Whole 30 Results, Haircuts, and First Steps

So we finished the Whole30.  It’s been nice to do this sort of reset to start off the new year.  I feel like my energy levels are lasting through the day better.  As far as physical changes… well the measurements I took before and after, as well as the pictures (before on left, after on right) speak for themselves.

Measurements

FrontComparison

SideComparison

BackComparison

I think the measurements tell more than the pictures do.  I had a hard time getting pictures that weren’t completely blurry and were close to the same stances I had in the first set of pictures.  The lighting is also obviously different, given that one was a set of morning pictures and the other is afternoon pictures (I didn’t have time to take them before I left for class this morning so had to wait until after I got back home).    Ultimately, though, I do think I look a lot leaner.  I noticed my face in particular looks leaner, though it might be partially because I was in desperate need of a haircut during the first set of pictures.  I also think there’s more definition in my abs.  Overall, I lost inches where I wanted to and gained them where I was hoping to gain muscle.  We’re planning to stay pretty close to Whole30 as we continue on from here, though not quite as strict.  It was good timing for it, since there aren’t too many special occasions or holidays in January, so I think we might make this an annual thing.

So I mentioned needing a haircut in the first pictures… It’s been almost a month since I got it, but I got a new haircut.  I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it.  One girl at the gym told me several times in one gym session how much she loved it.  I’ve even gotten compliments from customers at work who don’t even know me or know that it’s a new hair style.  I’ve also been getting identified as male by customers a LOT, sometimes even after I speak.  I’ve been getting called sir and was referred to as a gentleman.  It seems to be mostly older guys that continue calling me by male pronouns after I speak, while younger ones and most women correct themselves.  I can’t wait for my voice to get lower.  Anyway, below are pictures of the haircut.  The first one is right after it was cut, and the next two were just the other day when I was particularly happy with how well it was cooperating.

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Final bit of news for this post is that today I have my first appointment to begin the process of starting my transition!  Today’s appointment is just an orientation at the clinic to go over transitioning to make sure I fully understand what I’m getting myself into, as well as the costs and such.  Next week I have an appointment to get blood drawn for the labs.  If the labs come back normal, which I don’t see why they wouldn’t, I’ll get my prescription on the third appointment.  I’m so excited!  As soon as I have that, I’ll start posting more updates with pictures, maybe even voice recordings to document that changing.  I’m really looking forward to this, it’s been a long time in coming.

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Whole30 Day 2

Okay, it’s more like day 4 since August and I started, but I’ve only started keeping track of exactly what I eat yesterday since our gym is doing a Whole30 challenge that started yesterday. The way they’re doing it is you get points for following the Whole30, exercising ( only get points for up to 5 days a week to encourage people to take two off days), getting 8 hours of sleep, and spending 20 minutes doing something relaxing that does not involve technology (reading, napping, mobility / stretching, so long as it doesn’t involve electronics in any way).  You also get a point for any new personal records (PR) you set on any major fitness category, such as the weightlifting movements or mile runs.  What they did last time, and I suspect will happen again, is they did a WOD the first day and did that same one again on the 30th day to see how much people improved.  At the end of the 30 days, they total up the points from all the good behavior and they are planning to give prizes to the individuals that did the best.  A fun way to encourage people to pick up better habits, not just in their diet but in their overall lives.  I really like that they give points for getting an adequate amount of sleep and for taking some time to do something relaxing every day.  It’s a great way to help people do things that will better help them manage their stress levels and just be healthier overall.  I’m also fond of having a maximum amount of points for working out every week to avoid people over training themselves just to get more points.  Off days are just as important as the training days themselves.  So yeah, anyway, I’m participating in this since August and I were going to be doing a Whole30 this month anyway.

