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Janeshannon

Journey to Jane Shannon

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Janeshannon

While I have been on the site for a long time, I rarely start a post.  I think it is time.  I have known for a few years now that I am transgendered, and that I should be female.  It has taken me a long time to come to grips with this.  I came out to my wife about two years ago, but other then that initial chat we have not really talked about my gender.  If I have made one mistake it was to let let this become a secret again.  I realized at the end of the year that the secret was toxic for us, so I reopened the conversation.  Slowly, but steady, we started talking about it, and since then I have started, very slowly, to transition.

 

The intent of this thread to record the steps I have taken to begin transitioning.  

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Janeshannon

The first thing I did to transition was to get my ears pierced.  In mid July, I got both ears pierced at a local piercing shop.  It was a great experience.  My wife went with me, which turned out great.  I was pretty nervous, and the piercings didn't really hurt, but I was a little disoriented and happy not to drive.  I was really good about post-piercing care, so I avoided infection.  I did get an infection in my right ear, but only after the piercings had healed.  Now that things are done, I really enjoy wearing earrings.  When I first got them done, I thought I would only wear earrings when presenting female.  After having to wear earring everyday while they healed, including wearing them to work, everyone knew about my earrings, so they have just become part of my everyday presentation.  I have been enjoying find new earrings, and I was very happy to receive 12 new pairs of earrings as Christmas gifts.  

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Jani

Welcome back Jane and thanks for starting this thread.  I'm hopeful it will be helpful for you and others.  Burying the thought after two years of bringing it up is a long time.  I think you're right that it was not good to let it get to the level of secret again.  Dealing with it will help you and your wife heal.  

 

Sorry to read about the ear infection but those things happen I guess.  I'm happy to hear you're wearing earrings daily.  Its actually fun to incorporate them into your wardrobe.  I just wore simple studs when I had mine done, only wearing pretty ones when dressed.  You're got quite a collection now!  Fantastic!

Jani

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Cyndee

Welcome back Jane and nice to see you posting again. :)

 

Best wishes with your transition and family.

 

Hugs

 

Cynthia -

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Susan R

Hey Jane Shannon, it's great to see you coming out of your shell, so to speak, and get this thread going.  I'll be one of those who follow this thread regularly and hope to see lots of new things here.  You're definitely on your way now and it's great to see read about you and your transition.

 

Susan R🌷.

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DeeDee

Hi Jane, thanks for deciding to share your experiences :) 

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Beverly
15 hours ago, Janeshannon said:

The first thing I did to transition was to get my ears pierced.  In mid July, I got both ears pierced at a local piercing shop.  It was a great experience.  

That's cool, Jane! That's the first thing I did, too. Until then, I was a buttoned down conservatively presenting "dude," so people were puzzled by it. Earrings made me feel alive. Getting them done was an exhilarating experience. Looking back, the conversations they started with people were a hoot. The first reaction a lot of times was along the lines of "we knew you were gay." I had a lot of fun with it. Now, I'm just a girl with multiple piercings.

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tracy_j

Welcome back Jane.

 

Slow and steady, you will get there. It's good to hear your progress!

 

Tracy

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Charlize

I'm glad to see you posting about your journey. I think as we post here it helps both us and others on their path.

I got my ears pierced on my 63rd birthday.  It was also the first time my wife went out with me as a woman.

I have had issues with infections for over 7 years now but it seems to be more of an allergy to some metals than an issue with bacteria.  I've found that if i use a touch of A+D ointment on the metal it helps a great deal.  

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Janeshannon

This post is a little long, but I wanted to share my experiences so far with laser hair removal. I also wanted to reflect upon the balancing of my desires to transition not just from male to female but also from husband to wife.

