(Update: I just re-did my voice sample in a conversational manner and also shared my natural voice at the end. This is how I will do voice samples in the future…as it’s how I talk. There is no doubt pitch is deeper, but with improvements to voice patterns, etc. I think this will do me well in the end.)
Last month I posted a voice sample and said I would share one each month moving forward to track my progress and to get feedback from others as to what they think. I appreciate honest criticism, but please do not get nasty. I’m trying to decide if I need to pay a voice coach, or if I simply need to keep practicing.
I honestly meant to write earlier this week, just as I mean to write in a journal nightly…guess what, neither has been happening. Partly, this has been due to getting sick, being busy, and my mental state not being conducive to writing. However, at the very least, my blog can be a solid way for me to chronicle my transition journey, and if just one other girl reads it and says, “Yes! I so relate to what she’s saying,” and it gives her peace of mind, then it’s worth sharing as well.
I am now into my 12th day on HRT, and I can say that this week has started to reveal some emotional and physical changes. These are things that I notice, even when nobody else will, but I thought I would share them here and talk about where I am at with my transition.
On Monday, I was in a great mood and went downstairs to do some yoga. Now, I use or should say I “used” my Xbox 1 to play DVDs, and so I inserted the DVD into the machine, but the machine was failing to recognize it. This is pretty common with the initial release machines, so I kept ejecting and reinserting to try and get it to read the disc, and then it happened. On like the 10th try I bumped the machine by accident, and the disc got stuck. There is a way to manually eject a disc, and my attempt to do so instead of working, broke the machine completely, and my hormones took over.
Immediately, a mix of emotions hit me, irritation, anger, guilt, and sadness? Now, I was used to the irritation and anger hitting me, those, after all, are old friends of mine…but guilt and sadness? Where the hell did they come from? The XB1 was mine, what did I have to feel guilty for? As it hit me more, I began to feel horrible, almost wanting to cry because I had just broken the game system that my kids play most of their games on. My son just bought a game to play on the system, and I felt horrible and sad that he couldn’t play, and that it was my fault. This is not something I have ever really thought about, except maybe in a detached manner, but the feelings wouldn’t leave me.
My wife called me a little later, and here is where I knew my emotions were for real…after talking to me she said she got a little worried telling me that my emotions shifted five times in the three minutes we were on the phone. She said she felt like she was having a conversation with herself…and since then she’s had fun with me on several occasions, but she did worry about me the rest of the day, and even offered to bring me home cheesecake. It was the first time she was understanding in a way that was more woman to woman than wife to husband, and so I give her props for that.
The thing with my emotions is this…my old thought patterns are still there, and at times I can still feel my old reactions rising up, but it’s like I’m developing this filter that allows me to recognize and alter my behavior from emerging. It’s like I’ve developed this ability to think about how my reaction will affect others before I show my ass to the world. Now, it’s still emerging at this point, and I still slip, but I can only see this getting better, and there is a peace that I gain from knowing it.
Tears are always much closer to the surface. Now, I’m not a weepy type of person, and my mother is not a weepy type of person. However, I feel freed up to let tears come without a need to hide them. Commercials, TV shows, music, you name it, things seem to be moving me more than they ever have before. This past weekend, one of my 8 year old soccer players started crying due to a loss, and it had me on a knee giving him a hug and consoling him (while I held back tears because I felt for him). The me of a year ago would never have hugged another person’s child, for fear of being seen as a creep, but I just instinctively reacted to a child in need…no thought, no worry…other than a desire to comfort him.
I’m also more patient to listen to my children, and give them praise. My wife made the comment two nights ago that our house has calmed down again, and that everyone is relaxed once more. This alone give me reason for silent celebration inside. Becoming Allie has stopped me from hurting those closest to me, and instead is now helping me to strengthen bonds that I had begun to weaken with my anger and self-hate.
My wife and and I are getting along better, but there is no doubt our relationship is changing, and this early in the game I can’t say where we will end up, but I think we’re both more at peace with the direction we’re heading, whatever the end result is.
What about physical changes? Surely there wouldn’t be any in less than two weeks, right? Wrong! My skin is doing something weird right now as I’ve started breaking out with zits. I’m not talking like my first puberty, but still, several at one time is a lot, especially as I take good care of my skin. This week saw two big ones emerge on my forehead, and one on the side of my nose. I can’t remember the last time I had a zit on the side of my nose. As to the other physical change…well it deserves it’s own paragraph.
Last night, I was carrying a box down to the basement and slipped, letting a box corner jab into my right pec/breast? I said breast, because the pain that I felt was like nothing I’ve ever felt from that region before, and I’ve torn a pectoral muscle before. The pain shot in a straight line through my body and out my back. Even as I write this, my right nipple is sore with a very slight constant ache. I’m still reticent to say my breasts have started to develop. After all, it’s been 11 days, but one of my girlfriends said that’s around the time she started to feel something, and I am on a high starting dose of HRT. Add to it that I think there might be a bud starting to form on the right side…I’m beginning to possibly accept it. Both of my nipples looked weird last night before going to bed, but I also messed with both quite a bit last night. This morning they both look normal, but the ache came back to the right one, and hasn’t left. Anyways, I’m open to the idea that it might really be starting, but I want to see if the feeling is still there in a week, before I’ll believe fully. All that said…my muscles couldn’t start shrinking before I start to grow boobs?
