December 28, 2019 at 10:12 pm #330013December 28, 2019 at 10:20 pm #330019
I spend my time searching for the person I am deep inside
Trying to understand who I am without the expectations of the world outside
The voices of the world are like drums in my ears telling me who to be
While my heart beats out of rhythm trying to tell me that the world’s stereotypes don’t fit me
But if I don’t work on trying to find a place in their expectations, will they see me as who I want to be seen as?
Days go by and I feel like I’m trying to create a map to guide me along the way, but I don’t think the path I follow is the one the world has
I can hear the sound of my heart beating loud and clear, wondering if the sounds that I am listening to on the inside will help me build myself up here
Looking for a way to be myself and also fit into the world, looking for something that resonates with me and who I want to be and will allow the world to still see me as a guy
Working out quite intensely as I try to make myself fit into a box of expectations that has my mind all caught in a knotted ties
I dream of finding resonance within myself so that I can find the person deep within without having all the sounds of the world
Can I find the person that I am deep within listening to the sounds of my heart with the music that unfurls?
Looking for a place in the world as I shed light on my broken pieces, hoping to heal
Sometimes I get caught in the stereotypes and the expectations because I want to be seen as a guy and then I start to wonder if I am truly real
At times I feel like the struggle to be most like a guy is making me lose touch with other things in life and that makes me fear, because I begin to worry that the struggle will make it difficult for me to move forward in life
And as I search for the parts that resonates with my inner self, there is anxiety that I am not doing enough or not enough and I am caught in my own mental strife
I want to work on finding myself and building who I am as a guy because I don’t know who I am yet, but I hope that I work out some things soon
Because I don’t want life to pass me by each day feeling like I’m not finding the things that resonates with me and that makes my heart beat anxious tunes
The irridescent glow of my soul sparks in the dark as I work on illuminating my way to help me through each day hoping that I find what I can resonate with so I don’t fade away
I am letting myself journey inward because I don’t think that the outside expectations of gender fit me and finding myself on the inside and from the inside I hope that I find the pieces of myself that resonates with me and helps the world see who I want to be.December 29, 2019 at 8:32 am #330071
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
Tomorrow will be exactly four years since you started your thread! Please do something small to celebrate the four years anniversary of the longest thread in the history of tiny buddha.
Thank you for the Resonance Poem. Here is a key sentences for me: “Looking for a way to be myself and also fit into the world”, and “I don’t know who I am yet”.
In your post before the poem, you wrote: “The pieces that I have don’t seem to fit together well”- you definitely feel that the female body pieces that you have, curves, for example, do not fit, aka gender dysphoria. Most people feel that some pieces of their bodies don’t fit. People complain of noses not fitting their faces (too big, too wide, too this or that). Or legs too short or thighs too big and on and on and on. The list of complaints of body pieces that don’t fit is endless.
What do people do about this kind of distress: diets, exercise, make up, straightening or curling the hair, removing body hair, cosmetic surgeries, and in the case of gender dysphoria, more elaborate surgeries and taking hormones.
“I know that I feel comfortable as a male… I feel like I’m being made to fit into a box so that I can be seen as male, but I find that the box of traits doesn’t really fit me well.. I might not be seen as a guy by society and that causes me much anxiety.. I always feel like I’m not being enough in the world.. worry if my body doesn’t look masculine enough… if my life ends from gender dysphoria and anorexia I will feel sad that I didn’t live fully. Hope this makes sense!”
This is the sense it makes to me:
1. You have been harming your safety and physical health for a long time by “working out intensely and following a strict diet and being anorexic”. This has to be dealt with first, you need to eat regularly and in moderation, as well as exercise in moderation.
2. You are so obsessed about not appearing feminine, that if you do go through the surgeries and hormonal injections involved in transitioning, you will still worry about having curves and appearing feminine. Transitioning, as I understand it (and I know very little about it), does not fix the body so that gaining weight is no longer a possibility.
In addition to that, if you had a professional show yo a visual representation of how you will probably look after physical transitioning is complete, you will be able to tell (and receive input by the professional and other people, based on the visual) if you will indeed look unquestionably male. If not, you will still worry about other people seeing you as female. Better settle this issue before starting the difficult, elaborate, expensive process of transitioning.
I have a question for you: there are males who look feminine. Is it something you are able and willing to consider, proceeding in life as a guy who looks somewhat feminine? I mean, can you accept being a guy who has some curves and who looks somewhat feminine?
anitaDecember 30, 2019 at 9:14 pm #330385
I think that as I save up financial resources for a gender therapist, I will talk to the gender therapist about transitioning and they can refer me to medical doctors who provide testosterone hormone therapy and surgeries. I have been following the forums on Facebook about other transgender people who have transitioned and have seen the effects of the top surgeries and testosterone therapies on them. I know that testosterone therapy will cause a person’s voice to get deeper, get facial hair and also cause redistribution of fat in areas of the body. I am thinking that with a redistribution of fat to other areas of the body, I won’t have much of a chest because some of the weight will go to other parts of the body and since testosterone therapy makes it easier to gain more muscle tone when working out I hope that with workouts I can achieve muscle tone in my body and look more masculine. In addition, since most transgender men who get testosterone therapy will grow facial hair around the span of being on testosterone on three years, they will look more masculine. Even though testosterone may not create a flat chest and most transgender men also undergo top surgery, I think that it will help alleviate the gender dysphoria because I will have physical traits of a guy like deep voice, facial hair and if the fat redistributes it may make me appear more toned when I workout.
