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Life du Coeur

Join me as I explore Depression as an invisible illness, on my journey into gender, and through life in general.

“I was not ladylike, nor was I manly. I was something else altogether. There were so many different ways to be beautiful.”— Michael Cunningham, A Home at the End of the World.

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Depression Posts

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Transgender Posts

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Life in General Posts

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Transgender Journey – 6 months

Transgender Journey 6 months

Physical Changes

Body hair

I’ve noticed that the hair on my arms and legs has finally started getting a bit softer and lighter.  I’ve also noticed that the hair on my stomach is starting to turn blond rather than the darker black that it used to be.  The hair on my face is pretty much the same, but it definitely seems to be slightly less thick and full than it used to be.  It’s still a pain to shave.  Of course the thinner look of the hair could just be because of the softer nature of the skin on my face too.

Boobs

I have them.  I have to admit that now.  When I shaved my face for these pictures, I also shaved my chest, and it is undeniable that I have some little booblets going now.  Mind you, they don’t look like boobs at all, they just look like I have a fat chest, which is why I’m not really happy with them yet.  They don’t really match my weight at all so far, but I know that it can take quite a while for breasts to grow during puberty 2.

Face

There are some changes in my face My skin is definitely softer looking and smoother than it used to be.  You can see that pretty plainly in my timeline picture below.  My eyes also do seem a little wider/bigger.  I don’t know what’s going on there.  My eyebrows seem different in the picture too, but I swear I haven’t done anything with them at all.  I should note that in the picture below, in the top left and bottom right, I’m wearing makeup.  I have on eye shadow, eye liner, and mascara as well as some lipstick.  I’m not wearing any rouge although it looks like it.  I have on a little bb cream on my chin and over my mustache area.

Chris Six months hrt vs day zero

My Marriage

I had one request that I talk about how I’ve been able to keep my marriage going strong during all these changes.  There really isn’t any secret trick or anything.  The only reason it’s going strong is because my wife and I love each other, she’s open to being with a transgender woman, and she and I communicate openly and often.  When I was first starting to consider that I might be trans, I told her everything up front and decided that it would be best for both of us if I were to wait to do anything until she’s comfortable with it.  I didn’t immediately go out and buy a female wardrobe or anything.  I started small with makeup.  That’s still all I’m doing now basically.  I’m looking into starting to try women’s clothing after the holidays.  That’s mostly because I feel like I might actually start looking better in them than in men’s clothes.  I cannot stress enough that the only reason we’re going strong is that we’re both willing to work together.  If either party isn’t willing to work on things together, then it probably isn’t going to work out.  There’s no magic spell that I’m casting on her or anything either.  It’s all her choice really.  You’re basically introducing your spouse to a new person when you find out that you’re trans.  And, your spouse has the right to decided that she’s immediately not interested in that person.  Some people just aren’t interested in other women/trans women, and there’s nothing that you can do to change that, unfortunately.  Like everything else in a relationship, it comes down to respecting your spouse as a free person.  I’m doing everything in my power to make this transition easy on her, but ultimately it’s her choice whether she stays or not and I don’t have any power over that.  I guess the only thing I can really say is that if you love each other a lot and you communicate well with each other then you have a better chance of staying together than if not.

My First Chaser

I did post these pictures up on Reddit, Instagram, and Facebook before writing this post so I’ve received some feedback on them.  Before I took the pictures I did my makeup based on a video by another trans girl named Luna Black.  She had a really good simple makeup tutorial on YouTube.  Here is her YouTube Channel.  You can also find her on Instagram, @lunasnapspics.  In any case, I found her video on Reddit, and told her that I subscribed to her channel and that I used her tutorial in order to do my makeup for my 6 month timeline photos.  She saw that, and included me in one of her stories on Instagram.  I ended up getting 71 likes on that photo, more than ever before.  However, I also got a random message from some dude trying to hit me up.  He was mostly nice, but he kept asking for selfies, so I eventually decided to block him.  It was a weird experience because I’m not used to people being attracted to me.  It was both eww and validating at the same time, which I guess is a common experience for trans women.

Well thank you for listening to me.  As always, if you like this post, please give some of my others a read.  Please like and share if possible.  You can find me on Facebook,  @fictionducoeur.  Thank you!