HRT will do what it does on your body’s timetable, not your mind’s desire, and so as a girl in transition, I just have to accept that, and work on the things I can control. I started voice lessons this past Monday, and I’m not sure if I like my voice coach. To be honest, she kind of rubbed me the wrong way over money. She’s transgender, and should understand the costs that all of us have to deal with. When I tell you I don’t have the money to do a lesson every week, take me at my word. Did she do that…of course not. Instead, she told me that if I’m serious then I need to be committed and that she recommends weekly lessons…and I wanted to say, “Of course you do, sweetheart. You charge $70 a lesson by four equals $280 a month, plus $150 for a monthly therapy session, and oh yeah, my laser hair removal…you need to remember I also have other bills and a family.” I told her I could do two a month…and so I’ve sat on the fence the rest of the week without scheduling anything because she just kind of annoyed me.
Some take exception to calling transition a “selfish” pursuit, but in reality it is (my blog, my opinion), and everyone is allowed some selfish pursuits. It is something almost exclusively for me, and that is O.K. It is something that I need and have to do, but I’m also constantly aware of costs, and others should not have to do without so that I can have stuff, especially not my children. If someone cannot understand that, then what can you do. In her case, she’s young and does not have family of her own yet, so I will probably go back and give her another chance.
I go for a laser hair removal consult on Monday, and so hope to start removing hair shortly, and I’ve already paid for that via Groupon, but I also know I will end up needing electrolysis on my chin and a few sporadic places on my face. I’m also contemplating some waxing. I’ve heard some girls say 3-4 waxings could remove the male hair permanently, as it is replaced with more feminine vellus hairs, but again that may be more of a YMMV from girl to girl.
Finally, I am going to completely revamp my food and workout schedule beginning next week…as soon as I’m over this cold. My weight was plateauing, so time to switch it up. I will now do an hour of yoga three days a week, and an hour of HIIT cardio the other three days…with one day off each week. I’m to a point where an hour of HIIT cardio will burn between 1000-1200 calories…this coupled with a strict 1500 calorie low-protein diet should see my muscle start to shrink. Partnered with HRT I’m hoping the process will go faster. The key is being disciplined and sticking to the program. Girls who say they can’t lose the muscle, simply aren’t doing it right. I could lose the muscle without HRT, but with it I should definitely be able to shed the bulk more quickly. Again, this is something that takes time, but I have the time so why not make use of it.
It’s easy for all transgender people to fall into the trap of wanting it all right now. Of course, I would love to wake up tomorrow and have the bod I’ve always wanted, but that isn’t going to happen. It’s hard for any of us to be patient, but patience is what I must have, because my body isn’t changing over night. At the same time I can look forward to where I will be at six months, a year, 18 months, two years from now. For the most part, right now, it is enough to know things are happening, and that change is occurring. It gives me the peace of mind to get me through each day.
If you follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook friend then you already know what I am about to share, but as of Monday, October 9th…this bitch, yours truly, started HRT!!!
There is a peace of mind for me that goes along with getting on blockers and hormones. I’ve begun a second puberty, the right puberty, and for me that knowledge is self-sustaining. To anyone who has or is transitioning we all know that it comes in stages, and realistically nothing happens overnight, but I feel like my first stage came to a close on Monday. I moved from what I call the acceptance phase to what I’m calling the puberty phase. These are my terms, and they speak to how I see my transition.
Acceptance was all about accepting I was transgender, beginning therapy, and sharing that realization with those I live with. Puberty will be about change. What do I mean by change? Well, HRT is going to change my body and affect my mind, there is no getting around that. These are all changes I welcome and am excited to see…but I’m also a little nervous to see if I won the genetic lottery or not. Some change drastically on HRT and for some those changes can start to happen quickly. For others, changes can be less drastic and/or take a lot more time. Either way, I will be happy, I’m just reminding myself to be patient and to let things happen as they will.
As part of puberty, I will start voice lessons next week, and I will have a consult for laser hair removal the following week. I have also purchased some more clothes I like. Nothing fancy, but just some things I can wear around the house that make me feel more myself. I’m also beginning to realize my sense of style/fashion for what I think my body type will be. My wife can tell you my fashion sense is impeccable, and that I have dressed her for years. This is why my being trans wasn’t a total shock to her once she thought about it (She’d also tell you I have all the insecurities of any woman and always have.). However, I also don’t want to get into fashion or style in this post. I want to wait to discuss until I’m further along, so that I can have fun with the topic.
