Ugh

Weird couple of days, work-wise.

Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends – someone I don’t actually know, really, but and I can’t remember how we ended up friended, but I know of him through the art community in some capacity – messaged me asking if I wanted to do a private drawing session online with him sometime. I said possibly, depending on the rate of pay and stuff.

Then I went and looked at his profile to try to refresh my memory of who he was (and gauge whether he might be creepy), and he’s an art model, too. Which, I mean, a lot of models are also artists, but his whole Facebook wall was basically him posting photos of himself in his underwear and begging people to draw him, or whining that he’s been trying to pose for people online but nobody’s taking him up on it. So a) he didn’t seem like someone who would have the money to pay me to pose and b) I was getting a big exhibitionist vibe from him.

Sure enough he writes me back today saying “I don’t ask for any pay, but some drawings might be nice.” So I responded explaining that I’d misconstrued his intent and saying if I ever want any drawing practice I’ll let him know. I’m a bit annoyed because my FB presence doesn’t indicate anywhere that I draw; dude must’ve been scattergunning invites at everyone on his friends list without even checking to see if they were artists. And although I was wary of his offer of a drawing session and ready to say no if he gave me a creepy vibe, the fact remains that I thought I had an offer of work. It feels like dude dangled the prospect of money in front of me and then was like “Psych! I’m just trying to get you to look at my dick!” (I’m betting if I’d said yes to a session he would’ve shown up to it nude whether we’d discussed that or not. Exhibitionist vibes, like I said.)

I mean I guess he didn’t actually dangle the prospect of money in front of me, he just stupidly offered me a chance to draw him without actually making sure I was an artist first. But anyway.

So then today I get a FB message from this other guy I know – who is an artist – and he asks me if I happen to have any foot poses on my Patreon because he has an assignment due soon where he has to draw feet. I do have foot poses, so I shot him my Patreon link and told him which tiers the foot stuff was on. And he continued asking me questions about it all instead of going to the fucking link and reading all the various descriptions. I probably should have told him all the info he needs is at that link and then wandered away from the computer for a while. As it stands I spent entirely too much time on this guy, and in the end he whined about the prospect of paying for a monthly subscription (even for one month) because he only really needed pics for this one assignment. I was like “Yeah maybe my setup is not compatible with what you want. I mean for the record my lowest tier is $5 USD and has a whole bunch of foot pics, but it’s up to you.”

And then he brings up how nice he was to me in class back in the day* and tries to wheedle a discount. On fucking seven dollars (Canadian).

My last words to him were that alas I cannot give a discount but the good news is if he Googles “feet” I’m sure millions of photos will come up for free.

And this is the thing that irritates me the most (and I see it on FetLife, too, with guys whining about the number of women on there who are plugging OnlyFans accounts): dudebro could quickly and easily have Googled all the foot photos he could ever want. He didn’t, though, because he wanted photos of me specifically. But then he didn’t want to actually pay me properly for them. I am trying to make a living goddammit and if what I offer is so special that you need that and not the billions of free options out there, fucking pay me accordingly.

*So, this guy was a student volunteer at some after-school drawing sessions at a local university. He’d just kind of be on-hand to take everyone’s payment and announce when the breaks were and stuff. The two times that I posed for those sessions, he was very sweet and solicitious toward me, bringing me bottles of water and asking if I needed any extra cushions or different furniture for posing with. That’s what he wanted to be rewarded for, today, with a discount. Incidentally, at the end of the first of those two sessions I posed for, he asked me how much I would charge for him to take reference photos of me to use in some drawings. When I asked for details on what exactly he was looking for, he described what was very clearly giantess porn. He obviously didn’t openly tell me that he had a giantess/trample kink, but I’ll bet you a million bucks he didn’t want those photos so he could make drawings from them. Anyway a lot of guys into giantess stuff identify as submissive, so it’s a good bet he was being so extra-nice to me because my height twigged his kink and put him into a subservient headspace. Whether he fancied himself to be submitting to me in our sessions or he was just trying to be good at his job, though, it’s shitty as fuck for him to try to leverage that for a discount now.

