impulsiveingenue: (Make Her Pay)
Once again, I've gone a long stretch without posting anything here. In the meantime, I started another blog that I haven't posted to in a long while either. This sort of thing seems to happen with alarming regularity. This provides an amusing counterpoint to part of what I want to talk about.

First off, it's been a couple of weeks since I got my blood test back. My cholesterol dropped 60 points. My HDL could stand to be a little higher, but my LDL is well back from where it used to be. But that's not all. In the course of my low-fat diet, complete with plenty of the ultra-bland quinoa? I lost 15 pounds. And I'm still losing weight, though much more slowly than I was.

Losing all that weight has really changed the shape of my face, and it's given me something approaching a figure, which I really like. The t-shirts I've been buying fit me way, way better now. The downside? My ultra-cute jeans don't fit me right anymore! My ugly-as-sin zipperbelt that I got for five bucks on clearance? I've taken it in to the last notch. There's no more leather after that one. Just zipper.

Optimus fucking Prime, I am so skinny and it is awesome. I look and feel so much better, which is a real self-esteem booster. It used to be that I'd take pictures of myself on my webcam and go "bleh," but now I do it and go "holy shit I look amazing!"

That picture was taken yesterday. I started taking hormones and dieting on April 7th (or, as I like to call it, my transbirthday), so I'm just shy of four months on hormones, albeit at a pretty low dose. But that's something else I need to bring up. 

Since I cut my cholesterol so much and lost so much weight, I got a prescription for a higher dose of estradiol. No more peewee dose for Vera! I've titrated up to the new dose and I've been at it for just a few days, but already I feel great. The biggest thing I've noticed is that I'm finding it a lot easier to be motivated to do things. For example - I recently ordered PC parts so I could build a better gaming rig (Deus Ex 3 is coming out soon, and you'd better believe I'm going to be playing that at full sexy). I realized that my living space needed a serious makeover if I was going to accomodate the monster tower I picked up for it, so I went on a cleaning spree the likes of which I haven't even contemplated in years. I've freed up so much space I'm honestly not sure what to do with it all (this last part is a lie, but it's a lie that sounds nice, so I'm going to hang on to it). A desire to wash my face (ick, breakouts) led to a full-on scrubdown of my bathroom sink and a monster dejunking along the way. it's a little thing, but it's making a big difference in my quality of life. 

I think part of why I haven't been posting here so much is because changes have been so gradual, I don't really stop to evaluate them until a whole host of them build up and I have to stop and say "Whoa, when did that happen?" 

Still. Four months in, still going strong. 
impulsiveingenue: (Default)
It's been a couple weeks since this happened, but I never really addressed it here. Maybe I should do that now.

Apparently, ever since I went on hormones, I've gotten kind of bitchy. Looking at it in hindsight, I can see myself getting more frustrated and ticked off in general more often. Thankfully, my friends sort of had an intervention about it, and I've recognized the issue. The problem is that testosterone is an emotional inhibitor, and estrogen is pretty much the opposite. I'm not used to needing to keep my temper in check, so I haven't been policing it. Clearly that's something I need to do. So far I think I've been managing alright.

On one hand, it's nice to see some evidence from others that the hormones are having some effect, because it's such a peewee dose I was worried that I'm pretty much wasting my time until I get something heftier. I haven't noticed any real physical changes, which is pretty much what I was in this for, so any effect is a good sign, I suppose. I just wish that the evidence wasn't that I'm actively more bitchy to people.

I really hate these long stretches between medical and therapy appointments. All of my worries and freakouts build and build and it gets to be almost unbearable. I still have almost a month to go before my next appointment with the nurse I get my hormones from. Two weeks or so before that, I'm going to have to go get my blood drawn again. After the awful time I've had on this diet, my cholesterol had better have fucking plummeted. Unfortunately that's not too likely because I've got a family history of high cholesterol on both sides of my family. I am kind of fucked in that respect.

