Sunday, September 30, 2007

4 Days Post Op

The television in our hotel room has been working overtime I’m afraid to say. Especially considering the shocking quality of US programmes and level of advertisements, let alone the news. I’m sad to report I heard about Police Brutality / Sylvia Rivera Law Project in an australian based blog, when we’re 4 hours away from NYC. Ridiculous.

Also heard about the trouble in Burma last night, which made me worry for my ex-flatmate in Sydney and Burmese husband. He has been trying desperately for the past three years to immigrate to Sydney. How typical within the last few months of their struggle, shit has to happen.

I’m feeling restless and ready to get back into the swing of things. My drains come out on Monday or Tuesday, hopefully the former as I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable with the pipes sticking out/pulling on my sides given that my chest doesn’t hurt and I can move my arms freely without pain. I took most of the padding off last night except the nipple tape, to take a look - so far so good! Otherwise my hair is too long and I can’t wait for a shave and a shower.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The beginning of the rest of my life

Today I had chest surgery with Dr Fischer (Baltimore, USA)

I have had several panics and a few restless nights in the 9 weeks leading up to the surgery from when I booked it. My head filled with all sorts of thoughts, even such extremes as to whether I was really trans or not…However, the sheer calmness and happiness I experienced yesterday in the consultation and today as I went in for it, and during this afternoon, post-op, I never realised how happy this would make me.

I’m sat here like one happy puppy, Nurse Miles has been really looking after me – draining me, doing the laundry, making me a cuppa, and most importantly watering and feeding me! The pain on my chest is minimal, equivalent to a hefty chest workout (dips for example) and I’m pleased to say I can actually move my arms around and get my shirt on etc. I guess two years of putting on the Inzer Bench shirt for powerlifting has set the standard for discomfort…or even 12 months of wearing a medium sized Underworks compression shirt.

Dr Fischer phoned me in the afternoon to see how I was doing, and she was surprised I was awake and chirpy, and had already managed to eat food. (takes more than chopping me tits off to lose my appetite! ha ha). She said everything had gone really well and that she thought I was really going to like my results as I "have good skin tone and flattened out well". I can’t wait to see how it looks, see what work needs to be done by me down the gym once I’m allowed back there (6 weeks).

When I was a kid I always used to draw naked men’s muscular torsos. Just pages and pages of them, huge pecs with perfectly placed tiny nipples. I used to make up stories in my head about each one, all with the similar theme of being a boy and going away (to the navy or the army?!) and coming back a man. I only made the connection to myself in the past 12 months when I started transitioning at the Tom Waddell centre in SF in October 2006. I wonder what I’ll be drawing now…I have always loved looking at all sorts of male bodies, and have been hopeless with drawing female bodies. Unless they were female bodybuilders! Pike's actually the first woman I was ever able to draw. I think in London I'm gonna try do some more live drawing, and hope they're female - and not just for general perve!

Today I have felt really cared for by my friends who are my family in so many ways. I’m so optimistic about the future, about nothing being able to stop me achieve whatever I set my mind on. I’m gonna be surfing in Peru in a few months, running on the beach in my speedos, dancing salsa in the latino bars and making new friends and trying new things. Obviously still training too, but there’s so much stuff I haven’t done yet, I feel my life has been put on hold for too long and all the issues I used to train through, drink my way out of or get high to forget for the weekend - I’ve dealt with them! Sure the road is never easy, but I’m out of the most difficult part now.

Francis, Pike and I have been making a little documentary about this journey. I for one, would love to have seen someone going through the process before doing it myself. It's definetly made the experience a bit more of a laugh instead of a white knuckle ride! We’ll probably put it up on youtube once it’s edited. Plus there have been some comical moments which Francis has taken in his stride. It’s tough being at the beginning of transition. I am going to help him out as best as I can by getting him down the gym in Brixton and bulking him up a bit. I already taught him how to deadlift this January, so I know he's got it in him. He will be my first Project V.

We’ve been watching Rocky 2 tonight, which makes anyone want to go train!

Friday, September 21, 2007


In April I’ll have been training for exactly half my life.

I’m proud of where I’m at. Everything I am, I deserve. I have spent years in the gym sculpting the man I’m becoming. Not bad considering I was born female. It’s a different type of personal and painful artwork.

In a way it was a blessing to have been born female as I have never been able to solely rely on brute strength and ignorance. Its technique, perseverance and discipline. If anything I’ve trained harder than any guy in my crew yet had less to show in comparison. But life isn’t fair and I’m not going to complain about that… I’d still do it even if there were no titles to win, records to break or shirts to grow out of.

The iron keeps me sane. She’s been there for me since I was 15 and she’ll be there when I’m 75+. “Stop thinking and talking about pussy and lift…Women come and go, but powerlifting is here to stay!” B’s words (to one of my crew) echo in my mind and make me smile. Every new chapter in my life just fuels me to lift harder, lift smarter, train with more intensity and tighten up the regime. Physical strength is my gift and I’d be stupid to not use it.

S&M, transcendental meditation, anger management and masturbation all rolled into one. The gym is the place I run to when I feel like I’m about to lose it. Lately I seem to be spending more and more time there! I know I’m doing my time. These are the sessions where I can’t talk to anyone. I won’t feel the weight at all, and all I want is to lift until my body hurts and the pain overrides the shit that I deal with on a regular basis, shit I’m probably going to be dealing with for the rest of my life. I need to feel the constant ache of recovery in my body, something else to focus on. The butter on the cat’s paws.

But this isn’t a sob story.

My body never screams at me to stop, if anything it just lets me take it further. I have to restrain myself on a regular basis, I don’t want my tendons to rupture because of the ego in lifting heavy. I want to still be doing this when I’m an old codger.

Gayboys watch as I keep increasing what I’m lifting. If only they knew that to do this, there was a hefty mental price to pay. Still, they come over and smile at me and shake my hard calloused hand. I don’t say much, I don’t like talking too much in the gym.

There’s this one guy at my gym who calls me “bro” and spots me. We both keep our headphones on as we help each other out and I don’t even know his name. He’s a good guy though; I know he broke up with his missus of 12 years two years ago. He’s fucking massive and I wonder if that’s what it takes to be in physical peak. I know I’m nearer to my peak than I was last year. But I’m a perfectionist and I have a long way to go yet. However, nowadays I look in the mirror and the days I can see clearly, I like what I see. A whole lot more than I did when I hit my first puberty. The iron game is one of the few sports where you peak at an older age - 38 to 40 years old from general experience. So I have 10 years left to go…I might just get there in time.

I can feel the music pounding in my ears, my blood pumping through my heart, my breath bursts out of my lungs and my spine tingling with adrenaline; I’m semi-aroused, sweat drips out of every pore and I can smell my own testosterone. My muscles are working – and I’m alive! I feel like a machine, an animal, in control of myself and my mind... I feel like I’m flying and for a split second I probably am. As everything I needed to do, and everything I came here for, is suddenly resolved.

Broadway Gym Mar 2007-Sep 2007 (Sydney)

YMCA Sep 2006 – Feb 2007 (San Francisco)

Bodies Gym 2003 -2006 (Leeds, UK)

Gangsters Gym 2003 (Leeds, UK)

Adam’s Gym 2000 – 2003 (Leeds, UK)

Newcastle University Students Union Gym 1996 – 2000 (Newcastle, UK)

Record Gym 1994 -1996 (overlap/ hometown gym in holidays) (Rugby, UK)

Fitness Factory 1993-1995 (Rugby, UK)

Bedroom! 1992-1996 (Rugby, UK)

Associacion de Tae-kwon-do 1986 - 1992 (Cordoba, Spain)