Testosterone will allow a person to exhibit the physical characteristics of a guy, but there are some secondary characteristics that will not change with testosterone therapy. The genitals may become longer and resemble a male penis, but testosterone therapy will not change the person’s genitals unless they get bottom surgery. Therefore, the person will likely have physical traits that look masculine such as a more toned body, deeper voice and facial hair but there are some things that require surgery to change. I think that I would feel better if I started talking with a gender therapist and have them refer me to a medical doctor who can provide testosterone therapy. Some of the physical changes on testosterone therapy will help ease the gender dysphoria and I think it will be okay if I don’t have all the effects of a guy yet. My main goal is to work on building the financial resources to talking with a gender therapist and getting testosterone therapy. Usually it takes three to six months of a gender therapist appointments before transgender people get a referral for medical doctors to prescribe testosterone therapy. If the person has intense gender dysphoria and is certain that there life would improve with testosterone therapy then the wait is usually three months. The medical doctors tell the transgender person about the risks of testosterone therapy such as the person’s increase risk for stroke, heart disease or mood changes and the transgender person signs off that they are aware of the risks and still want to continue to testosterone therapy. The medical doctors will monitor the testosterone levels of the person every five weeks to make sure that there are no adverse side effects and to make sure that the testosterone levels are just high enough for that of a healthy guy which is around 70 mg. After a person has spent three years on testosterone and has lived as a guy and is comfortable with it, they can opt for surgery to help make the changes that testosterone didn’t change such as getting top surgery to make their chest flatter or bottom surgery to construct a penis. I have heard from other transgender men on the Facebook “Binder Boys” group who have transitioned that before surgery, the medical doctors provide people with a picture of what they will look like and how the surgery will go. There may be surgery scars depending on how much of the chest fat is removed to create a more masculine chest and people with smaller chests often have smaller scars. The surgery scars usually heal and fade with time, but if the surgery occurs after the person is thirty or older than some of the scars will still be there. I don’t think that I would mind having surgery scars though because I would be happy to have a masculine chest. I think that my gender dysphoria comes from the idea that I am still saving up financial resources for testosterone therapy and since I don’t have it yet, I feel gender dysphoria about myself. I am consistently wearing looser clothes to make sure that there are no curves that show and I often work out so that I can lose some weight and look more toned and masculine. I have been using meditation to help me deal with my anxiety because there are times when I worry about my body. I think that with testosterone therapy I will feel more comfortable with myself because my body will start to change and become more masculine. I have heard from other transgender men who have taken testosterone therapy that it takes three weeks for the full effects of testosterone such as the deepening of the voice because during the first stages the voice begins to crack in pitch before it starts to stabilize and it takes a while for the fat to be redistributed to other parts of the body bur working out helps with that. I think that I am currently not comfortable with myself and my body because of my physical appearance and sometimes the dysphoria is very intense that it causes me to exercise a lot and restrict certain foods. I am hoping to work on building a daily meditation practice to reduce my anxiety and work on healing my body from the strain I have put on it so that my mind will be able to think about the path and so I will have the strength to go for the testosterone therapy. Since testosterone therapy will allow me to develop some of the physical traits of a guy, it will make me feel more comfortable about myself because currently I still experience gender dysphoria at times with my body. Likewise, testosterone after being on it for six years will cause the person’s menstrual cycle to stop and I think that would be a good thing for me as well because I often feel more dysphoria about myself during those times. Although the changes that are brought on by testosterone therapy will take some time and other changes like chest tone and genitals require surgery I think that I would be comfortable if I was talking with a gender therapist and working on transitioning because just the idea of working towards who I want to be makes me feel better. It is difficult now because I am still working through my college education and working on a career path that will give me financial stability to transition. There are times when the gender dysphoria can be rough and I worry about my body. Therefore I think that learning as much as I can about transitioning from others and looking at transgender people resources has been helpful as I work my way up and meditation helps with the dysphoria. The gender dysphoria will still be there, and I have to find ways to cope with it and heal myself from the strain of over-exercise and food restriction so that I can have a clear mindset to go for my goals. I think that the gender dysphoria will likely fade away when I am in the transition process and I find that currently I can work on taking steps alleviate the stress. I try to express myself as masculine as possible wearing dark, casual clothes that are a bit loose to make sure that there are no curves showing and I also chest bind to make my chest look flatter. The chest binder makes me have to take deep breaths so I can get enough air into my lungs to breathe and sometimes it feels a bit tight. Sometimes I dislike having to put on a chest binder because it makes me feel like I have to hide my chest and it makes it feel like I have to acknowledge the chest there. There are times when I just wish I could throw on what I want and not have to worry about my body not looking masculine. This is why I yearn for testosterone therapy because it will provide me a way to have masculine physical traits and I can feel more comfortable with my body. Sometimes it makes me feel cautious when I am talking to others in person because I want to make sure to not let them know a lot about me so that they might assume my gender because that would make me uncomfortable. Sometimes I will have a great conversation with a