Two months down already, and so I’m back to talk about where I’m at and everything new that happened during my second month of HRT.
This time around I’m going to start with my measurement changes, and from there I will talk about everything else….so without further ado, lets get into it.
Day 1, Month 1 measurements:
- Weight: 244lbs
- Chest: 42.5 inches (underbust: 41 inches)
- Waist: 38 inches
- Pant/male waist: 40 inches
- Hips: 43 inches
- Neck: 16 inches
- Bicep: 15 inches
- Wrist: 7 inches
- Ankle: 9.5 inches
Day 1, Month 3 measurements:
- Weight: 239.2lbs
- Chest: 40.5 inches (underbust: 38 inches)
- Waist: 35 inches
- Pant/male waist: 37.5 inches
- Hips: 41.5 inches
- Neck: 15 inches
- Bicep: 14 inches
- Wrist: 6.5 inches
- Ankle: 9 inches
So, I did gain two pounds from the beginning of the month, but my measurements continued to shrink, regardless of the slight weight gain, and that makes me extremely happy. I thought I’d break the change discussion into three categories: physical, mental, and parental warning: sexual. In my mind changes this month were just as significant as the first, and in some ways maybe more. At least, for me they were.
Breast Development: I woke up the second day of HRT month two with an ache in my breasts that hasn’t left since it started. Month one saw the beginning of my breast development and month two saw it continue. I also saw my chest muscle continue to soften while my bra size went from a 42A to a 40B. I’m becoming more comfortable talking about it as I probably should wear something everyday, but I don’t. This is partly due to work, as I will admit if I were full time I’d be going bra shopping instead of wearing shelf camisoles and bralettes. For now, the latter is good enough due to the significant chest muscle I still have, but as it goes more and more I have a feeling I”m going to need more support. At this point, I get the pain of running up and down stairs, or even just running period…like, it really hurts. Funny enough, the pain makes me smile, as it simply reminds me that I’m finally getting the body I’ve always wanted.
Fat Distribution: This really started to show during the second month, as I’ve started to notice a softening to the way my muscles show through the skin. The first place I noticed this was on my torso, specifically my midsection. For those that follow me on Facebook and Twitter I did post comparison pictures that highlighted these changes:
The first picture above was taken a month before HRT and the second picture was six weeks on HRT. Along with the redistribution which you can see, my skin is much softer as well. My legs which have always been chiseled, are still defined but slightly smaller, and they now have a slightly softer look to them, which I only noticed in the past week.
Estrogen redistributes fat into female patterns, but won’t actually move fat, however it will make use of what you have where it needs it, and I’ve seen this start to happen on my hips, my chest, and my butt. I haven’t seen much start to happen with my face, but it will come when it does. While weight didn’t come off in the last month, my body fat percentage is right where it should be. I’m currently sitting at about 24% body fat, and the ideal body fat for a 43 year old woman is 22.5%. Knowing this, my goal is now to make sure it doesn’t go up while trying to continue to shed weight. As the muscle starts to shed, the weight should go down…or I have to make sure it does. I think I have a pretty good handle on this, and am excited to see when this starts to happen.
Muscle Mass: It seems to be on the decline, but as I’ve learned from other girls it does seem the strength is starting to go faster than the actual muscle. This started with muscle endurance first, but in the last week I’ve noticed that certain things have gotten just a little heavier, which I’m just fine with. I’ve noticed my arms are thinning out, as is my chest, and my legs. My shoulders and my back muscles are still hanging on, and I can’t wait for them to start going as well, but the other changes are enough to tide me over and give me confidence that they will soon start to go as well. On another note, while I continue to work my legs by doing cardio, just having a snowball fight the other day with the kids has my back and obliques sore like I put them through a workout. I think I need to start doing some plank exercises as part of a maintenance routine until my body gets to a size where I can introduce strength training again.
