Friday, August 31, 2007
A block from mom's I had to pass by my ex-friend Rob's parent's house - this is where Rob currently lives. As I walked by I had a few minutes to wonder what he was up to these days. I wondered where he was in life, if he has a girlfriend, if he is working, if he is happy... It seems weird that as a kid I wasn't supposed to knock when I visited, I was told to walk right in, but now as adults I'm completely shut out. He hasn't spoken to me in a civil tone in almost three years.
I gave up on wondering what he was up to because my attention shifted to some of the things we used to do as kids. It was probably about 22 years ago that we used to play a game called "Slingshot vs Pellet Gun". It was a game a lot like hide and seek, but once you found the person... well, the goal of the game was pretty simple: the first one to shoot the other player wins.
We weren't that dumb though. We didn't actually shoot each other, we'd just shoot near each other. Still... more than once I heard the sound of a pellet as it whizzed too too close past my ear. This particular night though we called the game without a winner because we had some unexpected players show up.
It was snowing that night, probably the first snow of the year. I gave Rob a head start and shortly after I went looking for him. According to our rules, you could go anywhere you wanted on the block I lived on, and I mean anywhere. It is only a city block, but when you consider the back alley, the front yards, back yards, up trees and on top of buildings, this is a pretty big area. Luckily it was proving easy to follow Rob's tracks in the freshly fallen snow.
I followed cautiously. Rob was crafty and it would have been just like him to backtrack down his own tracks, jump off in some other direction, and wait behind a garbage can until I walked by. When I saw his tracks stop at a fence, it took me a minute or two to determine it was safe for me to approach. I looked over the top of the fence and saw that Rob had climbed it, and then walked balance-beam style down the length of it between two yards.
I did my best to walk on top the fence too, and I saw his tracks move to the roof of a shed, and from the shed on to a garage. I went where they led, up over the crest of the garage roof. When I looked over I saw the tracks went halfway down the other side, then it looked like he sat down and creeped towards the edge so that he didn't slip and fall off.
I again followed until I was sitting on the edge of the garage with my feet dangling down. I saw tracks 10 feet below indicating Rob had jumped off and ran down the block. I guess I didn't notice there were several sets of tracks going off in the same direction because I was too busy making sure Rob wasn't waiting in ambush. Suddenly I heard people coming out the front door of the house that was attached to the garage I was sitting on.
I looked over and saw three men standing on the doorstep looking up at me. One of them pointed and said, "There he is again!!" One of the others said, "Get him!"
I jumped off and ran like the wind. They came after me, but thankfully my Slingshot vs Pellet Gun experience meant I had the home-field advantage and it didn't take long to lose them. I went a round-a-bout way back to my house and found Rob there waiting for me. We decided we should just stay in and play video games rather than end up in another foot chase with angry neighbours.
I didn't win our game that night, but I ended up with a pretty good memory. I'm glad. Rob doesn't talk to me anymore, so memories like that are all I've got.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sarah: I guess that means I have to be Forrest because I am the only one of us that has a carrot.
Kara: PMG Sarah! So that makes me the drug abusing slut that dies from aids? Thanks a lot!! And you call yourself my friend...pfft!
Sarah: So what if she was a slut, she was hot. If you don't like it you can be Bubba.
Kara: Good point. She was really skinny too. I think I will stick to being a drug abusing slut who dies of aids. I don't want to be Bubba.
He has a carrot.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I couldn't even tell you how I picked the name Sarah. I picked it maybe 25 years ago. Even back then I knew I was a girl inside, and at some point I picked out a name for myself. I remember I tossed around a dozen or so possibilites before I settled on 'Sarah', but I just don't recall how I came up with it. Whenever I've often tried to remember, the TV show "Little House on the Prairie" always comes to mind. I've checked though, and there were no actors or regular characters named Sarah. I really have no idea. I think it was just a popular name that I thought was pretty.
My middle name originates in computers and computer games. Back when I was a kid there was a role-playing game called Ultima IV. In the game you play a character travelling in a fantasy land. Along the way you meet several characters that will join you and help you in your quest. One of them was named Jaana, which I always read as "Jan, ah". I didn't think much about it at the time, but I played the game so much that I didn't forget the name even years later.
In university I took a first year Astronomy class and was paired up with a woman named Jana-Dee. She was very pretty and smart in her own right, but my favorite part about her was her first name. Well... I liked the first half of her first name anyway, I didn't care much for the -Dee part.