 

The next step towards starting to transition occurred in mid September 2018. Please keep in mind, this happened prior to truly conversing with with my wife again. Long ago I promised myself that I wouldn't make any permanent physical changes without first informing her. For a long time I did not understand why I felt the need to tell her, I knew it was important, but I couldn't figure out exactly why. I did not feel I needed her approval, but I definitely wanted her to know. So I told her a partial truth. I told her I didn't like my beard, and that since it was patchy I would never let it grow out. Further, I reminded her that she does not really like it either. I conveniently left out the reason I hated my beard was because I never should of had one in the first place. She knew this was a partial truth, but she heard what we both wanted. We chatted about cost and effectiveness and that was it.

I made an appointment for a consultant the next week. It was shocking how busy the aesthetician was. She is normally booked solid three to four weeks in advance. So I waited; at the consult she said I was a good candidate. I purchased a package for four face treatments.

As of mid January I have completed three treatments of my beard, and two on my tummy. The tummy, from my diaphragm to the top of my panties, has been very successful. I would love to shift from the tummy to the Brazilian area, but the clinic sells treatments for a specific area so I will complete the four treatments then move south.  The beard is slower growing. Going into appointment three, I was pretty disappointed, but after my beard seems thinner and softer, especially my cheeks. I'm looking forward to appointment four.

Going into my third treatment, I was not sure how I wanted my sideburns done.  I figured the aesthetician would have some ideas. As we prepared for the session I really wanted her thoughts, so I asked about the sideburns and told her my goal was to feminize my body.  As I told her I could feel my anxiety ramping up. I loved her response, she was totally relaxed and merely stated that female sideburns are normally a gentle arch. She drew a soft white line and proceeded to zap away.

I am really happy I came out to her. Every time I come out it is easier! Her professional and friendly acceptance was wonderful. This appointment did have a different feel to it. First, the aesthetician was chattier, which was fun. She also cleaned me up more. Normally she just left me some towels to clean up and departed. This time she did about 90% of the clean up. My final thought was that if this is any reflection of how women treat women I am most definitely headed the right way.

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Susan R

Sounds overall like a wonderful experience, Jane Shannon.  Also, it's nice that you're feeling more comfortable opening up to people more.  Thanks for the update. 😀

 

Susan R🌷

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Janeshannon

 

Wednesday was a rough day.  I feel I have recently made some strides in transitioning--which make me happy.  In some ways transitioning is not a journey, but a pilgrimage. Because to complete this journey, one has to engage in introspection to discover who she really is.   Two things happened this week that trigger my physical and social dysphoria. Physically a big source of dysphoria is my hair since I have a very typical male pattern hairline. I contacted a local surgeon who specializes in hair transplants.  The good news is, based on a few photos, he thinks I am a good possible candidate for hair transplants. The bad news is that the surgery would cost over $12,000. I knew the surgery was expensive, but that was double what I thought it would cost.  It really made me feel like transition is impossible and the financial cost too high.

 

Later that day I was chatting with a female colleague I like and respect.  She was telling me about a woman she saw at a recent trip to Disneyland. She said the woman had long blond hair, make-up, and women’s clothing, but when she announced the ride her voice was deep and manish.  Her response to the woman was along the lines of “why would he do that to himself?” Not really in a completely disrespectful way more in a completely unbelieving way. I stood there wondering how, with earrings and hair past my shoulders, she did not know I am headed that way?  One aspect of transition that concerns both my wife and I is how difficult will being an LGBTQ couple change our lives? This short little encounter just drove home the point that at best life as a LGBTQ family will be harder.

 

I am still moving forward.  This all happened on Wednesday and it is now Friday evening.  I feel better now.

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Cyndee

Good Morning Jane, a few comments below, you touched on several topics.

 

You are correct in that transition can be expensive, can and does take many trips back and forth to Dr's and care providers, it can be very time consuming as well. I have probably spent double that figure on electrolysis for my face (I needed 300 +  hours). A bit of irony as I type this occurred to me, in that it can be really costly to get more hair, and it can be really costly to get rid of hair, perhaps it would be a good idea to shop around a bit with other hair transplant providers for comparison ?

