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1 Year Later

Maddie Schipper

Today marks the first anniversary of coming out publicly. It seems unreal how quick the last year has flown by. Many things have changed in my life over the previous year. This post is meant as a reflection of that for me, but I have decided to make it public.

My confidence has gone up dramatically when presenting female, and I'm getting awfully close to going full time. Honestly, I don't know what is preventing me. It's something that I am working on all the time and is a frequent topic for my therapist. When I do present, there is always quite a butterflies. They stem from my mind racing to think up as many terrible situations that I'm bound to encounter. And you know what? None of them ever happen. I'm getting better at shutting that process down, but I'm still not perfect.

My legal name & gender marker change is in progress. Currently, we are waiting on the Dallas County Court to receive my background check from the Texas Department of Public Saftey. Once that is returned, my attorney can file for a court date. We are hoping to have the process wrapped up before the new year. But it's still a government bureaucracy, I'm not holding my breath.

I started HRT on December 3rd, 2018. It has been going excellent. I spent the first 9 months on estrogen pills before switching to an injection every two weeks. The shot allows the estrogen to bypass the liver, where the majority of it gets filtered out in the pill form. The day after an injection is a rollercoaster of emotion. About 5 days in, "I want a baby" seems to pops into my head. Still not sure what to do about that. The days leading up to my next shot can be rough at times as my body finishes processing the last of the estrogen. The testosterone blocker I take is called Spironolactone. It's a diuretic, and I feel like I can never get enough water or salt. The drugs are doing their job. My mind feels like it's working with the correct hormones for the first time in my life.

My appearance has gotten to the point where I do get gendered correctly by strangers. Unfortunately, most times, after I speak, they will apologize for gendering me correctly as a female. I die a little on the inside every time this happens. To begin working on my voice, I reached out to an excellent voice coach to help me get started. We have had a few lessons. They can be overwhelming with information, but we are making progress, and that's all I can hope for.

Now for the nitty-gritty of physical changes.

I wrapped up laser hair removal on my face. It's something that I will still need to go in for occasional touch-ups, but 99% of my dark facial hair is gone. My body hair, while almost non-existant before, is mostly gone or considerably thinned. Arm and leg hair is still abundant, but it's become thinner and less dark.

My head hair has gotten to the point where I'm almost able to do things with it. Growing it out is a long process. It was a struggle to get through the stages where it was in my eyes, but not quite long enough to do anything to keep it out. I'm happy with how it's turning out, and my word there is a lot of it. Between myself and Sterling, it's almost impossible to not find hair everywhere in the trailer.

I have become more susceptible to temperature. I have ever been as cold as I was during the Fall in the PNW. Hoddies and wool socks have become my best friend. I understand why Mom always brings a blanket on a road trip now. The change in how I feel temperature is caused by my skin thinning. This thinning has softened my skin substantially. My sensitivity to touch has improved. Soft, comfortable clothes mean so much more to me now.

Even more nitty-gritty, and this will flirt with the too much information line.

Breast pain is real. They seem to go in cycles. There will be a couple weeks of crazy nipple pain, followed by soreness in the breast, then nothing for weeks. This cycle repeats itself for about 6-8 weeks. It's not fun, but I like knowing something is happening. My nipples have grown to about twice their size, and they always want to make themselves known. My braless days are long behind me.

The downstairs has atrophied and shrunk quite a bit. It still works, but it can be painful. I see this as a good thing. I have quite a bit of dysphoria in that area. Every change I have seen is positive.

Looking towards the future.

In this next year, I plan no getting an orchiectomy and being researching options for gender conformation surgery (GRS) in earnest. I plan on going full time "for realzies" in the next few months. HRT will continue to work it's magic while I continue working on finding and perfecting my feminine voice.

I think FFS will be in my future for my brow and nose, but I want to give the HRT time to work its magic so I can hopefully go in with a set canvas. This will allow the doctor to make better recommendations. I plan to begin researching doctors and procedures during year 3.

I do want to give a special thanks to my wolf-pack. I couldn't have done it without you. Your support in everything has been incredible. I am thankful that each of you are in my life. Even if you did chastize my use of 3-in-1 shampoo when I first came out. (I'm happy to report I now have a single bottle of product for each function in the shower)

And to my best friend. My rock. You have been amazing. Even with an insane schedule to deal with, you have always made time for me and my problems. You're willing to listen no matter what is happening in your life. The pick-me-up notes when I'm feeling down on myself always seem to find a way to make me feel better. Your advice on clothes and makeup is always appreciated. And even if you didn't tell me I was rocking a mullet until after the haircut that fixed it, I will still love you with my entire heart. I can't imagine what life would be like without you in it.

To everyone else. Thank you for doing a fantastic job of making me feel supported and loved. Thank you for never making me feel uncomfortable through this stage of my life.

Okay, now that the tears are coming, I think this is an excellent place to wrap up. I am in the right place mentally. If this was TMI, I'm sorry? Just don't read the next one.