A couple more years go by until I bought Ultima Online - a massively multiplayer online game. When I had to pick a name for my character I remembered the name Jaana from the previous game, and I remembered the name Jana-Dee from university, and before I knew it, my character was Jana the thief. Since then I have used the name Jana in most games that I play. After a while I began to consider it an alternate first name.
When it was time to change my name I had been calling myself Sarah in my head for 20-some years, and I had been calling myself Jana in computer games for maybe 8 years. I decided that both names were me, and there was no reason I needed to choose between them, so I picked them both. The world sees them as first and middle names, but really they are just two first names that I couldn't decide between.
P.S. Shortly before I changed my name I began playing World of Warcraft where I made two characters: Saraa the mage, and Janaa the priest. Sometimes when people asked how I picked my names I've just taken the short route and said I named myself after my warcraft characters.
P.P.S. I didn't even consider this at all when I was choosing my names, but afterwards I thought it was cool -my mom's name is Sharon Jean. I think Sarah Jana is a good name for the daughter of a Sharon Jean.
I shouldn't complain because given the age I began my transition, I haven't been too cursed with overly masculine features, but let's face it - most of my transition success is due to women's clothing, jewelery, makeup and a feminine hair style. If you get me out of my clothes, the illusion quickly fades - and that is one of the reasons why I am always clothed in the presence of others (the other reason is that I can't seem to get a date these days.)
Hair is like clothes for the skull. As a transsexual I use hair in exactly the same two very important ways that I use clothes. The first way is that I keep it feminine to help present a feminine appearance, and the second way is that I use it to hide my non-feminine features. The problem with hair that I don't have with clothes, is that it doesn't take much of a wind to blow my hair into a position where it stops hiding my flaws.
Unfortunately for me, our species has significant amount of what is called sexual dimorphism. This means that males and females, although the same species, have differences in form and appearance. If men and women were only roughly the same shape and size, life would be a lot easier for us transsexuals, but clearly there are substantial differences.
The easiest differences to spot of course, include the fact that women have pronounced breasts and hips, and that typically women are smaller than men. Some differences that are harder to notice on anything but a subconscious level involve the skull. Men have a pronounced brow ridge - similar but not as emphasized as the kind you see in gorillas or cavemen (female readers: you can probably extend further comparisons along these lines if you like). Further, a male skull is somewhat dome-shaped above this ridge, where a female skull is typically a continuous curve from the eyes to the top of the skull.
Compared to a woman's skull, men also have a broader chin, as well as a more defined angle where the chin approaches the ear. We may not notice these differences, but we use them all the time to differentiate between male and female. It is exactly these differences that make me feel self-conscious when I don't have hair hiding the sharply-angled and misshapenly-masculine bits of my skull.
Again, I don't want to be a whiner. I think I am pretty lucky facially in the pass-for-female department. On cursory examination I seem to have somewhat soft, feminine facial features, but when my hair is blown back, it reveals the true male nature of my boy-skull. Any appearance of feminine softness is replaced with craggy, hard looking angles along my forehead, and along the sides of my chin and any illusion of femaleness disappears as surely as if I had just taken off all my clothes and let my wiener hang out.
I will illustrate this using... illustrations. You can see in the first image below how I look with hair framing my face (and sunlight reflecting off my pudgy cheeks). Considering I'm male I think I pass alright as a woman. In the second picture though you see what I look like when my hair is blown back. It is hardly feminine, in fact, it is down-right scary.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
In May when I reported to work downtown for the first time I began parking in the lot next to the building. The monthly spots were all taken and I was told there is a one-year waiting list for reserved spots, but they don't reserve out the entire lot. They leave several spots open so that other people can still find a spot. They call this meter-rate parking. This means you go to the meter out front, put in money and put your ticket on the dashboard indicating how long you paid for. As a meter-parker I could park for the entire business day for $5.
As time went on, I found it difficult to work in the office. Mostly this was because I didn't actually have an office of my own. I don't even mean I shared an office, I mean I had a corner in a well worn pathway between the offices and the reception area. I had an L-shaped wall that was about 5 feet tall and partially enclosed my desk, but did nothing to prevent me from hearing all and seeing everything but the front door. I am quite sure this nook was built with one of those large photocopiers in mind, maybe a water-cooler. No matter what it was designed for, it didn't suit a person at all. I eventually decided I'd get more work done from home and by the end of June I just stopped going. When I quit working downtown, parking was $6 per day.
