Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Down to the river and drink

So I've been trying to stay hydrated lately, and I've been drinking lots of water, which makes it so that I basically have the bladder function of a hyperactive squirrel but! My acne has sort of cleared up since I've been on this H2O campaign. So any of y'all with acne, try drinking more water, see how it works.

As I may have mentioned before, acne has been my least favorite testosterone-induced change, and I'm really hoping that it's going to subside relatively soon, like any other pubertal affliction. Makes me think about hormones and transition, though, and wonder about the puberty aspect of all of this-how much of what all is going on is tempestuous adolescent turmoil? Are my face and my emotions going to settle down in a year or two? Is the short fuse and the oily skin something that I just have to wait out? I rather hope so, since I'm not looking forward to having a minefield for a face the rest of my life.

Also, makes me wonder about what changes I've experience in the last year are wholly attributable to my new hormone balance, which ones are just my own change and growth during my 21st year, and which are some mixture of the rights, I'm not truly out of my first adolescence yet, and I'm starting a 2nd one. I've changed a lot over the past year, not just physically. Some of it is solidity and contentment directly related to being happier with my physicality. Some of it comes from having a rich and delightful social life- my friends are excellent, my lover is a blessing, and I'm closer to my family than I've been in ages. Some of it, no doubt, is from being 21 instead of 20 .

So what's the moral of the story? Patience, grasshopper?

I think it's that things will settle as they may, and I'd like to stop looking forward and backward all of the time; important though it may be to know where I'm coming from and where I'm going, I want to see where I'm at.
Got another shot last night, in the left leg again and it didn't hurt at all. Clearly, the left leg is the invincible one. I'm nearly at 10 months on T, so we're going to do some bloodwork next time, check my levels, see how things are progressing. Funny to think the time has flown so fast! I'll try to post some pictures, etc. later. Changes are, of course, still happening, though they're either happening more slowly or I'm just not paying as close attention. Ro says my voice dropped again this week, though it doesn't sound much different to me. I haven't been able to get the livejournal voicepost thing to work lately, so I haven't been able to make a voicepost and compare, but I believe it. Hair is continuing to fill in though, of course, not quite as quickly as I'd like. I'm eager to get past this adolescent stage (though here I am looking forward again), as I'm feeling rather stuck in a midway point. I think I look younger now than I used to- between the acne and the recalcitrant facial hair. I used to have written in an "about me" section online somewhere that I'm younger than I seem but older than I look, and never has that been more true.
Funny thing- last night I was lying down, rather idly feeling my chest after having put some oil on my scars. I know that I still have some breast tissue under my arms; mastectomies for masculinization purposes don't tend to be as thorough as cancer-based mastectomies, since the goal isn't necessarily the eradication of all breast tissue but just almost all of it, the parts that are distressing. So I know I've still got some breast tissue at the tail ends of my scars, almost in my armpits. Ro reminds me that I need to keep an eye on them in terms of doing self-exams for lumps, etc, since (speaking of cancer, god forbid) it's still breast tissue that could develop lumps or cysts or what have you. What I noticed last night, though, is that the texture of the skin and flesh there is very...breast like. If I lie on my side, there's a tiny bit of a dogear at the end of my scar, and the protruding skin is very soft and squishy and feels like my breasts used to.

For the first second I had a moment of repulsion- as in, aaah, they're still here! All of that money and time and stitches and drains and I've still got breasts! But then I realized that of course, I don't, I just have these soft spots which, from just the right angle and with just the right touch, are tiny reminders of what once was. It's kind of nice, actually, to think that I've still got some remnants of my breasts.

I love my chest more and more with each day that I settle into it, as the scars break up and the sensation creeps back and the familiarity sinks in. It feels so normal to be flat-chested. It's hard to remember, sometimes, that it hasn't always been this way, that it might very well have been another way. I don't know what that means, that I feel very normal this way. I don't know if it's some kind of weird proof, a validation that I really am trans, after all. I don't know if it's something more troubling, a kind of complacency with the binary gender system that I've always disavowed. I've always said I don't want to be normal! (Though my answer to this, said both fiercely and, against my will though I'll admit it, a touch wistfully, is that I'm not normal, and I don't look normal, so no worries, mate.)

