A Year and Change

In late November 2014, I discovered that I am a transgender woman. In March 2015, I began speaking to a therapist in pursuit of hormone replacement therapy. In September 2015, I received my spironolactone prescription. In October 2015, that was joined by estrogen, and in May 2016 by progesterone.

It has been 17 months of being Alyssa, in place after place, until the only pretending left was for government files. There are steps in my journey I am stalled from taking, trapped in bureaucratic hell and financial purgatory. But when I look back on where I was then, and what I look like now, they don’t feel quite so urgent.

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A Year and Change
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What’s the Story

In my last storytelling post, I wrote about how a lot of my paintings come with stories of their own. I usually just let it stay in my head, but I thought I might have some fun and actually tell you, dearest readers, some of the stories.

MEDUSA

Medusa from behind with a butterfly tattoo

Medusa is considered a monster, she is assumed to be so ugly that just looking at her face turns you to stone. But before she was ugly, she was beautiful. She had long lustrous hair, which is why it was changed in order to punish her. Her gorgeous locks turned instead into hissing snakes. But in her metamorphosis she went from being a victim to being a being of fear. Sometimes it is in change that you find yourself. For Medusa, metamorphosis is the meaning of her life, her own change and the change she brings on others. She commemorates this with a tattoo of a flying butterfly on her shoulder.

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What’s the Story

An Atheist Visits Ecclesiax

I received an invitation from one of my partners to attend their Sunday service at Ecclesiax, a church in downtown Ottawa, and out of curiosity, I attended. It was an interesting visit, and I’m glad I added this unusual event to the series of religious presentations I have personally experienced. Like all the others, though, it’s not one I’ll be repeating if I can avoid it.

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An Atheist Visits Ecclesiax

Energizer Bunny for Xmas (plus a thank you)

For the last week, week and a half really, I’ve been in a bit of energizer mode. Alyssa calls it my productive phase.  We’re celebrating the holidays at home this year. For the first time in a while, and I don’t want it to feel like we’re just too poor to go somewhere like some holidays seem to feel. The sad truth is, though, that we are broke. We haven’t really been able to afford to get each other gifts for some time.

Still, I’ve been diligently working on trying to make it feel like the holidays, while also putting together little somethings for the wonderful people in our lives. And that has meant – cooking. And baking. And some crafting.

It’s been serving two purposes. At the same time that I am making a whole host of Christmas food, I’m also making a bunch of frozen meals and whatnot for future low spoon days. So far I’ve managed to freeze some Kluski (Polish Potato Dumplings) as well as some fries that just need to be popped in the fryer. All at the same time as preparing the filling for a batch of pierogi: which I haven’t really made since that time years ago when I sold them for a while and ended up making over 744 pierogi by hand.

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Energizer Bunny for Xmas (plus a thank you)

Answers for Parents with Transgender Offspring

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

A trans person, probably a trans woman, has parents. Those parents are a predictable yet incomprehensible medley of bigoted toward transgender people, ignorant of queer and transgender topics, and uninterested in learning more, and think “acceptance” means that the telephone shouting matches have mostly stopped and they haven’t severed all ties with their transgender descendant. There’s very little else they get right, and they think that their progress is measured in “time since they heard.”

There are a lot of specific things they get wrong, and they’re frustratingly defensive about getting corrected on any of them.

So here are some answers.

CN sexual assault, suicide, violence against women

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Answers for Parents with Transgender Offspring

Gregorian chant and the Acoustics of Churches

A few years ago my parents took my sister and me to Poland to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. We flew first to Austria where we spent a few days exploring Vienna. It was an interesting trip for me, being the first time travelling to a country where I didn’t have at least a very basic grasp of the language.

In the past I had gone on exchange to live in France, but I spoke French. My parents had taken us to Cuba, and I had an exchange in Spain, and while my Spanish was limited, I knew enough to be able to ask basic questions like where is the bathroom, and how much is it. German however, is completely outside my familiarity, and doesn’t really share many commonalities with any of the other languages I speak.

It was a strange experience, having to rely completely on someone else to translate for me. I had never felt that helpless before and it meant a lot less independence than I am used to while travelling.

Our first night there, we went on a hunt for cheesecake. My father, during my parents’ courtship, had had to go to Vienna for some time. While there, he promised that someday he would take my mother to Vienna and they would have cheesecake together. Afterwards we took a moment to look at the streets of the old city at night.

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Gregorian chant and the Acoustics of Churches

Cracking the Closet Door: Covert Transition

The time between one’s first questions about their gender and the resolution thereof can be anxious and scary. Transition is a big deal, and contrary to the bigoted idea that it’s something we do on a lark or for fun, most of us agonize over that decision for a long time, for many reasons. Many of us fear how our social environs would react if they knew we harbored such questions, and especially how they’d react to us deciding to transition. Another lot of us figure out what we’d like to do long before we’re comfortable doing it, and must exist in that dysphoric hinterland until our circumstances free us.

For this in-between group I inhabited for years before I recognized where I was heading, there are options. There are many ways to explore one’s gender or assuage dysphoria until one feels safe acting on it in larger, more visible ways, discreetly and at one’s own pace. What follows is specifically from a transfeminine perspective, but will contain occasional nods to transmasculine variants.

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Cracking the Closet Door: Covert Transition