Friday, January 8, 2010

Damn It! I'm Getting Fat Again!

All the while I was growing up, I was a thin little kid. I never even considered the possibility of getting fat. Then when I became a teenager, I grew a full foot in three years. By the time I graduated from high school, I looked like Washington Irving's, Icabad Crane. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock, perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield. --- Washington Irving

I spent two weeks in the hospital when I was fifteen years old, and in my medical records, I was described by the attending physician, as an emaciated white male. I would eat everything I could get my hands on, but it made no difference. No amount of extra calories would put extra pounds on my bony frame.

Oh, how I long for those days! All of that changed when I entered my twenties. Suddenly all of the calories I had been used to eating, began to pack on the pounds. Its been a constant "battle of the bulge" ever since. The only thing that keeps the pound off now is near daily, vigorous, sweat producing exercise. An hour a day of hard pedaling on my Trek mountain bike, mounted in a magnetic resistance stand, at least five days a week seems to do the trick, but lately I have been slacking off. Over the last couple of months, I've let that slip to just three days, and sometimes only two days a week. That just isn't enough. A couple of months go, I was very comfortable wearing size 18 jeans, and I was working my way down to a size 16. Just a week ago, a size 20 was a comfortable fit! That will never do! So for the last week it's been back to the daily routine again.

I went to my support group meeting tonight, and was able to squeeze back onto the size 18's again, albeit with a bit of a muffin top, hidden of course by a burgundy corduroy tunic. If I couldn't get into the 18's, I was contemplating not going, because I wanted to wear my brown 15" boots, with my pant legs tucked in, and the size 20 jeans were just too baggy in the leg to to look good. are probably asking yourself, what is the relevance of a video of Freddie Mercury, singing Radio Ga Ga? Well...........I can't ride my bike for an hour and stare at the wall, so I watch videos as I pedal! I've already gone through the entire 13 CD set of The World At War twice, and the 4 CD set of Victory at Sea twice, not to mention Bob Dylan's 2 CD set of, Don't Look Back, and Bruce Springsteen's 3 CD set of, Born To Run. I needed some new video inspiration, and I found a great one; the 4 CD set of Bob Geldof's 1985 Live Aid. What a golden age of rock'n'roll the late seventies and early eighties were, and Live Aid showcased some of the best: Brian Ferry, U2, Sting, Dire Straights, Phil Collins, David Bowie, The Pretenders, The Who, Elton John & Kiki Dee, George Michael, Madonna, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Paul McCartney, REO Speedwagon, Crosby Stills and Nash, Eric Clapton, Duran Duran, Pattie LaBelle, Hall & Oats, Eddie Kendricks, Mick Jagger, Ron Wood, Keith Richards, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and INXS, just to name a few. But..........the king of them all was Freddie Mercury, and the Live Aid Video shows why he was loved by so many, and will always be missed. God love you Freddie! Great pedaling music, by the way!

I mentioned that I went to my January support group meeting tonight. I've been looking forward to it, but before I went, I wanted to make sure that everything was in proper order with my truck. You all know what a worrywart I am, especially when it comes to driving nearly a hundred miles round trip, on a lonely interstate highway at night. I knew that I needed new wiper blades, and my state inspection was due at the end of the month, so yesterday I drove the two miles down the road to the local auto repair shop. This is the same garage that I went to a couple of weeks ago, to get my oil changed, and have my questionable tire checked out.

When you take a vehicle in for a state inspection here, the very first thing they do is, take a blade and scrape the old inspection sticker off of the windshield. It doesn't make any difference that the sticker may be good until the end of the month. Once the inspection begins, the old sticker must be removed. I knew I needed wiper blades to pass the inspection, but I didn't have time to wait a half a day for them to be delivered if they didn't have them, so I asked the man behind the counter if he had wiper blades to fit my truck? He said he did, so I told him I need an inspection too, and asked if he had time to do it? There was already an adorable young woman sitting on a stool in front of the counter, and he said that she had already been waiting an hour to get her's inspected, so I told him to just put the wiper blades on, and I would bring it back next week for the inspection.

