Sunday, April 16, 2006

if I should suddenly start to sing

My Manniversary party last night was a TREMENDOUS success, and I'm grateful to and charmed by everyone who came, called, or sent kind words. I couldn't do this without you all around me.

It was so so good to enjoy myself at this party last night. Besides an excellent evening of conversation and connection, I now have a table full of incredibly thoughtful cards, as well as an excellent supply of manly bath products: my mom sent me face wash, my friend Alysse gifted me with shaving supplies and manly face care products, and my karaoke friends showed up with a bagful of Axe bodywash and a loofah. because Real Men Exfoliate.

The gifting generosity extended to the surgery fund jar- I waited til the end of the night to empty it out, and was shocked past delight to find 805 dollars in there! Holy Saturday, my friends are amazing! That pushes me way past my milestone goal for the surgery- I need less than $1000 before August, and that is utterly doable.

Ro managed to refrain from a kindly "I told you so!" but I am still blown away by the amazing generosity of my friends and family. It's amazing to me that there are that many folks out there willing to part with that much of their money just to make my life a little better. But lo and behold! I'll never underestimate my community again. I'm also going to be returning the good karma for years to come. I don't know if I can think of a suitable means to say thank you, but I'm sure going to try.

It's so good to have friends and compatriots around me, supporting me. That was what made this party so important to me. It wasn't about raising surgery funds or drinking whiskey, though admittedly those were two pretty important subgoals. It was about gathering folks around me who are here with me as I make my way through this transition. These are the people who are really here for me, and I feel safe and comfortable and happy in their midst, confident that they know who I am- they know Eli. Though our next door neighbor came over partway through the evening (to charm everyone with his French accent and chic advice) and I couldn't quite bring myself to explain the purpose of the party to him, and offered a weak "I'm just throwing myself a party!"

Still, for the most part, everyone there knew me well, and was more than happy to give me good vibes and words of congratulations. It feels so damn good not to be going at it alone. For years (and though it's hard to say that phrase with a straight face while I'm a tender 20 years old, I do mean several years- ages 15 to 19, essentially) I felt very alone and isolated in dealing with my gender. I felt like it was my Deepest Darkest Secret, and my biggest fears and concerns centered around how transitioning would affect my social ties. It wasn't a question of whether transition would make me happier with myself (easily answered: yes.) but rather, how would I be able to maintain my ties and connections with people if I undertook this challenge. Realizing now that I can follow this unconventional (and excellent!) path and still have my friends and family love and in fact celebrate me- well, that's reason enough to party, don't you think?

In fact, it seems that my friends are rising to the challenge and drawing closer to me as I recreate myself. It's certainly true that I'm able to make deeper and truer connections as I've become happier and more open this past year.

So, my first year as a man, successfully completed! All that's left for me now is to carry on and enjoy year number two, and also to track down some lovely stationary on which to write the heartfelt thank-you notes I'll be sending to my kind and generous friends.

Oh, and with regards to Day 6 on Testosterone: Still no immediately discernible effects. A few physical manifestations are on the fence- I've been sweating a lot, and had some acne action on my face- but those could just as easily be attributed to the 75+ degree sunny springtime weather. I'm looking forward to my next shot. And the one after that. And the one after that.

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