Not All That Is Shines Is Sunny

Hello my faithful readers. Thank you first off for taking time and reading this. I have had a chance to talk to some of you since my last post and I have to say how amazing that people are reading my ramblings. It means the world to me. So thank you!

This week as been semi-uneventful. We had a lab test out this week. Nothing great or overly difficult, mostly review for me. I am not trying to be, “Look at me being all super nurse.” I have just had been doing these skills for a few years so I ended up being the leader. Oh well. We are all in this together. It was good that I could be able to help people who needed, namely my fellow students who have not done this before. Preceptor Karissa reporting for duty.

On the transition front is another story. I have told all of you that I would be upfront and honest about everything that I am going through. This has been a rough week for me. So what am I talking about? I will start with this; I have server but functional depression. Ok so what dose this mean? I have been living with for long enough that I can hide it rather well. For those with functional depression, they look as if they are all together. At worst they will come across a tired and maybe a bit preoccupied. When someone checks in with someone with functional depression they will hear some of the following responses, “I am just tired.” “I am doing fine just busy.” “I would love to go out but I am swamped with stuff here at the (enter place like home, work, etc here).” What is really going on is that these people are doing everything within their power to hold things together. Most days they are grasping at threads. Think of it like this. If you have ever have gone the beach and tried to hold sand that is mostly water in your hand you will see that no matter how hard you try it runs out. This is how functional depression feels. No matter how hard you try to hold on to whatever you are doing to keep your shit together.

So why am I going into this? How dose this have anything to do transition? I am so glad I assumed that you asked. A major part of transition is dealing with gender dysphonia. As I said in past posted, that is when the person is feeling and what they are experiencing do not match. This can also happen when someone is missgendered or not seen as the gender that they identify as. Also this can happen when the person feels as if they are not (insert gender) enough. Now if you add functional depression on to of that, you get a perfect storm of self-loathing and shit!. This is where I have been for a while. I know that I am never going to be this size 2 super models. I know that I will always be, as Bob the Drag Queen would say, a “suspiciously large woman.” Never the less I have been having an issue with feeling right in my own skin. I am not saying that I do not want to transition. Although I do not feel like I am fitting into this body I have right now but the idea of going back to trying to pass as male I think would mean a fate worse then death.

So what do I do now? I need to allow myself to feel these feelings. I need to allow myself to deal with these feelings because they are normal. OK those where the textbook answers. Now on to the real answers. THIS SHIT SUCKS! I hate the fact that no matter what I do I cannot make myself look how I feel or feel how I want to look. I can not get my head in a place that will be happy with me as I am because I know that I still look nothing like I feel. Oh, while I am on that topic. How am I to feel? The further down this path I go I feel less and less male but the feelings of being female are become less and less pronounced, as they are becoming less novel and more normal. I think that these feeling have become more prevalent since I started testosterone blockers a few months back. The Doc I am seeing has his MtF patents start with them first then add estrogen later. I can understand the clinical thinking behind this. I think that makes it worse and not better. I think that if I did not understand I would be able just blindly trust what is going on and just ride it out. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So, now my testosterone is now to a level that would rival most cis women. Good! The issue is that there nothing to replace it. I know what estrogen will do to my body and my emotions. I have done the research. I have talked to the people. Right now though I dream of it! I long for it! I need it! At least then I would have something to use to deal with these issues, even if it is not what I am used to. Right now it is like I am trying to fight with no tools, or like I am trying keep running on an empty tank.

So here is my silver lining in this grey cloud. I have been told that I will be starting my estrogen on the 8th. So I am only a few days away. I think I can make it till then, hell I have made it this far right?

 

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Let me start by saying that I am sorry that it has been a few weeks since I last posted anything here. I am not going to go in to some long winded BS about why I have not posted but I will say that life kind of got away from me these few weeks. I am sorry and I will try to do better at posting. I will try.

Now that I have that out of the way, let’s get on to the blog. In this blog I am going to talk about some stuff that might upset some people. I am not going to put any official trigger warnings or the like though. For those who know me in real life most likely know my feelings on the concept of trigger warning. For those whom do not I will talk about them very briefly. I am not a fan. I believe that if we hide from that may upset or even trigger us, there is no way for us to become resilient against it and if there is a person(s) or thing that has caused these feelings to be, running away from them or avoiding things that “trigger us” is just letting that person(s) or thing have yet more control over us. To win again, so to speak. I for one do not want to give that person(s)or thing that power anymore. That being said, I am not a complete asshole. If talking/reading about dysphonia, depression, and/or accidental trans-phobia are just things that you are not in the right headspace to deal with and you feel that you can not read/talk about them right now I will not judge you for stopping right now. I promise. All I ask is that you come back when you are in a better place and try to read it then. That is all. Like I said (or think I said and if not I am saying it right now) I want TransKarissaRN.com to be a place that is safe for everyone but a place that dose not let us as people get complacent. Unfortunately that sometimes means pushing a bit.