person and then they will go to say Thank you and want to include a gender reference such as sir or ma’am and it always makes me feel anxious when they look at me and wonder about me. Since people don’t really have a habit of asking people what gender references they prefer, I often find myself ffeeling anxious hoping that the person talked to refers to me as sir. I think that when I have testosterone therapy and will have facial hair and a deeper voice, it will be easier for people to see me as a guy without questioning it. Because currently although I express myself pretty masculine with short hair, casual clothes and chest binding there are times when people question it because they wonder about my voice or lack of facial hair. I think that as I have socially transitioned for a while people are starting to not really mind my gender expression and most people have started to refer to me as a guy or they use gender neutral terms such as they/them for me which has been helpful with the gender dysphoria. Since I hope to work on the medical transition first then legally transition there are times when I feel anxious because my legal documents still say my birthname. I think that it is better to medically transition first because if a person wants to change the gender marker on their legal documents they need a gender therapist to sign and they need to be on testosterone for at least a year before they can change the gender marker on their legal documents. So I am thinking of saving money to medically transition and once I have been on testosterone for a while I can legally change my name and my gender marker at the same time and only have to pay the court costs once because you need to go to court to get a legal name change. Hope this helps! Thank you for your encouragement and for providing your advice to help me in life.December 31, 2019 at 7:23 am #330431
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
Reads to me that you have a thorough understanding of transitioning and your expectations of the results are not unrealistic. Plus seeing a gender therapist for 3-6 months before being referred to a medical doctor for testosterone is encouraging, leading me to think that a good gender therapist will be very responsible in making sure the client knows all that needs to be known on the process, risks, consequences and expected results, as well as making sure the client is ready for the process and able to endure the difficult parts.
“I know that testosterone .. cause redistribution of fat in areas of the body.. I won’t have much of a chest”- but you will have some of a chest.
“testosterone therapy makes it easier to gain more muscle tone when working out”- easier, not easy, and for some, is it still difficult, I wonder.
“most transgender men who get testosterone therapy will grow facial hair.. they will look more masculine”- most transgenders, not all. And is more masculine, masculine enough.
“I think that it will help alleviate the gender dysphoria because I will have physical traits of a guy like deep voice, facial hair.. more toned when I workout”- will you worry significantly less.
Testosterone increases the chances of strokes and heart disease and top and bottom surgeries have their own risks. I do imagine that without a female chest, you will feel so much more comfortable than you do now. I wish you loosened the binder so that it is not that tight. Being so tight, it directs your focus to your chest, which is not a good idea. You need your focus away from it. At least in winter time, with loose clothing, why not wear a looser binder.
Transitioning is in the future because you don’t have the money now. For now, how can you make yourself feel more comfortable, I ask myself. I think that a looser binder can make you feel more comfortable, so that you are less focused on the area that troubles you so much. Caring less about what people think, what gender they think you are, will make you feel more comfortable. I wish you could somehow, over some time, say something like this to yourself, when thinking about what people think of your gender: who cares?
Can you imagine that?
anitaDecember 31, 2019 at 11:06 pm #330563
I find that meditation helps me de-stress when I feel anxious. I am working on establishing a daily meditation practice and I find that it helps me have better mental clarity. The gender dysphoria is still there and I am aware of it but with meditation I can bring awareness to the gender dysphoria and tell myself that it’s okay and work on counting my breath. I often use my breath as an anchor when I feel anxious by imagining my inhale as inhaling positive energy and exhaling negative energy. I often inhale for a count of four and let out the breath for an exhale to the count of six and I imagine myself letting go of my anxiety and I envision a male role model that I look up to such as Harry Potter and I find that it helps. I imagine that with each inhale, I am bringing in positive qualities of the male role model I admire and with each exhale I am working on poking holes through the gender dysphoria. The gender dysphoria is like clouds in the blue sky of my mind and sometimes there are many clouds of anxious dysphoria that it blocks the blue skies in my mind and I become anxious. So I have been working on meditation to imagine the gender dysphoria as clouds that darken the skies in my mind and when the gender dysphoria comes and makes it difficult to concentrate, I say to it “it’s okay that I’m feeling anxious now. I’ll be okay. I embrace the feeling. The gender dysphoria is like clouds passing by in the sky and it’s okay.” Then having acknowledged the gender dysphoria, I imagine that I am taking a pin and poking a hole in each cloud of gender dysphoria that darkens the blue skies of peace in my mind and as the clouds of gender dysphoria dissipate I imagine a warm sunlight shining through illuminating my mind and helping me lessen the gender dysphoria I have. And I tell myself “It’s okay. Some days there will be clouds of gender dysphoria keeping my mind from being at peace. But each cloud has a silver lining and the sunlight will shine again helping clear my mind.” I find that meditation helps increase my focus and work on lessening the gender dysphoria so it is not too overwhelming. The gender dysphoria will always be there until I start to transition and then it may start to fade away once I start testosterone therapy but currently I am working on making it so that the gender dysphoria doesn’t overwhelm my mind and cause me to feel so strained. I am hoping that with more meditation practice I can work on building my strength to stay strong when people question my gender identity and possibly improve my communication skills when explaining to people in person because meditation will provide me with more mental awareness so that I am not completely lost in gender