It does not help that I've spent much of the last two weeks in intense pain from either back or neck complaints. Right now I'm sitting here trying to keep a heating pad on my neck while simultaneously trying to find a comfortable way to rest my head on my chair's back and type at the same time. So far without success. I really don't want to call in sick on Saturday but if I still feel this way Saturday morning I'm going to do so, because the last two days I've gone in feeling like this I've been in almost debilitating levels of pain by the end of the work day.

Hooray life.
impulsiveingenue: (Naptime)
I haven't been posting a lot lately. I suppose I haven't really had a lot to say. I've just been keepin' on keepin' on. Still taking my hormones, noticing slow emotional shifts but not much else. I'm only a month and a half into a very low dose regimen, after all. But there's definitely a difference, and I'm very glad I've gone ahead with this. It's just difficult to articulate at this point. I see my therapist again on Wednesday, and I'm pretty excited about that, because I really enjoyed our sessions together and I haven't seen her for a good four or five months.

I've been keeping a dream diary lately. My natural dream recall is nothing short of dreadful, and that really annoys me. Keeping a dream diary supposedly helps to improve it, and after two weeks I'm definitely noticing an improvement. I spontaneously recall details and that leads to fully fleshed out narratives, something I really couldn't do even a month ago. I still have trouble remembering dream conversations verbatim, but the gist of them is pretty solid.

The ultimate purpose of this is not just greatly improved dream recall, though. Eventually, I would like to get to a point where I can reliably induce lucid dreaming. There are techniques for this that exploit the neurology of sleep paralysis, but those haven't worked for me so far, so I'm currently just trying the easiest and most basic way of doing it, which is realizing that you're dreaming during your dream. So far, all I've been able to do is be "genre-savvy," and act like a lucid dreamer without actually being aware that I'm dreaming (stopping time to clobber a super-speedster, for example). It's a little frustrating once you wake up and all the dream signs are glaringly obvious in hindsight, but I suppose it's progress.

I'm tempted to type up my dreams here, but I'm not sure I really want to go ahead with that. Some of them are kind of personal, after all, and most of the rest are really boring. I may change my mind, though, especially if a dream is particularly amusing or poignant. Like last night's, in which I discovered an office literally stacked to the ceiling with business cards for Barack Obama's backup business, in case he didn't get elected President. You could not move in that room without knocking over a tower of little yellow business cards. This was probably the least bizarre part of the entire dream.

Onward, oneironaut!
impulsiveingenue: (Yay)
I'm extremely excited about Sakuracon. It starts tomorrow, which is to say that in about 10 hours I'm going to be starting the process by which I grey myself up to be Terezi for the next 12 hours after that. I freaking love conventions. A scant few days in which it's slightly more socially acceptable to nerd out and do weird things in conjunction with other people doing weird things. And let's face it, dressing up as a character from a webcomic and wandering around in public getting my picture taken is pretty weird.

But it's so much fun.

Tomorrow I'm going to be giving a presentation about getting into cosplay for the second time. We've trimmed it back quite a bit from the slightly disorganized mess it was at Akicon, and we've got an extra half hour to play with for questions from the audience, so I think it's really going to turn out well. I linked my twitter account to this blog and I've been advertising the panel there, so in case you wandered by here and I've tweetspammed so much you can't find the tweet with the panel information in it (this is entirely plausible, the way I tweet at conventions), it's at 11:45 in Panels 6. That's up on the sixth floor and just to the left of the escalators.
impulsiveingenue: (NOW WH4T??)
Sakuracon 2011 is next week, and I'm really excited. :3

I've ordered a wig for my potential Twilight Sparkle cosplay. It's almost the right color, and it was on clearance, so this is nice. Unfortunately it doesn't have the stripe, nor does it have bangs. I ordered a weft in a pinkish color as well, so I may end up cutting and sort-of-styling this wig. If I do it'll be the first time I've ever even tried that, so as you can imagine I'm a little nervous. I found a three-quarter-sleeve v-neck that's just the right color, too, and its twin fit me pretty well, so that's that taken care of. This is going to be my Thursday/Sunday lazy-ass cosplay, because more than two days of Terezi in a row is enough to drive me quite mad.

