This was first published in April 2011.
I just checked her latest vlog entry, made March 19, 2012. Her eyes leaped off the screen, and I thought "smouldering." Her nose, still large, now seems more streisandesque than a problem. The brows are still an issue.
Whatever the heck that room is used for -- the room she films in -- it has at least had a coat of white paint.
There has been a recent change in the formulation of her HRT, and it's apparently a big deal, because she expects her face to change a lot in just a few days.
The hair on her legs is sparser, and softer.
The hair on her head appears unchanged.
Yesterday was her birthday; She's now 25 and living her life "as the real me" -- about which she says, "Like wow... I mean, like wow." She's been doing HRT for 485 days and is trying to raise money for her surgery. She has a petition to that effect over at giveforward.com, but has not had much success. Luckily, she has insurance, though I imagine gender reassignment surgery includes a host of incidental expenses.
Her breasts are now beautiful (but still "sore"), approaching a C-size cup. Gone is her hesitant and wimpy goal of the B-cup!
Her voice still drives me ape shit. She has a brand spanking new blog, too, with only one entry thus far. You'll never guess the topic. "How I got my female voice." Oh. Dear. God. Anyway, she's fearless, and she's doing it, and she's happy (or, more precisely, "happier").
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.
Something about her face. No makeup. She was peering out at me from YouTube, looking as tense and afraid as I was bored and grumpy.
She frequently brings both hands to her face, tremulous, frightened of her own touch, as if she might break herself into unfortunate pieces. And it's soft, she reports and sometimes tender, like her breasts. The urge to touch herself, to land a finger tip breathlessly on a cheek, in squeaky whispers, on an inhale, strange, there, on her cheek, her chin, her shaky index, it all points to something I just cannot see and do not appreciate.
She's a naive whore, I think, and mentally frown in my general direction.
Okay, she's just naive. It pisses me off that she has no shame. Isn't that right? Wouldn't you say that the truly naive have no comprehension of shame?
The first thing I thought, though, was that she had a huge nose. Large pores, blackheads. She looks a lot like Margaret B. -- from high school. Margaret was not my friend, by which I mean that I was insincere. I liked her when there were no witnesses and made fun of her with others. We were both on the tennis team. Her feet turned out in a weird way, she wore her long woolen hair in a single braid down her back and you could use the word tendrils and her hips came up -- uncomfortably --extra high. We spent a fall weekend together at a tournament in the mountains, sleeping on the floor of this rich girl's living room. It was the first time I ever played on clay. I went two rounds, she went one, we were childish with the CB radio during the drive home. Margaret ended up at West Point and searching her, googling her, turns up little beyond her brigadier generalship. I'd spit on me were I her.
This one is no brainiac, no athlete. A narrow, flat mouth, thin lips that were trying to be something else, like lush, maybe. A daydream of lush.
Overgrown eyebrows, but I've seen worse, sometimes in the mirror. If there is straining intensity in her face, it's weirdly in her eyebrows. I am proud of her for not plucking them until she knows how to do that; I fear for her sanity should she overpluck, should she lose their line, and while yes, I am saying something ridiculous, she wears her insanity like an old friend.
Dark brown limp hair that I almost want to say was "of indeterminate length," except that that's a stupid thing to say, given that -- voilà -- there's her hair, right in front of me, visible, and it's from just below her chin in the front to slightly below the shoulder in the back. I'd still say "of indeterminate length" because it clearly isn't done doing what it's going to do, yet. And it's greasy, and parted in the middle, and really, really shy. Shy indeterminate hair.
Lacking in chin.
Maybe not. It might be a function of the camera's position, and another extension of shy indeterminacy.
We're all crowded together in a room with blistered paint on old plaster, a storeroom? There are piles of things and brown cartons.
The one time she glanced back at the closed door, she looked scared. So scared that this single act spliced itself into my viewing eyes and she began to do it over and over, if only on my computer monitor. There's something out there and it could get her.
She's in a black and orange tee that looks like it might say DEATH NOTE, but it's blurry (my eyes, not her video) and stylized, so I am not sure. Maybe that is a band. Maybe that is a statement. Wait, give me a minute. Okay... it is an anime site -- based on the manga by Tsugumi Ohba that has been the basis for a couple of movies and a novel. The same graphic that is on her t-shirt is displayed at the anime web site. I visited her YouTube Channel page and she has "anime" listed as an interest.
