It's my hope to post entries here about my life and experiences as a trans-woman who also happens to have bipolar disorder. This is my way of making my voice be heard, and bringing attention to the issues that myself and others like me, face every day.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Three Years

I just realized that today makes 3 years since I started on hormones. It's hard to believe it's been that long already. If you asked me 3 years ago if I thought I'd make it this far I probably would have said no. I guess at least I have that to be proud of, I made a choice and I've stuck with it. I wish I could say I feel like celebrating, but I realize I've still got so much farther to go. I guess waiting for an answer about surgery is one reason that makes me reluctant to let myself get too happy. My answer to anyone who told me back then that I would regret this one day and change my mind is, it's been 3 years and I haven't. I'm still glad I made the choice to transition, it's the one choice I've made in my life that I know 100% for sure was the right one to make.

Things are looking up for me right now, but I'm still dealing with a bit of depression. I think it's just from me being worried about surgery. I know worrying won't help at all, but it's one of those things that creeps into my mind one way or another even when I try not to let it. At least I have my painting and my photography to keep me busy. I've finished my next commission and started on another, so I stand to make 40 or 50 bucks by the end of the week. I've got another lighthouse request from my grandparents too, I'll do it even though I'm getting a little tired of lighthouses. I did one of cape hatteras for my mom, I didn't put it on here but it's on my website if anyone wants to go look at it. That's about it for now, not a lot really to talk about I guess.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My First Commisson

I just finished and was paid for my first commissioned painting today. It was for my grandparents so I only asked for 20 when I'd charge just anyone around 40 or 50. They get the family price since they did buy me the canvas and some paint too. I'm not asking for too much for the ones I'm doing now since I'm still growing as an artist. My techniques hasn't really been fully refined yet, so I'm reluctant to go too high on my prices. I'm hoping some family member I do one for has a friend or someone that wants one so I can charge full price and not feel guilty about it. I stand to make 30 one the one for my aunt next week and another 15 from my mom. It's not going to pay for surgery or anything, but for now it's money in my pocket to pay for hormones and whatever else I need until I can start charging more. Oh well, if anyone else on my dad's side of the family asks for one I'm jacking the price up a bit more. They criticize my being TG so they pay extra. Anyway, here's a picture of my work.
Nothing special, but it beats the hell out of what some of my other money making options are. At this rate I should be able to get some stuff in a few local galleries.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Winding Down

I got home really late last night from Nags Head, I wish I could have stayed longer but I have a therapy appointment tomorrow afternoon. My last there was pretty fun. We went to the beach for a good part of the day, which I didn't really look forward to, but am glad that I went. I just sat under the umbrella most of the time, I'm not much of a sun person. Some wild horses actually wandered up on the beach while we were there and I got some decent pictures of them. I spent most of the day taking pictures of the waves breaking on the shore and trying to get shots of any birds that landed nearby. I even found a bunch of shells and rocks while I was there to bring home. I spent a good part of the afternoon once we got back home checking out the yard around the beach house and taking a few shots of flowers and trees. It was a pretty fun trip, despite the sun and heat. I got plenty of time to talk to my aunt about things, it was a very relaxing weekend. I needed it with all the stress over insurance and surgery I've been going through lately. We're talking about possibly doing it again next year only going and staying with my aunt for the full week. Anyway here's a couple more pictures from the trip that I'm adding to my portfolio.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unexpected Vacation

I was supposed to stay the weekend with my mom and her boyfriend at their place this weekend, but plans changed at the last minute. My aunt invited us to come down to Nags Head and join them on vacation. I'm very glad I decided to come even though I'm not usually much for beaches. She got a nice big full size beach house that we have all to ourselves, with cable and a wireless connection. Not only that but I get my own room, own bathroom, and a full size bed all to myself. This weekend was definitely worth the long ride and hassle of getting ready. I got to go take pictures of a lighthouse yesterday which yielded a nice shot for my portfolio. We went and looked for shells on the beach at sunset later on and I got yet another great shot of the sun setting behind the sand dunes. I've been carrying the camera all over the place with me while I'm here and getting some good stuff.