I also need to make a horn out of model magic and lacquer it up. In theory that shouldn't be too involved. In practice... well. I also need to find an old-ish looking book. Twilight without books? Inconceivable!

In the presentation my friend and I put on at these conventions, we advise people not to half-ass things and not to wait until the last minute before preparing their costumes, and to never test drive them at conventions. I am terrible at taking my own advice, considering that not only have I test-driven all three of my costumes at conventions, I test-drove them all at Otakon, in Baltimore, in AUGUST (which is how I almost got heatstroke). On the other hand, I suppose this makes me an excellent example of what not to do...

We've ironed out a lot of the kinks in our presentation, but somehow it's still taking at least an hour to get through. Thankfully we have a full 90 minutes so there should still be plenty of time for questions at the end. I'm tempted to give out this blog as a contact point for people, even if more of my posts are me bitching about gender stuff than are cosplay-related.
impulsiveingenue: (Face x Desk OTP)
The title of this post refers to a certain type of artificial sweetener I've been trying to accustom myself to. It is also the explanation for why this attempt has failed.

I didn't touch on it in my previous post, aside from a passing mention, but a part of my transition will, by necessity, include a major change in dietary standards and amount of exercise, because my cholesterol is outside the acceptable range and the docs won't give me more than a very small dose of hormones unless I can get it under control.

Part of what I need to cut down on is carbohydrates. I wasn't aware that these posed a serious issue for cholesterol, but, well, doctor's orders, as they say. So, effective immediately, potatoes and rice are no longer staples of my diet. I'm slowly trying to find ways to make quinoa more palatable (curry sauce works nicely, but then curry is magic), and I'm eating yogurt much more frequently and not just for the digestive benefits.

No more croissants, no more english muffins (unless the whole wheat english muffins are any good), much less sugar intake (hence the abortive attempt to use a truly disgusting artificial sweetener, and the statement which birthed the title of this post). No more potato chips or corn chips. No more instant rice. No more sweet potato fries.

It's more than a little frustrating, but it's probably something I've needed to do for some time anyway. The fact that it has to do with my transition, however, and the fact that my continuing with transition is in many ways contingent on this will hopefully provide me with the motivation that I've seriously lacked in previous attempts.
impulsiveingenue: (Yay)
I've posted here a lot about the subject of my transition. In fact, I've talked about it almost to the exclusion of everything else, which wasn't really my intent, but hey. I've hemmed and hawed and squee'd and freaked out and it's all led up to this moment.

I have, in my hands, a low-dose transdermal estradiol patch.

This is what I've been wanting for damn near eight months now. I decided sometime last summer that I was going to see a therapist and, as a result, most likely start taking hormones in order to properly transition from male to female. From there a two-month telephone dance ensued before I finally got in to see the therapist, and she helped me square away a lot of my expectations and worries. Not all of them, but enough that I was much more certain at the end of the experience that this was what I wanted.

Then I had to see a nurse about the actual hormones themselves, so cue another month of waiting, a short appointment, and then another month of waiting and one of the worst blood draws I've ever been subjected to. All of that was a road leading here, to this day, to this moment.

I still have worries. I worry that I won't be pleased with the outcome after all, that somehow I've completely psyched myself out. This is because I second-guess literally everything I do, and rarely trust my gut instinct on anything because I am convinced that I am wholly unreliable as a judge of situations. This is probably less true than I think it is, and while I'm intellectually aware of that, it's still a nagging discomfort I have to deal with.

I worry that this is going to cause serious health problems for me. This isn't such a stretch, as apparently my cholesterol is pretty high for someone my age and weight. This is a hereditary thing for me. Almost everyone on both sides of my family, except my mother, have or had very high cholesterol. Part of the reason I'm on such a low dose of estradiol is that my cholesterol is high enough to be a worry, so before I see the nurse again (in three months time) I need to make diet and lifestyle changes (read: get off my ass and exercise) to bring my numbers down.

