The Story So Far, or “I’m about to commit the biggest cliche in all of blogging.”

I went back and forth about whether or not this sort of thing should actually be a blog post, a static page, or if I should even bother with it at all. Life is changing quickly for me, so a “static” page would be far from static, and I don’t have the desire to try and keep something this onerous up to date. And in the end, given the nature of this particular blog, I think it makes sense for it to have a beginning of sorts. So I think that means I’m stuck with the most stereotypical blog opening ever…the one where I tell you all about who I am. So in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya: “There is too much, let me sum up.”

The basics. I’m 30. I was born in the Midwest, grew up here, and here I remain for the time being. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and in Medical Laboratory Science, and I’ve made medicine and science my career. I’m a woman who happens to have been born in the wrong physical sex, and I’m in the process of correcting that problem. I’m about 45 days into hormone therapy. I’m a person who is on the autism spectrum, but I’m on the high-functioning end. I identify most as “queer”, but my attractions lay primarily in folks who identify as female. I am not married and have no children.

I’ve always been a bit of a nerd. I’ve loved reading, science, learning, and all that as long as I can remember. I was an obsessive PC and console gamer when I was younger, and could lose myself for hours in an RPG. Beyond just games, I also just kind of loved computers. I could take one apart and rebuild it before I was in high school, and I’ve been an internet nerd since the days of the BBS.  I was one of those weird kids who actually liked going to school. I did all the stereotypical nerdy things in high school…I was in the Science Club, played Quiz Bowl, was on the Debate Team, did Model United Nations, and pretty much anything else competitive that wasn’t sports. I forever had a scifi or fantasy book in front of my face, and still do to this day. I’ve never shied away from being called a nerd; if the shoe fits, wear it with pride I say! In 2009, I attending my first science fiction convention after many years of vehement encouragement from a few friends. I was hooked from the first night. I met a ton of really awesome new people, and found a place where I felt more comfortable than I ever had. These days, I make it around 5-7 cons a year around the midwest, and I was lucky enough to get to attend the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago.

I come from a relatively uninteresting working class background, the daughter of a factory worker and a school bus driver. They’re still married. I have just one sibling, a younger brother. I’m originally a military brat, but then grew up entirely in the same boring suburb. My extended family is large and full of Catholics, and most of them can’t effing stand me…the feeling is mutual. I’m not yet out to my family, and that remains the most anxiety-inducing coming-out that I have pending. I’m not even a little worried about my brother; he’s gay and I was the first person he came out to. My parents on the other hand…I just have a feeling that they’re going to take the news badly.

The story of how I came to terms with being transgender, and how I made the decision to transition is something I may write about later, but it’s still something that’s triggery for me to talk about. So for now, we’ll just go with this: I made my decision to pursue transition in the last week of December of 2011, and I made it my goal to start hormone therapy before the end of 2012. I’ll admit, I drug my feet a bit on getting the medical bits started. While I was happy and resolute in my decision, it took me a few months to prepare myself mentally for the journey. I was already out to a fair number of friends by that point, and I started spending more and more time presenting female as the year went on. I started laser treatments on my face in April 2012, which was my first big step. In the late summer, I found a therapist that I liked and really got the ball rolling with my first session with her in August of last year. Therapy was a little slow going at first due to the expense and my work schedule, but I got my referral letter for HRT in January of this year. I didn’t quite make my initial goal of starting hormones before the end of year, but it was close enough to feel like a real accomplishment. Getting into the endocrinologist proved to be far more complicated than I had anticipated, but I finally started hormonal transition on February 21, 2013. Since then, it’s been just learning to cope with some of the side effects and emotional changes, but generally being a much happier and better adjusted young woman.

I’m MOSTLY out at this point, and getting closer to the goal of being completely out a little more each day. The biggest impediment to that is my current job. It’s just not the kind of place that I could happily and safely come out without risking job loss or worse. However, I was recently accepted into a PhD program in Genetics, and I will be leaving my current job at the end of the summer to pursue my doctorate full-time, and I’ve already come out to the program and the university. The start of school also happens to be my full-time goal, and I should easily reach it, as work is pretty much my own “detransitioned” period nowadays. I have ridiculously amazing and supportive friends. I’ve been completely blown away at how readily they’ve accepted this change, the lengths they’ll go to support me, and the amount of love they’ve heaped on me since I started the process. I’m so very lucky to have that support network, and I wouldn’t be as happy and healthy as I am now without them. Every trans person should be this lucky.

So why this blog? For one, I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I think blogging is a fantastic way to keep one’s skills in practice. And really, I seem to only write scientific work and technical documents these days, and it would be nice to work out other parts of my brain. Secondly, I’ve long used writing to get thoughts out of brain. Sometimes I just have a pile of ideas floating around inside my head, and the only way to clean that mess up is to stick the ideas in a document. I have more than a dozen different files full of random stuff I’ve thought about, and I think a lot of it has the potential into being edited and expanded upon into essays that I’d be proud to share with others. Third, while I know that LOTS of trans people blog about their transition, I think every one of our stories are important. At least for me, when I was struggling with my identity and all these weird feelings, reading the thoughts and experiences of other people was incredibly comforting and had a big hand in finally feeling comfortable with who I am. Every person’s experience is different, so if my story can help even one other person feel better about who they are, then all of the effort of this blog will have been worth it. And finally, I’m just passionate about what’s going on the in the world, and I think my friends are tired of me filling up their facebook feed with angry tirades on news articles. This is will be a much better venue for that sort of thing.

So that’s my story and how I got to the point of starting this project. And dear god is this post boring and awful to read or what? But, in the end, it’s honest and authentic. With any luck, my later writings will suck less and will include a lot fewer cliches, and. I’ll get better with practice. Bear with me; it might take me awhile to knock the rust off, but I’m hopeful that it will be an interesting ride.

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