With a needle..

Everything changed. Once it punctured my skin, life as I knew it had changed. As I pressed the plunger on the syringe down, pushing forth that small amount of testosterone, so many thoughts raced through my mind. one of the recurring ones was “Holy shit. It’s happening.” I tell you, I never thought that day would come to pass.
It’s saturday now, it’s been almost 48 hours since the shot. I did it in the late hours between wednesday and thursday, however your schedule is. I still viewed it as wednesday because I had not been asleep yet. I had stopped off at a cvs to get a sharps container and some alcohol wipes. While being checked out, I thought about how significant this was yet it was insignificant at the same time, if that makes sense. I knew that no major changes would occur immediately. My chest(which I loathe with every fiber of my being) would still be there. My face would remain smooth and soft. I would still get called “ma’am”. Ugh. I cringe everytime I hear it. Yes, no physical changes happened but another sort of change did occur. I finally got the validation that this is the right choice for me. My whole thinking of how this would affect others changed and I was at ease with myself and my choices.
Next wednesday will be my second shot with a lifetime more to follow. I know with each passing week, it will get easier. It will become easier to push that needle into my thigh and sending that medicine into my body. Because I have been validated. That is the biggest change that I could ever have had happen.

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Looking back…

We’re a little over 2 weeks until we start a new year so I wanted to do a look back on how far I’ve come these past 12 months. It’s been a year of discovery. Not just of myself but others that are in my life. This year has brought forth a side of me that I had tried to forget for so long but lying to myself would’ve been a disservice because I wouldn’t truly be happy and be the person I know I am. In finding that truth, I learned about humanity and how it can be kind but cruel as well. When confronted with something that challenges society’s perception of what is considered status quo in their mind, the reactions have been surprising yet not unexpected. I knew I would be faced with opposition from my own family and I guess I didn’t realize how much it would hurt or how much strength I had that I could accept their feelings but not allow it to dictate how I would live my life because at the end of the day, it is my life and happiness that comes first. It took a lot of crying and working through that with a very awesome counselor to help me see that. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I had not chosen to go to counseling. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.

My friends have been accepting of my choices. They know that I will be much happier with myself and that’s all they want for me. Happiness. That’s what life should be about. Being happy for others that find their own happy. Pushing someone down, stifling their true selves, is the most selfish thing one human can do to another but we’ve been doing it for hundred of years. Whether it was based on your religion, race, gender or sexual preferences, it has become the nature of the beast to belittle those that don’t fit within the mold. Fuck the mold. I broke the mold a long time ago and others have done the same. Moving out of the bubble in which my family lives has helped. I moved beyond their reach in a way. They can’t just pop over for a visit now and I can start my life as Jaek here without any interference. This may come off as harsh in how I say it but moving has been freeing. My family cannot dictate how I live my life in a new city. They have no power here to invalidate who Jaek is.

Now as we cross into the new year, new and exciting things are on the horizon. Life changing events. I plan on starting my shots after the first of the year. I have the doctor that I’ve chosen and the letter. I’m prepared to take on any obstacles that come my way. There’s also a promising relationship that is developing. When it’s time to come forward about the relationship and this woman, it will be known to those who are important to me. This woman is supportive and accepting of who Jaek is, where he came from and where he’s going. She wants to stand with me by my side as I continue on this journey.

My wish for next year? I hope to have a more fulfilling sense of myself. I hope to start seeing Jaek come out more and more as the physical changes occur. I hope to expand my heart to be full of love and acceptance of those who do not accept me. I hope to grow in a year from now, to look back on my growth and be proud of my accomplishments.

Jaek/Taylor

I was tasked with writing about what my life would be as if I transitioned into Jaek or if I stayed as Taylor. The thoughts of living as one or the other has been on my mind through out this whole process and even before coming to terms about that part of me. So I’m breaking it down into 2 sides. Pros and cons for living as Jaek and the same for living as Taylor.

     Jaek(cons)

  • Family support may be lacking. They may struggle and never fully come to terms with Jaek. May continue to use the wrong pronouns out of spite and narrow-mindedness.
  • Most of society will judge me for not embracing my birth gender and the roles and norms which are associated with said gender. Hatred and ridicule. Never fully accept me as male.
  • The lack of support and resistance could lead to emotional instability and self loathing.
  • Sexual compatibility will be much harder to find as some gay and straight women may not be open to the idea of a transman for sex.
  • Physical changes may not bring the desired results. Acne, weight gain and unwanted body hair. May end up frustrated by what I would perceive as lack of progress in attaining a more masculine appearance.
  • Potential loss of family and friends due to lack of understanding and acceptance. Potential loss of an identity for myself without having others to help define me if I should end up isolated from those close to me.
  • Health problems could arise from hormone shots/surgery/depression/lack of self worth.