I worry that I'm making a mistake in not paying scads of money to a fertility bank in case I ever change my mind about not wanting a squalling little me-spawn someday. At the same time, the only attraction this has ever held for me is a purely emotional one, and one which probably has more to do with a desire to be female (and giving birth is about as female as one can get, on a purely mechanical level) rather than actual desire to have children. There's also the fact that every day I go into work and some parent treats the library like it's their own personal babysitter, it only cements my desire to never interact with anyone under the age of 12 unless absolutely necessary. There's also the fact that if I do change my mind, there are plenty of children already who need parents and don't have them. I'd probably adopt even if I was a fertile ciswoman.

I'd also be a terrible mother, but that's an entirely different issue altogether.

And yet, these worries aren't a roadblock. They exist, and I'm aware of them, but I'm also very aware of why I started this whole process in the first place. I'm not happy with my body. I have probably waited too long for this, assuming all the while that I couldn't ever be a woman, at least not to anyone's satisfaction. I've proven that assumption wrong almost every time I've left my home for a purpose other than work for months now. And, more importantly, I've realized that what is much more important that meeting other people's definitions of "female" is meeting my own definition of myself.

It has been a long, long road getting here, and there is still a long, long road ahead of me. This is not an ending; this is a beginning.

Let's get this party started.
impulsiveingenue: (Yay)
For all my bitching and moaning about how shitty I've felt the last few days, it's kind of amazing how easily one little thing can turn it all around. My friend texted me yesterday with an invitation to go with her to Emerald City Comic-con. And you know what that means....


Oh, Emerald City Comic-con is when? Oh, tomorrow?! Welp. This means today is going to be a mad dash all over to set up everything I need and to test some new ideas I have for my Terezi cosplay, which is probably going to get more attention than ever at an actual comics convention than at an anime convention. Highlights include testing liquid latex to see if it can 1) hold the color I want 2) stay on my skin. If I can get away from having to touch up my fingers constantly and stop leaving little grey fingermarks everywhere, I will be very happy.

I also want to try to make a set of fake sharp teeth, but that's going to be hit or miss at best.

So yeah, lots of things I need to do today. After My Little Pony is over.
impulsiveingenue: (Face x Desk OTP)
So today I had my first appointment with the nurse who's going to give me the hormones. Which is to say I went and talked to her and she gave me a lab checklist to hand to a bloodwork specialist who I have to go see at some point.

And then I get to go back in early April. Another five-week wait.

I know I shouldn't be complaining because I am making progress, and I really shouldn't have expected anything major to happen today, but I am really fucking sick of all this waiting around while nothing happens...
impulsiveingenue: (Face x Desk OTP)
It's my birthday and I don't really give a shit.

I've never really cared much about my birthday, and this year it's just been completely overshadowed by the approaching appointment with a nurse about hormones. Except I don't know if I'm going to get hormones after this appointment or if I'll need another appointment after this (cue another six-week wait, probably), so I'm not excited so much as nervous and tense and uuuuuuuuugh.

I am so sick of waiting and psyching myself out over this. Why can't it be Monday at 4PM already?
impulsiveingenue: (Naptime)
Just so we can call this blog something other than Vera Bitches About Transition-Related Bullshit And Squees At My Little Pony, I think I'll link to a project I'm slowly starting to put together that involves fixing some of the more glaring issues I have with Exalted. I love the game but it has issues and as a result it doesn't get run very often. I'd like to change that.

Here's the current location of my typed-up notes.

Among other things, I change the way that the anima works entirely. Instead of just being a showy giveaway that the person in the middle of it is Exalted, the anima is now integral to how the powers of the Exalted work. More anima = more powerful charms. I've also nailed down some of the Limit replacements I'd like to make, because the Limit mechanic just plain never worked as intended.
impulsiveingenue: (Uhm)
I've still got like two weeks to go before I see anyone about hormones and it's a little frustrating, because the longer I sit here and stew about it the more tense I get. Which is stupid, because I shouldn't feel tense about it, but I feel tense about doing any new thing, and this is definitely a New Thing. Ergh. I want it to be two weeks from now!