 

Your work colleague's comments intrigue me a bit, how did she bring up the topic ? What was said just ahead of this ? That may lend a clue as to whether she had you in mind or not ? Maybe this story of hers was designed to "warn you", not sure. What people may seem to miss when they question "how could they do that to themselves" is that you do these things for your survival and personal happiness, fix the voice though, really, it's so important.

 

For the married couple transitioning to 2 females in the household. Only speaking for my own situation, it is different, I would not say it's harder, just different, and requires adaptation and controlling the information. I continue to be sensitive to her feelings about being seen as a "lesbian" couple in certain situations, yet we have friends that are lesbian, and we go out together, so I guess it depends. We live in a very progressive and open society here Jane (comparatively). This area has to be one of the best areas of the country in which to transition (IMHO). Continue to have those discussions with your wife Jane, do you have any children ? it gets even more complicated with children in the household.

 

Glad to hear you are feeling better now, I can hear the  old Jethro Tull song playing in my head (dating myself) "Nothing is easy" (1969).

 

Nothing is easy
Though time gets you worrying
My friend, it's OK
Just take your life easy
And stop all that hurrying
Be happy my way

When tension starts mounting
And you've lost count of the pennies you've missed
Just try hard
And see why they're not worrying me
They're last on my list

 

Baby steps, and living it one day at a time

 

Hugs

 

Cyndee -
 

 

 

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Jani

Transitioning is expensive but like everything in life, you pick your battles (and your needs).  Some things aren't expensive like name change but it can be very affirming.  Others like GRS are expensive yet is personal and not generally noticeable by others.  It all comes to what you need to feel better and complete. 

 

I agree that living with a woman isn't harder, just different.  Like anything in life you have to work at it.  

 

Have fun and enjoy life.

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Susan R
6 hours ago, Cyndee said:

Baby steps, and living it one day at a time

Love this! Cyndee.  Those are truly words to live by for me these days.  It keeps my life in better perspective.

 

13 hours ago, Janeshannon said:

One aspect of transition that concerns both my wife and I is how difficult will being an LGBTQ couple change our lives? This short little encounter just drove home the point that at best life as a LGBTQ family will be harder.

For myself personally, it was much more painful and hurting me to a point where it would've starting affecting my health if I chose not to transition.  In the end, I made the right choice.  I'm now happier than ever.  Try not to over think it.  There will be trials and tribulations with or without your transition and becoming an LGBTQ family.  The details  and reality of it are different but life has a way of throwing us a curveball no matter what path we take.  In some cases, the internal benefit of your living authentically are also easily dismissed and underestimated.  Just like in my current situation, I could have never known the happiness I am experiencing now.  I thought it wasn't possible.  This doesn't mean every day is going to be pure bliss but more days are better than not.  Keep your head up Jane Shannon!

 

Susan R🌷

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Cyndee
16 hours ago, Susan R said:

it was much more painful and hurting me to a point where it would've starting affecting my health if I chose not to transition.  

 

The internal benefit of your living authentically are also easily dismissed and underestimated

 

Try not to over think it.  🌷

 

These words above from Susan captures the essence of it, well said :applause:

 

My health and well being that was totally suffering, due to the underlying stresses of living essentially a lie. 10 years ago I decided to stop this. I can look back now and know it was the right path for me to transition, and my health numbers today prove it. It's about overall well being, a path to a feeling of "wholeness" and spiritual unity.

 

@Janeshannon transition because you have to....Overthinking this can be a problem in it's self (agreed with above), there is no time schedule, only your own....

 

Hugs all

 

Cyndee -

 

 

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Janeshannon

@Cyndee thank you for such a thoughtful response.  To answer your question we have two children, aged 10 and 9.  I think it is funny you said not to over think this because I was just starting to wonder if I am doing just that...

 

More soon.

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KymmieL
On 2/2/2019 at 12:33 AM, Janeshannon said:

One aspect of transition that concerns both my wife and I is how difficult will being an LGBTQ couple change our lives? This short little encounter just drove home the point that at best life as a LGBTQ family will be harder.