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Oh here’s a surreal thing

Just before I started testosterone, I weighed 223lbs.

The other day at my follow-up appointment with the doctor, he weighed me and I was 237.

First off, that number is just absurdly, surreally high to me. As I have mentioned before, when I first reached my adult height, I weighed 150lbs*. Now I weigh almost a hundred pounds more than that. But I doubt anyone would look at me and think that I’m a hundred pounds overweight.

Secondly, I’m fairly sure that most of that 14lbs I’ve gained over the past ten weeks or so is muscle. I mean, maybe not? Testosterone made my waist an inch thicker, but one might surmise that this is fat being redistributed rather than me gaining weight per se. And I’ve been working out pretty hard and definitely gaining muscle. So.

*To be clear though I was in super shitty shape. I had probably the bare minimum of muscle necessary to walk around and lift a fork to my mouth and that’s about it.

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Huh.

I went to the doctor today for an in-person follow-up on how HRT is going – which included going over some recent blood tests. The doctor was surprised to announce that my testosterone levels are within the male range, now. I, too, am surprised by this; the dose I’m on is I think half of what a typical trans man gets. And I’ve read that men can have up to fifteen times as much testosterone as women. So that seems to me like the math isn’t adding up, although I suck at math so who knows?

What also surprised me is how excited I am about this news. Ostensibly I started this because I’m nonbinary and wanted to look more androgynous (and see whether having a more androgynous hormone profile made me feel happier or more myself or whatever). But hearing that my hormones are within the male range was thrilling. It also maybe explains why my voice is so different after just ten weeks? Everyone’s HRT journey is different but I believe it can be six months until someone on a low dose of T notices voice changes, so it seems like maybe it’s happening on the earlier side for me.

I’m not sure whether my “yay!” feeling over being in the male range for testosterone is a sign that I am indeed a guy but repressing it, or what. At times I’ve been curious about raising my dose just because I was impatient for changes and wanted to push things along a bit faster, but my idea with that was to (probably) lower the dose again once things started really getting underway. I mean I guess basically I want a lot of the changes that come with T but I don’t want a beard or back/chest hair so I was hoping to jump-start the changes and then pull back before I got too hairy. One of my concerns with raising my T dose was actually the cost – The Dandy’s insurance pays for most of this, but I still have to pay part of it and I don’t have much of an income. So it’s pretty convenient that I appear to be at higher-than-expected levels just from my current dose.

It is of course possible that I’m not a guy but want to look like one. I had the epiphany a while back that if gender and sex are two separate things (which obviously they are or else trans folks wouldn’t exist at all) it makes perfect sense that I could be nonbinary and want an AMAB body. Like…actual AMAB nonbinary people exist, so why can’t my brain have decided I was supposed to be one?

I do love the idea of being able to fully pass as a guy at least sometimes, and of being referred to as a guy sometimes. I don’t know if that’s an expression of enby-ness for me, an expression of “welp I’ve been misgendered as female for 47 years so at this point being misgendered the other way would be kinda refreshing” or a wee sign that I want to be a dude but am hesitant about it for various reasons. Sometimes I think the main reason I don’t hit the accelerator on the testosterone and just fuckin’ go for it is that I’m afraid I won’t pass, and that if I read as a trans guy I’m gonna be at more risk of being hate crimed or whatever. Like right now I’m still kinda thinking in terms of maintaining plausible deniability that I’m a chick, just to be safe.

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Ugh

I know The Dandy has a low tolerance for having his YouTubing interrupted. I tend to keep my intrusions as clipped as possible. But sometimes – especially if I’m super happy or super mad about something – I might go on for a bit. As humans do.

And The Dandy has a long-standing habit of whispering or muttering to himself about the fact that I’m annoying him. It makes me feel a lot more shitty than if he openly said to me “This isn’t interesting to me and I want to get back to what I was doing” or similar. But I never knew if he was doing it on purpose or not, and I always felt so humiliated by it that I couldn’t bring myself to ask, I’d just leave ASAP.

