My Father

Nov 22, 1948 – Mar 5, 2021

He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.

– Henry Ward Beecher
November 12, 2005

Robert Croft Platt, Jr. was born on November 22, 1948 in Buffalo, NY to Ann and Robert Platt. By 1962 he had 3 brothers and a sister.

Why does November 22 sound familiar? On dad’s 15th birthday then president John F. Kennedy was shot. I imagine his birthday party was a somber affair.

In his early school years it was clear that he was an exceptional child. In high school he joined the polo team.

That was where he met Diane. He and Diane dated for a time. On Diane’s twin sister was more interested and the agreed to switch. It quickly clear he and Denise were a match.

On October 10, 1969 Bob and Denise Platt were married.

February, 2021

My earliest memories date back to 1974, living in the forest, miles from the tiny town of Susanville, CA. My father had recently come into a nice inheritance from his grandparents. He and some friends built an A frame cabin where we lived for the next year and a half.

I remember our only electronic entertainment was a car radio hooked up to a car battery and a solitary speaker. We would listen to it at night. There was a radio program – I can’t remember what it’s called.

I remember walking in the forest and peeing off the back balcony at night.
One day we drove over to a fallen tree to collect wood. Dad used a chainsaw to cut it up. Mostly I remember them giving Jeff and I a bottle of beer. That was so neat! (They were only 4 oz.)

He’s my hero and my idol.
Father and husband
Ph.D in particle physics

He was a man of great wit and sagacity.

I haven’t touched him, held him, hugged him in so many years. Now I’ll never have that opportunity.

The morning of Mar 4 I was able to Face Time with him while I stood outside the hospital. At 1:30am the next morning he suffered a massive heart attack. They were able to revive him but his heart was damaged and failing rapidly. The hospital was given permission to remove him from life support. He died 3 hours later.

Lord, please accept his soul into heaven. His wife is faithful and his heart was good.

I miss you, Daddy.

November 12, 2005
November 12, 2005

(Squeal) Happy Day!

My first meeting as Rachael was this morning.

When called upon, John said, “Rachael, do you have anything?”

YES!

Is “glowing” a reasonable self-description?

How about glee mixed with excitement mixed with “WAHOO!!”

Wow. Who thunk validation could mean so much to a person?

Death by 100,000 cuts

Living with Gender Dysphoria is a slow and painful death.

It is pain because mind and body are constantly at war.

Again and again we are cut by unwanted thoughts that break into our consciousness.

  • Unfulfilled need to be a whole person
  • Regret for every mistake and inaction
  • Envy of others – “why can’t I be like him/her?”
  • Plus a thousand negative emotions

We end up trapped, spiraling ever deeper into depression and hopelessness. This continues until we subdue it and force it to the back of our minds. The more cuts we have the longer that process takes.

For years it consumes more and more of our thoughts. Eventually our strength gives out and we can do nothing to push it away. And it continues cutting, relentlessly cutting us deeper and deeper while we scream in pain. This can last for MONTHS. 24-7. In this state we can never hold a train of thought for more than 10-15 minutes. We can’t even pray for very long without being distracted.

Then something goes _pop._ The mountain of emotions we’ve been pushing away for years rolls over us, crushing the mind into a point of white hot pain. Eventually the mind shatters. I pray you never know such terror as feeling yourself going insane.

We hide who we are. We hide the screaming pain, the insanity, the emptiness and isolation. We hide because everyone is taught that it is shameful to “want” to be the opposite sex. Many taunts and insults involve comparisons to the opposite sex. That means we are living insults. What wants that anchor tied to them?

Meltdown

Wednesday (10/28) was bad. Very bad.

Louis bird squawked and screamed and made loud noises over and over and over and over and over and over and… you get the idea.

I lost it. I knocked over his cage, lifted it up and screamed at him for a few minutes. What a release! Then I cried on Becca. That was a better release.

Perhaps a bit of stress?