Yesterday, day one of the gym sponsored Whole30, I got pretty much everything that I could get points for, despite spending 6 hours at work.  I had eggs, bacon, and onion for breakfast, put a paleo sriracha sauce that August made on the eggs, so good!  Then had a single cup of coffee with homemade hazelnut milk in it.  I miss my heavy cream in my coffee because it made it so thick and creamy, but I can deal with this for 30 days no problem, hazelnuts were meant to go with coffee.  Then I brought left over paleo chocolate chili that August made over the weekend, and added a little homemade olive oil mayo to it, which has a similar effect as putting sour cream in chili so was a good replacement.  I also brought an orange with me for lunch.  I used my 30 minute lunch break at work to read while I worked, so got my technology free relaxation time in.  Then I went to the gym as soon as I got off work and did this terrible WOD:

“Fortius Chipper”
– For Time –
100 Double Unders
70 KB Swings
60 Wall Balls
50 V-Ups
40 Goblet Squats
30 Burpee Pull Ups
20 HSPU
10 Muscle Ups

[30 Minute Cap]

O/R: Singles, Light Russian, 8/4#, Situps, Air Squats, Burpees, Box HSPU, Ring Rows
Beg: Singles (3x), 35/26#, 14/8#, Burpee Jumping PU, Box HSPU, Ring Dips
Int: 53/35#, 20/14#, Ring Dips (2x)
Adv: 70/53#, 20/14#

For those that don’t know, double unders are jump roping in which the rope passes under you twice each jump.  I basically did it at the male beginner level, which means 300 singles (I can’t do double unders very well yet), 35# kettle bell for the kettle bell swings, 14# ball for the wall balls, and did hand stand push ups (HSPU) from a box… I can do HSPU but not a whole lot at once yet, and definitely not after all the stuff that came before that part of the workout.  I did normal burpee pull ups, though, instead of the burpee jumping pull ups, so that was the one movement out of the workout I did at intermediate level.  I just finished the box HSPU when time ran out, so didn’t make it to the ring dips.  It was one second for every missed rep, so that put me at 30:10.  Looking forward to seeing my score on this next time we do it, I have a feeling I’ll improve a lot.

When I got home from the gym, we had dinner, which was citrus-garlic marinated steak that turned out really delicious and tender!  We had a mixture of veggies with it: bell pepper, carrots, and kale.  For the fat we just drizzled a little olive oil over it.  That was the hardest thing for me the first time I did a Whole30, making sure I got enough fat in my meals.  Too little and you end up hungry again real quick, but if you get enough it’s easy to make it to the next meal without snacking.  Despite a couple things waking me up in the middle of the night, I got my 8 hours of sleep.

So far today I’ve had eggs scrabbled with onion and kale and I mixed together the sriracha and homemade mayo to make a creamy sriracha sauce. Naturally, I had another cup of coffee with hazelnut milk in it.  Plan to go to the noon crossfit class today and today’s strength is max testing the clean and jerk, so should get a PR for a bonus point today.  I probably won’t post about every day of the Whole30, but I’ll be sure to update every few days or so and to link any recipes that were particularly delicious for those that want to check them out.

New Beginnings

As it always seems to happen when I sit down to write, I realize it’s been quite a while since I last wrote a post.  A lot has happened lately.  I finished my first semester of school, got out of the military, and started a new part-time job for a little extra money while I’m in school.  Two of the three months have passed since the CT scan that I wrote about having gotten in my last post, so one more month until I get another one to make sure the ground glass nodule they saw is going away and was just related to me being sick a little before the first scan.  With all the good changes happening, I’ve been doing a pretty good job keeping that health concern out of my mind and focusing on other things at least.  So about those other things…

As I said, finished my first semester at the community college I’m going to and did pretty well despite having to balance 14 credits worth of online classes with long days at work.  It was especially stressful when the replacement for my boss who had just retired came in and decided we weren’t leaving until a certain time, regardless of whether we had actual work to do during that time or not.  That resulted in frequently being stuck at work doing absolutely nothing when I could have been home working on schoolwork.  After he got there, I had a lot of 9-10 hour days there.  But that’s not something I have to worry about anymore.  My military days ended just in time to start the new year as a civilian.  I’m excited that I can focus on school and work my new job around my classes rather than my classes around a job I don’t intend to stick with.  This will be the first time I’ve been in a position in which I’m truly able to make school my top priority.  I’ve always had to work full-time and deal with family chaos when I’ve gone to school in the past, so I’m really looking forward to this new semester starting up and having so much less on my plate this time around.

