This is likely to be the last entry for 2001, which I'm sure comes as a great relief to several people; the year is almost over, and that elates no small number of my friends.

I also know that, in looking over old entries, I've once again been lax in updating as things happen. I know I use the excuse of being too busy living life to write about it, and to some degree it's true, but another part is the simple fact that I spend so much time talking about what's happening in my life with my friends as they happen that by the time I think about updating my diary, a lot of the information feels redundant. Still, this serves as an excellent record of events past since I don't log my IRC converstaions, so I should make a more directed effort at keeping this up-to-date.

Thanksgiving was about a month ago now, and it went off very well, though a few things happened that I feel I should discuss in more detail. The meal itself was a moderate success, at least according to everyone present, though I still have a few embarrassing memories. I managed to both burn and cut myself on the shards of a shattered Pyrex pan that I had put on the stove for no good reason. The turkey cooked wonderfully, and came out of the oven about two hours early, so I wrapped it and put it back in the oven on warm to keep it hot, which meant that by the time I served it it was dry. Then I screwed up the gravy recipe my mother gave me that I couldn't remember accurately, so I had to send Tanya with money to the store for a jar of gravy. Other than
those things, though, everything else was a hit.

More to the point, though, the day after our Thanksgiving feast, we went as a group of eight to Outback Steakhouse, as none of us wanted to cook. I've been on a diet, even over Thanksgiving and again over Christmas, trying desparately to lose weight in time for my surgery next year, so I said "I can't have any of the appetizers; they're too fattening." Well, everyone else dug into the food with gusto, and suddenly I felt myself ostracized and isolated. 

I don't say this to cast aspersions. I don't say this to point fingers or lay blame. In fact, this is nobody's problem but mine. I say it entirely because in a group of seven other people with whom I should have absolutely no reason
to fear or feel unsafe or isolated, I had an anxiety attack. At one point I had to leave the table and go to the bathroom, and it was an actual debate in my head as to whether or not I'd go back to the table or just head outside.

I'm not happy with this fact. I'm not proud of it. These should not at any point have been people with whom I should feel this way, and yet it happened, and over something so petty as being the only one at the table who couldn't enjoy the appetizers we'd ordered. If anything, this says how heavily ingrained this issue is. It felt a bit like vindication for my behavior at Anthrocon and at the Bashes in times past, and a bit like the second opinion confirming a terminal illness. This is a problem past which I feel I have to work. I don't want to spend my life hiding from my closest friends because I can't deal with something trivial like this.

Jessie and I just got back from visiting my in-laws for three days. Every time we head to Michigan, I can't wait to see them. Then, after a few days, I can't wait to get home. Mom is wonderful, and Dad's fun to be around, but the beds there are inevitably uncomfortable, and I honestly do think I'm allergic to the pets Jessie's mother keeps as necessary companions to help her with her depression.

Also, I inevitably feel like I've horribly underspent for their Christmas presents, though I suppose the money for the trip itself counts towards that. This year was reasonably cheap, but it's still quite a large chunk of change. Since we're about to head out of town again for New Years', things are likely to be tight. However, the vacations have been more than worth it, even if I have to tighten my belt and my purse strings when everything is said and done.

I wish I lived closer to all of my loved ones, but until I do, this is the next best thing.


Always, always, always read the fine print.

Seven weeks ago, I finally went to see an endocrinologist. He said that my testosterone count was abnormally high--a shock to no-one--and changed my prescription from estradiol to premarin. He said that the premarin covered more receptors than the estradiol and would help keep my testosterone down.

I took the prescription and went to my local pharmacy, passing it calmly over the counter to the people responsible for giving me the drugs my doctor said I should have. Now, I saw the prescription before I gave it to them. When I read it, it said Premarin, but then I knew what it was supposed to say and I had another prescription for a mail-order group to fill when I remembered to do so and save myself some money. Not at any point did it occur to me that there might be a problem. After all, doctors and specialists are notorious for having bad handwriting, and people who have to read it, such as nurses and pharmacologists, usually have little trouble deciphering the archaic glyphs written on the paper.

They handed me back a bottle, marked Warfarin sodium, 2.5mg. Warfarin sodium? It must be a different name for the same stuff, I thought, and I blithely went about my way. I grew up in a medical household. I'm used to my pills not being sold under the same name twice. Guiafed, guiatex, entex, it's all the same, and there're about eleventy-billion varieties of penicillin and other common antibiotitcs, so getting a strangely-marked bottle didn't raise any flags in my mind.

A few days after I started taking my new prescription, Jessie noticed that I'd gotten more bitchy and frustrated than usual. However, the same thing happened every time my spironolactone had been increased, as well as when my estradiol dosage had been upped. Thus, no word was said and nothing out of the ordinary was reported. I mean, this was a common thing, right? 

A few weeks ago, I managed somehow to bruise myself. I'm not sure what I did. I just woke up one morning and had this massive bruise on my forearm. Jessie and I both looked at it wonderingly, and it was sore to the touch, so I thought I banged it against something and waited patiently for it to go away. It's still there, albeit much faded, but other than the occasional "That's still there?" neither of us really thought about it.

Last Saturday, seven weeks after I started my new prescription, I went to the doctor's office and had blood drawn to see how the premarin was handling my testosterone count. For seven days, I waited for the results, and then finally I called my doctor yesterday and asked.

My estrogen was through the floor, my testosterone through the roof.

I was shocked. I couldn't imagine what on earth had gone wrong. I'd been taking my pills every day! I called the endo's office and left a message, and the nurse told me Dr. Fallon would call me back that evening. At that point,
I finally started to question what was going on with my medication. I called my mother as soon as I got home and asked her if she knew what warfarin sodium was, or if not could she look it up in her PDR.

"Oh, that's easy," she said quickly. "I have that one in my common drugs box I show my students. It's an anti-coagulent. Why do you ask?"

Suddenly the bruising and the bitchiness made a lot more sense. I grabbed the pill bottle and checked the name of the actual drug as prescribed, and there it was: coumadin. If I'd looked, I'd have realized long back that I had the
wrong stuff, but because the dosage looked right and I didn't know what the pills looked like, I never even questioned it. I'd never had this happen before. I explained everything to my mother, and she had a minor panic attack because I'd been taking aspirin with the coumadin, a definite no-no (Premarin is a blood-clotter as a side effect, so I'd been told to take a baby aspirin with it to counteract that effect). From there, it was a quick run to the Rite-Aid with the other prescription in hand, where the counterstaff quickly and apologetically gave me the right pills and a refund for my prescription. 

In twenty years, I'll look back at this and laugh, I'm sure, but right now it doesn't seem so funny.


Recently, a friend of mine wrote a story, or maybe told me about a story. I don't remember which; in the end, it doesn't really matter. It was a good story, or at least I liked it a lot which in my small corner of the universe means the same thing. We talked about the story, and then the subject went away.

Some time later, he wrote the story, or edited what he'd written before. He posted it to a mailing list we have in common. I read it there; it wasn't what he'd described. Most of it was, but the ending was different. To me, it wasn't as good as the original. It felt... robbed, or cheated. The ending seemed inappropriate. When he asked me what I thought, I told him as much.

I think he expected me to like it more than the original. I think he got very upset that I didn't. He said some things to me that I don't think he understands hurt me. They made me feel small and unwelcome, that I didn't know what I was doing. I know he'd never say these things to me and mean them like that, or even if he meant to tell me that, he would never try to hurt me with such things, but this time, they did. I felt that I had been asked for an opinion, and when I gave it and the explanation of why I thought what I did I was told I was wrong, and that hurt.

I thought that would be the end of the situation, and I wanted to just drop the matter. It didn't happen that way. I saw people praising the new story and its wonderful ending. I heard people on IRC discussing the story. I didn't feel I could re-state my opinion. I didn't feel I could leave. I didn't want to stay. I felt trapped. I felt unsafe.