dysphoria. There will be times when the gender dysphoria will be overwhelming and I will have to take a break and cry to let things out and I think that that’s okay. I find that it is better to let my emotions out in healthy ways rather than holding them in because they might erupt like a volcano when the pressure builds up or if a person buries the feelings they will feel numb and I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to bury the feelings under like burying rocks underneath sands in an ocean because a wave might bring them up again, so I think that it’s best to work on releasing the tensions and not letting them build. I am grateful to have this Tinybuddha forum to help me express my thoughts and work on myself. Thank you for your advice and for spreading your positivity into my life. I think that some transgender people do develop eating disorders such as anorexia to cope with their gender dysphoria and the anorexia gives them a way to control how their bodies look. They think that they can exercise and restrict their foods and possibly find a way to control how their body looks and ease their gender dysphoria because if their bodies look skinnier they will have less curves and look more masculine and so anorexia is quite common amongst transgender men. On the Facebook forum “Binder Boys” where transgender men share their experiences with each other, I have met three other transgender men who have struggled with anorexia. Another thing about anorexia is that since transgender people don’t feel fully connected with their bodies because they feel like their bodies don’t look the way they want to in their minds is that they will become anorexic to feel like they can influence their bodies in some way and possibly feel more of a connection to it because by regulating the exercise and food their bodies take in they think that they have some sense of connection and control over their bodies because most of the time they feel like they don’t belong in the body that they were born with. Anorexia can be a way for transgender men to find a sense of control in their bodies and feel like they are actually there in their bodies experiencing life because sometimes the emotional pain of gender dysphoria can cause transgender people to dissociate from their bodies and feel detached from it and with anorexia they can feel physically what they are doing to their bodies and it gives them a sense that they are real and sometimes helps them from feeling numb when they start to detach from their bodies because the physical exertion of the body sometimes brings their awareness back to their bodies. It is like trying to substitute emotional pain with physical pain because physical pain is easier to deal with since you can heal from cuts or bruises but emotional pain takes more time. So some transgender people may become anorexic as a way to cope with the emotional pain of gender dysphoria and give them a sense of self when they feel detached from their bodies because the physical exertion provides some feeling to stop them from trying to dissociate and numb things down. In addition, the anorexia seems as a sense of a protection against the loss of self if a transgender person decides to dissociate from their bodies because the anorexia provides a way for the transgender person to try to put what they feel into the strain of their body and with that even though they have emotional pain some of it is expressed through anorexia and it seems to give them a way to express their inner emotional pain on the outside by putting their bodies under strain because they believe that by putting the pain into the physical body it may be easier to deal with rather than holding the pain inside or numbing it down because emotional pain on the inside is difficult and numbing it down can cause a person to feel like they aren’t really living in their bodies. Therefore, although not all transgender people experience eating disorders such as anorexia, eating disorders are common amongst the transgender community because they sometimes seek ways to express their emotional pain and find a way to control how their bodies look since they are uncomfortable with their bodies. Gender dysphoria varies in intensity amongst transgender people and some transgender people may have intense dysphoria that causes them much stress and can interfere with normal daily tasks thinking and for those transgender people they often benefit from therapist appointments, and having resources to help them with their dysphoria because it can be intense at times. The transgender people with intense dysphoria are more likely to develop eating disorders to help them with their emotional stress and have higher chances of becoming severely depressed. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help transgender people with intense dysphoria work on developing healthy ways to express their feelings. Some cognitive behavioral therapies include listening to music to help the brain focus on something else besides the dysphoria, working on acknowledging the dysphoria and seeing what triggers there might be and reducing the triggers or helping the person imagine a safe space when in an environment/situation that might trigger their gender dysphoria, and possibly just letting the person cry and release the tension and then have them write about their feelings when they are calmer. Some cognitive behavioral therapy suggests having transgender people write about their feelings so that they can get them out on paper and then say “I acknowledge these feelings. I am okay. I may not feel okay now, but my heart is beating and I am still breathing and it will be okay.” It may be helpful for the person to focus their attention on their heart beat or breath because it draws awareness away from the dysphoria and turns it to more simpler which can help the person relax. In addition,another technique is after acknowledging the dysphoria is to look at what you (the transgender person) wrote and have them scrunch up that paper and throw it into the trash and have them imagine that they are releasing the tension. Then have them take deep breaths and think about with each exhale of letting go of the tension. Then after they feel less tense then they can write a story about how they want to be and have them make it descriptive and imagine that as they write the words on paper that they are creating what they want. These are some of the cognitive behavioral therapy tips that I have learned from the counselors at Stockton University that I ffind helpful and I am working on using them to help me because my dysphoria is quite intense and I am working on not letting it overwhelm me. I don’t want to be lost in gender dysphoria that I lose sense of the daily life tasks that I want to learn learn so that I can thrive in life. There are some transgender people who have