In the meantime I've found something new to obsess about. The new My Little Pony show is freaking adorable. Okay, so I'm 25-odd years late for being into My Little Pony. That just means I have to make up for lost time. Like, by cosplaying Twilight Sparkle. Laugh all you want, I am seriously considering doing this. Classy purple dress + purple wig with highlights + horn (I have the model magic to do it!) + purple makeup = awesome My Little Pony cosplay.

Sakuracon is about two months away. At the very least, I'll be Terezi again for that, and I bet there'll be other MSPA cosplayers at Sakuracon.
impulsiveingenue: (Default)
Welp, so much for my hopes of being on hormones before my birthday. The RN I was recommended to has such a full schedule that it'll be late February before I even get in for a blood test... and it'll probably be a while after that before I can get prescribed any hormones. Too bad. Would have been nice to be able to track my transition along with my birthday. ^^;

I'm going to start making these posts public now, I think, since it's less about therapy now and more about the transition itself, which I'm not shy about at all. I generally despise the idea of New Years resolutions, but I did sort of make one this year, which was to not keep myself closeted for the sake of making others comfortable. I've almost come out at work a couple times when the subject of gender indirectly came up, and I did show off my cosplay pics to coworkers... who proceeded not to notice the fact that I was presenting female in the costume (granted, it was on a tiny tiny cell phone screen). I'm pretty sure they've all got it through their heads that I'm not straight, at least, considering how often I contribute to conversations about how attractive Viggo Mortensen and other similar actors are. >_>

I think I'll probably wait until I'm well into a hormone regimen before I come out at work, though. Make sure I've got my shit together, emotionally and mentally, before I toss that big heaping pile of stress on top of it all. ^^;

Coming Out

Dec. 19th, 2010 08:51 am
impulsiveingenue: (Default)
In a few hours I'm going to be coming out to a whole bunch of people.

It's kind of amazing how this gets you really tense even when you're pretty much certain nobody is going to care.


Dec. 11th, 2010 12:03 pm
impulsiveingenue: (Naptime)
I am really tired of closeting myself for the benefit of others.

I don't mind helping out, but this is getting on my nerves.

Thirty-three days. I may end up giving the Doc a call after the New Year and see if we can't move up the date any.

Hair Stuff

Dec. 2nd, 2010 01:37 pm
impulsiveingenue: (Default)
Today I got a haircut. This is kind of a big deal because I haven't had one since February at least. Probably before that, actually. But anyway. Big deal! I wanted to get some help covering up the fact that my hair is thinning. I got, aside from the trim and styling, some advice on product to use. That I should have been using all along. >_>; So I'll use that.

Either the guy at Half Price books was a stoner and calling me "maaaan" in the "whoa, man" vein, or he called me "ma'am." I'm going to choose to believe the latter because I wasn't even attempting to be in girlmode today and if he called me ma'am that is a massive confidence boost for me. And even if he wasn't, I reject your reality and substitute my own. :D
impulsiveingenue: (Default)
Akicon was pretty awesome. I think I'm going to have go back there next year. Smaller conventions have a totally different feel than the ginormous ones I usually attend. You see the same people over and over, and essentially continue conversations you started before. It's fun.

The panel went well, too. I sort of choked, but I managed to get everything out that really needed to be said. I even came out to them as part of it, which I don't think I could have seen myself doing in a room full of 30 strangers even a couple of months ago. We'll probably be doing another panel at Sakuracon, or at least I hope we will, because I really enjoy passing on skills to others. ^^

Pictures from the convention can be found here. There's also a folder for the couple of pictures I uploaded for Kumoricon.

