30 chest hairs and how to be OK with changing slowly

This morning my girlfriend inspected my facial hair progression as she often does, and she said a corner mustache hair was much more red than the other hairs. I said, “They don’t call me Redbeard for nothing!” (These are the jokes I always make. I’m so sorry to everyone who knows me).

Since we met, she’s been pointing out my changes and it makes this frustratingly long journey to beard fulfillment a little more bearable. It just occurs to her to check out my chin and make delightful comments like, “This is grown in so much since we met! Do you remember when you just had a tiny patch right here?”

She’s truly a gem among us.

I spend a lot less time looking at my chest. I think the critical need for top surgery makes it difficult to look down and then look back up again. But today, I’m feeling good, and I decided to actually count those chest hairs.

It seemed forEVER there were about 16 of them. But lately I’ve noticed a little growth spurt, and I was not wrong–there are 30 now. I realize many men have hundreds, thousands of chest hairs. But like, this is my slow progression and it’s okay.

Note: I also have two back hairs, and that’s only what I can see over my shoulder. We won’t focus on this.

Tonight, I’ve been playing around in my Poems folder, and I re-read those five poems I was telling you about yesterday. It was a disappointing exercise. First of all, there aren’t even five poems, there are four. And I had to delete one because it was so bad. So now I have three poems and I don’t really love any of them.

I went to try and make some initial edits and I just had to quit. It feels like I’ve completely forgotten how to write. Poems aren’t even something you can measure, except maybe the number of them, or the number of lines or whatever. But even through the subjectivity there is this expectation I’m holding over myself, that I have to be improving or performing always, that I have to either be the best I can possibly be, or be moving quickly to get there.

One of the biggest obstacles that holds me back sometimes is that I am a little bit bad about practicing self-care. The classic example is that I probably took 1/3 of my T shots I was supposed to in 2015-early 2016. That may even be generous.

If confused all the medical professionals–don’t you WANT to be taking T? Should we get you off of it? Are you actually trans? Why aren’t you taking this thing you’ve fought so hard for?

When in actuality, it had nothing to do with the ~legitimacy~ of my trans-ness. It was just that I put off some things that are good for me.

And it has contributed to my very slow hair growth. My own actions kinda made this happen. How is that supposed to make me feel?

I’ve been thinking about moving slowly for a couple weeks. Since I started #180to180, I have been making very small decisions, just a handful every day, to better my health and habits. I don’t deprive myself of simple pleasures so much as just be more conscientious of what’s happening with my actions. It’s an ongoing project. I’ve lost five pounds so far.

I think if this were a couple of years ago, I’d be frustrated it wasn’t 10 pounds. I’d be constantly re-evaluating to see if I’m actually a failure after all. But I am really proud of these five little pounds. I feel like the slowness of the project is helping make it more of a life change than a phase.

I am learning to be more patient. And still, the beard grows, the beard grows.

(and the poems simmer)

(and the back hairs thicken)

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Hang up your bow ties

I told my (now ex-) therapist it feels weird to go to work after a night of feeling like hell. I said it feels disrespectful almost, like it feels like I’m not honoring my needs or something. (This is not a ploy to get out of work; I like my job quite a bit, and that’s significant because I don’t like many things right now). (By the way this therapist laughed at me and that’s part of why I’m moving on).

I know it sounds weird. But imagine this: You have a life-threatening illness but you don’t know when you’ll die. You are lying there one night and you feel like everything in your life is about to end right at this moment. It’s not even a suspicion it may happen–you feel you know it to be true.

You start preparing. You start thinking of things that will suck after you die for the ones who love you, so you do things like clean your room a little bit or write down your cell phone/computer passwords so it’s easier to access your contacts. Throw in a load of laundry. Quickly text a couple people you love them. Dump and soak days-old coffee mugs. Hang up your bow ties.

You’re prepped. You’ve felt this many times before but this is the real time. This is when it’s actually going to happen and you’re ready.

.

Then you wake up to your alarm. It’s 7:03 and you should have gotten up already if you want to get to work on time.

That’s what it feels like for me, every day. When I say it’s disrespectful, I really just mean it’s a fucking whirlwind. I go to work, I sit at my cube, I get visitors who want to hear I’m well because they care about me. My boss wants to hear I’m gonna do well not only because she’s a manager but also because she cares about my life. I go through some motions. I can have like up to 3 hours of feeling pretty good. I get in the zone. But then sometimes the fatigue of constantly dying sets in. And you know what? It feels a little insane to be at work.

But as long as I still wake up when it’s 7:03 and as long as I continue to perform at least most as well as I normally do, then I’m kind of expected to be chill about things. If I were in crisis of course I could go the the hospital–but wait, I’m often in crisis, lol. What’s the crisis of crises?

If you’re wondering what you can do to help, I thought of two things:

  1. Do not expect me to perform for you. Create a space where I can be good or bad or whatever I am, but don’t make me talk about wherever I’m at if I don’t want to (which I sometimes don’t). My job cannot be to take care of you or reassure you because I’m exhausted already. 🙂
  2. If you think of me, text me. (Or leave a comment, or PM me, or whatever). It doesn’t have to be anything substantial.  It can just be “Hey I thought of you when I was on Timehop today” or “I saw a ginger and I thought of the Weasleys first but then I thought of you next.” Even if I don’t reply right away or like ever, being thought of is pretty nice when I feel isolated.