So, school. I am almost halfway done with my quarter and at the time of writing this I am less then 30weeks from graduation. I am not going to lie. That is both exciting and scary. My courses are all now completely nursing focused and the work…well the work sucks. There is no sugar coating it. It is a lot and it seems to be unending.   To say that after school there are few professions that can relate to Sisyphus more then nurses. While were are pushing these bolders of reading and memorization up that fucking hill, we are rewarded by seeing in roll back down as yet another mountain of reading and memorization lay at our feet. It is far to easy to loose site why we ever thought this was a good idea in the first place. The only thing that keeps most of us going is that we catch a glimpse of why we are doing this. This is what happened to me today.

During this quarter we are spending two of our clinical days in lab so we can learn some nursing skills that me do not get to practice on site. Two of these skills are foley placement and IV starts. Full discloser, I have been trained in both and I teach the first at my full time gig as part of my preceptor work. This should be good review for me and that is how I ultimately looked at it. After our instructors showed us how they wanted us to do them we split off into groups and started practicing. Here is where my “glimpse of why” came in. As I have done these skill for a while (although it has been a while since I did actual IV starts) the other people in my group asked if they could go first. In short order I suddenly went from student to teacher. I want to make sure I let everyone know RIGHT NOW that this was done our of ego or thinking that I know better then anyone. I made sure that I did not or was not coming across as either of those things but checking in with a few of my fellow students who I knew would not have ANY issue putting me in my place if I did. This was about 45 minuets into the class and from that point on I taught every station. Not only that I had everyone in the class asking me to explain what to do for each skill. I am not going to lie. I LOVED IT!!! Part of the reason that I got into this field (or am going into the field) is because of the education portion of it. As a nurse, patient and staff education is a very large portion of your time. I love being able to see that “holy shit, I GET IT NOW!” look of people’s faces. A few time during class I was pulled aside by random students and told that if I get sick of nursing I NEED to teach. That made my heart happy. I knew that I was doing something right. The instructors did not seem to mind. They were sitting off and grading stuff, I think. My people needed help and I was there to help them. That is why I do this.

That is was good but now to the not so good. I have been out at my work for over a month now. I have not had any issue or even the hiccup beyond people getting used to the name and pronoun change. Even that is getting better. It was not until today that I had an issue happen. As policy, when a doctor preforms certain procedures of a patient, especially one of the opposite gender, a person of that gender is to be present as well. The most common example is that if a male doctor is doing a pelvic exam then a female staff must be present. This is for not only the patient’s safety and comfort but also the doctor’s. Today one of our doctors came out of a patient’s cube with a look on his face that is not uncommon. When I asked him what he needed, he told me “a chaperone, I mean I need…where is the nurse. No offence.” I shook it off and flagged down the first cis female I could find for him. I am going to stop here for a moment. This man is not a horrible person. He is not an asshat. He is by far one of my dreariest work friends. He is the kind of doctor that I would trust anyone with at anytime and any ware. To his credit also, he tracked me down after and apologized because he knew how shitty he sounded. I know he was sincere in his apology.

I finished my shift and went off to school. What I did not want to show people is how much that truly hurt me. What makes it worse is, I get it. In the moment is was about patient comfort, or that is how I think it was justified.   I am not going to put a patient in a situation that they are not comfortable with for what I or someone else may see or perceive as my own vanity. But still. What this said to me is that, I was not enough of a woman for my team/doctor/patient at that moment. If I was not enough of a woman in that moment, how about at all? This started to spiral. Ok, it was already spiraling in my head before this. This just kicked it into full spin. I kept having the thought that “I am nothing more then a dude in a dress, a cock in a frock” I was a fraud. I will never be a real woman. I will just be this shit thing and that is all. Why do I even try?

I know that those of you reading this who are trans may be able to relate. If not, I am beyond jealous of you . It is not the headspace that anyone wants to be in. When I was feeling so good about the woman that I was becoming, I get knocked down. One step forward, one (or more) steps back. As I said, I highly doubt, and will go as far as I know (as much as anyone can know) that is was not meant at all how it came across. It still cut nun the less.

