The Final Stretch

Life is a cruel mistress. She leads us along many different paths, eager to see how we react to the trials and tribulations we encounter along the way. Yet, sometimes she disappears momentarily, leaving us to seemingly repeat each day over and over like a Bill Murray film. The daily grind: working and sleeping in a methodical, lethargic state of mind, seemingly unable to ever rest enough to counter the exhaustion. That’s what I’ve been left with these past few weeks. That’s why I haven’t written a post in so long.

Despite the rather cryptic intro paragraph, life hasn’t been completely dull and meaningless lately, for better or for worse. Starting with the part that everyone always wants updates about: I have received very minimal information about my transition process. It’s to the point where everything is done that can be, here, and the rest is up to my healthcare providers back home. I’m set to meet with them within seven days of returning, as I had specifically requested a session as soon as possible, even if it interferes with my rest & relaxation time. This is extremely important to me, and I can’t wait one minute more. In the meantime, I’ve been really trying to get in the right mindset about what I’ll be doing when I return home and start the transition in earnest. I absolutely plan to tell my parents if I can make it home during my time off, and while I’m pretty nervous about it, something tells me it’s going to turn out just fine. I’m very close with my parents, being an only child, and I think they’re pretty open minded. I’ve tried my best not to disappoint them and to be a child they can be proud of, so here’s hoping this doesn’t damage our relationship. I’d be devastated. I’ve also been reading Laura Jane Grace’s autobiography “Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout” and I’ve been completely immersed in the story. Having literally been through it all and hit rock bottom more than once before coming out as trans, her rebound to become such a headstrong and emotionally bold woman has been profoundly inspiring on so many levels. She’d probably tell you that she’s not a hero or someone to idolize, but we can’t all accept how people see us. I’ve learned that from my time in the military. “Thank you for your service. You’re a hero.” I don’t deserve that at all.

Since I always like to give updates on the entertainment front, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been playing entirely too much Elite: Dangerous lately. With a little help from a coworker, I managed to grind my way up to acquiring a ship I’ve always lusted after, and it’s a bit of a rare one due to its reputation requirement. I’ve been touring the galaxy in my shiny new Imperial Clipper, exploring system after system in search of the coveted Earth-like planets and exotic black holes and neutron stars. It’s a little slow going, with a ship that’s not really designed for exploration, but I’m having a good time and getting my fill of stunning screenshots. Apart from reading Tranny, my Kindle companion and I have conquered volumes 8 and 9 of Konosuba, a light novel series I’ve been in love with ever since it got an anime adaption some time ago. It’s pretty entertaining when a stay-at-home teen with no life/work skills ends up in a fantasy world and is told to somehow defeat the Demon King. This isn’t Sword Art Online; he doesn’t get cheats. The struggle is real.

So, with this deployment coming to an end here quite soon, I’ve started throwing money at things I’ve been wanting for a while. My latest purchase has been some equipment for a project room I’ve had on the drawing board for a few weeks. I intend to turn my large room upstairs into a home studio/recording studio/VR space. New desk, expensive studio monitors, the 55″ 4K from the living room, a couch, some acoustic treatments, super computer, the works. I apologize if I just made some of you cringe, but I’ve worked very hard for all of this money, and it’s about time I do something cool with it other than going to Japan every year. I really want to start writing music again, and though I don’t ever expect to get anywhere with it, music is still a passion of mine and I’d like to learn more instruments and improve my skills with the current ones I play. The trick to staying sane is forward motion, always trying to do something new and keeping your mind occupied. Idle minds breed emotional insecurity. Heads up, readers.

“Worked all week long now the music is playing on our time.
We do what we do to get by, and then we need a release.” – “Thrash Unreal” by Against Me!

Take the Leap

If you had told me that I’d be spilling my guts to a therapist more than once while dealing with the stress of a deployment, I wouldn’t have believed you. I never even considered a thing like this to be a possibility in the middle of fighting a war, but here I am. I had my third, and as far as I could tell, final mental health appointment for this deployment mere hours ago. I keep talking about “getting the ball rolling”, and let’s just say that it’s rolling far faster and smoother than I could have ever imagined.

This was the first appointment with a new provider, as my previous one returned home at the end of her deployment cycle last month. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about talking to someone else about my issues in such depth, but I went in at least expecting to recount the past decade of my life. He had just recently discussed my case with the team the military put together to confirm transitions and get the support gathered to make it as smooth and painless as possible. All that was required was a reconfirmed diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria, and then I’d be set to begin my transition upon returning home to the US. We went on to discuss everything from the beginning, once again, but it felt even more specific this time. He was curious about my adoration of the female body, after having stressed repeatedly how much masculine traits disgust me. I’ve never been required to put it into words before, and it was a bit refreshing talking about it, almost like fangirling over your favorite band or movie star. We went down a list of typical/expected qualities of someone with Gender Dysphoria, and I hit almost every one on the head. Sure, I know what they’re looking for, but I tried to keep as honest and true to myself as possible, and it ended up being exactly what they wanted to hear. So, after a pretty considerable discussion, he confirmed for the second time a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria. This is it, ladies and gentlemen. It’s not a fluke; it’s not a phase; it’s not a fetish. I knew all of these to be true, but sometimes you doubt yourself. We are all our own worst critic, and it applies in situations such as these just as much as it does with creative ambitions and self esteem.