Cool News Tidbit To Cut The Bite: I’ve lost 4 pounds already which is p cool. #180to180

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Becoming ever-so-swoll

I’ve worked out twice.

I know what you’re thinking: “You’ve worked out twice?? You call that swoll?? I’m in the gym every day burning fat and taking names and you wanna tell me you’re swoll??”

Oh, a definition may be in order:

swoll: adjective: slang–strong, buff, athletic, muscular, hyper-masculine flavor of attractive, often used ironically among effeminate men such as myself

So anyway, I’ve worked out twice and I certainly don’t look different but I FEEL different. This isn’t just an emotional change, either. If you squeeze by bicep and feel where the bicep meets the [other muscle group] in my arm there’s like some definition there. You may not believe me but I invite you to coax me (I can get shy about my body builder status) to flex for you sometime and you can feel it!

I like how I said “you can feel it” like it’s a treat or something.

This is the wonder of my body + weights. I notice a difference pretty much right away. I’m sure others feel that way too, but it always surprises me. I still got a gut and love handles and a healthy butt, but the muscle-making process is already going very well. It is so encouraging!

I’ve also lost about .5 pounds. It’s not much, but this may be the first time in months (years?) where I’ve seen the number go down from the last time I weighed myself instead of up. And #180to180 is pretty important to me, but it’s the first 180 I care about more, probably, and that’s the turning my life 180 degrees around part.

I still eat pie. I had biscuits and gravy twice in 12 hours. I’m not some kind of spectacular beacon of health and wellness. But I feel like a more authentic approach at my own speed is way better anyway? Don’t ya think?

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A home improvement project

Cw: tons of body image stuff, weight loss

From being unable to see that my own fly was down (because there’s a gut in the way) to feeling insecure in my relationship even though there is literally no reason to be, I’ve felt pretty bad about myself in the last year. I think weight loss resolutions are a little bit cliché but I must do something.

I strongly believe that weight loss is also an industry, but as I’ve said before, just because I think that doesn’t mean I can outsmart it or somehow live above it when that’s how our society operates: under the assumption that fat = unhealthy and fat = unattractive. I believe this is fucked up and downright incorrect. I feel most “overweight” people are cute, beautiful, handsome, you name it. (And also, attractiveness is enormously overrated in and of itself). And just because I’m considered obese or something, it doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy (from a physical standpoint). I have terrific blood pressure and I am not at risk for diabetes or anything. Mentally of course I’m unwell, but being overweight is only tangentially related. So the health thing is bunk and the unattractive thing is bunk.

But I must recognize that for whatever reason, being overweight is not helping me, and if I can be less overweight, I think a lot of things will improve as a result. For one, I’ll be more active, which helps a whole bunch of things; for another, I’ll be eating a little better/less, which will help me feel a  bit healthier (for example, when you eat greasy fast food for a week or lighter meals for a week, you can feel the difference).

I cannot say enough that I do not judge anyone who considers themselves fat. I think fatphobia is real and I’m a victim of it, both from others and myself. It’s fucked up that we are all under this spell that skinny is the only way to be. Jfc.

All that said, I’ve finally come up with a way to get this project going.

And it’s just that—a project. I think people usually use words like “journey” and I think that’s a valid metaphor, but for me I kind of see it as a project. A home (human vessel) improvement project. What I HAVE been doing is nothing. Nothing is not working. So I’m going to try to do SOMETHING and see if that works.

The goal is to use some knowledge from past experiences with trying to ~be healthier~ but mostly toss everything out. Every single time I’ve tried to be healthier I’ve stopped for some reason, usually after a pretty short time. My hope is to correct that, make this sustainable.

For that reason, I’ve set a tangible goal of being 180 pounds.

A few notes on this: according to my height and gender, I’m supposed to be no more than 165. I think that’s bullshit. If I’m muscly and 180 I’m pumped about that. I don’t need to be SKINNY. I’m okay being a “big guy” if that’s what being 180 means.

I’m not going to share my original weight. If you pay extremely close attention to how much I lose per week when I do share that information, you could probably make an educated guess. But I never ever want to share my weight and make people think that anyone who’s that weight or more is somehow less-than. I do not think that and I do not want to come across that way. I weigh the most I ever have, and I feel bad about myself even though I shouldn’t. That’s all you need to know.

I hope to make this project to becoming 180 pounds as positive as possible. I want to be real with you if I have difficulty, but I also want it to be like “hey this is home improvement” and not “hey I deserve to suffer.” I want to make this about trying a new, good thing for myself. And with a tangible goal, I think that’s possible.

I’ve even come up with a hashtag. So, 180 is a popular number (more than 179, for example), because it’s a common amount of DEGREES. So like, turning 180 degrees is turning around. I want to turn my life around. It’s so obvious. My project is called #180to180. Fuckin’ shit up.

(I’m also going to use the ever-neglected hashtags I created in another life: #BuildingADreamBoat and #BuffAndBeardy)

In the past, I’ve been really excited about the tracking process, where I’ve focused hard on counting calories and recording all my cardio down to the minute. But then I either get distracted by tracking and lose sight of the actual objective, OR I get bored of it and then get bored of exercising as a result.

I think I can do a little tracking but I no longer want that to be a motivator. I want to work out more and go for walks more and open more pickle jars and be more conscious about my eating and see where it takes me. It’s an overall, all-the-time mission that drives this project. I got a number in mind. Let’s do this or w/e.

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