I’ve never really talked about my dysphoria here, at least not with the intent of making it the sole topic of a blog post. Some might think that with the start of HRT and the steps I’ve been taking to move forward that it would get better or lessen. However, I am realizing that this will not be my reality, at least not for some time to come. Now, I can say I don’t think any one episode will be as bad as the one that had me dealing with a nervous breakdown of sorts this past summer. Instead, the big “D” has chosen to ride my shoulder almost daily now.
HRT has opened me up to my emotions, and I am so thankful for this. It allows me to feel in a way that I don’t ever remember feeling, but little things impact my emotions and moods far more than ever before. Coffee and conversation with a friend can leave me riding high throughout the rest of the day, but a negative event can also send my mood crashing down and this is where the demon always waits for me.
These low moments can come almost out of nowhere, and they can almost cripple. I can feel almost as if I’m Alice about to tumble down the rabbit hole, and it is in these moments where I get how easy it is for one to contemplate suicide. Fall down the rabbit hole, and who knows where it might take you. It won’t be anywhere good, that I can assure you. Parents, friends, loved ones often blame themselves that they never saw it coming, and I would say to them in many cases…you never will.
Why? Trans people are masters at hiding. We lie to ourselves and to the world. The older we get, the better we get at it. So, you can imagine how good someone is at it by 20?…what about 40? I can see a lie coming a mile away, and I can see a scammer or con artist just about every time. Liars know liars. Now, I don’t call myself a liar to hate on myself. Rather, I simply am speaking the truth. I prefer honesty, but the world forces me to lie to satisfy it’s needs. Heaven forbid the freak out herself at work, or make others uncomfortable because they have to look at her. Thoughts like this let’s the demon and mind take over, and boy can they both get nasty…
You’ll never be feminine enough!…You’re voice is too deep, it will never pass!…People will never see you as a woman!…You’re destroying your family!…You’ll lose you’re job over this!…Maybe you’re better off continuing to live as a man?…If things get too bad, you could always kill yourself!
All of those are thoughts that have gone through my head at one point or another…in the past week. I’m not alone in this, I would venture to say most trans people have all had similar thoughts in the past week, we just don’t let on. We don’t share. We might hint to other transpeople, or close trans friends, but this is not something we usually talk about with our cis family and friends.
Why? They would take us as suicidal or crazy…because they can’t get it. They can’t understand how we feel on the inside. The constant rub that we will never be 100% how we want to be, how we want to be seen…hell, how we want to see ourselves.
I have a friend who transitioned over a decade ago. She’s pretty, fits into cis-society perfectly, and unless she shares…nobody would ever know…and even she still get’s hit by the demon. As she puts it, “I can be perfectly fine 95% of the time, but I’ve accepted that is as good as it is going to get. The other 5% of the time can be bad, and it’s all in my head.”
Knowing I’m not alone is huge. Knowing there are people who get me, means so much. This is why we have community after all, and why trans folk can often seem cliquish to outsiders. It’s the old safety in numbers. I am thankful for it, although I haven’t dealt with near the hate or bullying that many have, and not being completely out I’m still insulated, and I probably always will be due to my age and life experience to this point. I simpy don’t care what others think…the only thing that can really hurt me…is me…and I do just fine on that front.
Now, it may seem that I just shit on cis folk, and that is not the intent. I love my cis friends and family dearly. Their support is vital to my well-being. While I say they can’t get it, that doesn’t mean they can’t be there for me. Sometimes just listening to this crazy bitch vent, can be enough to relax or cool me off. Many times I am also slow to talk about what is going on in my crazy mind. As I shared with a friend yesterday (and I think this is a fear of many trans people), I don’t want to be that drama queen that makes her start to cringe every time I send a text. In short, I don’t want to be a burden or bother to those I care about.
People often tell me that I’m brave, courageous, inspirational, etc. While part of me feels good to receive such praise…if I’m honest, part of me also cringes on the inside. I do so because I don’t often feel this way. Instead I usually feel the opposite. I often feel like I’m a coward still hiding in the safety of her man suit, and that effort to hide causes much of my mental exhaustion in and of itself.
When my mind is right I understand that the way I am transitioning is a necessity born out of having a family, and the need to provide for them financially. There is nothing cowardly about this. It is the responsible thing to do as a spouse and a parent, but still I feel sometimes that I’m not being authentic to myself, and each day on HRT, playing the man becomes more and more exhausting. For work, I can maintain the part, but for other things I’m finding myself becoming apathetic towards things that I once gained joy from doing. This apathy is born from the knowledge that to do those things I have to do them as “Him”.
Today, I will be letting the guys on my soccer team know that I can no longer play with them due to medical reasons. Now let me say, I LOVE to play footy. I love everything about the sport, but I just don’t want to play as him anymore, I just can’t do it. Playing with all men, while I have this secret that I can’t share turns my stomach. I hope to go back to play one day, and have already been told when I’m ready that I can join a woman’s team (I’m out to the league director, a wonderful lady), but that may be 1-2 years away at the very least. Initially, I intended to play through this season and step away come May, but certain developments have made me rethink this position.
This is just another step to remove myself from circumstances and circles that can heighten my dysphoria. One less “all male” thing I have to do is one less chance for me to fixate on being seen in all my “male” glory…which makes me cringe. It used to be that the sport and competition helped to alleviate dysphoria, but just being with all the guys as one of the guys…is now making it worse.
I also share the above, because I do have a handful of male friends who know about me, and they have been great. While I have been reluctant to engage, I do value their friendships, and it has nothing to do with them as people. Right now, being with men, any man, makes it hard for me to feel free to express as Allie. It’s nothing that they do, but it is everything with how I see myself. That is the thing to remember about dysphoria, it’s all in my head. I can let others affect me, but they can’t take my dysphoria away…only I can push it down.
