Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sad face... ; - (

You know...  the one that pops up when you are looking for a video on YouTube and it doesn’t play on the device you’re watching from, or the video has been removed.  We call that sad face in our house, Jackson understands that phrase.

Sorry I haven’t been blogging.  I started a new job as a team lead this year and I have been super busy getting into the swing of things.  Jackson has found a new obsession with my computer as well, so I can’t sneak away to write or share my stories.  Aside from that we have had so much going on, some good some bad, but I am sorry for not keeping everyone up to date on our journey.  Sad face...  ; - (

Sara and so many of our Fragile X families shared facts each day during the month of July on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram...but I missed the mark this year.  Sad face....  ; - (  So for my followers, here are the 31 Shareable Fragile X Facts from the National Fragile X Foundation. Study them, there will be a quiz later.  I haven’t been on the FaceBook much, but it is important to share these facts.  Also...July 22nd is National Fragile X awareness day in case you didn’t know.  So many of our friends and family wore green to show support for our family and they tagged us on the social media.  I played softball the night of the 22nd and brought a temporary tattoo for my friend who has black and gray art on her body, she wears it well.  And hey ladies...she is single.  She was so excited, put it on, and exclaimed she was going to a real one.  She boasted that it would be her first color tattoo and that very weekend I got this text message and picture, “Let Jackson know I respect the challenges he has every day...  Let him know I think he ROCKS!!!”  The love and support our family receives is so amazing and I am so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life.

Sara and I don’t talk about the bad days or times that our brought us by the letter F and the letter X on the Intra-webs.  We always share the positive, the inch-stones, the fun, and the laughter.  Sometimes it is hard to find something positive to share though because you are exhausted and this is one of those times.  In the House that Jack Built, we are going thru one of those times. Over the past few weeks Jackson has been struggling, mostly in the evening time.  This is a common story you might read about from my fellow FX bloggers, or you might have heard while attending a conference or workshop for Fragile X.  Our Fragile X kids come home with good reports from teachers and aides, but then fall apart when they get home because they are exhausted from all the sensory input, working so hard to exist with their peers, and doing all the right things to accomplish their goals.  Home is where they can exercise their demons. Home life doesn’t have the same structure at school, even if we follow the same routines day in and day out.  Heck we all have our ways to unwind, relax after a long day (booze).  Towards the end of the school year we noticed that Jackson’s hyperactivity was off the charts. So after much deliberation we consulted with our doctor and we upped one of Jackson’s medications.  The first week of adjustment he took a few naps, but then we saw a drastic improvement from the constant jumping up and down nonstop hours upon hours. Now we are two months in this new dose and we have an ubber- crabby, agitated, aggressive, tantrum, preservative-speech, high anxiety, self-injurious, out-bursting 6 year old.  Is it the medicine? Is it because summer school is over?  Now camp is over? Are we not doing the right things?  Providing him enough supports at home? Not giving him enough sensory breaks?  Sad face...  ; - (

The last few days have been extremely hard on all of us.  A few weeks ago I injured back and discovered my body is really 41.  When you can’t bend over to tie your shoes without lightning bolts shooting down your leg for two week.   Hmmmm...it prompted me to see a doctor to tell me what Google told me which was I gots the Sciatica.  Sara is on a tri-weekly ear infection, chest congestion, drainage, allergy attack since this spring.  If that is not bad enough, there is the headaches.  These headaches are fairly common in the Fragile X carriers.  Sara participated in a sleep study that proved she is a chronic snorer which also plays a huge role into the morning headaches.  She is soon to be fitted for a device to help with that...but if you add up that with not getting sleep, we are a house of Snippity-Snips Crabasaurus Rex.  Sad face...  ; - (   

<- Note: we just started introducing essential oils in our house and they have been doing wonders for the Sciatica and the headaches. We are work in progress...>

Fast forward to last night...  I get home from work.  As I open the door I am greeted by my bouncing boy, “Na-na’s HOME!  Eeeeeee!”  Then he bolts back to the sliding glass door.  The neighbor behind us was getting their grass cut.  Sara is using our new essential oil cleaner to wipe down the counter tops as the lawn care dude finishes and leaves.  We all sit at the table so Jackson can tell me about his day.  Sara starts the conversation, prompting Jackson to finish.  Goes something like this:
Sara: “Jackson, who came over to see you today?”
Jackson: “Casey!”
Sara: “Not Casey, but Miss Ssss”
Jackson: “Sar-rah!”
Sara: “Where did we go...”
Jackson: “Bowling...”
Sara: “Yes, downstairs she took you to play bowling...but where did we take Ma-ma’s car”
Jackson: “Lib-ary!”
Sara: “What did we do at the library?”
Jackson: “Com-com-com-cuter”
Sara: “That’s right, Miss Sarah helped you on the computer. What else did we do?”
Jackson: “Two books...”