As for mental changes, I’m already beginning to notice them, and I’m sure most of them are placebo at this point. Just the knowledge I have E in my system, and that T is on th decline can be enough to change outlook. Yesterday, for example, my emotions were on the surface, and I found myself tearing up at anything even slightly sappy on TV. I actually find this hilarious and wonderful at the same time. Feeling freer with my emotions is something I have desired for decades, and now that I feel myself opening up, I feel like I can finally start to be my real self. Although, I did have to stop myself from crying, when hugging one of my soccer players while consoling him, after our only season loss. I also just realized that last season I would never have hugged another person’s kid, but he was upset, crying, and my instincts said to give the little guy a hug and a pep talk.
I’m also more ready to listen this week, without feeling the need to defend or fight back. Monday was exciting for me, but not so much for my wife. She asked about the HRT, but not much more than that. Tuesday night, after telling my son’s therapist that I was transgender (I forgot to mention, we told the kids last weekend about me…see my mind is all over the place at the moment, so I am sorry if this is a shitty post), my wife decided to start with me. Things had been building again within her, and so she needed vent. I expected my starting HRT to be a catalyst, and so it was.
She started with how she realized that she will never have that male passion from me again, and that I’ve ruined it for her. She also admitted that if it wasn’t for the kids that she’d be gone. I expected her to eventually say this, and can I really blame her? I mean, in her shoes I’d be gone too. She went on to tell me that I don’t look at her like I used to, and that I don’t compliment her, that I’ve changed, etc. Some of this is on the mark, and some isn’t quite fair in my opinion, but I listened without defending. In the end, we agreed that we needed to try and rebuild our intimacy, and I’m not talking sex…that would be way down the road at the moment, if ever. I’m talking about our connection to one another, and so we will try and do that. I admitted that I had been holding back my real self out of fear of wigging her out. She said to stop and be myself, and that if she was wigged out she would tell me. She is still hurt by my actions during the summer, but also realizes now that I was literally “out of my mind” this summer, and that the person she was seeing wasn’t in her right mind. It doesn’t make her hurt less, but it does allow her to forgive. She also told me that I have some serious ass kissing to do.
I also found out her parents know about me. Apparently, her father saw me looking at a trans timeline and thought I was having an affair with a transwoman. She didn’t want him to think I was cheating, and so told him the truth. She says her parents are accepting and supportive, but simply worry about where she’ll end up. I would expect nothing less.
Where will we end up? Worst case scenario, as we see it, is that we continue to live together for a few years because of the kids, but that we simply become best friends and decide to separate. Best case scenario would be we find a way to be intimate on all levels again, not because of our genitals, but because just being with the other person is what we need. We can’t know for sure where we will end up for a few years yet, but we have agreed to be open and honest with one another.
I do know there will be other serious conversations moving forward, and I have to be willing to listen each time one pops up. I also can’t know what I will want yet. There are so many unknowns, so many changes yet to come. Will I only like women? Will I also like men? Will I like both? Will I feel the need to explore my sexuality. Will she like “Allie” Will Allie be a person she wants to be with, or a person she can be intimate with. My hope is that she will, but that is right now. I can’t say who I will be two to three years down the road. There are just too many unknowns that stretch out before us.
I know there is more I could be saying, but I’m not joking when I say my mind really isn’t working at 100% currently. Right now, I don’t have any serious issues to work through…I’m feeling positive about the future, and can’t wait to see where it goes. As long as I get to live life as “me” I feel like I can deal with anything that might come my way.
As for the third stage of my transition…I call that “full-time” but that is still a ways off, and I’m not going to speculate on how that will be, as there is no honest way I can know right now…I can say I am looking forward to it more than anything, and that it will include switching documents, coming out at work, and leaving my dead name behind in favor of the one I have chosen. However, until then, I will focus on the now and take each day as it comes.
Ok, be gentle with me…Seriously, I want honesty. I’m early in training my voice, and I know it can get much better, but this is the first recording where I’ve gotten out of chest and into throat which I’ve been practicing for a few days now. This isn’t the best I’ve done, and the recording is kinda grainy, but the question is does it sound female or like a dude doing a female voice. My natural male voice is down around 116 hertz…this voice is more around 200 hertz (when throat feels good I’ve averaged 216, but also I’ve dropped to 180, all in female range), although it does go up and down. I don’t need a high voice, I’m tall, and I”m guessing will always appear to be a larger female athlete, so I’m good with that. I want the voice to fit my body, and sound natural for me.
I know I have to work on prosody, inflection, etc. Those things only come with practice and use. My voice is one of my biggest dysphoria triggers, and so my first instinct is to go and get voice surgery so I don’t need to worry about it, but I need to try this first, and even with surgery I would need to train my voice, so this would have to happen anyways. My point is, it is impossible for me to be objective about how my voice sounds because I naturally cringe anyways.
If you are coming here from Twitter feel free to DM me, post in the comments for the link. You can also always post in the comments for this post. If you are finding your way here from elsewhere, I’m also open to your thoughts. I don’t get offended by honesty, it helps me to improve. For right now, my concern is: Is the pitch high enough to pass female on the phone, or will people think it’s a dude pretending.
Thanks for your thoughts, and I will probably do this at least once a month to try and track progress.
So here it is: