Save the Bees! (That Are Stinging My Face)

Am I talking about electrolysis again? Indeed! I am.

I write this blog for myself, really, because my memory is malleable, and I want to remember what this is like—what transitioning is like. And I’m glad I’m doing it because so much has changed in the last (almost) four years since I came out and started transitioning. I’ve changed so much in the last four years.

But in writing it for myself, sometimes I forget other people read this. That’s good, though, because I try not to write to an audience here (though there’s no way I can avoid that completely). I have another blog for that. The point I’m taking a painfully long time to get to is: if I talk about electrolysis five hundred times on this blog, well, so it goes.

I started electrolysis a year after coming out and nine months after starting hormone replacement therapy. The delayed start was due to COVID-19. Remember when everything was shut down? Remember when we used corncobs for toilet paper? Oh, wait, we couldn’t do that because there was no corn on the cob to buy.

Even when things started to open up, there weren’t any electrologists within 100 miles of me. I got very lucky when my first electrologist started a practice a few miles away in Yucca Valley (she only lasted a year; now, I go to Cathedral City, an 85-mile round trip).

Electrolysis is painful, if you weren’t aware, and I do it for about 65 minutes once a week. After my second week of treatments, back in 2021, I wrote, “Only 75 or so more one-hour appointments to go!”

Ha ha ha! Was I ever wrong about that. Wednesday, I had my 127th session, and if I had to guesstimate, I’d say I have another 127 to go. Or maybe not. Because in a few weeks, I’m going to start doing two-hour sessions.

also beeAs I’m laying there being electrocuted every week (over 400 times an hour), I can feel when about 55 minutes have passed because I’m done. So I don’t know how I’m going to endure another hour on top of that. I mean, I know how I’m going to endure it: I’m going to lay there and try not to get up and leave. Or cry.

I credit electrolysis with really teaching me about pain, though. Like most of us, I’ve had some physically painful things happen to me, so I thought I knew about pain. Then electrolysis came along and said, “No, my child, now ye shall learn of pain,” and electrolysis wasn’t kidding (electrolysis speaks like someone in the Middle Ages, apparently).

But what it’s really taught me is how to deal with pain. I talked about my relaxation/meditation process in this post. It helps tremendously in the moment, but it doesn’t necessarily increase my overall tolerance. I don’t think. I guess I’ll find out in a few weeks.

Why is it taking so long? I have no idea. Electrologists will never give you a time estimate because everyone is different. My electrologist says I have thick hair, which is a blessing when it’s on top of your head and a curse on the front of it.

For the first two years, all my electrolysis was on my upper lip, which is, of course, one of the most sensitive places on the face. If you don’t believe that, fellas, get tweezers and pull out a hair growing right under one of your nostrils. Let me know how that feels. Well, actually, you don’t have to let me know how it feels. I’m intimately familiar with the singular sensation.

My electrologist finally moved off my lip a few months ago and is now branching out to other parts of my face. That doesn’t mean my lip is done; she’s just widening her scope. That’s right, two years on the upper lip, and it’s not completely hair-free. It’s almost hair-free though, which is really…I’ll need a thesaurus to find a better word than “wonderful.”

So lah dee dah and ho dee ho, and a hi ho Silver.

If I’m right about the 120 or so hours left, though, now, instead of two years, it’ll only take a year to finish. If I’ll ever be “finished.” As a bonus, my electrologist is trans, so she gives me a special deal as a trans client. In fact, the two-hour sessions were her idea. She offered them to me for $100, which is what she charges her non-trans clients for a single hour.

Still, between paying for the services of an electrologist, the cost of driving 85 miles, and a numbing creme that I used to use, I’ve spent $10,000 on my half-finished electrolysis. I’m complaining, yes, but I also know that I’m fortunate to have the ability to pay for it.

The majority of trans women live in poverty because the world, in general, isn’t enthusiastic about hiring us. Except for sex work. They’ll gladly pay us for that, pull up their pants, and then go vote to exterminate us.

As for the two-hour sessions, how could I say ‘no’ to half-price electrolysis? I can’t, regardless of the other price I’ll pay. The psychic toll those two-hour sessions will take. Ha. We’re always paying a toll, aren’t we? Doesn’t matter if we’re paying for a service, pulling the mail from the box, or taking our opera gloves to the dry cleaner. There’s a price to pay for everything. So we work it out.

We pay. And we carry on.


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