I scanned a couple of her videos and in all she was in a dark t-shirt with a long-sleeved white tee underneath. In a few, she wore her hair in two screaming Cindy Brady pigtails.
Even knowing from the description that she is only in week 22 (or maybe it was 27) of HRT in a journey from male to female, when I turned the sound on, I was stunned.
There's no put-on lisping or anything but there is almost a palpable fear of her own voice. It's a near whisper and there's a dearth of control. Or maybe it's an abundance of tremor, tribulation, fear.
Fear. Or fear. It's fear.
Except I don't think she is afraid. She's deliciously happy although she defines things like "freedom and happiness -- wonderfully synonymous, at present, I think -- as "not being noticed," and "not being stared at" the first time she went out as a woman, to T.J. Maxx. Which is funny, because she's not flashy, she's not in-your-face adamant about anything. I cannot imagine her catching my eye in a store for any reason whatsoever, except maybe concern for the pools of anxiety in her eyes.
When she stumbles into puddles of urgency, she whispers.
"Freedom and happiness" include the day she was able to be "honest" with her parents...
I wish I could leave that sentence alone: "Freedom and happiness" also include the day she was able to be honest with her parents...
This is what she said, verbatim: "I had my first experience with freedom and happiness the day I was able to come out to my parents, be honest, and assure them I was not gay."
My heart sank. But this is about her, her face, nose, and chin. Her hobby t-shirt, her blistered paint, her storeroom, her strange flitting voice, a creaking whisper.
Her fear of what is behind that door.
Her experience, the very first one, with freedom and happiness, at T.J. Maxx as a straight woman and then again in an old-fashioned panelled den, browns and greens, in plaids, maybe with the television volume turned down low (but not off), while she and her folks nodded together in the electronic glare of heterosexuality.
She shows us the pills she must take every day, including the aspirin "for clots." That makes her blush, almost, and she hastens to explain that "blood clots," and then to stumble-mumble about "risk of clots." She doesn't know what that means, not in this early video.
So she blushes, whispers, thinks "crotch," somehow, when she displays the 81 milligrams, the 1.25 grains, and she is just as palpably afraid of the capsules and tablets as she is of gay men -- but there's a bit of awe on the side, too.
She is hoping to have breasts soon, and wants cup size B, "not A." When I magically skip ahead two months in the vlog, she keeps pulling up her t-shirt, peeling up the long-sleeved white undershirt, exposing a third layer -- a plain, though ribbed, almost-a-camisole black tank top -- under which, she murmurs, she wears a bra. And I think, so long as your voice stays that way, even undeniable truths like the clear outline of an underwire push-up brassiere remain insinuations.
In one of the later vlogs, almost voiceless, she rejoices that her leg hair is not clumping up and getting stuck in the razor. "It's less!" she whispers, and rejoices -- but does not smile. "It's soft..."
She thinks her teeth are too big. She doesn't say that, it's just something I know.
What I really want to know is what the deal is with her damned voice? I went to her very first video report and listened to the deeper, male tones -- but they were just as hesitant, just as much not right as the breathy mess that came later.
If I knew how, I'd create a temporal disconnect between image and sound, a purposeful bad post-production dub job, so that I could drill down on other details, so that there'd be interesting interstices. So that I could escape the feathery breath.
The little bit that she writes is full of typos and misspellings but "live," she is articulate, even in the discomfort of an ill-fitting voice. Some things will doubtless work themselves out (the best, most reliable gift of repetition): hormone replacment thrapy, day of remberance, my hormonal transistion.
I only saw one comment over the course of five or six of her video submissions. While YouTube viewers are famous for their callous nature, hiding nastiness in anonymity, the one comment she received was a generic good wish from a stranger to which she responded, in rapid succession, four times --
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in equivalent abstractions,
except for the powerful message
that, being unused to conversation,
she will smother interlocuteurs
with a swarm of verbiage of fuzzy intent.
I really want to forget her but don't think I can.