lesser degree of dysphoria than me and even though they may have difficult times in life with their gender dysphoria their anxiety doesn’t limit them so much that they will lose focus when concentrating on daily tasks so I think that they have it slightly easier emotionally but I am certain that on certain days their dysphoria may be greater than other days so those transgender people with a lesser degree of gender dysphoria may experience discomfort but not so intense that it causes them to fall into a depression. The transgender people with intense dysphoria often benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy and with transitioning they often feel the most happier with themselves. They know that transitioning won’t solve all their problems such as financial budgeting, but it can make the gender dysphoria fade so that they feel less stressed in life and since they are more comfortable with themselves they will have a better mindset to focus on tasks. The transgender people who have intense dysphoria yearn to transition because they want to live life being comfortable with themselves and they don’t want to watch life pass them by lost in gender dysphoria so their main focus is to get as much resources as possible and to start transitioning as early as when they are able to. They know that testosterone therapy has its risks and they acknowledge it as well as acknowledging the risks of the surgery but they think that it’s worth it to make themselves feel comfortable with their bodies. Currently meditation is a way for me to ease my intense gender dysphoria. I have been following a regular workout routine to help me with my health and taking breaks from working out as well as not working out to the extreme by reducing the number of workout reps that I do. I have a workout app that provides me with workouts workouts that help work my entire body and they only last for thirty- forty five minutes so that I get a healthy workout without straining myself too much. Likewise, I have been eating six small meals a day and making sure that I drink at least four cups of water. I work on eating healthy with oatmeal for breakfast, apple for a snack, salad with nuts or hard-boiled eggs for lunch, orange for a snack, and seafood/seaweed soup for dinner. The nutritionist at Stockton University that I saw when I was taking classes in the fall semester was very helpful in helping me build healthy meal plans and they provided advice on eating light meals like a protein bar, some nuts and fruits when on-the-go or when anxious to help keep blood sugar levels stable and to keep energy levels stable as well. I learned a lot from the nutritionist at Stockton University and even though I am on winter break until January 14th and won’t have appointments until the Spring semester starts, I have learned a great deal that has helped me work on my health. Even though gender dysphoria may be difficult at times, I want to have health so that I have the energy to go for my goals. And with meditation and some of the cognitive behavioral therapy tips I learned from Stockton University counselors I hope to make my gender dysphoria easier to cope with so that I don’t get so caught up in it that it becomes difficult to focus on daily tasks. I have been actively following the Facebook group “Binder Boys ” because they provide support and advice for transgender men who are working on transitioning. I am also keeping up-to-date on news about the transgender community and reading online links to build my knowledge. Just today (December 31st), I learned that transgender people experience “cognitive dissonance” which is a term to describe that how transgender people perceive themselves in their minds is different from how their bodies look and this causes them to feel disconnected from their bodies which results in symptoms of anxiety and gender dysphoria. Since transgender people experience cognitive dissonance they feel like how they see and identify themselves as in their minds doesn’t match how their bodies look and this causes them major distress known as gender dysphoria. Transgender people identify in their minds as the opposite gender from the one they were born as and it is the mismatch of who they see themselves as and who they want to be in their minds that is different from how their bodies look that makes them experience cognitive dissonance that results in gender dysphoria because they feel like they don’t belong in their current bodies and the discomfort makes them want to transition so that their bodies match how they see themselves in their minds. More knowledge is being amassed on the transgender community and it is fascinating to explore and with new advances in knowledge the world may may gain awareness about transgender people and work on helping them through their struggles. The transgender community has the highest rates of suicide aat 43% which is higher than other members in the LGBTQ community. To put this into perspective, that means at least one out of every three transgender people will attempt suicide which is pretty significant. Therefore with more knowledge and awareness of the transgender community I hope that transgender people will receive more support and the rates of suicide will decrease.
I am grateful to have friends like you who help me keep striving during the difficult times. Thank you so much Anita for your advice and encouragement that provides a light in the darkness to illuminate my way when I feel lost. Friends like you have helped make life meaningful and help me strive to become a better person each. Thank you for being the special soul you are and for spreading your positivity into my life. May the new year bring you blessings of abundance, love and light to heal your sorrows.
I hope that with a daily meditation practice that I can make gender dysphoria easier to cope with and feel less anxious when around people who may question my gender identity. I think that wearing looser clothing helps and I have chest binders that bind my chest relatively well that are much less tighter and I often use them when I am working out because it is easier to workout in them. When I am out in public I will wear a tighter chest binder so that my chest looks completely flat and I will take slow, deep breaths so that my lungs get enough oxygen.
Have a great New Year, hope things make sense . Thank you so much for your encouragement.January 1, 2020 at 8:57 am #330613
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
Happy New Year! Thank you for your kind words of appreciation and good wishes for me. I wish you well in this new year and new decade.
I am glad that the nutritionist in Stockton helped you healthy meal plans, including six small meals, drinking enough water, oatmeal, apple, salad, protein. Excellent. This way, like you wrote, your sugar levels and energy are stable.
