Rachel's Yard

| A New Continuation

(I apologize for the lack of technical articles lately. I do want to post something about Raspberry Pi + C920 as security cam. I know, the web is full of it.)

My friend Alex signed up for a gym membership in San Francisco, since his company gives discount to their employees at Equinox (not endorsed by aforementioned name), he was very excited to sign up. Plus, he wants to get a great summer body (never too late to start). He said that his classes are very helpful and motivating.

That's a great news for him. I feel joyful for him. Whenever my friends are happy, I feel the energy as well. But when they are unhappy, I just want to drop everything on my hands and cheer them up.

Although, they might disagree with me, because I'm a princess, as in I'm lazy and doesn't do housework that often. A lot of the times, Taiki does all the work. But hey, I'm improving, at least I'm trying to.

On the other hand, Alex does want to motivate me to go to the gym as well. So he arranged a trial membership for me, and since Taiki has training in San Francisco as well, we basically go everyday to there, pick Taiki up, and head to gym. At least that's the plan.

but my middle name is excuses

At first I was very hestitant about doing the gym. I said that I was anemic, I didn't have a sport bra, I was too shy, blah blah blah. Yesterday, I was basically committing suicide by starting with the most difficult settings on the treadmill.

Of course I barfed with in the first ten minutes

Afterward I was talking with my mom with all the excuses of how I'm such weak because anemic. My mom was like,

"Hey, I'm anemic too, you got my genes. But I started small, and continue with it, now I'm fine af. Stop making excuses."

At first, I went defensive about the "preaching." However, I realized that I didn't have any excuses. I have a sport bra, I have the membership, and I have the energy.

I guess the only thing that stops me was my dyshoria

I was not comfortable in the women's locker room. I felt like I was a freak. I fear that I will get clocked and the police will be involved and etc, then my friends will be uncomfortable and such.

But sometimes you just need a "fuck it" moment and live your life

Today, I went in comfy sweatpants and a sport bra, with a sporty hoodie. With the sport bra I realized that I actually have breasts now. Albeit small, but definitely something. Albeit small, but it's to the point that if I jump without a bra my tits will hurt like hell.

Anyway, I went in today in sports bra, going on a step machine (stepper machine? stair stepper machine? you get the idea):

video of me dying

i didn't die

I actually finished an hour long workout!

The first ten minutes was hell. I felt like my heart was gonna stop, I felt like my legs were gonna break, and basically it was uncomfortable. I guess that's the result of not exercising...

But, after the first ten minutes, everything was okay. It was a good feeling. It felt like I can go on and on and on the whole day.

the human body is amazing

However, now I must face my fear: showering in the women's locker room. It was the worst internal debate ever, worse than coming out to my parents, worse than getting weird looks. Because if anything goes to shit, I will make my friends feel like shit as well.

sigh

But Tiffany's friend from Hong Kong, Alvin, kind of just encouraged me to go. Now that I thought about it, I wanted to thank him for that.

So, here we go.

The whole time I tried to avoid eye contact, and tried to get to my locker as fast as possible. Grab my pants and undie, grab a towel, and head to the shower room. There was a bit of a wait, and holy shit I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.

When I actually turn the knobs and the warm water hits my head, it was soothing.

Done, dry, pants, wrap my upper body, head out.

It wasn't too bad, I guess?

I mean, everybody is just minding their own business, no one was like "ok I'm going to make sure that no trans is in this locker room."

But then, Tiffany came in and kind of asking me how I'm doing. As soon as I spoke, I can see and feel that people turned their heads.

my voice... and my adam's apple... Kill me please

ok Rachel, act natural, don't screw this up now

It was uncomfortable at first, but I got over it.


However, something was lingering in my heart the whole day. I think I offended Tiffany unknowingly and unintentionally. I think maybe my reminder of her being careful when opening the car door came out too harsh? I think maybe my concern of ordering too much for dim sum came out too strong?

I was sad the whole day because she didn't seem to want to talk to me

In addition, after the gym, my dysphoria hits because all the women with their perfect body and etc, while I'm just a sick fuck.

I wanted to have an outlet.

I tried to talk to Alex, but I think he has enough of my bullshit, and he spent a lot of time talking to the friend from Hong Kong. I called him once when we got home, but he kind of just answered me "k" and proceeded to chat with Alvin. I kind of felt neglected. I know, I'm such a princess demanding attention.

I thought of Taiki, but he already had a tiring day, I don't want to exhause him.

(I think) Tiffany was still mad at me so...

I don't think Alvin understands my struggles so I didn't bother.

I felt alone.