My broad shoulders, back, and voice…these are my biggest dysphoric triggers…my facial hair follows those up closely, but that can easily be remedied with laser/electro, money, and time. The others require time, genetics, work, and some luck. Granted I could get vocal chord surgery, and may very well do so, but the other things I often find myself fixating on, and this is why so many trans people hate mirrors.
People used to think I was vain because I could never walk past a mirror without looking. It was never about vanity, but rather about the reflection that I could never, and still can’t feel good about what I see in the mirror. Today, I can look at my reflection, and see a good looking 42 year old man smiling back, but he isn’t me. I can’t see me yet, and it frustrates and saddens me at times. I look for myself now, and am waiting for the day I catch that first glimpse. Hell, I’m longing for that day, but it hasn’t come yet. Some trans people can’t stand to have mirrors because of how dysphoric their image makes them. I won’t say that it is quite that bad for me, but there are days when I absolutely can’t stand what I see. It used to make me angry…now it just makes me sad. I have hope now that it will change, but that change can’t come fast enough, and dysphoria makes me wonder if the changes I want will ever come, or if the changes will be so minimal that they will barely be noticed.
In the end, dysphoria sucks, but that is life as a trans person. It seems it will be my eternal burden, and am learning to deal with that truth. My hope is that like my friend, with each passing day the good ones become more numerous. If I can get to the point where I am good 95% of the time…I’d take that percentage all day long.
To step away from the negative I will take a moment to talk positive by sharing changes that I am noticing, and I will admit I’m a mix of excited and “what the fuck?”, only because I’m trying to figure out how to work some things if the muscle doesn’t start dropping off soon, and why is this a concern of mine?
Because I am already getting BOOBS! Yes, my girls are slowly starting to take advantage of the small amount of fat I have over my pecs…which are still pretty large. I noticed last night that the fat now has a layer in it that feels more firm…not sure what to make of it, but it isn’t the same as what was there before. I admit my mind could be fucking with me, so I will let it play out for a couple more weeks to see what is what. While the fat composition could be debated, what cannot is that my nipples are definitely in transition. They are already getting bigger, and are more sensitive. I also am noticing something is happening behind them, and they are ever so slightly sore if I rub them. They are also becoming slightly erogenous, as touching them a certain way can elicit sensitivity/tiny sparks down below.
My skin is changing, a friend who knows about me said to me yesterday that she can see it around my eyes and on my cheeks. She said it looks softer. Now, it hasn’t changed much yet, but I also have noticed that it is starting to get drier. If I forget to moisturize, then it can feel as if my forehead and cheeks are tight and have been windburned.
My body hair seems to be growing more slowly on my lower legs…could also be in my mind, but it seems like growth on my lower legs has slowed by half…four days after shaving, my legs look like they did two days after shaving just a week ago. Unfortunately, my chest hair seems to be growing back faster, so go figure.
My body composition might be starting to change…I had a slight increase in weight of five pounds over the last two weeks. I have since lost that weight this week, but its eems without really losing weight that my male waist has lost almost a notch on my belt. There’s also a greater leaness to my upper back, and my legs seem a little smaller…but all of this is just going off how my clothes are fitting me. I could be imagining it. What I do know for sure is definition is down in my shoulders, and my forearms and wrists both have gone down about half an inch in size. My legs also seem thinner, but may just be more defined from weight loss.
My sweat and body odor seem to be slightly less, and slightly less offensive, but still in the male range for both. I’m just noticing I don’t stink quite as bad after an hour of working out.
My sense of smell seems to be starting to change a little…I occasionally smell food, or other smells, and am like…Wow, that smells better than it used to or much worse…but this is inconsistent and not a constant.
As for expression…I’m feeling more myself in this area than anywhere else. It felt so good to get together with another woman and just…talk…share…and be myself. No masking, no posturing, and no worries about what she would think. I didn’t feel like she was seeing him, heck I didn’t even think about him…I just expressed as me. That also brings me to unconscious things I will find myself doing now. Sometimes I will sit a certain way, start to walk a certain way, hold my hand a certain way…in what I would call a more feminine manner. It always makes me laugh a little when I find myself doing it, because I didn’t actively think about doing it…I just did it.
Trigger Warning: Sex talk
…and by sex talk I mean masturbation…it’s the only way things are happening these days, and because I also want to know when and how things are changing in that department, and as they change…so people…I do this for science!
What I can say is that it is different, but much of this can be mental as I don’t desire to touch myself in the way I used to. Lighter touch is sufficient. I can touch myself in much the same way any woman might, and I can get where I want to go. My mind also has to be right, or nothing doing. The build up has gotten slower and longer in the last week…and I’m also beginning to notice a change in quantity and consistency, but this is still very minor…but it’s definitely there.
My desire to masturbate has also changed. I don’t think about sex that often anymore, and when I do, it doesn’t get me cranked up like in the past. Making the decision to masturbate is kind of like…should I have a cup of coffee or should I masturbate? Part of me couldn’t care either way…it’s more a curiosity than a need…and this is a shift that has occurred in the last few days. Now I do it because I want to track change, or because I simply want the endorphin rush due to feeling shitty or stressed about something.
As for sexuality…I’m accepting that at minimum I will be bi-sexual post transition. I still find women very attractive, but admit a sexual curiosity towards men…but have no interest in exploring until I feel more myself, more feminine. I’m also married to a woman, and not a cheater…so that also can’t be discounted.
Anyways, I share about sexuality for posterity, and because I think this will be a hoot to come back and read in two years time. I will try and touch base on changes every week or two if there is something worth noting. Anyways, I need to get back to work, and have been interrupted a few times, so I’m gonna end with this, and hope maybe to do an audio post this weekend, but no promises.