Meditation has been helping you for years, and you developed an amazing ability to create vivid and elaborate visuals when meditating. Good to read that you received cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) tips, I experienced CBT myself and believe it is very effective and helpful. I am also glad that you find some comfort wearing looser clothing, and very glad to read that you wear a chest binder that is “less tighter” some o the time.
But I do wish that you will not wear (in public) binders that are so tight that you have to “take slow, deep breaths so that my lungs get enough oxygen”- this is too stressful for the brain/ body to either not get enough oxygen, and/ or be stressed out during the day thinking: am I getting enough oxygen, being focused this way on your chest.
Maybe wearing a loose shirt in public that is made of a thick fabric that doesn’t stick to the body is good enough???
I know that you are very involved with the transgender community online, and somewhat with the LGBT community in Stockton, but keep in mind that gender dysphoria and body dysphoria are not two separate experiences. What works for body dysphoria may work for gender dysphoria as well. Maybe reading about the more general body dysphoria can help you as well.
anitaJanuary 2, 2020 at 11:13 am #330809
Thank you so much for your advice. I enjoy reading about other transgender men who have dysphoria because it helps me understand my feelings and feel less alone. There are times when I wonder if my path for scientific research is just so that I can earn steady income to work on transitioning. Although I enjoy learning about scientific studies and advances in scientific technology, sometimes the research reports that I have to write about the experiments for labs that I do can be stressful. I enjoy doing the laboratory experiments and learning new things about DNA structure and chemistry of the molecules in the body, but writing lab reports to analyze the results of the experiments and making sure all the data is reported accurately and in a specific format makes me anxious sometimes. Since I tend to be a creative person who likes to experiment and learn new things, I like the research and the lab experiments part but when it comes to analyzing the results and the graphs that I have of the data collected to put in a report I sometimes find myself doubting myself. I worry that I won’t be able to write the format of the report correctly and I worry that the results that I got may not be ideal and it makes me feel anxious that I am not as smart as the other students who are analyzing the lab data. I think that my gender dysphoria makes me feel anxious and doubt myself many times and I often find myself criticizing myself when I feel like I feel like I’m not doing everything well. Such as if I make a small mistake in a calculation for a graph I will feel anxious. I know that I enjoy the transgender community and feel like I belong there and I don’t have doubts about transitioning even though I am still working on building up the pieces. I know that I enjoy Buddhist wiccan and meditation and it helps me work on better understanding myself. But when it comes to scientific research, I think I like the research and the creative aspects of doing the experiments and exploring the techniques more than I like analyzing things so sometimes I tend to doubt myself as a scientist. There are times when I think that I would also make a good spiritual counselor for the transgender community and with my poems I could spread positivity to them so I consider being a writer. The writing skills helps with lab reports and scientific research essays but I feel like I am more of a creative writer than an analytical writer which is why it takes more time for me to write lab reports than it does to write poetry even though I am interested in both science and spirituality poems. I feel more connected with working on my spiritual self because I want to feel comfortable on the inside with myself which is why I feel like the meditations and the transitioning seems to fit better with me in helping me understand myself. Although I like science, sometimes I feel like although the research is fun it can be too analytical and logical at times and I sometimes want to find a balance between the analytical skills of looking at data and the creative process of experimenting. I think that my main focus in life is to be comfortable with myself and I think that transitioning is the main goal for me and working on my spiritual growth is another. I feel like I just need enough in life for those two main goals to feel like my life is fulfilling. Science is fascinating and allows me to understand the world, but it is a third goal compared to working on my spiritual self and transitioning. This is why I feel like sometimes I don’t really belong in the world because I don’t feel like I have a place in the world since I don’t want any material gain I just want to feel alive in myself.January 2, 2020 at 11:33 am #330815
During the winter times I feel like the gender dysphoria is less intense because I can wear layers to hide my body, but during the summer I feel like the gender dysphoria is more intense. I am thinking that during the summer months I should wear looser t-shirts. In addition, I have heard from other transgender guys in the “Binder Boys” forum on Facebook that wearing darker colors and patterns may make the body look thinner and more toned and the patterns may draw the person’s attention (other people who look) to the patterns on the clothing rather than to parts of the body that may cause the transgender person to feel dysphoria. One of the transgender guys said that they think of themselves as a soul that they can customize with how they want to be seen because the soul is energy and people are spiritual beings and when they feel dysphoric they think of their body as a soul and they work on visualizing how they want to look and they find that it helps them. I think that the intense gender dysphoria that I have often makes me worried about my body which is why sometimes I find it difficult to focus on other things. I do wish that I wasn’t so anxious about myself and could relax some of the tension that I feel. Perhaps with more meditation I can work on detaching from my gender dysphoria so that it is less prominent and doesn’t interfere with my focus on life tasks. The gender dysphoria feels like a resistance in my body and I find myself holding myself tightly and feel like I am fighting myself to work on making myself look masculine because I worry about any curves on my body. This is why I am hoping to transition and start testosterone therapy as soon as possible because I know that it will help with the dysphoria. But currently I feel like I need to stop trying to fight with myself through working out a lot and binding my chest tightly because it is quite straining on my physical body. Even though the physical strain helps with the emotional gender dysphoria it is still straining on myself.January 2, 2020 at 11:45 am #330819
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
You know your priorities: spiritual (ex. helping the transgender communication via your poems, maybe putting together meditations for transgenders, I am thinking… ) as well as social and medical transitioning. Third priority is your science education and planned scientific career.
