I have received many wonderful and supportive comments on my recent 3 Year HRT Anniversary (my re-birthday) post from yesterday. One particular message I received as an Ask in tumblr stopped me in my tracks though. If you can’t read the screenshot above, here is the text..
“*suicide tw* Hi! I just wanted to say thank you. Your transition timeline post literally helped save my life today. I had a suicide plan drawn up this morning and I was 50/50 on attempting. I’m trans but closeted and things have been incredibly hard lately. Your honesty about your journey, your struggles, and how you’ve overcome them gave me enough hope to carry on. Sorry for the long Ask, but I just wanted to say thank you again. I hope you’re having a happy Halloween.”
Knowing their message could help others, I asked if I could share the message and whether or not the submitter wanted me to include their message and name. They said I could include their info. Please send this person some love and give them a follow.
This is why I try to keep my blog, website, and story up to date. I have received messages like this before with varying levels of urgency in where the person was at in their struggles. Transgender people of all ages need to see themselves represented positively and see that they are able to be out of the closet and just live their life and find love and acceptance. We will not continue to be erased, made villains or scapegoats, and used for political votes, if those that are able continue to stand up and present ourselves to the world. Our narrative should be ours to tell. Our society is so broken regarding its treatment of transgender people. With modern science’s understanding of the validity of transgender existence, there should be NO STIGMA (#NOSTIGMA). Suicide rates for transgender people are the way they are because of continued misunderstanding, the perpetuation of old biased science and myths, hateful bigotry and misogyny.
The original post and its header image (click link for the full post):
3 Years! Sorry this is a long post and you may have to manually load the last couple of images!
That’s right, I have hit my 3-year mark of being on HRT. Halloween is my hormone-iversary! It just happened to be the day that my HRT prescription was first filled and available to me. The 3-year mark for HRT is widely considered to be about the point in time when HRT has done most of its work for those transitioning. As I prepare for my surgery in two weeks, this is a look back at the events and pics in and around the month of October for the past 3 years in the life of Ari..
The Good – 2014:
Since February of 2014, I began to be much healthier after deciding to finally accept and address the fact that I was transgender and planned to share that with other people. I took it slow, but I immediately started to care about actually taking care of myself and my body once I had finally forgiven myself for being transgender (it sounds ridiculous I know). By the time the photos above were taken, I had already lost about 30 pounds and would eventually lose over 65 pounds.
By October 31st, I had visited the Howard Brown Center in Chicago multiple times and I got my first HRT prescription filled on Halloween (it just happened to be that day – easy to remember though!). My plan at that point was just to be on HRT and hope that it helped me with my dysphoria. It turns out it was a night and day difference and in a matter of weeks it was as if the lights were on for the first time in my life.
Major Stresses at the time – 2014:
Out to my spouse, only one friend, and one family member
When I come out to my spouse, she tells me she can’t be with a woman, so I do not view fully transitioning as being in my future
I had to go to Howard Brown and seek help on my own because I am desperate for the dysphoria to be addressed
I feel utterly alone in dealing with all of this and along with suffering massive guilt at the same time because I blame myself even though I should not
The Good – 2015:
I spend the first part of 2015 becoming more androgynous.
I am out to my children, but I switch back to guy mode whenever I am around them to give them time to adjust.
Being out and about finally as myself, I begin to make friendly acquaintances with some employees at grocery stores, salons, and clothing stores I frequent.
My hair is slowly growing out but my signature curls are already in full effect.
Also – I finally like Halloween, now that I feel like myself under the costume! So, yay for costumes!
Major Stresses at the time – October 2015:
Over 5 months of marriage counseling failed to do anything about the fact that I was and would always be transgender and my spouse did not want to be with a transgender woman. The decision had been made in September to get a divorce and knowing my marriage is over I decide to begin working towards fully transitioning.
Moved to a new apartment all by myself with no help.