Then there’s the new job, a certified technician at a retail store.  Nothing terribly special, but allows me to put my technical skills to use while I focus on school.  The best thing about this job is this:

Featured image

It’s only been a couple days since I started this job, but it’s so nice to be able to go by my chosen name at work.  It’s like a weight has been lifted off me, no longer having to worry about if the people I work with figure out I’m trans, no more having the knowledge hanging over me that who I am is banned where I work.  When I told my new manager about it and that I intend to start transitioning in the near future, he seemed genuinely excited for me and congratulated me on getting out of the military and being able to transition.  He also made sure to tell me that if anybody gives me a hard time about it to let him know immediately.  I feel pretty good about this new job for that reason, for being so easy to work around my school schedule, and for how low stress it is for me.  Even with both this job and school, I’ll have way more time off to do whatever than I’ve had in a really long time, so much more time to unwind and get chores and such taken care of.

Speaking of transitioning, I think sometime in the next couple weeks August and I will be going to the clinic to start the process to get my transition moving along, as well as to see about August’s needs as he continues his HRT.  From what I understand, as somebody that hasn’t started any treatment at all, it’s about a month from when you first go into the clinic to when they actually give you a prescription.  I’m not starting as soon as I had originally been hoping, but it’s still so close.  It seems so unreal that I’ll actually get to start sometime soon!

So I started the new year off as a civilian and with a new job in which I can be myself.  In addition to that, August and I have started another Whole30.  It seemed like a good idea to get back on track with healthy eating after the holidays.  I did get pictures and measurements to compare at the end of the 30 days, but will wait until then to post them.  I’m mostly just wanting to get back to good eating behavior, as well as back into working out regularly now that my schedule allows for it.  That was another thing that suffered with the long hours at my old job, especially after the last couple months.  It feels good just knowing I’m in a position to better take care of myself again, and I’m sure it’ll feel even better as I continue on with this plan and improve my health.  Hopefully I’ll be back in good enough shape to start looking at doing CrossFit competitions again before I know it.  The one I got to participate in before was a blast, and I really want to do more.

So, that catches you up on most of what I’ve got going on right now.  Hopefully I’ll have more to post about and make more regular posts now that I’m not so busy, but we’ll see how it goes after school starts up.  At any rate, 2015 I think is my year.  I’ve started it off well already and still have so much to look forward to this year.

Health Concerns

So once again, it has been a while since I last posted.  I’ve thought about sitting down and writing up a post for a while, but I wanted to wait until some things got figured out first.  A few weeks ago I got a really bad upper respiratory infection that lasted two weeks before the symptoms really started to fade.  At this point I just have a little bit of a cough left and a little pain in my chest/back, but all else has passed.  The pain is supposedly from coughing so much for those two weeks, but with how much my cough has died down, I would have expected that to pass by now.  It’s mostly if I move a certain way or put pressure on certain spots that I feel the pain, instead of the general soreness that I had for most of the time I was sick.  I almost wonder if I pulled something or some other unusual thing happened because of the cough since it became a sharp pain during the second week of the infection.  Regardless, the pain is starting to go away as well, just very slowly.  Anyway, the point of this is I was sick and it wasn’t getting any better for a while there.  They took chest x-rays to make sure it wasn’t turning into pneumonia, twice actually.  After the first set of x-rays the doctor told me that I had a viral upper respiratory infection and that it also looked like I might have asthma, so I answered a bunch of questions related to that.  After the second set, a few days later taken at a different location than the first set since those guys were at lunch at the time, the doctor told me that the radiologist noted an area of one of my lungs that looked like it might have some scarring.  At that point he referred me to a pulmonologist and I set an appointment for three weeks later, giving me time to finish getting over the infection before they took a look at my lungs again.