 

This is going to be the hardest on my wife. as far as I know she doesn't have any LGBTQ friends. She has commented that she married a man not a woman. I don't know if it is a deal breaker or not. I guess time will tell.

Jane, keep posting up your journey, it is actually inspiring.

 

Kymmie

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Janeshannon
On 2/7/2019 at 8:49 AM, KymmieL said:

Jane, keep posting up your journey, it is actually inspiring.

 

Thanks Kymmie, I have never really thought of myself as inspiring...that really means a lot.

 

JS

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Janeshannon

 

I have been talking to my counselor about how being openly transgendered will impact my family especially my children.  Personally, the aspect of being trans which I dislike the most is the secret required to stay in the closet. I hate it, but I fear possible impacts on the boys.  In talking to my counselor I have realized I am looking at my transition from the point of view of others. I didn’t realize I was doing this, but once she pointed it out I have really been trying to sort out how I feel vs how I think other will feel about me.  As I think about my kids, I realized I was so focused on what I thought others would think that I never considered how my kids would feel if I transitioned. I have also realized I had assumed the overall impact of my children would be negative.

So I did some quick research on children of LGBT families.  While what I found was mostly directed towards LGB families.  The research shows children are minimally impacted by this, especially if they receive required support.  The research also shows that children respond better to a parent coming out when they are younger. I read an interesting article by a trans-woman who came out to her children.  Her advice is to take it slow and easy. She mentioned that she presented for over a year at home only, and then came out full time when her family was ready. Further, she recommends you provide context by introducing other trans-voices in their lives.  Another way to build context is through metaphor. She talked about comparing being trans to cereal (remember this is for kids). When you open a box of Cheerios you expect Cheerios to come out of the box. If you open that box of Cheerios and a Corn Flakes came out you would put the Cheerios in the correct box.  This leads to as you change which box your in, you are still the same inside. Her final advice is to remember your children are children, not peers or therapist, and to focus on them and keep your family child focused. Here is the link to the article: https://theascent.pub/when-dad-becomes-mom-2db5cec79942

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Jani

Kids do tend to be fairly open to change in my opinion.  The younger they are, the more so.  My son was fine and with my grandkids its a non issue. 

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Janeshannon

Today I am thinking about passing.  I have to admit I really hope @Cyndee will read and reply because I would love to hear from a more experienced transwoman from the Seattle area.  

 

I went to my therapist today, and, as is my custom, I presented female.  I do this for lots of reasons.  The primary reason is to become more comfortable going out and presenting female.  I think one of the only ways to being comfortable presenting as a woman is to get over the discomfort.  When I go to these appointments I do not have time to put on any makeup, and I normally go from there to work so I also don't have time to take makeup off.  So I go without makeup.  I am pre-everything (hopefully that will change in March).  While I feel good in my female clothing, I very seriously doubt I pass.  But does it really matter? 

 

At the meeting today, I realized I had not finished my coffee, and that there was a Starbucks around the corner.   Starbucks is well known as an inclusive organization, so I know the baristas would not object.  They mostly want to give me my coffee and have me move along.  So do I need to strive to fit societies definition of female norms, by wearing make up and looking more feminine?  Or is passing more a matter of just deciding you do, and accepting yourself?

 

Take Care,

Jane Shannon

 

BTW...I didn't go in...I rationalized by convincing myself that I shouldn't waste the leftover coffee just to spend more money on something I already had.

 

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Cyndee

Hi Jane, that's great you are building up time out in the world, really helps building your confidence, so awesome.

 

Theoretical question - If gender is largely a social construct, then is passing simply a state of mind, dunno ? I try and pass as a human being first, then female, and if I do good job, I am usually rewarded :) Self acceptance is huge, I will just say, in my case, I've been called ma'am pre HRT, just wearing jeans and flannel at a grocery store, and all I did was just interact with the cashier in a routine transaction. While clothes can and do give certain ques, it's been my experience that the attitude (name), voice, body language and mannerisms, send strong gendered signals to people you interact with, certain clothes work better than others of course, and if you are comfortable in your own skin, a certain confidence can be projected, through your body language and movements.  See this related thread on "passing" I experienced recently with small kids (they have very little bias, even though they understand boy / girl, quite well).