Some time has passed and now I have to work on a project with other people, so I am working in the office again. This time I just set up shop in the meeting room and it works out much better for me. I didn't ask if I could work in there though... so I just hope people don't arrive for a meeting one day while I am sitting at the table working and rocking out to the 80's. Earlier that morning on my first day I pulled in to the lot and found a spot. I was surprised how many were empty. I had my six bucks in coins ready but when I got to the meter I noticed that parking is now $7 per day. Between May and August parking fees had gone up twice and it was now 40% more than it was three and a half months ago!
I'm not saying the increase to $7 made it suddenly too much to park. Even when it was $5 I thought it was too much for me. To combat parking prices I always just parked across the river and then walked across to my building. It was only a ten minute walk, and at the time it saved me $25 a week in parking. Now it would save me $35, so it is very worth it. This morning I pulled on to where I had normally parked a couple months ago and saw that the entire area was now called the "Varsity View Bullshit Residential Parking Permit Zone". The sign said that if you want to park there between 8am and 5pm you need a pass proving you are a resident. This means that I have to park even further away. I tell ya, parking is just getting more and more annoying.
I wouldn't lie.
It isn't the inconvenience of walking further that is annoying. It really only adds a minute to my walk. The annoying part is because I am cynical and the I couldn't help wonder about the reason this area was suddenly full of no parking signs. The houses in the area are very nice, very expensive houses and most have completely unobstructed views of the river from any of their three storeys. I couldn't help but imagine that these rich people rallied together to prevent City Hall from allowing us commoners-who-can't-afford-parking from polluting their streets with cars during business-hours-when-they-aren't-home-anyway. Those poor rich people have it so rough.
The expense of parking is actually quite ridiculous. If you think about it, my apartment is $700 a month. That is for an entire apartment - shelter, comfort, space, security, privacy, facilities, applicances - 24 hours a day, every day. If I carried that time frame through to a metered parking spot it would be $21 per day over 30 days a month. You'd be paying $630 a month for a 10 by 6 plot of pavement. At the current rate of increase, it will soon cost $700 a month to park. At that point you might as well rent an apartment downtown and drive your car into it. At least that way your car would be behind a couple of locked doors, it would be out of the elements, and maybe it would even have access to a nice view.
If I waited long enough I could certainly save money by getting a monthly parking pass. I think it is like $100. The funny thing though is that ALL the lots close to my building are full. I'd likely have to park several blocks away and walk for five minutes anyway. The most attractive option I guess is to park for free and walk ten minutes, so that is what I will do. It is the healthy choice too, so I don't really mind... but I am not looking forward to that walk in the middle of winter. By then my lot will probably be $10 per day because what the parking lot managers know is that most people would rather pay than be inconvenienced or placed in discomfort. I'm sure their mouths are just watering as they wait for -25 degree temperatures... the perfect weather for hosing their customers.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I one-hundred-percent believe that transsexualism is purely biological. There is no choice in the matter at all, you are either born this way or you are not. Many people think this is untrue, they think it is a choice. If you ever hear this, don't believe it. The people who say it are not transsexuals, so don't listen to them. Believe someone with experience in the matter, like me. The truth is we are born like this, and just as kids discover their own individuality, this is just another thing we discover about ourselves - usually at an early age. I can't say for sure when I realized I was transgendered, but I definitely knew by the time the original Bionic Woman came on TV. I remember I used to go out and play and pretend I was her all the time. As much fun as I had playing, the sad part is that I felt I should hide it from everyone. I think I was somewhere between five and seven years old when I developed my first 'cover story'. All the while I was playing 'bionic woman', I would just tell people I was playing 'six million dollar man'.
I think the reason I was so interested in this show was because as a kid I was very interested in heroes and science fiction. Through my dad and my uncle I had hundreds, maybe even thousands of comic books. I had Spider-man, Superman, Batman... I had all the "
I think I am not alone in remembering the Bionic Woman in this way. There is a scene in the new show where Jamie escapes from a government hospital and runs away as fast as she can through a forest - and with her bionic legs that is pretty fast. Meanwhile, a minivan carrying a woman and her young daughter is travelling on the highway, parallel to the forest. The daughter looks out the window and says, "Mommy! There's a lady out there running really fast, like as fast as a car!"
The mother says, "Sweety, what did I tell you about making things up?"
The girl has a look of admiration on her face and says, "I just think it's cool that a girl could do that."
That is exactly what I thought when I was her age!