What is Gender? Part 3 – What does Transgender mean.

What does _Transgender_ mean_

In this post I’m going to explain a little bit about what it means to be transgender.  I’m not a social scientist, nor am I an expert on this issue.  So, the following discussion is my viewpoint only and should not be taken as scientific fact.  I have come to these views from being trans and through research into the topic.

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Male or Female

First off, there is a lot of focus on male to female (mtf) transition, but not so much on female to male (ftm).  I’m not sure if ftm is rarer than mtf, but it is definitely less talked about.  The truth is that being trans can happen along the whole gender spectrum.  Both men and women can and do transition.  It isn’t just all men transitioning into women.

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Gender Mismatch at Birth

Being transgender starts at birth, although many people who are transgender might not know it until they are much older and further along in their life.  It’s true!  I didn’t know I was trans until I was 36 years old.  Some people don’t figure it out until well into their 50s or 60s.  Some people realize when they’re old enough to be cognizant of themselves that their body doesn’t match the gender in their head.  Some people do realize it early on but repress it because of societal or family pressures.  The key takeaway here is that a transgender person is transgender from birth, but they might or might not figure that out until they are older.

Being transgender means that your inner gender does not match your outer gender.  When a child is born, the doctor determines their gender by their genitals.  If there’s a penis, the child is a boy.  If there is a vagina, the child is a girl.  However, genitals are not the only thing that determines gender.  Most people don’t openly display their genitals in public.  So in fact, genitals don’t actually play a part in determining someone’s gender socially.  Most of a person’s social gender is determined by their presentation, i.e. their clothes and their secondary sexual characteristics.  If a person is wearing a dress and has breasts, one would probably consider that person a female in U.S. culture.  Transgender people transition by trying to match their secondary sexual characteristics and their fashion to that of their true gender.

 

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The Magic Button Question

Coming to the realization that you are transgender is a big process and involves a lot of self-study.  Sometimes, people tend to go about this by asking themselves questions.  One of the more common questions is about a magic button.  It goes something like, “If you had a magic button that would turn you immediately and irrevocably into the opposite sex, would you push it?”  Most transgender people would answer the question “yes”.  Conversely, a person who is comfortable in their gender assigned at birth would likely not want to use that magic button.

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Dysphoria

Most of the medical focus on being transgender is in curing an affliction called dysphoria.  Dysphoria is a state of anxiety, depression, or discomfort caused by the dissonance between a person’s physical presentation of their gender and their inner gender.  A lot of insurances will now cover medical procedures for transgender men and women in the hopes that it will alleviate this dysphoria.  It is important to note that not all transgender men or women face dysphoria, and it is rapidly becoming popular opinion that dysphoria should no longer be a necessary precondition for treatment.

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Medical Treatments

The primary medical treatment that transgender men and women seek is called hormone replacement therapy.  On hormone replacement therapy a transgender woman will most likely receive two medicines: one for blocking the body’s processing of testosterone and one for the addition of estrogen to the body.  A transgender man will likely receive testosterone in the form of injections. Secondary treatments are surgical in nature and include both “top” and “bottom” surgeries for both men and women.  Transgender women might receive facial feminization surgery (ffs) to make their face appear more feminine, breast augmentation to make up for the lack of breast growth on hormones, and/or vaginoplasty in which the penis is inverted, the testicles removed, and a vaginal canal and labia are constructed using the leftover skin.  Transgender men might receive mastectomies to remove their breasts and/or phalloplasty in which the uterus and ovaries are sometimes removed and a  penis is crafted from grafted skin.

If you enjoyed reading this post and learned something, please give it a like, follow me on here or on facebook (@fictionducoeur), and/or share my post via facebook or pinterest!  As always, if you would like to spark a conversation, have questions, or would like to correct something I’ve said, please send a comment my way, and I’ll be sure to respond quickly.

Positivity journal – 1. What always puts me in a good mood.

What Always puts me in a Good Mood

Hi, come sit with me for a moment!

I can’t say there is any one thing that is guaranteed to put me in a good mood no matter what, but there are a few things that help me when I’m feeling down or in a funk.  I did a similar post to this recently.  Please read that one here.