I feel like my friends are my mental support. When I was taking a shower again at home, I couldn't help it and collapsed on the floor, and let the water rained on my head.

ok Rachel, breath, don't cry, you can do it

Sigh, I'm pretty sure that I have depression. Maybes it's the estrogen, I don't know.

Whenever that happens, I tend to withdraw myself from the surroundings. They were discussing plans of going to Napa tomorrow. I made up some excuse like I have to work tomorrow, and I want some alone time, etc.

In reality, I really just feel discouraged. I don't want them to deal with my negativity every time that it happens.


But, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Carmel was willingly to hire me to work for her, and she wanted to help with my legal status. I'm thankful that I'm blesses with my friends and the incredible people (like Carmel) who cares and loves me.

(I'm aware that in this post, I've disclosed way too much personal information. But I ran out of fucks to give already.)

Graduating from university seems like a great idea at first, "I want to work!"

me

However, because of my unapproachable personality and the strong desire to work alone (meaning not a great team player), it is very difficult for an employer to want to interview me in the first place. Let along finding a job.

So there must be other avenues in the mean time, right?

Summer School

Way before my graduation, I already knew that I'm short of the 225 units to register for the CPA exam. Plus, my friends want to take more courses at a community college. I really wanted to join them.

However, my legal status is a major roadblock. It remained a misery of if it were legal for me to take courses while on OPT. It wasn't until a few weeks later that I finally emailed the school's international office, that, yes, it should be okay. By then, I was late too apply.

OK, no biggie. Late is better than no show, right?

most definitely no

Because I delayed the process of applying, and in turns delaying my process of clearing my status at the CC, and finally delaying my process of clearing the prerequisites for a class. I ended up not being able to attend any of the classes.

Watching my friends studying and working on the dining table, I felt incapable.

Get Some Extra Cash Maybe?

Again, I delayed my process of clearing Uber and Lyft. Today, I went to Uber to greenlight my application. Apparently, I don't have a long enough driving history.

???

It turns out that my license was renewed in 2015, so the system just assumes that I don't have at least 3 years of experience (because I'm 22). So either I need to find my old driver license, or get a complete driving history from the DMV.

ugh

I was in tears on my way back, wondering why I didn't research enough. Luckily, I found my old driver license that was issued in 2012.

Fingers crossed?

No. Technically, it is illegal for me to drive for Uber and/or Lyft.

because legal status

At Least My Transition is Okay?

Still waiting for my latest blood works as I changed to estradiol patch two months ago. However, my panel came back worrying my doctor:

Test Name Result Flags Reference Range
RBC 5.36 4.40-5.90 Million/uL
HGB 11.1* L 13.5-17.5 g/dL
HCT 37.8* L 41.0-53.0 %
MCV 70.7* L 80.0-100.0 fL
MCH 20.8* L 26.0-34.0 pg
MCHC 29.5* L 31.0-36.0 %

That's a very clear indications that I have anemia. It's not something new under the sun: I was told that I have anemia when I was young, and my doctor said that it is consistent to my previous tests, so she wants to find out if I have a genetic variation or a lack of iron stores.

Meanwhile I have that in my head, I'm also worrying about losing insurance coverage. My student insurance with the school will ends in September, and I'm looking at private insurance plans right now, and they are expensive.

Why is being alive so expensive?

Anthem does not cover my medication, and Kaiser is expensive as fuck (HMO excuse me??).

You Still Have Your Parents!

Please no

My relation with my dad is still strained, somewhat softened by his visit this time. However, I don't expect my family to help/support me. They've done their obligations and duty to raise a son, and I don't expect them to raise a daughter again. Plus, it's not okay to ask them for more help anymore.

Still, they offered to support me with graduate school (you know, better competitiveness in the job market). I kindly refused. I don't want my parents to work harder anymore.

What's Next?

It's easy to say "be patient", "things will get better", etc. But a pat in the back doesn't pay the bills, doesn't give you legal status, doesn't give you the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Technically, I could always go back to my home country, China, for more opportunities.

However, my mom explained to me about why my coming out affects my dad so greatly. I don't think it was a great idea to go back. Not when my parents are still alive at least. Being my true self gives them pain, so I choose to not show him my true self.

But my mom reminded me, being my true self doesn't pay the bills.

I love my mom though.

me and my mom

So?

I have to survive, and I have to find a way to stay here, or somewhere else (like Canada).

My days in the US are literally numbered.

I probably have chronic depression because of all the things that I had to worry about for the last two years.

Hopefully I can see the light at the end of the tunnel?

This is a short story about me, up until this point.

Short Preface

Growing up as the only child (and seen as a boy) in a traditional Chinese family (in China), it has its perks and disadvantages.