This is exactly what I needed, some time to relax and a nice change of scenery. I have 2 new painting commissions too, one from my mom also of a lighthouse, and my aunt asked if I could do a beach scene for her. It looks like I've got my work cut out for me now, but they're both willing to pay me. My mom was also telling me about some small art gallery that was near her where someone was looking for new artists to showcase. She's going to show her some pictures of my work and see if she's interested at some point. Maybe good things will come of that.

We're heading home today unfortunately, I'd love to stay here for a week or so. Oh well, I'm happy, and definitely very inspired by the scenery. My family is talking about doing this again next year, I can only hope that happens, I want a sunrise over the ocean shot if I can drag myself out of bed early enough. That's about it for now, I'll leave you with my lighthouse shot.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Creativity Continues to Flow

I'm on a roll lately, I've got another new painting for my transition series. I think this one is going to be the last one in the series. It's definitely a brighter and much happier themed painting than the rest. It's not the last one period, just the last one in the set that tells my story. I still want to add more to it if I can in the future, this is just sort of like the last chapter of the story being written before the middle is done. Anyway, here it is.
I made this to represent what it's felt like for me to transition. I wanted to give a sense of freedom and happiness. I thought what better way than to combine a female figure with a butterfly. I also have my first painting commission, well sort of. My grandma saw a picture of a nearby lighthouse in the newspaper the other day and mentioned something about wishing she could get a local artist to do a painting of it for her. I volunteered to do it for the cost of the canvas and some art supplies. Not exactly going to pay for my surgery, but it's a way to get a couple more canvases and supplies to do more work with.

I've been checking out a few local small art galleries online lately that feature work by local artists. I'm thinking if I can get some more work done in the next few weeks it might be worth seeing if they'd be interested in any of my stuff. I'm still waiting for a call back from my doctor about insurance, it's still kind of soon though. Honestly, I'm painting so much lately as a way to keep my mind off of things so I don't sit around and dwell on worrying about it. That's about all I have to say for now, there isn't much else going on.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Phoenix

Well this time it's not some clouds that I took a picture of. I started and finished the newest painting in my transition series today in about 45 minutes, counting time to let it dry. I had the idea to paint a phoenix, and the colors were actually inspired by a phoenix painting that my ex boyfriend's dad did. Anyway, here it is.
I wanted it to appear firey and as though it's rising out of the darkness. Personally I wish it had came out looking less like a seagull, but I'm happy with it. It looks good in the picture, but even better in person. I just picked up a canvas today and started making some pencil sketches on it after I painted in the background. The next thing I knew I had a phoenix in no time. It's definitely one of the fastest paintings I've ever done, but I guess the fast pace matched the movement in the picture. I have several others in the works right now, so I'll be posting them up as I complete them.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time to Wait and See What Happens

I saw the doctor in town this morning, and thankfully she was 100% accepting and understanding of me being TG. I explained about the orchi and everything and she agreed with me that I seem to know what I'm doing, so she would feel comfortable telling insurance that I do need it. She said she couldn't promise anything, but that she's going to look into getting my records from the therapy office and the clinic in Richmond. Once she has those she'll give insurance a try for me. I couldn't believe I got this lucky, at the very least I've found a primary care doctor that's close by and pretty knowledgeable and accepting of me. She seemed to at least know what I was talking about and referring to a lot of the time with hormones and transition related things, so that kind of shocked me. She just got her medical degree 4 years ago and I'm guessing is probably in her early to mid 30s, so I was hoping that might mean she's a bit up to date on more things and open minded.

It looks like my gamble payed off. She was really nice, and even the nurse that took me back and helped fill out the rest of the paperwork was fine with things. She was asking me at one point about any kind of health problems they should know about and I said it wasn't a health problem, but that I should probably mention that I'm transgender. She just said yeah that's not a health problem and to just relax that it was ok. I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting to find such understanding people this close by. Once again I find acceptance when I least expect it. My doctor didn't waste any time apparently. I went to my therapy appointment at 2 this afternoon and she had already called them to get copies of my records and I just had to sign a release and that was set in motion. Now that's what I call service, action taken within 3 hours of saying they'll do it. I think I've found a good doctor, and a good doctors office at that.