Moving forward, I was also given some great news. The psych said he had a previous patient that was going through the process as well, and they offered to pay for not only Sex Reassignment Surgery, but also Facial Feminization Surgery, which is a huge deal to me. I had expected to pay out of pocket for these surgeries, and also didn’t expect to have much say over which surgeons I would be able to see, but it seems that I can make a lot of decisions myself. If all goes well, I can get everything done by skilled doctors and without putting myself into further debt. Hopefully, this process wont be too difficult, and I’m at least a year away from that point, anyway. In the meantime, I should be set to start hormones almost immediately when I return home, which is what I’m really longing for at this point. The longer I have to wait, the less changes I’ll see, so I don’t want to go any longer without them. Time flies, and aging is starting to feel more real every year that passes by.

As for the rest of my life, I’m still just rolling with the punches and counting the days. Started playing Tales of Berseria a few days ago, and I’m really enjoying it. The main character is so edgy and beautiful that I might be in love with her already. The combat is pretty unique, at least when it comes to what I usually play, so it’s taking a bit of getting used to. All of the characters seem likable and the art is stunning. Scenery porn galore! I’ve been trying to get FFXIV to update, but that’s been giving me issues with the awful internet over here. It doesn’t seem to want to save any download progress if the internet disconnects, and restarting a 30 GB download all the time just isn’t gonna cut it. Guess I’ll need to wait until I get home. One more thing to add to THAT list. Just a few dozen more days and I’ll be starting the physical portion of my transition in earnest. Let’s do this!

“Running to another day, I wanna break away and take the leap
As you’re stuck on yesterday, no sun to rise would be okay with me
Every day, every day is okay” – “drop pop candy (English Cover)” by Kuraiinu + JubyPhonic

Sandbox Life 3

It’s been a while, and I apologize! I had fallen into a bit of a rut of methodical days on and boring days off, and apart from reviewing an album I haven’t done a legitimate post in quite some time. 2017 has proven to be an interesting year already, both back home and over in the sandbox. From record-breaking snowstorms back in Idaho to record-breaking munition deliveries supporting the mission, the year is off to a crazy start, and hopefully this one wont take as many beloved celebrities. As always, time will tell.

There’s not much new to report on the trans front, unfortunately. I haven’t heard anything back from my psych about my paperwork being approved at a higher level, but I’m sure things like that will take some time. It IS the military, after all! A week or so into February should be my next appointment, and with a new psych, so that should prove both challenging and interesting. I don’t have the irrational fear of being told I’m making things up anymore, since I legitimately do have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Having that weight off my shoulders, and knowing for certain that I am female regardless of what I may appear to be, will be immensely empowering when it comes to facing new challenges. Bring it on!

On the nerdier side of life, it seems the group’s brief Vanilla WoW session has largely died out. Only two original players remain, myself not included. I simply can not get back into that game, no matter what brand of heroin they’re offering. I’ve been sinking a lot of hours into both Stellaris and VA-11 Hall-A lately, and I’m certain I’m extremely close to finishing my first playthrough of the latter. Stellaris is just one of those Civ-esqe games that take weeks to finish, so it’s pretty much an idle occupation. Last week I started a new server/character on Starbound with a coworker, since he now has the same day off as me. There have been a lot of changes since I played last, and it’s quite refreshing I must say! Screw those fuel-obsessed moon ghosts, though. Seriously. As for anime, I binged Psycho-Pass after getting highly immersed in the story. Still hesitant to watch season 2, however, as I’ve heard it was largely disappointing and unoriginal. The original, though, was deliciously cyberpunk-y and I saw a lot of myself in the main girl Akane. She has this astounding ability to keep her mind clear and mentality optimistic even after seeing someone die right in front of her. I feel inhuman sometimes when I try to rationalize feelings and try to keep my head up. Maybe I’m strong, maybe I’m a monster.  You tell me.

On a rather dysphoric note, I witnessed some transphobia today and it was pretty hard to just bite my tongue and not out myself at this point in the game. Chelsea Manning’s sentence reduction was brought up, and a few people started making all sorts of claims and insults about surgeries and trans identity. I’m not gonna get all snowflakey about it, but it just confirms a lot of my suspicions about the way many of the people I know feel about the subject. One of my “allies” made a comment tangentially defending transgenders, but he was shot down immediately. I appreciate the effort, I really do. I’ll just have to show them what it’s really like to know a transgirl, and they’re gonna be forced to deal with it. Take that!