So what happens now? Well, I am not sure. I know that I am valid no matter if I pass or not. I know that I am valid regardless of how others see me. I know that I am becoming not only the woman I was meant to be but also the person I was meant to be. I know all these things. I also know that it suck when shit like this happens. I will rise from this. It will not end the world or me. I will take it in stride and keep moving forward in as much, if not more, grace then I think I may have. I am not going to let this set back win or beat me.

If you are going through this or something simple know that you too are valid not matter what. You are loved and you are worth the time and effort. You are loved and you are amazing! If you feel that no one in your life loves you, PLEASE know that I do.

Cheers!

Krissie

Running the Gauntlet

Good Sunday morning my amazing readers.  This week has been one of amazing happenings on both the school and transition fronts.  Let’s talk about school first.  When one is in nursing school, there are many tips and tricks that can help you get through.  One of the best is finding a group of people that you click with that will drive you to be a better student and, in the end, a better nurse.  I have been very lucky to find this group.  This group of amazing women have pushed me to new levels of student-hood (that is a word now so deal with it😉 ) that I did not know I could achieve.  After the shitty group projects that all of us had been a part of in the last term, we decided to band together and start our own study and support group.  These people have already helped keep me on track and talked me of the ledge more times and in more ways than they may ever know.  I am the kind of person that is willing to let stuff slide if it only effects myself but will whatever it take so that my team secedes.  Because of this fact I have, for the first time in nursing school, been able to get all my required work and reading done well before that last minute.  I love these girls!  Thank you all so much for making me a better student and better nurse already ladies!

On the transition front this has been a stellar week.  For those who are unfamiliar with the transgender world, there is a thing called passing.  This is when a transgender person is able to be seen as their true gender out in the real world.  When they are treated as who they truly are without being looked as a odd or miss-gendered.  I am going to stop here for a moment and say something EXTREMELY important.  PASSING DOSE NOT MAKE SOMEONE MORE OR LESS TRANS!!!  It is a personal choice that each individual needs to make FOR THEMSELVES!!!  I am not saying that if you as a transgender person does not pass then you are doing it wrong.  YOU DO YOU!  If you do not want to pass, then great!  Don’t!  For me (and me alone) I feel that the more I am able to pass, the better and more affirmed I feel.

Now that is out of the way back to my week.  There are some places both cis and trans people see as places that they are afraid or unable to go.  This could be because they feel that they will not be accepted, harassed or made to feel “icky” for going there.  For me that place has always been Victoria’s Secret. For me, this store has always been the panicle of femininity and womanhood.  The female gauntlet if you will.  When I was presenting male, I always felt like I was seen as some kind of creeper whenever I went into that store.  This last week, when I was feeling rather good about myself and appearance so I decided to say, “I am ready!” and in I went.  I was mentally prepared to be looked at like a freak and be made to feel like I was trespassing in the holiest of holy places.  As I was looking at some of the new t-shirt bras I could see a sales person walking toward me from the corner of my eye.  I braced myself.  “Hey sweetie, anything I can help you find?”  Wait? What? No sir? No condensing tone? No “WTF are you doing in this store?!” look behind her eyes?  Holy hell is this really happening?  The answer was yes.  She saw me as my true self (even if she was just being kind I did not care).  I told her that I was just looking to blow my paycheck and we both laughed.  She asked my name and said that she would be more than willing to do or find anything I needed.  You could not chisel the smile off my face with a jackhammer or TNT at that point.  She told me about their sales that were going on and gave me her name.  As I was shopping another saleswoman passed by and said, “Are you ladies finding everything ok?” The other two women said that they were ok and the saleswoman was still looking at me.  She was waiting for me to answer.  I was one of the ladies she was asking.   I was on cloud 9.  I said thank you and she helped me find a cute bra that was on display but that I could not find in my size.  She asked if I needed to be fitted? I said that I was ok as far as that went.  I was already feeling great, I did not want to push it.  As I was checking out, the customer in front of me in line turned around and looked at me.  My heart sank.  Well there goes all the amazing feels that I was having.  She looked me up and down and said, “That is such a cute coat.  Where did you get it?”  She was being sincerer.  We talked a bit and it was amazing.  I left VS light on my feet (and a little lighter in the pocket book but not to bad).  I had run my gauntlet and came out the other side whole if not better.

I know for many of you, my readers, this experience will ring true with you and others it will not.  My takeaway from this is simple but profound.  Whatever you do, do it with intent and confidence.  I think that if I had gone into VS timidly and acting like I did not belong, that is how I would have been treated.  I made the decision before going in that I was going to be the strong and confident woman that I am meant to be and the rest of the world be damned!  I am not going to lie, it was one of the scariest things I have done to this point.  BUT I am so glad that I did it.  I am a new woman because of it.  Even if only a little bit.  Well, that and I now have some very cute new panties and an amazing new bra AND it was ON SALE!!!

