So here we are at last. 2018. And 2017 was a heck of a year.
2017 was a genuine mess for many people and in many places on Earth. From the emboldening of white supremacists to pretty much everything Trump has done to even more Jordan Peterson (as Tabatha Southey put it, “the stupid man’s smart person“). For many people, 2017 was a hellish year, and my heart truly goes out to those impacted. I hope the more hopeful and happy tone of the rest of my writeup doesn’t come off as dismissive to those who truly did have a particularly nasty 365 days. May your 2018 be much better and more hopeful.
For myself personally, it was actually a pretty good year. Though it started rough….
Lost a friend….
Most of my personal recap is rather pleasant, but the year did start very sour as a friend I’d made in 2016, was always kind to me, and who was particularly close to another friend of mine, was tragically lost. It’s not my place to recap what happened with any specificity, but will say I regret I was so oblivious to some of the things that went on and so useless in helping before it was too late.
Started medically transitioning.
Yes, 2017 was the year I finally started the process of medical transition with a clinic doctor with experience in this kind of thing. It’s been a bit of a bumpy and frustrating ride at times. The doctor tends towards an abundance of caution and upon learning I have a genetic defect that, in theory, predisposes me extremely slightly to clotting, my options were therefore limited and I had to fight to get a dosage I felt had any impact. It actually took until end of summer before my estrogen levels were on the low end of cisnormative[note]Short for ‘cisgender normative’ or ‘matching that observed in a person who was assigned the correct gender at birth and who’s sex matches their gender identity'[/note]. Unfortunately the anti-androgen I was prescribed(Aldactone, spironolactone or ‘spiro’) appeared to have little to no positive impact on me, despite me being put on a lot of it. This meant a lot of peeing(it’s a diuretic), constant struggles to keep my blood pressure up and had to avoid my favourite diet pop vice(it doesn’t play nicely with abundances of potassium).
I’ve since seen an endocrinologist who’s given me a much better anti-androgen prescription[note]’Androcure’ also known as ‘cyproterone’ or ‘cypro'[/note] which has been working much better, though I haven’t had any blood work yet to confirm that, mainly basing this off physiological observations and just feeling so much better.
The initial dosage woes led to a heck of a rollercoaster ride early in the year. I owe my friends who stepped up to cheer me up and build my confidence in those early days so much. But overall, I feel so much better about myself, my future and just my overall outlook. I don’t feel as muted. I’ve been told I smile a lot more. I’m definitely a lot less camera shy than I used to be. I have few qualms now about shopping for clothes, bras, entering the appropriate bathroom, etc… In fact, this was the year I finally looked in the mirror after taking off my makeup and wasn’t disgusted with the mirror person looking back. My body dysmorphia isn’t cured, I still occasionally get body horror moments where it almost feels like I can see my face melting back into my old dude face. But it’s no longer consistent. I’d even venture to say it isn’t even the majority any more.
2016 I was out probably a month by the time I went to Hal-Con. I had a hastily fem-fitted version of a male-based costume I’d started building much earlier that year. But I wasn’t comfortable in my skin. And I was a ball of terrified nerves. This year I tried again, same costume(some improvements) and even one far more femme (leggings and a boustier were involved) and felt great doing it. I was more confident roaming that con than I’d ever been, even that year I made every Ghostbuster fan drool with my Arduino proton pack 😉
I’ve also found out so much about myself. Things I didn’t know I liked, because I’d pushed those away to fit this shell of societal masculinity I felt obliged most of my life to hide within. I apparently really like fuschia and many shades of pink. I have the capacity to geek out about makeup. I like cute things! I am now known for adding glitter to my Gundam war machines. I apparently look good in red. My long hair is curly (as expected) but behaves less chaotically than I’d feared. I’ve learned how to cry about sad things and happy things both. I’m getting such a clearer picture of who I am, rather than who I felt I had to be.
Gained Human Rights
I won’t cover this too much as I wrote a rather…colourfully worded…blog post about this earlier. But basically, I am now, as a trans woman, protected from discrimination or criminal harassment on the basis of my gender identity and birth sex. After numerous attempts by the transphobic right to deny these protections, it at last received royal assent.
Legally changed my name and gender marker!
Am now officially ‘Rae:Female’ on all relevant gov’t documents!
Made new friends. Had a ball with old ones.
I made more new friends, in both cyber and meat spaces, this year than I remember in recent memory. Some from places like the support group. Others just through other friends or through new social circles or events. Others through social media like Twitter. It’s also…neat?….that I now know people who’ve only known me as Rae: female.
I’ve learnt so much.
In 2017 I’ve learnt how to(for starters):
- Sew fabric and leather(poorly)
- How to use a sewing machine
- How to style hair(in a basic sense)
- How to make (most of) a portable gaming console.
- A bunch of stuff about makeup
- About the new social norms and expectations living as a woman.
- Shop for clothes.
- How to carve a prop out of foam.
- More board and card games than I can recite.
2018: Looking ahead.
So what do I intend to do in 2018?
- I plan on forging my new voice.
- I plan on working on a long-desired-to-revisit costume.
- I aim to enter the surgical waitlist for bottom surgery.
- I aim to at least close to finish my hair removal regimen.
- I aim to fetch a new car as my lease expires.
- I aim to learn more new things.
- I aim to have people over more and get together with friends more.
- I want to draw again.
- I want to finish some mothballed projects.
- Build moar Gundams.
- I hope to help people in the LGBTQ+ community if I can.
- I plan on facing whatever the year throws at me.
- I plan to Rae the hell out of things.
- Oh yeah, and probably watch Avengers Infinity War.