Autumn is Coming

fallclean

Yes! It´s autumn. Although it won´t be official until the 23rd, all the signs are already here. It´s getting colder, and the chestnut trees outside have been dropping their leaves and occasional giant chestnuts, very probably damaging some of the cars below it. I don´t own a car, so… not a worry on my mind.

Night time has been setting in very fast in the last few weeks, which has caused me to have to readjust some – I have been using the SAD lamp again, and I have been trying to stick to a more or less regular schedule, waking up before 11:00 AM. I managed 07:00 AM and even 05:00 AM. I actually really liked getting up at five.

I´ve been looking forward to the fall. Summer was hot (“Fool, it’s hot! I told you again! Were you born on the sun?“). Not as hot as last year, but the menopausal flares and the sports tape across my chest have made me burst out into sweat and prickly testosterone itches for the last three months. I´m glad it´s over.

Every month that goes by, also, is one closer to top surgery. When I called the hospital about the date, they said December (hell yeah). They did not have a schedule yet, so I will call in two weeks or so and find out the day. Thoughts about the moment just before anesthesia pop up in my mind now and then. Oof, scary.

I´ll be making an appointment with the surgeon before that date to ask some more questions and maybe feel a little more at ease, mostly about having to quit testosterone. Estrogen usually does not help to improve any of my emotional and mental stability, it tends to do the opposite – convert me into a depressive, lethargic guy.

I will write now and then, I suppose, but in the running up to surgery you can expect me to mostly ghost – I will be working on staying “sane”, going outside a lot, and attempting to continue my exercise routine throughout the following weeks. I´ve been doing rather well this far, really hope I can keep it up.

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Waiting it Out

waiting

I haven´t been writing much recently. This is because most of all, I want to pretend that these months aren´t really happening. Ideally, these months will fade into next year, and by then I will have surgery, which is my Top Destination at the moment. In a way it´s exactly the same as when I was waiting to get testosterone.

Also, I don´t particularly want to focus on my own anxiety, or on anything negative or bothersome at all, for that matter. My last breakdown has been three weeks or more. I was freaking out over top dysphoria, and scared that I would hurt myself again, I went to the ER. After the appointment, I sat outside in the cold (it was night).

A woman from the emergency staff came outside and smoked a cigarette with me. She asked why I was sitting there, so I told her I was cooling off after an anxiety attack, and we had a talk. She´d also had anxiety attacks, she told me, and done EMDR. It had helped her a lot and she suggested that I try it (which I have, actually).

People have been great and I don´t really have that much to complain about. So I´m decided on being as patient as possible with myself, until the day comes for that general anesthesia. I´ve been keeping busy fixing stuff, small things like a desk lamp and the desk drawers, to making a table from scratch.

I´ve been hiking, running, getting together with friends, and staying out of stressful situations. So far, I´m three months in and four to go, and seeing that countdown getting smaller is rather satisfying. To anyone else waiting, I´d say: try making the best of what you´ve got, and stay cool. Time´ll pass quicker that way.

Sex Trafficking I

shame

Today, I want to discuss a topic with you that is awful beyond comprehension. I´ve seriously questioned whether or not I should write about this at all. After all, my blog is mostly about transitioning, it´s personal, and does not touch on broader political issues. The topic is not popular, and I may actually risk alienating some of you.

That´s why I need you to understand, that for me sex trafficking (in particular where it concerns children) is an issue that hits close to home. In dealing with my own history, I have encountered people who actually have been involved in child trafficking rings and have openly shared their story and the very harsh mental challenges they face.

So, if you do not want to read about this topic – for any reason at all – you might want to skip this one and restrict your reading to topics that are less controversial and less shocking. However, if you are willing to consider, at least, that child sex trafficking takes place in our world, then I would ask you to keep reading and bear with me.

Controversial as it is, this topic has actually received some attention lately. Namely, a victim of child trafficking spoke out on the show Dr. Phil (link to a summary of the episode on the Dr. Phil website). Also, lesser known people have been talking about this subject (Sargon of Akkad, The Reality of Child Trafficking Rings)

The one major problem with this topic is that most of all, it´s so horrendous in its nature that most of us would rather not believe it. Second, theories about child trafficking often land in the hands of conspiracy theorists, some of whom honestly seem bat-shit crazy, like Alex Jones. Another person who has spoken out is Ashton Kutcher.