Son and Wife

Whenever I see their faces I do feel really good.  My son has a lot more energy than I have, and it’s hard for me to keep up with him, but whenever I see his little smile it brightens my day.  He also says the funniest things.  He had a really long fart today and then through laughs he said that “my butt is talking…trying to tell me something.”  My wife also knows how to brighten my day whenever I’m feeling down.

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Comedy

First of all, watching a really good comedy will often get me out of any funk. It’s pretty hard to watch an episode of the office and not feel at least slightly better afterwards. There’s just something about comedy. I mean, I know it’s meant to make you laugh and feel irreverent, but there’s also a comfort in it, especially shows like the office. It really is true that laughter is the best medicine when it comes to emotional ailments.

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Emotional Cycling

I really wonder sometimes if your brain is capable of feeling or processing more than one emotion at a time. Like, does happiness take the place of sadness when one is watching a comedy? Or, does it simply drown it out and convert it? I know that people can feel a combination of emotions at any given time, but do they actually occur simultaneously or are they just cycling one moment after the other? Like for me, my predominant emotion is probably disgust. Can I learn to cycle out the disgust with other emotions eventually? If I use the things that make me happy always and surround myself with them, can I cycle out that emotion? I’m genuinely curious how emotion works. If there is anyone out there reading this with a better grasp on it than I, could you please fill me in? I’m wondering how, in terms of physics emotions are processed. Like, I know we have a visual processing speed of 60 ish frames per second. Is there a similar limit on emotions? Is there a speed at which the impulse of emotions in my brain will break down into discrete units? Is there an emotional processing speed? These are weird questions, I know.

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Food!

Another temporary stopgap for putting me in a good mood is food. I talked recently in my post about comfort foods what it is that I actually like to eat for comfort. I suggest you go read it after this post! Mainly I like carby things because they tend to taste good. I think that fat and salt are my new go to items. It used to be sugar, but once I was diagnosed with the ole pre diabetes, I had to cut back on that. It’s interesting, I don’t think that it’s even a particular type of food that I like most. I really do think that it’s the combination of fat and salt that is contained in the food that really does it for me. Must be the dopamine release after eating.

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Anime

For some reason watching anime always puts me in a good mood.  Maybe it takes me back to the days when I had less responsibilities and things were going okay with my life.  Maybe it takes me back to the days when I was learning Japanese and had several friends in the class that I could see twice a week.  I still think about following up on Japanese all the time.  I used to have pen pals through Japan-guide.com, but they stopped doing that for whatever reason.  Now I’m going to try another site called Ojapon.com.  It’s a French website, but it looks like there isn’t a paywall for sending messages right away.  You apparently get 5 free messages.  It looks like there are VIP sections for like $10 that I might try.  They allow you to reveal your email address if you have a VIP account.  We’ll see though.  I’m just always looking for people to talk to.  I really enjoy talking to people that aren’t from the U.S.  Speaking of that, if any of you would enjoy talking, please say so in the comments or send me a message.  I’d love to communicate!

If you enjoyed reading this article, please give it a like and share on Pinterest.  If you liked this and my other posts, please give me a follow!  Thank you for reading!

31 days – 31. Weird quirk of mine

One Weird Quirk of mine

Yawning when Nervous

I had to really think about this one because there are so so many things about me that are weird, it was hard to settle on just one.  I actually had to look up a list of weird quirks to kind of get an idea of what something might be.  The one I found here was actually pretty good.  It’s for character quirks for writing, but it worked nonetheless.  So what I eventually settled upon is a physical quirk of mine: I yawn whenever I’m nervous.

This was especially prevalent when I was in college and doing a lot of presentations or studying for tests that I wasn’t entirely prepared for.  I have a compulsion to do extremely well on whatever it is that I’m doing and if I’m not entirely prepared I get nervous.  I think that the yawning is really a pretentious habit though.  I don’t like that I do it because it has a bit of stupid reasoning behind it.  I think I actually do it to look like I’m bored when I’m actually really anxious.  Mind you, I’m the only one who actually probably notices myself yawning, and it’s not like I’m doing it for the attention of others. I just think that it started as a way to make myself look cooler under pressure.  However, it’s also something that I think was just a way to relieve nervous energy.  Some people tap their foot, some people twiddle their fingers, I yawn.

