A Mega-Whoa Moment

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I have a whole mess of posts I need to write, in various stages of (in)completion.

And I am making progress, slowly but surely.

In fact, I hope to knock out at least one more before the long weekend ends.

But I need to write about my latest, and possibly biggest, "whoa" moment first. :c)


I had a land line installed in my apartment a few days ago. I didn't really want, or need it. 

I have a cell phone, and that was sufficient for me. 

However, it's a Seattle number. 

I've had it for years, I like it, and I plan to move back there once I am full-time.

(Or at least the West Coast. Several folks suggested I consider Northern California as well. I am open to change. As you may have noticed. lol)

My 88-year-old landlord only has a regular phone. She doesn't have long distance, as it turns out.

Nor does she know anything about computers. 

So she communicates with me directly - by ringing my doorbell.

Incessantly. lol 

Almost always at the most awkward, inconvenient times. 

(Of course.)

Like, say, 11:00 PM, just as I am stepping into the shower. 

(Yes, that really happened.)

Or, say, as I am in the middle of applying a facial mask. 

(Yes, that really happened too.)

The old me would likely not have said anything to her. She is incredibly sweet, and I can tell that genuinely worries about me. ("You work so hard, dear. I wish you would learn to relax.") But he would have been really, really annoyed.

Now though, I can laugh at the absurdity of it all and simply get a land line to make a nice old lady's life a little less stressful.

And so I did.

The installation went off without a hitch - other than a certain unnamed smarta** sister of mine from Toronto who decided to add her own running commentary via text message to the proceedings.

But I digress. :c)

As I was saying... the installation went as planned. I also upgraded to an HD converter. 

For obvious reasons, I'm trying to save my pennies these days, and was considering pulling cable altogether. 

But my nephew C, as he does so often, made an observation that had me questioning whether he really *is* just 19 years old.

"You work long hours, you have a long commute, you exercise every day, you go to electrolysis twice a week... the one thing you *don't* do is relax.

"Watching baseball and hockey helps you unwind; not much else does. So really, it's helping you transition."

(I don't know where he got his common sense, except to say it assuredly did NOT come from his new aunt! lol)

That night, after watching my Red Sox win and my Mariners lose (*sigh*) in glorious, relaxing HD, I took a shower and hopped into bed. 

(Yes, I was wearing my Red Sox nightshirt, thank you very much.)

Then I remembered the unfinished task that had been nagging me all day:
  
I needed to set up voicemail for my new telephone number.

Knowing I wouldn't sleep until I took care of it, I dutifully clambered out of bed and retrieved my phone.

Being a technical writer, I took the time to actually read the directions before launching in (and copyedited them mentally, of course - once a nerd, always a nerd). :c) 

Why? 

Because I used to think like this:



And I know the results in my case were always disastrous. Nearly as bad as Calvin's, in fact. lol

I decided to eschew the standard greeting they use and record my own. Lord knows we could use a bit more interaction with an actual human voice these days, rather than yet another artificial voice, after all.

So I dashed off the greeting I have used for voicemail for as long as I can remember.

Again, it was late (well after midnight), so I wasn't really thinking about what I was doing. 

Then came the whoa! moment: 

I listened to the playback.

Oh.

My.

God.

I was in shock.

I could not *believe* what I heard.

It was a woman speaking!

There was no doubt about it.

I was astounded.

I have been working on my voice, fairly diligently, for nearly six months now.

(The only exception was during my extended bout with the flu and its aftermath. They're were days when my throat was simply too raw from coughing all night to risk damaging it. 

Much as I want to achieve my goals, I promised myself when I began my transition to take the long view. It has served me in good stead so far, including this episode.)

I use exercises gleaned from watching Deep Stealth's voice DVD/CD package, which have been invaluable.

And Stace was kind enough to suggest an exercise she found particularly useful.

(Although judging from some of her posts it sounds as if she didn't really need it. ;c)

(Then again, my friend S has more or less told me the same thing

And so has my sister. Albeit in her own, well, unique fashion: "Cass - you *never* acted, looked, or sounded masculine. OK? N-E-V-E-R." lol)

Like Stace, I practice during my long drive home - about the only benefit to having it, quite honestly. 

I use Stace's exercise, as well as those from the DVD/CD. 

At this point, I find it most helpful to simply talk to myself, trying to speak in a normal conversational tone.

I still think it needs work. When I'm tired it drops. And I still sound like a man when I cough at night or early in the morning. 

I've noticed my pitch is wobbly at times, particularly when I alternate between speaking with people who know and people who do not. (My co-worker B noticed this, although he assured me it was only because he knows I'm transitioning.)

Those caveats aside, however, I was still genuinely amazed at what I heard.

It was a great feeling.

It was, and is, incredibly affirming to know that my practicing is beginning to pay dividends.

I write this blog to chronicle my journey, of course. 

Primarily I write it for myself, so I can look back and remember how I felt at a particular time during my transition.

I also hope that someone, either now or in the future, may find it useful, perhaps even encouraging.