Maybe 'normal' is the wrong word- I might feel better about it if I used a less loaded description, like content with myself. My trouble with 'normal' is that it sets up my body as better now than it was...and, well, in some ways, it is. But I worry about where these feelings are coming from- worry that I'm feeling better about my body because it looks more like what society thinks it's "supposed" to look like rather than just what I want it to be like. And here's where I start losing track of my chickens and my eggs and just tread carefully all around, because a) I'm never very good at rooting out just "where" my feelings are "coming from"...pertinent words put in quotes to try to express their limnal inadequacy. I know my feelings are part me and part gender, etc, etc.

I guess I want to be careful of saying that I feel better physically transitioning because I know how easy it is for words like that to be generalized into "it's better to physically transition" and then before you know it there's a transmasculine master narrative and we're all marginalizing each other!

Woof. All this time I spend juggling privilege and oppression, I'm going to start hitting myself in the head if I'm not careful. Now I've been processing for paragraphs when all I really meant to say was that it's kinda nice right now to have these small reminders of my breasts tucked into the corners of my scars.

Friday, January 26, 2007

beefcake? cupcake!

A few pictures showing off my physique and my baking prowess. I'm getting more and more into cooking (because a man's place is in the kitchen) so if I keep this photovanity habit up, we can all witness the evolution of my physical transition and my skills in the kitchen as they co-develop.

poison in the well

Someone at my work she'd me today, and it threw me for a bit of a loop. I was coming in the door, all bundled up against the ridiculous cold, and was so intent on getting upstairs to the library that I didn't notice that the guard working at the welcome desk was new, and trying to ask me for my ID. Then I heard one of the guys who works in the building say "It's ok, she works in the library."

Which didn't really register with me, I just turned and noticed the guard and said "I work upstairs," and he waved me through.

But walking upstairs I had a WTF? moment.

First, I was frustrated with myself for not doing something. For once, it wasn't that I didn't have the guts to confront the situation, it was just that it happened so quickly, almost in passing, that I didn't have a chance to address it. As I stomped up the last few stairs I started reviewing alternate scenarios in my head- maybe going over and introducing myself to the new guy, "Hey, yeah, my name's Eli, I work in the library" and saying something funny but pointed to the facilities guy "How're you doing, man? Did I hear you call me she? What's up with that? You forget to drink your coffee this morning?"

Because honestly, it's not really okay for him to call me she, and I can't think of why he hadn't occurred to me that he thinks of me as she. He has known me the whole time I've worked here, so I guess he drew his conclusions when he met me and hasn't bothered to re-evaluate.

Which leads me to the second thing which is that in some ways, it's throwing me for a loop because it's making me wonder again about how much I've really changed over the past year. I guess I've just assumed that the people at my workplace either have read me as male from the start and either assumed that I'm doing some kind of late bloomer puberty thing, or haven't really noticed...or thought I was a dyke but then realized that I'm a dude now. Because duh, obviously, I'm a dude.

Except now I want to call myself on some shit because what is it that makes me think "Duh, I'm a dude?" I've got some definitively masculine secondary sex features, like a deeper voice and sideburns/stubble, and a flat chest, and more masculine proportions (broader shoulders, etc)...but not only is it in some ways against my politics to automatically assign those as dudely features, it also makes sense that, gradual and in some cases subtle as they've been, not everyone has noticed or understood the mechanics of my transition.

If there are folks who've read me as male from the start who haven't said anything about my sudden post-pubertal appearance, then it makes sense that there are folks who read me as female from the start who haven't really noticed or had the shoe drop about my more physically masculinized appearance, and so still call me she.

And if I'm annoyed that they used to automatically call me she because I used to have breasts, if I follow that reasoning, I can't be annoyed that they don't automatically call me he now because I have sideburns/flat chest.

On the other hand, I think that there are enough deliberately masculine cues in my appearance to warrant at least some thought about the matter. I'm pretty sure that most of the people in this building call me he, whether because they know they're supposed to or because they themselves see me as he (or both, I suppose). I'm all about not making gender/pronoun assumptions based on bodies, but I'm also in favor of the being sensitive and picking up on cues to try to be respectful of a person's pronoun preferences.

Blah. So I'm trying not to be resentful about this pronoun slippage on the part of this guy (because harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting your enemies to die! a piece of Nelson Mandela's wisdom that I heard for the first time the other day and haven't been able to stop thinking about). Getting to that realization has got me thinking that it's just not that big of a deal if one dude, whom I interact with once a week or so when he's changing the lightbulbs in the library, thinks I'm a she. Don't sweat the small stuff, right? The small stuff can be really oppressive when it's constant- a continuous, day-in, day-out stream of invalidation is a pretty crushing negative emotional burden to carry around- but right now, when I'm in such a good place, one small moment of someone else's mistake stings only temporarily.