Is this something that I should be trying to stop doing? Like, is it truly a negative thing?  Feel free to comment on this.  As always, leave a like if you enjoyed and follow if you enjoyed reading this post and others!

31 days – 30. Favorite comfort food

Favorite Comfort Foods

What is comfort food?

I mean, I get the general concept that it’s food that you eat when you’re not feeling good.  I mean just sort of generally what kinds of foods should be comfort foods and which aren’t?  For me, I like to eat, unfortunately.  So, pretty much any food is comforting for me.  So does that mean that all food is comfort food for me?  Or, is it only the food that I specifically eat when I’m feeling especially down?

My comfort food

I’m going to work on the assumption that it’s only the food I eat when I’m especially down.  So, I have to go back to the coffee.  Coffee is pretty much my go to product whenever I’m having a down moment.  I’ve been drinking it unsweetened with some half and half lately to cut the bitterness.  I found that if I get the starbucks kind that’s in the same aisle as the milk and stuff, the unsweetened blonde roast, then I’m pretty cool with it being unsweetened.  Of course for sweetened coffee, I have to go with my fraps.  There’s nothing better than the feeling of that icey, chocolatey, milky goodness flowing over your tongue.

For food items there’s a full on battle for my favorites.  Let’s see, for savory foods I think I’d have to go with something like either pot pie or a good pizza.  I think maybe pot pie is a bit more savory, so that might win the savory category for me, at least in terms of comfort foods.

For sweet foods, I don’t think anything can beat chocolate chip cookies.  You can’t beat a good melty, salty chocolate chip cookie straight out from the oven.  Even when they’ve cooled down they’re still good.  Although, maybe chocolate covered pretzels could give them a run for their money.  Chocolate covered pretzels have kind of perfected that delicate balance between salt and chocolate that is so popular these days.  I think chocolate covered pretzels even beats out straight up salted chocolate.  It has to be the addition of the flour from the pretzel.  It adds just enough floury carbs to the mix that it brings the whole set to a new level.  Whereas with salted chocolate, I feel like something is still missing.

Sorry for the short post.  I’d like to avoid talking about food that I like more now because it’s only going to make me want to go out and eat a dozen cookies or something.  If you enjoyed, please leave a like or a comment!  Please follow if you like this and other posts!  Thank you for reading!

31 days – 29. Top things on my bucket list

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When I was a teenager, I didn’t really think I’d be making it much past 18 years old.  There just wasn’t a world that I could imagine that would involve me living in it as a regular person past 18.  I thought there was some inevitable force out to get me and that I would soon be dying.  All this is to say that I don’t put much stock in bucket lists because I try to do the things I want to do right now as I might be dying soon anyway.  There’s always some sort of health hazard or some other thing looming over me.

In any case, there are a few things that I do have on my list that I’d like to accomplish before I die that I might not get to immediately.

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Be a woman

I’m transgender if you haven’t gathered from my previous posts.  And, since June 2018, I’ve been going through the process of what’s called Hormone Replacement Therapy.  I take two medicines for this, one reduces my testosterone, and the other replaces it with estrogen in the hopes that this will help change my secondary sexual characteristics over time into something more like a female version of me.  If you want to read more I suggest you check out these posts: My Journey- 1 Coming out and Beginning HRTTransgender Journey- 1.5 months, and Transgender Journey- 4 months.  Usually, from what I’ve seen on reddit, the majority of the outward change takes place over the course of one year, and I am currently in my fifth month.  I’d also like to go through what’s called “bottom surgery” or SRS (sexual reassignment surgery).  This surgery would give me an approximation of the correct genitals.  All of this would help me feel better in my skin and make me feel that my physical gender fits my inner gender.

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Adopt a daughter

I’ve always wanted a daughter.  I don’t know if this is because I just wanted a daughter or if I just wanted a female presence in my life other than my spouse or if it’s just that I always wanted to live as a woman and having a daughter would allow me to do so vicariously.  We’ll assume it’s just that I would like a daughter.  My wife and I have decided that we’re not going to have any more biological children, but we do eventually want more once our financial position is a bit more stable.  Adopting would be the perfect chance to pick the sex of our new child.  We’re also hoping that we can skip the whole diapering stage as well.  That would be amazing.

