Friday, June 24, 2005

Saskatoon Falls

Those of you from Saskatoon know this, but for those of you who aren't I should tell you that we have this river called the South Saskatchewan River that runs right throught our city. Currently it is higher now than it has been in 50 years. As it turns out that is extremely interesting to us who live here, and the best place to see the higher water level is the weir. I don't really know what a weir is, I can only describe it as a little dam in the river that has water flowing over it. Normally the difference in height between the upstream and downstream sides of the weir is maybe 5 feet so what you get is a little waterfall cascading over the curved hump of the weir.

Well I wanted to go check out the river too, so I drove down to the weir. There is this nice observation area there and when I got there it was full of people who wanted to see this once-in-a-lifetime river depth. A nearby bridge was also lined with onlookers eager to see the raging river. It looked very touristy, as most everyone had a camera. It reminded me of pictures of Niagara Falls, and I wondered if there were any strangers to these parts here to check out what everyone was looking at. It amused me to think of that because the river was so deep the weir was submerged. The only hints that it was there at all was that the water flowed in a slight hump over top it, and occasional swirly waves broke the surface. In fact, except for the people standing around it pretty much looked like any other part of the river. Any strangers visiting Saskatoon who happened to stop to see what everyone was looking at might have been a little curious why there was an observation area there, but they would have been very confused over the hundred or so awe-struck people taking pictures of this practically uneventful area of the river.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sarah Takes a Stand

So today I decided to do a little work so I threw my laptop in my backpack and wandered over to the coffee shop. I put in a couple of hours and called it quits. On the way home I stopped in at the video store and as I perused I sensed someone standing a little too close to me, so I took a few steps to gain some personal space. He followed, and again he was a little too close, so I took a few more steps. He followed again. I turned to face him and saw a guy wearing a Roger's Video t-shirt. The first thing I noticed was that he was much to old for the mohawk he was sporting, and the second thing I noticed was he was speaking to me. I lifted my headphones up off my ears and he repeated himself, "I'm going to have to get you to leave your bag at the counter."
"What?", I said. I wasn't upset over the request, but I was more than a bit incredulous that in order to request it he followed me from the Previously Viewed movies all the way to the O section of the New Releases.
"Your bag, you can't take it in here."
I was still standing there holding my headphones above my head.
"I am going to have to get you to leave it at the counter."
"Do you think I am going to steal something?"
"...well no, but we don't allow bags in here, you have to leave it at the counter."
"My laptop is in this bag, so I'll just hang on to it."
"We don't allow bags in here though. It will just be at the counter. It will be safe I promise we won't wreck it."
I can appreciate that some people may be tempted to steal if they had a big bag in which to put things in. Since you never know who those people may be you would want everyone to leave their bag at the counter, but I still felt that the implication was that he was trying to prevent me from stealing. I was still standing there holding my headphones above my head debating what I should do. I thought that I could ask him to escort me around the store to make sure I didn't steal, or I could go wait at the counter with my bag and tell him to bring me disk 6 of The OC, or I could just do and say nothing. So I did and said nothing.
"It's company policy, I have to ask."
I just stood there holding my headphones above my head.
"We don't allow anyone to bring bags in here."
I just stood there holding my headphones above my head.
"It will just be at the counter."
I stood there holding my headphones above my head, and I raised my eyebrows a little bit.
"... but I guess it will be ok if you held onto it..."
I nodded as if to say he made the right choice, I put my headphones back on and left to find the dvd I wanted.

I probably sound like a jerk. I mean there are other reasons they may want you to leave a bag behind. Worn on your back like that it blocks the aisle, makes it easier to knock something over if you turn around. There could be any reason why they wouldn't want me to have it, but I still think the reason that policy is in place is to prevent theft. They have all sorts of security on their videos; they are locked inside a case you need a special device to open, they have the things at the door the beep when an undemagnetized video passes through it - their stuff is quite safe. That bag though, it is filled with MY stuff - stuff I don't want to lose. In a store full of strangers, the only person I can trust to keep my stuff safe is me, so I am glad I didn't let them have it.

OK, for the last 5 minutes someone outside has been screaming and it is freaking me right out. I have goosebumps. I have to go see what is happening.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I was so wrong.

