could they mess something so basic up. And I didn’t even notice it was wrong for so long. But I can get it fixed now, see?

Only I don’t need money to get my genes sequenced. With a toothpick, a piece of glass and a drop of water I can see those second Xs. And if I look long enough I think I can even see them waving, saying “we only made you feel like you had bars on your body so you could be like us, forever stuck to the side of a nucleus.”

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A new year, new profs

I’m lucky enough that I only have a couple professors this semester that don’t know I’m trans. In this case though, both professors are for Spanish classes, and in that language, more words than pronouns have gender. Adjectives do as well. On professor hasn’t replied yet, but the other one simply said:

Estimado señor Transiteration,
No hay problema!
Hasta martes,
-Profesor

This translates to “Dear Mr. Transiteration, No problem! Until Tuesday,”

I’m excited about that class (and the other Spanish one) because I think it’ll have pretty much all people that I don’t know. It’ll be a possible opportunity to go stealth, which I haven’t really done before. I guess it just depends on my voice. I’ve been working on it. I’m pretty sure my voice is pretty low for a biologically female voice, but pass-ability is iffy. I haven’t worked on it too much before though, so I’m hopeful a bit of effort will help.

Either way, people are gonna have to use the right pronouns/adjectives in those classes because otherwise it’s gonna be grammatically incorrect. Muahaha. I’ll let you know if the correctness actually happens.

Have you ever had to come out to professors? Have you ever been able to pass just based on working on your voice alone?

 

 

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Back to school time!

It’s August and everyone’s headed back to school. For me, this means no more 40 hour/week physical job and trying to train at the same time, which I’m pretty excited about.

It means no more outrageous lengths of time between posts, and probably more interesting things to blog/read about.

I’m pretty excited for this year. I’m only in 12 hours of class, which is still going to be a challenge as a student athlete, but will leave me with more time to be active in the community and do things I love.

Old followers, thanks for sticking around while life’s been too hectic to post, and possible new followers, expect to see many more frequent posts about my all-too-normal boring life as a trans-student-athlete.

Are you going back to school? What are you looking forward to this fall? Tell me about yourself! With this new time I’d like to get to know more of you.

Take care,
Transiteration

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Filed under and track, cross country

I am Iron Man

You got runner problems, I feel bad for you son – I got 99 problems but iron ain’t one.

It’s no secret that endurance athletes have problems with iron. Personally, I’ve had problems with it since I started running in high school. In middle/high school I passed out twice- out cold on my feet. I was constantly dizzy and tired. My parents took me to a doctor and got my ferritin (a measure of your stored iron) and my blood checked. It was bad – my ferritin was 2  and my red blood cells (RBCs) were all out of whack. I was severely anemic. I started taking about 100 mg of elemental iron a day in 4 doses and kept on iron for the next 5 or so years.

In high school, the highest my ferritin ever got was a 29 – during my senior cross country season. That was probably my best season, and for me, a 29 was good.

In college, I couldn’t keep it up freshman year and most of this sophomore year it hovered between 13 and 24. Long story short, a couple months ago I decided I was over it. I only have 2 more years left to run in college, and I want to make the most of it.

A couple months ago I contacted a hematologist with the hope of getting IV iron infusions. When I was there they did a ferritin and CBC test. My ferritin was 14 which is low, but my CBC measures were all pretty normal. In other words, my iron stores were low, but it hadn’t started to show in my blood yet. 14 was still low enough that the doctor was willing to give me an infusion.

They did the first one that day, and the second part three days later – how Feraheme is typically prescribed. Basically they put in IV line in with saline for 15 minutes, pushed the iron and steroid in, and observed me for 30 minutes. If you’re going to do something similar, I recommend really pushing the vitamin C in the days before. The steroid depressed my immune system so I wouldn’t have a reaction to the iron, but with the side result of coming down with the flu (full-blown 103 fever 7 day horizontal flu.). At first I thought it was side effects of the iron, but they said it wasn’t.

For the few weeks afterwards, I was running worse than before. I had already lost 5 lbs since last semester and the flu made me lose 5 more. For about three weeks I slept 9-10 hours a day with some naps. My mile repeats were as bad as 6:49 and I still felt terrible.

Eventually I started feeling better and running better. This was around the time I started doing 5 or so double runs a week. Last week I ran one second off my PR in the steeplechase (11:40s) and came back a few hours later to double in the 5k, PRing by almost 20 seconds and getting right under 19 minutes for the first time ever!

Before the infusions, my resting heart rate was in the 70s or 80s (at the doctor it was the 90s!) and now it’s around 50-52. My ferritin went from 14 to 179!! I’ve honestly never felt better in my life. Side note: at night when I’m trying to fall asleep it feels like part of my heartbeat is missing.. it’s the weirdest feeling ever. I’m confident that even if CBC numbers look okay, a low ferritin (less than 60 and 30 for sure) is not good for endurance athletes.

I’m not sure when I’m going to need another infusion, but I’m glad I did it. If you’re considering IV iron and want to ask questions go ahead and comment or contact me.

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Filed under running, cross country, and track

Apprehension (Eeeek!) Part II

This one’s going to be short – strict orders from my coach to get a good meal in the body and to sleep tonight. I had tilapia, green beans, sweet potatoes and ice cream for dinner, not for the sleep part!

In my last post I talked about how nervous I’ve been about various things. Here I’m going to explain what happened with those elements.

Quizzes: I had one today – got a 2/4. Eeeek. I could’ve performed better, but I’ll be more ready next time. He tested on material from class since the people were a little confused on what reading we had. So I studied ahead. Ah, well. Ye live and learn.

Running: Today my hip hurt. Pretty bad. I couldn’t even stand on it with out it hurting, so my friend on the team that does.. well I’m not sure exactly what she does, but it’s magic. She massages and does active muscle release. Which hurts. I literally cried a little. It feels sore now, but I think from the massage. I have a  double tomorrow morning, so I guess we’ll see then.

Public Speaking: Well, I gave my speech. And the world didn’t end. The person that gave the speech about me used all male pronouns.. didn’t even slip up once, which I really appreciated. I hope it wasn’t too hard on her to do that. 

Applications: BAM. Two done, for a total of three, just three to go. I think I have the process undercontrol, but I really nervous to see if I’ll get in a summer laboratory position.

On another note – it’s official. I’m meeting with Sally Kern. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering why I would even go within a mile of her. Hearing her talk on Flashpoint hit a nerve. I know that nothing I say to her will make one iota of a difference. But I think it’s not for her benefit; it’s more mine. I need to know that I tried. So we’ll see how that goes, and see if I can pull together something to talk about. If you have any ideas, feel free to let me know in the comments section!

Cheers, guys, thanks for reading.

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