I made my way through the miasma of cigarette smoke that enveloped his waiting room, to his collections of mostly car magazines, and found a wonderful magazine, called Southern Living. I grabbed it and took a seat, in what must have been a fifty year old office desk chair. Choking on the ever enveloping side stream of his constantly burning cigarettes, I began thumbing through the pages, feasting my eyes on stories and pictures of beautiful old and new southern American homes, their furnishings, and the lives of their inhabitants. What a queer he must have thought I was! All those macho car magazines, and there I was, totally engrossed in beautiful displays of interior design! If he did think so, he never let on. Shortly after his mechanic located my wiper blades, he told me they just finished the the car of the girl who was before me, and they could get to my inspection in short order. I was in full boy mode, so feigning my best good ole' boy response, I looked up under the brim of my cap and smiled. "You guys are alright!", I said. Yeah, I know! But after sixty one years, I know just how to talk to these types.

As I thumbed through the magazine and waited for my truck to be inspected, I couldn't help but hear the conversations of the guy behind the counter, and the mechanics who occasionally came in to talk to him. "Did you see the guy getting his tongue pierced, on that show last night?" one guy said, "Then another one had his tongue split like a snake!" The guy behind the counter responded with a comment about getting someone a European purse, referring to an American TV commercial, in which a guy has a shoulder bag, and a store clerk says "Nice purse.", whereupon his wife says, "It's a European shoulder bag. It was a gift." This is such a typical kind of conversation for these types of males. I will never understand why their masculinity is so tied up in denigrating those, they think are strange, or less masculine than themselves.

Tonight at my support group meeting, several post-op members detailed the expenses involved in their transitions. The bottom line was that you will need upwards of $70,000 to $80,000 dollars to transition from male to female, and a lot more to transition from female to male, since that is a far more complicated procedure. It's all very depressing, and clearly explains why 80% of transsexuals never fully transition.

During the meeting, I noticed a diminutive and adorable young female, sitting across the room from me, albeit dressed in jeans, a flannel shirt and ace cap. Turns out, that he was a new female to male member. Just goes to show that looks mean nothing! God love him, as well as the girls who look like guys!

God love all of you too!
Melissa XXOO


As I was leaving our meeting tonight, for the first time I felt an unusual emotional connection to the group, On the way out, I was confronted by Teresa, a mid sixties post-op woman, who is a bulwark of our organization. I truly respect her! I was buttoning up my hooded black Pea Coat in front of her, and noticed that I was awkwardly connecting the buttons up with the wrong button holes! Completely embarrassed, I acknowledged that I was doing it all wrong, and explained that I usual did it in front of a mirror. Very graciously, she gave me instructions to start at the bottom, and work my way up to the top! I completed the task per her instructions, then subsequently gave her a warm hug!

Also our president, who initially had me so intimidated with her assertive presence, came up to me as I was sitting with my legs crossed, grabbed the zipper on my boot, pulled it down a notch or two, then returning it to its original position with a smile, said, "Nice boots!" You have no idea how happy that made me!


caroline said...

Nothing beats a good driving beat to keep the pedalling up, skip the slow songs or you can come to a near halt!

Caroline xxx

Anonymous said...

One thing I have a hard time swallowing is the $70-$80,000 figure needed to fully transition. It's true that Chloe Prince ultimately paid around $70,000 to transition, and she looks beautiful, but she also had hair replacement surgery, and some facial surgery (if I'm not mistaken...forgive me Chloe, if I am), and more things than one might need to simply transition (if the word "simply" can ever precede anything having to do with transitioning). I think it's really bizarre that it can cost more for facial hair removal than it does for vaginoplasty, but even still, $70-$80K might well be the price for the Cadillac transition plan, vs what it might cost for something just as satisfying and complete. That's what I'm counting on, at least.


caroline said...

The facial hair thing, why do you think I sit here penny-less? It does seem mad that I could have had a special holiday in Thailand for less but for me what is seen every day is most important.

Caroline xx

Sophie said...

I came away from the meeting last night with a much more depressed attitude than you did Melissa. I thought the whole idea was pretty poorly conceived. You simply do not tell a group of transitioning women (most of them not even working right now) that you need $14,000 for electrolysis. NO one pays fourteen grand for hair removal, they pay $60-70 an hour for a long time. As often as they can afford it. And even though Madam President tried a to give and explanation on how you afford it, starting from the bottom line like that probably left many girls there with a feeling of no hope.

Dana - the numbers they gave out included almost everything associated with their transition, including hotel stays while going for a consultation and other incidentals like that. The numbers seemed to add up pretty well.

Melissa said...