Jessie asked to see the story. I sent zim a copy, thinking I could at least discuss it with zim. Jessie had never seen the original. Jessie thought the ending was brilliant, and zie pointed out an interpretation of events that had never even entered my head when I read it. I felt, for a few very brief moments, trapped in my apartment by my own mate. I never want to feel like that again. I spent six years feeling that way.

None of this is anyone's fault. None of this is anyone's responsibility to fix but mine. I don't know if I can fix it, though, and therein is my trouble. I felt this way at Anthrocon. I've felt this way to lesser degrees at the Bashes I've attended. I don't know how not to feel this way when I'm in this kind of situation. I don't know what triggers it, only that I could describe scenarios in which I know it will happen. All I know how to do is avoid those situations, but then to some degree that means I'm shutting myself out of life, and that's the last thing I want to do.

I was flustered all the way to work this morning. I told Jessie last night that I just wanted to put all this behind me, but this morning I couldn't. I'm writing this here hoping that by the time I get done, I can.


Shortly after I started the weight chart, it stopped. This is, of course, precisely what I said I wouldn't do, for the simple reason that I needed some kind of record of things. I still want that. I wanted it even then. However, I discovered upon a trip to the endocrinologist that my scale at home was wildly inaccurate, sufficiently so that its numbers were leading me into a false sense of security. I was actually weighing five to ten pounds light every day, meaning my actual weight was nearer to 270-275 during that time. It hit 280 the day I went to the endo, and at
that point I said, "This is a good idea, but I need to get a new scale."

That should have been a no-brainer purchase, but shortly after this happened, Jessie got fired from WalMart and suddenly I couldn't justify any sort of extraneous purchase, no matter how reasonable. I had to calm down from that, then find a decent scale that wouldn't scream in horror when I stepped on it (which took all of five minutes once I actually went looking), and then get enough of a lump sum payment off to my credit card to make me comfortable about buying something that wasn't an immediate need-solver.

However, now that it's done, the weight chart is back to regular updates as I hopefully manage in the next four and a half months to lose the weight I need to drop to be ready for my surgery. I'm actually starting up exercise again, though it's not much. I'm hoping it will be enough.

There's a lot more that's happened, but I haven't forgotten about my diary. I know every time I pass a month or so of no update, I start to feel like maybe I should just admit that I'm tired of bothering, but the truth is that I enjoy writing it. I'm not really talking to anyone when I put my thoughts here, but more than once I've gone back over what I've said before, to watch my own progress. It's been fairly amazing, even to me.


Last night, I sat down and, as I try to do whenever I'm in a painful mood, I tried to figure out why I felt so upset. As I said before, it wasn't the events themselves that hurt me. I don't consider myself a patriot beyond the belief that the principles on which the United States was founded were sound and reasonable. I didn't lose anyone in the tragedy. The fact that so many people died at once is awesome in its scope but not really terrifying; death is just another part of living, and that even one person dies at the hands of another is a tragedy; increasing the number of corpses doesn't make it any worse for me.

I think it all comes down to trust and betrayal. When I spoke my mind about how I felt, I knew that my opinions would go against the grain of the majority. I knew when I opened myself to others that I would be seen as hurtful and cruel. It bothered me, to be told that how I felt was wrong because it was different, but I've lived with that in the past. If it had bothered me that much, my transition would have been impossible. I also knew, though, that I wasn't alone in my way of thinking, my way of feeling. I knew there were others who felt as I did, and I turned to them for support, only to have them shy away. I can't hold them responsible for that. They didn't want to be beaten down as I had, and I can accept that intellectually. Emotionally, though, I felt that I had been abandoned by those that I could trust, and that cut me to the core.

Mitchell wrote me off again yesterday for my darkly comedic response to the tragedy, calling my position callous and pathetic. For seventeen years, he was an older brother to me. My relationship with Rod soured me somewhat, but I can look at that now and call it the manipulations of an emotionally abusive boyfriend trying to turn me against who he must've seen as competition. I had really only just begun the process of rebuilding the friendship I once had, when this happened. After reading his message, telling me never to contact him again, I felt that I had been stabbed in the back.

In my circle of friends online, I fared little better. I had several people tell me in private that they felt similarly, that this had been a horrible tragedy but that it didn't really affect them personally, but none of them would at the time speak up in public and let their views be known. Somehow, knowing that I wasn't alone but that I would get no help in the open, it felt that much worse.

I have nothing to say to those who're grieving the loss of loved ones, of ideals, of the innocent notion that America is free from such things, of whatever was lost by those who lost it. It isn't that I don't care. It's that I know my words won't mean anything, coming as they do from someone whose view of the incident is so removed from the norm. I don't go around stomping on people's Slack when I can help it, though at times I admit I speak without thinking clearly, and my communication codec is a bit misaligned.

Instead, I can only address those of you reading this whose views are skewed as mine are, and I find that I really have nothing to say. Any message I could give, you already know, because you're at this point already. The shock is not that this happened, but that it didn't happen sooner. Now more than ever is the time to put the President under scrutiny, to ensure that he doesn't attempt to politicize and polarize this issue as the temptation is to do. This will be the true test of his character: not politics, not speeches, not boards of advisors to tell him what to think, but his ability to lead a nation dispassionately in a time of crisis.

I fear for the future. The clearest response to this measure is increased security, and with that inevitably comes a removal of some form of freedom. Most people, angry and scared, will gladly accept any new yoke handed to them now if they're told it's for the fight against terrorism. The missile defense shield is being hawked as the next step in the arsenal against terrorists, to protect the United States from privately-launched missiles, despite even the experts in the field admitting that the Star Wars project doesn't work.

Worse yet, there will be calls for vengeance, a proof that people can't do this to America and get away with it. Unfortunately, the people in question have already gotten away with it, and now their fate is secure. Either they
died on the planes, they'll die when they're captured, or they'll never get caught. Their destinies are already set. There's no amount of horror we could visit upon them for what they've done that will make them recant their
actions, and there's only so many times we could kill them before they're already dead.

When Timothy McVeigh was executed, he went to his death calm, serene, dignified, and utterly certain that his course of action had been right. The families of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing that chose to watch him die felt, perhaps, that seeing him suffer as they did would somehow make it all better, that knowing he was in hell for a few moments would make their own pain easier to carry. I doubt that, if that's what they sought, they got what they wanted. We're going to see it again here, I think.

From a welfare state to societal murder,
"Bring back the noose" is always heard
Whenever those swine are under attack,
But it won't make you even. It won't bring them back.

-- Elvis Costello, "Let'em Dangle"

I believe in the death penalty. I believe that there are some people that need to be taken out of the gene pool for the betterment of everyone else. I think some people just don't play well with others, aren't worth the price of a life-time prison sentence and are better off dead so they can't hurt other people. This, though, goes beyond the death penalty. The call here will be for blood, for retribution against not only those who committed the crime,
but those who might do it again. Already people are calling for Afghanistan's devastation, even at the cost of people whose only crime was to be unable to fight against the ruling regime.

I think what is needed now is for those with the ability to find the perpetrators to do so, as ruthlessly, cleanly and efficiency as we were attacked. For the rest of us, all I can say is that we need to get back to doing things as we did as quickly as we can. Any sign that we were hurt or affected by this tragedy will be precisely the response those who did this want, and if we give it to them, they will do it again.

I bought my tickets from London to Thailand for my operation yesterday night. I had the tickets from Newark to London last week. My life will continue as it was before, a little more cognizant of the dangers of air travel but otherwise unaltered. To change how I acted, to live in fear of another strike, is what those who use violence to send their messages want. Perhaps this makes me inhuman, in some people's eyes. Perhaps it does.

I don't think I could live my life any other way.


Once again, I find myself at odds with the vast majority of humanity, or so it appears.