Overall, my physical changes have me excited and have had me buying new female clothes, while getting rid of older male clothes. Nothing fancy or super expensive as my body still has quite a bit of changing to do, but I’ve noticed other than slim or skinny fit, most men’s pants seem to leave a bit too much room in the legs and butt. Not sure how this happened as they still look big to me, but clothes fit the way they fit, and clearly they’re starting to fit me differently. All that said, my women’s jeans seem to be fitting me better, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store.
Miscellaneous: My skin continues to get softer and at the end of month one, confirmed in month two I can say that I no longer smell like a boy. My sweat doesn’t stink and neither do my armpits. I can wear the same sports bra for multiple workouts without the stink factor arising immediately. I’ve also started to get more sensitive to heat and cold, which is a nice change of pace as I’m not always on the verge of sweating like in days past!
This continues to be a place that in many ways gives me the greatest satisfaction, but also causes some turmoil at times. In the last month I continue to feel more myself, and when with people, especially other women that know “me,” it has become almost impossible for me not to express female. It is something that I now do unconsciously, and only realize it once I am in conversation. I have to remind myself when with people I don’t know to pull it back a little.
It becomes harder to put on guy clothes each work day, and go to work. I still do it, but it does cause me anxiety that is worse at the beginning of the week. It gets better as the week goes on and I get closer to the weekend. I know this is totally normal, and I deal as best I can, because it is what I need to do for the time being, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I hope my changes start coming even faster so I can stop playing the “boy” charade. As the brain changes faster, it is impossible for the body to keep up. You get to a point where you just want to be you, and I understand why some gals go full-time so quickly. The temptation is there for me too! However, while I know I am a woman, when I go full time at work I want people to see that as well. It is important to me that this happen, and remembering that will keep me on the path that I’ve laid out for me.
This past week, I forgot for the first time, while at the store that I was playing boy. I had just finished paying and the cashier said, “Thank you, sir. Have a great day!” I paused for a second before responding because my brain went, he just called you sir! You’re not a sir…oh wait, yeah, right… Afterwards it made me laugh, and while it might cause others dysphoria…I was presenting male, and it also gave me a warm fuzzy to realize my brain, and how I see myself has intrinsically changed for the better. It’s not something that’s going to make me sad. However, I will admit that if I had been presenting female and been “sirred” then it certainly would have messed with me in a bad way, so I think it important to set the distinction down.
Finally, the way in which I interact with others continues to change, and the way other’s who know me, especially women, confirms this. I now care more, think of others more, and continue to relate to other women better than before. This is not to say women have the market cornered on caring or being empathetic, but it’s the way I go about it, and I know I’m doing a poor job of describing it, but it’s just something I know has changed about myself. I see it in my interactions with my wife and kids as well. Much of this could also have to do with just being happy with who I am now. There is no discounting that not all mental changes are due to HRT directly…some are simply down to feeling good about my future.
(Warning…) Sexual Changes
Changes here are minor this month, and so there isn’t much to say. For one, I didn’t have much of a desire to experiment or test things, and so I simply didn’t. I typically don’t think about sex unless I’m going to fantasize, and while I will admit the nature of my fantasies has changed, both when I’m awake or when dreaming (I’m never a man or have male anatomy anymore). As for physical, I might be seeing slight shrinkage of my testicles, but not entirely sure at this point. I’m also continuing to see a decreased volume of what comes out, and the consistency is becoming more watery in nature.
Overall, I am happy with the changes I’m seeing as I continue moving forward. I see my doctor on the 20th, and I hope to increase both my spiro and my estrodiol. Still waiting to see a couple big ticket things start to change, but it give me something to look forward to, and so I will continue to eye my future with positivity.
Last Friday I heard from my family regarding the letters I sent them. They all sent texts to me, because texts are safe. You don’t have to show emotion or get emotion in a text. They said all the right things, that they love and support me unconditionally, and it did mean a lot to me, but it wasn’t all that I needed, and I don’t know when I will get all that I need from them.
