Musings: Face the Face

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hi kids! Hope everyone had a nice week, and is enjoying the weekend.

I am worn out from a long week. Not in a bad way… just busy. And also from my last two electrolysis sessions.

Well, they turned out be mostly laser sessions, actually, with a bit of electrolysis thrown in at the end.

Follow below the fold for details of my latest electrifying adventures.

(Get it? :D)

We have been focused on electrolysis exclusively the past six-plus months, mostly because what remains of my beard is, by and large, lighter hairs. (My beard was a mixture of brown, blonde, red, and, yes, white.) As my electrologist M put it while struggling with yet another recalcitrant follicle, "My Lord do you have strong hair, Cass!" lol

The past two weeks, however, we decided to do extensive laser work. The remaining darker hair exists in several areas on my face and neck, so M suggested we "tap" those areas repeatedly in an effort to eliminate as much of the stragglers as possible.

In both sessions I was scheduled for an hour - thankfully, in this case. I cannot say I enjoy electrolysis, but I certainly prefer it to laser. Anyone who has endured it can likely relate to the discomfort laser inflicts, both during and after the session. It is that unmistakable… er, aroma that makes it so uncomfortable. And it is worse when I return home and wash my face - only to endure it yet again. [shudder]

M knows I really do not like laser; accordingly, she went out of her way to comfort me as she did her work: patting my shoulder, squeezing my hand, and telling me she was proud of me for not flinching. Well, not much, anyway. :-p

At the end of the first session she told me she knew I was simply trying to get through it because I barely spoke for what turned out to be a two hour marathon (her next client failed to show). Usually we will chat the entire time. But this time we worked in silence. It wasn't until the very end, when we did a bit of electrolysis and she threaded my eyebrows, that she could see I was spent. And I was. I had a nasty headache for the next 24 hours. Ouch!

The results, however, after the first few days of discomfort and blotchiness, were impressive. So much so that when I went in this past Tuesday she asked if I was willing to have another session focused on laser.

I said sure, although I expressed surprise that she wanted to resume it again so soon. (She had told me at the end of the previous session that we would wait three or so weeks.) She told me that my face had responded very well, and that much of the remaining darker hairs were ready to come out.

And so we went through it all over again. Instead of triple tapping my entire face and neck, as she did the previous week, she double-tapped most areas, then focused her fire on a few particularly stubborn areas.

This time we did speak a bit, because for some reason it was less painful this time than the previous week. I told M about my father's struggles the past few weeks, thanks to bout with a particularly nasty strain of the flu that set off his already delicate stomach. He is feeling a bit better now, I am happy to report, but he was in considerable discomfort.

I told her that he actually asked my sister if she would take him to his doctor. He NEVER does that, so clearly he was experiencing a great deal of discomfort.

"I certainly have my differences with him," I said, "but he is one tough customer. And so is my brother F (who shares the same stomach problems as my father). They are pretty single-minded, and it takes a lot to slow them down."

"So it runs in the family, then," M replied.

When I looked puzzled, she laughed.

"They may be tough," she said, "but you've been here for nearly 90 minutes, getting laser treatments that are set at the top levels. And you never complain."

I joked that I never challenge someone who is currently electrocuting me, but she remained solemn.

"Give yourself credit, hon," she said. "All of you girls deserve a great deal of credit as far as I'm concerned. Very few people would willingly endure what you do, week in and week out. And I'm not just talking about electrolysis, painful as this is."

"You have to be so strong to go through this process, and all so you can get to a place that the vast majority of people take for granted - just being yourself."

I hadn't really thought of it that way, but it certainly helped ease the sting of the session a bit. I've gotten better at learning to recognize my good points, and not focus exclusively on less-impressive aspects of myself.

Nonetheless, this was a reminder of something my therapist, M, told me at a recent session. While it's important to push myself as much as I can, she noted, it's equally important to stop once in a while and acknowledge how far I've come.