They may say, "If she could do it, then I can too."

I know there were several blogs I read at the beginning of my journey that were incredibly inspiring.




And, most of all at the beginning, Suzanne Clayton.

I totally got her sense of humor (I would know a fellow smart-ass anywhere). 

And respected her courage and willingness to share her journey, including the difficult parts.

But most of all it was her determination that resonated with me.

I have more than my fair share of faults. 

But even when I hated myself - which was most of my life - I knew I had one strength that would, and still does, carry me much further than I ever dared think possible: 

When I make up my mind to do something, I will let NOTHING stop me.

Making those decisions used to be agonizing, but once I made them I was off and running.

Now that I like myself, it gets easier and easier.

Anyway, I told a friend recently that when I looked at Suzanne's photos of her wedding, and compared them with her pre-transition photos, I could not believe it was the same person.

And I thought to myself, "If she could change that much, and achieve the life she always dreamed of... then I wonder if I could do too?"

My friend laughed and said, "Bingo!"

I asked her what she meant.

"You were a goner as soon as you thought that, Cass."

"And I know. Because the exact same thing happened to me."

"And once you let yourself think that, and acknowledge that it is even remotely possible... then it's impossible to put that genie back in its bottle."

She was right too. :c)

So: a heartfelt thank you to Suzanne, although I've never met or corresponded with her.

And to all of those who also inspired me, many of whom have become, to my astonishment, my dear friends.

(Even April. Who knew a Canadian could teach an American *anything*, other than possibly how to skin a beaver and the proper way to wear a tocque? Wonders truly never cease.)

If my blog can affect even one person with a fraction of the impact Suzanne's blog, and the others I cited, had on me, then it will be totally worth the effort.

***

This is a song that takes me right back to 1982 (when I was but a wee lass-in-hiding). It still sounds great all these years later:


6 comments:

Stace on May 26, 2013 at 3:54 PM said...

That is amazing! I am still no fan of my own voice, but the difference between starting speech therapy and ending it 6 months later was just amazing. (And yes, I was quite lucky to have a good starting point already!)

I live that exercise you mention, though god knows what anyone looking into the car thinks when they see me in all sorts of facial poses!

Happy tippy-tapping!
Stace

Cassidy on May 26, 2013 at 10:56 PM said...

Hi Stace!

I have to be honest and report that today my voice sounded much closer to "him" than me. I was tired, and my allergies were actiing up a bit, so I suspect that may be part of the reason. Regardless, I will keep up with my practicing. :c)

I am also going to give speech therapy a try. I still have trouble with some areas, and simply want to see what a speech therapist thinks. It can't hurt! :c)

Hope you have a tippy-tappy Monday!!!

Hugs,
Cass

Stace on May 27, 2013 at 2:42 AM said...

Their are a few advantages of a speech therapist.

The first being those problem areas that you want to address (I also dealt with my 'R' issues and my Dutch pronunciation during my therapy).

The other is to ensure that you are not damaging your vocal cords with what you are doing (apparently there are many ways of speaking and a therapist will make sure that you put as little stress on your vocal cords as possible). That is partly what the tippy tappy exercise is for :)

Stace

Cassidy on May 27, 2013 at 10:39 AM said...

I have several areas I would like help with, particularly around consistency and speaking too quickly. A friend last night suggested that they might improve once I'm full-time, but I wouldn't mind getting a head start. :c)

I also worry about straining my voice. I have allergies, and I tend to lose my voice when my semi-annual bout with the flu takes place in early winter. I'm sure there are things I can do to improve. I am a long-term investment *and* a growth market, after all! :c)

Loved your picture blog photo of the day, btw. Just used it as my Facebook profile pic!

Have a great (and mega-tippy tappy) Monday, Stace!!!

Hugs,
Cass

Kelli Bennett on May 27, 2013 at 1:11 PM said...

I know my speech therapist was invaluable to me. Mostly because the constructive criticism is worth it. Having someone who has a trained ear listening and giving feedback help enormously.

I know I would not have the confidence in mine today if not for her. Granted I still have a love hate relationship with it. Even with everyone else telling me it sounds fantastic.

Cassidy on May 27, 2013 at 1:30 PM said...

@Kelli: We tell you it sounds fantastic because it *does* sound fantastic, hon! :c)

As we've discussed, I find it's much the same with people telling us how much we've changed. We truly are the last to really see it.

I *sort of* see it, but clearly not to the extent that others do. I recently came out to my friend R; she was in utter disbelief when I said - honestly - that I didn't see much difference from a photo taken three year ago.

"Girl, you look you could maybe - maybe - be distant cousins! How do you not see it?!?"

I told her perhaps things will improve when I get my eye exam this week. :c) (Seriously considering Lasik, btw!)

Hope you are enjoying your day off, Miss K!!!

Hugs,
Cass

Post a Comment

 

Copyright © 2009 Grunge Girl Blogger Template Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template
Girl Vector Copyrighted to Dapino Colada