Tonight he did it again and finally I said “Hey, when you whisper about me right in front of me, are you being passive-aggressive or do you just not realize you’re using your outside voice? I’ve been wondering for a while.”

Weirdly, The Dandy just sat there silently nodding for a while (who knows wtf was going through his head – because this time he wasn’t muttering his thoughts out loud – but it looked oddly like a resigned sort of “I knew this moment would come sooner or later” nod. More likely it was just an odd tic caused by him being caught out, though). Finally he said that he didn’t know he was speaking out loud.

“You should probably get that in check,” I said. “It would be awkward if you were ever working in an office again and your boss was telling you stuff and you sat there whispering ‘stop it stop it stop it stop it -‘ over and over.” And then I left.

I hope he’s as embarrassed as he’s made me feel.

What really sucks is that most times that he starts doing that whispering thing, I was already aware that he was getting antsy and I was making an effort to wrap up what I was saying ASAP. It just so totally adds insult to injury when he starts whispering “Stop it stop it stop it” or “I don’t care about this” to himself, audibly, right in front of me, when I was already keenly aware that he was getting bored/irritated and was finishing up what I was saying. Well, actually, there’s really no winning here because it sucks just as horribly but in a different way on the rare occasions that his body language didn’t telegraph “I’m bored” and I thought that he was actually listening and engaged and then he started whispering.

As always, the other insult-to-injury here is that he interrupts me when I’m on the computer or watching something far more than I interrupt him, and he seemingly has no sense that he might be intruding. He clearly doesn’t limit himself to telling me bare-bones important things and nothing more, or try to save up any non-essential things he wants to tell me so he can tell them all at once instead of randomly bursting in every ten minutes (both courtesies that I try to extend to him).

And that thing where he can’t spit out a coherent sentence, my god. Just earlier today he was talking about something or other (opining on my workout routine, I think) and getting so…excited? Or his brain just starts going way faster than his mouth can keep up?…that he was basically just making a series of guttural noises at me half the time. I was actually halfway interested in what he was saying but it was taking him so motherfucking long to actually say it. I had to keep taking little “breaks” where I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing for a few moments or else I would’ve lost my fucking mind. But I managed to contain myself and not say anything mean – even under my breath – while he speechified at me for ten or twenty minutes and took ten running starts at every single sentence.

It occurs to me that even if I did sit there whispering “stop it stop it stop it” continuously while he was talking, he probably wouldn’t stop. I endeavor not to be that rude to him, but I have done all kinds of not-terribly-subtle “I don’t care about this/I am trying to internet” body language while he was talking and he blew right by it. I even injured my arm once while he was speechifying at me, and ended up curled up on the couch almost in tears from the pain, and he didn’t miss a beat in his little dissertation. It seems unfair that he’ll make me feel horrible for talking to him about practical issues or life stuff for literally three minutes, but he’ll come drone at me about things with no real bearing on either of our lives for twenty minutes and give no fucks at all.

Should I even bother trying to be tactful with him anymore? It often feels like he believes he doesn’t interrupt me to talk about boring stuff and so he’s extra-outraged when I do it to him. Maybe I’ve accidentally encouraged him to think this by not, y’know, being openly shitty about interruptions like he is. I’m not neccessarily saying I should start muttering audibly to myself that I wish he’d shut up. But perhaps the odd “I would like to get back to what I was doing now” or “Okay so can I finish watching this or will you be interrupting me every five minutes?” wouldn’t come amiss.

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BUT WHY THO

It’s really common practice for art classes to provide a long stick (like, a wooden broom handle or a thick dowel or something) to pose with. It’s kinda nice because it allows me to support a bit of my weight in various poses.

So at some point back in the day I bought a black plastic broom handle from the dollar store so I could bring a stick of my own to places that didn’t provide one.

I used this broom handle when I was filming some poses for Patreon the other day. When I was done, I left it next to my posing mat.