If this was scarring, there were several things it could have been, some of which were very scary possibilities.  I figured with two different sets of x-rays by reviewed by two different radiologists coming back saying there was probably something going on, hoping for it to be absolutely nothing wasn’t very likely.  I did hope that the first radiologist was right and it was just asthma and nothing else.  Asthma I could deal with, get a prescription for an inhaler, use it before working out as I’ve seen others at my gym do… probably improve my workouts since I’d have better oxygen intake during them.  If this was what had been going on and why I have never been able to learn how to control my breathing when running and always felt that my chest was so restricted at the time (something I used to blame on sports bras and would tell myself everybody that has to wear them feels this), then discovering the true cause and correctly addressing the issue could only be beneficial.  However, I also prepared myself for the idea that it could be a more serious chronic condition, just in case.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as they say.

So, Monday I went to pulmonary and did lung function tests, answered questions about difficulty I have controlling my breathing and feeling like I can’t get enough air during cardio workouts, such as running, as well as my tendency to have a lingering cough for much of the day after any running that is much more than a mile.  He diagnosed me with exercise induced asthma on the spot.  He also ordered a CT scan to take a look at what the radiologist thought was possible scarring in my lungs.  He told me he’d give me a call after he got to take a look at it and let me know if he saw any scarring or not.  I expected the call to come later this week, but it came later that night, much faster than I thought it would.  Good news, he didn’t see any scarring in the CT scan.  He did however see something that he referred to as “ground glass”, though I don’t really know what that is.  I Googled it after I got off the phone with him and found two different things, ground glass opacity and ground glass nodules.  I don’t know if they are the same thing, related, or completely different from one another.  He told me that it was something that happens sometimes when people get pneumonia, which my general practitioner didn’t think it had become judging on the x-rays, but I was really sick for two whole weeks, so it’s possible that it had progressed into pneumonia at some point and wasn’t caught for some reason.  The pulmonologist said that usually this is something that heals on its own and will go away, but that I need to go back for another CT scan in three months.  If it doesn’t seem to be going away at that point, we’ll have to look into it more as it may be a sign of something else going on.

So three more months of hoping for the best – that it was just because I was really sick and that it’ll go away.  I stopped trying to figure out what ground glass means or looking at other things associated with the term “ground glass” in regards to lungs because I am trying not to let myself freak out for the next three months.  Three months is too long of a time to be in that worried state of mind, three weeks was bad enough before.  There are few things more stressful to me than not knowing something.  Even if things are worst case scenario, knowing that is better than wondering what is going on.  Once I know, I can figure out the best course of action and properly address the issue.  Not knowing… well I can’t do anything then, I just sit there powerlessly waiting as my imagination runs wild with the morbid possibilities.  So yeah, three months is too long to let that happen, so doing my best to force myself to assume it is just because I was really sick and in three months I’ll find that has gone away or is at least in the process of going away.  I won’t let myself look into what the worst case scenario is.

One thing I do wonder about, however, is my plans to begin T as soon as I leave this job (actually was thinking about a little before I leave the job but close enough to the end that there shouldn’t be any noticeable changes before I leave).  The problem is that my contract isn’t technically up immediately after my last day in the office, I’ll just be essentially taking vacation days at the end.  The hospital I’ll be going to for the follow up CT scan is the same one where I got the originals taken, and this hospital is connected to my line of work.  By that point if I start hormone therapy when I was hoping to, I’d be two months into it, so there may be changes that the pulmonologist might notice.  I almost feel as if I should wait until after this second CT scan to start, delaying what I’ve been waiting so long for some more.  I guess there’s not really anything they could do about it by that point, all my paperwork to leave will have been finished and processed by that point, even though there would still be a short amount of time left on my contract.  There’s another concern about this subject bouncing around my head though – if there is something more serious going on, could taking T potentially have a negative affect on this, or interfere with what the doctor thinks he sees going on?  I can’t really say how it would affect things without researching what the possible outcomes of the CT scan might be, and then we’re messing up my whole assume the best case scenario plan I have going right now.  As much as I hate the idea of putting this off another couple of months, perhaps it’s best if I wait to see how this plays out before I get going with my transition plans.  It’s just a couple extra months, and after almost two years (that’s about how long ago it was that I came out to friends and family) of waiting, what’s another couple months, right?  Maybe I’m being overly cautious, too, I don’t know, but better to err on the side of caution, I guess.  If there wasn’t a ban on trans individuals in my line of work, then I could just outright ask the doctor these questions without fear of the consequences.