Dealing with being surrounded by smoking neighbors in my little one bedroom apartment (YUCK!!).
Supporting two households on my one income.
Going through painful electrolysis on my facial hair.
Spending time still attempting ‘boy mode’ when with my kids and parents so they can have time to adjust.
Being gendered as male or female on any given day while out shopping, just living my life.
Being regularly misgendered by my parents and siblings during visits and one of my closest family members has rejected me completely
I declare 2016 “The Year of Ari.” I was determined to allow myself to fully come out to the world.
The Good – 2016
In March, my Kids tell me I can pick them up "As myself.” From that moment on.. no more boy mode! In May, I complete my official name change! I was also totally out at work by this point but I was working from home so I only see co-workers occasionally for major events or work trips. I have been out swimming again in both one and two piece (but still mid-riff covering) bathing suits. I published my first article as a contributor to The Huffington Post. I switched from electrolysis to laser hair removal on my face. By the start of summer, I have begun to see a therapist with the intention of meeting the WPATH guidelines for gender confirmation surgery. By focusing on being more social and going to meetups (thank you Meetup.com!) throughout 2016, I have built a network of friends in and around what I now consider my home town.
In the fall, I began streaming on my Twitch gaming channel – but not at all on a regular schedule.
Major Stresses at the time – October 2016:
Divorce nearing the end phase and dealing with lawyers and legal speak is not something I handle well.
Under major financial distress
A shortage in Estradiol medication causes me to have to switch from injections to patches and my numbers drop severely low. Dysphoria hits me hard for a solid month.
Still being regularly misgendered by my parents and siblings during visits and one of my closest family members has still rejected me completely
Ari is now officially single again
The Good – 2017
My relationship with my kids is as amazing as ever and my teenage daughter and I connect in new ways and have lots more to discuss 😉 After all, we are both going through puberty at the same time! My son and I are also doing great and you can occasionally witness us playing games as a team on my Twitch channel (though he is off camera).
My divorce was finalized at the beginning of 2017.
I declared this the Decade of Ari, because one year was not enough 😉
I am once again working in the office two days a week (I am actually enjoying it!), though the rest of the week I work from home.
I am pretty much “there” as far as facial hair removal goes, but I still deal with some slow growing colorless hairs on my chinny chin chin (these hairs are by-products of earlier electrolysis that laser won’t help with). I want to have electrolysis on my face soon to finish off those little buggers.
I went mostly blonde! At least for a while 🙂
I have begun dating again!
I am streaming on Twitch on a regular basis.
Thanks to donations from many of you, I received just barely enough assistance to make my surgery happen. My goal has not been met, and there is still a large financial burden I am having to meet. (if you want to help and can, here is the link: http://youcaring.com/helparianaout )
Major Stresses at the time – 2017:
Preparing for Surgery (so anxiety inducing) – planning, calling, managing, attending appointments, more calling, more managing, and more calling, more appointments…
As a pre-surgical requirement, I had a mammogram and in doing so also had a breast cancer scare (it turned out to be nothing after a followup mammogram and an ultrasound, but for 9 days I suddenly began having to think that my surgery might never happen and I might have to instead begin to battle cancer).
Three long sessions of electrolysis performed on my crotch for surgery prep = enough said!
One of my closest family members has still rejected me completely
Thank you for taking a look back with me. I am sorry for monopolizing your dash for this long post. I am very grateful to my tumblr community though and I wanted to celebrate this with you.
A hormone-iversary feels like a re-birthday to many of us who transition and it is special.
You may notice that I smile a lot and I try to maintain a positive attitude no matter what is happening in my life. It has been the central key to getting where I am now. It helps that through all of the trials, simply being able to be myself brought out so much happiness that I could always find that feeling again. 🙂
I am also grateful for every donation I have received. As I mentioned, there was just enough donated (by the slimmest of margins!) for me to be confident enough to move forward with this.
On to surgery and on to seeing what 2018 will bring!