The Voices Outside my Head

Two weeks ago I started something that’s kinda neat! I have been seeing a Speech Pathologist to help me learn how to train my voice to sound more feminine. I had to hit a long cycle of referrals from the insurance company, but I got approved at every stage along the way, so my health insurance is paying for it. Neat!

This is one area where I’m really benefitting from living in San Francisco. My doctor did a little bit of research and ended up sending me to a really highly recommended doc. The ladies in the front office were like “just to warn you, he’s really weird, but he’s usually able to get great results,” and I was like “it’s okay, I’m weird too.” 🙂

I’ve been three times. The first session started out with him recording me say something like “Hi! My name is Bunny. Today is July 1st. I live in San Francisco. I am working on my voice.” We keep repeating this before and after each session so we can compare how things are progressing.

He uses a computer very heavily, which I think is really neat. He’s got an application on it that does real-time analysis of the data coming in off the microphone. Most of the time it’s on a screen where it shows one chart with two plots on the X-axis… one showing pitch and the other showing volume. He also uses this computer to make notes and record things so we can play them back later.

The first session was mostly my auditioning for him to see if I’m trainable or not and worth him taking on as a patient. I think I passed with flying colors, he was very happy to have me come back. He had me do a range test (I can do 2.5 octaves without straining), and made sure I understood that results are not promised and sometimes it just doesn’t work. I said I understand.

The second session was about establishing a baseline for my pitch. He had me do a series of noises (mostly weird grunts) while recording it on the computer. Then he was able to look at the data at determine that I have a natural harmonic in my voice around 250Hz, so we decided to use that as the baseline. 250Hz is pretty high – most female voices are closer to 200Hz and 250Hz is nearing the child range – but I can do it quite easily. At the end of the session he had me repeat the “My name is Bunny” thing and we were both O.O at how good it sounded. Yay!

The session this week (third session) we are starting to get into tone quality and color. Just simply raising my pitch only makes me sound like a male speaking in a falsetto, and that’s not at all what I want. This is where the real work is. I’ll be working at this part for a long time to come… years I bet.

This weekend I have been playing with some software he recommended. I’m recording things, experimenting with resonation, and playing them back. It’s a harsh reality for me just how poor my voice sounds right now, but at least I know it’s an issue and I have the tools to change it. I also grabbed an tone generator app for my phone and I have it make a 250Hz tone, which I play into my ear and humm along with to center my pitch back up to 250Hz. That helps as well as I can do that anywhere – even at work before getting on a call with a coworker.

The good news for me, at least, is that I know my voice can do it! That makes working at it worthwhile because I know the goal is obtainable. Yeah, it’s gonna be a lotta work, but hopefully there will be a good payout at the end.

Oh, remember when I said I got called Sir at McD’s? After my last session I went back there, at night, and did the best I can to order at the drive-thru. I used all of the things I had just learned at my lesson and said “I would like one ice cream cone, please.” and the person on the other end said “Is that all, Ma’am?” 🙂 🙂 That was the first time I’d ever passed on voice alone. 🙂

I can’t keep that up for more than a few sentences right now… but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!! 🙂


The last two weeks I’ve been dealing with something I figured would be coming eventually, just not so quickly.

I’ve had a bit of an admirer I’ve had to deal with on Second Life. (I’d say “stalker” if he was doing the things he was doing in Real Life.) He’s been “staying up all night to see me” (he lives in Germany), and then when I finally do show up been constantly demanding hugs and other sorts of attention.

I figured he was just pretty young and I might be one of the few girls that was ever nice to him. The problem is, I’m not just being nice to him, I’m nice to everyone. I have zero feelings for this person… and after the way he’s been acting, I have less than zero feelings for him… to the point that I’d been avoiding Rocket City because I didn’t wanna deal with him, and that’s not right. I own the place, I should feel comfortable there!

So last night I had a talk with a mutual male friend and he was like “I was wondering if he was bothering you” and I was like “OMG YES.” My friend asked if it was okay for him to have a “man-to-man talk” with the guy and give him the “that’s not how you treat a lady” speech. I said please do. I also let him know that I’ve hit the point where if he keeps it up much longer he’s going to find himself on the other side of a banline.

It was kinda surreal to me, because I’ve given that talk to other people before. Now instead of giving it (and thankfully I never received it), I was the subject of it. I’ve been telling myself “well Bun, you wanted to be a girl. Welcome to womanhood.”

Once again this has reminded me why it’s so important I keep where I work so close to my chest. I work for a fairly small company – less than 200 people – and we only have one office in the Bay Area. (And others around the country, but the headquarters and biggest office is here.) It would be very simple for someone to look up the address of our office and show up at the door with a “surprise” for me or something. (We keep the front doors locked at all times just for this reason. Please don’t fear for my safety at work.)

Hopefully it’ll all work out. Well, it’ll work out fine for me… happiness is a ban and mute away if I need to.

July 7, 2014

I got called “Sir” yesterday. This is meaningful to me because I actually noticed it.

I was trying to remember the last time that happened (other than talking on the phone, which is a huge issue still), and I can’t remember the last time it happened. It hasn’t happened since that one time yesterday, eithers.

I noticed it yesterday because it never happens anymore. Yay. 🙂

Production Environments

So, what I wrote last night got me thinking.

When did things start to go wrong at my last job? When it was implied that I shouldn’t be touching the production environment. I wasn’t told directly not to do it, but it was hinted at very strongly. And I know that the folks that WERE suppose to be doing it got in trouble for asking for my help. :\

NI had a weird priority inversion where operations was something you got promoted OUT of, rather than INTO. I started out in ops, as everyone does there, but then got promoted out of it. I was “rewarded” with getting to work on project work rather than work in ops. I kept working operations kind of stuff, because that’s what I liked, anyhow… and that got other people upset. So I backed off. Way off. And then I got unhappy with my job.

