Tools in your toolbox options

Any good defensive tactics instructor will most likely say your brain is your number one defense against a physical confrontation. Without your brain in alignment with sound defensive tactics, what good are they? Human beings have for sometime made good use of tools for many things including defense. Tools range from impact to edge instruments to firearms. In today’s world, we have many options of these tools yet no one of them is right for every single situation.

Some of these tools are prohibited in some jurisdictions while others may be against someone’s religious convictions or a countless other reasons. One category, impact tools just might fill a void that edge tools and firearms cannot is when deadly force is not justified. The main reason for impact tools rising above the other tools is that they are not seen by the general populous as tools that inflict deadly force. Granted they will not solve all problems nor will firearms or edge tools.

The most common impact tool is known as a Kubaton, which is approximately 6 inches in length, slim enough to easily fit into the palm of your hand and not attract attention along with a place to carry your keys. A seasoned police officer once said that they best gun is the one that is in your hand when you need it but you cannot go through your day with a handgun in your hand without attracting a great deal of attention. Try carrying a Kubaton around all day long and you will find that not many people will take notice. With proper training when the attack comes you can fight back with the Kubaton that can inflict pain, make your assailant think twice before continuing their attack or decide it is time to find other pry. Granted no single tool is right for every situation but the Kubaton is the most universal. Do you carry a concealed handgun for personal protection? Surely, you must realize that the concealed firearm will not solve all possible attacks just as any other defensive tool will. For those who carry a concealed firearm you might consider complimenting the concealed firearm with a Kubaton which gives you more options than what the firearm can provide. If someone gets in your face but is not endangering your life is not the time to draw your concealed firearm to end the confrontation, which is where a Kubaton might very well be the correct tool to stop this person from invading your space. I like to have options and the Kubaton is simply another tool in your toolbox. My advice is to find an instructor in your area and take a class followed by carrying the Kubaton if you want a tool for self-protection but other tools are not for you.

The next level up from a Kubaton is commonly known as the Bram Frank Gunting/LLC. There are three models, a trainer, a working tool (CRIMPT) and a live version. Both the training tool and the working tool have no edge and were designed to use closed rather than in an open position like its close sibling the folding pocketknife. The basic concept for the Gunting is pain compliance as is with the Kubaton but the Gunting/LLC take pain compliance to an entire new level without an edge. As Bram preaches, anyone can learn the Gunting in just four hours. The Gunting works off your natural reactions to an attack rather than retrain your mind to adapt to the Gunting, which makes it much simpler to use the tool. As with the Kubaton, the Gunting is an excellent addition to those who carry a concealed firearm.
At the Jacobe Group (www.jimjacobe.com) in Salem USA we teach the Kubaton and Gunting/LLC for the simple reason it’s good to have options and that everyone has a different perspective or restriction on what they consider is right for them for self-defense. In regards to those who would like more information on the Gunting/LLC and were to find an instructor or class in your area either, contact Bram Frank who is the Gunting architect, Christian Swann, Laura Gaumond, Amy Chittenden Kirschner, Florian Lahner, Steve Shinde, Tim Kashino (located under my friend list) or I.

LLC

Kubaton

Kubaton

Pens and flashlights

Pens

Approval for GRS, why???

I wrote the following for a blog post on another site and thought it would be worth sharing. Many argue the point if a real life test is needed and there are good points on both sides of the discussion. Some will say, suppose the person decides not too transition during the one year real life test? I respond by saying that you need to be 99.99 percent sure this is for you. There are some who could go without this test as many live the life already and in this case should be given a pass.

For years I wondered why do I need approval from two therapist for gender reassignment surgery and at times really aggravated me to no end but once I started it all became clear. You see, feeling trapped in the wrong physical body can taunt and consume a person to various states of mind that can lead to a dark place thus never seeing the reasoning behind the “why” behind the requirement for therapy coupled with living in the opposite gender for at least one year.

Here is the deal, feeling trapped in the wrong physical body there can be relief by wearing clothing of the opposite gender but that is usually hindered as many don’t have a safe haven to wear clothing for an extended period of time and eventually as one grows older the feelings of being in the wrong physical body become more intense and can destroy marriages and cause one to become secluded to the point they are alone and now in their free time can become the female they should be to a limited degree by dressing in the role of a female for longer periods.