Yesterday The Dandy went on a bit of a tidying/rearranging binge in the apartment – mostly rearranging our little storage closet. Later, I started preparing for today’s Zoom posing gig and couldn’t find my broom handle. I asked The Dandy where it was (because I knew for sure I hadn’t moved it) and at first (to my infinite fucking annoyance*) he said he didn’t know. Then he remembered that he’d put it in our storage locker.

I was like “Why…the fuck…would you put an item I regularly use for work in the storage locker?” He snapped back that he didn’t know I use it for posing, which is plausible I guess since he’s usually at work in his room when I’m posing. Still, though. It was lying right next to my posing area, which strongly indicates that I pose with it and that I’d used it recently. And it’s a fucking broom handle – it barely takes up any space and could easily have been propped up behind a door or something if The Dandy wanted it off the floor. But for some goddamned reason he thought it made sense to put it in a locked storage unit 26 floors away from our apartment. And he acted all snippy with me when I asked where it was and expressed bafflement at where he’d put it.

He did immediately go get it, despite it being 2am and me saying I could live without it for now. So maybe his pissy vibe was directed at himself for having done something stupid? I don’t have a lot of patience for people who take anger at themselves out on me, though.

*I get that The Dandy lives here, too, and sometimes will need to move my stuff if it’s in his way. That’s fine. But the thing is he regularly moves my shit and then forgets where he put it. Including important documents. And when I ask where the item is, he gets pissy with me and acts like I’m being unreasonable for wanting to know what he did with my belongings.

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Neat!

I downloaded an app to my phone that tells you whether the pitch of your voice falls within the male, female, or androgynous range. You record your voice for one minute (the app provides a written passage to read if you need one) and then it shows a chart. Since voices rise and fall a bit during the course of speaking, the chart shows your voice as like a slice that occupies a range of the chart, not a dot at a fixed point.

The first time I used the app, I was slouched in bed. I think my shitty posture was compressing my throat a bit and making my voice a bit extra deep, but I was still kinda shocked when the results showed my voice being mostly in the male range, with just a sliver of it being in the “androgynous” part of the chart.

I tried the app again, deliberately aiming to sound like a chick this time, and my voice on the chart engulfed the entire “androgynous” part and a big chunk of the “female” part, nothing in the “male” portion at all.

So for now it seems I might be able to play both sides of the fence and “go stealth” as a cis woman if I need to. I’d imagine there will be more voice changes over time, though, so this won’t always be possible,

There must be more to sounding male or female than just pitch, though. I mean even when I speak as low as I can, I don’t think I sound like a man. TBH there’s a certain vocal quality that I’ve only noticed in AFAB people who are newly on testosterone – low-ish, but kind of…nasal, or something? Like, thinner than a fully-developed man’s voice? Or…maybe teenaged boys get this voice, too, I dunno, I don’t know a lot of teenaged boys. But yeah that’s where I am now, sounding boyish. I like it.

If this is happening to my voice just eight weeks into being on a low dose of T, I wonder how much deeper it’s gonna get? I don’t mind the idea of full-on sounding like a man, I don’t think, except it might inconvenience me when I try to do phone banking and stuff like that.

I’m wanting to change my name to something more androgynous and that would maybe solve any issue with customer service people being confused by my voice over the phone.

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*Screams internally*

Usually The Dandy is good at grasping logistical things I ask for advice about, but tonight I asked him a thing and he kept not getting what I was saying and it just about made me wanna punch him.

This issue was: I have a gig tomorrow posing online. I’ve been borrowing The Dandy’s webcam for these things but this time I’m gonna try to use the new phone he got me for Xmas; the camera’s quality is better, and The Dandy has a small tripod and a clamp thing for holding the phone in place.

So I was figuring out where exactly to position the phone so that my whole posing space was in the shot but as little else as possible, and having the phone sideways worked best. But then I thought “Shit, will the image be right-side-up to the people on the other end of the Zoom call tomorrow? Or will it be sideways?