And hold on, that's an important thought right there, that bit about it being someone else's mistake. Big lesson learned for me, and it's part of what's been such a good thing for me about this transition- I can finally accept that people who aren't seeing me for myself, people who call me she or refuse to respect me, are making their own mistakes. It was really hard for me to accept those mistakes as external to myself when I still felt like my own body was a mistake...I think it takes a different kind of strength and conviction than mine to be able to reject the short-sightedness of others without making any sort of physical changes. Now that I'm happier with the steps I've taken (mostly physically, but also mentally) to make things right with myself, it's easier to not care so much about what other people think.

Still, I do wish I'd been quick enough on my feet to correct him and affirm myself. or something.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

man of disrepute

So, the lesson I learned on Friday is that three days is no longer an acceptable amount of time for me to go without shaving. It has been okay in the past- three days worth of my stubble has just meant that I'm vaguely scruffy, in a can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it kind of way that becomes clear once I shave and my face returns to smooth clarity. But I think two days is my new limit before I start to look pretty gross, since my beard, such as it is, grows fastest and heaviest on my neck, and sort of fades upward from there. It's coming along nicely along my jaw, but hasn't made significant progress up my cheeks, nor certainly to my upper lip yet. So I end up with weirdly dark neck stubble, and a vaguely fuzzy face, and dude, that's just not cool. So definitely shaving every other day from now on, until the day comes (next spring? summer?) when I think things might be solid enough to try actually growing out a reasonable beard.
It's funny, a year or so ago I used to watch other guys all the time, trying to get a feel for what they were wearing, how they were moving, interacting with the world. Not quite taking notes, but definitely evaluating and learning and comparing their masculinities to my own, theirs (presumably!) having been taught since birth and practiced for years, whereas my own much more nascent manhood still felt like it needed some work. I don't do that so much now- much more comfortable moving in my own skin, thanks in no small part to my chest surgery- but I do subtly (I hope!) evaluate other guys and their facial hair. Up close I look for growth patterns and bald spots, or the line where they've ended their beards on their necks, or the angle at which they've allowed their sideburns to fall down their cheeks. Everybody has something slightly different going on, and it's interesting to observe...even without my personal stake in it, it's neat to see the different choices that people make about their own grooming. I'm trying to remember, too, that patience is not just a virtue but a necessity, that I've been at this less than a year, that I'll be bearded before I know it.
Yesterday was apparently Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007, and I missed it! Alas. I'm vehemently pro-choice, and I think it's important and elucidating to examine some of the connections between reproductive freedom and trans health. Both have so much to do with self-agency, and control over one's own body in a medical setting. I'm not arguing for total deregulation of abortion or medical transition, but actually, I'm uncomfortable with the semantics there. I don't want to see regulation but rather support and infrastructure. I think the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care are useful when used as guidelines and to support and inform people- both trans folks and health care providers. It doesn't seem to me (though I've never had one) that abortions are very often a good option, and so I think appropriate information and counseling and access to birth control methods and information is necessary. Abortions are often a needed option, but they seem a hard choice for anyone to need to make, and I wish that reproductive rights weren't so curtailed and stigmatized (why aren't there free condoms easily available in high schools, for instance?) such that abortion is made more necessary. Likewise, I don't think that the SOC should be used as set in stone thresholds that trans folks have to prove themselves by- that sets up gatekeeping along too many lines of identity (for non-binary or transition-track or 'classic transsexual' trans folks) or access (for folks who don't have the time or money to find a therapist and an endocrinologist and an amenable judge, all in the right order) or body (folks who don't pass frequently enough to make a "real life experience" necessary, or who don't want to modify their bodies in the way prescribed by the SOC). That said, transition is (perhaps I should say can be? Let's just say that mine has been) tumultuous, and at times difficult, and it's been useful to have support and information and an infrastructure, some of which has been provided to me by the folks at Callen Lorde who use the SOC as guidelines. So, yeah. Infrastructure and information good, denial of access or free choice bad.

drawing the line

Been thinking more about the "women and trans only" policies that I mentioned a few days ago, fueled by some of the interesting comments y'all left for me.

