Dressing for the FTM body

Finding clothes to fit a 5″3 trans man is no easy task, epecially in pre-top surgery days. Trying to find clothing that hides chest and curvy hips can seem like an impossible task. I know I’m not the only trans guy out there who struggles with this.

Things to consider when trying on clothes:

1.) Baggy clothing is not the answer: Wearing extra baggy clothing to hide certain areas of your body is not the best way to do it. With my body type, I find it just makes me look shorter and wider, and like I have something to hide. Find jeans that are a slim to slim-straight cut. They will elongate your legs and give the appearance of a cleaner straighter cut. Just avoid jeans that fit tight only around the hip and ass area, this may highlight the curvier area that you want cover up.

2.) Joggers are your friend: Us short homies struggle with length. Hemming isn’t always a viable option as it can widen the taper of the leg. A shorter jogger pant can help with the length issue while giving a trendier cut and style. Just ensure they don’t fit too baggy in the ass or scrunch too much at the bottom of the leg. Goes great with sneakers, toms, or can dress them up with a nice dress shirt and dress shoe. Keep it a slim jogger to avoid a baggy fit.

3.) Logos: Be wary of logos. Logos can give off a prepubescent look, especially in early stages of transition when we really don’t need to look younger than we do. Opt for your basics. Standard tees and long sleeves go great with all pant options. That goes for hats as well. Save the wild logos and colours for the beach and festivals. Pictured above is me at a festival paring a louder shirt with basic black joggers and a black hat to tone it down. When it comes to the fit of a shirt, go for a tighter fit in the shoulders and arms and looser in the body. It will give the appearance of broader shoudlers and a straighter mid body.

My favourite places to shop for my body type:

*Top Man
*H&M

 

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwhich

Pulled pork

For vegans and non-vegans this sandwhich is some bomb shit. I use two cans of jackfruit to serve 4 people or have enough for leftovers to add to bowls, tofu scrambles, pizza and more. I make a vegan coleslaw as well to take the sandwhich to another level.

For the jackfruit:

  • 2 cans of plain jackfruit

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspooncayenne
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Directions

  1. BBQ Sauce: Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium-low. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add tomato puree, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, molasses, sea salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk until well combined. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Drain and rinse jackfruit if using canned. Place jackfruit on a cutting board and cut out the core. Using your fingers or two forks, shred the jackfruit into a bowl.
  4. Add barbecue sauce to the bowl of jackfruit and stir. Stir until jackfruit is completely coated. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon safflower oil. Add jackfruit and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve BBQ jackfruit pulled pork on a bun with desired toppings. Enjoy!

Photo and Recipe from: https://www.organicauthority.com/organic-food-recipes/how-to-make-the-ultimate-bbq-jackfruit-pulled-pork

Top Surgery

February 1st 2016: Double Mastectomy with Free Nipple Graft
Location: Victoria, BC
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: Dr. Chris Taylor

On February 1st, 2016 I travelled to Victoria, BC to get the surgery I’ve been waiting my whole life to get. I was put on the waitlist for about 2.5 years, as there were only two surgeons in BC at the time (Vancouver and Victoria) who were trained to do the type of surgery I needed. The waitlist was long as you can imagine.

Surgery: I live in Canada, so luckily with our health care system, the surgery was covered (unless you dont want to wait). It took place in a plastic surgery office which was much more comforting than a hospital setting.  The surgery took about 2 hours to complete and I was in the recovery room for 2 hours before going home that evening.

Post Surgery: I remeber waking up was very painful and confusing. Out of sorts and in a lot of pain until the recovery nurse gave me something to ease the pain.
Weeks 1-2: The most uncomfortable phase. The drains in my sides to drain any buildup of fluid were the worst part. They sat uncomfortably and pulled from the inside due to the compression binder I had to wear for the first month. Not much movement for simple tasks. Luckily I could go for daily walks, which helped with the pain. I was even walking to a coffee shop with my Dad the next day. I was advised not to shower until the graft dressings had been removed from the surgeon/nurse.

Weeks 2-4: Finally showered, but couldn’t lift my arms above head for about the first month. Range of motion was limited. Getting dressed was easier. My drains were taken out by the nurse during this time frame. It was painful and uncomfortable for me as scar tissue had formed around the drain sites, but the pain was over quickly.

Weeks 4-6: I was staying the month in Victoria to recover and was set to fly home to Kelowna February 27th. Healing was going well and my incisions were healing nicely. My range of motion was improving, but I still couldn’t lift much. At this point when you are feeling better, you have to remember to continue to take it easy. You are still healing quite a lot. It’ll take a while to get back to your old self. But remember it’s temporary.

After 6 weeks: Most research you do will tell you that you can go back to the gym right away, but take it easy. Listen to your body. Depending on the type of surgery you got, in my case I had large scarring to work around,  I didn’t want to risk stretching them too much in their crucial healing phase. Stick to cardio and legs. You have your whole life to gym. You have one shot at healing successfully, or risk having to get a revision, which in some cases it is unavoidable depending if your body takes the skin graft. Rest, Recover.

Recovery Tips:
*Plan to wear loose fitting clothing, preferably only shirts that button up in the front as range of motion is limited.
*Plan to have someone take care of you, not just for the first day. Every task is challenging, even sleeping at the beginning and sorting your pillows out. You wont be able to lift anything heavy or even cook much as you won’t be able to reach anything. Think of having T-Rex arms.
*Scarring: Products I’ve used for my scars: Vitamin E oil, Jojoba Oil, Scar Away Strips and Doc Spartan Scar Cream (online)
*Most importantly: Be patient. Give your body time to heal. You have one chance to heal. That’s it. I am an avid gym goer, and not being able to go for months was hard both mentally and physically. What got me through was appreciating how far I’ve come and how well my body was healing because I was allowing it the time to heal.