You shared before about your difficultly with filling in scientific reports- it is a kind of writing that is restricted to a strict, predetermined format, the scientific report format. It is very different from creative writing, which is not restricted to any format. It is a free kind of writing which you feel comfortable with.
It leads me to think about how you don’t like to be restricted to the body format you were born with. And you don’t want to be restricted to social expectations regarding that physical format you were born with.
“I don’t want any material gain, I just want to feel alive in myself”- a very strong statement. Clearly, you need to make money so to live independently and finance your transitioning. It will be wise to aim at working for an employer who offers a generous health insurance that will pay for transitioning.
To feel alive in yourself, you expressed that you are sure that you have to transition, that is, to free yourself from the bodily format that you were born with, and from social expectation regarding that birth format.
You can’t pay for the first, but what about the second- what if you can free yourself now from social expectations regarding that birth bodily format. What if you aim at feeling more comfortable acting masculine while not having facial hair and while your chest is not flat.. and while you may have this curve or that-
-is it possible, to act confidently masculine while your form is as it is now?
anitaJanuary 7, 2020 at 10:53 am #331867
Thank you so much for your advice. I think that reading articles and stories from other transgender men who have similar struggles helps me feel better about myself and understand my feelings. There are times when I feel lost in dysphoria and I need to work on relaxing the tension in my body because I can feel like the dysphoria is like ocean currents pulling me under and making it hard to focus on things. During those times, I find myself telling myself to just breathe and acknowledge the tension in my body and that it’s okay. I find that music helps me de-stress and sometimes I will listen to some songs to help me relieve the tension when it starts to become too straining. I have been working on trying energy circulating exercises like Qi Gong where I sttretch and imagine cleansing energy flowing through my body and relieving the tension which I find is helpful when the dysphoria is tough and I feel tightness in my chest muscles. The Qi Gong helps me circulate the energy so I am not always focusing on one part of my body but focusing on it as a whole which helps with dealing with the dysphoria. Since most of the dysphoria is concentrated on my chest and hips and wondering if they look masculine enough, I find that doing Qi Gong exercises helps me refocus my energy on my whole body and my breathing rather than on some specific parts and it helps me de-stress a bit. I think that the scientific research path that I am pursuing as a career choice has scientists work mostly in labs and hospitals so there is often good health insurance and I hope that when I start looking for job opportunities I can find employers who are LGBTQ friendly. The dysphoria will always be there and quite noticeable until I start transitioning and getting more of the physical traits of a guy that testosterone therapy will bring. Meanwhile, I think my main focus is to connect with other transgender people and help each other work on coping with their stresses and build more resources for understanding myself. I feel like my life’s purpose is to be myself and to feel alive within myself. Science helps me understand the world and I enjoy science’s idea that people are the energy from the Big Bang because that makes people made of the energy of the stars and I think that stars shine brighter in darkness so people can shine brighter in darkness as well. I like exploring how science can contribute to improving people’s health especially studying genetics because DNA structure and how it contains instructions for specific traits that makes people unique fascinates me. I feel like with my life’s path, I want to seek an understanding of who I am as a person. Science helps me explain things on a physical level and Buddhist wiccan meditation helps me work on building myself on a spiritual level. I don’t think I fit into societal expectations of gender roles and I think I am working on finding myself outside of society’s boxes because the boxes are very restricting on my creativity. But there is a part of me that wants society to see me as a guy because I feel comfortable as one and there are some things that I feel like I have to adopt as traits to be seen as masculine. But I don’t want to be restricted by society’s expectations of gender that I lose myself and that’s why I am working on expressing myself as a guy but not trying to make myself fit into a box because some of the pieces won’t fit and it is straining to try to fit into a box. Mostly I like to wear my hair short because it makes me appear more masculine and it’s easier to maintain and I like wearing darker colors because it draws less attention to myself. I like to be out in nature thinking about connecting with nature and feeling like I belong. Just listening to the wind rustling the tree leaves and the birds singing makes me smile. Nature seems to be such a simple expression of creativity and I think that it resonates with my soul because I want to express myself simply and also be the person I want to be seen as.January 7, 2020 at 11:10 am #331871
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
I participated in a Qi Gong class in the past, and I liked it!
“most of my dysphoria is concentrated on my chest and hips”- I see the benefit of removing your focus from these specific areas and refocusing on your whole body instead.
I can see the benefit of connecting to other transgender people and “help each other work on coping with their stresses”, and understanding yourself better through these connections.
I like the idea of focusing on he energy that makes us who we are instead of the structure which is way less telling in regard to who we are. We are after all very much emotional beings, and emotion is energy-in motion.