As she pointed out, less than three years ago I had never spoken the word transsexual aloud, let alone admit to myself that I was one. And only eight months ago I had never gone out of the house as myself. Now I am full-time, as myself, and loving my life. And that is a place I never thought I would be. But I worked incredibly hard, held myself accountable… and here I am.

That is worth celebrating. Even if I have to wince as I wonder why I need to be electrocuted for four hours to remind me to do so. :D


I took the photo at the top of this post on Tuesday evening, after coming home from electrolysis and doing my best to bring down the swelling. I also wanted to show off M's work on my eyebrows; she is quite talented!


Pete Townshend was kind enough to provide the musical inspiration for this post's subject matter. Here's a song from his excellent 1985 album White City - A Novel. The following clip is from an accompanying film based on the album.

Incidentally, the young woman who sings with Pete is none other than his daughter, Emma, who was 16 at the time. :c)

Here's a great live version of "Give Blood," another track from the same album. 

Yes, that's David Gilmour of Pink Floyd playing the memorable guitar part that drives the song.

And finally, my favorite solo Pete Townshend song, "The Sea Refuses No River," from 1982's All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes:

The deeply personal lyrics reflect that it was written in the midst of his ultimately successful battle to overcome his heroin addiction in the early Eighties. The compassion he expresses - both towards others and, equally important, himself - no doubt explains why I have always found this song so moving. We can all find acceptance - the sea - if we are brave enough to believe are worthy.

I remember being richer than a king
When the minutes of the day were golden
I recall that when the joint passed 'round
My body felt a little colder

But now it's like a sewer channel
Running lime and skag
Let me get at the master panel
Let me at my stack

For the sea refuses no river
And right now this river's banks are blown
The sea refuses no river
Whether stinking and rank
Or red from the tank
Whether pure as a spring
There's no damn thing
Stops this poem

The sea refuses no river
Won't deny the sulfurous stream

The sea refuses no river
This river is homeward flowing

The sea refuses no river
The river is where I am
The river is where I am


Stace on March 22, 2014 at 6:23 AM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stace on March 22, 2014 at 6:26 AM said...

OK let's try this again!

I've never had electrolysis on my face, but when I have had it it's been much worse than laser for me.

Each ping of electrolysis has been much worse than a session of laser! Not to mention one time the ping was a little close to a nerve and I couldn't move the whole evening I was in that much pain!

But then, I have a very weak sense of smell, so I only get a faint wiff of that burning smell with laser :)

And, of course, beterschap for your dad!


Nadine Spirit on March 22, 2014 at 9:55 AM said...

Hey Cass-

So funny, my beard is also quite multi-colored. I have never had any laser or electrolysis, though I am considering doing just my neck. I hate my neck hair!

I have to totally agree with how tough you are.You are one tough chickie, and I am impressed.

Take care cutie!

Cassidy on March 23, 2014 at 10:06 PM said...

@ Nadine: I have it on *my* neck as well. :( Sigh. I feel your pain!

I had a VERY heavy beard. How heavy? I could grow a full beard in 10 days, believe it or not. And I would/did, all in an effort to convince myself I couldn't *really* be a girl. :-/

We've made a great deal of progress in the 18-20 months, and the last two sessions really helped. We still have a long way to go though. Oh well…

Oh, and thank you for the kind words, hon. :#) I don't know about tough, but I *will* admit to "determined," however. :D

@ Stace: First of all, hello hon! So nice to see your name here! Please thank little Kleitnje on my behalf for giving you an hour off! lol

Did you need anything done for your beard? Or were you one of those blessed souls with sparse facial hair? ;D

I know from reading your blog that your work, um, below the "Equator" could be a bit painful! lol I am *not* looking forward to that, I confess.

My father is feeling better, than you, but is still not 100%. Like me, he doesn't get sick very often, but when he does, he is REALLY sick. If we could have decent weather it might help. Naturally, they're predicting a potential "historic" blizzard here mid-week, which will be par for the course this awful winter. Hopefully Mother Nature takes pity on us this one time, if only for my Dad's sake!

Give Kleintje a hug from me, please!

== Cass

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