So the two of them will go back and forth to tell me about Jackson’s day before I go up and change into shorts.  When I get back downstairs, Jackson is in the recliner rocking and watching Lady Antebellum YouTube videos.  Sara leaves the room as I sit on the couch.  My body melts into cushions, it was a long day, when I see a flying iPad heading my direction out of the corner of my eye. My reflexes move my arm quickly to protect my head as it slams into my not-so-funny-funny-bone, just happens to be the same arm of my tennis elbow so I can’t stop my loud reaction, “OUCH!” Damn that hurt I thought as Jackson bolts up and takes off for the dining room window saying, “Boo-boo, sad” as he slams his head into the window.  Sara puts herself between him and the window, points him back into the living room.  Sad face...  ; - (   

Things come to a brief calm as we quickly discuss the dinner plans and who is making things. Sara stays with Jackson, while I go cook.  I can hear her reading his new books and they are giggling and having a great time.  This completely melts my heart to listen too as I try to forget about my long day at work and my throbbing elbow.  Did we cause this by prompting him while he was hyperaroused from watching the lawn boy?  Are we meeting his sensory needs? Reminding myself... BIOLOGY, BIOLOGY... he didn’t’ mean to hurt me. Sad face...  ; - (   

Dinner is now served...everyone is at the table. 

Jackson: “GEEN-BEANS!”
Sara: “Yes, first chicken – chew-chew-swallow, and then green beans”

Jackson eats a few bites before he starts taking the food out of his mouth throwing it across the room, some of which hits me in the face and gets in my hair. I don’t make eye contact, or say anything, just keep eating.   Good thing we have dogs as they clean up the floor. The verbal prompts are getting to be too much, so Sara grabs his visual aide.

Jackson: “Na-na ALL DONE, Na-na all done....”

Lately Jackson has been perseverating on those at the table being done with their meal.  Doesn’t matter if we have full plates or not.  We are still trying to figure out how we should respond.  This night we keep pointing to his visual, not talking to him or each other, as we all finish our meal.  There is a lot of trial and error when learning to live with Fragile X.  Sad face...  ; - (

Jackson and Sara leave to go do their nightly FaceTime with Pat and Sinky as I clean up. Typically as a reward, Pat will play guitar for Jackson for making good choices at dinner, but no reward this night. Sad face...  ; - (

Once dinner is cleaned up and FaceTime is over we tell Jackson he can earn a walk or ride in Na-na’s car if he can make good choices, keep a calm body, nice hands, listen, and take his medicine over the next 30 minutes.  Jackson asks for the timer and it is set for 30.  That is a long time to wait, but as he is watching the timer on my iPhone he is perseverating on it. 

Jackson: “1, 2, 3456, timer done!  I, 2... 10, timer done!”

Sara and I discuss how this hasn’t been working lately because he is getting too excited and hyperaroused while watching the timer, which if you haven’t figured out yet will lead to a bad choice.  Sad face...  ; - (   

Jackson: “1, 2, 3456, timer done!  I, 2... 10, timer done! Jackson POOP!”
Sara: “Jackson, do you need to go the potty.”
Jackson: “Yes! Timer DONE!”

Sara leads Jackson to the restroom while I shut off the timer.  By the time he is done and comes back into the room he has forgot about the timer.  Sara goes in the kitchen and takes her medicine and Jackson heads to the window where he spots the neighbors new puppy.

Jackson:  “Puppy....WOODS!”