 

Why Veganism?

Why be vegan in a world consumed by animal products:

I take a lot of shit for being vegan, but meat eater or not, you can’t deny the level of compassion a vegan homie has in their heart. I’ve been vegan for about a year and a half now. It’s been the best decision I’ve made in terms of what I choose to put in my body, thus far. I started as a vegetarian then slowly transitioned into full veganism. I was rasied on animal products, coming from a Greek family. A meat-a-tarian you could say. After watching many documentaries and doing research, I decided that my taste buds no longer trumped my morals.

Every being on this earth feels pain. Every being experiences fear. If I can do anything, something as small as not contributing to the suffereing these beings face by not consuming animal products, then I am doing my part. Any amount of hate I receive, getting made fun of, asking where I get my protein from, all means nothing in the grand shceme of things. People are scared of change. People are scared of the truth. The truth of where their food comes from. I’m not here to criticize you on your food choices, I’m not here to preach or judge,  I’m here to share my story, to share my experience, and maybe even spread a little love and compassion for the voiceless. At the end of the day you gotta do what’s right for you and your set of beliefs; this is what’s right for me.

Vegan for the animals. Vegan for the planet.  Vegan for my health.

 

Fear 1.1

washroom

1.1 Public Restrooms

Being transgender comes with a whole new set of fears that someone who is cisgendered* would never even think twice about. Dysphoria* and anxiety lie strong with these fears.

This is one of the most awkward areas to navigate. Espeically in the early stages of transitioning when you’re not quite “passing” as the gender you align with. In my experience, the first couple years of using public washrooms were a nightmare. I feared for my safety, as the looks I received were that of disgust if I used the women’s bathroom, or looks of confusion if I used the men’s. People have told me I am in the wrong washroom or asked what I was doing in here. There were no gender neutral options when I first started transitioning, so I had no choice. I still get anxious to this day when I need to use a public restroom, but at least the most guys will ever think now is, man this guy shits a lot.

I rarely go out to a nightclub in Kelowna, as the restroom situations are the worst part of the night. I find myself awkardly waiting for the only stall while lines of guys pass through the urinal. I’ve been hassled by security watching me closely as if I am waiting to do drugs; which I am not. And if there is no stall, or one without a door, which I have encountered, I am out of luck. Men have approached me looking for a fight, or looking at me sexually in a way I was not into. Just a few of the negative aspects many trans men face on the daily, all just to use the bathroom they feel comfortable with.

Tips for washroom use for transmen:

Bring an ally with you in there, a close friend or family member to watch your back and ease any tension that may be present. When solo, watch the door to see the foot traffic. When your opportunity hits and not many people are in the bathroom, now’s your time. May seem annoying to keep watch, but could save you the hassle. If security is giving you hassle, bring up your situation to them if you feel safe doing so, and if not, make a complaint to the bar on your way out to bring aware for others in your situation.

At the end of the day, everyone knows which washroom they are supposed to be in; they don’t need you to tell them where to be.

Photo: http://time.com/3653871/womens-bathroom-lines-sexist-potty-parity/

*Cisgendered: The sex and gender you were assigned to at birth is the one you identify with.
*Dysphoria: The distress a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth.

I am Human

IMG_2483

Being transgender is no walk in the park. I have my hardships, I struggle with depression and anxiety on the daily. I’ve spent a lifetime wishing I was born in a different body than my own. But I am grateful to see and feel things most human beings don’t get the opportunity to feel. To feel loved for being my true self. How many people can be their true authentic self, putting themselves out there as their true identity. To all my trans brothers and Sisters, I’m so proud of how far you’ve come and who you are becoming. To all my homies who received hate instead of acceptance and love from people they called family; you are loved. Know you are loved. Family is not blood, it is the love from your community and those you choose and who choose you. Remember that.

Cookie Dough Bites

oh she glows

150 G   Gluten-free rolled oats
2 tbsp  Cocon
ut oil
2 tbsp  Smooth peanut butter
60ml    Pure Maple Syrup or other sweetener
1 tsp    Pure Vanilla extract
60g      Almond flour
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
2 tbsp  Enjoy Life brand choc. chips

In a high-speed blender, blend the oats until a fine flour forms. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the almond flour, oat flour, and salt and beat again until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into small balls (about 1 tablespoon of dough each). Place the finished bites on a plate lined with parchment paper. Freeze the bites for 5 to 10 minutes, or until firm. Store the bites in the freezer in a freezer bag for quick and easy snacks.

Prep time: 15 minutes. Chill time: 10 minutes.

photo: https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/recipes/peanut-butter-cookie-dough-bites

Recipe Inspo: Oh She Glows

Facing my Fears

IMG_1468

I’m scared to live my life in Kelowna. Victoria is my safety net. The place I want to flee to, where my heart lies, because that’s where I discovered my true self and did everything I could to become that. I’ve come so far. It’s scary to rise up to the challenge of going back to the town you grew up in as a gender different from the one you were once known as. Yeah it’s scary, but it would not be worth it if it wasn’t scary. It’s some real ass shit you’re dealing with. Stop apologizing for who you are! Own your shit, chase your dreams. Because no one ever got to discover their true self without going through hell to get there.