      Jaek(pros)

  • Family support could be 100 percent behind me and accepting of Jaek as part of the family. The brother, son, uncle, nephew, grandson that they could embrace fully. Look past the physical changes and realize that the inner person will remain the same. Ability to feel fully at ease around my family without judgement or criticism of my choices.
  • With support of those around me, emotionally be able to deal with things easier. Not hold things in out of fear of judgement from them. Able to process things the healthy way without resorting to harmful tactics to dull the pain.
  • Being more confident with my sexual side. Able to embrace myself after starting hormones and learn to become sexually satisfied as a man. Seek a partner that is comfortable with how I choose to express myself sexually and with them. Acquire the penis I’ve always wanted.
  • Physical changes will make the picture of how I truly see myself a reality. Feel more confident in myself knowing that I’m making the changes that I wanted as they become more apparent. Being able to have a more masculine chest and a more phallic sexual organ and not be weighed down daily with the reminders of my birth sex.
  • Not really mourn the loss of who I was seen as for so long but reflect and respect that she brought Jaek this far and now it’s up to him to come full circle in himself. Allow others to mourn Taylor as they see fit.
  • Overall, being more healthy physically, emotionally and mentally, knowing that this is the right choice at the end of the day.

 

       Taylor(cons)

  • Family may feel like they succeeded in pressuring me to not go forward with transitioning and will hold that over my head.
  • The transgender community may look at me as an imposter for not transitioning and for giving into family and social pressure to conform.
  • Depression and feelings of worthlessness. Possibly self harming tendencies. Loss of enjoyment of life. Hiding from the truth.
  • Sex life may be unfulfilling and will remain unsatisfied with performance. May not feel confident allowing partner to pleasure me. Lack of interest in sex.
  • Self esteem may drop as a result of not going through with the physical transitioning. Again, may lead to self harming as a way to cope with hating my body. May become disinterested in taking care of myself physically.
  • overall, physical, mental and emotional health may decline.
  • Taylor(pros)

  • family and friend support will be definitive.
  • The little(big) thing

    Penis.

    That is the topic of this post. If that bothers you, please stop here and exit out. It will not be extremely graphic but I will touch upon different options of having a penis and whether having a penis should define me as a man.

    So I was asked if I would still be able to achieve orgasms if I have a penis surgically created. That’s a gamble that depends on type of procedure and how well my body would adapt to it. I’ll post a couple of links that will describe the two main types-
    Metoidiplasty: which is described by wikipedia as such: Testosterone replacement therapy gradually enlarges the clitoris to an average size of 4–5 cm (1.6–2 in)[2] (as the clitoris and the penis are developmentally homologous). In a metoidioplasty, a surgeon separates the enlarged clitoris from the labia minora, and severs its suspensory ligament in order to lower it to approximate the position of the penis.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metoidioplasty)

    Phalloplasty: phalloplasty requires an implanted erectile prosthesis to achieve an erection (and enable sexual penetration). This is usually done in a separate surgery to allow time for healing. There are several types of erectile prostheses, including malleable rod-like medical devices that allow the neo-penis to either stand up or hang down. Penile implants require a neophallus of appropriate length and volume in order to be a safe option. The long-term success rates of implants in constructed penises are less than the success rates of reconstruction in cisgender men. Good sensation in the reconstructed penis can help reduce the risk of the implant eventually eroding through the skin.[1](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalloplasty)

    With phalloplasty, there are different types of implants that can be used that has its pros and cons as far as cost and functionality. As with any sort of surgery, there’s always a risk of infection, loss of sensation and basically a non working penis. It’s not cheap to have a penis surgically made for you. (http://www.trans-health.com/2013/penile-implants-guide/)

    There is another alternative, which is a prosthetic penis.

    There are various prosthetics out there. Some are for appearance only(the material used can be toxic if used for penetration without protection). Others are both functionable and for appearance purposes. Each maker of the prosthetics hvae a different look for their products but it’s all up to the man’s preference. I will post links to various prosthetic websites to show the variety and choices that are out there for FTMs. Right now, if I were to pick a route to go, I’d go with the prosthetic mostly due to cost, time and knowing that there’s a high probabilty of it working for me.
    http://www.ftmprosthetics.com/about.htm

    http://www.peecockproducts.com/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=1

    http://www.tyron2.net/features.en

    It’s all a matter of choice for each man as far what will make him feel complete. Someone told me that they wouldn’t be able to see me as a man unless I had a penis. Really now? You want me to drop my pants and show you what I have? Why is it anyone’s concern what I may or may not have in my pants. Only myself and my significant other will know. For everyone else, as I continue on this road, don’t rely on the physical to define me. Let how I present myself define me. Why do we get so hung up on genitalia? Is that how we’re going to be remembered when we depart this world? For our penises and vaginas? I don’t think there has ever been a mention of how fantastic someone’s genitaila was was in their obituary.

