Tag Archives: Binding

Cest la vie!

Where the hell have I been?! That is the question I’ve gotten most often since my last post. Online acquaintances, family, friends, and classmates. At times I stop and for a moment get lost in my memories while asking myself that same question. I’m left with the feeling of uncertainty and usually shrug my shoulders.

I knew this year was going to be important in my life. Although there have been many changes, some bad, but most good, I’ve come to see this as my year for life changes. For the first time in my 43 years I was able to fully embrace myself this year. I was able to put down my walls and trash my fears so that I could be the person I really am and show it without anxiety. The summer, although insanely busy with two intensive semesters, proved the perfect time for me to step out from underneath my rock and test some of the boundaries I’d previously been afraid to acknowledge concerning my gender. The first week I began binding in public, I was quite nervous and my anxiety levels were through the roof. Now, it doesn’t phase me at all. I really don’t pay much attention to whether my classmates or my professors look at me and wonder — it that a man or a woman?! I don’t think twice about how fat I am, or how my body doesn’t feel right. Once I began binding most of those fears simply disappeared.

I’ve had bouts of the blahs since I was sick with swine flu a few years ago. My immune system took a terrible hit and my body hasn’t been the same. I have been dealing with periods of intense joint and muscle pain at least once or twice a month since then. It usually goes away in a few days and I feel fine. It’s almost as if I can feel it coming on and know that my body is trying to tell me something, which I interpreted as “slow down”. I would rest a few days and all was back to “normal”.

A week before the fall semester started, these same symptoms started. I was glad it was happening before classes started back, but when the symptoms stuck around much longer than usual and the pain/discomfort elevated to levels that left me in a lot of pain and with little sleep, I decided to go to the doctor.

I am an Internet junkie. I love the Internet. I’m online a lot normally. When I started feeling so bad that I was not able to get online, and then was in so much pain that I had no desire to get online, that was a big red flag for me. Fatigue set in and the simplest tasks became unbearable…including lying down.

After the first set of tests came back showing that some levels were elevated that pertained to inflammation, I was given a whole slew of meds. Painkillers to help me sleep and alleviate pain and anti-inflammatory pills to help with inflammation. I am not a fan of taking medication in the first place, but when you’re in so much pain that you begin questioning whether you’ve actually gone insane or what might be the best way to saw you own leg off to get some comfort, you will take anything!

The second set of tests came back to indicate that I have fibromyalgia. All this time I thought I was having joint pain, it was really nerve and muscle pain. My meds were changed once again and I was scheduled to see a rheumatologist the first week of October. The medicine they gave me to control the nerve pain is actually a seizure medication. It helps take the edge off the pain, but doesn’t take it completely away. I’ve been left to deal with high levels of fatigue, nerve pain that affects most of my body, and other symptoms.

Earlier this year I visited a audiologist who informed me that I had low-frequency hearing loss. While not quite ready for hearing aids yet, it’s something I have to look forward to in the next few years I’m sure. I was certain I had screwed my hearing by listing to heavy metal blasting in headphone or at rock concerts most of my life, but to my relief, the doctor informed me that aspect of my hearing was perfectly normal. Either way, I was given a nice talk about how to manage with a hearing disability.

I can’t help but think that now I’ve finally come to a place where I am ok with my body and ok with my gender that now my body starts to fall apart! WTH?!

So, now you know where I’ve been. I’m hoping to be back in the swing of things soon and thus bugging the shit out of everyone again!

 

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Catching Up

Since my last post, I’ve had my first counseling session, had my first experiences with binding in public and using the men’s room. Small steps for this man, giant steps for … hrm… transmankind!

My new therapist quickly made me feel comfortable. I was pleased to hear that she does not like the transgender “diagnosis”. Considering that I am no longer questioning my gender, she stated that she would classify my sessions as “life changes” instead. That is fine by me as these are truly life changes. I see her again this Friday as we delve into my healthy transition.