In other news, school is going really well.  My first semester back should end up with a pretty high GPA, maybe even a 4.0 if I keep things going.  Next semester will be so much easier since I won’t be trying to balance school with work.  I’m going to have more free time than I know what to do with.  It’ll be nice to have time and energy again, to take on more of the stuff around the apartment as August’s schedule gets busier.  Going to try to learn how to be a better cook, which I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as August.  However, if I can get better and more confident in my cooking ability, I can do more of the cooking for us since my school schedule will have my afternoon and evenings a lot more free than they have been in a long time and I’m sure as August finds a job he’ll be coming home later and be feeling more exhausted throughout the week, so might like to not have to worry about preparing meals as much.  Despite the stuff I wrote above about my health, things are going well right now as stuff starts to change for the better and my life is moving forward.  Having my freedom back is just around the corner, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Looking Back: Struggling with Feelings

The waves gently creep
Lulling me to sleep
In and out, in and out
The water all about

Softly lapping at my feet
Rolling with a hypnotic beat
Now washing over me
My heart calling to the sea

Slowly drifting into dreams
As the golden sunset beams
Higher and higher does it rise
From toes, to knees, and now my thighs

No longer know the world around
My mind knows only the ocean sound
As it crawls up to my chest
My eyelids droop and take a rest

Now I try to wake my mind
But a great horror do I find
As I drifted off to sleep
I drifted into water too deep

I open my eyes and raise my face
And far above is the surface
I swim and swim but seem only to sink
My lungs screaming I cannot think

Here I lie in my destruction
Victim of the sea’s seduction

I wrote this poem 9-10 years ago (around the age of 21), and at the time I didn’t know what I was writing about only that the words came to me and I had to put them on paper.  Looking back on it years later, I can see that I was acknowledging the issues I had with emotions back then.  When things would get difficult, which was a pretty regular thing up until my mother passed away in my mid-twenties, I would become very emotionally withdrawn.  The waves are referring to the numbness I would let wash over me.  This was such a regular thing for so many years of my life that there was rarely, if any, periods of time in which I wasn’t distant.  Even after my mother passed away, I found that I spent more time numb than anything else, as though I’d become stuck in this state that had been a beautiful solution when I needed it to survive, but was now this thing that was holding me back from experiencing life… I was drowning in it.  I can say now that I wasn’t stuck, but it was a long hard fight to come out of.  Pretending to reciprocate feelings, letting people think I was letting them in, at times I even fooled myself.  I put on a good, happy, and engaged face for people around me, but was never able to be myself.  I was trying the fake it until you make it approach to being a person with feelings.  In fact, this poem goes hand in hand with another one I wrote a couple years later:

Grew up in a world of masks
And took some as my own
Of creamy pearl and sequins
In candlelight they shone

Tales of strength and bravery
These crafted faces told
Of heroes and of saviors
And wise men to behold

Through the art of comedy
I had them wanting more
Their joyful bursting laughter
Would touch them to the core

Still I had more to show them
Innocence and romance
Of closeness with another
And feelings at first glance

False faces I would show them
Forever it would be
Cowardly my face concealed
Afraid of what they’d see

Underneath there was no strength
Bravery or wisdom
Romance was evading me
And laughter would not come

Truth be told there was nothing
Only my empty soul
Numbness where she stole my heart
And left a gaping hole