I go over to him while he is looking at the puppy running around.  We watch for a little while, then the puppy goes inside, just in time for his medicine.  After the medicine routine, Jackson grabs his shoes...he is ready for his walk/ride.  We tell him he did a great job at following directions, keeping a calm body...ask him if he wants to go for a ride or a walk.  He chose ride.  We all get in my car and head to the “Deer watching” spot.  The deer are not out though...so we wait for a little bit, sing the deer song a few times, and Jackson asks for school.  So we start to drive out of the subdivision to drive by school, when Jackson gets too excited and smacks Sara several times on the arm.  So we turn the other direction and head back home.  Jackson figures out that we are not driving by school and gets upset.  He slaps Sara a few more times before we make it home. Sad face...  ; - (

Hoping we can find a calm in the storm we offer him two calming choices once inside...  either he can rock in the chair while listen to headphones, or he can lay on the floor with this weighted blanked while we work on deep breaths.  Jackson wants none of those options and heads for the dining room window.  Maybe the deer are out there, maybe Charlie and Adam are playing catch, and maybe there is a hop-hop.  He is shouting all these things while on his mission to the window.  While he is heading to the window Sara and I look at each other with defeated expressions. Then WHAM! Jackson slams his head into the window, none of things he wants is outside the window. WHAM!  I head over to stand between and guide him away.  For the next 45 minutes Sara and I act as a wall barrier between the dining and living rooms. We are not speaking, just holding him close, letting him press his head against us, letting him push while getting pressure on his joints, letting him scream and cry, letting him calm himself down without anyone else getting hurt, once and awhile guiding him to his soft pillow and weighted blanket without words. In my mind I am playing over and over, “Remember it’s the biology”. Sad face...  ; - (

It’s nights like these that break your heart because you know he can’t help it.  It’s nights like these you play over and over in your head, what did we do wrong?  Should I have grabbed the Calm Down Book sooner? Should I have not let him go for a ride? Should we have not done FaceTime?  Should we have not had him sit down after lawn boy was finished and tell me about his day? Is this the right dose of medicine for him?  It’s nights like these you want to tell Anxiety and Hyperarousal to Fuck-Off or tell the ABC’s of behavior to take a Fucking hike!  It’s nights like these that keep you up at night when everyone else is sound asleep.  It’s nights like these that are always in the back of your head...  I know we will get thru this, we figure out the equation and find the right supports, but for now..... Sad face...  ; - (

Monday, November 3, 2014


Sara and I were married in 2006 in our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.  On our 5th anniversary I wrote about our engagement and wedding and you can read story that here: http://frageelayx.blogspot.com/2011/09/happy-anniversary.html.  Here is a picture from our 5th anniversary.  We found an amazing bed and breakfast near St. Louis in Clarksville, Overlook Farms.  It was an amazing overnight stay and a perfect way to celebrate 5 years together.

Unfortunately in 2006 the only place we could get legally married in the US was Massachusetts and you had to reside there in order to obtain/maintain a legal marriage.  Neither of us wanted to move away from our families, so we had a little ceremony in front of our family and closest friend followed by a celebration a.k.a. reception.  It was an amazing day that wasn’t legal, but that didn’t matter to us as long as we could make a life commitment to each other.  It was the greatest day of my life.

Shortly after we were married we bought our first house in 2007.  We were approved for a loan with Sara’s amazing credit and both our incomes, that wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be.  Once we were settled in we started planning for our 1st baby.  After 1 year and 5 tries Sara got pregnant; it was very emotional roller coaster.  I learned a lot of things about getting pregnant; it’s not that easy as one may think. We welcomed Jackson into our world in 2009, the second greatest day of my life.  

Unlike hetero couples who get married, have children, and automatically get rights…we had to hire an attorney to get all the legal documents to protect us if something were to happen to one or both of us.  Power of attorney, living will, name change, adoption…the list goes on. Since same-sex marriage is not recognized and we have all the “legal” paper work, a judge can still rule not in our favor or best interest if something were to happen to one of us.  Jackson is not biologically mine so we had to follow the Missouri laws on adoption.  It was another emotional roller coaster in addition to the costs of getting pregnant and attorney fees, but on Aug. 18th, 2010 I became Jackson’s second parent making it the third greatest day of my life. 
The US has come a long way since 2006 with 21 32 states legalizing same-sex marriage, but there is still a long way to go.  Missouri is now recognizing same-sex marriage established in other jurisdictions, but doesn’t issue marriages licenses to same-sex couples. In June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and required federal government to treat legally married same-sex couples on an equal basis with heterosexual married couples.  The economic impact of this ruling is huge for our family.  I still have state taxes coming out of my paycheck on health insurance that my hetero co-workers do not have to pay for their spouses.  It’s work in progress.