That Banaffee recipe really needs some tweaking.

Friday, June 17, 2005

It's been one week ...

Today marks the final day in my first complete week of coming to work dressed in clothes that properly indicate my true gender!* This is a big deal to me, so for any of you reading please note that congratulations of any type will be accepted, so please please, send flowers, cards, money...

I just finished a week and it is weird. It is like the strangeness is already fading. I am almost feeling perfectly comfortable around strangers now. In fact where before I was terrified of seeing a reaction now I am looking for them. I make eye contact with everyone out there just to see if I am passing? You know what? I am pretty sure from the looks I see on people's faces that they are just seeing a big girl.

* Isn't it funny how I am so particular about the words I use? If I wrote 'dressed as a woman' it sounds like I am just pretending to be a woman, so I have to go through all these extra words just to say, once again, in case you forgot, that I'm not just pretending, I am a woman.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

"My Brother Sarah"

My sister sent me this email today:

I was just searching for songs from one of my favourite bands (Ocean Colour Scene) I found that they have a song called "My Brother Sarah". I haven't heard it but I just thought that was funny. :-)


I decided to look up the lyrics, here they are:

My brother Sarah
Doesn't know what clothes to wear
It's a dilemma
To get the stuff to match your hair

But mother and father
Sister and brother
Say they just don't know

My brother Sarah
Really wish you understood
Why he's got to show it
For it to be any damn good

But mother and father
Sister and brother
Say they just don't know

My brother lies awake at night
Wishing this world could just be right

But mother and father
Sister and brother
You and all the others
Say you just don't know

I was getting used to things by the time I was out of highschool, but it is true, for about 12 years or so I *would* lay awake every night wishing the world could be right.

By the way, there is the one part of the song that says:
My brother Sarah
Really wish you understood
Why he's got to show it
For it to be any damn good

The reason we have to show it probably does seem like a contradiction. I mean every transgender would argue that your gender resides in your head right? So I know people wonder why we can't just accept we are female mentally and spare everyone from seeing us dress female as well. I imagine a lot of people think we are putting on a show, that it is some grab for attention. I am terrified that some people think that we are just guys who like to wear fake breasts and makeup to flaunt an alternative sexuality, but that is not the case at all. The reason is we want to live in the female role. If people see a female image then they behave differently toward us. The behaviours we exhibit also become acceptable if we are presenting ourselves as female. It has nothing to do with the clothes, and everything to do with the image we present. We've "got to show it" because for us to fit into the female role in society is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and so we will do all the smoothing out, sanding down, and polishing we can until hopefully we find our way in.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Something about snails and puppy dog tails

I can't stop thinking about July 12th, 9AM. Hormones Day. HD12.
I was worried that I will go there and get checked out and then have to wait forever again while they get the results and scientifically determine a prescription for me. I was worried that my appointment may be in 1 month, but the actual prescription may be even further away. Luckily, as with many things in my life, I coincidentally ran into one of the few people in Saskatoon to have recently gone through this same experience. I was at Mystic Java when in walked M, who said that yes, the Dr will need to take some tests and check a few things out, but only to get a baseline. Those tests are only used to see later on how the hormones have affected me over the next few months, so they don't need to have results before they prescribe anything, they just need results before my next visit. So that means I *will* walk away with hormones on that day. I can't remember the last time I have been this excited. I think that old nursery rhyme says girls are made out of sugar and spice and everything nice, but the truth is girls are made of lots of estrogen, relatively no testosterone, and a couple of X chromosomes. I can't do the extra X, but July 12th begins setting up the other two, and two out of three aint bad.

Sarah's Shopping Spree

I never thought the day would come where I would enjoy shopping, but it not only came, it spanned three days! This weekend I shopped, slept, did a little shopping, then more sleeping. When I woke up from sleeping I did some online shopping. Don't tell my mom or Joanne, but I put $600 on my credit card this weekend. (I have advice for any future transitioning mtf's out there - change your name early, and get all new credit cards BEFORE you go shopping. I was so relieved that being dressed in women's clothes, buying more women's clothes, that I didn't have to sign 'Andrew' on the credit card slips.)