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Have a successful business

I’ve recently started on the track to getting my own business up and running.  I’m really having fun running with it so far.  I don’t really know if I’m doing well or not or if I’ll even be successful, but it’s way better than working for some other jerk.  I’m hoping that it will all work out and that I’ll have a successful business on my hands in the end.  I’m not so much worried about the day to day operations as I am about finding clients to work with.  I’ve already got my first client the easy way: he’s family.  It’s really the second client that will be the litmus test for my business idea.  Can I really put my money where my mouth is and follow through on everything?!  Let’s find out on the next installment of Chris’s life!

So, as you can see, I don’t really have a long bucket list.  I’m not really concerned about skydiving or bungee jumping or anything like that.  I just want some down to earth things.

31 days – 28. Last time I cried

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The last time I cried was only a few days ago.  I almost feel like I shouldn’t tell this story, but it was a long time ago when I was about 3 or 4 years old and a lot of things have changed both in terms of the environment I’m in as well as the people that took part in the event.

So, my wife and I were lying in bed trying to go to sleep when my mind started to wander back to my childhood.  My childhood is broken into three distinct sections based on where we were living at the time.  When I was too young to remember anything, we were living with my grandparents.  After that my mom and dad got us into some rent controlled apartments.  Then we were in some different rent controlled apartments in the same town.  After our income got too high for those apartments, we ended up getting a house, and that’s where I spent the rest of the time until I was 20 something and moved out here to Massachusetts in 2010.  This story took place at the first set of apartments.

I think I must’ve been only 3 or 4 years old when this happened, which is how old my son is and that’s the reason I cried.  Some of the apartment buildings in the complex had a basement beneath them that was accessible from the outside via a door.  My dad and one of his friends were near such a door for one reason or another, I have no idea why.  I think there were other kids present as well, but I’m not really sure, the memory is so fuzzy.  Well, my dad decided to get me to go into the basement door with the lights off and shut me in there for a few seconds without me knowing he was going to shut me in there.  I don’t pretend to understand his motive for this at the time.  I don’t think I necessarily even want to understand why he decided to do it.  Needless to say, 3 year old me was terrified of the darkness and what might be down there with me so I banged on the door and yelled for him to let me out.

The worst part was that when he finally opened the door, he was the one that I was supposed to be able to run to for comfort, but he was also the one that scarred me.  I’m still afraid of the dark for the most part, and it’s probably for some really stupid reason that he did it.  I don’t think he did it because he hated me.  Although I know my parents had it harder because I was born–they were very young.  So, it quite well could have been some sort of malicious inner urge that caused him to do it, even if outwardly it was  just a joke.

In any case, like I said, the worst part was that he was the one I was supposed to be able to run to for comfort.  This made me really think about my son.  Every urge I have is to protect the little guy and try to make him happy.  I can’t imagine doing something that might scare him like that at this age.  I can’t imagine doing anything that would scare him without me being right there in front of him or holding him to make him sure that he knows I’m there to protect or comfort him if he needs it.  I’m starting to tear up again as I write this.  It’s really just the thought of my son rather than myself.  I can’t see him being put into that position without tearing up.  So I guess now, the last time I cried was today.

Also, this was probably the worst incident that happened with my parents.  They’re generally fairly nice, easy going people.  I can’t really say that I get along with them, but I don’t not get along with them.  We’re just very different people who went through very different kinds of lives.  I will say, though, that this was probably the first incidence I remember of a sort of general lack of connection that I’ve kind of always felt between them and myself that has continued on to today.  The one thing I’ve always regretted and I feel has had the most impact upon my mental illness is that disconnection between us throughout my whole life.  It’s what has caused my lack of social skills, my lack of identity, and my urgent need for care and affection that ultimately led to my depression.  I apologize to my parents for painting them in this light, but as you all know, I don’t hide from the truth in this blog.  I’m hoping that writing this might be ultimately therapeutic for everyone involved.  In any case, thank you all for reading.