Wikipedia provides great resources if you are interested to learn more about marriage rights and benefits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States  and same-sex marriage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States

Fast forward to July 2014….our family traveled to Orange County, California for the National Fragile X Conference.   Sara’s parents traveled with us to also attend the conference.  Sara’s brother and sister-in-law live in Los Angeles so as an added bonus we were so lucky to spend some time with them while there.  The icing on the cake while in Orange County Sara and I got legally married.  I married my wife twice.  It was crazy emotional just like the first time.  Yup...you guessed it...the forth greatest day of my life. 

Instead of a reception we headed to the beach, not a bad substitute.  When we arrived at the hotel to get ready for the beach we were greeted in the hotel lobby by a friend of whom we have become very close with from a club we never knew we wanted to join, the great Holly Usrey-Roos.  She greeted us with a huge hug and surprised us with flowers.  It is very comforting to be accepted in our new found family in the World of Fragile X and we have been so lucky to meet so many amazing people in this journey.  I don’t even have the words to explain it, but it means the world to me and my family to be embraced whole heartedly.

Even though our honeymoon the second time around was attending a conference hosted by the National Fragile X foundation and we only saw the sun a few times while in California, I wouldn’t have traded it.  We continue to learn more everyday Living the Fragile X way. The conferences and workshops we attend provide us these great tools to help navigate through each day.  Through our Community Support Network we continue to meet other families like ours who have been there, done that, going thru that, and then some.  So far in the 3 years since Jackson’s diagnosis I have made so many friends who are more like family and for that I am eternally grateful.    

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The modern day Pat…

Ever feel like everyone is looking at you..   trying to figure out who or what you are?  I feel that way a lot. 

The sneers, the dagger gleams, the shooting beams, the awkward stares…   It pierces through my entire body, makes feel less confident, and creates an overly extreme existence of anxiety. 

The worst is when I have the urge to use the restroom; I hold it as long as I can when I am in public places.  Unfortunately sometimes nature wins and I have no choice, I must go.  The closer I get to the doors with the gender signs that read Men or Women, Boys or Girls, Gents and Ladies, my heart begins to race… my palms sweet…  it gets harder to swallow.  I take a deep breath, straighten my shoulders, and push my chest forward trying to reveal my barely B’s, my perky little breasts… just hoping if someone is staring or someone is on their way out…they see my booblets and not question, “Why on earth did “that” person open the door with a skirt on it!”  

If you really want to know… I sit to pee, I belong in here, I have all the right parts….but to many I just look like teenage boy.  Sure that might seem like a compliment in a way just turning 40, yup I get carded to purchase booze, but really it is awkward and uncomfortable. 

There are so many others…like me.  The ones that dress and look like boys.  I know I choose to dress the way and keep my hair short.  I always preferred slacks over dresses, boots over heels.  I am so comfortable being me, the tomboy next door and it hasn’t been easy.  

Growing up sometimes was hard; don’t get me wrong here I had a truly amazing childhood.  I played every sport I could, when the sun came up I was outside until my mom whistled for me to come home for dinner.  I explored caves, swam in the creek, and played army in the woods….I loved every minutes of it.  My brother got all the cool toys, the cars and the G.I. Joes, while I got the Barbies and the dolls.  I got cool stuff too, like my dirt bike, softball gloves, and whatever music I wanted to listen too.  I don’t resent my parents for buying me gender appropriate toys; I love them for supporting me and trying, and oh…let’s not forget cleaning up my wounds from playing rough like the boys.  I did play with my Barbie’s, just not as much as some of my other friends.  Barbie married G.I.Joe and not Ken in my fantasy world. 

When all my friends started to wear makeup and bras in middle school and I was still playing in the dirt and wearing wife beaters under my shirts.  When we had to start changing for gym class; I was shy, embarrassed, and underdeveloped to say the least.  I always waited for everyone to leave the dressing room before I started to change.  I was bullied for being a tomboy, for being different.  I started hating going to school and my 6th grade year I would come up with ways to come home sick.  I had very few friends back then, some of which stuck up for me when the other girls were mean to me.  I will never forget them for doing that…that had such an impact on my preteenhood  to teenhood, they taught me how to rise above the hate and the bullying, and that not all girls are mean. 