Grew up in a world of masks
And hid behind my own
‘Til one day I stopped to look
And found I’m not alone

I remember all the exes in my past that I tried so hard to convince them and myself that my feelings for them ran as deep as theirs for me and that I had let them see the true me.  This had never been the case, though.  For me to show people who I was would mean to show them my life at home.  I was broken, am broken, and I don’t think I ever believed I was worthy of the loving friends and romantic relationships that I had in my life.  I thought then with my inability to feel anything deeply, that there was truly something wrong with me.  I told myself I took pride in not being like all the other girls, but when it came down to it, I felt that too was something wrong with me.  Why couldn’t I get into the same interests as them?  Why was I so uncomfortable with my body?  Why did compliments have the exact opposite effect on me than was the intention?  The longest romantic relationship I’d had until that point had only lasted 6 months, as soon as the excitement of having somebody interested in me wore off, I started feeling unworthy of that interest, recognizing I was never and could never be as in to them as they were in to me, and would find something I could use to push them away, some reason to end things.  Some of those reasons were legitimate, such as a compulsive liar I dated.  Some were simply me not being comfortable with the role I was taking in the relationship, often pushing myself to be more feminine than I was really okay with.  Other things, were just me picking at nothing, though.

Over the years I started taking the masks off, one at a time, and letting people catch glimpses of me underneath it all.  As I did this, I found that I slowly became more in touch with my feelings.  These days, around a decade later, I very rarely wear masks any more in my personal life (work is another story since I can’t come out at work) and I definitely feel things… I feel things very strongly.  Sometimes I don’t know how to handle my feelings, they still seem so new and overwhelming to me, and I think that I now at times, when I’m at particularly low points, push people away with this overflow or at least am a heavy burden to the ones that stick with me through those periods.  I’m far more comfortable with myself than I have ever been before, but I still think of myself as broken and have so much doubt about whether I really deserve the good things in my life.  I’m sure so much of that comes from being told for most of my life that I’m not a good person and deserve bad things to happen to me by one of my parents.  In my early 30s, I’m still finding myself and my voice in this world.  I’m just now feeling that I’m making progress, having found somebody I trusted enough to let see me in my entirety, to come out as trans to, to have verbally shared a couple of my childhood experiences with (writing about it is so much easier than saying it out loud).  I’ve torn down the false confidence that I projected to those around me, and am trying to learn how to build up real confidence in myself.

There’s a part of me that feels like, having watched August go through his transition and the wonders it has done for him, a lot of my remaining issues will start to resolve themselves as I transition.  I feel like I’m in this weird in between state right now, where I’ve stopped pretending to be this other person, but I’m not yet the person I’m supposed to be.  I feel too manly to be the woman that some people see me as, yet I’m too feminine still to be the man I feel I am meant to be.  These feelings of inadequacy can get to me at times and hold me back as much as the numbness did years ago, just in a different way.  I think a lot of this will change as I transition, a process that I’ll be starting in less than two months if all goes as planned, but I’m afraid to count on that.  I’ve seen August’s self confidence sky rocket as he built this positive self image during the last year and a half.  It’s reasonable to think that I will have similar results, but what if I don’t?  What if I do feel better about my body and my gender presentation, but find out that underneath it all I’m still broken?  What if I’m not just struggling with the feelings of having come out as trans to everybody except the people at work, but not being able to actually do anything about it, to actually begin the transition until I leave the place that I’m currently working, and the reality is that underneath those feelings I’m permanently damaged?  What if I’m incapable of being happy with myself and I bring my loved ones down with me?  What if I’m my mom?

As the opportunity to transition comes ever closer, I find myself getting excited and hopeful for the most part, but sometimes I start worrying about it.  At no point do I ever question whether it’s something I want to do, it is beyond a doubt what I want to do.  I just worry about putting too much weight on it and it not making things better as much as I was thinking it would.  I know it’ll make some aspects of my life undeniably better, but I can’t be sure what of my issues are tied to my trans identity and what are tied to my childhood experiences.  I’m worried about what I’ll find out about myself once I remove the feelings and thoughts that are specific to being trans and am forced to confront the issues that still remain.