(Spoilers: in the end we tested it out by having The Dandy do a Zoom meeting with me. The visuals came to him right-side-up.)

But yeah I asked The Dandy about this and he said “The phone should make the image right-side up.”

I said that changing the image orientation seems more like something Zoom would have to do, or the other participants’ devices, not my phone per se. Or would it be my phone that would have to do that? I mean, I dunno, I’m not the techie here. The Dandy looked baffled and asked if the image was right-side-up for me. I said yeah, it’s right-side up to me, but my phone is oriented sideways, so the image is sideways relative to the phone itself. And I demonstrated what I meant using hand gestures and everything. So, with my phone recording the image sideways like that, I was worried that it would transmit the image to other people sideways, too.

The Dandy just looked at me like “buh?” and then asked me if my phone was in portrait or landscape orientation. I reiterated that my phone was on the tripod sideways – landscape. And again I made a hand gesture to demonstrate, holding up my hand sideways with the palm facing him.

The Dandy said “That’s portrait” and I felt like I was going insane and wanted to flip a fucking table because he’s the tech expert here but not only was he completely failing to comprehend my (pretty simple for someone of his calibre, I thought) question, now he’s confusing portrait and landscape orientation.

So we fought about that for a few minutes and then finally The Dandy just sent me a Zoom invite so we could actually test shit out. But Jesus Christ, how exhausting.

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Wheee! Consumer goods!

I’ve been trying hard not to spend much money (because I barely have an income) but I had some things I needed plus I’ve been depressed and needed a pick-me-up.

So, I recently bought some new boxer briefs and a new dildo (a thicker one than my usual, because I thought it would be prudent to try to get my vag used to something bigger rather than praying that whoever I might fuck next has a smallish dick).

Then I impulse-bought myself some nail polish (and nail polish thinner and a bottle of base coat), which has yet to arrive.

Then I got some more of the boxer shorts I wear around the house all the time, because testosterone has not dried out my vag – kind of the opposite, oddly – and I am absolutely defiling the boxer shorts I have. And I don’t wanna have to venture out to do laundry every damn week.

And I recently got blood tests that show me to be low in iron (which would probably explain why I feel so shitty and lethargic all the time!) and my doctor recommended a specific iron supplement that the grocery website sadly doesn’t have. So I found the stuff on Amazon, and in order to get free shipping I had to spend a bit more money, so I got a case for the new phone The Dandy bought me for Christmas and a package of adhesive ring-things you stick to the back of your phone case to help you get a better grip on it. I have a case of Smartphone Pinky from the way I hold it right now so I needed some other way of helping my phone feel secure in my hand.

I also want a hand mirror because reasons so I bought one of those, too.

If inspirational Facebook memes were sentient, I’m sure they’d give me the side-eye for buying myself some trinkets to feel less depressed, but it works, dammit. Or at least it works for me in my particular situation.

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Yesssss

When I was a kid, my mom disparagingly said (possibly about my dad, I actually forget) “He sure does love the sound of his own voice.” I’ve heard other people use that phrase, too. Initially I thought it was meant to be metaphorical, that it was talking about someone thinking they were extremely smart or interesting and thus talking a lot, pretentiously, in order to show it off.

Later, I worked in a call centre and sat next to a guy with quite a distinctive and pleasant baritone voice, and I wondered for the first time if “he just looooves the sound of his own voice” was in fact meant at face value: this guy quite literally did love the sound of his own voice. You could tell by the way he spoke, drawing out some of his words and stuff. He wasn’t making efforts to sound smart or anything, he was making efforts to speak in a melifluous tone.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure testosterone is starting to change my voice, and I’m 100% turning into that call centre guy. 😛 Nobody else can hear a difference yet but me (and when watching video of myself recorded months ago vs recently, I can’t hear a difference, either; I guess my voice is just resonating differently in my own head when I talk, for now). If I purposely pitch my voice as low as possible, it’s not necessarily any lower than if I’d done the same thing three months ago, but it doesn’t hurt my throat like before and I can feel it reverberating in my upper chest in a way I don’t think it ever used to do.