“I want to seek an understanding of who I am as a person”- how about this understanding then: I am energy in motion. You are energy in motion. I like this: you are not that chest, you are not those hips, you are not that face, these are all outward presentations and a form to hold that energy. But what form it is doesn’t matter so much because it is the energy held in it that matters.
“the boxes are very restricting on my creativity”- the boxes are these representations, the form. Better focus on the energy, that same energy that you enjoy when “listening to the wind rustling the tree leaves and the birds singing”.
anitaJanuary 14, 2020 at 8:47 am #333387
Thank you so much for your advice that helps me improve myself each day. I just started the first day back at Stockton University and I am enjoying it. Looking at the sun shining through the trees that lined the corners of the sidewalk paths that I was walking on to the buildings is very uplifting. I also found the shrubs that had originally been green when I was on campus for the fall semester are now having vibrant red splashes on the shrub branches and it is beautiful. In the early hours, the campus is quiet and listening to the birds is relaxing. I am establishing a daily meditation practice to help me reduce my anxiety and make it easier to appreciate the little things in life. Even though I still have anxiety and sometimes I feel my heart race, I find with meditation practice I feel more energized and can re-center myself when I start to feel stressed. I am looking forward to learning more about meditation from the Meditation class that I am taking and since I get to meditate in class, I hope that the meditation techniques I learn help me de-stress when I am working with more challenging classes like Organic Chemistry. I am thinking of working on building a yoga practice as well, but I am not sure how to approach creating yoga workout routines for myself. I think that yoga helps me relieve tension because there are times when I feel really anxious and I like to be active since exercise helps me shift focus to the workouts or poses and work on calming my mind. I hope that with a steady yoga practice I can stop the intense workouts that I do that leave me feeling quite sore in my muscles and just enjoy the flow of yoga poses that do not cause so much strain on my body. My Meditation class covers Qi Gong as a technique to help circulate energy flow but that is in later chapters. Currently I am learning how to ground myself and let the energy flow throughout my body by imagining myself as a tree being rooted to the earth and receiving the Earth’s energy as well as imagining the sun’s rays shining through the branches that are my arms. I find this grounding technique quite helpful because there are times when I feel shaky with anxiety and imagining myself as a tree being rooted and absorbing positive energy from the sun helps. I have the Meditation class Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays I have Organic Chemistry and Genetics so I think that the meditation class helps me keep my stress levels more balanced. There are journal reflections for the Meditation class that ask students about their feelings after the meditation or pose questions that they answer about a meditation technique or ask students to write a short poem that can serve as a mantra for meditation. I like the journal prompts that ask about writing a poem as a mantra for meditation best because it makes me think about what I want to write to help me de-stress when I feel anxious and it helps me tap into my creative self. I feel like I am too focused on parts of my body like my chest and my hips because I worry about them the most and meditation helps me refocus my awareness on acknowledging my feelings and the world around me. I hope to work on yoga as well because instead of trying intense and straining workouts because I feel like I need to work on a specific shape for parts of my body, yoga can help me work on seeing my body as a whole and achieve balance and flexibility with the poses. If you have any advice on how to build a yoga routine with poses that help with the whole body, I hope for some advice.January 14, 2020 at 9:03 am #333395
Here is a meditation poem I wrote:
Thoughts drift like clouds in my mind
Some of these thoughts may be unkind
Blocking out the clear blue skies in my mind and making peace hard to find
Imagining the breath as a wind pushing the thoughts aside helps me feel more focused inside
Thoughts come and go as the breath of the wind blows them to and fro
I find myself not getting tangled in my thoughts and just letting them pass like clouds in the sky and with each breath I blow the negative thoughts so they go “Bye-bye”
Although I may get lost in thoughts and anxiety at times, I know that I can refocus on my breath and accept the thoughts as they pass and with each meditation I hope to heal myself back to my primeJanuary 14, 2020 at 9:25 am #333409
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
Even before your second post with the poem, the poet in you is expressed (first post): “Looking at the sun shining through the trees that lined the corners of the sidewalk paths.. the shrubs that had originally been green.. are now having vibrant red splashes.. In the early hours, the campus is quiet and listening to the birds is relaxing”- a Poet indeed!
Your meditation practice started long ago, and I hope that you establish a daily meditation practice like you plan to do, and that you improve it following the meditation class that you will be taking. A yoga practice reads like a good idea to me, start with five minutes yoga per day and increase from there? Continue Qi Gong as well and continue to use your excellent visualization skills to calm and ground yourself.
It is very important that you do stop “the intense and straining workouts” and that you do see your body “as a whole and achieve balance and flexibility with the poses. You asked for yoga advice: I suggest the chest opener poses (see how you feel about those!), warrior 1, warrior 2, various stretches, nothing too fancy or strenuous, and keep each pose for a couple of minutes or so. The corpse pose is a wonderful way to.. lie down and call it yoga.
I very much like your poem: “Thoughts drift like clouds in my mind/ Some of these thoughts may be unkind/ Blocking out the clear blue skies in my mind and making peace hard to find/.. I blow the negative thoughts so they go ‘Bye-bye'”- beautiful sound to it, worthy of getting published, says I!