Coming out to people is mentally exhausting. I’ve already decided that now that I am out to my immediate family I will only come out to people, if and when I need to, because of how exhausting it actually is. The act of telling someone I am intersex and transgender isn’t the hard part of the coming out. Instead, the hard part of coming is the time spent explaining to the other person that I will be OK, and the time spent making sure that they are OK with me being…me.
I talked to my mother three days after she got the letter I sent her, and I walked away from the phone call feeling off about it all. I spent the next day and a half in a darkening mood as I tried to figure out why the call bothered me so much. It wasn’t a bad call, but it wasn’t a good call either. Instead it was a safe call, as if my mom was afraid to show any emotion, and so the topics stuck to transition related stuff, which in turn also included the issue of passing. As a result, I spent the call basically justifying who I was and making sure she was OK with this. It will also be the last time I do this…I hope.
It isn’t my job to make sure you are OK with who I am, that’s your issue to deal with. I have a shit shack full of my own issues with out adding yours to the mix. Are you sad, scared, worried, or concerned with what others will think? If so, then you need to work that out and keep it to yourself, because guess what…I’ve thought about it ten times, no, one hundred times more than you will ever think about it.
I’ve thought about the effects on my marriage, my kids, my job, my body, my health, and I could go on with the list. I’ve thought about passing, living full-time, safety, how people will see me, and how people will treat me in such minute detail, and I will continue to do so, long after you stop. This is “my” life, so of course I think about these things…I live these things, or will as I move forward. Transition, and everything about it dominates my thoughts and life.
If you are trans and reading this, then I am guessing you are nodding along, as I know you have dealt with this, and like me will probably continue to deal with this. In some ways it is the shittiest part of being transgender, and I fear that if I never “pass” that it is something I will always deal with…and probably on some level I will anyways, because dysphoria never goes away entirely.
It is such an easy thing for people to take their worries back from a trans person they care about. How? Don’t dump your concerns and fears on the person coming out to you. Instead, you could hug them, tell them you love them, you support them, and that no matter what you’ll be there to help and see them go where they want to.
In the case of my mom, I just wanted her to be my mom. I wanted to hear her say she loves me, and that she will be there no matter what. And this is where I get selfish…because I know she has already expressed this to me, but I wanted to…needed to…hear it. I wanted to feel the emotion of her love, and I didn’t get that with the first phone call. I’m sure I will get it in the future, and I don’t want to paint her as being wrong, or that I’m mad at her. I’m not mad at her, after all she has talked to me. I also found out from my sister-in-law (through my wife) that my mom is hurting bad right now. My biggest fear in coming out was that she would hurt when she realized how long I had been hiding and that she never knew. As a parent you would do anything to keep your child from pain, and when you find you didn’t or couldn’t do it…it breaks your heart a little. Knowing this, I’m giving her the benefit of time to let her process. It isn’t my problem that she feels this way. She’s a mom, and so it can’t be avoided, but I can give her time to deal. I’ve thought about sending her a text to tell her that it isn’t her fault and that I don’t blame her or my dad for anything, but there will still be a part of her that feels like she should have known. I tear up thinking about it, because this could easily have been my daughter and I thirty-some years from now. Being trans and having a trans child puts me in a unique position to get both perspectives on this. I want what I want, and yet I also can empathize with what she is feeling.
Let me be clear…I am not in a bad mood as I write this, and actually feel like I’m in a pretty good place. My mood always gets better as the week goes on, and this is another source of mental exhaustion. These days my weekends are almost always good. I get to be me all weekend, even if most people see boy…I’m good with it, because I get to wear what I want and express as I will. I don’t have to be him or think like him, and I love every minute of it. As the week goes on and I get closer to the weekend, my mood improves because I know I won’t have to play the part for a couple days. Conversely, as the weekend comes to a close I become anxious and depressed because I have to put the man suit back on for another work week. Luckily, I work from home on Mondays and so it’s only four days, but my brain is already at the point where it doesn’t give a krap…it simply wants to be, and I wish I could let it.