With dad having cancer that’s possibly spread…

With my own need for injections I cannot give myself…

With work moving so slowly in a contracting economy, I worry about job security…

With Becca’s pain leaving her unable to stand for more than a minute…

With the nightly chore of cooking and alternating nights cleaning up…

With bills to be paid…

With a need to save $$$ for a home down payment…

With an upstairs neighbor that blares music for our neighbors 100 yards away to hear clearly…

With an inability get to sleep before 2:00am and sleep more than 6 hours a night…

With a car that has a sticking U-join in the front-right axle… (new axle… joy.)

With laundry piling up… okay, that’s not a chore I handle much. Becca injures herself repeatedly to keep us in clean clothing. (Thank you, love!)

And having lived in this apartment for 2 years now when we need a house…

It’s possible, just possible, I have a bit too much stress.

Oh, let’s not forget I’m transitioning at work… Jeff (HR) was supposed to speak with Reza (my boss) on Monday. I don’t think that happened – Reza was largely unavailable. Once that’s done I’ll be Rachael at work.

And I spoke to my therapist about a legal name change…

These steps are absolutely necessary yet each step terrifies me. What if it all goes wrong? What if I go down this path only to discover I’m no better off?

And what more can my family do? They console me and do their best to help relieve stress. They help as much as they can. Yeah, James could do a little more, but I hesitate to push him too much. He may look 16 but he’s still only 12 years old.

And there are bright spots in my life.

My boobs are the largest they’ve ever been – nearly filling a B-cup!

Becca is losing weight more rapidly meaning her surgery will be sooner than later.

I’m seriously considering FFS… it’s unbelievably scary yet intensely desirable, even necessary.

And then SRS will happen some time in the future. How nice it’ll be to sit and not have to move any part of me to pee; to have my underwear fit me correctly; to wear a bathing suit and not have to worry about showing a bulge. Having a female body feels correct and every step I’ve made has helped. At last I can be a whole person. At last I can be Rachael all the time.

But every change I make comes at a price, both to my pocket book and to my family. It’s to much too fast… and yet not enough moving far too slowly.

🌈Good and bad…

I can definitely say my breasts are growing.

43.5″ across the armpits, 47″ across my breasts, 43.5″ below. According to charts I should be a C-cup. In reality I don’t quite fill a C-cup. But it’s hard to find a 44-B or even 42-B for under $30 – and I don’t really want to spend more than $15. At some point I’ll have to try ordering a better bra.

Still, it’s not enough. My breasts are still far too small. (Yeah, I know I’m only a few months into real development.) Seeing women walking around still feels like a slap to my ugly face.

I want to change it all. New name, new hair style, new face, new tummy, new nether regions. Oh, and finish my electrolysis.

But I have to consider Becca and James. Changing my name legally isn’t a huge change. Electrolysis would help. But FFS is another story. Until Becca has her operation I’m the only person able to cook so I can’t be down for a week or more. When it happens and I’m healed how will Becca respond? Hopefully my face will be very feminine but will she want to kiss me like she does now? I fear a loss of intimacy.

Oddly enough, SRS will probably have the smallest effects on those around me. It’s a part of my body nobody sees. I’m certainly not fond of it.

It’s distracting me all the time. I don’t know what to do.

Rachael 💋

Dumping Ground

“I am… Successful, Beautifully Created, Smart, Capable, and Focused”
– sign above my computer.

2020 is the year from hell… and the year I started my dream job… and the year I come out at work and don’t get fired. (Well, I’ll know more tomorrow.)

Dad has bladder cancer. Daddy? Why am I not shaken-up? Maybe I’ve pushed it down and it’s coming out in other ways. Or maybe I figure I have 10 more years before he really kicks the bucket. There’s no reason to feel his loss now.

Tom (Becca’s favorite cousin) died the day after we heard dad’s biopsy results. This hit her hard. She’s still reeling from the news.

Elevated hormones are driving my emotions up and down like crazy. I’m deeply depressed in the morning and feeling alright by mid-afternoon… most days.

My gender dysphoria is reaching a full boil. Thankfully it’s helped by my breast growth (come on, girls!) but it seems like I’ll die looking like I do today, neither a man nor a woman. Forever a freak show.

I still see myself as a man. There’s the real problem. This fat, barrel-chested boy just isn’t girly enough. That’s 1 reason I’m coming out at work. I need to be taking more steps to be Rachael all the time. But I have to wait for Becca to have her hip surgery before having any of my own. When I’m laid-up after surgery she needs to be able to make meals.