Despite the poor use of credit cards, I feel really good about all that shopping. I hate doing things that are stereotypically female - I am just paranoid of coming off like that because I think it will make people think I am putting on a show instead of just being me. I couldn't help myself though - shopping turned out to just be an all around good experience. I know women are 'supposed' to like shopping and clothes, but I think I got a lot more out of it than the average woman. It wasn't just shopping, I feel like I really accomplished something - I was investing in my future - I was working towards my goals - I overcame some of my fears. I sound like I am quoting some personal improvement video, but I can't deny that my weekend left me feeling very satisfied for those very reasons. Not only does it feel good to have clothes in my closet, but all that shopping left me feeling in control of my life, left me feeling confident, and best of all left me feeling like I travelled a few more steps up this crazy mountain I am climbing. I guess it sounds like a personal improvement video because I actually feel like all these little trials I go through as I learn to be a woman leave me better than I was. Without a doubt Sarah is the new improved version of Andrew.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Family Recipe

I came home tonight and decided it was a good idea to make some coffee. As I was making it I could smell these bananas on the counter. I don't know why, but for some reason the smell of bananas is what I can smell the best. It's like I am a shark, except that it isn't minute portions of blood I can detect it is bananas (and I am not a fish). Anyway, I wished I was hungry because I should really eat those bananas before it gets to the point where the only thing I can smell is bananas. Unfortunately I wasn't hungry so I just left them there. A few minutes later I am sitting down watching TV and I could smell the bananas and I could smell the coffee. It was like I had the banana smell going in one nostril and the coffee smell going in the other, and when they met on the inside magic happened. I knew I had to somehow duplicate in my mouth what was happening in my nose. I poured myself a cup and grabbed a banana. I took a sip of coffee and a bite of banana and chewed them up together... no good. All I had was the distinct taste of coffee in my mouth as well as the distinct taste of banana. I wasn't looking to simply ingest both at the same time, I was looking for the essence of banana to be infused with the taste of the coffee - I was looking for Banafee. I tried a few other experiments, including dunking and mashing, and then I hit on it. What I came up with deserves to be passed down to my ancestors, but since I don't think I'll be a mom anytime soon I am going to have to write the recipe here:


1 pot Coffee
1 Banana (peeled, slightly brown spotted)

Brew a pot of coffee, wait until finished
Pour a cup of coffee, cream and sugar to your liking
Stick Banana in the pot
Drink the cup of coffee

After the cup of coffee is finished the rest of the pot will have turned into Banaffee.
Drink drink yum.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Is sexual identity hard-wired by genes? - Sexual Health -

Is sexual identity hard-wired by genes? - Sexual Health -

Christmas in July II

On April 5th my psychiatrist made a referall to the hormone doctor for me. Ever since that day I have been checking the mailbox for a letter with the same eagerness an 8 year old feels on Christmas morning, except that I don't know when Christmas is, and every time I check there has been nothing under the tree. Here it is June 10th, TWO MONTHS LATER and still no word. I am beginning to get upset. I really want these hormones - they contain what my body has been missing for it's entire existence. I truly believe that a body knows how to make it's consciousness crave things, like if you are on a no carb diet, eventually you *will* want to eat an entire loaf of bread in one sitting. A body knows what it needs and my body knows I am needing some estrogen. So this craving coupled with this cycle of anticipation and disappointment everyday as I check the mail over this two month (so far) wait is driving me insane.

Well then today my phone rings, it is Dr Wilson's office! Guess What! I can officially start hanging decorations, because Christmas has been scheduled for July 12th, 9AM

Thursday, June 09, 2005

UFO? Angel? Who can say?

So a very weird thing happened to me today. I went in to work, same as everyday, and the day was completely uneventful... until I went to leave.

I walked out into the parking lot and the first thing I saw sort of caught me off guard. It seemed vaguely familiar, as if I had seen it before, but so long ago I couldn't remember. It was attached to my feet and spread across the pavement. It looked like a dark outline of my body that mimicked my every move. The sight of it made me stop dead in my tracks, and as soon as I had stopped moving I noticed some weird feeling on my arms. It was as if some external force was warming them up, like some kind of weird radiation was hitting them. I felt the same sensation on the back of my neck and I turned around and saw some incredibly bright thing up in the sky. It was so bright I couldn't even look at it. What was it? I don't know, but I was scared. What was happening?? The entire sky was affected too, the area around the bright thing was all blue! What happened to the sky I am used to!?? Where are the clouds and rain drops???

