That Voice Again

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Just a brief post as I unwind from a long day, concerning encouraging observations about my progress from two different people.

I worked in the main office today with my friend and co-worker B, as we did some proof of concept work to convert Help files to a more stable, reliable platform. (The preliminary verdict: successful, btw.)

We went out to lunch when we finished, and I caught B up on what has been happening re: my transition. As always, he was 100% supportive and offered to do whatever he can to help.

As we were walking back to his car, I mentioned that the shorter ride home means I will have less time that usual to work on my voice as a result. (I practice on my commute home from the office where I work, which can last from 60-90 minutes.)

"Wait - the hormones don't take care of that?" he asked.

I told him no, unfortunately, that it is simply through practice and hard work.

"I noticed your voice was all over the place at lunch," he said. "I thought it was from the hormones."

I replied that I try to use "his" voice at work. My voice is coming along, and still needs some work (OK, a lot of work), but I find I am slipping into it more and more and have to try to switch back to boy mode when needed.

He was fascinated. I then told him the story about how S assumed a woman was speaking at a recent online meeting - only to realize it was me.

He burst out laughing when I finished.

"I believe that," he said. "S isn't one to exaggerate.

"Seeing you, I can't rewind to start fresh now that I've heard you speaking as L for the past year, so it's hard for me to say if I perceive it as a male or female voice," he said.

"That makes sense, actually," I said. "I sound like a male because that's how I've been perceived, and still am, for the most part."

I glanced over at B. His eyes were squeezed shut as he listened.

"When I listen without looking at you, what I hear is, at best, an androgynous voice. I'm willing to bet if I heard it on the phone without knowing who it was, I would take it as female too. And I'm not saying that to make you feel good; it's my gut feeling."

That was an encouraging conversation, needless to say. I have a long way to go still, but it's nice to know I'm making some progress, at least.


One last item. M, my electrologist, had some surgery today and will be out of the office for 4-6 weeks. (Feel better, hon!)

I had my first session with J, one of other electrologists in the office. We hit it off immediately, and chatted away the entire 90 minute session.

She asked if I had any photos of myself pre-transition, so when we finished I pulled out my iPad and showed her several taken in June 2011, about six months before I started HRT.

Her eyes widened as she looked at the photo, then at me.

"That is amazing!" she said. "If I didn't know it was you, I would think this was a picture of your brother. You look *so* different now! Even without makeup, and adjusting for your shadow from not shaving for a few days and the redness from our session... you look female to me. And I tell it like it is. If I didn't feel that way, I wouldn't say so."

Again, a really nice thing to hear. Especially after 90 minutes of electrocuting my face!


J also has beautiful curly hair, which I complimented her for. She very kindly offered that she thinks mine might be somewhat similar. (She also told me she was struck by how blue my eyes are, and that they were unusually vivid. I decided not to mention I could barely see her without my glasses on, even though she was literally a few feet away. lol)

She offered some suggestions to make my curls stand out more, and recommended several stylists she has used/is using who know how to cut curly hair. My current stylist is very nice, but I get the sense she isn't totally certain how to cut it to work with the curls. Anyway, it's always nice to have other options, I suppose!


A favorite, albeit lesser-known, song from Peter Gabriel's 1986 masterpiece, So:


Becca on March 14, 2013 at 2:57 AM said...

My voice coach suggested that people must have noticed my changed voice. She played back a recording from my first session and then another from the last session (which was with me just talking and not 'trying') and I could hear the difference. My partner did also suggest that HRT had altered my voice subtly before I started the coaching.

Blue eyes, curls ... Your going to be a dazzler aren't you :-)

bashashhazbaz on March 14, 2013 at 5:28 PM said...

you know, i think you sound pretty attractive just from your personality that comes through here. but hearing all these other folks mention how you are coming along, i have to agree with miss becca above me here and say that you going to be quite the dazzler indeed!

Debra on March 14, 2013 at 6:18 PM said...

Yay! Voice is huge IMHO. I saw a voice therapist for the first few months of transition and I knew it was time to transition at work when I was accidentally using my female voice at work haha.

Stace on March 15, 2013 at 3:26 AM said...

I think that people knowing you can make all the difference to how your voice is perceived.

Before starting my voice sessions I was taken for female on the phone 75% of the time of so. The thing was that anyone who know me always said 'I just hear you, I've never thought about it.'

Thankfully these days it's 100% and I don't get any comments at all :)

When people you know start saying androgynous that is a *really* good sign!


Cassidy on March 17, 2013 at 9:08 PM said...

@ Becca: That must have been quite an experience to hear the difference! I'm still at the "trying" stage (hence my voice being all over the place with my friend B), but I think I'm making progress. I spend the weekends trying to only use my voice; it's getting harder to remember to switch back when the week begins! lol

As far as "dazzler"… well, I turned red when I read that initially! So much so that it hid all of the freckles that have magically reappeared - and proliferated - on my face as my transition continues. :c) (Go figure!)

Anyway, I'm not sure "dazzler" is quite right; let me see…. "dazzle"… nope, that's it either… Ah! Here we go: "dazed." Yup… THAT sound about right! lol

(Thank you, sweetie!)

@ bashashhazbaz: And that goes for you as well! :c)

As an aside, J (the electrologist who suggested the salon to me) told me I've gone from light brown to dark blonde since I started to transition. She said some red as well. Then L, the receptionist at the salon said the same thing, unprompted. So I guess it's true! I didn't know hormones could do that! :c)

@ Debra: I *love* your voice! You were convincing in your very first videos, but now it's clearly second nature.

I'm doing the same thing with my voice at work too, btw! lol When I'm with the co-workers who know, I instinctively use my voice. With those who don't, it varies, but I use mine more and more without thinking.

@Stace: I'm jealous - 75% *before* you started transitioning? Grr… If you weren't so sweet I'd be angry with you! :c)

Again, I know I have a long way to go, but it *is* encouraging that friends think it is androgynous. S tells me she thinks my boy voice is already feminine, and so does my sister. And she is not one to sugarcoat things. :c)

Thank you all for the lovely comments, ladies! You know how to make a gal feel good!

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