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
In 2005 I went to our work Christmas party that involved a little bit of bowling and a whole lot of booze. Up until this night I had been wearing an Invisi-bra nearly every day. An Invisi-bra is essentially a pair of silicone lifts, but they are connected together with a hook and are coated with a sticky substance that adheres amazingly well to skin. The packaging asserted they were good for any occasion, and to this point I didn't think that maybe drunken bowling wouldn't be an exception.
Despite what happened during bowling night, the Invisi-Bra is something I'd recommend to any new transsexual just beginning to transition. I initially got it for two reasons: 1) because I thought it might be a comfortable way of appearing to have a bustline and 2) because back then I couldn't even fill out an A cup bra, and size 38 training bras are hard to come by. I wore it by unhooking the cups from each other and I'd just stick it to whatever I had in that department already.
I liked the Invisi-bra so much I had two pairs of them. I thought this was best because the sticky part grabbed on to lint as well as it did skin, so if you didn't wear it brand new clean and dry every day then it wouldn't be snug, and since you are not supposed to wear a bra over them, I was very interested in having them stick snuggly to my skin.
The night of the bowling party I decided I would wear a pair of jeans and a long sleeved shirt that I'd leave unbuttoned so you could see the satiny black camisole underneath. After so many months of the Invisi-bra performing flawlessly during day after day of office work I had cultivated a false sense of security regarding it's abilities. As a result I didn't even consider that I should wear a bra over them that night. I just stuck the cups on and went to the party otherwise unsupported. That was my big mistake.
The problem is that the bowling alley was crammed packed with other offices have similar drunken bowling parties. Afterall, what better way to celebrate the birth of Jesus* than to go bowling right? The place was hot as it was, and the activity coupled with several bottles of whatever alcohol was placed in front of me made me feel even hotter. My breasts were feeling uncomfortable as they sat under the unbreathing insulation of the Invisi-bra, and they retaliated by becoming sweaty.
It was the seventh frame of the second game when I walked up to take my turn. I don't know how much I had to drink by then, but Patrick had counted for me. When he told me the grand total I was sure he was lying. Whatever the number, I knew I was drunk from the simple reason that my bowling performance had been progressively worse with every frame. When I grabbed a ball from the ball-return and walked on to the lane my mind was not on my Invisi-bra cups, it was completely focused on trying to bowl in a straight line.
My first two balls were not very successful. I was determined to make my last ball count. I took a few steps down the lane and I let my arm arc backwards. As my arm moved, the skin along my chest must have stretched a little and just as I reach the apogee of my swing, the left invisi-cup fell off.
It all seemed to happen in slow motion. I had just begun swinging the ball forward, and could feel the cup making it's way down my side. I had a choice at this moment. I could continue with my shot and follow-through with a natural motion and perhaps knock down some pins, OR I could let go of the ball prematurely and grab my fake boob before it hit the ground. Naturally I chose the second option. I let go of the ball and squeezed my arm against my side to catch the lift before it fell. I remember watching the ball hit the gutter about a metre from the foul line. I took advantage of having my back to everyone and grabbed the cup in my hand and held it at my side and under my shirt, so I could walk off the lane without anyone seeing it.
When I got back to my bench I sat down, grabbed my purse, and discreetly deposited the cup. Suddenly Tara sat down with me to chat. With one boob in place, and the other in my purse I was feeling very lop-sided. I was nervous, but I managed to chat casually for a few minutes even though I knew my next turn was approaching. I was quietly stressing out, I had to do something fast. Luckily Tara was a little drunk too, and I don't think she noticed as I put my purse under my shirt camisole. Then I reached up inside, pulled the other cup free, and let it fall into the purse with it's sister - just in time for me to take my next turn.
That was the day that I vowed bust enhancers like that just were not worth it. An extra cup size is nice, but definately not worth dropping a boob or two in the middle of lane 11.
* I can never remember if Jesus was born on Christmas, or if he died on Christmas. I personally think neither actually happened, so that's probably why I can never remember which made-up event is fake-true.
Remember when I mentioned the 'lifts' in my last story? I bought them to help fill out the bustier I wore under my bridesmaid dress. I think everyone has an idea of what a lift might be, but just in case you are not sure; it is an insert that fits inside your bra that helps you fill it out properly. They are funny things because they are meant to be clothes-fitting-aids, but have the potential to be vanity-boosters as well.