Let it be said that I do not, in any situation, support either Alex Jones or similar caricatures. I do believe that the horror of this problem calls for rational, composed people to think about this, discuss it, and consider its reality. If we do not consider this reality, the problem is allowed to continue for decades hereafter.

More on this topic in the second part.

Transgender Shame

shame

In accepting a nomination for the Liebster Award, I answered ten random questions from a fellow blogger (read the questions and my answers here). Several of those questions made me contemplate my own emotions in relation to my transition, and how transitioning has affected my perception of myself.

When asked what I thought about forgiveness, I said that forgiveness is a good strategy to have when we expect too much of ourselves. I also said that this applies to transgender people in the sense of forgiving themselves for being transgender. This is an interesting discussion to have, because being trans is not a bad thing.

And yet, I often feel (and I don´t think I am alone in this) that being trans is somehow deplorable. When this is discussed in different forums around the web, people tend to frame this as “internalized trans phobia”. I think this is a bit rough. If transgender people were inherently trans-phobic, they would not transition. Ever.

And yet I know a lot of people who transition and feel shame. Which kind of makes sense. I mean, our society revolves around discussions about which bathrooms we are “allowed” to use, which is inherently humiliating and dehumanizing. We are growing up in an environment that regards us with suspicion and mistrust.

As a child who grew up in this type of environment, I think I can safely argue that if your value in society is constantly questioned, you are bound to start thinking that you indeed must be rather despicable. While not trans-phobic (in my honest opinion), we do internalize the fears and negative bias that society holds towards us.

This brings up an important question: how do we get over feelings of shame? How do we let go of judgement, and stop beating ourselves – figuratively, and in some cases, even literally. The first step towards a changed perception is probably the realization that they are wrong. Period. In devaluing ourselves, we contribute to their erred perception.

More on this in a later post.

Liebster Award (I)

liebster

So I heard about the Liebster Award for bloggers, but did not take the time to figure out what it was. Until now, since I was nominated for it by Sylveran, the author of cmofhappiness (go check out his blog!). The idea behind the award is to give more visibility to and discover great, yet somehow hidden blog gems in circulation.

In return for the nomination, you write one blog post about a blog that you love. I want to think about that one for a while, and will dedicate one of my next posts to this; in it I will also nominate some other blogs that I think are worth reading. In the meantime, I´ve been asked to answer ten random questions, so here we go!

1. What made me start my blog? 

My foremost reason would be simply my passion of writing. I´ve been writing since I was little, and started my keyboard journey on one of  those ancient, Windows ´95 systems. My motivation to write on Androgendernaut came from a desire to document my experiences and share them with people of similar experiences.

2. If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be? 

My answer is super predictable: I would change my body. I mean, I am in the process of doing so, but obviously it takes ages. I don´t know if I would change anything about my personality. Maybe the way I handle emotions. But overall I kind of like my personality, specially on days where I´m feeling good.

3. What is my favorite childhood memory? 

My childhood was kind of rough, so I´d say it´s complicated. But there is this one memory, where I and some children from the neighborhood went to “shoplift” grapes from a local vineyard. Yeah I know, not cool. But back then it was awesome. We ate until we were nauseous and were chased off the vineyard by an angry owner.

4. Five things about myself that I like

I like this question! I´m extremely analytical, which I like, because it means I can be critical of myself and of others, as long as I´m not too hard on them (and myself). I have a weird sense of humor and can laugh at myself (after the fact). Once I get to know them, I´m very good with people, and also, I chase my dreams like a madman.

5. My thoughts on forgiveness

I think forgiveness is an awesome thing, and something that people should aim for. In my experience, when we are exceptionally hard on ourselves, we also demand way more from others. The best attitude would be to forgive yourself (which applies also to forgiving yourself for being trans. I will elaborate on that in a later post).

6. Would I turn back time?

No way. If I went back in time, I would be considerably worse off. The achievements that I have made over the years mean that I am free to live life as I want (which is pretty amazing). I´ve made some mistakes in my life, but I have squared those with others and with myself. Carpe Diem!