The danger here is we think that by setting an appointment for reassignment surgery with an informed consent is all one should need. There lays the problem, it’s a completely different world living as a female 24/7 in each and every aspect of your life. It quickly becomes real when you are paying for something in a store and need to use your credit card that says John Smith when you are dressed female. You might get lucky as I did, sales lady looks at the name on my credit card and says, John Smith is your husband? I will need to see your identification. Me, no that is my name, sales lady, your parents have a strange way of naming their daughter. But not everyone will be fortunate for this to happen. Next up (which should had been firsts).

The female voice, a dead give away if not practiced. You are paying for groceries at the store, cashier engages you in conversation and although nobody would every guess that you were not female because you have taken the time to dress properly, age appropriate clothing and not to much makeup you say something and out slips the male voice, oooops, you get the idea.

In the real live experience you are under pressure either all the time or some of the time and for many will truly challenge their original thoughts of transitioning. Geez, can I really pull this off? What I mean is, once you have a vagina and breast it’s a completely new world and you have no choice but to either blend in as part of the scenery, become part of the scenery or become ostracized for being a freak and with that comes depression, self-doubt or more leading to dark places OR you rise to the task of merging your inner female self with a new physical self from the affects of hormones.

Trust me when I say, you have no idea, no clue what one year of living in the opposite gender is like until you have been doing it for say three months and then look back 12 months later and can’t hardly remember what it was like as a male and if you can more likely than not remember it differently how the full time female experience would be.

I challenge those taking this journey to write down their thoughts before starting HRT and therapy then say 10 months down the road read what you wrote and see how you think about the journey now. If comfortable, keep a daily journal of your ups and downs, like anybody living we have ups and downs and in the 12 month role they are magnified. When seeing a therapist there are gaps of time between visits and having these notes can help you engage with the therapist.

BOTTOM LINE: The real life experience as I see it now is that it’s good for you while looking back I thought “what the heck”.

Hopefully those traveling down the road for gender reassignment surgery will be fortunate to have a good support system in place to assist them with the 12 month real life test and it will go better this way. Personally I had (and still have) a wonderful female friend who not only supported me but traveled to California to be with me for GRS and then with breast augmentation was there for me too in my home taking care of me. You can not do this on your own, I repeat, you can not do this on your own so get use to the fact you will need a good support system which should be done before starting your journey, find out who are really friends and who are not and don’t be surprised that many may be repulsed at the thought of you wanting to be female.

Getting out with the ladies

Last weekend went to Red Robins with my best female friend, had my first real drink in several years. Sure felt great having a margarita.

RedRobin

When last night I was out with several woman from work and happy I was included in their get together. I have learned that my tolerance for alcohol is not what it used to be but heck if I care, as long as I can drive or realize I can’t and don’t drive.  On the way out of the bar I had several glances from men which is always nice.

Coming of age

For so many years I would dress in the morning in tactical clothing which includes a firearm inside my trousers and a revolver at the ankle and would stay that way until bed time. Slowly this became coming home at immediately disrobing into female jeans or leggings and a female top with flats. Those days are completely gone now hurray for that other than use to taking 15 minutes in the morning to 30 to 40 minutes in the morning where the majority of this time is “what will I wear today” which turns into “that looks good” to “Oh, wore that two days ago” to “wore something similar yesterday” to “I think this will do but not sure about the shoes” Yeek. Yes I do the same thing with my undergarments too. The funny thing is as the weather becomes increasingly warmer (yeah in the nineties plus) I find myself when at home undressing down to a tank top, no bra and panites and keep my capris close by for when someone comes to visit. Also, no shoes (really).

It is fun looking back in time to how life was for many years to evolve into “I’am getting closer” to “I have arrived”.

For many travelling this path I can say with utmost certainty that baby steps are better than taking huge leaps from one gender to another gender. It gives one time to accommodate both the mind and body to your true gender. Think of it as a per-teenage girl growing up where they learn through the years to become a woman rather than one day declaring they are a woman. Same goes for female to male, lessons are learned and you are acclimated to that role.