HRT will eventually add to making passing much easier, body shape and movement, send visual ques that really help people see the real you. HRT also modifies your emotional center (I call it), that can in turn can change your language construction (feminine language, a whole topic in it's self), and other high level mental processes, that in turn is projected outward when you speak and act. Here is another thing, I like to read books written by female authors, about the lives of women why ? I think it helps me to see life through their eyes and words, my view of the world empathizes with women as a woman.  I think, eventually the longer the HRT has worked it's magic, your natural state evolves and simply, says female about you. Good luck next month and possibly starting Jane, cool.

 

Be yourself at Starbucks is my answer and if you're comfortable, then you are another happy customer to them. See how it goes, and let us know Jane.

 

Hugs

 

Cyndee -

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Janeshannon

Today I had several errands to run which took my a ways from home.  Before I left I threw a few clothing items into the truck in hopes I would get a chance to change into something more other than my drab clothes.  After the last stop which required talking to people and paying for things, I slipped into a nice denim skirt--I already had a woman's shirt on under my sweater, so that was a quick change too.  I have really wanted to take further steps to be more out of the closet.  To date, I have mostly just driven around, and I realized today that I am pretty comfortable doing that now.  I am not so nervous that the car next to me is clocking me the whole time.  More importantly, it they do, I really could care less.  So, to push myself and do more while dressed I stopped and got fuel for my truck.  It didn't really need fuel, so the stop was really just to be out.  I didn't have to interact with people, but I was definitely in an open place being seen.  While it was stressful, I am very glad I did it.  One more small step forward.

 

Tomorrow afternoon is a big step...I see the Endocrinologist at 2:30.  While my dream would be to walk out with a purse full of pills, my expectation is to walk out with a bandage from blood test and a follow up appointment.

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Janeshannon

The appointment with the Endocrinologist was interesting.  He explained just how the spironolactone and Estrogen work together.  I did have some misconceptions about that aspect.  We talked about how being transgender affects me. He stated he follows the WPATH guidelines--which overall is good.  Also, he said that he will not give a patient estrogen without a note from her gender therapist--which I do not have--but he would be willing to start the Spiro if that is what I really wanted.  Then he stated that he is not sure I am really ready, and he recommends working with my GT a little longer before making a final decision.  He was clear that he is not making a judgement that I am not trans enough, just that I need more time. 

 

I could have walked out of his office with a bottle of spiro, but I didn't.  I did get the baseline blood test completed, as I expected I would.

 

Mike Tyson once said that you never know how you will react until some actually punches you in the face.

 

The doctor punched me in the face.  I needed for someone to really say, "this is the reality of all this." " Make sure you want it?"

 

I hate being transgendered.

I hate the second guessing and doubt.

I hate that society has made me feel ashamed of this.

I hate how good I feel presenting female.

I hate the price I might have to pay to become a woman.

 

I didn't know how much I wanted the pills...

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      Great news about your cousin!  Congrats to them.  Maybe this will be just the thing for you to open up to that side of the family.  I'm sure your cousin would appreciate it.  
    • AsTheCrow
      thanks! I'm optimistic.   maybe when I get out from under this depression I can actually start improving other aspects of my life.   in other news, one of my young cousins has announced she's getting married to her long-time roommate, another woman. First openly LGBTQ person in that party of my family.  I've been out for 20 years now but not with that part of the family. I haven't heard yet what the reaction has been, but I will do everything in my power to make it across the country to get to that wedding. I'm so proud of her!   sorta gives me hope that I might be able to really transition some day without getting absolutely disowned.
    • Jani
      I hope it works well.  😀
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