I don’t really know where I was going with this post.  I guess I just needed to sort some thoughts out.  It’s been a while since I last had time to write a post, with work and school keeping me so busy lately, I haven’t had a real chance to do any written venting or self analysis… even when I’ve had a little time to myself, I spent so much time writing essays for school that I found I’d rather not be on the computer any more that day.  So, I guess this was just built up and overdue thoughts that I needed to get written.

Since it’s been so long, here’s a little bit of life update information in this post too, don’t know when I’ll have the time or energy to write another one again.  On the topic of school, while it’s keeping me pretty busy throughout the week, it’s going pretty well so far.  I’ve read a couple really good books for my English class that make me glad I chose this professor, even if he is one of the more challenging English professors I’ve encountered, I wouldn’t have known I should read these books otherwise.  Also, got a new kitten who is pretty awesome, but also a pain, as kittens tend to be.  He and the dog are still figuring each other out, it’s quite a process.  I’m starting some of processes at work that I need to go through in order to leave that job as well, since I have less than 90 days left, which is super exciting because I’m ready to begin my transition, focus on getting a degree, and move on to the next stage of my life without worrying about having to go away from my family for several months again and not missing important things anymore.

Pictures

So, I didn’t end up finishing that Whole 30 I started in July since there was my birthday in the middle of it and then work taking me away from home for a couple weeks at the end and it was nearly impossible to not cheat while I was out of town since I was in frequent situations of going out with a group and being out voted on where we would go eat and such.  All that being said, I decided to go ahead and post comparison pictures from July 2nd to August 31st.  I took the time to take pictures in July and felt like I shouldn’t let those go to waste.  Besides, I haven’t posted any pictures at all yet.  I want to start getting comfortable with the idea of images of me on the interwebs, even when I’m not happy with how I look in those images, since I’ll be starting my physical transition in a few months and plan to be documenting it in a variety of ways, including pictures.  There won’t be any pictures that include my face until I leave my current job, just to play things safe.

Issues with these comparison pictures that don’t make them that great of comparisons: First, the quality isn’t the same since August helped me take the pictures in July so was able to use a higher quality setting than I could use with the timer setting when I took today’s pictures.  Along similar lines, the lighting doesn’t look quite the same, but that could also just be contributed to the settings on the phone.  Finally, I noticed afterwards that my poses weren’t quite the same in any of them, unfortunately.  I’ll work harder on that for future pictures.  So, here you go, pictures of me.

  Front BeforeFront After

Side Before Side After

 Back BeforeBack After

I can see that I did make some progress over the last couple months, but it’s hard to tell with the differences in the pictures themselves.  My stomach is definitely the thing about my body that bothers me the most.  Even at my leanest, I’ve always had that pooch and a never have had much definition there.  I’ve learned more recently that this is probably because of the high levels of stress I’ve had in my early life and the effect that stress hormones have on your body.  I’m hoping that my life being much less stressful than it was when I was younger, along with better eating and more exercise, will help me reach my goals of having more ab definition, but we’ll see.  I do see a little progress, I think, and I’m trying to focus on that instead of it not being where I want yet.  I’m definitely wearing smaller pants now than when I got home from the deployment, so that should mean something, I guess.

On the other hand, I am pretty happy with my back and shoulder’s right now.  It looks like my lats have grown some, making me look like I have a bit broader back, which is nice.  However, that might just be the difference in my stance during those pictures, looking at my tattoo, you can definitely see I’m not flexing quite the same.

Anyway, there we have it, almost two months between pictures.  Any differences are from mostly clean eating, only a few random cheat meals here and there, and working out as much as I can (sometimes my work schedule really interferes, unfortunately).  I’m looking forward to when I get to take these pictures to watch the changes as I’m taking testosterone.  Just a few more months!