Anonymous number one- even before but especially after you wrote "So if the dick is equal to oppression, who gets to check who has it and who doesn't?" I was thinking about that line of thinking, which is basically the foolishness of basing an ideology around lines drawn through some sort of supposed biologically based binary. The myth of the binary sexes hasn't been debunked as thoroughly as that of the binary genders, perhaps because of less awareness of intersex issues, etc and because of even stronger taboos about discussing the range of body variation that falls within normal (and 'abnormal', too, I suppose, though a) that's a really loaded, potentially hurtful term and b) it seems to me that the line between normal and 'abnormal' is no less arbitrary than the lines between all the shades of 'normal). But seriously, yet another reason why the "women and trans only" thing doesn't sit well with me. My cock is welcome but some other guy's isn't? Carry that line of reasoning any further and it starts to get real disrespectful real fast, but if you don't carry it any further at all, well, then it's about as silly as it sounds.
Anonymous number two, I've got a bone or two to pick.
First and foremost, I think either I was unclear, or you totally missed my point. When you say "are men really still the patriarchal, evil "other" to you?" I go "Huh?" because that's precisely what I was trying to say. "Men" as some sort of homogenous category does not resonate well with me at all, particularly when it gets glossed as uniformly evil. So I think we're in accordance there. However, perhaps the miscommunication began through my determination to throw out there that I do believe in the patriarchy (much as I believe in fairies, but with less handclapping). That is to say, I do think that there is such a thing as institutionalized sexism, and while I might not call it evil, I think it's pretty darn crappy, and I know that while it affects and is perpetuated by all of us to a certain extent, it gets instilled pretty heavily in people who are raised as male, such that non-trans men who don't do some pretty thorough soul-searching/consciousness raising often exhibit (knowingly or not) some pretty crappy attitudes and behaviors. So yes, I do think there is a "patriarchal other" that I'm trying to keep that way- as an other. I'm committed to my feminism, and I want the patriarchy to remain an other. I don't want to perpetuate patriarchal practices, I want to break them down. As a man.

Which is what leads me to the touchy bone of contention, which is that I have to admit I'm not a big fan of the language you're using here. When you say things like "you know, for a transguy, you've got some rather misandrist attitudes" I get defensive, because it sounds to me like you're questioning my male identity. What I hear is "if you're actually a guy, you wouldn't be dissing guys like this!" Now, hopefully, this is a miscommunication on my part, being excessively defensive, etc, but I want to throw it out there that I didn't like that language, because I think it's perfectly acceptable (downright critically important, even) for guys to critique the patriarchy.

Which leads me to this last little bone, this word "misandrist" which, to quote the Princess Bride, I do not think it means what you think it means. Inconceivable! ahem. sorry. Perhaps you mean feminist? Misandrist isn't a word that I'm comfortable using as a simple counterpoint to misogyny, because misogyny has the weight behind it of institutionalized sexism (aka the Patriarchy) which pointedly privileges men, masculinity and maleness (albeit specific permutations thereof). There is no corresponding systematic privileging of women and femaleness, and so I don't believe there can be such a thing as 'misandry.' Personal prejudice against men? Fine. Sure. I'm sure it's out there and it probably does correlate with feminist principles at a rate higher than chance. But discrimination = prejudice + power, and the word 'misandrist' sounds too much like "feminazi" for me to be willing to accept it.
I'm sure there's plenty more (and comments welcome- I mean no disrespect, Anon2) but it's time to go home now.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

of men and transmen

I got an invitation in my email inbox today, inviting me to what looks like a pretty fun event, put on by a queer dragking/performer whom I don't know well, but admire. She may even be coming to a party at my house tomorrow night, actually- perhaps I'll discuss my issues with here there, if I can get my thoughts in some semblance of order.

My issues are with the parameters established for attendance at this event. The email reads as follows:

I would like you to attend [the event] if you are a woman/trans-person or genderqueer....[description of funny, queer event]....Additionally please note non-trans men will not be allowed to attend.

And I have to say, that right there puts a big huge kink in my decision about whether to attend.
There are a lot of events/spaces that advertise themselves as open to "women and trans only" and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I want to respect the right of any group to gather in solidarity, without the presence of potentially oppressive outsiders. I also want to refuse to be a party to discriminatory/exclusionary practices. I don't want to go somewhere I won't feel welcome, and I don't want to go somewhere I won't feel respected, but I don't want to lose out on a community I feel strong connections to.

These questions and inquiries are the shifting boundaries of what've been called the "dyke/FTM border wars" and

Being invited to a space that's labeled as being for "women and trans only" makes me feel like there's a line being drawn in the sand, and I'm automatically being placed on one side of it without my say in the matter, a side that I'm not sure I belong on. I resent the line being drawn in the first place, but I especially (painfully) resent being placed on the female side of the line, a place that I don't belong, as I think I've been working pretty hard to make clear. As my friend Jacob said once while we were talking about this, he doesn't want to go anywhere that's making that distinction, because of the gross implications being made that basically are either 1) trans guys aren't real men, so they can still come or 2) real men have penises and penises are yucky, so they can't come, or some variation on such a theme.