My tomboy awkwardness followed me into High School, but I found Track and Field, a sport where I could be an individual athlete and a teammate, exceling in both.  By trial and error coach finally placed me where I belonged and I was really good in my events…as a freshmen I moved up to varsity in the middle of the season.  This helped boost my confidence, but it didn’t take away the anxiety of changing in the locker room.  If I got there first I could change quickly, but if I got there when others were there I would change in a bathroom stall or I was late to the fields changing after everyone else left.  Track was like a huge family, they accepted everyone and their uniqueness.   I made so many friends and had the time of my life being a member of the Track and Cross Country teams. 

I went to a Baptist college where the student lobby was divided by athletes, religious groups, and book worms.  I wore my hair super long and in a ponytail back then.  I still was a tomboy that dressed in girl clothes, even had a boyfriend here or there, nothing serious. Believe it or not, I even wore pink, but I was so uncomfortable and didn’t understand why.  The best part about being a girl in my mind during the college years was ladies night at the night clubs where girls drink free.  I didn’t come out to myself until my junior year of college and it took several years after that before I came out to my family and close friends. You couldn’t be gay and live in the dorms at a Baptist college at the time, I don’t know if much as changed there since I attended.  So I stayed in my closet at school; only some of my cloesest friends truly knew….the rest just pondered or assumed. 

Right out of college I got a job for a small company thanks to my college softball coach.  I was very lucky…but I still wasn’t publicly out.  The tomboy in me was dying inside day in and day out as I dressed business casually for work in blouses and dress pants.  I don’t like wearing clothes that are tight or form fitting.  It’s not that I don’t’ like my woman parts.  I just didn’t like that I was a toothpick a stick holding up clothes, so skinny, some people even thought I was ill. I am a very modest person.  I like to wear clothes that are baggy, lose fitting.  Basically what I am trying to say is the grunge era was awesome for me.

During this time I played softball several nights a week.  Fast pitch, slow pitch, competitive, non-competitive, co-ed, womans… whatever softball team I could I find, I played.  I went through a lot short term relationships over those years, all the while not being out to my own family.  It wasn’t until I was in a long term relationship that didn’t work out, my heart was broken and I needed someone to share the experience with. That was when I came out to my family.  I was 26 years old, I just took a new job at a much bigger company, and I was going through so many life changes all at once….it was then I realized I needed my family more than anything.  It was then I also realized my fears of coming out to family were all for nothing, my family embraced me with open arms and accepted me in every way.  It was fresh start for me in so many aspects.  My grandpa asked me if I was happy, and even though I had just been through a bad break up and proudly answered “Yes”.  My grandpa grabbed my arm, pulled me close, and said, “That’s all that matters to me, you will always be my princess.” It was then I knew everything would be OK.

My new job was business attire; it was hard for me to shop for new clothes. Did I mention I am not a fan of wearing woman’s clothing? This make shopping for clothes really hard.  I started off at my new job keeping quiet about my personal life, but after a few happy hours and someone outing me to my team, there was no reason to hide.  Shortly after starting the job, we moved buildings and our attire changed to business casual, then shortly after that my team merged with a group that wore khakis and logo polo shirts.  Things couldn’t fall into line more perfectly to help me with my uncomfortable attire.   It was then when I stopped shopping in the woman’s department for everything except bras and swim tops.  Then…I turned 30 and it was time for another change.  I walked into a salon with a picture of Sharon Stone with short hair and said, chop it off.  The hairstylist was nervous, I would be losing 6 inches of long, thin, straight hair.  She said once it’s gone, I can’t put it back on.  I didn’t care, I wanted short hair.

I was completely comfortable for once in my life now sporting a hairstyle that suited me well.  It was about that time when people in the office who worked in different departments starting giving me strange looks, especially when I used the restroom.  I remember I was coming out the bathroom and this woman that was walking in asked me if I was finished in there.  I was confused as to why she would ask that, and then it dawned on me; I was in Khaki pants and a logo polo that means I must have been the maintenance man working on a broken toilet. 