This means exhaustion also comes from my need to hold off presenting full-time. I know many gals jump right in, and this is why they do so. It’s too hard for them not do so, and perhaps they don’t have the constraints that I have in my life. There can be a myriad of reasons for why we go full-time when we do. For me, it isn’t time yet. It’s not because I don’t want to, but rather because I want to go full-time when I feel the time is right. However, knowing the time isn’t right doesn’t give me comfort, after all logic and emotion are often at odds with one another. Logically, I should wait and plan it out, so that I can maximize the greatest benefit for me and my family. Emotionally, I want to say “Fuck It!” This is who I am, deal with it. These two sides being at odds with one another in my head can be draining, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon, but I know it will end. I just have to keep my eye on the glimmer at the end of the tunnel and hold to the idea that one foot in front of the other gets me where I want to go.
Now all of the above, plus add in hormones, mood swings, and all the normal day to day stuff everyone deals with. You can start to see why one might have mental exhaustion issues. Usually sleep rejuvenates me, but this week with the added stress of coming out I haven’t been getting that emotional rejuvenation, and so I just feel tired every day. If I didn’t have my emotional support network…if I was alone…then I don’t know where I’d be, but it wouldn’t be a good place.
I have my wife and my friends to thank for helping me get through this week, and for bringing me out of my funk. My wife was there over the weekend giving me support while I started to stress about talking/not talking to my mom. My friends were there to get me out of my funk after I talked to my mom. Some friends just listened and offered words of understanding and comfort. One friend, in particular, who is becoming a really good friend, just made me laugh and smile, because she seems to get me on a level that I never had a male friend ever get me on. She, in large part, was responsible for getting me out of my dark place this week, and I’m thankful to have her in my life.
The takeaway from this post and the one I want cis people to walk away with is that your mental exhaustion and mine are not the same thing. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else half your week, every week. You don’t have to regularly justify your existence or make others feel better about the fact that you exist as yourself. If you have a trans person in your life, please remember this. Remember, they don’t need to hear most of what you think. What they need to hear is your positivity and support. What they need from you is to simply be a loved one and/or a friend. If they bring up worries or concerns then by all means talk about them. If you have questions ask them, but do it in a way that comes from a desire to learn, and not from a place of worry or fear. We do enough of that on our own, even if you don’t see it. Yes, I try to be positive and outgoing to the world, but that doesn’t mean I don’t fear and worry. It just means I don’t want to constantly shoulder others with my problems, and yes, most of the time, I’m in a good mood. I would venture to say this is the case for many trans people out there.
Tomorrow is a new day, and next week, a new week…and before that a weekend with blessed sleep! I look forward to the future, because every day there is something that moves me forward. Even though I get exhausted sometimes…I like where my life is heading…I just wish I could get there a little faster.
Also finally changed my video…I thought “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam was appropriate for this week.
So, I posted the main body of my family coming out letter yesterday and I said I would post the personal notes to my father and brother. Parts of these are identical to my mother’s but I didn’t want to cut it out…so without further stalling…here they are:
Personal Note to Dad
Dad, growing up you set the image of what I thought I was supposed to be as a man. I always wanted your love, respect, and admiration. I know you have always loved me to death, and would do anything for me. I know one of your biggest concerns in life is that I am safe. I hope this is your biggest concern as I share this with you. As a child, one of the safest places I’ve ever been in life, at least in my mind, along with some of my warmest memories I have, are when you’d wrap me up in a hug, and the feeling of absolute security that would envelope me. I always felt like you’d always keep me safe. Part of me still believes that, even while my adult self says that’s my job. Your love and support just might do what part of me still believes it can…make everything OK, and keep me safe. I know this will be weird at first, but my hope is that my slow transition will make it easier. I can’t know for sure, but I want to believe like that little kid so many years ago…that you love me, and would never do anything to ever hurt me.