Some time ago, a friend of mine committed suicide. She was a member of my first therapy group, and I had seen her outside of that context maybe half a dozen times, if I were being generous. She was a nice person, and I would have enjoyed getting to know her better, and her death came as a shock to me. I cried for about five minutes, and then I was stunned and silent for another hour, and then I was back to business as usual.

Everyone else in the group thought I was some kind of emotionless bitch because I didn't grieve for her. They thought I felt nothing for her because I showed no response. A lot of harsh words changed hands, and the group
dissolved out from under the tragedy, though there were other events that urged it along.

Now, a terrorist attack has hit the United States, and I've been called un-American and heartless because I've felt nothing in the wake of the disaster.

My only response to the whole situation has been one of dark humor, at the Wag-the-Doggish nature of this whole affair. In the depths of America's recession and the President's slumping popularity, a terrorist strike comes
along to give people something on which to focus and bolster production. War has always been good for the economy. It's the sort of event that people like Art Bell make their livings squeezing for pseudofacts to fit their conspiracies.

I don't know anyone that died in the attack. I don't know anyone that knows anyone that died in the attack. And yet, because it happened on American soil (this phrase has been used a lot lately), I'm expected to be in sackcloth and ashes, wailing and moaning over the horrible tragedy. People who have no relationship whatsoever with the blast are pronouncing vendetta against the perpetrators, and our esteemed President is calling it "freedom
under attack". To me, this is the very sort of attitude that the people who attacked the US had, that striking out at faceless nobodies was the best and perhaps the only means of making a statement.

I am American by birth, but this to me is nothing more than a designation of location, not a sign of any affiliation or belief. I was male by birth, or so claims my birth certificate, and that didn't mean anything to me either. That these events happened in America is shocking only in their proximity; I'm three hours away from each of the major targets. Beyond that, it means nothing to me personally, only in how the after-effects will change the world around me. Because of this, I've already been the recipient of harsh words and I likely will continue to be.

More than anything, if I feel any emotion, it's anger at the double standard by which media stories are reported. Anger at the people who will use this as an excuse to rip away at my rights in the name of public safety. Anger at the faceless, blind sheep who will gleefully accept a new whip in return for the illusion of greater security. Anger at the media moguls turning a loss of life into a media festival. Anger at the idea that anyone could find bloodshed an acceptable alternative. Anger at my own impotence in the face of world-shaking events.

I once walked around in a dark cloud of angst and depression. My life was grey misery, and I believed I would never be free of it. One day, it lifted, and I learned how to love my life and the world around me. Now, instead of
grieving, I find myself celebrating the lives of those who have gone before me. I find within myself a desire to thank those who touched my life in their time on this earth. I wish not for my death to to be mourned but for my life to be exalted when my time comes. I want those close to me to face my death with a smile and the comfort that I milked my life for every drop of happiness that I could.

Now, because I feel no grief, I'm being ostracized by my peers who sit in numbed horror at events that don't really touch them.

I'm feeling very very alone.


I got my passport last night. It was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home. Anxiously, I tore open the manila envelope in which they'd sent all of my paperwork. The first page was a letter saying that the passport was a limited-duration issue, good until six months post-op, but that I could have it converted to the full duration without question or cost after providing proof of surgery. I was fine with that; I figured they'd do something like
that anyway. I opened up the little blue sheaf.

Kristina Robin Davis. Male.

I have, I think, never been quite so livid as I was in the first two seconds after looking at that. Not even the recent fiasco of the Bash organization for next year put me quite into the stratosphere like this. The Ninth Circuit Court of Texas, the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, my significant other and my mother all recognize me and consider me female, and here I have a little square of blue cardboard slapped with the wrong information.

For about three seconds, I wondered if I were ever going to be free of my unwanted past.

For the next hour, I swore I was going to catch a flight to Houston and quietly strangle the officer in the passport office that issued my passport.

Then Jessie dragged me to bed, made love with me and held me while I cried fell into an eight-hour coma.

Today, I'm going to call them after I get out of work, and I'm going to ask, very politely, why my paperwork was issued with the wrong information when by their own letter to Ms. Davis, they recognize me as female. Then, regardless of what answer I get, I'm going to assume that when I get back from Thailand next April, they will correct the mistake in my records when I present them with my paperwork saying that I've had the proverbial nip-and-tuck. If they still insist at that point on getting it wrong, I'm going to throw a conniption over the likes of which J. R. "Bob" Dobbs himself would soil his underwear.

I'm keenly aware of what assuming does to people. I just don't feel like arguing with them until I'm back and have the final weapon in my arsenal.

Of course, I also have one last chance at getting them to correct their records. I put in a request at the California Department of Vital Records, the holder of my original birth certificate, to have the proper amendments made to reflect the changes in my information. If they follow through with what I think they agreed to do, then I'll have an amended birth certificate to present back to the Passport Agency to get my records fixed yet again.

I know it's counterproductive, but I would love to see the look on the faces of the people there when I calmly and smugly present them with a corrected birth certificate and inform them that they out of all the government offices
faced with this issue have refused to treat me properly and with the recognition I have earned.

It's almost enough to make me want to sue them right now.

This morning when I stood on the scale, it read 265. I'm now five pounds above where I started when I went back on my diet. True, I did have a slew of visitors over that time period, and I let myself go, but I am at a point now where I can no longer afford to let myself go, to act as if having visitors is any excuse for me to neglect my diet.

Right now, I'm fighting for motivation. I'm fighting for every step of the way, every pound I want to lose. When I started dieting the first time, I had a host of appetite suppressants that worked and a ready supply of caffeine, a natural appetite suppressant, to help me along. Now, I can't have the caffeine because it's contraindicated by my anti-androgen, which is also a diuretic, and the appetite suppressants have all been recalled.

I'm down to willpower and Stupid Human Tricks to get back to where I want to be, weight-wise. Not just that, but where I need to be to have a better chance at a successful surgery. Doctor Kunaporn normally doesn't take any patient over two hundred pounds; he made an exception in my case because of my height, but I know I can drop to 220 if I try. I've been there before. I can get there again.

To this end, I'm starting a daily online table to monitor my progress. Keeping records at home and privately has not helped me this time. I know that, if I'm showing the world that my weight is dropping, I'll be happy. Conversely, I know that if I'm having to show it rising again, or if I'm avoiding posting anything because it's not falling as it should be, then I'm doing something wrong and I need to fix my habits.

My goal is to reach 220 by the end of January. That's eight pounds a month, starting now. That's by no means impossible, but it will be difficult. I've done worse, so I'm not too worried. 

I hate that I have to do this to get myself to fix my own bad habits, but if I said, "this is who I am", I would have to hide my face. I started my transition telling myself that I could be who I wanted to be, and I'll be damned before I let go of that.


Yesterday marked the first anniversary of my Real-Life Test. As of yesterday morning, I will have spent one full year living as myself, as Kristina Davis, and not as the person whose name still (dis)graces my birth certificate.

Birth certificates and other government proofs of identification are still something of a sticking point for me; I'm still fighting the passport agency, though one thing has changed on that front that should clear the way for the rest to resolve. My surgeon is finally sending me my Letter, in which he says that I'm scheduled for thus-and-so date and should be given egress from the United States of America to be allowed to meet this obligation. Hopefully it will work. If not, I'm going to have a deuce of a time applying under my old name. I've already submitted the paperwork to the California Bureau of Vital Statistics to amend my birth records. If this letter doesn't do it,
maybe that will. I hope.

Looking back, it's hard to imagine my life before a year ago. I mean,  consciously, I can call up the memories, but they feel alien. I mention on my homepage that I have no intention of claiming I sprung fully grown into the world at age twenty-five, and yet it feels like that in a way. I know what I did, and I can recall specific events, but when I do so they don't seem like they belong to me. I feel like I'm reliving someone else's life when I try to think about it.