@ Dana

Sophie is right, Dana. The cost of all aspects of transition were figured in and included meds, hair grafts, facial surgery, tummy tucks, therapist fees, physician's consultation fees, travel and lodging expenses, etc. The most outrageously expensive procedures of all, were plastic surgery and the total cost of hair removal. If you have a full head of non-receding hair, a light growth of facial and body hair, and relative feminine facial features, then of course you could transition for much less, but then you would one of the lucky ones.

Melissa XX

Two Auntees said...

Glad to know you had a good evening with the group.
Be safe, have fun.
Don't know how some girls are paying for so much surgery; I've never had that much extra money to spend.

Melissa said...

@ Two Auntees

Me either Sarah! Looking at the total cost, it is truly daunting. However, it was pointed out, that you don't do it all at once, so the cost can be spread out over time. But I know what it was like to be 30 years old, not making much money, and have to quit electrolysis after only three months, because my budget just could take the weekly hit.

Melissa XX

Lucy Melford said...

The cost IS enormous, taken as a whole. I have kept a spreadsheet to record most things since July 2008, analysed by column headings of course, and the grand total is already a matter for concern. I'm too embarrassed to say how much!

However, that grand total includes a lot of 'setting up' costs like clothes and accessories for which I've mow entered the 'ongoing maintenance' phase - although, being me, even that will mean appreciable expenditure each year.

The biggie will indeed be hair removal as time goes by. As for surgery, I'm hoping I can get away with genital reassignment plus a nose job, and nothing more. But I'm probably going to be quite wrong about that!

I've decided to get some 'ordinary' costs out of the way in the coming months, while I have the money - a new car, some house and garden stuff, maybe a good holiday. Then it will have to be transition first, ordinary things second. Apart from good food and time with friends, of course!


Keri Renault said...

I hear you about the weight issue, Melissa. I've always been "average" in that regard. HRT changed everything. No longer did agressive daily workouts assure weight loss or stability. In fact, I gained about 8 pounds during the 1st 6 months of living in MD. Guess I shouldn't order that Pizza Hut $10 special during the Packer playoff game today, huh?

There's actually no end to how much one COULD pay from early gender therapy through electro/laser on to medically supervised HRT, followed by FFS, SRS, perhaps hair transplants. Not to mention exponentially greater expenses for cosmetics, styling and hygiene care. $100,000 isn't out of the question for an MtF. FtM? OMG, I can only hang my head at the thought of $$$$$.

Who says transition is a "choice". Not at those prices...

BTW, a group of our friends in DC last night were talking about Freddie Mercury. Such an extraordinary talent, gone far too soon. Check out his documentary which has aired several times on Logo.

Good luck in your conquest of caloric overconsumption, xo

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog, thanks for being open and sharing with us. Seeing some of the things I am feeling and experiencing I appreciate what you are doing.

Right now, I am only looking thinking about cross dressing, going further is not a conderation due to costs, job and family commitments.

As a side note, if any of the site pictures are even only close to what you look like, you have been very successful. Would never of guess that you are old enough to be retired, still don't after reading and seeing. Part of me is sad that I am already married. Sorry not to sure what I am thinking right now.

I plan on enjoying more of your site, Happy New Year.


Calie said...

I love your posts, Melissa. Such good reading!

Keep rocking out on that bike, girl!

Calie xxx

caroline said...

Spread sheet sounds interesting but in my case I simply spent ALL my money on removing facial hair and don't regret a penny which interestingly is about all that I have now.

Caroline xx

Sophie said...

Ummmm, Lucy? Keeping track of clothes and accessories? I have so like not been keeping track of any of that. I guess that building an entire new wardrobe really is a part of the cost to transition. But I dropped 25-30 pounds in the year before I started to transition and never got around to getting guy clothes that fit anyway. So I was due for a new wardrobe.

chrissie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chrissie said...

I think it's a mistake to start trotting out "total overall cost" figures when it comes to transitioning.

It can simply lead to despair, and so it's not helpful. People need to emphasise that the cost varies depending what one actually needs, and it's spread over the long term.

My transition is a budget one. So far, spread over a year, it's been maybe £1600. That's covered all my therapy, clinic costs and hormones, and includes a good wardrobe and a couple of IPL hair removal sessions.

Over time, it's been bearable even on a low income. But I know US costs tend to be higher....

ps, Melissa, don't worry about the weight. You just have the post-Xmas guilts....

Calie said...

Returning to this post....

I had to return to comment about the Southern Living magazine. Last weekend, I sat in a smog inspection station. Lots of magazines about camping, race cars, and....YES....Vanity Fair! Guess which one I chose?

Calie xxx