    So rememeber that next time you encounter a transgender person, treat them as you would want to be treated. Not on the basis of your gender but of who you are. We are just like you.

    Jaek

    Ch-ch-ch-changes

    Something happened tonight that made me step back and think about how not everyone in this world will look at me as if there is something wrong with me. Rather they will see me for me.  This sort of mindset could and will damage any sort of relationship and I know this, This is something I work on every day. The thing of it is, what caused me to react in a way that wasn’t necessitated for the situation wasn’t anything malicious or mean spirited on her end. It was a playful conversation that I took out of proportion and now she’s scared. Scared of having history repeating itself and being unhappy in a situation that she doesn’t have to be in. I don’t want to be that person that causes her unhappiness. Actually the opposite. I want to make her happy.

    Granted, it’s still in the beginning but this woman is remarkable, awesome, kind and nonjudgmental because here I am, a pre-op transman with a hearing loss and some fucked up history(I use those because those are the things I’ve been looked down upon for by others) but she doesn’t see that. She sees my heart and what a good person I am. I feel like I’m who I truly am whenever I’m hanging out with her.  It’s hard to find people who you can be yourself, truly yourself with. So I’ve got some work to do. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I want a brighter, happier future and not holding onto this notion of people always judging before giving them a chance.

    Tomorrow is a new day. A new beginning.

    Bucket list of my 20s…or what’s left.

    So today I proposed to create a bucket list of things to do before I turn 30 which is in about 3 1/2 years. I want to experience and do new things, things beyond my comfort zone. My reasoning for wanting to do this is I want to enjoy life as much as I can with no regrets along the way . Once I hit my thirties, I’ll be getting ready to settle down and start a family. Looking at my former classmates, most who are getting married and having children, I realize I’m not there yet. I haven’t fully explored this world and everything in it. Nothing against my classmates, I’m happy for y’all that you’re living the life you want. Thing is, I don’t have the life or the body I know I should have. So while I live out the rest of my 20s, I welcome adventures, friends, lovers, knowledge, sadness, joy, love.

    1. go skydiving
    2. say yes to everything for one day
    3. write a letter to my mother
    4. start my T shots
    5. do karaoke
    6. take a road trip to each part of texas
    7. go somewhere I’ve never been outside of texas
    8. become an advocate
    9. go wine tasting in the hill country.
    10. go back to school
    11. lose weight
    12. Jump off a waterfall
    13. complete 3/4 sleeve tattoo
    14. Watch a sunset from a mountain
    15. find peace
    16. Have my top surgery
    17. stay strong through troubled times
    18. see the ocean from the east and west coast

    To the future…

    This is one of two letters that I’ll be writing to the important women in my life. This one is to my wife. I don’t know who she is but I wanted to write this for her. Someday when she reads this, she knows that I loved her before I even met her.

    To my wife…

    I don’t know if our paths have crossed yet. If so, then we aren’t at the point of where we are meant to be together. If you’re still out there, know I’m waiting patiently for you. I’m not going to search for you because we’ll connect when the time is right for both of us.
    I wonder what you look like. The color of your eyes, the way you smile. How you sound. The smell of you. How your skin feels, every inch of you. One thing I know is this: I love you. I don’t know you but in my heart, I love you. Just as I love our unborn children. You haven’t made your presence known but that doesn’t change the love I feel.
    I know that who you are is someone I need and want in my life. You’ll be my best friend, my rock, my lover, the woman standing next to me though good and bad times. Yes, we will have our ups and downs but I will not give up so easily nor will I let you run away from a good thing. Far too many people run away when they get scared of something bigger than themselves. Sometimes that big thing can change our lives for the better.
    I don’t know where I’ll be as far as my transition when our paths cross. I may be starting to grow facial hair and have acne like a 13 year old boy. I may have completed my chest surgery and working towards my gender change. I just know wherever I am, it won’t matter to you because in your eyes, I’ll be the man you want and have been waiting for. You’ll be there to hold my hand through any obstacles and triumphs that we experience together. I say together because once you’ve entered my life, this becomes your journey too. You’re going to my partner in life and we’ll experience all of its wonderfulness.
    Will I date until then? Yes. I won’t shut myself off to that because I believe everyone I meet is in my life for a purpose, significant and non significant. Know this though, you’ll be the only one who will complete me as a whole. Then I’ll understand why it didn’t work out with the people in my past.
    So I’m just waiting to meet you. I hope you think of me and wonder where I am, just I wonder where you are. I know you’re getting here as fast as you can.(HIMYM reference)
    I’ll be here.