I think you know how hard this is for me to tell you, and I hope you can still love me, and that you will still want to be a part of my life, but I also must accept as I write this that there is the chance that I could be completely wrong, and so I partly write and send a letter to protect myself. Next to Wife, there are three people in the world that have the power to lift me up and the power to destroy me. You, Mom, and Brother are those three people. As for the rest, I couldn’t give two shits what they think. I’m past worrying about pleasing others, or trying to be what I think they want me to be.
When you decide to text me, or email me I want you to remember the following things as they are important to me. Please do not call me in disbelief, anger, or the notion that you can get me to change my mind, or that this is a joke, or that it’s a phase, or that I’ve lost my mind. Those things are non-starters for me. Also, please don’t tell me that I’m going to fast…I’m 43 now, and have known I was different since 5…there is no such thing as too fast from where I stand.
So what can we talk about? You can ask me questions, about the past, about me currently, or about the future. You can ask me how I’m doing. You can give me your love and support. You can simply talk to me like you always have. I’m still the same person on the inside, except I no longer feel burdened by having to hide things in my private life.
If I don’t hear from you, then I will know you can’t accept it yet, or you have anger and other issues to work through, and that is ok. I will have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and live my life, because I can’t go backwards.
I know you and Mom will be worried and scared for me, and as my parents I would expect nothing else. I am scared and worried for myself at times, but I also know that I don’t have a choice in this…for the first time I understand why someone might want to kill themselves over this, because I know the circumstances where I would do so, and it is a sobering realization.
Finally, I want you to know that I will be ok, and that I know what I am doing, as much as anyone can. I’m actually looking forward to what the future brings…for the first time in my life. I hope that you will be part of that future, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Personal Note to Brother
I want you to know that I love you, and that if you are the brother and man that I think you are that this may take time to wrap your mind around, but that ultimately you can accept me for who I am, and get to know me that way. No matter what, in my eyes, you will always be my little brother and I will always be there for you if you need me.
I hope you can still love me, and that you will still want to be a part of my life, but I also must accept as I write this that there is the chance that I could be completely wrong, and so I partly write and send a letter to protect myself. Next to Wife, there are three people in the world that have the power to lift me up and the power to destroy me. You, mom, and dad are those three people. As for the rest, I couldn’t give two shits what they think. I’m past worrying about pleasing others, or trying to be what I think they want me to be.
When you decide to pick up the phone and call me I want you to remember the following things as they will be important in having a real conversation. Please do not call me in disbelief, anger, or the notion that you can get me to change my mind, or that this is a joke, or that it’s a phase, or that I’ve lost my mind. Those things are non-starters for me. Also, don’t tell me that I’m going to fast…I’m 43 now, and have known I was different since 5…there is no such thing as too fast from where I stand.
So what can we talk about? You can ask me questions, about the past, about me currently, or about the future. You can ask me how I’m doing. You can give me your love and support. You can simply talk to me like you always have. I’m still the same person on the inside, except I no longer feel burdened by having to hide shit in my private life.
If I don’t hear from you, then I will know you can’t accept it yet, or you have anger and other issues to work through, and that is ok. I will have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and live my life, because I can’t go backwards.
Please talk to mom and dad. My letters to them will be more detailed about my past, and incidents that might help them connect the dots. Also, please be there for them. I can’t be there right now, and they may need you, so I am sorry to put this on you. There’s no way to know for sure how they will take it. I think mom will accept it faster than dad, but I could be wrong about that. I know they will worry, be scared, and a multitude of other things.
I want you all to know that I will be ok, and that I know what I am doing, as much as anyone can. I’m actually looking forward to what the future brings…for the first time in my life. I hope that you will be part of that future, and I hope to hear from you soon.