I don't suppose that's too surprising, really. I know several people who're going through the same transition who have all expressed at one time or another the desire to have their pasts buried and forgotten. We live in a society that still doesn't totally understand and accept, even if individuals do, and references to our past can get awkward. For the most part, I simply refer to myself as female as far back as possible, and yet there are times of my life where this simply won't work. I lived in a university dorm for a year, and I had a male roommate. No dorm would ever intentionally allow two strangers of differing sexes to occupy the same room, at least not in Texas. Thus, how do I talk about my pathologically normal roommate André without giving away the past?

Should I even care? My friends are an even mix of those who don't know and those who don't care, with most of the former eventually winding up as the latter, but I know someone right now fighting for employment because she
has a military discharge for GID. She's working at a grocery store because she can't get hired for anything better. It's heavily frustrating, seeing this kind of treatment and not being able to stop it, knowing that I could be subject to the same.

At any rate, I look back now at my first year and all I can say is that I wish I had known so much sooner. I envy some of my friends who're going through the change so much younger than I, but I hope that never interferes with our friendship. I can't help but wonder sometimes how much different my life would be now if I'd realized and accepted all of this when I was in college, or even high school, but I'm not enough of a Nostradamus to really know.

All in all, I'm happy with the decision, and I'd do it again in an instant.

Anthrocon was last week, and I still have mixed emotions about it. I'd been looking forward to attending for some time, but once I was there, it wasn't what I had expected. Rather, I wasn't able to do what I had hoped.

I simply do not handle large undirected groups of people well. I freeze up. I get silent, curl up in my corner, hope to go unnoticed and panic if I'm put into the spotlight. I can deal with small groups. I can deal with larger groups of people I know well. I can deal with large groups if we're all participating in some specific activity. I can even handle public speaking, since I'm the event on which people are focused. Past a certain point, though, I simply don't react positively.

When I went to Further Confusion with Jessie last year, I didn't really attend the con. I visited with Ryan, while Jessie went to the convention. When I go to the Bash every year, I spend my time socializing with smaller groups, and I grow distinctly uncomfortable when everyone is together. I wish I felt more comfortable, safer interacting with larger groups, but I never have, and it's only grown more acute since my transition. I don't even socialize at work events. I feel out of place and isolated. 

I wanted to attend, to have a good time, but I spent most of it either fighting off panic attacks or hiding in the women's room at the hotel while Jessie at least enjoyed zirself. I don't begrudge the roo for that, and in fact I'm very glad that zie had a good time, but I'm disappointed in my own inability to overcome something so seemingly simple.

With understanding comes growth, and with growth comes new possibilities. Either I'll learn to live with this part of my life, or I'll find a way to overcome it. Either way, I'm better off now than I was before, and I know how to avoid the worst of these sorts of situations.


Another month, another chapter of my life.

The passport situation is getting weird. I'm now waiting on my surgeon to send me a letter indicating my intent to have surgery so that the passport agency will send me a "temporary passport" while I wait for the operation so I can get a "real" passport. I find it degrading that I have to prove I'm having surgery before they'll issue me paperwork, even if I can sit back and say, "yes, I see the rationale in not issuing passports in any identity but those on the original citizenship papers."

In the meantime, though, the California Bureau of Vital Statistics has sent me back my request for a birth certificate, saying that I didn't send them sufficient money with my request to have my birth certificate amended! Now, when I originally wrote them, I only requested to have a copy of my old birth certificate sent to me. I had no intention of getting them to change it yet; I didn't think they would without proof of surgery. That seems to be typical, unfortunately. However, they sent me back the proper form for changing my birth certificate and told me that if I want it altered, I have to send them more money. This may very well be a run-around to my passport problem if Dr. Kunaporn's letter doesn't arrive in time.

As an aside, this diary entry would've been done a few days ago, when I returned from my trip to St. Louis, but the day after I got home, I slept for nearly eighteen hours, and then I came down with a case of stomach flu, so I haven't really felt like myself. Today's the first day in several that I'm intending to stay at work until quitting time at

As mentioned above, I did just get back from St. Louis, visiting the annual TSA Bash. As always, it was a wonderful trip. Jessie, Tanya, Randy and I carpooled from Philadelphia to Columbus, Ohio, where we overnighted at Joanne's house. She then joined us from Columbus to Cincinnati where Mag added his car and we caravaned from there to Missouri. Sixteen hours in the car would have been miserable; I'm definitely glad that we chose to break the journey where we did.

The day we arrived, we spent it mostly in wandering about in confusion, trying to find where everyone was. The organizers contracted with the hotel to put us all in a block of rooms together, but when we arrived, we found that we'd been scattered all over the buildings! The internal conference room we were assured was actually over in the attached restaurant, which was not a Denny's despite the literature saying otherwise. This last is probably a good thing. 

The night desk clerk had no business running a shoe-shine stand, much less a hotel. He couldn't find our reservations. Then he attempted to charge me the full price of the room despite our having reserved it under a group rate. Later, when our toilet broke and flooded our bathroom, he told us only that maintenence had gone home and that he might have a plunger if we wanted it. Then, while we were discussing whether or not to move into one of the other open rooms, he proceeded to book every remaining open room out from under us! We did mention this fact to him, and he merely shrugged. I lodged a complaint with the manager, but she seemed to know
that he was a problem but couldn't get rid of him for some reason. 

We did ultimately have to leave a night early. By Saturday, the room had begun to stink from the water (thankfully clean) soaking into the carpet and mildewing. We simply could not put up with another night in that room, and the hotel was quite literally full; the night clerk had rented out the last two open spaces while Jessie and I watched. It was with regret that we packed up to leave, but we consoled ourselves that we would have had to go the next morning early anyway, and that we weren't really missing anything.

While we were there, though... I had a wonderful time. Jessie, Matthias, Ando and I played a few rounds of Mao, which is always good for my spirits if not my general sanity. We organized a mall-crawl, and who would've
thought that something so seemingly banal would be met with such high spirits? I did have ulterior motives, though. I had agreed some time back to help Joanne find a swimsuit to settle a dare with Jessie, that she would go out in a one-piece and swim if Jessie did the same. At the time I heard about this, I thought it childish and I said as much, but I wanted it as much as they did. Last year, the Bash hotel had a pool, and I kept looking at it longingly but I didn't have the courage to get a swimsuit and get in it. This year, even as I protested that I had nothing to prove, I wanted to participate.

Joanne did a lot more in the end than just get the swimsuit. I kept expecting her to say, "This is too much," and we had all agreed that if she did, nobody would think any less of her, but she went on to not only wear the suit but get in the pool and help me drown my mate! In actuality, we had been dunking each other and doing laps while Jessie clung to the side of the pool, and we conspired to drag zim out into the water, but we didn't know zie had a cramp in zir leg and so when we did, Jessie panicked. Things were a bit tense shortly afterwards, and I was very upset at what happened, but Jessie forgave me and I cried about it and everything was better very quickly.

Jo even bought a top and a pair of bras while she was at Lane Bryant, which I thought remarkable. I'm very proud of her. She's grown up a hell of a lot, even if it's in spurts that only happen when she's around family. I wish her parents treated her better. She deserves far more than she gets from them, in my opinion.

We did discuss writing; it was, after all, a writers' conference, wasn't it? Well, it was at one point. I think we've finally organized a reasonably decent event for next year, based on Chairman Foxley's suggestion of a public critique section. Everyone to be a part submits a written work, and everyone present agrees to read and then analyze everything submitted. I do have my misgivings; these sorts of things tend to be dominated by so-called Beautiful People, but I believe that it can be made to work. At least, I hope it can. I hate to think that something intended to help everyone will be forced into invite-only status because the group can't be trusted to read everyone's work.

Finally, I got my play-by-email off the ground at the Bash. I'd been building this for some time, working up characters and background, and it was good to finally sit down and role-play again. I was at one point part of a group here, but in the wake of three of the participants becoming heavily employed, it hasn't happened in several weeks and is, as far as I can tell, dead. It's a shame, really, but I can't say as it's entirely unexpected. My game, however, has just started, though it's facing a bit of a burp while one of the players goes on his much-deserved
honeymoon. Once he's back, though, I hope to see a long-time game running here. I've certainly planned for the future.