I think I understand that the point of refusing admittance to non-trans men at this event is to try to make it a safe space for the performers (and audience members, I suppose). I also think I understand that what they are really trying to do is keep out the things that would make such a place feel unsafe, like sexism, misogyny, homophobia. And I also know that those things tend traditionally to be vested pretty heavily in non-trans men. The hegemonic man takes up a lot of space, whether he admits it or not.

What I don't like is the simplistic (dare I say transphobic?) implication that it's transness, as it's understood by the creators of this event, that separates the wheat from the chaff, the feminist transguys (or, too often, the safe and safely emasculated "tranny boys" - though not at this event, since I know the performers to be smarter and more respectful than that) divided from the pigs of the patriarchy.

It reminds me of being in my psychology class last semester, being righteously indignant about an experiment that the professor had conducted, trying to determine what individuals can guess about the knowledge of the general population- that is, even when they don't know something, can they accurately predict whether or not other people are likely to know it? Running a condition where he wanted to ask people about something they would know, he was asking women about the names of cooking utensils and men about the names of car parts. I, sputtering with my frustration, tried to call him out on a sexist experiment. He, looking at me, half confused half condescending, said "Do you deny that there's a correlation between gender and certain set of knowledge?"

And no, I couldn't, because (as his experiment determined), more women do know the names of cooking utensils than men do, and vice versa with the car parts.

What I should've said was something along the lines of no, but I don't think the correlation is strong enough or reliable enough to be used as a supposedly neutral variable. It's the supposition that women are in the kitchen and men in the garage that gives that correlation it's strength, along with the matching assumption that you can tell from looking at a person whether they grew up in the garage or the kitchen.

Likewise, in this situation, I can't quite deny that lots of non-trans men are jerks, and take up a lot of space, and can, consciously or not, contribute to an unsafe space for performances, especially with mostly queer, mostly female performers. This particular event has non-so-subtle sexual overtones, too, which can heighten the tensions between the Man and the Other, as we're being set up to be in this context.

But y'know (I hope you know. don't we all know by now, please?), every non-trans man is not the last bastion of dastardliness. Plenty of transmen are pigs. Plenty of women can take up space, be obnoxious/hurtful, or contribute to an unpleasant atmosphere.

It's much easier to put "women and trans only" on your fliers than it is to say "this event is committed to being a safe space for queer, feminist people and ideas. Sexism, misogyny, or any other oppressive or aggressive attitudes will not be tolerated" and then enforce it. It's hard to try to enforce something like that, especially if everyone in the community isn't stepping up to take responsibility for it, having not made their own anti-oppression commitment, or finding it easier to just decide that women and trans people are okay and non-trans men are bad.

And, while they're at it, to assume and decide what it means to be labeled as such. "Genderqueer" persons are invited, but "non-trans men" are not. So, are genderqueer folks with penises allowed to attend or not? Are we breaking down to an underwear check, with all of the ridiculousness that encompasses? Genderqueer and trans person is too often used as code for "person with a vagina" and all of the assumptions that go along with it. Various famous music festivals (cough, cough) have their "womyn-born womyn only" policies that strike me as hurtful and misguided, and based on these same assumptions about what it means to be a woman, what it means to have been raised a woman, what kind of experiences one has when one is raised "as a woman" and what that means about potential camaraderie, allyship, friendship.

I was raised "as a girl" and I had a pretty different experience than most women do. You could argue that it's because of my queerness, but I had a pretty different experience than most dykes do. I have some common ground, sure, but there are a lot of chasms gaping between us, too, and why ignore those chasms when you're making such a big deal about the ones between you and someone with a dick?


Anyway. "Women and trans only" is not the place for me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Gimpy the second

well, I was too optimistic about the prospect of another pain-free shot. I got one in the right thigh last night and it was fine all night, until midmorning today when the cramping started, and now it's once again stabbing pains through my quad whenever I flex it. It's not so counterintuitive that my leg should protest the addition of 1 ml of thick viscous fluid into muscle that doesn't really have room for it, but dammit, I am not excited about this limping business.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

yowch be gone

Going downtown to get (yet another) shot tonight, leaving work a minute or two early to try to make my 6:20 appointment. This'll be the third shot in my thigh, as a sort of prep for the possibility of starting to self-inject soon. The word from Callen Lorde is that they're still working out the protocol for authorizing self-injections within the first year of HRT, so I may have to wait til my T-versary (April 10th) before they'll actually let me run away with my own bottle of oily hormones and a fistful of sharps. In the meantime, I'm watching carefully how she does it each week, and trying to imagine that it's my own hand guiding the sharp pokey thing into my leg.

