Friday, April 8, 2011

Emceeing for Charity, First Choreography Part 3 and Acknowledging the Obvious

It's hard to believe that one month from now I'll be on a plane to Thailand. This last week found me emceeing for a charity fundraiser, learning the final moves for my class choreography, attending a concert and acknowledging what's been in front of my face for many years with regards to my physiology.

Sunday evening, I had my debut as an emcee. We had worked out what I was supposed to say and when, and like all good plans, it devolved into utter chaos. I was supposed to introduce the speakers for the charities--the Crossroads Food Bank and the Homeless Youth Resource Center, then introduce the band, Circle of Fear. Then I would wait an hour, draw for thank you gifts, and thank everyone.

So much for the plan. The band introduced themselves and then me. I thanked everyone for coming, introduced our speakers and then turned it over to the band, and began a running joke about multiple orgasms. I figured I now had til 8:15 to just settle in and enjoy the band--until I was called to the stage and handed the drawing tickets and gift basket. I called out three numbers before we had our first winner. Deborah was holding the ticket I was given for our donations and quickly learned it was the first winner--a 20 dollar gift card to The Red Iguana. I called out two more winners before I was told that was enough and the band would start again.

And so it went, every 15 minutes the band would call me to the stage so I could announce three winners while they took a break. Meanwhile, I danced while the band played, and was surprised that Deborah had bid seriously on and won tickets and a hotel stay at the Redrock Women's Music Festival, with my promise that I would drive us there if she won.

In the end, I had experienced a total blast. I'll have to come up with more filler material next time.

Tuesday evening was back to my belly dancing class, and the third set of instruction for the material for our choreography. I discovered I was doing the Egyptian wrong, and with lots of practice since have got the foot work correct again. Kelsey added the last two movements to the choreography: shimmies layered with low undulating snake arms and 3/4 shimmy travels. The forward steps aren't that bad; but the backward steps are taking a lot of work to try to get it right--and so I practice the whole routine over and over every day this week that I can.

After class, Kelsey and I headed out separately to the club where Beats Antique played. She arrived with her friend and I eventually headed out to the crowd on the floor, where the drum beats rolled in the haze to a techno-Egyptian beat and three belly dancers performed tribal fusion style techniques, part showgirl, part cabaret. I was awed. I want to be at least half as good as those girls.

The band started about 10 PM. By midnight, my back was telling me that I had done enough gyrations, and as I headed off the floor, a young blonde, bearded gentleman looked at me and said, "You were fantastic in the Vagina Monologues." Shocked to hear I still had a fan, and that he recognized me in the crowd, instead of asking him which show he saw or if he was going to watch them again next year, I just demurely smiled and said, "Thank you." I was tired after all and desperately needing a good lower back stretch.

And so I went home. This week, I finished reading The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, and near the end I saw a range of numbers. They were the normal testosterone range for men (300-1000), and together with the normal testosterone range for women (max 70), I realized that mine wasn't normal after all, coming in less than 3 times the maximum for a woman and 2/3 the minimum for a man. When I Googled for testosterone ranges, I found something familiar turn up: hypogonatropic hypogonadism--the failure of testes to develop. I remembered being diagnosed by a doctor in Texas four years ago with a simple HGH written on my chart after I told him that Niaspan was causing sensitivity issues in my nipple and he discovered that my left testicle was smaller than the other. He ordered a testosterone level check.

Face-to-face with the obvious, my discoveries weren't done yet. HGH led me to Kallman's syndrome and soon I found a drawing of a patent processus vaginalis. In the patent processus vaginalis, the path that the testicle descends does not seal off. A tunnel is left, leaving the tissue larger in diameter, as seen in my CT scan. In fact, in 90-95% of cryptorchidism cases, especially in ascending or retractile testes, like mine, the individual also has a patent processus vaginalis.

But the most obvious thing I overlooked is the relationship between the nerve bundle in my processus vaginalis and the lack of nerves in the glans of my penis. At 12 and older, I had complained to my mother that I had very little to no sensation where boys were supposed to be the most erogenous. I blamed it on the surgery I had when I was 9 to correct my bladder. I found it incredibly easier to sense a vagina. I could picture it, and I could feel it.

That last piece is the clue to my gender identity problems. While HGH and cryptorchidism do not in themselves shift a boy's gender identity to the feminine, the lack of enough testosterone (due to the HGH) to burn away the female circuits in my mind, the tendency of a gonad to move toward ovary position and the sensation of the nerves where a woman finds her left labia were enough to overwhelm my mind with a desperation to escape the male world.

So it wasn't simply in my head. It's always been real.

Hugs and God Bless,
Sophie Jean

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