I hated having to leave the Bash. I especially hated having to leave early. I don't get to see most of these people but once a year, for a few days, and that's far too rare for my taste. Given my druthers, I'd live close enough to visit them all, but right now that's just not feasible.

Maybe one day.

Here I was going to discuss my mistress and the fact that I'd entered into a dom-sub relationship with someone not my mate, but I found that I'd already written another entry last month detailing it all, but that at the time I'd not posted it publicly. I'm still not sure why I didn't. I suspect it was nervousness at publicly confessing some of the things in it, and yet they're all true and things that, if asked, I will admit. I don't have to be ashamed of any of it, just honest.


I wouldn't wish days like yesterday on anyone.

I found out first of all from my doctor that there are no endocrinologists in the area that do hormone replacement therapy that take my insurance. This means I have to pay for all of my treatments up front and then hope that I get reimbursed afterwards, which means I have to budget far more than I would like for medical bills that, supposedly, should be the domain of my insurance company. After all, isn't that why we have them?

Next, my passport application has hit another snag. Now they want proof of my surgery. "It doesn't matter what your driver's license says; it's what's between your legs that counts." No, that isn't a direct quote, but that's the essential tone of the letter I received. Thankfully, they also said that if I hadn't had the surgery yet and needed the passport for the surgery, I could submit all of my other docs and a note from my surgeon saying when my surgery is scheduled. It's not a problem, but it is one more delay in getting the damn piece of paper that clears me for overseas travel, and they've flat-out admitted that they've lost my old one so if they don't give me the new one, there's going to be a real problem.

Finally, I contacted my bank to inquire about personal loan interest rates and found out that they don't offer them! They've got home, home improvement, car, et cetera, but nothing that doesn't involve some kind of major capital
purchase, and medical doesn't count. Again, it's not a crisis, but it's a delay in getting things settled and prepared for my trip. A friend of mine has offered to vouch for me to get a Navy Fed account, and according to him they'll give out loans on practically a handshake, so I'm not panicking but I am annoyed.

My weight was back up to 260 yesterday morning, and that always depresses me. I did such a good job of losing the weight, but I did it by punishing myself and generally starving myself, with the help of appetite suppressants which are no longer available over the counter. I even spoke with my doctor about getting back on them, and he just said the prescription strength ones weren't covered by insurance, which prices them out of my range for now.

If all of the above weren't enough, I've been worrying a lot about my finances these days. Trying to schedule a loan from the bank, I've felt increasingly under the microscope to pay off my debts to my credit cards and get back onto an even footing, but... 

... this is where my life gets extremely complex, or at least it feels like it does.

As I have established elsewhere in these writings, I am a very easily dominated person in certain basic ways. I'm very submissive, and I am, by my own admission, too easily influenced by the emotional states of my peers. The idea that one of my friends, someone I trust, being upset or mad at me, or even unhappy if I have the means of "correcting the problem," makes me sick to my stomach. I can take on any depth of self-deprivation if I know (or believe) that doing so will benefit someone close to me. I try to save the universe, and I fail because I don't know how to save myself first, no matter how much Ayn Rand I read.

Is it a fundamental lack of self-esteem? I don't think so. I do think, though, that it's a result of having grown up alone. All through my childhood, I made friends by doing things for them. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I suspect, is the fear that saying "no" to my compatriots will make them leave me. Jessie suggested it last night, and I denied it then, but looking at it, I suspect it's closer to the truth than I might like to admit.

I'm still afraid of being alone, and I'll hurt myself to make sure I'm not. I don't go in for masochism, but I'll put up with a lot of crap from people that claim to want me around. My first relationship is a good example of this.

The budget, then, is a major source of emotional headache for me. Because I control the purse strings in the family, my job is to say no to the requests of others, and every time I say no my guts clench up and I want to curl up in a corner and die. I'm still trying to win the approval of those from whom I know I don't have anything to prove. I don't make enough money to be able to say yes to everything, but I can't say no without feeling bad, and when it comes to money this is a dangerous game.

I'm going to change tacks for a moment, and switch over to a related subject. A few weeks ago, I entered into a dominant/submissive relationship with someone with whom I've grown very close over the years we've known each other. It satiates the screaming demons inside of me, to serve and know that even when I misbehave, my servitude pleases my mistress.

By "mistress", it's pretty clear I don't mean Jessie. Zie knows, zie accepts, zie doesn't understand entirely but zie supports and even encourages it somewhat.

So far, it's only been online, mostly because of the distance between us, but in part because of all of the above factors and because of my own mildly obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I fixate on things very easily, and in something so reality-warping, this would be a very dangerous thing again. I trust my mistress implicitly, even out of scene, not to do anything to hurt me, but she and I both agree that this should not become a relationship that overwhelms or controls either of us. We both have mates outside of it, and we both have lives, and if it ever interferes with either, it should be ended.

Over the weekend, I had the chance to actually play out some small measure of this, with someone not my mistress. Despite my would-be top not being overly skilled or interested in the scene, I still found it very seductive. I feel protected, knowing that at least within the confines of the scene, someone is going to take care of me, and that even if I'm punished it's out of tenderness. I know that to truly be a submissive, one must want what the dominant wants, even if it's self-detrimental, trusting in the top to protect and make safe. 

It's this sense of giving up control that I find so darkly attractive and so dangerous. I already struggle with the fact of being the primary income in my family. My mate, as much as I may love Jessie, is not well-suited to being "in charge". (If zie were, I think zie and I would have entered into that kind of relationship long ago and never regretted it.) The chance to not be in charge is one that I could far too easily accept as proper, and if I were to try I'd likely hurt many more people than just me. 

Having the chance to explore it in person, to actually experience the role of the submissive and then have someone critique me afterwards and give me pointers on how to be a better pet left me breathless and anxious. I walked around with the collar I had been given around my neck for the whole of the weekend and even wore it into the office on Monday as a piece of jewelry before realizing that I had been letting it take over my thoughts and removed it.

There is, I tell myself, a time and a place for everything. However, it's hard to confine an emotion that one would like to feel at all times to a limited set of times and places, even knowing that only by doing so does it become possible to experience it at all.

Now to tie these two threads together.

Jessie hasn't worked in eight months. Zie gets up when zie wants, goes to bed when zie wants, knows that the money is there to pay for small indulgences without having to think, has never been denied anything by me, and has, in general, little in the way of responsibility beyond keeping the apartment looking nice. Even that doesn't have to happen if something interrupts, or even if zie just forgets, zie knows I'll be irritated but I won't kick zim out.

In short, zie's been leading the life that I wish I could have, albeit with a bit more freedom than I might necessarily want.

I dumped core last night, telling all of this to Jessie at two in the morning. I've felt that Jessie hadn't taken the job search seriously. I'd had a background nervousness as the sole income earner for a while, but it's been really heavy lately with everything else going on, the times I've spent in the control of someone else putting the times I've
had to be the bitch about money into sharp relief and making me more uncomfortable.

I don't want to give up the satisfaction and happiness I find in servitude, but I need some way of keeping it from becoming an escape mechanism, and the best way I know to do that is to lessen the negative impact everything
else has. The fastest path to that end involves Jessie getting a job so that I don't feel I'm the only one supporting us and thus making all the decisions about where the money goes. It's probably a strange coping mechanism in my head, but it's there and I work with it and I've led a happy life so far, even with all the ups and downs.


Yesterday, I got stuck driving to work. Normally I take the train because it's cheaper, but I missed the 08h19 and the next one would've gotten me in way too late, so I just skipped it and took my car. It was a very strange thing to me, driving to work after three months of taking the train. Once I have a parking permit at work, I'll be doing it daily, but that's two years off and right now it seems like an eternity.