Cheers my loves!

Karissa

Lasers, Life, and Everything

Morning World!  This week, well two weeks really, have been nice but busy.  Nothing major has gone on but just busy with life.  This was my two-week break between terms for Nursing School.  This meant that I had two whole weeks without worrying about projects, papers or care plans!  It was glorious!  Of course, I worked most of these days but that is all part of being a productive adult type person, right?

Today being Friday, this means that this little break is quickly coming to an end.  In roughly 72 hours (give or take) I will be back into the grinder.  This next term is going to be busy and a bit rough.  Luckily, I only have two classes (and their clinicals) to worry about.  I am very lucky though that I am part of an amazing cohort.  These folks have become some amazing friends.  I thought that Basic Training brought people close together but that was nothing like nursing school.

What is new on the transition front?  Well, I have publicly come out on social media but I can’t remember if I had before or since I first posted.  If this is a repeat please look at it as “last time on TranKarissaRN.com”.  I did have my first laser hair removal appointment.  I have to be honest, that shit hurt!  I mean a lot!  The good thing was that it was quick.  I am getting my face and neck lasered because it is a large part source of dysphoria for me.  This seems a bit funny to me because I had always been proud of my facial hair.  It had always been a source of comfort to me.  I remember when I came out to my BF B, I told her that I would not start even dressing in public because I was scared to shave my face.  All she said was, “Why not try it?  You can always grow it back.”  I guess I felt that is was one of my last safety nets.  In truth, it was one of my last barriers.  I told myself that if I kept my facial hair then I could still go on and not have to deal with what I was feeling.  Once I shaved everything off I saw something in the mirror I had not seen, or allowed myself to see before.  I saw that girl that I was/am that was hiding behind everything that I was putting up in front of her.  It scared the crap out of me.  I thought about growing everything back but she had seen daylight and refused to go back into the dark.

I am still on my testosterone blocker and that is working great.  I have seen some small changes, mostly in the hair growth area.  Where I would have to shave twice (or more) a day to have a completely smooth face, I now can go almost a day and a half without even thinking about it.  I have not started estrogen as of yet.  I have a doctor’s appointment this next week.  We will be doing more blood tests to see where my T levels are at.  Once my MD is happy with the levels then I will get the, as he calls them, “sexy pills”.  I will keep you all updated.

My dysphoria comes in waves.  Most days I feel good about who I am and who I am becoming but I would be lying if I said that there are not times where I feel that it kicks me square in the teeth.  I know that this is normal but that does not make it any easier when it happens.  I am so glad to have friends both online and IRL that are there to help me through that crap.  Thank you all and you know who you are!

As far as the site/blog goes, right now I am planning to try to post here on a weekly schedule but that will all depend on how work/school/family/life is going at the time.  I ask for so understanding my amazing readers!  I am just a simple girl trying to rule the world.  This shit takes time.  😊

I will leave you all with this thought.  You are enough!  Please do not let anyone convince you otherwise.

Cheers!

Love,

Krissie

Hello and Welcome

Hello and Welcome!  You have found your way to TransKarissaRN.com.  This is my little slice of the internet.  So now that you are here, you may be asking yourself, “What is this place?”  That is a good question.  Before I get into that, let me tell you about me a bit.  So…Hi!  I am Karissa but you can call me Krissie if you like.  I am a nursing student, spouse, parent, EMT and a transgender woman.  I am a simple girl.  I like the simple things.  I love the outdoors, good food, great beer and most of all my family. 

Now that you know a little about me, on to that great question.  “What is this place?”  I had been looking for a blog all over the internet that covers nursing, family, the outdoors and the issues that come with transition all in the same place.  I am one that would rather bring the light rather than curse the darkness so here we are.   If I was looking for something like this, then I must not be the only one.  It was “if you build it, they will come,” time.  So here we.  I am building it.  We will see if they come.

On to the next question. What will be covered on this blog?  The short answer is a little bit of everything.  I will cover everything from nursing student stuff and study tips to trans issues to the crap that I am dealing with in my transition.  I will be open and honest about EVERYTHING.  That is my promise to you, my soon to be faithful readers.  I will not pull any punches or tell you that it is all sunshine and rainbows when it is not.  I will take you along with on this ride of transition and becoming a RN, then BSN and all points beyond. 

So, my amazing readers, I hope that you can learn from my life.  I hope that I can bring some clarity to what is an unclear world.  If not, then I hope that I can bring a bit of humor.  So, enjoy and read on.

Love!

Karissa Anne