Well I knew I wasn't getting any answers standing there out in the open so I ran to the safety my car and drove straight home and checked the internet. What a relief! As it turns out Saskatoon was just experiencing something called a 'nice day'.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Christmas in July

Yesterday I was invited over to Heather's mom's house for a big turkey dinner. I enjoyed being there yesterday. I have known that family for over ten years, so it feels like home. I like that I was there when Mark was born, and that Jenny was 5 years old. I've got to see them grow up - Jenny now actually has a learner's license and took me for a drive yesterday! The best part though was when Heather's mom Cheryl said Grace. I am not one for grace usually, I usually look around and count how many people have their eyes closed and head bowed, but I liked this one inparticular. She was talking about family, and said that family goes beyond blood and at that moment she gave my hand a squeeze. I have always felt a part of that family through Heather, but it felt really good when Cheryl let me know me that I don't need Heather to be included in her family - I am just part of it. Someone said that because of the big turkey dinner it was like Christmas in July, but I think I was the only one who walked away with a gift.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sarah's Whining.

I have had a really good experience with this whole transgender thing compared to many, so I really have no reason to complain, but here I go.
I have three credit cards, and as you know I have changed my name. That meant I had to call each credit card issuer to change my name on their files. In each case it was the same: I call, tell them some portion of my card number, answer a series of security questions and then we are on to the business of the call. In all cases I was given instructions of what documents they required and where to send it. Then when the card arrived I just had to activate it through the same process as before - tell them some part of the number and answer some questions.
My best experience was with MBNA mastercard when I called to find out how to change my name. The woman was very understanding and respectful. My worst experience was also with MBNA mastercard when I called to activate that replacement card. I typed in part of the number as requested, I answered the security questions, I even called from my home phone number that they have on file, yet the woman did not want to activate my card for me.
"Sir, you do not sound like a 'Sarah'. Is that a woman's name?"
I actually totally understand her dilemma. I don't sound like a Sarah. I wasn't even trying to sound feminine at all, so I definitely sounded male, and on top of that I had a bad cold and so overall I sounded like a male frog, not a 'Sarah'. I said "I know, it's weird. It is a woman's name, but it is my legal name - I just changed it, I am male to female transgendered."
Well this is where it went bad in my opinion. The above part is fine with me, she was just being safe. The next part is where I feel like she let her own opinions govern the direction of the call. I think this because if I said my name was Jacques she wouldn't say "I am sorry sir, you don't sound French." or if I said I was Timmy she wouldn't say "I am sorry sir, you sound too old to be named Timmy." what she said to me was
"I am sorry sir, that may be, but you just do not sound like a 'Sarah' I cannot process this activation."
"Why does the sound of my voice matter? My name IS Sarah, I just said I changed it. That is why you guys sent me a replacement card."
"Sir, I am sorry. Do you have any documentation you can send us to verify the name change?"
"I had to send it before you guys would issue a replacement card... are you not looking at my account information? AND STOP CALLING ME SIR!"
"...uh... I don't know what else to call you sir."
"Try ma'am or Sarah. I answered the security questions, so can you please just activate the card?"
Well she made me answer all the questions over again and added a couple more (amking a point of calling me 'sir' with every question). As it turned out I not only still knew my card number, birthdate and mother's maiden name from when she asked a few minutes before, but I also knew my address and phone number. When we were all done she said "Your card is now activated sir. Have a nice day."

I write this story down because I am frustrated, but then I take a step back and feel guilty. I feel guilty because I have it so good and I can only imagine the treatment other mtf's have had to endure. So to all you transwomen out there before me I apologize to you for being upset over something so minor. I should actually be writing a thank you to you all because it was you who started educating the world about us, it was you who by living your lives as the women you are that have made it so that my only problems so far amount to a petty woman calling me sir.