On the way home, an old classic favorite of mine came on the radio. It's by Informtaion Society, but I can never remember the name; I only know it as "Pure Energy" because it has the soundbite of Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock from the Redjack episode of Star Trek (my mother's worse; she could tell you the name and original airdate, as well as who played Kang and the rest of the Klingon crewmembers). I never owned the album, but I have a lot of fond memories of asking Mitchell if I could hear his copy of the tape, even though that was the only song of theirs that I knew or even really remembered.

That set off a chain in my head of other memories, not quite so pleasant. As can be deduced from some of the other contents of this journal, our final words to each other were spoken in pain, or at least mine were. We exchanged email afterwards, but they weren't pleasant or pretty, and in the end I just stopped replying. I did the same thing with my first boyfriend, Rod, and with Efrain.

Talking with Jessie about it, I do it to a lot of people. I have some strange meter in my head that denotes comfort factor around another person. Up to some critical limit, and I have no idea what that limit is, I get standoffish, quiet, and nervous. I expect confrontation and I respond rapidly to it, either by running away or by striking back,
even when the "offense" doesn't warrant it. Past that point, again with no clear idea of what it is, I start dropping all of my internal barriers and baring my soul, often unexpectedly. I think it comes at least in part from the sense that if I have nothing to hide, I have nothing that can be used against me because I have no need to be afraid.

I spent too much of my childhood afraid of myself and who I was, and my fear became my best weapon against me. I allowed myself to be blackmailed and manipulated by others based on the threat of not being my friend. I
tolerated six years of emotional abuse at the hands of someone whose greatest attack was "if you don't do this my way, our relationship is over." I fear being manipulated. I am genuinely afraid of the idea that my will is not my own, which is totally ironic considering how submissive I can be, in and out of the bedroom.

I suspect that the two are related, actually. In scene, I want to escape responsibility. I want to put myself totally into the control of another person. I want to trust and know implicitly that that trust will not be betrayed. I do not want control, authority or rights. I want to be a pet, an animal, a slave. Outside of that environment, I want there to be no hint, no suggestion of lack of control. I want to be in charge and know that I am my own person. Perhaps my fear of loss of control enhances my sexual fantasies of being at the mercy of others. Perhaps my fantasies fuel my need to assert my authority elsewhere. Either way, they're probably linked.

At any rate, I have this limit in my head that, with each person, indicates safety or not. With those I feel safe, I begin dropping my barriers and letting my soul speak for itself. I admit truths about myself that I would never tell other people. I say what comes to my mind. I share myself freely, knowing that I will be protected. Outside of this line, nothing is revealed. I show only as much as I must, and no more.

When I began my transition, I went around and announced what I was doing, what I was planning, telling those in that blessed inner circle that I had finally found myself. A few people offered me unbiased and unquestioning support. Mitchell did not. At no point did he ever say to me, "this isn't you," but he asked me at every turn if I had tried one or another of some set of medical tests. Had I tried testosterone therapy? My
testosterone count after three months of being on an anti-androgen was marked as "above average male". Did I see another therapist who wasn't biased in the direction of sex-therapy? I didn't think I needed a second opinion.

In short, where everyone else close to me had enthusiastically supported me, including Jessie, Mitchell did not. He knew me, he knew how easily I bent to the will of my peers even when I didn't admit or recognize that I
was doing it, he knew I had a number of transsexual friends with whom I had been closely associating, and he knew something of Jessie's own proclivities. I suspect now that he made the logical, if incorrect, conclusion that I was very likely going through a phase because of my current peer group, and that in time things would reassert themselves with a bit of gentle guidance. If not that, then at least he wanted to make damn sure that I really wanted this because of the severity of change I was making to my life. Either way, it was the action of a concerned friend.

Unfortunately, I also knew Mitchell. He was, is and likely forever will be a manipulator. I say this not as a bad thing, but as a statement of fact. He's charming, persuasive and amiable. He's good at convincing others of what he wants to be true, and I have seen him talk people, myself included, into wholehearted belief of events that never happened. I took his lack of instant and unquestioning support, and his constant requests for "more proof", as a refusal to accept me and an attempt to talk me out of my decision, and as has happened so many times before and will likely continue to happen in the future, I felt threatened and my devenses took control. I felt that my trust had been betrayed and that anything was now fair game, and I responded to every comment, no
matter how slight, with self-righteous anger. I drove him away from me because I couldn't feel safe with him as close as he was. 

Looking back, I still can't say that I did anything "wrong," but I'm an expert at bending that word in every possible direction. One of my greatest weapons and flaws is the ability to nitpick into oblivion any statement I can't refute directly. I can sit here and say that to behave towards him as I did was a mistake on my part, and yet I can't say
that it won't happen again. I can't ever say that I would try to do things any differently. This is a part of who I am. If I don't feel safe with someone, I force that person out of my life, either actively or passively. I try to push away people intially, and then once I get close to someone I slowly open myself more and more, and if at any point I hit
resistance, I shut down the relationship cold rather than let it degrade naturally back to the last point of comfort. By that time, my limits have already been crossed, and I don't know how to do otherwise. Over time, my wounds heal and I feel safe in trying again, knowing that up to some limit I won't be hurt, but by that time I may have already done so much damage that there isn't anything left to salvage.

The only thing I know how to say in my own defense is that I'm trying. I'm still learning to accept a lot of the negative side to my nature and learn to compensate for what I can't correct. I may never stop doing this, but I hope that by admitting that I act this way, I'm taking the first steps towards learning how not to drive away the people that I've made uncomfortable by exposing more of myself than is expected. 

Life is a learning process, more than anything else. I'm still alive, so I'm still learning.


Lately, things have been really busy, and so once again I find myself playing massive catch-up. One might think that I'd just say "Okay, plan to update on the nth of every month and be done with the matter" but I never learn, or else I can't remember to do it, or I put it off, or something.

My paperwork is now in the capable hands of Dr. Kunaporn in Thailand, the surgeon with whom I very much hope to have my surgery. I'm officially scheduled for 2002-03-15 to go under the knife, but there are a few details left to determine. It turns out that there're two groups of surgery for what I want done, one for "adequate penile length" and one for "inadequate penile length", and that the cost difference is USD2500. Further, this isn't a pick-and-choose decision; it's actually important how much tissue I have left post-hormonal interference, so I'm going to have to take pictures of myself to send to Dr. Kunaporn so that he can determine if I can get away with the USD7000 option or if I need the USD9500 option. That I won't know for
a while yet.

Also, I've gotten news on my passport application. According to the person with whom I spoke on the phone at the national office, the Houston regional office lost my paperwork and asked me for my birth certificate as a stalling technique. I told her that the birth certificate would take twelve weeks to arrive, which it would according
to the website for Santa Clara county, California. She asked me what I could tell her about my situation since she wasn't sure what to do. I dropped the whole story on her, and she got
mad. Not at me, but at the people in Houston, because there's a lot of paperwork I submitted that I can't replace, including my old passport, which was still valid!

If I had taken that old passport with my court orders and the note from Dr. Kunaporn saying why I was leaving the country, I probably would've had no trouble at all. That's the most annoying thing about this whole process. In trying to spare the hassle of invalid paperwork at the airport, I've gotten my critical documents lost.

Well, maybe not lost. The clerk said, after much checking, that the file had been marked with some code that meant, ultimately, that someone had pulled my file and set it aside somwhere on somebody's desk without marking why it had been pulled. There's only one reason that comes to my mind, but if I say it I'll be accused of only having one topic of conversation again.

Someone at the Houston passport agency is supposed to call me today or tomorrow. I hope whomever it is has a very good explanation for what's happened.


It's been two weeks since I've put anything significant in my diary, and a lot has happened in that time, but very little of it seems newsworthy. It all has the feel of "I've already said this."