That never really clicked till just now.

I think part of the problem is that my team was several times larger than it needed to be. When I left there were 11 people on it, and our environment was about 1/100th the size of the one I work on now. (And we have less people.) We needed work for the younger admins to do. By me jumping in there and doing it, I was taking learning experiences away from the green admins. Or something. I’m not really sure. I like teaching and would have taught if asked…?


The things I learn by just explaining! 🙂

Things are Pretty Okay!

Looking back at my most recent series of posts I was little embarrassed at how I only seem to write about bad stuffs! I guess that’s correct, most of the time, because lately I’ve been using writing to work out emotions.

But it kinds gives a bad impression of me! I am not an unhappy person at all! In fact, things are actually going pretty well. 🙂

I am very quickly settling into my new life here on the West Coast. My budget is finally starting to recover. I’m not there yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, at least. It’s still going to be tight for the next 12-18 months or so, but after that, things should start getting better. I’m very happy about this.

Transition stuffs are going very well. I’m still not up to the full dose of HRT yet (my doctor starts you off slow and works you into it, to make it as easy on you as possible), but I think we’re getting close. Every four weeks I go into the office and she takes some blood work to see how I’m doing. My meds are adjusted based on the results of that blood work. It’s a lot more scientific than I thought it’d be, and that’s pretty cool. (And quite comforting! Yaaaaay for data driven decision making!) Even more of a surprise is that she does NOT monitor hormone levels directly – she uses my Prolactin levels instead. As of three weeks ago I had finally left the male range, but I’m still a ways away from the normal female range for a non-nursing female of my age. This stuff takes years, after all. 🙂

Today I wore a dress outside of my apartment for the first time in my life. I figured I’d just test the waters and try it when I went to make my breakfast run (there’s a bagel shop I go to so much they greet me by name when I walk in). I figured it was a really safe place to experiment with. Well, that went so well that I didn’t change clothes the rest of the day. It’s an amazing feeling to me! Both in how people react to me (I’m no different than any other lady in the place), and that I’m so comfortable with myself at this point. At lunch I accidentally spilled my drink and the manager at Taco Bell was all like “Oh, it’s okay Miss, we’ll clean it up! Here, let me get you a new drink!” It was a nice feeling!

Last Friday I wrote a skirt to work, again for the first time, and it also was a total non-issue. I even went on the Muni train to see my therapist and took the ferry to and from downtown San Francisco… looks like the thing that was holding me back was me… which is kinda normal for me, I think.

The emotional side of this is very different than I figured it would be. Both in the timeline and how strong it is. I’m already becoming a very different person. Here’s an example… last week I went to see a foot doctor about a constant pain I’ve had in my right foot for many years. (It was never a problem, really, until I moved here and started walking a lot.) I showed him the back of my shoes and how it’s all torn up inside and he was kinda shocked. After that he looked at my feet and quickly determined that I have Achilles Tendon Bursitis on my right foot. He mumbled something about “need to get a drop of steroid in there” and told me to flip over on my belly, which I did.

He then injected my foot with a cortisone shot. OMG did that hurt. Like, really, really, really hurt. I was hurting so bad that I just started crying right there in the office. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of “I need to cuddle something,” but I didn’t have a plushie with me, so I just cuddled with my purse. (It was the only thing I had with me. I didn’t know this was coming, or else I would have brought a friend with me.) The doctor could see I was hurting (duh), and was like “It’s okay sweetie. Take as much time as you need to recover. When you’re ready, get your shoes back on, and let me see you walk around the office a bit so I know you’re okay.” So I sat there in the doctor’s office, cuddling a purse and crying for a few minutes. It wouldn’t have gone down that way before… I would have just walked it off. Nor do I think it would have hurt so much, testosterone is good at covering up things like that.

I am _totally_ not complaining here! I like the new me! Very very much so. It’s just very different than before, and I know I’m roughly three months into a 24 to 36 month thing… so there’s still a lot more to come.

My new job is going great, too. We just wrapped up a really big project that’s pretty much been my whole world at this company. (It kicked off right as I was getting there.) I’m excited to see what comes next, as there’s a lot of things coming in the future, and all of it is going to need support from Ops in some way.

I talked with my team lead for a few minutes this morning. I said that when I knew how big of a project this was going to be (a few months into my employment), I decided to step back and focus on the things I’m good at, and then pick up other holes in my knowledge later. My goal was to take the day-to-day heat off the rest of the team so they could work on the project work. He then told me something that, to me at least, is a really big compliment. He said that one of the things they saw in me during the interview process is that I’m a really good Production Engineer. They knew they’d be able to drop me into the Production environment and thrive right away, which I have done. The holes in my knowledge are over project work – things that happen before something gets to production – but the actual part of running services in production is my thing.

I’d never really thought about it like that, but yeah, that’s exactly right. I do thrive in a production environment. I understand very well that my customers are the company’s customers, and that we want them to give us money… and they do so with the machines I’m running. I kinda find some project work to be really boring, while other people thrive in it. (And other people hate the pressure of working on the front lines!)

Needless to say, I know without a shadow of a doubt I’m in the right job and that I love what I do. It’s a small company, so who knows how long things are gonna last, but for right now, while the band is together, I’m really enjoying it. I’m doing my best to savor it while it lasts, because it may not last for forever!

I could go on and on here. 🙂

Lots of things are going very well. I’m sorry that the last few months of posts were completely negative… it’s not actually like that! I guess things are so good that when bad things come along they seem reeeealllllly bad and I turn to writing to work out my emotions.

Lop lop lop! 🙂 ❤