All in all, I had been putting off blog posts for the sheer lack of material to write about. Hopefully things will start to get exciting here again in a month or two as we start gearing up to head home, and that can mean only one thing for me: Project Val will be in full effect. It’ll be hormone time at last! Oh yeah, I’m sick, but nobody cares~

See ya next time!

“I’ll keep my helmet on
Just in case my head caves in
‘Cause if my thoughts collapse
Or my framework snaps
It’ll make a mess like you wouldn’t believe” – “Cave In” by Owl City

Coffee!

My Black Rifle Coffee shipment came in! For those who don’t know, Black Rifle is a veteran owned and operated coffee company that has a wide range of amazing coffee, roasted to order. No, it’s not an ad, I just love their stuff! Murdered Out is my fav, since I’m a fan of bold, dark coffee. It fits the bill perfectly. Being deployed, we pretty much run on coffee now, since the Rip It energy drink supply died out a while back.
Coffee or die.

Onward!

It’s that time of the week, again! I’m very happy to report that my mood has improved considerably since Christmas, though sadly I didn’t do anything special for the new year, either. The line for alcohol wasn’t worth it, so I just chilled in the tent once again. Regardless, this marks the halfway point of the deployment, so hopefully it’s all downhill from here!

I had another session with my psych yesterday, and once again it was better than I could have ever imagined. She had done a lot of research on how the military is handling the transgender stuff, and we now have a concrete plan moving forward. She told me I officially have a diagnosis as of the last session, and that it will be forwarded up to a central team for approval to start the transition. Obviously, I wont be able to start hormones just yet, but having all of this ready to go should make the process as smooth as possible when I return home. Unfortunately, my psych is returning to her home station, so I will be seeing someone else from now on. It’ll be sad to see her go, since I’ve enjoyed the little bits of girl talk we’ve had. We’ll see what the future holds!

It’s full steam ahead on “Project Val” as I like to call it. Started a Pinterest account yesterday as suggested by the psych, and it has proved quite useful in finding outfits and makeup tips. I hope to have a really good idea of what clothes and makeup I’ll need to buy in the future. I’m basically catching up on years of wardrobe choices in a short time, so this could get expensive. One of my friends in the Army may be visiting at some point to help me with shopping and such, which will be greatly beneficial. Haven’t seen her in ages, so it’ll be great to catch up again!

The gaming front has been fraught with minor issues among the coworkers, unfortunately. Many are already fed up with the sheer amount of grinding in Vanilla WoW and I am definitely in agreeance. Many are looking for something else for us all to try and play, but there really aren’t many good options when it comes to MMOs. Most are pay to win or just WoW clones with no depth. I happen to love FFXIV, though downloading the client over here is absolutely out of the question. In the meantime, I decided to make an Alliance character on the same Vanilla server, and I must say I’m enjoying it far more than my other character. I originally played Alliance, so it’s much more nostalgic for me, and I’m also playing a class that I’ve never played in the past (rogue). Maybe I’ll stick with this, maybe not. It’s just nice to have something to do. I’ve also taken advantage of the Steam Winter Sale and picked up two games today. One from the makers of Bastion called Transistor, and another cyberpunky game called VA-11 HALL-A. I’ll be playing these later tonight, hopefully, so stay tuned for reviews/opinions.

As I sit here watching the Dolphins get wrecked, it’s time to end this week’s post. Oh, I don’t really care about football, but it’s fun to watch sometimes. Hopefully time will go even faster during the second half of this deployment and I’ll be home before I know it!

“Things are looking up, oh, finally” – “Looking Up” by Paramore

Holiday Blues

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and Happy Holidays to the rest! Unfortunately, for me, I can’t be with a lot of my family and friends, so it has been pretty uneventful on my end. I’ve resorted to being antisocial and avoiding the crowds today as much as possible. I love the holiday season, but it just doesn’t feel right this far from home. This homesickness, coupled with the mid-deployment blues and stagnation on the transition front have left me in a rather bad mood lately. Hopefully it’ll blow over and I’ll catch a second wind to finish out strong. Just a few more months, and then we can start this thing for real. Head up, eyes forward, and hands out of your damn pockets!