I think one flaw of keeping a diary is that after a while, everything seems to sound the same. Not having updated my website in a while fails to bother me because I've said it all a hundred times. Jessie accuses me of repeating
ad nauseum when I don't watch myself, and I'm sure I've done that on this site without even thinking about it.

Chloe has been here on a visit, and it was wonderful finally seeing face-to-face the wonderful coonie I'd known online. I think it's important to say that she seemed to be in person very much who she is online, which is a rare enough event that I consider it significant. Actually, it's rare for me to meet people who aren't similar to how they portray themselves, but from what I've heard from others, it's unusual.

Jessie and I are in our own apartment again. I had hoped that things would work out with Efrain, but they didn't and the details as to why aren't really important. I still love the cat very much, and I know Jessie does as well and
that feeling is returned, but living together got all of us on each others' nerves after a while, and so it just worked out best to go our separate ways and get two apartments. We're in the same complex, though, so it isn't like
the friendship is over or anything, and we do still all see each other on a regular basis.

It's been almost nine months since Jessie and I have had the chance to be alone with each other, and the first night I spent curled up against Jessie's side, knowing that we were alone together was an indescribable sensation. It wasn't the bed, or the room, or the apartment, but just the knowledge that whatever else happened, I could come home at the end of the day and zie would be there, and that we would be together, and that nothing else had to get in the way. I'm glad I had Randy living with me when she did, and I enjoyed the time we lived at Efrain's, but I'm happy to be in my own apartment again.

Last, and probably most important, I received my psychiatric evaluation in the mail. It really doesn't say anything that I didn't already know, but it "guarantees" that I really do have a female gender identity and that having the operation is probably a good idea. Jessie made a number of jokes upon reading the evaluation that medical science had finally realized what zie could've told them two years ago.

The letter by itself really doesn't mean much. It's important because as far as I know, it's the last piece of paper that I have to have to send to my surgeon to guarantee my surgery next March. Now all I have to do is send it and then put aside the money to pay for it. If I must, I'll take out a loan, but I hope that won't be necessary.

Now it's only a matter of time.


I had a long talk with Efrain last night. Things have been stressed lately, with SGS being on the blink and three of my friends potentially out of work in the near future. It by itself isn't making things problematic; I make enough to cover the three of us in the short-term, though I don't like being the only person employed in the family. Neither do Efrain and Jessie. What it does is contribute enough to the cat's stress levels that little things that would ordinally mean nothing or totally get overlooked become more an an issue than they need to be.

We spent several hours talking yesterday evening, and the details of the conversation aren't realy important, but the gist of it is, I think, quite meaningful. Anger doesn't produce. Hatred doesn't fix anything. Being upset at people and harboring grudges don't solve problems; they only contribute to them.

I've been carrying a few grudges for quite a while now. I'm not proud of them, but at the time I lashed out against people who were once my friends, I thought it was the only way I could get through to them that I thought they were doing the wrong things. It didn't stop them. They had either already stopped on their own, or they weren't going to stop just because I tried to withhold my emotions. I didn't do any good to either of us, to any of us.

Joanne, I'm sorry. I know that saying it doesn't make up for what I did, but I hope that, in saying this here, publicly, as I did before, I can start to undo some of the damage I caused. You didn't deserve what I said, and I've taken down the previous entry and made right what didn't need to be changed.

I can't solve your problems. I'm not here as a crutch or even really a guide. I don't have any wisdom to teach. Anything I could say, you'll either learn on your own or you wouldn't understand anyway. I don't think anyone ever really learns from the mistakes of others. We only repeat them in new and exotic ways. I can't stop you from doing what you think is best, but I want you to know that I believe in you, that I support you in what you're doing
and that I still care about you, even if we may not make the same choices. 

I don't want carbon copies of myself echoing everything I do and turning my life into a Socratic dialogue. The ability to disagree with each other without rejecting each other should be a source of strength, not a sore spot. You must live your own life; no-one else can do it for you. When you chose a course of action I thought foolish, I blew up at you and tried through emotional blackmail to take away from you the one thing I should've recognized and respected as sacred: your right to make your own decisions.

I hope you'll forgive me.


This time, I'm writing while I'm awake enough to do so. Jessie's out cold in the cot next to the bed, and I have no idea how much longer I'm going to be awake. I hate being up at such an odd hour, even on vacation, but this time
I think I've earned it, at least in part.

As expected, the orderlies arrived this morning at nine o'clock, and after much last-minute fiddling I was on the gurney and headed to OR reasonably on time. When I arrived, I got to watch two of the nurses picking the hairs out of my scrotal skin with scalpels while the rest of the staff got me positioned up onto the bed. The anaesthesiologist came in, opened up the tube at my shoulder and begin administering the epidural drip, just like last time.

Then the fun and games began. The nurses realized that, in their initial positioning, I was too high up on the bed for them to be able to get my legs into the stirrups, and so they started trying to shift me down further onto the OR bed to make room. Because of my size and unhelped by the fact that I was already losing control of my legs, they simply hefted and tugged me down the length of the bed. Shortly thereafter, a loud crash brought all motion in the OR to a stop. The epidural needle attachment at my shoulder had fallen to the floor and broken. My epidural was stopped. 

The anaesthesiologist came into the room, took one look at the situation, facepalmed and begin measuring out backup dosages. Mostly not awake still because of the hour and the drugs already in my system, I didn't say anything to him at first, and I guess everyone must've thought they had some time to get started, so they did. Then I shifted my leg once, and then the other. For those of you who've ever had an epidural, or any kind of proper anaesthetic, being able to move your own limbs is a Bad Sign, because it means the nerves there aren't asleep. Since I was able to move my legs, this meant I would feel it when they began trying to do anything to me. I attempted to convey this much, but the OR nursing staff was by now too stressed to pay attention to the patient babbling in some incomprehensible foreign language, and I don't speak a word of Thai, so there was no way for me to get my questions answered.

The first time the suture needle pricked me and I felt it, I hissed. The second time I did it again and they asked me if I was in pain. I said, "A little" and they began hurriedly talking amongst themselves, and then the anaesthesioloist put something into my IV line. By the time it occured to me that it was more anaesthetic, I was unconscious.

Unfortunately, apparently nobody told Jessie that this had happened, and so when they brought me out of surgery, instead of leaving in ICU to recover like last time, they wheeled me back into the hospital room so that Jessie could get the full effect of seeing someone waking up from a drug-induced sleep, including the shakes and the mostly-incoherent babbling of someone complaining about being too cold. Needless to say, my mate was not very happy about this. When I did finally regain consciousness—around 17h—and explained what had happened, zie calmed down a lot, but we were still both rather upset over what had occured.

At least the only thing I really have left is one packing change. I don't even have the vacuum tube any more, just the catheter. Hopefully by next Tuesday the surgeon will change my packing, and then by next Friday I should
be able to start looking at return flights.

I'm glad I came here, but I'm getting more eager to go home every day.


So much has changed, and yet so little feels different.

In the last three weeks, the following has all happened:

  1. I moved.
  2. I exchanged a roommate for another mate.
  3. I rekindled a long-dead friendship.
  4. I quit my job at L-3.
  5. I signed an offer letter for a new position.
  6. I finished my therapy.

And yet, after all this, my life doesn't really seem that different. This is what confuses me the most. Almost everything has been upheaved and reordered, and yet it all feels so natural already that it doesn't seem at times as if there were anything new.

The move had been a long time in the making. Texas simply has never been hospitable to me, but there had always been one reason or another to stay. With the offer of a new job, that reason was gone. The friends I had had there are gone. My parents are moving out of state once my mother graduates. I didn't like the climate. I still have people I know there, but they were too far away to make regular visits practical, and I'll still have the chance to go down there and see them. This way, I don't have to return to Tex-Ass once I'm done.