Now the big question is will insurance bullshit her about surgery too. They asked to talk to a doctor who could say I need this, I'm giving them exactly what they asked for. A full MD medical doctor to call them up and say they agree with me, and my psychologist that I do in fact need this to improve the quality of my life. I gave her a copy of my old medical files from last primary care doctor, which covers the suicide attempts. I mentioned my past self injury and recent relapse of that a few months ago, anything to convince her that being TG has caused me significant distress in the past. If she can't convince insurance I need this, maybe a lawyer can. All I can do now is wait and see what happens, and also keep my fingers crossed that I get lucky. I'm making things happen, I just hope all the hard work doesn't go to waste in the end.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flashback Time

I don't have much to really talk about tonight, so I'll leave you with another flashback to pre transition.

May 22, 2006
"The last few days have been amazing! My friend Tracie helped me get some clothes, I haven’t felt this happy in years. I know now that trying to stop this is what caused my depression. It only makes sense that after trying to stop all the problems happen. I told my mom yesterday and she was ok with it too. I can't believe I'm so lucky right now. I've cure my depression and it feels so good. I feel like I've been set free, and I like it. I'm back, and I'm never turning back. I'm a crossdresser and proud of it. I love this feeling and I'm done suppressing it. I've got help now, so there's nothing that can stop me."

At this point I was just begining to come out to selected friends. I told a friend of mine from school who turned out being ok with things. I asked her at some point to help me get some clothes because at the time I was too embarassed to get them myself. I gave her the money and she paid for them for me. That was the first time I can say anyone reached out to help me. I had finally made a very solid connection to my depression being mostly caused by suppressing my desire to be more feminine.

When I came out to my mom I remember we were sitting in her car, and after about 10 minutes of me beating around the bush the first thing that came out was "I'm not gay". That turned out to be wrong, at least in the lesbian sense, but things went fine when I told her. Her words were "that's it". Needless to say that shocked the hell out of me, I was expecting at least some hesitation to accept me, but then again my mom is pretty cool about a lot of things. I mean I talked her into buying me a tattoo sometime this year, so you get my point.

It was a bit of a leap to say that I had cured my depression, but I had definietly found the root of it and was ready to do something about it. It was a very freeing feeling to finally just admit to myself that what I had been doing and feeling for all those years was ok. It felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off of me to say that it was ok to feel like a girl and to wear the clothes too. It didn't get me too far at the time with transition, but in retrospect it was the first real step I took towards it.

Looking back at this reminds me of how far I've come in just 4 years, but also of how much farther I have to go. I'm into this for life, so I've got a lot more time ahead of me than I do to look back on. I would never have imagined back then that I would be where I am now, so I can say that in a way I've done a lot more with my life already than I ever expected to before. It was a short journal entry, but I had a lot to say about it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A New Addition to My Work

I finished a new painting last night to add to my transition series. I did it on an 11"x14" canvas so it was too big to scan, at least on my scanner. I was forced to take a picture instead, which has been giving me mixed results. I've got a picture of it, but the left side may seen a little too dark. Trust me though, it looks a lot better in person and not quite so dark to the one side. Anyway, here it is.

I made it as a perspective image to show what the girl in the first painting would see in front of her. It's mostly a representation of how much of a choice it was for me to decide to transition. I hate to hear people say that what I'm doing was a choice, so this is my answer to that accusation. I'll attempt to get a better shot of it at some point, I have to get the lighting just right or it comes out too dark or took bright.

