Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I returned from electrolysis several hours ago.

I walked into my apartment and sank onto the couch.

I am still there.

It hurt so much tonight.

I'm not sure why.

We worked around my lip, mostly the upper lip and the corners.

Needless to say, these areas are less than pleasant under the best of circumstances.

Tonight was not the best of circumstances.

While I hardly enjoy the process, electrolysis is usually tolerable, even when we work in these sensitive areas.

But tonight was agony.

And I do not use that word lightly.

I will usually chat with M, my electrologist, during my session, even when we work in these areas.

But it soon became apparent that this night was different.

For some reason, I was unusually sensitive to each pulse.

I soon lapsed into silence.

I tried to focus on the sound of the clock ticking.

It didn't help.

I told myself that each pulse was another closer to the last one for the evening.

That didn't help either.

M stopped at one point.

"Are you OK, Cass?" she asked.

I nodded.

"You're crying, hon," she said, her voice quiet.

"You have been for a few minutes."

I didn't realize it until she said so.

"It's pretty rough tonight, isn't it?" she said.

I nodded again.

"Do you want to stop, hon?"

I thought a moment, then shook my head.

"No, let's keep going," I said. "It will be worth it eventually."

I hope, I added silently.

"Good girl," she said, gently rubbing my shoulder.

I could hear the smile in her voice.

Finally, it was over.

I stirred as I sensed M moving the light away.

"Don't get up, Cass," she said, pressing on my arm. "Just lay there a bit."

Secretly, I was glad. I was utterly spent.

As she applied the rubbing alcohol, I started sneezing uncontrollably.

"I'm sorry, hon," she said. "This was a really hard night."

"But be proud. We're using nearly the highest setting, and in some very sensitive areas. And we went the full hour."

"We should film just a few minutes of one of your sessions," she mused. "Then you can show it to anyone transitioning is a lark."

"No one would go through this unless they had to."


A dear friend has said on several occasions that transitioning is hard because it should be hard.

It should not be undertaken on a whim.

It should require a serious commitment, in terms of time, energy, and effort.

And that commitment will, at times, require pain.

Both physical and emotional.

I have felt both - intensely - this past week.

I would be dishonest if I said I never doubt whether this will be worth it.

All I can do is my very best.

So I can, finally, be myself.

Even if it hurts.


I can count on one hand what I think are truly great music videos.

This, by far, is my top choice.

I am moved to tears each and every time I see this.

Johnny Cash, and his wife, June Carter Cash, filmed this in February 2003.

June, whose haunted expression as she looks at her husband has stayed with me ever since first viewing this video, died three months later, on May 15.

Her husband passed away shortly thereafter, on September 12.

Their courage, their commitment to their art, and, especially, their commitment to each other, resonates even a decade later.

They faced their pain.

And they transcended it.


Stace on November 6, 2013 at 12:26 PM said...

Your emotional state, and so many other factors, can make such a difference to this. I now that I had once session once (OK, not the face) and each press of the switch for the electrolysis or afterwards each zap of the laser had me writhing in agony (wow, never used that word in a conversation before... Little things) until she offered to stop. I, like you, refused - it would have to be done anyway and I didn't really want to put it off until the next time.

Well done for working trough it, and I hope it's better next time,

Jenna on November 6, 2013 at 5:30 PM said...

Well done for getting through it.

Are you using anything like lidocaine or emla to numb the face?

I've had one session on my face and used both lidocaine and painkillers to try to number the pain but there were still bits that really hurt. You have my every sympathy for the pain you went through.

Your friend is right, transition shouldn't be easy because if it was then people would be doing it who shouldn't be.

Cassidy on November 8, 2013 at 10:49 PM said...

@ Jenna: Thank you, hon. :c)

I do use Lidocaine. I also take ibuprofen about an hour before each session. Typically I simply find it uncomfortable at worst, although lately it has been a bit more painful than usual. But this session was off the charts. I am hoping it was simply an outlier that won't repeat.

My friend is very smart. :c) And she is almost always right (but don't tell her I said so, or she will never let me live it down!). :-p

@ Stace: You summed up my attitude very well: this has to be done, we're here, so it's best to proceed as planned. (Doing so when it involves, er, the South Pole is admirable, hon. lol)

Your comment about the role our emotional state plays makes sense. I also know that when I am tired, the pain is more noticeable.

As Jenna noted, these are tests, really. My electrologist has told me more than once that no man would endure this, especially at the levels she has to use for my beard. But I know it has to be done… so I try to get on with it. Someday it will hopeful be worth it. :c)

Thank you both again!


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