To top it off, I spent nearly every possible moment working on API test software this weekend. I couldn’t even get it to compile! I stayed up all night last night trying everything and then some to no avail.

Unsurprisingly I had a presentation today (9/28) that was a massive disaster in front of 2 company directors. Ouch!

I do so wish I grew up a girl in a girl’s body. Yeah, menstruation is literally a pain and pregnancy can be a challenge. Still, to be a mommy… I’d give almost anything to have that. I’d probably be a school teacher, too. I’m good with teaching and good with children. That’s a vastly different life with vastly different problems.

How much more can go wrong you ask?

Let’s not tempt fate.

Transition To-Do

My list of things to do to complete my transition and live every moment of every day as Rachael:

  1. Start hormones
  2. Speech Therapy
    1. Prismatic
  3. Name change at work
  4. Legal name change: Rachael Denise Platt
    1. Analog HR
    2. B of A – account, credit
    3. Wells Fargo – account
    4. Medical records
    5. Fidelity – HSA, 401K
  5. Facial feminization surgery
    1. 2020??
    2. Time off work
    3. $$$
  6. Breast enlargement
    1. 2021
    2. $$
  7. Sex reassignment surgery – later (if at all)
    1. Would be nice to sit and not have to worry I’m going to spray the floor.
    2. Oh to have my panties fit properly.
    3. $$$$

Another option to consider is body sculpting: removing fat from my belly and injecting it into my hips and buttocks.  Maybe… I’m not convinced the fat won’t redistribute itself, leaving me looking lumpy.

Or hip / buttocks inserts similar to breast enlargement.

Life With Gender Dysphoria

What is Gender Dysphoria?

Gender dysphoria is caused by a simple and (nearly) inescapable conflict.  It’s knowing your body and your mind don’t match. This conflict is ever present, like a spike in the mind. Over and over the conflict forces itself into conscious thought, unbidden and unwanted. This creates a downward spiral of thoughts and emotions that is impossible to prevent and difficult to stop.

This intrusion into conscious thought occurs dozens of times a day initially, increasing in frequency as the months and years pass. After roughly 6 years of this, the conflict forces itself into conscious awareness upwards of 400 times a day.  Can you image that?  The next 2 years are spent in a daze, nearly every waking moment stuck in a spiral of hellish emotions and thoughts. Simple work is difficult at best.  15 minutes of focus is heaven.

How do we cope?

With effort over several minutes the conflict is pushed to the back of the mind and temporarily forgotten.  When that fails, the conflict is appeased by seeing the success of others – real or imaginary.  Fulfilling the conflict can take hours.  Eventually the cycle of thoughts are purged from consciousness until the tiniest reminder brings it crashing back.

Why is it so bad?

The cycle of thoughts that spiral inward and plague the mind drag it ever deeper into hell.  Depression spikes.  Attitudes rapidly degrade, hurting loved ones.

Something inside breaks and all but the body is crushed by the mountain of thoughts and emotions that have been pushed to the back of the mind for years.  The terror and pain are indescribable.  A part of the mind is violently ripped away and dies.

Then the mountain passes and everything resets. The cycle returns to a few dozen “attacks” per day.

Only now the mind is less than it was.  Worse yet, each 8-year cycle is more intense and does more damage, leading deeper into hell, taking ever more from the mind.

Transition Helps?

Transitioning aligns the appearance of the body to the shape expected by the mind.  This stops the conflict and ends the dysphoria.  DNA IS NOT INVOLVED.

The mind is FREE.  The heart feels more deeply.  Love actually has meaning.  The soul rejoiced.  At long last, real PEACE and JOY exist for more than a fleeting moment.

No more pretending.  No more acting.  I am able to be ME, authentic, real, unpracticed…

Personally

I endured this 8-year cycle 4 times, each worse than the previous.  The last occurred when I was 46.  (I managed to hold it in for 11 years – a record!)  For the last 2 months before the fall I could hear and feel my soul screaming as it was ripped apart, caught between body and mind, the distance too great to bridge.  Every minute of every day my mind was filled with screams and waves of pain. 