4 Months to Freedom

So, it’s time for me to do a life update.

Since I’ve been back from the deployment, things have been kind of a challenge.  I was having mood issues, much like I did after the first deployment I went on.  I started thinking about it and I kind of wonder if having spent 7-8 months sharing a small living space with 60+ females really throws my hormones out of whack in addition to the normal difficulties of readjusting to being home.  Most things I felt I had adjusted to, changes with August and the way he does things now, getting back to being comfortable socializing again, but my emotional stability was still not there, particularly around my period (oh man, I can’t wait to not have those anymore), which cramps are usually more of an issue for me than my emotions around that time.  However, during the entirety of the deployment and for a couple months afterwards, I was regular to the day.  I’ve never been that predictable, though I got fairly predictable during the previous deployment.  I’m usually very irregular, so that would be a sign that the women around me during the deployment had a significant effect on my hormones.  I’m wondering if it was so much so that it was affecting me emotionally as well and took a couple months to get back to my normal cycle.  Oh well, who knows, I just know I had this same problem after each deployment I’ve been on.

Things have finally gotten better, though.  My mood has improved to nearly normal, if not completely there.  I’m listening to happier songs on a regular basis.  My music choice tends to reflect my deeper mood, even when I’m at a temporary high point, so listening to more upbeat music would signify this is a more permanent mood improvement.  I’m glad to be back to normal, and really glad that I won’t be going on any more deployments so won’t be something to worry about.  Today I realized I’ve been telling people I have about 5 months left where I work, but then stopped to think about it and I really have 4 months.  It’s going by faster than I realized 🙂

As I’ve said before, I’m ready to move on from this job and get to start my transition and be myself all the time, instead of just in my personal life.  One of the songs that I’ve been listening to a lot lately I feel really reflects this desire to stop hiding.  Additionally, I think the song reflects my attempt to revisit and write about my past, which, as I come out of the funk I was in and am in a more emotionally stable place, is a bit easier to approach now.  I’ve already posted the first one, The Dragon, over the weekend.  There will be more to follow, though who knows how frequent they will be with my track record on making regular posts.  I may set up a separate area on my page for these posts later, but for the time being they’ll be with the rest of my posts.

So, couple weekends ago I competed in my first ever crossfit competition.  We did the team intermediate one.  It was so much fun.  I was really happy with how well I did with it being my first competition and competing in intermediate since this competition didn’t have a beginner bracket.  We didn’t place last, which was my only goal for our team, so mission accomplished.  I forgot how much I love competition.  I was a total band nerd in high school and the first high school I went to took their music program very seriously, frequently going to competitions.  I loved it, it was a world I really thrived in.  I felt a taste of that again during the crossfit competition.  I’m really looking forward to doing more of these.

This weekend August and I went stand-up paddle boarding, which is a fun activity.  This is the first time I’ve gotten to do this since I got back home since he was so uncomfortable with the idea of going to the beach before his surgery.  I don’t blame him, I’m certainly not comfortable with it either, until we actually get out on the water away from people.  I need to get some male tank tops that don’t won’t show that I’m wearing a sports bra underneath.  The tank tops I have now show the bra straps, unfortunately.  If I can find some of those, that’d help a lot with how comfortable I feel at the beach.  I wish I could just not wear a shirt like August.  Someday I’ll be able to, though.

Last week I started my online classes.  The first week was a little bit of a challenge to find my pace.  Multiple classes had the regular work load that I can expect to have throughout the semester, PLUS special assignments they wanted us to do to orient ourselves with the blackboard website and to ensure we understand class policies.  I always thought the first week of class should be a lighter load, not a heavier load, but apparently not all the professors got that message.  It’s okay, though, I got everything turned in, even if not the best quality, and have a better idea of how to balance school with work and personal life now for this week.  I think it’ll be easier from here, at least until finals.  When midterms come around, most the people from work will be out of town so my work load should be really light, which will help.

I think that’s all I really have to write about right now.  I’m sure I’ll have more to write about soon enough though.