Some will think “I can’t wait to be away from the day to day burden of this wrong body” but I urge you to take time to become accustomed to not only your body but also how people see you and people can tell (thinking male to female) when you do things out of place which goes back to my recent entry Feminine Movement.  I find myself doing cisgender things in the past few months that I was not in the past and see men noticing me more and more, you can tell “that look” which is “hottie” or “is that a man or female” and I am getting the “hottie” look more and more (and I like even more when females give me that look).

So take your time and be the man or woman you are comfortable with.

“Where should I go?” -Alice. “That depends on where you want to end up.” – The Cheshire Cat.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Feminine Movement

Today I was thinking about the real life experience (12 months test) that a person is required by the WPATH guidelines and how I seemingly did extremely well over 12+ months and believe this is partly from having studying female mannerisms, realizing  from many observations how female and male anatomies are different yet with the right preparation from watching cisgender females a cisgender male can compensate for what surgery can’t give you which is the natural movements of a cisgender female and the lack of hips and longer legs. Granted that some of us have longer legs and have a more female curve but many don’t.

Watch a cross-dresser solely dressing for sexual gratification and we will see them wearing pencil style skirts while a male-to-female that has studied cisgender females may more often wear a skirt that flares out slightly to balance out broad shoulders. Sticking with hips and broad shoulders we can compensate by wearing high waisted jeans.

I believe that no matter how well one does compensates with clothing a true telltale sign to others is when a beautiful woman walks down the street like a man, then questions begin to circle through their heads, is that a man or a woman? 

The aim of studying female movement is so that you can come to possess it for yourself, so that is not copying what women do, but rather making it part of your natural being, as it is for other women.

One thing that is seen between males and females when walking is men’s feet generally are outward while female’s feet are more inward. Take note of this when out in public and I am sure you will see this too. There are natural reasons for this that men do not possess yet one can mimic by imagining that you are walking along a line, but try to curve your feet into that line as you go, rather than letting them move parallel to the line. This should produce a slight, but natural-looking jiggle, that should help you to achieve an acceptably feminine gait.

Thinking of walking, how about sitting, where are your leg’s, spread apart as a typical male or knees close together or touching. Are you sitting forward or backwards, where are your hands and when talking are you talking with your hands?

You simply don’t practice and do but practice, practice, practice and evaluate until it becomes natural and the key here is to constantly evaluate one’s self.

Dealing with the Red Cross

Everyday I have an hour lunch at work and usually take a 15 to 30 minute walk around the city. Today there was a sign up at the Red Cross asking for blood donations so I was inspired to drop in to see if I could give blood today. 

I walk in, ask if they could get blood from my in 30 minutes? They said that is possible. So I say the last time I was in was as a male. Got the usually statement such as “no way” so I produced my former driver licence and she stares at both for about thirty seconds, looks up, looks at both pictures again and then looks up and says, amazing.

I am then taken to a interview room (which they have done in the past), ask me a few questions then she says I have to ask my supervisor something. Comes back in five minutes and says if I want to donate I must use my born gender rather than my current gender.

I had many ways to reply but kept it dirt simple when she said “is that okay” I replied with “well I am female now, that’s all that should matter and decline”. She responded, I don’t blame you at all and thanks for coming in.

If I had not told them about my transition all would had been fine but that is past history now. Would I do it different if I could go back in time knowing what I know now? Yes as the original reason was to link up my past blood donations with my current identity unless there was a crisis and then more likely than not they could care less. 

Bottom line for me is honesty.

Life is good

It has been four months now since my transition and two weeks since breast surgery and feeling comfortable in my current skin.

I am keeping appointments with my therapist who had approved me for surgery. This is being done because one never knows when life may take a down turn for the worst and leave one in a dark place. With that said I am not one to fall into depression because life tossed me a bad curve ball and can’t recover from this which some have issues with after surgery. The key is to be prepared both physically and mentally, have zero reservations to what will follow after surgery. A good therapist can spot issues that we can’t so I urge anyone on the same or similar path as me to make a commitment to have appointments to your therapist post surgery.

Socially speaking I am fitting in like a perfectly fitted bra done by a professional bra fitter. I am using tVictoriaSecretsShoppinghat analogy because yesterday my best female friend lead me to Nordstrom’s for a bra fitting where I not only received expedite service but also learned that how I was putting on a bra was the correct method. Then we headed off for a wonderful lunch in their restaurant. Of course we visited my favorite store, Victoria’s Secrets where I almost never come out empty handed as shown in the picture.