Several years ago I changed positions within the same company and went from wearing uniform polo’s and khaki pants back to business casual again.  When I pulled up the dress policy for women, I cringed as I noticed it had not changed since I started there.  What am I going to do?  I went shopping for clothes; it was so hard for me.  Luckily I had Sara to help me out; she loves shopping and thinks I am hot in just about anything especially if I wear something form fitting, so it was fun for her.  I settled on a few woman pairs of slacks and blouses, grabbed a pants suit, and lady shoes.  I was terrified in these clothes and it showed.  When I showed up on the first day of my position a friend who was my coworker replied, “Hamilton, what the fuck are you wearing?” as soon as he saw me.  It took everything I had not to cry, I was already embarrassed to wear these clothes even though that was what I was supposed to wear.  I soon started going back to khakis and button up shirts because my management didn’t care what I wore and after a few years the company is now business casual.  I still don’t really fit in the woman’s category for casual wear, but its close enough. Even though I work for a strong LGBT supporting company and there are only 5 other women who work on my floor…I still have to stick my chest out when I use the restroom because woman from different floors come down/up to use our restroom.  Really?  Go back to your floor then I think to myself.

One would think after all the years of stares and sneers; I would be numb and over this fear of using public restrooms, but it is still there.  I don’t flinch much when someone calls me sir, buddy, or young man, but the bathroom is like a booby trap you know that there, but you can’t avoid it.

Two weeks ago we attended the 14th National Fragile X Conference in Orange County California.  So many wonderful families, doctors, therapists, even teachers attended this wonder event that occurs every two years.  Thanks to Facebook, blogs I follow, and many other opportunities I have met many of these amazing people who are living life the Fragile X way, just like my family.  I feel like I have known so many of these people for most of my life, they are like long distance relatives you get to see once in a while and wish you could see more often.  I have read several fellow bloggers posts on their take of the conference and the experience they had since the conference. They are honest and talk about the anxiety they had when meeting new people for the first time, how it affects them physically and emotionally.  They are excited because for one week they feel that no one is judging them when their child melts down in the lobby of the hotel because everyone there has been there, done that, or in their same shoes.  Love, ultimate support, validation for all that we do for children for one full week, it is a wonderful feeling and experience to share.  There were so many times I felt exactly that way during the conference, but not to take away from their amazing blogs or experiences there were so many times I felt the exact opposite.   This was our second conference, so I have met a lot of people in the Fragile X community before this trip. The love and support I received from those who already know me…know Sara…know Jackson far outweigh this feeling of judgment.  I hope you  know who you are… some belong to our support team in St. Louis, some our relationship has formed over social media, some I met you for the first time at this conference.  I cherish these friendships so much and look forward to getting to know more about each of you personally.  When will I see you again? Miss you already!

Maybe I am over reading things…maybe there weren’t stares or glares, but some of the facial expressions I received when making eye contact on the way in or the way out of the ladies room made it hard not to assume.  I encountered a mother and daughter in the restroom and the mother’s reaction was verbal between the stalls.  I am sorry if I scared the daughter, but I was not out of the bathroom before the mother made some very hurtful comments to her daughter on why there was a boy in the girls bathroom.  After this incident, I started going out of my way up to our hotel room because it was do difficult to deal with my anxiety.  I am not sure if this mother follows the Fragile X webring, but I hope that if she does, stumbles on my post, takes this experience as a learning experience, maybe judges less, and teaches her children acceptance of everyone.  This experience encouraged me to write this blog and I went back and forth about even posting it, worried I might offend someone.  

I heard from so many other parents at this conference that one of their biggest fears is their child being accepted by their peers or how they get anxious when people stare at their family when their child has a meltdown, or the mom has to take their teenaged boy in the public restroom because he doesn’t have the motor skills to wipe or pull up their pants all way.  I believe it is important to also hold ourselves accountable to accept those around us just like we want other to accept our children.  You don’t have to agree with my lifestyle choice, but know this…I am happy with my life, I love my wife, my son is my world, and I am proud of my choices.  If you have a question about why I dress the way I do, or why I have short hair, I will point you to this blog post or tell you in a different setting other than the bathroom I am having near panic attack in.  Over the years I have contemplated just going in the men’s room, it would probably be easier or more accepting of others....