Perks:

  1. Treated like a emperor
  2. Treated like you are entitled
  3. "Don't worry about it"

Disadvantages:

  1. Basically everything else

Life goes on for many years: me and my cousins (Can you guess which one is me?)

New Direction

With a dad who has a MBA degree, and a mom who was basically a teacher her entire life, my parents decided that it would be a good idea for me to study aboard, specifically, the United States. Of course, my parents were very emotional when we waved our hands at HKG, when I was 14 years old.

New Environment

When I arrived in the States, I was greeted with my dad's best friends. While all other international students were living with their assigned host famililes, I was basically living with an extension of my family. Sandy, she treated me like her own son, even more so than her own kids, for reasons that I did not understand.

New Relationship

Well, when you were young, the hormone rush was real. My puberty came early, and I had my first "girlfriend" when I was like, 12. I still felt guilty that I did so many unspeakably horrible things to her. Likewise, I had a second "girlfriend" while I was in high school, 16, in the States. I, again, did many unspeakbly horrible things to her as well. I did not know why I was such abusive towards people that I care about.

New School

graduation (Graduated from high school, PC my dad)

High school went by without much hurdles, and UCSC was the only school that accepted me (and SJSU, and UCD), and I started my life in a college dorm, 18.

New Friends

  1. Alex was this person in the group who always seems to be more mature than the rest of the group. He approached me with kindness, however I responded with hostility.
  2. Tiffany was this girl in the group who always can have a new conversation with anyone. However, I evitably fell in love with her, for two years, until the abusive side of me swallowed the relationship.
  3. Taiki was this boy in the group who always seems like the quiet one.

New Conflict

I was very ego-centric, authoritarian, basically like my dad. It wasn't until I was 21, I had realized how fucked up I was as a human being. For that, I want to say special thanks to Alex, Tiffany, and Taiki. They were there when I was throwing my tantrum; they were there where no one else was there for me (not even my parents, seriously); they were there while I was at my lowest point.

New Struggle

Ever since I was young, there was this part of me thats always feels different. I would dress up from my mom's wardrope in secret sometimes, and felt bad about it because I was taught that this is wrong. On the other hand, the more I saw my dad, the more I got scared. I remembered vividly of how my dad cheated on my mom, and when my mom confronted him, he hit my mom with my toy. I remembered vividly of how my dad will yell at my mom for the slightest error out of nothing. I would secretly feel bad for my mom. As I grew older and my puberty hit me like a train, I thought that I was just another regular guy who is "like father like son". But, that got me scared again. It must have been a mistake. I'm not like my dad, I don't want to become my dad.

New Realization

To me, this is a blessing that I was at a liberal college, and learned about feminism and sexuality. It was Christmas in 2015, that I started to explore myself:

Canada

The reaction from my friends was, "wow." The reaction from my parents was, "what the fuck?"

The idea of "transgenderism" was still unknown to me, however, I found myself more at ease with feminine living attiude and inner self. I started to dress more feminine, I started to at least try to be more compassionated, I started to align myself with what I thought I should become. For the entire 2016, I was exploring myself, and trying to figure out myself. Some parts of me suddenly click, as if I have found my soul. Other parts of me with an internalized transphobia screams to me that I'm a freak. During that time of internal struggle, I found myself as Rachel, the lost child.

New Life

It was after my 22nd birthday, and a random morning sometime in December, I woke up from a dream that I could not recall. However, it was like a calling to me that I should call my doctor, about starting HRT. I've been researching many topics about myself, from the liberal side, from the conservative side, about "is transgenderism a mental illness", everything about transgender. It was to my conclusion that, no, I've been doubting myself my entire life, and I need to take back control of my own life.

New Me

I started HRT under very a detailed informed consent, and two (separate) letters from therapists. Immediately (exaggeration), I found myself at ease at myself. I had found the lost self for 22 years. It never occurred to me that HRT was the magical bullet that pierce through the fog, and saved me from doubts. I had found my lost emotions again. Hormones are the messengers of the Gospel, so to speak. I'm hopeful that I'm being myself.

Me and Alex (Me and Alex)

New Future

  1. Developed SlugSurvival so it can help my fellow students with their course planning, hoping that the school will take over and integrate
  2. Soon be an accounting intern at a non-profit in Santa Cruz, Rising International, help with their cause of ending poverty
  3. Continuing to be a peer advisor at the econ department
  4. Helping a professor for his economic thesis as an undergraduate researcher
  5. Still have to find a job

Synopsis

  1. Love my friends and neighbors as myself.
  2. Be thankful.
  3. No one else should define who I am other than myself.

Friends and Family

Tahoe

Thanks for Reading

bye

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