Thinking of pictures, I have not seen my mother since 2003 and she reminded me of this so I went to a professional photographer last weekend to have them take a picture of me and frame it for my mother. I ended up having about twenty photos taken, here are a few of them.

 

img_0019

 

img_0017

Breast augmentation done

Yesterday was my date for breast augmentation. My main fear which came from my initial consultation was they recommended a C cup and had told them I wanted to be on the smaller size then larger but the surgeon that that the measurements taken recommend a C cup so I said okay.

Last Friday was my pre-surgery office appointment and re-iterated that I did not want large breast. He said that out of thousands of breast augmentations he had done only two came back and said they were too large. Out of the two one decided several months down the road they were the correct size. So I figure with that he must know what he is doing.

I arrived at the hospital yesterday where the did blood work and started me on an IV. About thirty minutes later the surgeon came in and did his lines for surgery. Shortly thereafter I was taken into the OR and (as I am sure many know this) remember nothing until I woke up.

Spent about one hour awake time in the recovery room and they were kind to bring me a Starbuck’s latte which I drank in no time.

Took a taxi home with my friend (she went with me and stayed the entire time), went to the bathroom to go and then pulled up my top to peek at the work that had been done.

No doubt was in my mind now, they are the perfect size and perfect shape for me. Each time I go to the bathroom I take another peek and have to say they make me happy.

Can’t say enough about my friend, she is wonderful in that she is taking care of me between making me meals and administering my meds.

The problems that come with breast augmentation are (at least for me), inability to sleep more than three hours and it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest yet is tolerable.

Breast augmentation

I am scheduled for breast augmentation on May 20, 2015. Had my pre-operation appointment today where they went over the highlights from my initial consultation several weeks ago along with what they want me to do the week of surgery and the weeks following surgery. After the appointment I handed over my prescriptions to the pharmacy so they are ready for me well in advance.

Specifics, I was interested in a B cup but with their measuring system looks like I will have C cup. Guess I will need to get over not having a smaller size as I am leaving my fate to the surgeon as when I question him about the size he said that he has used this measuring system on thousands of people and only had two people saying they thought that the size was slightly too large.

In regards to eating prior to surgery, I told the surgeon that since surgery was at noon and that they did not want me to eat after midnight that beings I have a different schedule that most people could I have coffee first thing in the morning. He said if I asked the anesthesiologist would say no coffee but he said if it’s only black coffee he is fine and if they asked if I had anything to say no LOL.

My new norm

It has been three months since surgery and my life is at a place I believe is my new/current norm. I have accepted that “it’s a man’s world” and that I have been accepted into the sisterhood.

Things I can laugh or smile about in regards to the last three months. Only went to tuck my penis once (eek, where did it go, oh I remember now ~grin~), have embraced men opening the door for me. Other females treating me as if I have always been a female. My daughter called me this afternoon, I was very busy at work and said I would call back. When I called back she said my voice sounded different but not much. I then realized I was doing a B flat rather than a C# as I had a momentary lapse in voice control which I see needs attention. I had to ask, “did I sound female when you called?”, she said yes but it was a tad different then in the past. That made me smile as I was in at least partial control. I have said it many times, one must be vigilant with their female voice. So this is the second time, first time was reverse, my mother called and I went into my female voice and she had no clue who she was talking too.

Something to cheer about, dilation is second nature in that the dilator goes in with one-third the lube it took one month ago and can penetrate fully in ten seconds where it use to be one minute to fully insert and another four minutes to be comfortable with the dilation tool inside of me. Dilation sessions are there times a day still for 15 minutes but there are times I go for thirty minutes. In two weeks I am down to twice a day.

Since going full time I have not worn perfume but now enjoy it every day which is not from, “I am ready and fearless” but instead it stems from the changes to my mind and body from the longevity of HRT.

What I find interesting and at the same time not interesting is my calm about breast implants in a couple of weeks. What I mean is, GRS to me was like going to the grocery store, no big deal and feel the same way about breast implants but who is being the fool here, I do think about this summer and finally able to wear a plunging neckline top and of course a bathing suit.

One last thought, the memory of my surgery is quickly leaving my brain with no real memories unless I happen to look at one of the pictures taken in the hospital, was that me, oh my.