When I broke I was so amazingly overwhelmed that I collapsed, feeling my consciousness shatter, liquefy and leak out my ear into a puddle on the floor.  I lost consciousness for 40 minutes.  You cannot imagine the terror that swept through every cell in my body as I touched insanity.  I was dead, gone, beyond reach but God brought me back… mostly.

When I awoke I discovered ALL of my coping mechanisms and ALL the walls holding back the conflict were gone, broken, useless.  The conflict was permanently etched into every conscious thought, every waking moment for the rest of my life. That 8-year cycle was reduced to 2 years at most.  Fragile as I was at the time, I knew I’d be dead inside 6 weeks if I didn’t do something.

My choices became clear: transition or die. I wanted to die.  Hell is a vacation compared to this!  But I have a wife with failing health and a young son. They would be left destitute without my support.  With all her pain and problems, my wife wouldn’t live long.

So I chose life for my wife and child.  In 6 weeks I was transitioning.  Just starting was enough to reduce the conflict to just 1-2 times PER WEEK.  It was GLORIOUS!  It felt like I had spent my entire life in a cold, dark cave.  Transitioning drew me out of the cave to find myself in a meadow on a warm spring day.

My mind was FREE.  My heart could feel more deeply than ever in my life.  My soul rejoiced.  I finally knew real PEACE and JOY.

I was able to be ME, authentic, real, unpracticed…

And it lasted just over 1 year.

Choosing life has consequences.

Every Christian in my life turned against me and stripped me of everything including my faith.  I was left with a car, some clothes and a job.

But I was FREE!

Eventually I was reunited with my family and found my faith again.  Love conquers all!

I came out at work to applause then alienation. I was given tasks and denied any help and when I completed a task, my work was ripped apart and I was told to redo it. At the first opportunity I was fired for poor performance and offered a 6 month severance to keep my mouth shut.

I took it.  (What choice did I have?)

I spent all 6 months looking for a job as Rachael.  I barely managed a handful of callbacks and 1 interview.  Desperate for work, I changed my name on my resume (nothing else) and was working full time in 6 weeks – my dream job no less!

Going back to being “Bob” HURT.  Society forced me back into my torment.  But this time I had some support and I continued my hormone replacement.

Now my 2 years are up.  My dysphoria is back to intolerable levels, raging in my head.  And now I’m doing more, planning on bigger changes.

 

Damage Unknown

So many think they understand, think they know what’s best for me and those like me.

They don’t see the scars left by the hurtful words so there’s no damage.

They don’t hear the screaming in our head so it’s not real.

They don’t feel the pain we feel day after day after day so it doesn’t hurt.

They don’t know how the conflict erupts within us at any time so it’s indoctrination.

 

The pain isn’t physical but it’s just as real.  Worse, it can’t be turned off.  We can’t take a magic pill and feel relief for even a minute.

We don’t belong in women’s groups because we aren’t accepted as women.

We don’t belong in men’s groups because we don’t identify with men.

That leaves us in isolation where all we have is our pain on the inside and the hurt every time we hear our gender spoken.

 

 

Solar Idea

Ever hear of “Solar Freakin’ Roadways”?  They’ve made several MILLION in funding.  And their idea sucks.

Here’s a better idea: using existing solar panels, build structures over freeways covered by solar panels.  This has major advantages:

  1. Freeways would be cooler, reducing air conditioning usage.
  2. Reduced temperature range decreases roadway damage.
  3. Longer structures will increase airflow through the structure, reducing air friction on cars
  4. Longer structures break up heavy winds, reducing weather-related trucking accidents.
  5. Lots of electricity production!
  6. In snowy areas the solar panels will greatly reduce snow on the road.
  7. Panel shape can be slightly modified to direct water (rain, snow) away from the road.
  • Use existing freeway signs as the start of a panel array.  This reduces structural costs.
  • Breaks in the structure allow light during the day.  Alternately, fiber optics can redirect sunlight into light tubes during the day and electrical lights can illuminate the tube at night.
  • Use AI techniques to design an infrastructure with the lightest and strongest shape.

 

More to come…