    Love,
    Jaek

    It’s a boy! (Some assembly required)

    In discovering Jaek, I’ve looked through the past to look for signs that were showing themselves not to just me but to my family. More specifically, my mom. I wonder if it’s true that a mother knows her child better than themselves. I hope so. I hope that she knows deep in her heart and soul that her child feels foreign in the body he was given in the DNA mixing pot.
    I hope she knew before I entered the world that I would be a boy. I wonder if her heart ached for me upon the discovery that I was to have girl parts. But she chose to stay silent because it wasn’t something that was talked about at that time. I wonder if she stayed silent so that I would struggle and come to the realization about my true self on my own. Perhaps it was her way of protecting me from a harsh reality at that time.
    Growing up, I rebelled against what was considered the norm for me. Once I was old enough to recognize that I didn’t want those things, I fought against it. I wanted my hair short and wear boy clothes. I wanted GI Joe’s and cars. I got away with the short hair and wore a lot of gender neutral clothes. I got a mix of both boy and girl toys. I then cut off all my dolls and barbie’s hair. It was my own way of telling people I wanted to be a boy without saying anything.

    One day I said something.
    My mother was helping me get ready for bed and I told her ‘ I hate god because he didn’t make me a boy.’
    She spanked me and said that its not right to hate god and he doesn’t make mistakes. After that, I stayed silent for a long time. I don’t know if it was how she was raised and the era that she came from that anything that deviated from what was common at that time was in fact abnormal. Who was I to blame? I had no concept of biology at that age and since I was told it was wrong to hate god, I blamed myself. I tried to force myself to put those thoughts out of my mind. They didn’t quite leave, just buried deep.

    I can take comfort in knowing that no matter what, I’ll have the support and love of my friends and the transgender community. But I worry about my mother. Will she, in the aftermath of the loss of one child, be able to accept another? I know that what defines me, not my gender but the core of what drives me, my compassion, my love, the things she instilled in me, will not change.
    I can only hope she see that.

    This isn’t goodbye….

    It’s something that has weighed on my mind a lot since disclosing my trans status. How do I say goodbye to myself?

     I know for the last 26 years, 4 months and 3 days, those in my life have known me as ‘Taylor Jaelyn Avants’. But that’s their daughter, sister, aunt, niece,granddaughter and friend. I need to leave part of her behind but not all of her. She helped get me to where I am now and I appreciate her for that. As I begin crossing into the person that will carry me on this journey and for the rest of my life, I start discarding pieces of her. Her memories will always remain as they are but it’ll be like watching someone else’s home movies.

    The best parts of her will still remain: heart, soul, spirit. The outside may change in many ways but the inside, the core of who she is will shine through him. He will not forget. You can mourn for the fact that she will step back into the shadows and remain there but also celebrate the emergence of who I truly am.

    My family will be hit the hardest when I fully disclose my transgender status to everyone. I will write a letter to my mother. A letter explaining why her daughter will fall back away from sight and her son will come into the light. It will say that I will still be her child, that will never change but the skin doesn’t match who I feel in my soul that I truly am. She will be allowed to mourn the loss but I hope in time that her love for me as her child will heal that and realize that the only thing that will change is the physical but not to put so much emphasis on that. Focus on the inner beauty of a person and in time the outer appearance will become beautiful.

    My name is Jaekub Taege Avants.

    Things are taking shape

    Tonight I opened the package I had been waiting for since I clicked that submit order button. It was waiting for me at my parent’s house so I stopped by after work to get it. I couldn’t wait the extra 15 minutes to get to my place so I opened it right away. At first glace, it looked unappealing, boring white enclosed in plastic. I ripped the bag open, pulled it out and opened it fully. Its not the most attractive piece one can wear but it’ll be hidden under my clothes, away from the world unnoticed. I drove home, keeping the nervousness at bay but brimming with excitement. Once inside the safety of my apartment, I went into the bathroom and began taking off my clothes. I opened the shirt fully to step into it because it being a compression garment, it would have been impossible to get it on over my head and shoulders. Once I got it all the way up and slipped my arms into the holes. It looked lumpy so after a few adjustments, my chest began taking on à flatter shape and a grin spread across my face once I saw the end results. New thoughts went through my head and all of them were uplifting, happy thoughts. This is the beginning of the best thing in my life and for that moment, it was just me and my body slowly beginning to merge with each other. Then it was time to try on clothes!! The clothes that wouldn’t fit because of the size of my chest, fit now! Who was a happy, good looking boy?!

    image

    Hmm...kind of lumpy still

    image

    I have man chest shape!

    image

    It actually fits now!!