As for the rest of my life, things have been a little more interesting lately as opposed to the past few weeks. While the Pokemon craze has died down, the latest thing in the shop is our Vanilla WoW playing. Yeah, we’re nerds, we know. The servers just launched last weekend, and we’ve been playing a lot. I never played in Vanilla, and the grind is pretty brutal to gain even one level. We’re all in this together, though, so I think we’ll make it through and have a good time, especially when we’re back at home. I’ve been starting to watch shows/anime again a lot, lately. I’m nearly finished with season 2 of Rick & Morty, which is far more entertaining than I could have ever asked for, and I’ve recently exposed a few others to the hilarity. I also started watching Psycho-Pass a few days ago and I’ve been absolutely addicted ever since. I’m a huge cyberpunk nerd, and this is just what the doctor ordered. I really need to start listening to people when they recommend shows to me, since every one that I’ve put off and end up watching has been amazing. It may be a good thing that I’m just now enjoying these shows now as opposed to before, as I need immersive distractions from the day to day grind of the working world. Feel free to send me a message or leave a comment with more recommendations!

I’ve made a bit of an effort lately, as I’ve posted before, to try to be a little more feminine publicly, and I think it’s going pretty well. Most changes are subtle, but I can’t just drop this bomb on everyone at once. A bracelet I ordered a few weeks ago finally showed up, and I’ve been wearing it a lot. It’s a pretty simple band and clasp with the transgender symbol on it. I don’t think anyone has really noticed it yet, though, or else they just haven’t elected to comment. I’ve been wearing my hoodie a lot lately, which I’ve been told not only looks great on me, but I think it’s also kinda cute. Can definitely keep this in my wardrobe for girlmode! I’ve been trying to wash/moisturize my face more lately and I think it’s doing wonders for my skin. I had relatively dirty pores before due to all the dust and a truly filthy environment here, but it seems to have cleared up a lot. Now, if I could just get rid of the rest of this facial hair, I’d be in business! I have some sweats and red Converse on the way, as well, so I can’t wait to make some small changes once again.

In other news, I sang karaoke for the first time ever last night. I was nervous as hell, but according to those I talked to, it wasn’t too bad! I sang a personal favorite sing-along song of mine “Sugar” by Maroon 5, and totally nailed the high notes, or at least I thought I did. I didn’t have any alcohol, so I’m pretty sure I remember it as it really happened. More on these escapades in the future if I decide to do another song next week.

Anyway, after writing this post, I’m feeling a lot better. Just needed to rant to a virtual wall, so to speak. Hope you have a great holiday season and I’ll see you next week for the fabulous new year!

“I’m gonna close my eyes and maybe it will go away.” – “Platinum Blonde Life” by No Doubt

One by One

Hello again! Another week down, and another week closer to returning home! I actually managed to have a really mellow week somehow, other than one day troubleshooting a fuel issue. 7 hours straight troubleshooting in the cold wasn’t very fun, but everyone goes through it from time to time, so I can’t complain too much. Such is life on the line, and that’s just the way it is.

I came out to a few more people in the past week. My laser hair removal tech from a salon back home recently opened up her own place, so I sent her a message finally explaining why someone with so much facial hair would want it all gone. She’s skilled with eyebrow waxing and stuff, so I asked her to be the saviour of my brows, and maybe finally get these things dialed back to a more feminine level. She seemed supportive of my transition and more than happy to help me with some of the more difficult parts of beauty. I also came out to another coworker and friend last night, and he was extremely supportive as well. Everyone seems to be taking this so well and without much question. Maybe they could already tell? Does it just make sense to them? Maybe this is meant to be? We also ended up having a pretty wonderful discussion about transphobic people, and how they might change their mind if they knew a transgirl or transboy in person, and especially if they were a close friend. Here’s hoping more people take it well.

I finally caught up with one of my favourite webcomics, Questionable Content, this week! Over 3300 chapters took forever to get through, but I’m really glad I stuck to it. The main motivation was to see a transgirl character named Claire, and she didn’t disappoint. I ended up getting attached to pretty much every character along the way, however, so it was a fun ride. There’s this huge void in my life now, so I need to find some other way to waste time. Send me recommendations for other webcomics to read!

In other news, I’m going to be violating my body with a tattoo and piercing when I get back home. I’ve had a 9-tailed fox tattoo planned for a while now, and it’s finally time to get it. The design is still up in the air, but I’d either like it to be a white or gold fox, and with the tails either reaching down from my shoulder onto my arm or across my chest. I’m pretty tiny, so there’s not a ton of canvas to work with where I want it, but I’m sure I can figure something out. As for the piercing, I’d love a nostril ring, despite everyone eww-ing when I run the idea by them. I’m bringing my inner personality out into the world by transitioning, and that’s something I think is absolutely me. It may seem weird now, but I’m coming out of my shell one bit at a time.

Anyway, that’s all for this week! Hope you enjoyed the update, and I’ll try to keep up my weekly post schedule as long as I have something to write about. Until next time!

“You don’t have to feel safe to feel unafraid.” – Lions! by LIGHTS