I traveled outside Charlotte this weekend and in doing so, I decided it was time to go all out. I admit, there are times when I am in familiar places such as home or school where I don’t always feel comfortable enough (YET!) in the moment to display myself completely. The opportunity to test myself in a new environment proved challenging and at times frustrating. I bound my breasts, which only seemed to make my breasts look contained and not flat, and started out on a positive note when I realized people were not calling me either “Sir” or “Ma’am”. It’s so common, especially in the South, for people to be polite by using gender pronouns.

Later, during a stop at a rest area, I ventured into the men’s room instead of the lady’s room. This went well. I went in, entered a stall, did my business, washed my hands and even nodded to an older gentleman at a urinal. There were no stares. Nobody ran after me. Nobody confronted me. Nobody tried to beat me us. Those are good things in my book!

I was not able to escape the day without being called “Ma’am”, which was honestly very disappointing. I felt confident that I looked like just another large-sized man. Although my breasts were bound, they could have easily been seen as “moobies”, in my opinion, so I started to ask myself what it was about me that made people continue to call me by female pronouns.

I’ve considered that it is my lack of facial hair, or perhaps that I wear earrings in both ears, or even that my voice may be too soft. The end result, in my mind anyway, was that it was my breasts — they are too large! So, I am back to the drawing board, and probably the ACE bandages, until I can figure out a better way.

I am still seeking a good social networking site for transmen. I’ve found a couple but they don’t keep my attention for long due to inactivity or the age of the participants. I don’t feel as if I’m experienced enough to start my own website, but that is exactly what I’m considering.

In my continued search, I have met one transman in person. He will be a good friend and ally during my transition! Meeting other transmen, either in person or online, helps me get a feel for other’s experiences. One thing I have noticed lately is that all transmen have different ideas about what defines masculinity and what they expect from their transition. I know that I have my own ideas about what kind of man I hope to look like after my transition.

I hope it’s not as long between this and the next post. The semester is nearing an end and is definitely going to be busy!


Binding Blues

I received my first binder in the mail today. I’ve been excited since I paid almost $60 to see what wonders a more expensive product would do. This isn’t a bashing post, so I’ll skip the whining about what company I purchased the binder from and how crappy the quality was for the price. Instead, I will focus on the main obstacle in front of me … the D’s.

It amazes me sometimes that women pay tons of money to have breasts the size of mine. I, on the other hand, would gladly hand them over in exchange for a beautifully sculpted male chest. Unfortunately, the reality is that I am far from ready (emotionally, mentally, physically) for “the” surgery, and I am faced with the realization that large breasts are hard, and uncomfortable, to bind.

I decided to purchase a Men’s Gynecomastia Vest because 1) it looked sturdier than most other binding methods I researched, and 2) because it is specifically made to bind breasts (although men’s breasts). I may have been thinking in the wrong way, but it seemed logical to me at the time. Now, however, I’m considering returning this product and trying an Underworks Mens Microfiber Compression Tank. There’s quite a big difference in the price, and while the tank may be more uncomfortable getting on, it may actually work better. If this doesn’t work, I’m back to Ace bandages…

Now I know that I’m not the only big guy out there. Somewhere there are others who have dealt with, or are currently dealing with, the delima of large breast binding and the lack of options. Binders are a necessity for guys like me. Breasts are the first thing you see when I come toward you and no matter how masculine I look or dress, I still get called “ma’am” on a regular basis.

One of the biggest issues I’ve had with my body is that it shouldn’t be my body. I don’t feel comfortable in it and I hate looking at it. Part of the reason that I gained so much weight was to try to hide away inside this body. Thank goodness I still had my mind where I could think and react like the man I am. The breasts don’t belong there, and neither does all this fat! Instead, there is a handsome, well muscled hunk dying to get out!

The delima I have now is whether or not to return the binder and start my search all over again, or to try to work with it. It did restrict my breasts, however, it did not make my chest look as flat as I would have liked. It wasn’t comfortable either, which is something that I find many transmen saying. I guess it doesn’t matter if I am a cup size B or a D, binding breasts is still going to be painful.

There needs to be more plus sized options, as well as options for guys with large breasts to bind. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!