Suggestions for upcoming cosplays accepted - I need a new cosplay because to be honest the hourlong makeup application of Terezi is starting to wear on me, even though I really love how I look when it's all done.
impulsiveingenue: (Default)
Not that anyone presently reading this is going to be there, but next weekend is Akicon, an anime convention in the Pacific Northwest. Originally from Everett, it's going to be in Bellevue this year, so my local convention buddy and I are going to go. But, not only are we attending, we're actually running a panel!

The panel will be an introduction to cosplay (hey, that's even the name!) and will handle basic starter questions like where to find necessary materials, how to approach costume design, and of course hammering home the importance of hydration and the intimately linked issue of bathroom use in costume. I'm handling the slide show for it, and covering some topics that I have more experience with than my friend (she makes a lot of her own costumes and especially the props, whereas I've got a lot more experience with prosthetics and makeup effects).

I'm simultaneously eager and terrified. If this goes well, we might try to run a panel at the next Sakuracon (the other, much larger, local anime convention). There's already a bevy of cosplay panels there, so I'm not sure what we'll do for a topic, but I'm sure we can think of something. If nothing else, I can expand on my panel idea about gender roles in cosplay, and we can do that.



Oct. 22nd, 2010 03:39 pm
impulsiveingenue: (Default)
Good: Finding cute t-shirts that are on sale.
Awesome: Getting ma'am'd by the sales lady!
Not so great: Why is so much of women's fashion so LOOKIT-MAH-BOOBS-tacular? I had to really dig to find shirts I think I'll be able to wear, since mine aren't real and thus I really can't show them all off at all. Scoop-necks, V-necks, I can't pull off any of those. Whatever happened to the silly cheap-o graphic tee that I look awesome in? I had to go to Hot freaking Topic to find those.
Lame: Dear new theater shop gal; when someone is clearly presenting female, including breasts, what possesses you to use male pronouns? =_=
impulsiveingenue: (Default)
Defining Young Adult (YA) fiction is a little hard. Does Bruce Coville count as YA? My library shelves his work mostly in the J section (all his books that I ever read, anyway). JK Rowling straddles the divide - we have copies of Order of the Phoenix in both sections. I've seen a lot of stuff in YA, though, that deals with themes you definitely wouldn't expect to see in the Js.

The real problem for me is that I pretty much skipped over YA fiction in my development as a reader. I was happy enough reading the usual kids' stuff like Beverly Cleary until I saw the cover to Jurassic Park and holy crap it had dinosaurs on it and that was pretty much that. I was eight at the time, for reference. That pretty much did me in. I don't recall which books I read right afterwards because I read them all a dozen times after that at least, but to give you an idea of what the situation was like, I raided my dad's sci-fi collection and read The Forever War. This is a novel about relativistic time dilation making an interstellar war last over a millennium, basically an allegory for the alienation the author felt after returning from Vietnam. It's kind of hard to take a step back from the adult-oriented fiction after something like that.

So the YA section is largely a mystery to me, despite the fact that I routinely handle the books for processing and shelving. One series I kept seeing was the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, and I kept wondering what the hell the deal was with those books with the distinctive covers and titles, and eventually last month I just broke down and read the first book in the series, figuring that at least my curiosity would be satisfied and that my brain could do with a little popcorn reading after The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Then I read the second book.

Then I read the third.

I was kind of surprised by how much I enjoyed the books. I mean, the main character is a dumbass teenager and routinely does dumbass teenager things while worrying about dumbass teenager drama, but there was something deeper going on. It wasn't until the third book, where the main character's body was referred to as excessively "weaponized," that I realized I was reading a series of books about a transhuman dystopia. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, considering that I know full well that Westerfeld writes sci-fi (I shelve enough of his books...), but I really didn't expect to come across that particular subject in the YA section. It's rare enough in adult fiction.

So I've been paying the YA section a bit more attention than I used to. Once I finish The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, I've got a pretty lengthy list of other books I want to read, but maybe I'll shoehorn in some more "popcorn reading."