I plan on trying to do more work soon. I've been studying my influences a lot lately, so I've been looking up artists that I like and looking at their work to get some inspiration. I like to consider myself a bit of a modern day impressionist, but it's hard for me to really put a label on my painting style. I have so many influences in a few different styles, so it's like a combination of impressionism, expressionism, symbolism, fauvism, and surrealism. That's just naming main "isms" that I gain inspiration from. I'm experimenting with some different stlyes lately, as you can probably tell by my last painting. I went more expressionistic and less subjective with it, mostly since I was trying to convey a feeling more so than any kind of asthetic appeal. Oh well, with any luck I'll have some more work to show in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Found a Doctor

I called that doctor's office this morning and luckily she is taking new patients. I didn't get to talk to her myself, but I talked to her nurse and made an appointment for next Wednesday. I don't know if she's going to have any issue with me being TG, but I guess I'll find out. It's just a few hours before my therapy appointment next week, so hopefully I'll leave there with some good news to tell my psychologist. Things are moving painfully slow with trying to get someone that can approve me for surgery, but I guess it's not all that bad. I do want to talk to my doctor in Richmond before I have any kind of surgery, and I don't see her until the 13th of next month. I mostly just want to talk to her about how my meds and stuff should be dosed after and just know that she's aware of everything. I guess I also want plenty of time to do my research a bit more and make sure I really want to do this before SRS. It's not exactly the ideal situation I'd like to be in, but I have no clue when I can afford SRS. Everything I've looked up has said that despite some minor cons, it's usually not a bad idea to get an orchi if SRS isn't in the picture for a few years yet. Oh well, I'm following this path until I see where it takes me.

On another note, I finished a painting yesterday. Well I didn't so much finish it as I did cover up a spot of white paint I had accidentally smudged on it. I finished it probably last week sometime. It's the one I mentioned before that I had planned to represent everything I went through with Megan and the stalker. I went pretty abstract with it and used some pretty contrasting colors and sharp lines. It's not that great, but then again it's not meant to be great. It represents something I considered to be wrong and very hurtful, so I wanted it to be crappy looking.

I also have decided to add to the series of paintings I did earlier in the year about my transition. I went out and got some bigger bottles of paint, sponge brushes, and a few 11"x14" canvases the other day. I'm going to scale up my work from printer paper sized works to potentially some in the range of 2'x3'. I have a friend that works at Walmart who said she could grab some of the big pieces of cardboard and stuff they trash all the time for me, so that should allow me to scale things up more. I've got inspiration for a quite a few new works, and it feels so great to be painting again. I guess it distracts me from everything stressing me out in my life, and there's something I just can't explain about it that I'm attracted to. I guess art is where I feel at home. That's about it for now, there isn't much else to talk about.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I've Got a Plan

I went to my psychologist today to talk about everything that's been going on, and I think I have a plan. She suggested that I look for a primary care doctor here in the area and see about getting an appointment with them to talk about things. I'm not quite sure how that's going to go, but it sounds better than trying to get myself committed in order to see a doctor. My doctor in Richmond had suggested looking for a primary care doctor that was closer by anyway, so I guess I can possibly kill 2 birds with one stone, so to speak. There apparently is a new doctor in town anway that should be taking new patients. I'll probably just schedule an appointment to meet with her for the first time in regards to taking me on for primary care and also mention to them that I want to talk to her about getting an orchi while I'm there too.

It looks like I have another plan, so I'm hoping it works. When one plan fails I have to keep making another until one works. For now I just have to take things as they come and not stress out over stuff that I haven't gotten to yet. I have to focus on finding a primary care doctor that would be willing to sign off on me getting an orchi, that's the main objective for now. It's one step at a time until I get what I want. I have to jump through all the hoops and prove once again that I'm not out of my mind. It honestly would be so much easier if I just had the money to outright pay for it myself. Then a couple of shrinks and the surgeon performing the surgery are the only people I have to convince of my sanity. Oh well, this is the hand that life has delt me, so I better keep trying to make the most of it. I won't give up until I get my surgery, that I swear.

That's about all there really is to talk about tonight, not much else is really going on. I got my food stamps card, and aside from a little trouble with using it the first time, that's working great now. I guess for now I know what I need to do, so it's time to take action and get shit done. I've got a long way to go, and the sooner I get going the sooner I get to where I want to be.