The first shot I got in my right thigh, as you may recall me yelping about, was extremely and unexpectedly painful for almost three whole days after I got it. The second shot, in my left leg, which I got two weeks ago right when I got back to NYC, was almost totally painless. Very mild soreness around the injection site, as always, even in my butt, but nothing like the cramps and tightness and stabbing pains of the first leg shot. I'm hoping that tonight will be another painless shot, establishing that first one as a fluke, but I'm nervous, since it's back to my right leg again. Maybe my right leg is just resistant? I'm going to ask her to do it higher up on my quad, since I think that's part of what helped the left leg be less painful.
It's really starting to sink in that this could very well be a life long process for me. There's talk going around of hormone pellet implants, that would slowly release over a period of months and obviate the need for shots, but they don't seem to be hitting the market anytime soon. Unless I quit T, I'm going to be jabbing myself cyclically for a good long time. I'm okay with that- it's a small enough price, after all. And even as this is becoming routine, even occasionally annoying and time consuming, getting a shot hasn't quite lost its luster yet. I'm still in slight awe of that tiny bottle of viscous goo.

It's hard to concretely connect that bottle to my own body. Part of the seduction of this transition for me has been the naturalness of it all. My hairs and muscles and husky voice have come upon me slowly and, though I've been scrutinizing every minute of transition, I've still had a pervading sense of normality throughout it all.

I know that a lot of transguys are frustrated and/or saddened by the 'necessity' of transition. They feel themselves men (or boys) and they want the rest of the world to know it, and they want the bodies to match. They don't want the transition process, with all its awkwardness and pauses and tensions and uncertain waiting.

For me, I've felt very much like this is normal in every way. I know intellectually that I'm inducing this masculine puberty, that it's the golden oil slipped into my muscle every other week that's making all this happen. But it feels to me like I couldn't be any other way, and it's a reassuring, solid comfort.

I feel very normal, and not at all a stranger in a strange body, as I'd once worried might happen. This body is mine and if anything, since I'm happier with it and prouder of it, I'm MORE connected to it, and it's more mine than it's ever been. But because I don't feel strange, I don't really feel like I look or sound much different than I always did. When I look in the mirror, I look like me.

Now, I have to remember that I used to look in the mirror and not really think I looked like me. and sometimes I'm jostled into a comparison, by finding an old picture and forcibly realizing the significant changes in myself.

Also because I think I still look like me, I don't really mind looking at old pictures of myself. I've looked basically the same- boyish/effete/slightly butch in varying proportions- since 9th grade, and even prior to that there was only a very brief period in middle school when I did the long hair/tight shirts thing. Those are the pictures that don't really look like me. My little kid pictures, though one could say they show a little girl, definitely show me, and I'm proud of them. I feel very glad and lucky that I'm comfortable with my photo history.

Pictures when you can clearly tell I have breasts (such as those from my short lived naked parade organizing days my first year of college) weird me out a little now, since it feels so normal not to have them. But other than that, and the few weird lipstick/long hair shots from 7th and 8th grade, I feel like my historical self rings true with my current self. Take a picture of the bow-and-arrow-crazed kid swinging from a treehouse and a picture of me now, in my tweed, tiny silver earrings glinting behind fuzzy sideburns, and the evolution is obvious. Who else would that kid have grown up to become?
In other news, I've started using some new stuff, Palmer's Scar Serum, on my chest as of last week. I noticed that my nipples were looking really dried out/flaky, and I ran out of Mederma sometime in December and hadn't gotten any more, so I thought it might be time to try something new. It's a bit oily, so that it stays sticky on my chest for a while, but even in the week that I've been using it I can tell that it's keeping my scars and nipples nice and moisturized, and I think it's going to do good things for them. It's got five different ingredients- vitamin 8 (something like 24,000 units), cocoa butter, shark liver oil, something else, and onion extract, which is also in Mederma. Too soon to tell for sure, of course, but it's definitely making my scars happy, and they continue to fade, in fact are downright white/clear in spots, so I'm excited about that. I've taken some recent pictures- I'll try to post them soon.