So I’m constantly talking to whichever cat is nearby – and purposely trying to pitch my voice low – just for an excuse to hear myself.

…It just occurred to me that in the aforementioned videos, I was speaking naturally (or maybe even getting squeaky from anxiety because I’m kinda camera-shy). I never actually recorded myself trying to speak in a deeper voice.

So, I just did a brief recording on my phone, speaking in as deep a voice as I comfortably can. And I played it back and holy fuckballs I sound amazing.

I actually have something to directly compare this new recording to: ages ago I had an idea for a little comedy sketch of sorts that I wanted to film. There would be several characters – all played by me – and one was a guy. I recorded some of the footage for that male character but then life stuff intervened and I never finished. But anyway, I have a recording of me pre-T talking as low as I possibly could, trying to sound like a dude. And I just listened to it and it doesn’t come anywhere close to how I can sound now. It’s not exactly that my voice is lower now – I mean it is, a bit. But the bigger difference is that reverberation, I think. And the fact that I’m not straining myself to go this low, so my voice isn’t crackly and weird.

It’s kinda cool right now because I can easily pitch my voice up higher and sound female, or I can pitch it lower and sound more androgynous. Which is handy, considering there are times I might still want to pass as a woman and other times where I’d rather be perceived as a they/them. I assume the voice changes will probably continue and I’ll end up at an overall deeper register, though, and I’m pretty okay with that, too.

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I guess I’m okay for now

Some time has passed, I got a modicum of reasonably good sleep, and The Dandy tidied up a bunch of his stuff that was infringing on my posing area and announced to me that he’d done it (I hadn’t asked him to and I could have gotten by without his efforts but my work space really does look amazing now and I appreciate that).

I can only think that his tidying efforts are an apology of sorts; an offering. And that, plus the passage of time, has made me feel functional again and less angry at him.

I’d still have preferred an actual apology (including direct acknowledgement of everything he did wrong). Or even an apology and the tidying up.

I wish I could talk to The Dandy about the incident directly but I know he would get frozen/mad at the prospect of a dreaded FeelingsTalk and it wouldn’t result in changed behaviour (I’ve been telling him to directly say no to me instead of deflecting for years and nothing’s changed, so…).

I think probably – as long as he keeps being anti-therapy – I need to accept that the price of his financial support isn’t my cooking, really, it’s that he’ll do stupid fucking things and not ever want to talk them through or apologize for them. And if I want to stay here I’ll have to resign myself to this cycle of being pissed off at him and slowwwwwly getting past it by virtue of time passing, while he avoids doing the one thing that would instantly make me feel better.

So that’s fun.

Even more than the actual shitty thing he did most recently, I’m super upset lately wondering wtf I ever saw in him. The Dandy is, in many ways, closed off and selfish. He seems almost uniquely unsuited to being in a relationship or even having friends, since he’s directly said that he doesn’t like people ever wanting anything from him; he wants companionship from someone who’ll be there when he wants someone and, I dunno, fold themselves up into under-bed storage when he doesn’t. The idea that other humans have needs – and will need things from him, specifically, if they’re dating him – is alien. The idea that partners can proactively support and look after each other has literally never occurred to him, and still kind of doesn’t even after I’ve brought it up. Whatever minor interest he has in sex revolves entirely around the part where he gets off.

Granted, he pulled a huge bait-and-switch on me when we were first dating; he presented himself as an attentive partner who would go out of his way to spend time with me and who enjoyed sex and liked giving me pleasure. That’s on him.

But the facade went away pretty quickly once I was emotionally invested, and I put up with the new, substandard version of him for way too long. And practically the moment I finally ditched my sunk cost fallacy and dumped him it was like “who even is this person and what on Earth was his appeal?”

To top it off, he has a lot of the most irritating aspects of both my parents. I somehow didn’t see that until I was already entrenched.

How am I still this bad at choosing partners when I’ve been actively working on myself and analyzing my previous bad choices for well over a decade now?

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