7. If I could travel anywhere, which place would I choose? 

New Zealand, probably. Or Alaska. I like places that scream “adventure” and “great outdoors”. There is nothing like crisp air, and nothing like millions at stars at night, being able to see the Milky Way from end to end of the horizon. Best feeling ever. I see myself living in a place like that at some point.

8. My bad habits 

Plenty. This sort of touches the above, on forgiveness. I am not very good at forgiving myself and tend to have unrealistic demands or expectations. My comfort zone is certainly very comfortable, specially in times where everything is changing, like during transition.

9. Where do I see myself in ten years? 

On a plane, definitely. My transition behind me, I would love to have the liberty of exploring other parts of myself, and aviation is one of those. Ideally, I´d be living in a challenging place, full of fun outdoor stuff to do, and making a living out of it. Also, I would probably have a lot of cats.

10. What do I hate? 

Confinement and conformism. Every astrological prediction says that people with my sign should watch their tongues, because in their desire for sincerity, they can lack empathy. Being brutally honest is something I need, be it about by identity, or what´s on my mind.

Chaos in Transland II

sleep

As previous micro-dosages had obviously been too high, the next time I used, I took half of what I´d previously used. This time, there were no hallucinogenic effects. I did not notice much of anything at all, to be honest. I felt “meh” at best, and the breakdown, again, was quite intense. Not as much anxiety as before, but still quite exhausting.

Microdosing is usually done over a longer period of time, but after these three times, continuing seems like a bad idea. It is possible that the substance has some good influence on my mental and emotional configuration, like being able to notice my own tendency to over-analyze everything, and perhaps trying to quit that and just exist.

Another difference is one I noticed only after these tree micro-dosages; in the middle of the most horrible panic attack, where again I was having suicidal thoughts, I felt the roaring anger within rear its furious head and scream at the suicidal thoughts: “Go f*ck yourself, I want to live!” with an intensity I never experienced before.

I find myself, still, in the middle of a tug of war between the desire to rest (permanently) and the desire to live. The main difference is that I do not want to live while trapped in my body, while I do want to break free, and with the help of surgery I will be able to do so. However surgery still seems far away, five months is a long, long time, for me.

As long as every day is longer than the last one, and every day I´m thinking “this could be my last day”, those five months seem like an eternity. I know it isn´t, and I know that when I make it (not if) I will be eternally glad that I did not end my life when I had so much life and potential ahead of me. Dear God, just help me get myself to that point.

Chaos in Transland I

high.JPG

In the first part of my post, I told you about my hard times with dysphoria, and my rather desperate attempt to find anything that could help mellow me out besides my regular medication. In any experimentation with drugs, I´m always very careful not to mix the wrong substances, and very conscious of the dosage and use.

Microdosing is not very well known in mainstream society. What it means is that you take a minute amount of drugs, a fraction of what you would need to trip, and then repeat this for a certain duration, with a certain amount of days in between. The first two times I dosed, the amount was too high, resulting in a mild trip.

The first trip was very pleasant. It did what I wanted it to do: disconnect me from my top dysphoria and put me in a perspective where I could analyze my feelings from a calm, rational point of view. In this tranquil state of mind, I not only accepted myself but also felt happier with life in general. It did not give me a “crash” or hangover.

When three days had passed, I took a smaller amount and went for a walk in the forest. Mistake, it turned out. It was still strong enough to “enhance” everything around me: I could feel the life in the plants and trees around me, and details, like water trickling down from the tree bark, were amazing. I spent a couple of hours there.

While I´d felt good in the forest, microdosing also kicked my thinking in overdrive. And by thinking, I mean this vaguely conscious and incessant over-analysis of everything I see, everything I feel, and everything I think. In a brain that is always looking for meaning, even when there needn´t be any, this is not necessarily good.

I did not have any dysphoria during the trip, but when I came down, I sure did. The protective barrier that usually filters input between stimuli and the brain, was gone. Completely gone. This ensured that I felt dysphoria more strongly, but also everything around. Any street noise, any small noise at all in the house. So I went to sleep.