When I last wore them the only purpose was to make my clothes fit. It was a happy side-benefit that it made it look like I had larger breasts. Today though... my clothes already fit. I don't know why I pulled them out of the drawer at all, but I am pretty sure I felt that I needed a vanity boost. More accurately I think I just wanted a boob-boost.
I was going to meet Jenna for lunch. Before I left I took a look in the mirror and decided I should throw on a necklace. The one I wanted to wear was nowhere to be seen, so I opened up my dresser drawer that usually contains such missing items. I didn't find the necklace, but I noticed the lifts. I continued my search and found the necklace and put it on. I looked at myself in the mirror and I was satisfied... but then I heard a little voice that said, "C'mon, just put 'em on for a sec..." I knew what the voice was referring to.
I went back to the drawer, pulled out the lifts and slid them into my bra. The word lift makes it sound like it just lifts your breast up, but really the part that sits under your breast is the thinnest. The padding is significantly thicker around the outside curve. When I put them in my bra I noticed a dramatic improvement in size. Suddenly my A cupped bra was containing enough material better suited to a B. My once innocent looking v-neck t-shirt looked a lot more daring than it did a moment earlier, so I grabbed a thin white shirt and wore it unbuttoned over top. Everything felt tight and deceptively secure, but I liked how it looked.
Despite liking how it looked, I had years ago sworn off any sort of bust enhancement like this*. After checking myself out in the mirror for a second or two I went to take the lifts out, but then I heard a voice say, "Just leav'em in. What's it gonna hurt?" My inner voice has a lazy way of speaking, but for some reason I keep listening to it. A moment later my lifts and I went to meet Jenna for lunch.
Before I met Jenn I needed to get some money. I pulled in to a drive-thru ATM behind a Windstar minivan being driven by a woman. The van was stopped ten feet back from the machine leaving a big vehicle-sized empty spot at the ATM. I assumed the driver was digging her card out of her purse or something so I spent the next 60 seconds waiting patiently. I still had several minutes before I had to meet Jenn so I wasn't going to be late, but after only another 30 seconds I started to get perturbed.
I began to wonder if I had time to drive around the building and back up to the ATM before this lady found her card, but then suddenly her vehicle began to move in a slow, deliberate manner (emphasis on slow). She was clearly a drive-thru-noob and she made constant course corrections to find a spot between crashing into the building and swinging out beyond arm's length of the buttons. When she stopped moving you could see she opted for maximum safety through maximum distance. I was hoping she had really long arms because she had over a metre between the ATM and her van. She ended up leaning out so far of her window that I could see her husband holding her by the belt so she didn't fall out.
After they got their cash and drove away, it was my turn at the ATM. I don't think this is where it happened, but I can't be sure. I know that I was leaning against the door when I punched in my requests on the ATM, but I think Jenn might have mentioned it if something was wrong, and all throughout lunch she didn't mention my boobs once.
After lunch I stopped at 7-11 to get some gas. I could have knocked something loose there I suppose. I distinctly remember the clerk looking from the cash register to my chest and then to my eyes before he handed me my change. I liked it, it made me feel good. For some reason I felt proud even though I was artificially enhanced. I certainly didn't think that he was checking out my chest for any reason other than normal male behavior, perhaps encouraged by my now larger rack. Thinking back on it though, maybe there was a different reason altogether.
My final stop was downtown to pay my rent. I found a good parking spot just down the block from the property management office and I walked the rest of the way. It was a beautiful day and I felt pretty as I walked down the street. A guy who resembled a leprechaun looked up at me and gave me a twinkly smile. I smiled back. I was in high spirits when I walked into the office building.
The counter top at the accounting desk is quite high, and I usually find myself with my arms folded on the counter, and then I lean on my arms as I look down at the woman counting my money. That too could have pushed a lift out of whack, but if it did I didn't notice it. I chatted for a moment about the weather finally being nice, but from her responses I got the impression that the woman wanted to get rid of me quickly. I just thought she was busy and had work to do, but in hindsight, maybe she just felt uncomfortable because of something she noticed.
About fifteen minutes later I was home. I had enjoyed my time out with the extra volume, but I was eager to get those lifts out because they made my bra too tight. Up until the moment I looked in the mirror I was oblivious to anything being wrong with my appearance. The moment I looked at my reflection my heart sunk into my stomach. I immediately saw what I now imagine both the 7-11 clerk and the woman at the desk had seen as well. One of my lifts had lifted itself right out of my bra and was clearly visible to anyone who cared to look.