Part of me is sorry to have to have seen Randy leave, but another part is glad she's not living with me any more. When she moved into Jessie's and my apartment back in September of last year, I think we all expected things to
go vastly differently thasn they did. She couldn't get a job with her navy skills because of her psych discharge, which neither of us expected, and then it took her a lot longer to get around to finding a regular job. Then, once
she did, it turned out to be too little too late. She wasn't making enough to make her own rent, and Jessie and I couldn't bring her with us to Pennsylvania.

I say we couldn't. The truth is that we chose not to do so. We could've made room, but she would've likely faced the same problem here, and the apartment into which we moved was smaller than our old one, and already had one occupant, Jessie's and my other mate, Allie. Four people would not have worked in this apartment, and to support herself, she would have needed another roommate with a guaranteed job from day one. That would've meant a fifth person in the apartment designed for two and crowded with three, and it would have been an utterly horrible violation of the lease agreement on top of that.

I did say above that Jessie and I have another mate. Since before my breakup with my previous boyfriend, I had come to the decision/realization/discovery that strict monogamy made very little sense to me. Love, in my opinion, is not a finite resource. I can give all my love to one person and have infinite amounts left over for others. I now have two people with whom I intend to spend my life, and I think we're all three of us the better for it. It does
make sleeping on a queen-size bed together interesting, but that's an easily addressed issue.

A lot of people seem mystified by my having accepted more than one person into my life. I'm confused by the belief that loving one person means not loving anyone else. I've tried to live that way, and I just feel awkward and
uncomfortable when I do. It's like I'm denying what could be for what is, as if having said "I love you" to someone, I'm now committed and can't say it to anyone else unless I qualify it or revoke my having said it to the
first person. It's just... strange.

My friendship with Geoff was a surprising one. At one time in the distant past, we had been very close. Not dating-close, but that was probably only for a lack of officiation. I was with Rod at the time, and I'm afraid I had
a serious case of tunnel-vision. My constant comparison of Geoff to my then-boyfriend, in fact, is what mostly led to our break-up, not that I could really blame him for it. At the time, I was utterly mystified at what had happened, but in hindsight it's very clear.

I wasn't expecting to have him back as a friend, ever, but I always did lament the loss of that friendship. We happened to meet, totally by accident, on a common IRC server and began talking. He didn't know who I was; we hadn't spoken since before my transition. When he found out, he was more surprised to find the rumors were true and to hear the story than anything else. We spent six hours, I think, just talking about the intervening years. It felt so surreal, and yet so good. In many ways, it's as if we're both back four years ago, but with the benefit of age and wisdom. It feels good to be able to go back and just talk with him again.

Quitting my job was the precursor to the move. For fourteen months, I twiddled my thumbs at L-3 Communications, waiting for them to decide to either give me work or get rid of me. When they hired me, they offered me a development position, but I was never given a line of code to write the entire time I spent there. I was shunted into administration after five months of not doing anything at all, and then transferred from the development group to the support group after another three or four. I told them that's why I quit my last two jobs, but they didn't seem to care.

In addition, ever since I started my transition at L-3, things steadily went downhill. I started out with human resources' full support, but by the end, I could barely get any recognition out of them at all. I was denied access to the women's bathrooms despite repeated promises that this was all just a temporary measure to assuage concerns and that I would be given full access in time. In the end, I stopped caring. They didn't want me using the right facilities; they just wanted me out of their hair. I know that my name was put onto a layoffs list the day after I announced my transition and that only my manager's active arguing had it removed. I think they just wanted me gone but were afraid to fire me for fear of a lawsuit. At any rate, I'm glad I'm out of there.

My new job at ISI should be far better. I received absolutely no questions, no comments, no complaints and no inquiries about my gender at all. I was hired as Kristina Davis and there's never been any issue of it. I haven't started my new position yet; that's Monday. However, it can't be anywhere near as bad as my last one. And if it is, I'm now already moved and shouldn't have any problem finding another job.

At this point, having had as many positions as I have, I really don't dread finding a new job. I hate the jobsearch process, but I don't worry about changing positions. I suppose I should; I really would love to find a place at which I could put in five or ten years of solid work experience. I hope that ISI is the place for that. From the interview, it looks like it could be, but that's what I said about L-3.

The therapy is really the big one. It's over. I had my last session the Tuesday before I moved. It was very strange in its own way. I wrote a story about how I envisioned the end of therapy, of so many months of ritual, and I was reasonably close but there were no tears. I felt nothing but happiness. I was sad for leaving behind so many people I had come to consider friends, but my therapist said quite honestly some months back that I really didn't need to be in there any more. I was there to complete the forms and get all the letters and make everything
official, but it wasn't really necessary for my well-being.

I do miss them, Lisa and Rustie and Rachel and Janet and Lillith and Brandy. In the short time I was part of their circle, I did grow and learn quite a bit. They even said that they were amazed at how much I had changed in so
short a time. I thought I had everything under control when I started, and yet I continued to grow. It makes me wonder how much more I'll change now that I'm done with that phase of my life.

My surgery date is set. My therapy is completed. I'm only waiting on my release letter from my psychiatric evaluation to submit all my paperwork to the surgeon to begin the preparations for my actual trip to Thailand. I'm in a new job, in a new town with lots of friends I've known for years living nearby. I'm in a quiet apartment with both of my mates. It's hard to believe that everything is going so right for once. I'm used to things just not quite working out as I'd planned, and so are both of them. Now, for once, everything looks as if it's going as we had hoped.

I'm certainly going to enjoy it while it lasts.


Today's installment is another episode of too busy living to write about it, so I have a lot to mention.

First and foremost, I've gotten my surgery date confirmed: 2002-03-15. My surgeon, Sanguan Kunaporn, says I should be in Phuket on the 14th. I'm going to try to be there at least a day before that.

Now that the date's set, the fun begins. Emotionally, I believe I'm ready for the surgery. Financially, I haven't a hope in hell of having enough in the bank by that point, so I'm going to likely have to take out a loan to pay for everything. However, I've already figured that into things, and I won't mind it if that's what it takes. I would rather have the operation done and be on the road to recovery and dealing with the financial worries for five years than have to put off the operation until I have the money on hand. 

Second, my psychiatric evaluation is finished, and apparently the doctor that I visited thinks I'm a woman. Imagine my surprise. With that step completed, now all I have left is the operation, which is already scheduled, and the hair removal, which was going to take years anyway.

Speaking of hair removal, I'm likely going to be able to afford my next round of facial zapping with the high-powered laser as soon as my tax return gets back, which was its own party. It turned out that if Jessie and I both filed single, we got back $800 between us (Jessie got $1100 and I owed $300). However, if I filed as head of household and claimed Jessie as a dependant, we got $2000 ($1400 for me and $600 for Jessie). I think you can guess which one we took. It's weird that the numbers should change so drastically by such a minor change in status, but they did, so we're taking advantage of it. I mentioned it to my father and he didn't see anything wrong with the plan, so I went with it. He knows more about this stuff than I do anyway, so I trust his judgment.

I just got back from a trip up to Pennsylvania to visit my other mate and go to some job interviews, and I hope like crazy that I hear something back soon from ISI or the recruiter helping me land that job. I think it was a really
positive meeting with their company, and it sounded like a fun job, not too challenging but enough work to keep me occupied. Further, if I get it, it means that I can pack up and leave Texas that much faster, which is the real reason I went up for the interviews in the first place!

Being around Efrain again was absolutely wonderful, and I miss my kitten a lot. I hate the fact that Jessie and I can't both be up there, and I'm sending Jess to Philadelphia a week from Tuesday which means for some amount of time, until either Jessie or I land a job in the area, I'll be away from both of them. While I'll still have Miranda around down here in Texas, I'm going to be going steadily nuts. However, it's only temporary, and I'll head up to be with my loves by June anyway even if nothing works out, and then I'll get whatever position I can find up there.

It's a bit strange, getting ready to send the person that's helped keep me the most stable away from me. However, I know it's a short-term separation, and soon I'll be back with my mates. Things are going to work out. I believe it

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